Ritchey heads to the Outback with its new gravel race bike

Performance-oriented, steel tubing, new gravel tyres

While still a fledgling category, gravel bikes continue to see sub-niches emerge, like aero gravel race, bikepacking, rugged commuter… What we have here is a new gravel race bike from Ritchey that isn't made from carbon or claims aero benefits — it's made from steel and it has external cable routing. Meet the Outback.

Ritchey Design's US marketing manager, Fergus Liam, told us that the Outback is "basically our answer to the gravel bike demand". It will have a slightly lower bottom bracket than the existing Swiss Cross gravel bike, along with thru-axles and clearance for 40mm tyres.

Made to perform

It has external cable routing, in a defiant gesture to the aero gravel race crowd. Fancy a go?
It has external cable routing, in a defiant gesture to the aero gravel race crowd. Fancy a go?

The head tube angle is a little steeper than existing adventure bike the Ritchey Ascent, so this new Outback is definitely performance-focused, but it's very capable off-road, according to Liam.

Groovy butting

Designed by Ritchey
Designed by Ritchey

The Outback is made from Ritchey Logic tubing, which features force-direction butting. This means that the butt profile is different at the front compared to the back to improve ride quality. "One of the things that Tom [Ritchey, company founder] focused on early on is where the butts should be placed to be most effective, as well as the length and depth," says Liam.

New Ritchey gravel tyres

Speaking of tyres, check out these new beauties, the Alpine JB
Speaking of tyres, check out these new beauties, the Alpine JB

It also gets Ritchey's new gravel tyre, the Alpine JB, designed from the ground up by Mr. Ritchey himself. It's designed to be just as capable on-road as off, and features a shallow tyre right the way across its profile. It comes in 28mm and 35mm sizes.

The Ritchey Outback will be available from spring 2017 as a frameset (so frame, fork and headset), costing US$1,400 and weighing around 4.5-5lbs (2-2.2kg). UK and Australian pricing is to be confirmed.

Jamie Beach

Deputy Editor, UK
Jamie's been addicted to bikes from the moment his stabilisers came off. Earliest cycling memory is the chipboard-ramp-on-bricks, but happiest one is bombing down a Mallorcan mountain pass that seemed it might never end. Always on the hunt for the perfect rain jacket, a keen collector of hats.
  • Discipline: Road, gravel
  • Preferred Terrain: Big mountains with long climbs, equally long and fast descents, the chance to get above the treeline.
  • Current Bikes: Genesis Croix de Fer, Kona Cindercone
  • Dream Bike: BMC TeamMachine SLR01
  • Beer of Choice: Augustiner
  • Location: Bath, Somerset, UK

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