Ritchey WCS C-260 stem £80

Adds grip without adding mass

BikeRadar score 4/5

When Tom Ritchey decided to make bike parts as well as frames he called them ‘Logic’ components, because he liked to strike at the heart of a technical issue with a straightforward piece of thinking – often outside the traditional cycling mindset.

That trend continues some 20 years after he began with the new C-260 stem. His WCS stem was already a shoo-in for any performance-orientated mountain bike or road rider looking for light weight and reliability wrapped into one. It’s now been improved with the addition of a new and more secure design of bar clamp.

Called 260 after the full 260-degree wrap the stem body gives to the bar, it creates a sort of socket fit. In fact you can’t actually front load the bar. As the remaining aperture isn’t 31.8mm, fitting a bar requires you to load the tapered section of the bar into the clamp from the side. Once you’ve slid it in, the bar can’t fall out, and the cap simply completes the circle.

The four-bolt (4mm) face clamp is small and neat, as is the triple-pinch steerer clamp with opposing bolts. While the whole stem looks very cross-country, it’s more than stiff and strong enough for use on all but full-on downhill bikes. Ritchey do it in carbon or alloy, with the alloy version (as tested) going as short as 70mm. Our 80mm sample weighs just 99g. It’s not the cheapest option, but you are getting class-leading stats to brag about. 

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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