1987 Richey Ascent Homecoming


BoTM Winner
Brodie Fan
This Ritchey is the 1st high quality bike I owned, purchased as a frameset (fuselage) in 1988. With parents help it was purchased frame/fork/Suntour Rollercam & Ritchey stem for $600. I was already riding an 86’ BRC Sierra. Not a bad bike, probably cost $350-$400 back then.

While riding the BRC (before the Ritchey purchase) and enjoying it the bike bug was slowly starting to take hold. A good friend of mine had gone down the road bike path (rather than MTB) and bought a celeste green Bianchi c/w Super Record. After I rode it, I could not believe the high quality of ride it provided. It was like night and day comparing it with the department store 10 speeds I’d grown up with. This bike test really opened my eyes to what was possible using proper high quality gear.

Back in 88’ I pretty much read every bike magazine I could get my hands on. My riding buddies and I slowly made the transition from that BRC level of bike to the higher end models outfitted with Deore XT, etc. Some had GTs, some had Rocky Mountains, I chose a Ritchey. Some of the best days of my life. The riding was in Calgary Alberta (yes, the Canadian prairies). Fish Creek park is a massive valley system carved out by the Bow river and I have many fond memories riding my Ritchey through some pretty great single track there.

I used my BRC as a doner bike with the Ritchey fuselage purchase and eventually outfitted it with M735 brakes and shifting. Yep, it was my baby.

A couple years later I got myself a very sweet lugged Columbus SLX/Campy C-Record Marinoni road bike which I still have today (I love vintage road bikes too).

Fast forward to 2008. My Ritchey has had thousands of miles put on it many of which were as a winter commuter (I cycled 50km a day to work for two years in the 90s) and is getting ridden here and there up on Burnaby Mountain (I moved to Vancouver in 92’). Up on Burnaby mountain my new riding buddies make fun of me bouncing off everything not smooth while they shred the local mountains on their suspension wonder bikes. I finally cracked and picked up a FS Kona all rounder (6” front & rear), something I could still pedal up hill. It’s an amazing bike and it still gets ridden lot’s.

Okay, so pretty long background story but needed to help justify how I could ever have given my beloved Ritchey away: my Dad was giving his Super Record equipped 84’ Marinoni back to his kids (I helped him buy it in the 90s) and my older brother wanted it. Offering up my Ritchey to my brother was the only way I could secure that 84’ Marinoni road bike which was more important to me at the time. I already had my Kona FS MTB, what did I need this Ritchey for?

I built up the Ritchey to a decent spec and gave it away. At least it was still in the family. My brother enjoyed the Ritchey, it gained some horrible parts over the 10+ years under his ownership. Judging by the lack of wear on the red Kool stop brake pads still on it from before I gave it up it never saw a lot of miles.
Chapter 2:

In 2021 I’ve restored more bikes than ever before (good COVID hobby right?) and it’s helping me hone my skills. After building up a couple mid 90s rigid Cannondales for my son and myself my brother asked me to keep and eye out for one to build up for his son. Cannondale #3 for 2021 was built up for my nephew (M800s and a spruced up M400). My brother then asked me “if you ever come across another one grab it for me”. I found a 4th fully rigid Cannondale (M800) a few weeks ago and suddenly realized: here’s my chance to get the Ritchey back! With all the work I put into these restorations it was a no brainer I’d get it back, the 95’ M800 I built up for him turned out pretty sweet and he was very happy with the deal.

Now finally I can talk about the Ritchey rebirth. I only needed to purchase tires, saddle, grips and stem. I bought a full XT Diamond Back Arrival for $50 this year (M730). Perfect for this build. I kept the newer brake calipers which have been on the Ritchey for 30+ years.

Back in the 90s I ground off the rear rack eyelets from the seatstays and drop outs (no regrets). The paint was pretty scratched up and needed touch ups anyway, I masked the decals and used the closest red rattle can paint I could find to clean things up. Not my best paint work but the start of things to come.

