The burgeoning gravel bike trend spans the gamut from road racing frames with space for fatter tires to descent-focused geometries with full-fledged mountain bike tread and dropper posts. Between the extremes there are all forms of stretched cyclocross bikes and a number of burlier adventure rides like this updated Ascent from Ritchey. The steel frame is said to weigh 2,400g in size large without axles, and the uncut steel fork hits the scale at 1,125g without its axle installed.
The Ascent frame and fork are made of Ritchey Logic tripple-butted steel tubing, with loads of space in the size small to XL frames to strap bags and mount a pair of water bottles. The straight-steer fork has mounts at the dropout for both rack and fenders, and the rear boost dropout also offers two mounting points. A trio of mounts on either side of the fork will accommodate gear holsters like the Salsa Anything Cage, and three bolts under the downtube allow for even more gear storage.
The reach measurement on a size medium is 380.5mm, so the bike is going to suit longer stems for most riders. The threaded bottom bracket sits 68mm below the frame’s axle height, and the 27.2mm seat tube leans to 73.5° on sizes small and medium, and 73° on the large and XL. Head tube angles steepen as frames grow larger, ranging between 70°, 70.5°, 70.5°, and 71° respectively.
Like the Ritchey Outback frame, this bike doesn’t have internal dropper post routing for its 27.2mm seat tube, and the fork’s straight-steerer does limit the number of aftermarket forks that will fit the Ascent. Riders who are stoked on the stock bike likely won’t mind these elements, but both are worth considering if your adventure plans include technical trails. The rear triangle stretches longer than the reach on all frame sizes with a consistent 463mm chainstay length making space for either 27.5″ x 2.6″ or 29″ x 2.6″ rubber. That’s right, both wheel sizes work with no fancy flipy-chipy.
The Ascent frame and fork come in Sierra Red, with axles and a headset, for $1299/€1299.