When we're building up a cyclocross machine, we typically privilege qualities like durability, reliability, and stiffness over considerations of weight. These qualities are all present in the build kit we selected for the X Fire Rival 22 Complete Cyclocross Bike, which starts with Ridley's bred in Belgium carbon fiber 'cross frameset and matches it with equally eager Rival 22 shifting and Shimano wheels. The result is a bike that feels as right as bunny hops and rising heart rates in autumn but won't force you to miss out on every other weekend of racing because you had to get a second job to afford it. The 2015 X Fire is built with the same 24T high modulus carbon fiber featured on many of Ridley's road specific frames. The material is laid up in a strategic pattern of unidirectional sheets to balance 'cross specific considerations of rigidity, vertical compliance, and weight. The frame's oversized tubes are shaped for stiffness at crucial power transfer junctures stretching from the head tube through the down tube, bottom bracket, and chainstays a design that puts an emphasis on accelerating out of corners and after remounting. Areas that play less of a role in load bearing are thinned down, saving weight wherever doing so doesn't compromise efficiency. Despite the X Fire's stiffness and low weight, features like thinned seatstays also minimize the noise and chatter communicated to the cyclist's body. This ensures that, though 'cross races tend to be short, enjoyably brutal affairs, the long miles of base building and training rides leading up to them don't have to be. The 24T material itself also contributes to this balance of comfort and power, providing more vibration damping than the harsher 60T carbon in Ridley's climbers only, lose weight at all cost Helium road frame. The top and down tubes are also strategically squared off, providing better grip while the bike is shouldered during run ups. Building the bike with SRAM's Rival 22 shifting carries th...