Ritchey's new WCS Apex 46mm clincher wheels are due to arrive in the UK in January, according to Ritchey's importer Paligap and they're already approved by the UCI.
The new wheels are equipped with 46mm aero carbon rims laced to cold-forged Ritchey WCS hubs with Sapim CX Ray Aero stainless steel spokes. The rear hub drive-side spokes are laced using what they call "Trifecta" pattern - more commonly called "crows foot" in which a 2 cross lacing pattern (as used on the non-drive side) is reinforced with a radial spoke for each pair.
This additional reinforcement counteracts pedalling stress, providing a positive power transfer while maintaining a weight saving low spoke count, according to Ritchey. The spoke count goes 20 holes laced 1x in front with 24 holes 2x at the back.
The rear hub uses a forged six-pawl micro clutch freehub body for 'instant engagement' and it comes either for Shimano/SRAM 9/10 speeds or Campagnolo cassettes.
The new WCS - standing for World Championship Series - 46mm wheel should complement the existing Ritchey SuperLogic clincher model - plus three different depths in carbon for tubular tyres - with an identical-depth all-carbon rim but weighing in at 1,537 grams for the complete pair against 1,395 for the SuperLogics.
There is no finalised UK price yet but the Euroland figure for the new WCS is €1,349 which equates to roughly £1,163 whereas the existing SuperLogics cost £1,530. That's a decent saving for apparently little sacrifice in heft, although weight weenies will doubtless argue that 70 grams saved per big rotating rim - assuming the weight difference does turn out to be in the rims - is worth double or treble the saving in something static. We'll see.
Anyway, the new rim in common with its existing stablemate shares a subtly textured brake track - they call it 'scrim' after the embedded looser carbon fabric that actually creates the surface - in marriage with special blue brake blocks (supplied with each pair) that help with the old heat build-up issue on carbon rims. Ritchey claims "excellent brake performance in all situations."
Ritchey wheels and hubs have always come with superb quick-release skewers to the extend that even when you couldn't afford 'good' wheels, the after-market items were always a popular upgrade, lending an air of superiority to many a mid-range production bike. These new wheels get a new qr design which, knowing Tom Ritchey's legendary eye for detail, will surely not be a step backwards. You get "machined cams, redesigned forged levers and titanium rods in a very light, easy to use eye catching design," reads the claim and we can hardly wait to try.