Ritchey WCS Chicane stem & Ritchey WCS Streem III bar
The WCS Streem III is Ritchey’s premier alloy road handlebar, available in widths from 38 to 46cm.
My 42cm bar weighs 277g and offers 73mm reach with 128mm drop. It uses triple-butted 7050 aluminium alloy to form a modern compact drop shape, and the wing-like tops are swept back by 4.7 degrees.
The central round section alongside the stem has been widened for clip-on, tri-bar fitting, and the right side bar-end can accept Shimano’s Di2 junction box.
The Chicane stem offers a sleek, integrated look. It’s made from 2014 alloy, comes in lengths of 80 to 130mm, with a 10-degree angle, and my 100mm sample weighs 196g.
It’s around 70g heavier than Ritchey’s own C220 stem, but the Chicane’s slippery shape is designed to reduce drag in a critical area.
The Chicane’s steerer clamp is 45.5mm tall, so you’ll need a few millimetres more than average to be able to fit one.
Its rounded rear has no external clamping bolts, removing the chance of your knees clashing with them. Instead, it clamps on to the steerer with an internal wedge that’s located in front of it and tightened by a 4mm hex key.
The headset-tensioning M5 bolt that screws into the steerer passes though a pressed circular steel washer that pulls down on the stem. A flat magnetic oval cover fits above that, neatly hiding fixings from view.
A low profile hinge allows the bottom of the 45mm wide stem faceplate to open and two 3mm Cr-Mo steel hex bolts secure it from behind. They take longer to tighten than a normal faceplate, but you should only have to do it once.
The Streem’s textured central section ensures the stem clamp remains slip-free, and recessed channels beneath the tops route cables neatly towards the front of the stem.
The backswept, teardrop shape of the tops is relaxing to hold, and I found the reach and drop to be ideal with plenty of wrist clearance when on the drops.
The Ritchey’s ‘blatte’ finish has a smooth, carbon fibre-like look adding class. They’re supremely comfortable on the road, soaking up big hits well.
The stiff Vibe stem effectively dulls road buzz, but its burly looks don’t affect the clean lines of its reverse-bolted faceplate, or neatly capped tapered steerer clamp.
Stem: £97 / $105 / AU$181
Bar: £94 / $100 / AU$165