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CLANG! That's a big name getting dropped right there.....

Ritchey have been promising us a steel gravel bike for some time now, and at this year's Eurobike show we finally got to see it: the Ritchey Outback.

Not only did we get to see it, we got to ride it: Ritchey had organised a 35km mixed surface loop direct from the show, to give the bikes a go. And not only did we get to ride it, but we got to ride it in the company of none other than Tom Ritchey himself. CLANG!

> Review: Ritchey Swiss Cross Disc

Tom is a mountain bike legend, and has been part of the scene from the very beginning; he was one of the very first inductees into the MTB hall of fame when it started way back in 1988.  Since then he's been a big player in the bike industry, with the Ritchey bike and component brands continuing to innovate, with Tom himself very much involved in the process. The Outback shares a lot of its DNA with the Swiss Cross Disc cyclocross bike, but geometry has been tweaked and clearances increased, for a less race-oriented position and the ability to fit wider gravel tyres. We had plenty of fun on it, as you can see.

We said that we'd try to get a bike in for a proper test here in the UK, and you'll be happy to know that one has just rolled through the doors of the road.cc office. And it's not just any Ritchey Outback: it's the one that our new best friend Tom is riding in the video. Once again: CLANG!

> Eurobike 2017: nine of the best adventure bikes

The spec is the same as the bike that we rode at Eurobike, save for the tyres which have been swapped out for some wider and slightly more off-road-oriented  Ritchey WCS Speedmax rubber. The bike will be available in the UK as a frame and fork only, so you can build it up with whatever you fancy. Look out for a full review on the bike soon.

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

6 comments

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Freddy56 [280 posts] 2 months ago
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It is a work of art.

If i buy one it will have to be in his red, white and blue thou.

 

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Disfunctional_T... [242 posts] 2 months ago
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Please can you find out the weights of the steel and carbon fiber Outback framesets?

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fraew [3 posts] 2 months ago
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Some details would be nice? I can see it appears to be full Ultegra 6800 (I wonder why they didn't go with 8000? CX chain rings?) with Flat-Mount disc brakes, WTS Zeta wheelset, its running 700C x 40mm tyres in the photos, but can it do wider? What about 27.5" wheelsets?

 

Looks mostly great in this spec - especially since it's running a threaded BB, and I like the look of those wheels (1440gm and tubeless).

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Disfunctional_T... [242 posts] 2 months ago
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fraew wrote:

Some details would be nice? I can see it appears to be full Ultegra 6800 (I wonder why they didn't go with 8000? CX chain rings?)

Ummmm, because it's a frameset?

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Langsam [60 posts] 2 months ago
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Nice frame.

 

What advantages does it offer over something like, say, a PX Kaffenback for £150?

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Blakeco [1 post] 1 month ago
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Langsam wrote:

Nice frame.

 

What advantages does it offer over something like, say, a PX Kaffenback for £150?

 

Several. The biggest thing is that this frame is made according to Tom Ritchey's specs. What does that mean? It rides SMOOTH. The steel is allowed to flex vertically while riding it, and is strong and stiff where it needs to be so it will still accelerate quickly. It's totally a feel thing that you just need to ride to understand. I have a Ritchey Swiss Cross and it rides worlds ahead of another £150 steel cross frame I have. While steel is real, not all frames are made equal. Tube size, butting, welding, design, geometry, etc. all matter in the overall ride and feel of a bike.  Not much thought is put into a £150 frame, and it tends to be overbuilt, heavy, and has a dead feel. Tom Ritchey has a strong reputation in making all his frames lively, lightweight, and gorgeous. 

The Ritchey Outback is also about a half pound lighter than the frame you linked, and has a carbon fork, which cuts at least another pound. The welds are nicer. The paint is nicer. It has better tire clearance and thru-axles. Basically, you could compare the PX frame to a mass produced economy car. It works, it does what its supposed to, but the Ritchey is a high end sports car. It's made to perform. Is it worth all the extra money? That's really up to you.