Ritchey has been a hugely influential voice in the cycling industry for decades now and the brand had lots of new, shiny goodies on show at this year’s Interbike trade show in Las Vegas.
Best known for its bars, stems and other finishing kit, it was only of matter time before Ritchey dropped into the dropper seatpost market, taking its years of expertise with it.
The new WCS Trail dropper post is a three position, low pressure, mechanically actuated post that weighs in at a very competitive claimed weight of 350g. Fergus Laing, the US marketing manager for the brand, claims that the simplicity of the post’s design results in that low weight as well as making for a post which is incredibly simple to service when the time comes.
Fergus also showed us the all new Ritchey Outback, a gravel bike that we quickly fell in love with as soon as we saw that charming, aqua hue.
Describing the bike as its answer to market demand for a gravel bike from the American marque, the Outback features clearance for 40mm tyres, bolt thru-axles at both ends of the bike and a lovely, colour-matched carbon fork.
Interestingly, Ritchey adamantly stands by the traditional 1 ⅛” straight steerer tube on both its Swiss Cross cyclocross bike and the Outback, claiming that while you sacrifice a little in terms of fore and aft stiffness, the moderate amount of give afforded by the skinnier tube results in a more comfortable ride overall — key for an all surface oriented bike like the Outback.
We also had a look at the new Ascent, the latest addition to Ritchey’s longstanding line of ‘Breakaway’ bikes — a line of bikes that is designed to fold away to a manageable size, suitable for travel.
The Ascent differs from the more road oriented bikes previously seen in the Breakaway line up, with the bike designed to accommodate either a 650x52mm or 700x45mm tyre and utilising the brand’s new Venturemax bars — a wildly flared, shallow drop bar.
With full mudguard and rack mounts, beefy tyres and geometry numbers clearly intended for off-road hooliganism, the mid 2000’s ‘monster-‘cross’ moniker seems like the most appropriate description for this horizon chasing, adventure machine.