You've spent a couple 'cross seasons racing that old touring bike, and it's finally time to upgrade to a CX-specific machine. Right tool for the right job, right Right. The Ridley X-Bow is about as cyclocross-specific as you can get without importing mud from Belgium. The aluminum frame handles all the abuse you can throw at it, and provides a solid, stiff base for the powerful riding necessary in 'cross. A mix of intelligent components, including a carbon fiber fork, make the X-Bow a great race
Strengths: Smooth, durable, versatile, upgrade potential, quality paint job, carbon fiber fork, braze-ons for commuting/touring racks, experienced CX company (it's a Ridley afterall), bang for the buck
Weaknesses: Heavy (as spec'ed), BB5s lack outboard adjustments, just okay house-brand bits.
This is a review of the 2014 XS(49) Ridley X-Bow Disc model. First off, I purchased the X-Bow as a commuter since I was tired of putting wear-and-tear miles on my road bike given the nasty road conditions in my area. The Ridley comes nicely spec'ed with a mix if 105, Tiagra, FSA crankset, Avid brakes, Alex rims, and other house-brand bits. Is is not a light bike given the base spec, but more than adequate for my purposes.
The only changes I made to the base spec was to add a WTB Volt Pro saddle and swap out the tires for some tough Schwalbe Marathon Plus 25c commuting tires. Given the spec, it weighs in at 25ish lbs. Again, you can drop a ton of weight off this bike as parts wear out or you upgrade. I may upgrade the BB5s to BB7s soon for the convenient tuning ability. The BB5s require a you to loosen the float bolts in order to recalibrate. House brand parts are nothing to write home about, but they have some cool fist graphics.
After one month of commuting and a few gravel rides I'm very pleased with the X-Bow! Ride quality is superb and with a carbon fork takes some of the edge off. It's definitely my all-rounder, go-to bike.