What do you get when you mix one of the most powerful sprinters in the pro peloton with one of cyclings greatest innovators? The Ritchey SuperLogic C260 Carbon stem. When Ritchey was OmegaPharma-Lottos component supplier the big German, Andre Greipel, was developing into an A-list bunch sprinter. In pursuit of stiffness big road sprinters often use track stems that look more like construction grade I-beams than lightweight road components. Ritchey wanted to give sprinters like Greipel track rigidity in a lightweight road package.
The answer was the C260 concept in carbon, something they had been working on in aluminum already. The C260 magic is created by a design that allows the structure of the stem itself to support handle bar loads and does not simply rely on the crushing force of a standard faceplate. Instead of 180degrees of stem and 180degress of faceplate combining to wrap the bars circumference, the stem itself covers 260degrees asking only 100degrees of contact from the faceplate. The C260 concept allows Ritchey to use smaller bolts, 4mm, and a lighter build while dramatically decreasing bolt stress and increasing stiffness. With an innovative clamping design creating stiffness at the front of the stem, high modulus carbon and a massive boom diameter ensure twisting forces are easily handled. Three 4mm bolts with a curved clamp slot mate the stem securely and reduce stress on your steer tube. The result is the first full carbon stem Ritchey has ever made is also the stiffest, yet weighs only 125 grams for a 110mm length.
Fitting bars in the stem will be foreign to any rider not old enough to remember the beautiful Cinelli quill stems of a bygone age. With a 260degree clamp its necessary to thread your bars into the clamp starting at the narrower tops, then sliding the bars into the 31.8mm mounting point. Another quirk of the stem is backward mounting bolts. Instead of threading into the stem, the threads are in the faceplate. Typically this is a feature about as welcome as the bird flu. Your head tube and stem get in the way of easy access to the bolts resulting in stripped allen heads and bashed knuckles. The C260s face-place bolts angle up and down respectively, creating plenty of clearance to easily and securely tighten the bolts, sans bashed knuckles.
We mated the stem to Ritcheys SuperLogic Carbon EVOCurve. The matching graphics are nice, the lightweight carbon construction is great, the stiffness compliments the C260 Carbon perfectly, but the ergonomics are the real scene-stealer here. The dual curve, compact drop – not quite traditional, not quite flat – is sublime, but its the tops we love. Ovalized, with a 4degree back sweep, they open you up while climbing, helping you relax your back while setting a comfortable tempo. And the stiffness? While we dont have Greipel like numbers on tap the SuperLogic C260 Carbon delivers such a lively, responsive feel under effort it makes your entire bike feel lighter and stiffer. You may think your current cockpit is as stiff as you would ever need. One ride on the SuperLogic C260 Carbon will prove its not.
Rictchey SuperLogic C260 Carbon Stem: $300 90-130mm lengths. 125grams (110mm)
Ritchey SuperLogic Carbon EvoCurve: $320 38-44cm widths. 195grams (42cm)