First Look: Ridley Noah SL carbon race bike, X-Night SL cross bike and 4ZA carbon wheels

Highlights from the 2015 and 2016 lineup plus a new, prototype full carbon disc fork

Bike Press Camp Cross Road Bike Video Wheels
950 gram carbon frame weight

950 gram carbon frame weight.

Ridley is a Belgium bike brand with a long history of aerodynamic road frames designed to be light and fast. At the recent Winter Bike Press Camp event, they unveiled their all new Noah SL carbon road bike aimed at the “pro cyclists and ardent enthusiasts looking for ultimate speed.” Besides the new Noah SL, we got a close-up look at the new 2015 Ridley X-Night SL, 4ZA carbon wheels and a prototype thru-axle carbon fork.

Ridley Noah SL Dropped Seat Stays Ridley Noah SL Fork

Ridley Noah SL dropped seat stays (left) and double-fork blade design (right).

Ridley Noah SL carbon race bike

We talked to Ridley’s Vice President of International Operations, Richard Wittenberg who said, “The highly anticipated Noah SL weighs a scant 950 grams and is the weapon of choice for Pro Tour Team Lotto Sudal, led by Andre Greipel. We are excited to introduce the complete bike to the US … along with a sneak peek at our revamped Cross line.”

Check out this short promo video featuring some of the technical highlights of the Noah SL:

The Noah is an existing model with the new SL version using technology gained from Ridley’s extensive experience with super aero time trial race bikes. The Noah SL also saves about 400 grams in frame weight over previous versions. For the new frame, Ridley uses 60-, 40- and 30-ton fibers in a nanotechnology resin for the frame, and 40-, 30-, and 24-ton fibers in the fork. Wittenberg explains, “This new matrix improves bond strength and interlaminar shear strength, and makes it possible for our engineers to precisely lower total frame weight. As part of fabrication, Ridley uses removable internal air bladders during tube shaping. This allows precise control of the inner surface of the tubing, allowing thinner-walled tubing with zero loss of performance. Thinner tubing means a lighter frame, means going faster, and it means enjoying the ride.”

The frame also features what Ridley calls “inmold f-surface+ technology” which is a textured surface that channels airflow over the frame and creates micro-disruptions. Ridley explains this in their technical manual as, “A purposeful, small-scale disruption actually enhances laminar flow better than a perfectly smooth airfoil shape. Micro-turbulence that begins at the leading edge of an airfoil enhances laminar flow leading to an average of 7% less drag.”

A removable seat post (no more seat mast) for easier travel and adjustability.

A removable seat post (no more seat mast) for easier travel and adjustability.

The bike also features an aero integrated headtube and fork as well as wheel cutouts in the frame. These combine to create a sleek and fast design. Internal cable routing looks good and also improves aero efficiency. The unique dropped seatstays create a more compact rear end that allows for less drag with no loss of stiffness. Another interesting highlight is the Ridley F-Split fork technology. The double fork blade moves air away from the front wheel, reducing one of the main sources of drag on a bicycle. Be sure to watch the video for a visual example of the air flow. Unlike previous versions, the Noah SL has a removable seat post (no more seat mast) for easier travel, adjustability, and (if/when the time ever comes) resale. Like all their carbon bikes, Ridley uses a PF30 bottom bracket for lateral stiffness.

The Ridley Noah SL is available in 4 models: the SRAM Red22 equipped SL 10, the Campy Chorus EPS equipped SL 15, the Shimano Dura-Ace equipped SL 20, and the Shimano Ultegra equipped SL 30. All version come in 5 sizes (XXS, SX, S, M, L). The Ridley Noah SL will begin shipping six weeks from now. Retail pricing for the models are: Noah SL 10 $10,000, Noah SL 15 $8,500.00, Noah SL 20 $ 7,500.00, Noah SL 30 $4,200.00 and Noah SL Frame and Fork $3,500.00.

Ridley X-Night SL - main

Ridely X-Night SL carbon cross bike with disc brakes

The Ridley X-Night SL is actually a 2016 model and won’t start shipping until July. However, the big news here is that Ridley is going to combine their previous model lines of the X-Night and X-Fire into one line known as the X-Night, with SL versions available for the rider looking for pro level performance.

Ridley X-Night Stays Ridley X-Night SL Rear Disc Brake

Ridley X-Night stays (left) and rear disc brake (right).

The bikes will use the same molds, but the carbon layups will be a bit different for the more entry level models. The weight difference if about 150 grams between the X-Night and the X-Night SL.

Forza wheels Forza wheels

4ZA carbon wheels and Oryx prototype disc fork

4ZA (pronounced “Forza”) is Ridley’s component line and they are 100% hand built in Europe. The 4ZA wheels are user and shop serviceable and feature DT Swiss hubs. They are constructed to handle the harshest of cycling conditions and are available in carbon and alloy models like the Cirrus Pro line that we were shown. Besides wheels, 4ZA also makes saddles, handlebars, stems, seatposts, grips and water bottles.

15mm thru-axle with integrated scuff guard visible on the inside of the left fork blade

15mm thru-axle with integrated scuff guard visible on the inside of the left fork blade

Ridley also gave us a sneak peek at the all new Oryx Disc ICR hru-axle fork. The fork we were shown is still a prototype, but it is a full carbon disc brake fork with a 15QR thru-axle and is designed for cyclocross or allroad applications. It has a tapered, carbon steerer and the fork has an assymetric design (beefier on the brake disc side). It has clearance for tires up to 700x42c in size. It also has internal cable routing, 100mm spacing, Shimano Flatmount compatibility, hidden fender mounts and an integrated scuff guard. The Ridley Oryx disc fork will be OEM spec on all 2016 carbon cross disc models and the top of the line alloy cross bike.

From the manufacturer

“Ridley designed the Noah SL to capture the essence of speed and performance in an ultralight package and via some of the most sophisticated aerodynamic technology in the industry. It relies upon lessons learned from a strong racing heritage, and the design sets a new benchmark in the aero category. It stays true to Ridley’s form-follows-function design principle, where every detail has been studied and tested to reach ultimate performance.”

For more information about Ridley bikes, visit www.ridley-bikes.com

For more information about 4ZA components, visit www.4za.com

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Portolla Valley roads. Besides being an avid cyclist, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.


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