Every year, Ritchey has some new iteration of his wheels. Sometimes there’s a new disc brake option, sometimes one’s a bit wider, and so forth. For 2016, there are four new models worthy of calling out, a couple of which will make for fantastic cyclocross or gravel race hoops, and two for more traditional (or even “classic”) road bikes.
Above, the new WCS Apex 38 Disc carbon wheels use their two-piece Centerlock disc hubs with all-new, disc specific 38mm deep carbon rims. They’re 18.4mm wide on the inside, and they’re tubeless ready, so they’ll pair up nicely with the also-new tubeless ready Shield WCS 700×35 tires…
The rims get their own special layup and resin for the disc brake version. They’re laced 2-cross with 24 spokes on both front and rear.
The Shield WCS tubeless ready tire weighs in at 398g, just 24g heavier than the non-tubeless version, and gets a 120tpi casing and dual compound rubber to be grippy in the corners and fast in the straights.
The hubs use Ritchey’s offset flanges to improve spoke bracing angle and keep them from rubbing against each other. The rear hub has larger bearings on the driveside for better durability. Wheelset weight is 1,747g (827g F/920g R). Compatible with standard quick release and thru axles.
A rim brake version is also available, weighing in at 1,560g (685g F/875g R), but uses the Phantom hubs (see below), which are QR only.
If your game is stepped up to tubulars (though we’d argue tubeless is on the level), the new WCS Apex Carbon 36 Disc Tubulars are your wheels. They use the same hubs as the 38mm deep clinchers above, but switch to a 36mm deep, 24mm wide full carbon tubular rim. That means they’re thru-axle ready, including both 12mm and 15mm options for front. Weight is 1,571g (739g F/832g R).
The SuperLogic Zeta II wheels may look like carbon at first glance, but they’re actually alloy with an electro-ceramic surface hardening treatment that both protects the rim and improves braking performance in wet conditions.
Called LogiCote, it’s micron thin but should last a long time, which has the bonus effect of helping your rims last longer because the brake pads won’t wear down the sidewalls as quickly.
It’s textured, but in a concentric pattern that shouldn’t make the squealing sounds that other textured braking surfaces can (Mavic, we’re looking at you…even though we love the performance of Exalith).
The rims are 17mm wide on the inside, and the rear has an asymmetric profile to improve dish.
These wheels claim to have Ritchey’s best stiffness to weight ratio, coming in at just 1,391g (593g F/798g R). They’re built with 20/24 DT Aero Comp spokes and alloy nipples laced to Ritchey’s Phantom Flange hubs. The hubs are impressive not just for their weights (70g F/207g R), but because they use J-bend spokes all around, have a 6-pawl, 12-point engagement and staggered driveside flange that keeps the spokes from rubbing together. On top of all that, they pop apart without tools, making them easier to pack if you’re using one of Ritchey’s growing line of Breakaway frames. How? because the freehub body can pop off with the cassette attached, letting the axle slide out and making it all very flat.
For those with a classic bike that wants to keep a classic look but gain modern day performance, the Zeta alloy wheels with Phantom hubs now come in silver.
Bridging the gap between classic and new is the WCS Carbon NeoClassic handlebar. It’s a modern carbon monocoque bar with matte UD finish, but its shape is the traditional round bend and long, flat lower hand position of old-school handlebars. Weight is 339g for a 42cm width. Reach is 73mm, drop is 128mm. The center section is extended so it’s compatible with clip-on aero bars and all manner of out-front computer/camera mounts.
For thoroughly modern, the new WCS Carbon Solostreem integrated bar/stem comes in at just 350g by molding the two parts together into an ergonomic, aerodynamic start to your cockpit. It’s available in three widths, with various stem lengths for each: 40cm (80/90/100mm), 42cm (90/100/110/120mm) and 44cm (90/100/110/120/130mm). All three have a 84º stem angle (read: -16º, or roughly flat), with 126mm drop and 75mm reach.
To go with your ‘cross or gravel bike, the new Evomax handlebar comes in two flavors – WCS with triple butted 7050 alloy at 270g and Comp in double butted 6061 at 292g. It’s designed with a 12º outward flare to the drops, giving you extra wrist clearance and leverage when it’s boogie time. A slightly flattened top section with 4º backsweep makes it comfortable the rest of the time.
Check our outdoor demo coverage for the full story on the new WCS XC pedals and their Trail counterpart, but here’s the nutshell: Better shoe support thanks to flattened platforms on either side of the pedal, and a fixed hook at the front makes engagement and disengagement quicker and more solid and reliable.
All of the changes were the result of feedback from sponsored riders like Nino Schurter and crew…though they ended up much beefier than some of the prototypes they were running last year. That means weight went up a bit, to 298g, from the 240g per pair of the originals we tested. The new Trail version weighs in at 347g per pair thanks to the outer cage that gives you more foot support.
For the non pros, there’s the new Comp pedal, which gets the same fixed front cleat hook and platforms, but in a bit heavier and much more colorful package. Weight is 331g with a cast alloy body and chromoly spindle.
The new WCS TrueGrip X lock-on grips bring things about as thin as you can get. Grip diameter is just 30mm, putting just a thin layer of Kraton dual density material between your palm and the bar. Weight is 93g, width is 103mm, and they’re available in black, red, yellow, green, blue and light blue. A Comp level version provides a slip-on version that does away with the lock rings but adds pink and white colors.
The star of the grip show is the new SuperLogic Ergo TrueGrip. The shape is fantastically comfortable, and it’s been available as a WCS edition before, but that one weighed in at a portly 36g without end plugs. Thanks to a new “ultra-light nano foam”, the SuperLogic version cuts that all the way down to 8.5g…for the pair!
Two new tools join the collection. In the middle are the Barkeeper Levers. They tuck into your handlebar ends when not needed, saving a bit of space in your saddle bag or pocket. They weigh in at 16g and retail for $15 each, sold individually.
Up front, the CPR12 mini tool combines all the basics into a light, compact package and doesn’t skimp – there’s even a chain breaker! Other tools include 2/3/4/5/6/8 hex keys, Torx T20, Phillips screwdriver, tire lever and a hidden bottle opener. Hopefully they’ll switch that to a T25 at some point, otherwise a great looking tool that’s just 92g.
Ritchey also had several new items at Eurobike’s outdoor demo, including the Ascent touring bike, a steel trail hardtail mountain bike and some aggressive looking tires to go with it, and more! Check them all out here.