Hardtails. Antiquated examples of mountain bike technology to some but to others, they’re liberated and simplified machines. Each year, I plan on riding a full suspension in Downieville, yet I always end up bringing my hardtail for one reason or another so this year, I took a look at just some of the bikes that were rolling around this Gold Rush town.
As a throwback to the original Ultra 30 years ago, Ritchey has re-released this 120mm suspension hardtail, with a modern geometry, clearances for either a 27.5”x2.8” or 29”x2.4” tires, and a sleek Sierra grey color. Head to Ritchey for the full geometry specs and your local dealer to check one out.
The Ritchey Logic Road seems to be the obvious choice for those looking for a modern steel bike that utilizes rim brakes. Over the years, we’ve seen a number of these bikes, built up for various functions from all-day road rides to race bikes but there’s something about Victor‘s build that really grabbed my attention at the onset. The reason is obvious; Victor used Ritchey’s Heritage Paint option to get any of their frames painted a number of schemes, including “Commando” camo. Unfortunately, Ritchey discontinued this service, but before that happened, Victor got his Logic road frame painted by Rick Stefani of D&D cycles in this iconic finish.
Bike Jerks HQ: The Tale of the Ritchey Prototype Bi-Plane Fork Crown
Words and photos by Jeff Frane
Behold, perhaps the coolest thing that has crossed my path since I inadvertently started collecting vintage bicycle stuff. One of the rarest for certain. What you’re feasting your hungry eyes upon is one of the few examples of the legendary bi-plane fork crown that Tom Ritchey produced during the heady and formative year of 1983. Now, I have no actual idea how many exist, I should probably ask Tom, but I’ll leave the actual journalism to the professionals. Or the commenters.
It never saw production, as Tom instead decided to focus on the uni-crown, but was later famously copied by Grant Peterson for his legendary MB-1. How was this acquired? Well, my good friend Jeff Schmidt purchased it directly from Tom to potentially use to build a fork for a giant size Ritchey he had previously acquired. See below for their correspondence.
Check out full specs and pricing at Ritchey.
Ritchey’s breakaway steel all-road bike, the Outback is now in stock, but only after rigorous field tests like Grinduro!
Inspired by the Break-Away Carbon Road and Mount Cross, the new Outback Break-Away gives riders the stopping power of disc brakes, with clearances for larger tires and a road bike geometry, ideal for taking on long days on mixed terrain. These framesets are the epitome of Ritchey’s design ethos, in a modern, lightweight and practical package. I’ve seen one in person and the construction alone merits the pricepoint, which comes in around $3,150. You can see more details at Ritchey.
There’s nothing like a California sunset, especially over the San Gabriel Mountains here in Los Angeles. Those faded evenings usually come after an all-time MTB ride and for Nathan, he was craving some trail time. Sure, he’d ridden a lot of the singletrack in our great city on a bike before: his Rock Lobster all-road, but he wanted to finally rip them up – and himself – on a proper MTB. He went to the team at GSC and began talking to them about a Ritchey Timberwolf build. One unlike any the shop had put together before. GSC contacted Ritchey and requested one of their special Heritage paint jobs, then Mike, a mechanic at GSC talked to Nathan about a build kit. A Fox 36 fork would take the hits, while a Shimano drivetrain would offer smooth, worry-free shifting and braking. Wheels, featuring White Industries and durable rubber from Onza paved the way for one slick build. Being Nathan’s first mountain bike, it’s had a number of crashes already, but with each ride, he gets more and more accustomed to speed and cornering on loose and sandy trails.
The Timberwolf is a very popular hardtail option, I reviewed one and loved it. I know a number of you have these bikes, so share them in the comments.
If you want a custom build like this and live in Los Angeles, hit up Golden Saddle Cyclery.
Dustin from Cadence took his Ritchey P-29 MTB up to Mt. Hood, Portland’s Holy Mountain.
For $2,199.00, the new Ritchey Comp Road Logic complete bike features Shimano 105, Ritchey components and Ritchey Comp Beta wheels. These new bikes will fit 30mm tires and feature a new Ritchey carbon fork. Basically, for under $2,200, you’re getting a lot of Ritchey and that ain’t a bad thing. See more at… you guessed it, Ritchey.
Before we jump into the coverage from my visit to Somerset, England’s the Bicycle Academy, I thought I’d share a very special bike. You might recognize this hardtail from the video I shared a few months back. It made its debut in the Tom Ritchey Old Skool New School video. It was built by Tom, while he was at the Bicycle Academy and has been ridden by various guests of the school. This fillet brazed hardtail features some unique cable routing, clean fillet brazing, a clear coat over the raw frame, 27.5+ wheels and tires by Ritchey, Shimano XT components, RockShox Reverb, Pike and Ritchey Bullmoose bars.
