Tom Ritchey has been building his steel Swiss Cross to race cyclocross for 25 years now, first raced by multi-time Swiss CX & World MTB champ Thomas Frischknecht in 1994. So to celebrate, the popular bike is getting a modern reboot, accompanied by a Limited Edition. Tom teased the new bike at NAHBS in a brazing demo, but now the disc brake only bike gets a proper reveal.
Ritchey Swiss Cross limited edition steel cyclocross bike
The tough news to swallow about the new Swiss Cross in limited edition, numbered red-to-white fade paint is that only 100 have been made. Of those numbered bikes, about 1/3 are coming to the US market, 1/2 to Europe, and the remaining spread globally. And out of all of them, Ritchey says that dealers & distributors have clamored to snatch up every one of them.
That’s to say that if you need to get the bike in the retro inspired paintjob, you need to talk to the nearest Ritchey dealer right away, and see what you can do to sway them into getting you the size you need.
The good news is, the modernized steel Swiss Cross is also coming at the same time in a standard black frameset and a complete bike build that will be much easier to get your hands on.
So, what’s new with the Swiss Cross?
The first thing to note is a lack of brake type in the name. The new bike is disc-only, signaling also some modernized updating to 12mm thru-axles and flat mount disc brake tabs (140 or 160mm rotor ready). The canti bike will still stick around as a key link to the original bike’s racing heritage.
The other big change is extra tire clearance, with the new bike designed to fit up to real 40mm tires. It is still meant to be a cross race bike, so that extra room is billed as mud clearance. But Ritchey has come to understand that most people who buy a Swiss Cross want to throw fatter tires on it to ride & train year round on a mix of trail surfaces.
Updated Swiss Cross Geometry
The new bike does get some geometry modernization too for a slightly more aggressive fit. It adds around 1cm extra frame reach and gets 1.5cm lower stack, but essentially keeps the same 72° head angle (+/- a degree depending on size) and 74° seattube. It does get longer 437mm chainstays to fit those bigger tires, and a few little tweaks, like a bit more BB drop to 65mm, and an extra 2mm of fork rake.
The new Swiss Cross is available in the same general six stock sizes (now called XS-XXL). Smaller sizes get slightly more sloping toptubes to add up to 2cm more standover for smaller riders, while the larger frames are less sloping where standover is less of a concern.
So, what stays the same in the new Swiss Cross?
The new bike keeps the same triple-butted steel Ritchey Logic tubing that defines its classic ride, and it is still constructed with a mix of brazing & TIG welding, including the bi-lam seat cluster lug with an integrated seat clamp in the top of the seatstays. It also comes with the full carbon Ritchey WCS Carbon Disc Cross fork.
The bike also sticks with a standard 1.125″ straight steerer tube and Ritchey’s unique thin forged, then machined headtube that integrates headset cups, making it much lighter than a regular 1 1/8″ headtube, yet equally as strong. The bike also keeps a standard 68mm threaded BB, 27.2mm seatpost, fully external cable routing compatible with 1x or 2x drivetrains (with a band clamp front derailleur), and two sets of bottle cage bosses inside the main triangle.
Availability & pricing
The new Swiss Cross in its limited edition 25th anniversary paint job will be harder to get due to the small numbers of framesets with the red & white paint, but pricing won’t be much higher. Available only as a frameset through select dealers, it will sell for $1500/1550€ with the extra price simply accounting for the cost of the extra finishing steps, plus it comes with a matching Swiss Cross-branded mini Swiss cowbell to mount on the handlebar.
The standard black Swiss Cross will be available as a 2548g frameset (size L w/ fork, headset & axles) for $1400/1450€, up just one hundred bucks since we reviewed the previous version. Complete bike builds don’t look to be coming right away, but Ritchey would be happy to set you up with matching WCS rolling stock & cockpit in alloy or carbon.
The black bikes are available from Ritchey direct through their revamped e-commerce site, or via your local Ritchey bike shop.