Handmade Show: Ritchey rolls a fattie into NAHBS with launch of new Commando fatbike

Fat Bike

Our reveal of new Ritchey product continues today as the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) kicks off in Charlotte, N.C. this morning. As we mentioned in an article yesterday, we spied some new Ritchey bikes when we stopped by their offices last week—they let us take photographs, but made us promise not to post them until today. Here’s the second of three new Ritcheys debuting at NAHBS.

An original, back-in-the-day Ritchey Commando uses the fire to keep warm…among other things. Photo by Mtbr Member Shawnw.

Ritchey launched its first-ever fatbike at NAHBS this morning and with it revived a bit of NorCal mythology. Some of our Mtbr elder statesmen may recall the early-’80’s, camo green Ritchey Commando—a mountain bike the company’s Global Marketing Director Sean Coffey says has roots in, ahem, organic gardening.

“The name ‘Commando’ and military-style paint is an iconic Ritchey theme from the early ’80’s,” he explains. “There were Northern California ‘farmers’ who wanted a go-anywhere trail bike that was insanely capable yet subtle. You know, so they didn’t get noticed…’farming.’”

Clearly those early mountain bike farmers would be impressed with the new fatbike version of the Commando, though one could argue they were riding the fatbikes of their day. Regardless, let’s take a close look at this big boy, which Coffey notes is an early prototype.

Like the Swiss Cross Disc from yesterday’s preview, the Commando was hand built by Tom Ritchey in his home workshop in the Bay Area hills. After 40 years of building frames, his welds are impeccable, and the curved top tube adds a bit of style to the proceedings as well.

In production, the Commando will have rack and fender braze-ons, and might have brake cable routing that’s more direct for better compatibility with Avid BB-7 calipers. And yes, they know it’s missing a skewer—the team was still building this bike when we made them take it out into the sun.

Also like the Swiss Cross Disc, the Commando is built with Ricthey’s Logic II heat treated, triple-butted cromoly tubing.

We expect there will be a lot of buzz—pun not intended—at NAHBS about the Commando. (OK, yes, we did intent the pun—at least we didn’t say anything about “going commando”).

The Ritchey Commando fatbike frameset will be available next winter as a for $1,100 and includes a steel fork.

For more information visit ritcheylogic.com.

About the author: Don Palermini

Chicago-born Don Palermini became a cycling-based life-form in the sixth grade after completing a family road bike tour of his home state. Three years later he bought his first mountain bike to help mitigate the city's pothole-strewn streets, and began exploring the region's unpaved roads and trails. Those rides sparked a much larger journey which includes all manner of bike racing, commuting, on- and off-road bike advocacy, and a 20-plus-year marketing career in the cycling industry that landed him at his current gig with Santa Cruz bicycles. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, his four favorite words in the English language are "breakfast served all day," together in that order.

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  • David says:

    Why doesn’t it have a chain?

  • Scott says:

    I never thought a head tube could be a esthetic design element but this one is really sweet.

    Tom should go north and do a collaboration with the good Proto Pipe folks in Willits. That would really complete the Commando roots.

  • Jeff says:

    I was at show Friday and Saturday and I saw no buzz over this bike, just yawns. I like Ritchey but seriously the bike was ugly and offered nothing new. But whole show was a bit “slow”….

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