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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 10:01 pm 
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There's a previous topic, but this is a little different so I started a new thread:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=125176&p=1068272&hilit=c260#p1068272

I just bought and installed a Ritchey WCS C260 stem. It's a very nice looking and manufactured piece of hardware and is within the advertised weight. My 100mm stem is right at 105 grams.

I like the way it looks, it matches up fine with my Ritchey seat post, even though the seat post is carbon weave and the stem is aluminum. I'm not super compulsive about matching seatposts, stems and bars, but since i needed both a new seatpost and stem, and found both on sale from US sellers (as opposed to the always "great" pricing for potential counterfeits from Asia), I decided to match them up this time. I already had a set of beautiful new/take-off Easton EC90 SLX3 bars that were practically given to me, so I didn't go whole hog and spend another $200 just to match the three pieces.

The installation on my Easton handlebars was a little fussy, and the clamp bolts are different than most, so I almost decided to send the stem back and replace it with an older conventional design WCS 4 axis stem.

As most of you know, this stem has a very unique handlebar clamp with the stem body circling the bar by 260 degrees and a correspondingly much smaller faceplate. The 260 degree design means you can't simply remove the face plate and install the bars directly onto the stem - the opening's too small. You have to insert the bars at a point where the bar diameter is smaller (i.e. away from the center 31.7mm "bulge), and slide the bar into the stem. This means that if you're not starting with a bare bar, you have to remove the handlebar tape at least a little ways.

In the case of my Easton bars, they are a little ovalized on the tops and therefore won't fit into the 260 degree stem opening. I had to remove the tape down past the levers and actually remove the levers in order to get to an area on the bars that was round and therefore small enough to fit into the stem opening. With bars with round tops, this wouldn't be an issue.

In addition, I installed the stem onto the bike before installing the handlebars, and with the cables the way they are on my bike, making the maneuvers to get the bars around the curves to the stem clamping area was a pain. In retrospect, this would have been very simple if I'd simply removed the stem from the bike and moved it around the bar curves, but I was just too impatient at the time.

So, the installation of the new stem with existing bars was virtually the same as the procedure for installing bars onto a quill stem.

That kind of irritated me, but after I was done, I figured, oh well, I won't have to do that again, at least for a while.

Then the second issue: the clamp bolts are T20 star/torx bolts, not the common M3 or M4 hex/allen. From reading online critiques, I understand why Ritchey made them torx bolts: I guess they were having problems with the hex/allen bolts stripping out when tightening even to the low 5nM spec. The star/torx heads are much more resistant to this.

The ONLY problem with this is that every other single bolt on my bike is hex/allen and my multi tool (or any I've ever seen) doesn't have a T20 tool on it. One of my multitools has a T30 (maybe T25?) tool on it, but not a T20. So now, if I want a complete set of bike tools in my saddle bag, I have to carry an individual T20 tool of some sort - and I haven't found a tiny one yet.

I've been thinking of swapping the T20 bolts for a similar thread hex head bolt and think I found some locally (M3) that have the same thread pitch and diameter.

Anyway, like other Ritchey stems I've owned, this is a really nice unit and the company's weight claim is accurate. I can't say I'm completely sold on the necessity for the 260 degree design, but it does make sense, at least in an amateur, non-engineer's view. On the other hand, I used an Easton 26.0 bar for many years with a super lightweight Syntace stem with a two piece bar clamp that was supposed to be a no-go for a CF bar, but I always carefully tightened it in a pattern. used carbon assembly paste and torqued to spec and never damaged the bar. So I'm not sure if with this OS Easton bar, the stem design isn't over kill, not justifying the installation hassle.


Last edited by Camilo on Tue May 20, 2014 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Posted: Tue May 20, 2014 10:01 pm 


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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 10:23 pm 
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Location: Reading, UK
I have the same combo, EC90 SLX3 with C260. It looks very sleek, almost integrated, and it hasn't budged ever since I installed which is getting on for a couple of years ago now.


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 7:08 am 
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I was going to buy a C260 too, but then I saw the 4 axis on sale at half the price of a C260. So I got the 4 axis instead. Nice looking stem, but a lot heavier then advertised. My 120mm weighs 135 gr... :(


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 2:59 pm 
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Thanks for the review, that's the stem i plan on buying, light and good looking for a 60€ bar.


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 3:24 pm 
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I just ordered C260s for my wife and I.

I had used WCS stems for several years and did notice the 4mm bolts tended to strip.

I also recently tried Deda Zero 100, but I have broken two face plates in less than two years.


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 3:33 pm 
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I was using a C260 for a while. The first thing I noticed, aside from the unusual installation method, was that it really did feel just ridiculously stiff! As if the 260° wrap really did improve stiffness of the bar-stem interface.
I later changed to another stem when I changed lengths, but I would love to go back to a C260.


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 4:15 pm 
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Rick, interesting that you could feel improved stiffness with C260, because the 'average deflection' score in the Fairwheel test put this stem at below average, made up by the relatively low weight which brought it up in the ranks with respect to 'stiffness to weight'. I was intrigued by this stem, but testing as well as the mounting / bolts matter kept me sticking with my 4-Axis and 3T ARX stems. May I ask which stems you were comparing the feeling to?


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 4:29 pm 
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I used to have this stem as well. Yeah, kind of annoying the method/theory they have where you need to unwrap your bar tape etc...just to get a stem installed. Plus the use of the star/torx bolts compared to a lot of others still using regular hex.

