Tom Ritchey is cycling’s serial innovator. Even before building one of the first mountain bikes in 1978, he’d been building road frames for six years, and racing his own bikes with great success at USA national level.
After perfecting his fillet-brazing technique, Ritchey began using larger, often ovalised tubing in his lugless frames, and with the arrival of TIG welding, designed his signature Logic butted tubing in 1984. The heat-treated, triple-butted tubing on today’s Logic frameset is derived from the original concept, with short butted sections optimised for TIG welding and weight saving.
Those 45 years of frame-building experience are brought to bear on the Road Logic, where its forged and machined tapered head-tube saves 80g compared to a conventional design with external headset cups.
I tested a 55cm example, with its claimed frame weight of 1,769g, plus 345g for the carbon fork. And with a high-quality build, the only difference in overall weight between the Logic and a similarly equipped carbon machine is the frame’s 800g or so additional mass.
Overall, at 7.82kg (M), the Ritchey is light — helped by its full Shimano Ultegra compact groupset, and by the all-Ritchey component list.
Neat touches abound, from the cast dropouts to the split seatpost clamping sleeve that strengthens the top of the seat-tube, and holds the seatpost firmly by squeezing the seatstays together with a neatly integrated bolt. But if that slender tubing gives the impression of being too spindly to perform, think again.
There’s a particular feeling that comes with riding steel, and even though modern incarnations are tempered by having a carbon fork, and seatpost too in this case, it’s undeniably unique.
When seated, it feels similarly efficient to carbon, if a little more talkative, but when standing, you feel the inherent lateral flex more. Climbing out of the saddle accentuates the frame’s natural spring as you push through the power phase of each revolution.
Ritchey’s WCS Zeta II wheelset has shallow, slightly aerodynamic rims, asymmetric at the rear, with bladed spokes and a wide stance up front. They’re usefully responsive and although just 22mm wide externally, increase the volume of the own-brand 25mm tyres to a plump 27mm, just within the frame’s recommended 28mm maximum.
That extra size equals more grip, and the Logic seemingly conforms to the road surface in corners, pushing against the tyres before firing out again.
The frame communicates road feel well, with sharp bumps and excessive vibrations smoothed by the tyre volume, carbon seatpost and classic bend carbon bar. Ritchey’s Streem saddle is a good shape and very supportive, but lightly padded and on the firm side. A more cosseting personal choice could improve long range comfort.
My 55cm bike has 73.5-degree seat and head-tube angles, ensuring quick, lively handling, but it’ll still descend with solidity and feels sharp when turning in to corners, which it whips through like a snake.
The Logic wants you to take that extra loop, and rewards you with a ride that combines old-school know-how with modern sensibilities.