Exclusive First Look: Ritchey Brings Back The Ultra!

by Wil Barrett 1

Some 30 years after the original, Ritchey is bringing back the Ultra! Though this one is a little different from the last one…

Although Ritchey is technically releasing this bike at Interbike in September, the iconic American mountain bike brand decided to bring along one of its new Ultra steel hardtails along to Eurobike as a bit of a sneaky teaser to the official launch. Quietly positioned in the Ritchey booth with its unassuming matte black paint job, the Ultra was pretty easy to miss. Thankfully our keen eyes were sharper than that though, and upon closer inspection, it was quite clear that this is an entirely new model.

ritchey ultra steel hardtail plus
Ritchey has a new fun hardtail called the Ultra.

Sitting in between the P-29 and the Timberwolf, the Ultra will fill the gap as a hardtail XC/trail bike designed for the good times. Details are relatively scant at this point, and we couldn’t squeeze much out of the Ritchey team at Eurobike, so we’ll have to speculate on the finer details.

What we do know is that the frame is made from Ritchey’s own triple butted, heat-treated steel Logic tubing. It’s got a lovely fluted head tube with integrated headset bearings, and the rear hub spacing out back is set to 148mm wide with a tidy 12mm bolt-up axle. The cables all run on the outside of the frame, with the exception of the stealth dropper post, and the bottom bracket is a regular threaded shell, which will likely please UK mountain bikers.

ritchey ultra steel hardtail plus
Ritchey uses an integrated headtube for its steel frames, with drop-in bearings.
ritchey ultra steel hardtail plus
Threaded bottom bracket shell and external cables. Basically aphrodisiacs for mechanics.

Up front is a 120mm travel fork, though no word on whether the frame is capable of taking anything longer. As for wheelsize, the Ultra isn’t picky – you can fit 29in wheels with up to a 2.4in wide tyre, or (like the show bike) you can run 27.5+ wheels and tyres. There’s room for 3.0in rubber, though the show bike had Ritchey’s own 2.8in wide Z-Max Evolution tyres, which were wrapped around WCS Trail 40 wheels.

We’re told that the geometry overall is geared towards having fun on the trail, versus putting yourself in the pain cave. It ain’t no XC racer like the P-29. However, it’s also not a super-slacked out rad machine like the Timberwolf. Instead, the Ultra is pitched at trail riders.

ritchey ultra steel hardtail plus rockshox sid
The Ultra fits a 120mm travel fork up front.
ritchey ultra steel hardtail plus
TIG-welded triple butted Logic steel tubing throughout.
ritchey ultra steel hardtail plus
We don’t have any info about geometry on the new Ultra, but that back end looks pretty compact, even with the 2.8in wide tyres.
ritchey ultra steel hardtail plus
Gorgeous 148x12mm dropouts with post-mount brake tabs.
ritchey ultra steel hardtail plus
There’s a small section of internal routing for the stealth dropper post.
ritchey ultra steel hardtail plus
You can fit up to 3.0in wide tyres.
ritchey ultra steel hardtail plus
This Ultra bike had SRAM’s new DUB bottom bracket and crank setup.
ritchey ultra steel hardtail plus
Tom Ritchey – a true legend of the sport.
ritchey ultra steel hardtail plus
The Ultra looks like a good, fun hardtail for those who just want to ride trails – plain and simple.

Comments (1)

  1. So much yes. 29er: yes. That headtube: yes. Those dropouts: yes. Those colors: yes. Dropper postable: yes.

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