Despite what Fairwheel tested, I didn't really find much difference between the C260 stem and my new Pro Vibe Carbon 7S, which they have the Vibe at the highest deflection/least "stiff". I'm a sprinter, 170+lbs...plus I ride a Scott Foil..I can assure you, some slight deflection is appreciated with this frame, which is why I run the Pro vibe carbon cockpit. The so-called "deflection" hasn't stopped me from smoking people while sprinting...over inflated all this stiffness stuff with stem/bars when you are typically talking higher-end components. Not like we are comparing some $20 stem...we are talking $100+ stems/quality/design, hence the differences are pretty small and insignificant. My two cents anyway.

TS, BTW, I think what you might be feeling in the "stiffness" is actually the lack of vibration dampening of aluminum compared to carbon stems, just IMHO.


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 6:56 pm 
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Miller wrote:
I have the same combo, EC90 SLX3 with C260. It looks very sleek, almost integrated, and it hasn't budged ever since I installed which is getting on for a couple of years ago now.


I don't know how the EC90 SLX3 bar compares to other contemporary bars because the only other CF bar I've owned is an older 26.0mm EC90 Equipe Pro bar. A very nice bar which I plan to keep and maybe put on a different bike since I also have a couple of nice 26.0 stems (a WCS and a Syntace) and a bike with a quill stem.

Anywhoooo, back to the point. The SLX3 had a textured clamping area as does the C260 stem. My older EC90 bar and those older stems do not have those features. Between those two features I wonder if assembly paste is even needed, but I did use it. I really doubt there is any chance of slippage at the 5nM torque spec. I'd bet considerably less torque is actually needed, but 5nM is easy and safe to achieve with the torquekey. I never had any slippage problems with the old bars and stems at 5nM either, but I'm neither big nor strong... nor as vigorous as I as 25 years ago so I doubt if I'm a good data point.


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 8:24 pm 
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Stolichnaya wrote:
Rick, interesting that you could feel improved stiffness with C260, because the 'average deflection' score in the Fairwheel test put this stem at below average, made up by the relatively low weight which brought it up in the ranks with respect to 'stiffness to weight'. I was intrigued by this stem, but testing as well as the mounting / bolts matter kept me sticking with my 4-Axis and 3T ARX stems. May I ask which stems you were comparing the feeling to?

I had just switched from a 3T ARX Team stem, and before that I've used Easton EC90SL, Thomson X2, and now using Easton EA90.

I was also surprised, since I am generally not an afficionado of stiffness, nor do I really think that stiffness helps much really. I am not particularly powerful, and I have never really used a stem that I thought was "too flexy". But when I first rode on the C260, I felt like "Damn! This makes the front end feel like its made of solid one-piece granite!" But it was a subjective impression. I didn't really test in any way. I was surprised that I could even notice any difference, since all modern bar-stem combos seem "way stiff enough" to me.

Update: Thinking about this caused more memories to come up: When I noticed how still it was that caused me to carefully inspect the construction, and I noticed that the C260 is not just a round tube intersecting another round tube at the headtube junction. It actually flairs outward in the vertical directions (if my memory is correct) slightly. I remember thinking that maybe that little extra bit of elliptical diameter at the base was imparting the extra stiffness. I'm a mechanical engineer so I speculat about stuff like that, but not enough to interfere with the cycling. :)

I don't know why it would have come up as less stiff in a test. I could also speculate about the inaccuracies and setup pitfalls of such a test, but it would all be just speculation.


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 2:27 pm 
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I'll just bump that I'm running that same combo (C260+Easton SLX3) for 2000+ miles. Also no issues.


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 2:57 pm 
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Stolichnaya wrote:
Rick, interesting that you could feel improved stiffness with C260, because the 'average deflection' score in the Fairwheel test put this stem at below average, made up by the relatively low weight which brought it up in the ranks with respect to 'stiffness to weight'. I was intrigued by this stem, but testing as well as the mounting / bolts matter kept me sticking with my 4-Axis and 3T ARX stems. May I ask which stems you were comparing the feeling to?


Haven't seen that article, but my "carbon matrix" C260 is noticeably stiffer than the 4-Axis stem I had on another bike.

Not exactly a high bar though. That 4-Axis stem was flexy.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:17 pm 
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Location: Ocala, FL
I also have the carbon matrix C260 and Easton SLX3 bar. Been using them also for over 2000 miles with zero issues. My only compaint/observation about the C260 is the odd bolt placement and small bolt heads make it difficult to deal with on a travel bike. Having to mess with those goofy bolts sucks. I'll be switching stems before the next time I put my bicycle in the airline bag.

Also, as an FYI, Ritchey is now making their torque key with interchangeable bits including the T20 Torx bit.

http://ritcheylogic.com/accessories/tools-lube/multi-bit-torqkey-5nm.html


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 3:48 am 
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I have a carbon wrap 120mm C260 with 3T ergonova LTD 42cm bars on my evo.
I have 3T Pro 120mm stem with Ti bolts and 3T ergonova team 42cm on my SL3 tarmac.

I always have that when sprinting I felt more movement around the headtube on the evo. I wasn't sure if it was the lighter evo fork, the lighter bars or the stem. I always assumed it was the bars, but it is probably down to the stem based on the fairwheel test. Certainly not disconcerting but it is noticable compared to what is, according to fairwheel, a very stiff setup on the SL3.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:44 am 
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I've got pretty much every ritchey stem in a multitude of sizes. The 260 drove me bananasn not only fishing the bar through, but the angle of the front bottom bolts. The flex felt pretty much the same on all of the stems to me. I've since switched to all Zipp cockpit for racing, which feels a lot stiffer.


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Posted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:44 am 


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