Eurobike 2014: Ritchey wheels and forks
In addition to an updated Swisscross frameset (which we’ll bring you later this week) Ritchey showcased its latest cross ready wheels and their new carbon cross fork.
The WCS Zeta 2 Disc wheels have a confirmed $800 / pair price tag and are likely to hit the UK shelves at closer to £600 if the guys on the stand got their sums right (we’ll update with confirmed pricing when we get it). For your money you’ll be getting a (claimed) 1560gram wheelset that uses a great looking rim. Not overly deep, the disc specific rim has internal width of 20mm, so wider tyres should sit very well, and with no breaks in the rim bed, running these tubeless should be quite simple. The off centre – OCR – rim design also claims to even the spoke tension between drive and non on the rear, and across the front wheel (the disc flange is further inboard relative to the non disc, and the off centre spoke bed evens out the spoke angle)
J-Bend, DT Swiss spokes link these off centre rim holes to Ritchey own hub design. The Phantom hub flange is forged in such a way that the stepped design of each ‘point’ of the star allow for the pulling and pushing spokes to sit at the same distance from the flange centre. This makes the inboard spokes sit further out from the hub centre than normal, increasing the length of the bottom of the hub/spoke/wheel centreline triangle. A wider triangle base should allow for a wheel better able to resist side loads (with all other parts being equal). Currently the hubs are available with QRs only, but Ritchey told us that adapters may/should be available as aftermarket parts to run with bolt through systems in the future.
The standard 1-1/8th steerer on Ritchey’s new WCS Carbon Cross forks may look a little outdated to a taper steerer obsessed market place, but sticking to this standard was a design choice
The folks at Ritchey like to finish a ride with some feeling left in their palms, no matter how outrageous the ride got. As well as sitting nicely with the thin steel tubes on its Swisscross frame, the fork is designed to offer enough stiffness to keep the bike, and brakes of your choice, on track, without transferring too much trail info. During their testing, they couldn’t quite get the balance they wanted in a tapered steerer fork. The larger diameter fork always ended up being too stiff. This balanced stiffness is also evident in their overall scale – the lack of bulk can clearly be seen when viewing the slender legs from directly in front.
The good news is, it offers anybody with a ‘standard’ steerer frame the opportunity to upgrade to a front disc brake, or just a nicer fork with canti’s – both brake mount types will be available. Again, we’re waiting for confirmed UK pricing – but US readers will be able to pick up either version for $450 and add around 440g to their bike.