Ritchey’s New C260 Stem

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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.

Tom was riding his Scott Spark - complete with 1995 Ritchey square-taper cranks.

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.

Tom Ritchey, better at stems than charades

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.

Over-centre, but still face-off removal of bars.
Pretty neat

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.

Three small bolts at the back.


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.

Already at the front of the grid/peloton near you now.

Expect to see these stems before the end of the season, courtesy of UK importers Paligap.

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Chipps Chippendale

Singletrackworld's Editor At Large

With 22 years as Editor of Singletrack World Magazine, Chipps is the longest-running cycling magazine editor in the world. He started in the bike trade in 1990 and became a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the last 30 years as a bike writer and photographer, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish, strengthen and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

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Comments (28)

    “OMG”, i thought, a whole article about a stem?? Then i read it and it was actually quite interesting (considering it was a whole article about a stem).

    I’ve been using the Syntace F99 (99g) stem for years without any problems…

    Syntace F99 is a noodly piece of crap. I weight 60kg, found it to be horrible and stopped riding it, back to 135g stems.

    I imagine this Ritchey offer will be up to the stiffness standard of their other offerings.

    Tom Ritchey is awesome.

    I’m pretty sure there’s designers for all mountain bike equipment who just sit back and have a cup of tea when they’ve made something. Then when the boss comes in and asks if they’ve tested it they give the “Yeah, it’s 30% lighter, 30% stiffer” stock answer.

    Seriously, the stuff we rode back in the 90’s must have been 60030% heavier and flexier. Is EVERY new product 30% better?

    Just look at that first picture the man is clearly an iconic genius
    Does that syncros stem not also use a similar faceplate design, all be it aimed more the downhill crowd than weight weenie TDF riders?
    Seem to recall reviews on the syncros stem saying how it was difficult to remove the bars as you had to slide them out to past the oversize part, like I said he is a genius, turns it round to be a USP!

    And nice to see his new stem is so good he uses it himself on his Scott spark 😉

    Everyone say “oooooooooooo”. A stem with the bolts in a (slightly) different place.


    awesome tache 🙂 am glad that the bike shop that i go to will soon be able to get ritchey.am going to be getting some of their components for my bike (when funds allow 😉

    And yet no-one has commented on the fact that he’s riding a far longer than 70mm stem…and bar ends on a full suss??

    Standards are slipping gents… 🙂

    iain, you are absolutely right: Ritchey is a true mountain bike style icon. Awesome.

    The alloy stem is 3-4 times better than Ritchey’s previous stem in testing

    How does one test ‘betterness’?

    I had no idea my existing stem was so woefully inadequate.
    Getting to the lower face plate bolts will be a bit of a faff with cables/head tube in the way of the allen key.

    Apparently he’s also trialling the off-face upper lip, allowing easy removal of oversized handlebar moustache. 30% stiffer than standard upper lips…

    Raceface have been doing the bar supported by stem not bolts extended stem clamp for years. This just has the bolts in a slightly different place. Does anyone actually buy his stuff I thought it was only OE stuff that we replace with thomson…

    Lawn looks like it could do with a bit of watering

    I was about to say what 13thFloorMonk said…

    How about, it just is… Alright?

    If you get the carbon wrap version better make it 43% stiffer than the origional. Surely this is a lie?

    Mullet and ‘tache – La dolce vita!

    The guy is a legend…as are his marketing monkeys.

    He should concentrate more on his bottom bracket choice than making up better than before percentages. tut tut.

    Boycott Richie, there’s marketing & then there’s lying…

    I too still have those cranks. Got to be good.

    I like people thinking out of the box but 4mm bolts…erm I’d rather have the tiny weight penalty of M5s personally. Not only will the bolt be stronger but also stiffer (less likely to creak) and the threads in the aluminium part bigger.

    I quite fancy a Renthal stem – ugly but just looks so much more ‘failsafe’.

    he’s like steve jobs in cut off shorts and looking closely he’s got about 30% stiffness

    I’m guessing this article was written in a sarcastic, (rightly) irreverent way? Cycling seems to be full of second rate engineers..

    nice so finally someone make an aftermarket version of a specialized oem stem, but seriously do you need 3 clamps on the steerer?

    it’s still the best moustache in cycling though

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