Initial Reactions: Ritchey Design WCS Cockpit + Fork

Word of warning: When acquiring a retired club team racing bicycle, expect that it is going to require a lot of work.

A lot.

Of course, if you look past how used up they likely are, you can still get a great deal. That is precisely why I jumped on the chance to buy a La Grange Velo Club 2010 Cannondale CAAD9, the last of the USA-made frames. Looking at the condition of most of the parts, and the dire condition of the carbon steerer tube (which had been cut about 2cm too short) prompted an immediate call to my friends at Ritchey Design to start this project off right.

Couple emails to sort the details and within a week, a wonderful little package arrived containing the following:

  • WCS EvoCurve Alloy handlebars – these are the newest offering from Ritchey in the bar market, blending the Evolution top section which offers a 4 degree sweep and the the Curve drops which offer a compact, decreasing radius bend.
  • WCS Carbon Matrix 4-Zxis stem – this is Ritchey’s answer to the carbon stem, using a carbon/alloy construction which offers the best the both materials have to offer.
  • SuperLogic Carbon One-bolt seatpost – the lightest carbon post in their line, offering their patent pending one-bolt clamp design that makes for one of the easiest saddle adjustments you’ve ever experienced.
  • WCS UD Carbon fork – an extremely lightweight (almost half that of the carbon fork it replaced), hi-mod full carbon fork, offered with a 45mm crown to match seamlessly with most integrated headset frames.

Check out my initial reaction on the goods, plus more pictures, after the jump…

First, let’s dispense with what is usually the first question everyone asks about parts; the weights…

Bars: claimed 250g, actual 278g. Stem: claimed 120g, actual 111g. Post: claimed 148g, actual 163g. Fork: claimed 299g, actual 323g.

So as you can see, the weights are slightly off, but in both directions. Maybe it’s my scale, maybe it’s theirs. Regardless, there’s a margin of error to be expected and what I see falls within what I would consider reasonable. These things are still silly light considering what is expected of their performance.


My overall goal with Ritchey was three-fold: replace the parts that were needed (check), make the bike a bit more comfortable to ride and make it sexy.

There’s no doubt that the Ritchey parts are, in my opinion, among the sexiest on the market, so check that goal off. Aiding in that is the fact that most of their carbon parts are available in both a weave and unidirectional (UD) look, which worked for me given the UD look of the wheels, cranks and shifters that were still usable on the bike.

As far as comfort goes, let’s be honest; aluminum races bikes can be rough, but at least for now, this one will need to be my go-to road bike for all kinds of riding. Of course, I wasn’t expecting this bike to ride like a full carbon bike, but a little help taking the edge off is always appreciated, which I why I opted for a high quality carbon fork, seatpost and stem. They’ll be helped out by carbon cranks and hybrid carbon/alloy wheels I already had, to hopefully round out for a nice semi-comfortable all day ride. Prior to starting this project, I had been riding a similarly spec’d SuperSix Hi-Mod loaner, so I have that to compare ride quality to in my long term check-in.

I’ve got everything all up and running for a couple weeks now, installation was a complete breeze, and so far I’m pleased with the performance of everything. However, I’m going to wait for the new bike glow to wear off before I get into more specifics, and plan to check back in with you all in a few months with a more extensive review.

Comments

aCork - 07/25/11 - 12:51pm

I am not one to normally correct people, but your ‘WSC’ should be written as ‘WCS’.
I have been enjoying Ritchey’s WCS products for years. They are well worth the money!

AnonymousChris - 07/25/11 - 1:15pm

Whoops! Thanks, I fixed it…

Joshua - 07/25/11 - 1:19pm

I can’t see any of the bikerumor articles for some reason. It just comes up as blank. Anyone else getting this? I’m using the newly updated firefox.

Kovas - 07/25/11 - 6:58pm

Am I reading this right?… – So nothing but positive reviews on all the parts that you received … for free.

Makes you wanna go hmmmmmmmmm.

CJ - 07/25/11 - 7:01pm

Let’s see the bike…

AnonymousChris - 07/25/11 - 7:45pm

Kovas, I completely understand your skepticism. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I pay for a lot of the items I review, and that I have second guessed myself on whether or not I’m giving an unbiased opinion when the items are given to me, however I’m confident that I’ve accurately represented my honest thoughts on the products I’ve posted reviews for.

As far as this post, it’s titled as an initial reaction which was a positive one, and to have said otherwise would have been just as dishonest as you’re implying this post is. I acknowledge that there’s going to be some excitement surrounding a new bike and new parts, so when I’ve got that out of my system and have plenty of miles on them, I’ll be checking back in with a long term review.

To CJ, here it is.

Atgani - 07/26/11 - 5:08am

I’m right there with “Kovas”…

Please don’t let a useful and informative website descend into the product placement fluffing that is B*ker*d*r (Bikeradar for those who can’t guess)

That website is only entertaining for the comments posted by real riders in responce to supposed “test rides”

Thanks

Hoodlum-z - 07/26/11 - 9:32am

How many rolls of tape did you use on the bars? I can understand you don’t want the bar tape coming off, but… talk about overdoing it!

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