This article originally published on BikeRadar
Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napolean Games) arrived at the world cyclo-cross championships in Louisville, Kentucky fresh off his victory at the Belgian national championships with hopes of a world title. A last-lap bobble put him off the wheel of race winner Sven Nys, but Vantornout's silver-medal performance still made for an impressive debut for Ridley's new X-Night carbon cyclo-cross flagship bike.
Vantornout's new X-Night bears several key differences from the old version. For one, it's lighter – to the tune of 350g in the frame itself, according to Ridley, plus another 150g reduction since the revamped internal routing no longer requires full-length cable housing. Moreover, Ridley has toned down the old X-Night's ultra-stiff ride, infusing some DNA from the road-going Helium SL in the seat stays, slim 27.2mm-diameter telescoping seatpost, and nominally round main tubes. Ridley claims that bottom bracket and front triangle stiffness, however, have nonetheless gone up.
Mud clearance has improved, too, which could have proved decisive judging by the conditions for the masters racers on Friday. Luckily, Saturday's mud was sloppy and greasy but didn't freeze on impact.
While still very much at the traditionally European end of the spectrum, Ridley has lowered the bottom bracket slightly by 3mm for more stable cornering while the head tube height has dropped to allow more aggressive positions for riders that want it. We're guessing Vantornout is indifferent to the lower stack given the 25mm of spacers beneath his stem.
Vantornout probably is happy with the new dual mechanical/electronic-compatible routing, however, which provides a clean look for his Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 7970 group (although his frame still had a vestigial housing stop on the chain stay). Shimano also provides the M970-generation XTR pedals and WH-7900-C35-TU carbon tubular wheels, which were wrapped in Dugast's new Fast Bird tires when we stopped by the Belgian team area Friday afternoon.
Vantornout skips over the matching Dura-Ace crank in favor of a machined aluminum Rotor's 3D+, which saves some weight thanks to an oversized, 30mm-diameter aluminum axle instead of Shimano's chromoly 24mm-diameter unit. Rotor fills out the press-fit shell with its own bottom bracket, too.
Otherwise, most of the rest of the build is filled out with Ridley's 4ZA house brand, including a Cirrus Pro carbon bar, forged aluminum stem, carbon-shafted seatpost, carbon-railed saddle, and lightweight narrow-profile aluminum cantilevers (consumers will have the option of disc brakes on the new X-Night when it becomes available in May).
Finishing things off are a pair of lightweight, red-anodized KCNC quick-release skewers and a Belgium-themed handlebar tape job courtesy of mechanic Bart Risbourg.
Total weight as pictured is 7.37kg (16.25lb).
The Rotor 3D+ machined aluminum crank is equipped with Specialites TA chainrings.