Spotted: Prototype Ritte Road Bike
At first, this two tone blue creation looks like many of the other bikes bearing the Ritte name. On further inspection, the lack of a seat mast and the squared tubing and short head tube point to something new out of the Ritte camp. As it turns out, this is the prototype for a new bike that Ritte has been working on with plans for a 2015 launch. Our guess is that this will be the new Vlaanderen, though time will tell. Details are slim, but on for some close ups, and a few words from Ritte…
After our Mavic 125th Anniversary Bike story was posted, the comments were pretty harsh especially towards Ritte. As always, we’re actively working to improve the comment section to be more constructive, but in the mean time the comments prompted Spencer Canon from Ritte to reply. You can find this in its entirety on the original post, but we felt it was worth posting here for all to see. Ritte’s carbon bikes may not be hand made in the US like Argonaut’s, but they are far from catalog bikes. The Ritte guys are as passionate and are as big of bike nerds as any, so we feel it’s worth hearing Spencer out, and getting to know them a little better:
Hi everybody, I’m Spencer. Designer for Ritte Bicycles. There is some misinformation floating around that has given many of you a negative impression of which I don’t think we entirely deserving. Frankly, it’s our fault for not really doing any PR or outreach to the the media to show what goes on at Ritte. It is hard to read hurtful comments and so I often ignore them instead of addressing them head on. So if your only experience of our company is some four year old forum comments and our goofy marketing, then I really can’t blame you for thinking we’re a bunch of a**holes trying to pull one over on people with flashy paint jobs. Now we may or may not be a bunch of a**holes, but we’re anything but cynical and our latest frames (like the Vlaanderen we used for the Mavic 125) certainly don’t deserve to be trashed. I actually really understand the spirit of your comments, which is why I think if you got the chance to know more about us, it would change your opinion.
Back in 2008 we started with a beautiful frameset that we didn’t design. It was the example frame used to attract new business to a new, very good factory. It wasn’t something that could be bought on a website or something… one needed a connection to the factory. And there were a few other companies that got them, though we spent extra on a higher-quality carbon layup. It really wasn’t our intention at that point to be in the spotlight. We were building our brand and trying to get all our ducks in a row and had followed the same path that many, many other very reputable bike companies take. We however stuck to a policy of transparency and were very open about the source of our frames and even directed people to the direct-sale brand were you could get a similar frame for cheaper. To this day we have been severely punished for that honesty, but given a chance to go back, we still wouldn’t lie about it. In fact, often our critic’s very own bikes are more guilty of the transgressions that are pinned on us.
Fast forward almost six years and we are very far away from that original frame. We use the same factory, which is now also responsible for several very expensive bikes from other brands and we have an in-house designed frame that is of the same quality of frames sold for much more. We have also spent years building custom frames from stainless and standard steel, and we built up a small business painting our own frames, and the frames of many other custom builders. I know it sounds like bullshit, but we really are committed to making frames that ride wonderfully and charging only what we have to for them. In most cases, our competitors (who have a dealer-sales model as well) pay less for the production of their frames and charge more. But I think the greatest character witness we have is that we’re well-respected by the rest of the Industry (evidence of this is in the Mavic inclusion)… because you can’t bullshit the Industry. The guys and girls who are actually in the trenches, designing, manufacturing, marketing and selling bike stuff know who does what how, and most of them would not agree with your comments.
If any of you are ever in the LA area, our door is open to you. Please come by and give us a chance to change your mind. If you have any questions, accusations or whatever, you can ask me anything and I will answer openly (except in the few cases where I’m bound by some other company’s confidentiality agreement.) My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about bikes. Oh look, new and shiny!
If this is the next generation of the Vlaanderen, the absence of the seat mast will be a big change. The seat stay junction looks pretty similar to the current Vlaanderen, so our money’s on that.
Aggressively squared tubing continues with internal cable routing, as well as the option for Di2. Obviously this is a prototype, so anything could change, but it looks as if the frame utilizes a PF30 botton bracket. The head tube is on the shorter side with a tapered steerer – possibly with a 1 1/4″ lower bearing like the current Vlaanderen.
The rear shift cable looks like it will be moved back and up on the chainstay for a cleaner exit, especially when running wires. That’s it for now, we’ll report back with more as soon as Ritte offers anything official on the new bike!