Ritchey WCS Components
Dan Saunders casts his eye over Ritchey’s second tier line of cockpit componentry; the Ritchey WCS bar, stem, seatpost and Biomax saddle.
I was recently given the opportunity to give my cyclocross bike a bit of a make-over after a season full of crashing. When I gave Ritchey my requirements for components – tough, durable, dependable and not too heavy – they responded by introducing me to the Ritchey WCS aluminium line of components.
WCS stands for World Championship Series and every piece of kit flies the World Championship rainbow bands in homage to the ‘numerous world championships that have been won on Ritchey’. Whilst not their top of the line products, which is called SuperLogic, the WCS slots in above the Pro and Comp ranges. They are clearly well made and according to their website ‘the WCS line is the gold standard for lightweight, bombproof race parts and cutting edge innovation’.
Ritchey WCS C260 Stem
The stem is one of the more important parts in keeping you and your bike working as one and with this thought in mind, Ritchey has continued to improve on their stem design. The latest iteration, the WCS C260 stem differentiates itself from the pack with a front clamp area that wraps 260 degrees around the handlebar in order to distribute the clamping forces more evenly. The overall look isn’t too far off the beaten path – you just end up with a smaller faceplate.
There are 3 bolts with a curved slot on the steerer tube clamp to aid in the distribution of force on carbon steerer tubes. The graphics are nice and clean, just enough pop to stand out without being annoying and at a claimed 103 grams, it is certainly light.
Two interesting things to take note of. Firstly the bolts which fix the face plate screw in from the back of the stem. This may present a challenge when installing the underside bolts as it requires working at an awkward angle and there won’t be much room for a torque wrench to squeeze in between the stem and cables. Secondly much like a one bolt quill stem, the 260 degree wrap means that you will have to thread the bar into place to some degree. Thoughtfully Ritchey has created a quick how-to video to help with this.
The Ritchey WCS C260 stem is available in lengths from 70mm – 130mm and in BB Black, Wet Black, Wet White and Wet Red. MSRP: $109.95/£80
Ritchey WCS Classic Handlebar
If a clean, classic shape is your cup of tea when it comes handlebars, the Ritchey WCS Classic handlebar will fit the bill. The WCS Classic is a curved bar, so a non-anatomical bend, with 135mm down to some confidence inspiring drops, perfect for those times you may be gunning for the finish line sprint or just hanging on for dear life bombing down a steep gradient. The curve of the bar is nicely done with a smooth radius in Ritchey’s TRX50 Alloy™, a proprietary 7050 aluminium. The bend shape is known as the R75 radius and according to Ritchey’s website ‘allows for better forearm clearance while in the drops’.
One thing I did notice immediately out of the box though was no cable grooves. While this isn’t a deal breaker in my mind, it is certainly something that I know many riders prefer.
The Ritchey WCS classic, which is available in 40, 42, and 44cm widths, weighs in at 240 grams in the 42mm size. I’m testing the 44cm size. The only colour available in this model is Ritchey’s BB Black finish. MSRP: $89.95/£52
WCS Alloy 1-Bolt Seatpost
The seatpost has a simple enough job – keep the rider’s seat attached to the bike – and yet there are a myriad of different seatpost configurations out there. The Ritchey WCS Alloy 1-Bolt is deceptively simple but packs some pretty nifty features. The most obvious one is in the name – 1 Bolt. Yes there are obviously many single bolt seatposts out there but they tend to be a simple bolt from underneath affair and are notched when it comes to adjustment.
The WCS Alloy 1-Bolt provides a solid connection to the bike through Ritchey’s clever bolt from the side, SideBinder clamp. The SideBinder clamp is built wide to disperse the clamping forces, but the clamp actually measures out to be 2mm shorter than my Thomson Elite seatpost. The seatpost continues on the WCS legacy by providing a simple, somewhat race inspired look.
Ritchey have added a nice little touch for anyone that has to put the post back in the frame regularly as there is a tapered leading portion that makes it super simple to drop into the seat tube.
The Ritchey WCS Alloy 1-Bolt is available with or without offset in 27.2mm and 31.6mm diameters in 300mm, 350mm or 400mm (31.6 only) lengths. I will be testing the BB Black 27.2mm with zero offset, but it is also available in Wet Black, Wet White, and Wet Red (standard offset only). Weight is 195 grams (27.2/350mm) MSRP: $89.95/£65.
Ritchey WCS Biomax Saddle
To finish things off, I will also be testing Ritchey’s Biomax saddle. The Biomax saddle has a cutaway, or ‘anatomical channel’, to help with circulatory issues while riding. The overall dimensions are fairly standard at 131mm x 272mm. The shell is made of nylon injected with 35% carbon for added stiffness and has a supple cover made from Micro Fiber. While Micro Fiber sounds like it might be the type of covering you would find on a couch, it feels more like synthetic leather to me than my couch…
While the sleek, low profile shape makes me think this will be a super stiff saddle, it actually has a bit of give to it. Whether or not this is just the right amount, too much, or too little remains to be seen, but the quality of construction seems top notch and it feels like it should hold up to a good number of seasons of abuse on the CX bike.
The Ritchey WCS Biomax is available in black or white and comes in at 225 grams with CrN/Ti rails. MSRP: $119.95/£76.50
The overall look of these items as a kit should be a perfect match for my Kona Jake the Snake. The white details on the BB Black finish on all of the metal parts and the saddle work perfectly together creating a kit that not only looks good on the bike, but really looks like a matched set, giving me that “refined racer” look, if you will. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it fits the Kona’s blue and black colour scheme as well. To say I’m looking forward to getting these on the bike and out into the dirt is an understatement at this point. Time to wrench!