From the Mouth of Tom Ritchey Jan 24, 2019

You ever lay awake at night wondering what Tom Ritchey feels about carbon, oversized downtubes, and other modern-day bicycle details? Well, this interview with Tom from last year – which I’m just now finding out about thanks to Rivendell – is very insightful. Check it out as one of the most influential bicycle designers discusses modern bikes…

  • Sean Coffey

    The dude is like a weird uncle to me. Much respect, Tom.

  • George T Rosselle

    An interesting interview. I can’t help but wonder, he praises steel forks, but you won’t find one for sale on his website. Why? No money in it?

    • My understanding is… Steel forks have to pass consumer safety standards. Usually, if it’s an “off road” fork, that means it might have to pass MTB standards. That’s when you end up with a 3 or 4 lb fork, which will probably not ride all that well, or will weigh the bikes down. Most framebuilders don’t put their forks through testing and thus, can make lighter forks. They’re not necessarily dangerous but will probably break if the right / wrong thing happens.

      • George T Rosselle

        That is true, but Rivendell sells steel forks, and I know from experience they don’t weigh 3-4 lbs. If they can do it Ritchey could too. At least offer it as an option. As he said in the interview, the frame has to be overbuilt to compensate for the overbuilt carbon fork. I would think a Ritchey built frame and fork, made with overall lighter tubes, would be in demand. Of course his insurance company would protest. I reckon we all work for the insurance companies these days.

      • disqus_w0DDnPlA97

        The fork on my ‘94 Road Logic would never pass CEN testing. And the frame wouldn’t pass CEN testing , because the force applied by a steel bar In a test rig is way different than some wcs blades and an internal sloping crown designed to bend as a failure mode.

        I’ve only bent my fork one time(descending on an XC race track while warming up for a DH race) in over 250,000 miles on the same frame/fork setup. I straightened it out 20 years ago and still trust it today.

        The kinda steel forks you can’t wholesale any more sure are lovely… if they are on a bike that is designed for them.

    • perpetualBeta

      I find that inconsistent as well.

      At least the outback has a 1” headtube for more front end compliance. Also interesting that TR specifically chose post mount disc because it requires less chainstay material to cope with the torque for a nicer ride.

      Market forces and the 800gr weight penalty probably contributed to the carbon fork compromise.

      • DarinM

        The Outback (and all Ritchey cross/road models) has a 1-1/8″ steer tube. Sounds like Tom is actually advocating for 1″ steer tubes, a la Rivendell, though his would probably be threadless.

  • earle.b

    Can we get a weekly dose of Tom like this? Someone over a Ritchey set up a weekly podcast with Tom.

  • Richard

    That ‘stache.

  • rocketman

    Great interview and pretty consistent with what he has said in the past. The steel fork with 1″ head tube thing really resonates with me. I’ve ended up preferring that sort of design for my all-road/adventure bikes. I’ve had two customs built that way, one fits 650B x 52mm and the other 700C x 45mm. Love the way they ride on the hardpack trails in So Cal.

    • Totally! We were just talking about how the Crust Romanceur looks great for our kinda trails. 1″ steerer, quil stem and those Towel Rack bars are intriguing!