What's Cool In Road Cycling

Readers’ Rigs: Ritchey Swiss Cross or Gravel Bike

As spring approaches in the northern hemisphere, today’s Readers’ Rig is a gravel grinder from the back roads of Toronto, Canada built around a classic Ritchey Swiss Cross frame, Ultegra gearing and Enve carbon clincher wheels. The ultimate bike for some on and off bitumen adventures?


Name: Andrew Cloutier
Location: Toronto, Canada
Bike: Ritchey Swiss Cross 53cm
Groupset: Ultegra 6800 with Dura Ace 9000 BB, cassette, and chain
Wheels: DT Swiss 350 hubs laced to Enve Carbon Clinchers
Pedals: Look Keo Carbon Blade
Saddle: Fizik Arione CX Carbon Braided
Stem: Ritchey WCS260 120mm
Seatpost: FSA K-force
Handlebar: FSA K-force
Brakes: Avid Shorty Ultimate
Weight: 17.8lbs (8.1kg)

When did you buy it?
I bought the frame and fork Summer 2015. I spent the next month or two getting the parts together—buying from Wheels off Bloor, eBay, and friends.

What made you choose this bike?
I wanted to build a steel gravel runner for the cottage. I saw this bike online and just knew it was the one. The paint is gorgeous. I’ve always admired Tom Ritchey. When I was a teenager I remember seeing his frames in MTB magazines but I couldn’t afford one back then. He helped pave the way for the wave of small builders around today. He was a pioneer. Dude is a legend of the sport. I’m glad I finally got to ride a Ritchey.


How many miles/kilometers do you do a year?
I’m on track for 9,000kms this year, maybe 10,000 depending on the weather. All those are on the road, on a different bike!

What do you love about this bike?
The geometry is perfect for blasting gravel and dirt roads. It’s not at all twitchy and the softness of the steel soaks up the chatter. I’ve also ridden some pretty hectic singletrack and it’s agile out of the saddle.



Favorite riding area?
The Algonquin Highlands, near Algonquin Park, Ontario. Cottage roads and logging roads. That’s my jam.


Favorite riding experience on your bike?
A small black bear was sat at the side of the road eating berries. I rode right up beside her and she started running beside me for 10 metres before turning into the woods. She was fast!

Future upgrades?
I think I might sell this bike and build up a Ritchey Swiss Cross Disc—maybe next year. I’ve never had a disc bike.



Last words?
I love building bikes. Hunting down the right parts. Tinkering in the garage. The first epic ride. Adjusting the fit. Swap out some parts. Getting it perfect. Falling in love.

Thanks to Andrew for sharing his ride with us. Got a bike that you’re proud of? Well how about sharing it with fellow PEZ fans and getting it featured in Readers’ Rigs so we can all stare at it! Send us a Readers’ Rigs submission direct to [email protected] and your bike could be featured in all its glory here on the pages of PEZ.

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