Ritchey continues to build on its extensive range of wheels for the 2011 model year, and not just at the ultra-high end so consumers with more realistic budgets can get themselves into some new kit, too.
Time trialists and triathletes may take interest in the new Apex Carbon 88 road tubular wheels, built with a wind-cheating 88mm-deep profile and Ritchey-branded forged and machined aluminum hubs. Rather than use bargain-basement bearings, Ritchey upgrades to German SKF units along with a six-pawl ratchet system and an alloy freehub body.
Despite the modern look, the rear wheel's so-called 'Trifecta' spoking pattern is decidedly old school and dates back at least fifty years. Otherwise known as crow's foot lacing, radial and crossed spokes are used in combination on the driveside to lend greater lateral stiffness than crossed spokes alone would typically provide.
Standard two-cross lacing is used on the non-driveside rear and one-cross is used up front. Sapim stainless steel spokes are featured all around, and the externally located nipples should make for easier maintenance – especially with the glued-on tires.
Claimed weight for the pair is 1,684g and suggested retail price is US$1,850 including a set of titanium skewers. The Apex Carbon wheels will also be available in 50mm and 38mm depths for US$1,500.
Last year's semi-anatomic Curve road bar bend will get a more evolved stablemate called Evo Curve. The new version adds a four-degree rearward sweep up top matched to a slightly longer 83mm reach (though when combined with the sweep, it'll feel the same as the 73mm-reach standard Curve), plus a tight forward bend to maximize grip space on long climbs. Drop is set at 131mm.
Ritchey will offer four versions of Evo Curve road bars for 2011: the Pro for US$89.95; the WCS in bead-blasted black for US$109.95; the WCS in Wet Black for US$119.95; and the WCS in either Wet White or Wet Red for US$129.99.
Riders preferring a more traditional look can instead opt for the new 'Classic' road range of components, all of which are finished in a semi-polished clear anodized silver hue. The Classic collection will include Ritchey's 4-Axis stem, the Curve road bar, 10d Flat mountain bike bar, and a two-bolt seatpost. Pricing will be the same as on Ritchey's standard black finish bits.
Remember the Ritchey Z-Max tire? We certainly do, and for 2011 Ritchey will debut a new version called Z-Max Grip. Sporting a similar 'Vector Force Analysis' tread pattern as on earlier iterations, the latest model subs in a softer durometer rubber compound and taller, more aggressive knobs to better dig into loose ground.
The matching complement to the new Z-Max Grip is the faster rolling WCS Shield with its tighter and lower-profile central knobs paired with taller shoulder knobs to retain cornering traction.
Both tires will be available with easily convertible tubeless-ready beads for US$59.99. Claimed weight for the WCS Shield is 540g (26x2.1") while the WCS Z-Max Grip's more generous allotment of rubber will creep the weight up to 650g (26x2.0").