I have a common phrase I use after building a bike from the frame up: “Awesome, it rides like a bike!” I, and any other cyclist who gazes upon it, see the bike as a whole; it brakes, it shifts, there is air in the tires, and it’s whisper quiet. To get to that point on each repair or project, it takes time and experience. In other words, I stress EVERY. LITTLE. DETAIL.
Originally introduced in 2012, the Ritchey Swiss + Cross was an elegant addition to the cyclocross framesets on the market when most ‘cross bikes were “out of the box/race ready”. This was appealing to a certain group of riders who ran their ‘cross equipment in the traditional manner: race their road group all season, crash, race, crash, put on ‘cross bike, race ‘cross bike with crashed components, have fun, and crash some more. Before disc brakes, axle standards, tapered head-tubes, and proprietary bb’s, you were able to directly swap most parts from a road frame to a ‘cross frame because all bikes had a threaded BSA/English bottom bracket, and a 27.2mm seatpost.
As of 2017, the Swiss + Cross was reintroduced in Ritchey’s lineup with a modern geometry, a new carbon fork, and a small change in cable routing. Below is my experience with this build. From road bike to ‘cross bike, this frameset is doing exactly what it needs to do: be easy on the budget, and fast on the course.
Look at that, all built up and ready to ride! This Ritchey Swiss + Cross build came to be from an old 2008 Diamondback carbon road bike. The Diamondback had seen only a handful of miles, hence why this 1st generation SRAM Rival group looks so fresh. But, it further proves my previous point. Take a bike, swap parts to a ‘cross bike, have more fun.
During the build, I took stock of what parts we could swap over:
- Shift group
…and what we needed:
- Matching cable housing
- Matching handlebar tape
This bike has the potential to be a rad ‘cross machine. But like most ‘cross bikes, it can play other roles, like a cozy, steel road bike, or in this particular build, a gravel bike. While I recently waxed poetic about the benefits of owning such an adaptable frameset, I did come across a few items that warranted a raised eyebrow or a deep sigh.
Those small points aside, the frame was straight, the welds were clean, and the post-fabrication prep work was spot on. The build came out great, and the bike rides very smoothly.
I am proud to have this bike in my stand, and especially happy to turn it over to its owner. Good luck out there in the open wild and DNR roads of the PNW, to both the rider and the machine.