While cyclocross has certainly branched out to include races and communities with robust traditions outside of Europe, it's hard to imagine the sport's heart pumping any colors but those on the Belgian tricolor. By combining the tradition of Belgian heritage with today's leading carbon fiber construction technology, Ridley's X Fire Cyclocross Frameset represents both the storied, European past of cyclocross and the modern technology and global reach that define the sport today. Like the previous model year, the 2015 X Fire is built with 24T high modulus carbon fiber. The material is laid up in unidirectional sheets in order to capitalize on a few key characteristics, with low weight and high rigidity enjoying pride of place. The carbon's high tensile strength means that less material is needed in order to hit the desired stiffness, so the frame is both lighter and stiffer than similar designs made from traditional alloys or shoddier carbon. The unidirectional nature also lets the engineers balance rigidity with vertical compliance, building a frame that's oversized and shaped for stiffness at crucial power transfer junctures from the head tube, through the down tube and bottom bracket, and across the chainstays. Despite this stiffness, the tube shapes minimize the noise and chatter communicated to the cyclist's body through the thinned seatstays. The 24T material itself also contributes to this balance, providing more vibration damping than the harsher 60T carbon in Ridley's climbers only, lose weight at all cost Helium road frame. The X Fire differs from its road counterparts in more than just material, though, with the top tube and down tube featuring squared profiles at the bottom edge for enhanced grip while the bike is shouldered during run ups. By squaring off the tubes, Ridley also ups their resistance to torsional flex, so the frame is that much more frugal with the watts you pour into it on race day, when every bit of effort counts. Ridley completes ...