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Ritte Ace frameset £1999.00

8/10

Smooth and impressively composed handling, but the Ace is up against some serious competition at this price point

With its sharp lines and Belgian influence, the Ace is the latest frame from US firm Ritte. The Ace delivers refined and impressively composed handling with plenty of speed when you open the taps, but at £2,000 for the frameset the it is up against some very stiff competition.

The Ritte Ace is another of those US designed bikes that really wants to be Belgian - the Lion of Flanders is on the head badge is a bit of a clue there. As is the company name - a nod to Henri ""Ritte"" Van Lerberghe the 1919 winner of the Tour of Flanders who won on a borrowed bike with the biggest winning margin in the race’s history his winning ride included picking up his bike and carrying it through a train that was blocking his path. The Ace is Ritte’s brand new flagship carbon fibre race frame and replaces the Vlaanderen. While the frame is all-new, the geometry is carried over from that previous frame, so if you’re upgrading you’ll find the fit identical.

The sharp lines and slab-sided tube profiles shout stiffness. The look of the bike the main focus behind the development of the new frame has been to make it as stiff as possible. The Ace is made from a combination of T700 and T1000 carbon fibre and has a full list of modern features; a tapered head tube, pressfit 30 bottom bracket, internal cable routing and Di2 compatibility. Frame weight is a claimed 980g and the Shimano Ultegra and Easton wheels test bike in a size 56cm here weighs 7.4kg (16.31b).

The chainstays and seat tube are asymmetric so they can put more material where there is space to, in an effort to increase the frame stiffness. This design also allows clearance for up to 28mm tyres, which will be appreciated by fans of wider tyres. The frame takes a 31.6mm seatpost rather than the more common 27.2mm option. The new all-carbon fork weighs a claimed 360g.

Ride and performance

I clocked up about 500km on the Ace and what was immediately clear from the first ride, and the characteristic that defined my time with it wasn’t stiffness but how smooth the ride was. Based on appearances you have every reason to expect the frame to be overly stiff and lack composure on anything but a silky smooth road surface, but that just wasn’t the case. Despite 23mm tyres and the 31.6mm seatpost, the frame and fork manages to filter out the vast majority of vibrations that can lead to a bumpy ride. The level of smoothness was highly impressive.

There’s no lack of stiffness when you want to go for it though, but it’s certainly not the stiffest frame in its class. From a hilly 100-mile ride with some seriously steep climbs to my local chain gang, the Ace delivers enough stiffness to ensure good efficiency, from hard pedalling out of the saddle to pushing the big ring trying to close a gap to the wheel in front when you’re deep into the red. It’s a decent climber, though it’s not the best I’ve ridden at this sort of price.

The geometry gives a stretched out position with a low front-end, so it really allows, and encourages, you to got low and aerodynamic. That’s great for booting along in the chain gang or descending high speed downhills, but the geometry also makes it a comfortable place to be for longer rides where it’s a very calm and stable place to be.

It’s a refined ride, but for all its smoothness, the Ace didn’t always provide the most engaging ride. It’s almost that it isolates you too much from what is passing underneath the tyres. I sometimes hankered after a bit more feedback, more information about the road surface through the contact points to provide that sensation of speed that it often failed to deliver. It’s perfectly competent though, and doesn’t fail to deliver fast times if you’re pushing yourself against the clock, it’s just not the most exciting bike from A to B.

Ritte don’t do complete builds in the UK so distributor Silverfish supplied a demo bike for this review. I had no issue with the build kit, a Shimano Ultegra mechanical is wonderful to use and the Easton EA70 SL wheels were smooth and compliant and displayed a reasonable level of stiffness. I had no complaints from the Onza Preda 23mm tyres either, fast and durable they proved to be. Easton EC70 handlebars were a nice shape with a good reach, I changed the stem for a longer one, and the saddle was also changed to a Prologo Scratch.

There’s a lot to like about the Ace. It’s wonderful to look at and manages to be distinctive in a market where many road bikes are starting to look very similar. Ritte has got the key ingredients right, and the level of smoothness is wonderful, and appreciated on my rough local roads, but it lacks a bit of sparkle that other frames provide. There’s some serious competition in the £2,000 carbon frameset market, and Ace can at least hold its head high in such a crowd.

Verdict

Smooth and impressively composed handling, but the Ace is up against some serious competition at this price point

Click HERE to read the review in it's original home on Road.cc

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Technical specifications are for guidance only and cannot be guaranteed accurate. All offers are subject to availability and while stocks last. Errors and omissions excepted. Silverfish UK Limited acts as a credit intermediary and only offers credit products for Close Brothers Retail Finance. Its registered office is: Close Brothers Group plc, 10 Crown Place, London EC2A 4FT. Credit is subject to application and status.

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