If you’re thinking the frame looks a bit small, Tom purposely made it a size medium, hoping to allow a number of people the ability to ride it. The Old Skool New School program is a great idea and this particular project made for a great first round. Look forward to more coverage from the Bicycle Academy this week and even more Old Skool New School news in the coming months.
… and if you haven’t watched the Ritchey video, you really should!
The Ritchey Logic is one of the cleanest-looking steel road framesets on the market, ATMO. With classic lines, and standard tubing profiles, it has all the looks of a vintage road bike with the performance of modern steel, all with a carbon fork. I’ve seen many fine examples of these affordable frames built up over the years, but David‘s is one of my favorites. Built with Ultegra and Ritchey Super Logic Zeta wheels, David’s kept it lightweight and nimble, perfect for the crushing road climbs this cycling sadist enjoys on the regular.
“The top is just around this bend…”
I’ve heard it many times. David’s enthusiasm for road exploration brought all of us on the Clouds to Cactus ride last year and at the recent Team Dream shoot in the Eastern Sierra, his love for stupid hard routes had him already pining for more exploration. Without a doubt, this bike will bring David places and most importantly, back home in one piece.
Dustin Klein from Cadence talks about the Cannabis Caps and makes a video bike check of his Ritchey P-29 in his latest video.
When I first saw this frameset, I was in love. Why? Well, when a company like Ritchey makes a hardtail mountain bike that only a few months prior was something you had to order from a framebuilder, you know they’re paying attention. Before the Timberwolf, Ritchey’s mountain bike offerings were built with cross-country geometries. Personally, I like slack front ends and longer travel forks. They still climb great but the difference in descending is noticeable, especially after getting bucked for hours on end while riding our Southern California trails. Yeah, the Timberwolf is a new breed of mountain bikes, from a company founded by one of the forefathers of the sport. The best part is, you can get rowdy on this bike for hundreds less than a custom frame.
At $899, the Timberwolf comes as a frame with bright orange paint and classic Ritchey logos. Or you can buy it complete, as equipped here for $3,499 (minus the dropper post.) When people email me asking what mountain bike frame they should start out with, if buying used isn’t an option, I point them to the Timberwolf. Why? Let me break it down…
This has been an option for a while now, but Ritchey finally made it official at NAHBS this year. Their Heritage Paint deal is simple: for any of their steel framesets, Rick Stefani of D&D cycles will paint it one of four classic paint schemes. This includes the Team RWB, Sunset Fade, Urban and Commando Camo. See all the details at Ritchey!
Cool as in color. As in how pristine this bike is. As in how rad is it that this Ritchey 1990 P-23 is still being ridden in Southern California? Cool as in look at all the Ritchey Logic parts, or those uber rare PAUL skewers. Cool as in those skewers were the first component PAUL made. Cool as in, yeah this bike is cool.
Carmella has a cool bike with an even cooler backstory, which I won’t even go into here because it’ll turn into a cool mess. Or hot mess. Ok, whatever. Here ya go.
So, apparently this bike was a custom order from a Santa Barbara native who raced the national circuit, which is where he met John Parker, the founder of Yeti. As the old owner tells the tale, Parker had already formed Yeti in 1985, but the whole teal color wasn’t a “Yeti thing” quite yet. After Parker saw this bike, however, he complimented the color and began using it on his own frames.
Now, a quick bit of fact-checking might shoot holes in this local lore. For instance, the P-series MTBs didn’t come out officially until 1990 and Yeti was formed in 1985. I’m pretty certain that Yeti used their iconic teal color prior to 1990. Which, as Mombat shows, was featured in a 1989 ad. However, as numerous sources recall, Ritchey apparently worked on the P-23 in 1988 and even seeded out a few frames to select racers… BUT the racing frames were fillet brazed and made by Tom, not tig welded. Unless a small batch of production frames went out to select racers beforehand. Which, if that’s the case, or even if there’s some slight wiggle room in the dates, it might actually be a legit story, not just local lore.
At any rate. This is a cool bike with a cool bit of lore attached to it and some sick skewers. It’s easy on the eyes and during its heyday the P-23 was one of the lightest chromoly frames on the market. Weighing in at only 23 pounds! Hence the name.
For those looking for a new XC or trail pedal, you might want to check out the new Ritchey designs. Both feature a 4º float, use a bushing, needle and cartridge assembly for a fully serviceable pedal.