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Ritchey Outback Frameset

Review: Ritchey Outback Frameset

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Right Out of the Box


So the Outback is sold only as a frameset. But we did not get a frameset, we got a complete bike. So it's basically built just like the one you see on the Ritchey web site. This build was about 90% done. All I had to do was attach the handlebars, put in the seat post, put in the front wheel, and add air. Our bike was built up with the new Shimano GRX group. With Ritchey’s house brand bar, stem, post, saddle and wheels. The handle bars on the bike were very interesting. The handle bars were the Ritchey VentureMax bars.

Road Test Ride


We took the Outback on the road and found that the bike is very very comfortable and stable. This is what we expected given the geometry. Then when you add in the big tires, the proprietary steel tubing, and the new Shimano GSX group and gearing that can let you climb anything short of vertical lets you get the Outback just about anywhere. So this bike is set for someone that is not in a hurry to get anywhere and wants to enjoy not only the ride but the scenery as well. Bottom line on the road test ride is very comfortable all day long adventures

Dirt Test Ride


We took our Ritchey Outback out to our favorite testing grounds, Powell butte park. So why take an adventure bike out to a park and not on an adventure? Well when you go on an adventure there are alot of unknowns. This park is really big with lots of pea gravel, roots dirt, single track, double track and fire roads. There is plenty of climbing and descending in this park. It's really a perfect place to do a review test on an off road bike. The only thing it does not have are long extended descents with drop offs and rock gardens. Climbing: Its just as we suspected that the bike because of the gearing will climb just about anything however its no light weight so its slow and steady on the vertical. I'm sure that anyone that gets an adventure bike really is not in a hurry unless it's getting away from a bear or some dogs. Fire roads: There are some fire roads out there and the bike was a pleasure as the roads are gentle in theri curves and that goes right along with the geometry that the Ritchey Outback is made for. Don't expect to be burning up the long roads though as the gearing tops out pretty quickly around 25mph. But we are reviewing the frame set and not the spec. Single track: The Ritchey Outback is an adventure bike and it will do single track it just requires a little more input from the pilot to navigate it. You will also have to put on the speed brakes a little as well. But it will handle the single track. To give you an idea on how many turns we did at Powell Butte park. On one descent section we did 50. We did 3 laps so that is 150 banked 180’s and sweepers.  

Race Test Ride


At the time of receiving this bike the country was on lockdown from the pandemic caused by the SARS COV2 virus

We Liked

We made a simple list of the things that we really liked about this bike and its set up.
  • Cool Paint job, the 1940's olive drab screams "Take into the Woods"
  • Unique Ritchey carbon fork for long hauls or bike packing, lots of attachment points
  • The Outback is a true adventure to go have fun with your friends.
  • Our favorite part of the bike was the handlebars. These Ritchey bars are so comfortable. The bars are a departure from the normal drop bars and flare out quite a bit.
  • Lots and lots of attachment points. The Outback is an adventure bike at heart and so Ritchey made sure that if you wanted to load her up and take an adventure across Mogloa you could.
  • Shimano GSX group

We Didn't Like

So as a frameset we are going to take a close look at the welds. The Outback is a TIG-welded frameset and so we are looking for smooth and even welds. It's easy to see in a naked frame but much more difficult when it’s been painted. So here is what we found. On a few areas on the TIG welding, we found some not so pretty welds. But to be fair I don't know for sure that it’s not a paint or a primer blob. But I would bet this was caused by a weld not being smooth.

The Final Say

So the Ritchey Outback is a little bit of a horse of a different color for us. We are used to getting on race bikes either a road or cyclocross race bikes. The Adventure bike is a totally different animal all together. The Ritchey Outback is a bike that wants to cut a new trail and just go off and explore and find new places. It's a bike you don't have to worry about. The rugged steel construction will put your mind at ease and you won't be thinking twice about if the trail will damage your frame set. The cool Olive drab paint job gives the bike the look of the US army 1944 Jeep of go anywhere do anything vehicle. Another thing that we really liked about this bike outside the frameset was the handlebars that the bike came with. The Ritchey venture max bars are unlike any bars that I have ever ridden. They are wide, flat on the tops and have a shallow drop biobend with an outward flare. With all the different hand positions you can sure find a few that work for you. We certainly did. The Outback is not a race bike unless it's an adventure race you're doing. A race that is more than a few days in length and totally unsupported is where this bike is going to shine. The market has a lot of gravel bikes but there is a new category of bike that is emerging and that is the adventure bike. We won't be going on any long adventures anytime soon but if we did we would reach for the Ritchey Outback and its unique handlebars.  

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