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.
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.
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.