Los Angeles-based Ritte has a sense of fun, even naming itself after Henri ‘Ritte’ Van Lerberghe. This Belgian rider led the 1919 Tour of Flanders, stopped for a few beers before the finish and still won. Chapeau!
That’s not to say the Snob isn’t serious – it is. The polished and painted stainless steel frame is a thing of beauty, mixing TIG-welded tubes with fillet-brazed detailing. The welds are perfect, the fillet brazing a clever use of the welder’s art when dealing with thin-butted tubes. Mass-produced? Forget it. Each frame takes a day to make.
Highs: Smooth and accomplished ride
Lows: Racy gearing
The stainless KVA MS3 steel that Ritte uses is newer to the market than the likes of Columbus XCR or Reynolds 953, but it is highly respected by framebuilders and more affordable than rival rustproof metals despite being made in the USA.
This is a classy snob with polished frame and perfect welds: Cycling Plus / Immediate Media
This is a classy Snob, with a polished frame and perfect welds
The Snob will be compared with Genesis’s Volare 953. Both are available as framesets for £1,999 and have very similar geometry, bar the Ritte’s 25mm-taller head tube. In this guise it’s more cruiser than racer, though the Snob also comes in a racier ‘R-Fit’ version with a 2cm shorter head tube.
The Snob isn’t quite as sharp as the Volare, and its external cabling limits it to mechanical shifting. But the Ritte climbs well, descends assuredly and excels on rolling terrain, the classy frame nulling vibration but still allowing you to feel the surface of the road.
The handling is reactive without ever getting twitchy, making this ideal for long, sportive-like rides. The carbon fork, with tapered 1 1/8 to 1 1/2in steerer, and a quality carbon bar keep the front suitably smooth too. We rode it in truly foul weather and on some severely damaged roads; it was never less than totally composed.
Some of that’s down to the wide-rimmed Easton EA90SL wheels and excellent tyres – but the chassis is the major factor. Our test bike came with Shimano Ultegra kit and a racy 53/39, 11-25 setup, but we can’t help thinking it’s better suited to compact gearing, for better all-round riding credentials.
Racy, but a compact would give better all-round credentials:
Racy – a compact would give better all-round credentials
The Snob’s tagline is: ‘True love doesn’t rust.’ Well, we’re not sure about ‘true love’, but we’d be more than happy to take it on a few more dates and see where it takes us.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.