Ritchey turns 50 with gorgeous Swiss Cross heritage model
Tom Ritchey needs little introduction. His influence on mountain biking (and off-road cycling), has been immense. From exploring the mountains of northern California on road bikes as a teenager to creating the first mountain bikes, Tom Ritchey’s eponymous brand has a legacy like no other.
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As an ode to Ritchey’s history and the current demand for anything related to gravel riding, there is now a 50th anniversary Swiss Cross. Finished in classic Ritchey red, with period decals, the 50th anniversary Swiss Cross is truly analogous to being a Swiss army knife off-road bike.
The product rationale for this 50th anniversary Swiss Cross is to combine a multitude of influences and design principles. It has the agility of a proper cross bike and the aesthetic of Ritchey’s classic steel tube designs.
Although the aesthetic is classic, this 50th anniversary Swiss Cross features all the contemporary standards you’d expect from a premium gravel and cross bike. The carbon-fibre front fork saves weight (it’s only 430g, we're told) and improves steering responsiveness, while a carefully selected chromoly tube set delivers excellent ride compliance. Frame weight is claimed to be only 1.95kg.
There’s merit to the elegant 27.2mm seat tube, which enhances ride compliance and rider comfort with precisely calculated flex when rolling along more textured roads and trails.
The slim steel tube aesthetic really comes into its own with Ritchey’s heritage 50th anniversary Swiss Cross colourway.
If you want to ride large tyres, the 50th anniversary Swiss Cross has clearance for anything up to 700x40c. No issues with disc brake compatibility either, thanks to flat mounts, and with a 68mm threaded bottom bracket, there’s much less of the annoying dust creaking that often afflicts press fit bottom brackets.
The Swiss Cross debuted in 1994, and this latest version remains true to Ritchey’s original vision for the model – as an off-road bike that would run with absolute precision to rider inputs, regardless of the terrain.