While at the recent Scott launch (more on that in a bit), long time Scott team supporter, Tom Ritchey was there. Mainly to pull everyone’s legs off on the climbs, but also to show off his new stem.
According to Tom, he’s been asked for years when he’s going to make a full carbon stem, but in his experience, no one’s made a carbon stem that’s lighter than a good aluminium stem. So, despite the pressure from OEMs, he’s resisted making one, preferring to concentrate on improving his aluminium offerings. Thanks to recent advances in aluminium technology, he’s been able to improve on his older designs without resorting to the black stuff. Tom reckons that the old fashioned “single bolt, stupid stem” is still the most efficient way of making a stem, but people want face-off stems for swapping stuff round.
Enter the Ritchey C260. Mr Ritchey has used the new norm of oversize bars to his advantage. He’s extended the stem coverage of the bar and reduced the face-off part of the stem. The bar can still be removed by sliding it out of the bulged zone. Using this over-centre design lowers the bolt forces and allows Ritchey to run smaller, 4mm bolts.
The Pro teams are currently using it in the Tour. The alloy stem is 3-4 times better than Ritchey’s previous stem in testing – and it’s 30% stiffer than Ritchey’s popular (and winning) 4Axis stem.
Colours will be wet black, wet white, wet red and bead blasted (BB) black. The rear also uses (three) 4mm bolts in an offset pattern. Weight should be a svelte 100g.
There’s also a Matrix (carbon wrap) version which is an additional 14% stiffer and still light at 116 grams.
Expect to see these stems before the end of the season, courtesy of UK importers Paligap.