Here are a couple pictures. I do not have pictures of it from the late 80s/early 90s. These start early 2000s and the last one shows how it was given to me brother. I’ve chosen to keep the Ringle Mojo cable carrier.
003 - Ritchey Ascent 01.jpg003 - Ritchey Ascent 02.jpg003 - Ritchey Ascent 03.JPG
The build: Stripped it all down and started the sourcing, digging out the parts. I knew it was going with all new paint. I like doing my own paint, partly because I’m cheap and partly because I enjoy it. Maybe one day I’ll get a proper sprayer but for now rattle can it is. The first time I looked through the Velocals website I rushed it and thought they did not have the decals I needed. The original decals were in really bad shape except for the head badge. I’m glad I went back for a second look as they 100% had what was needed. I cannot say enough good things about Velocals. The quality is outstanding. They did not have a decal that was just “Ascent” only “AcsentComp”. I ordered (2) “AscentComp”s but followed up with an email asking them to confirm my yellow color selection was accurate and showed them a picture of my “Ascent” decal telling them I intended to cut their “AscentComp” offering down. They corrected my yellow color choice to Yellow 15 and asked me for dimensions on my orginal “Ascent” decal, they proceeded to make me the correct decal (I now see this decal available on their website).
99 - Serial Number.jpg
I was going to go the headset front brake hanger route. I had a Ritchey Force stem the right length, etc with no built-in hanger. My fork threads are barely long enough for the Tange Falcon headset so the extra mm makes a difference. Plus I wanted the same stem my Ritchey came with that has the simple hanger brazed in. Good shape Ritchey stems of this type are not cheap, the below stem is in the mail and set me back $50 with shipping/exchange from Poland. A lick of black paint and few coats of clear it’ll be the cherry on top. Also in the mail are the correct “ARAYA” decals for the RM-20s I’m using which are completely faded.
Don’t mind the black tape in place of a handlebar grip which is temporary while I wait on the stem. It’s built up as far as I can go with it.

I’m super happy with the paint/decals. I can’t wait to ride it again. Also, it’s great to have a late 80s MTB to add to my (2) steel & (3) aluminum vintage 90s MTBs.
Here is the build detail:
FRAME: Tom Ritchey 4130 (Tange), Double-butted seamless Chrome-moly, ovalized seat tube at the bottom bracket, reinforcing seat collar with cold forged vertical dropouts. Weight: 5 lbs 2 oz (2325g). Price: $600. Year: 1987.

107.2 cm ; 42.2 in.​
Seat tube
(center-to-center) 45.5 cm ; 18 in.​
Top tube
56 cm ; 22 in.​
Head angle
70 degrees​
Seat angle
73 degrees​
43.3 cm ; 17.4 in.​
Bottom Bracket height
29.2 cm ; 11.5 in.​

FORK: Tom Ritchey 4130 (Tange) rigid unicrown Chrome-moly. Weight: 780g. Rake: 1.87 in.

WHEELS: Weight: 2096g - Rear wheel (1159g) Front wheel (937g)

Front: Shimano Deore XT HB-M730 (140g), Rear: Shimano Deore XT FH-M730 (356g)​
36 - 3X Stainless Steel 14 gauge spokes, brass nipples​
Araya RM-20, 27 mm wide (970g)​


Shimano Deore XT RD-M735 (250g)​
Shimano Deore XT FD-M730 (111g)​
KMC (300g)​
Shimano Deore XT FC-M730 175mm ; 58 - 94mm bolt spacing (734g)​
Shimano Deore XT BB-UN71 (244g)​
Shimano Deore XT CS-M730 six speed 13-30T (287g)​
Suntour XC II (439g)​


Shimano Deore XT BR-M732 (170g w/ brake shoes)​
Shimano Deore XT BR-M733 U brake (265g w/ brake shoes)​
Ritchey Logic (180g)​
Shimano Deore XT SL-M730 (185g)​
Zoom (161g)​
Ritchey Force 130 mm (370g)​
Tange Falcon (190g)​
Selle Italia Turbo 1980 (310g)​
Kalloy Uno 26.8 (220g)​
Panaracer – 26 X 2.1 Smoke (rear) Dart (front) (1194g)​
Shimano Deore XT (193g)​
Titanium (20g)​
Ritchey WCS True (45g)​
Shimano Deore XT (76g)​
WEIGHT: 25 lbs 10 oz
Love these early Ritchey’s. Great back story and beautiful rebuild, the bike looks amazing now! Love the detailed specs with weight of individual components - reminds me of what I used to be like being obsessed by weight of things! 🤣
Thanks! Yes, I belong to weight weenies anonymous :LOL:, This Ritchey will be my heaviest vintage MTB but I don't care. That repro Turbo saddle ain't light. For this build I wanted to be more period correct than I usually care about, the Ritchey Logic brake levers are too new but they are Ritchey branded so had to through them on :cool:
Love this, great work!

I love how it looked in that very first photo you posted of it as well.

It might just be the silver stem offsetting all the black, or maybe that it kind of looks like it's setup exactly the right height/reach for me to jump on and ride off into the distance, or maybe it's just the nice old film grain of the photo doing it for me, I don't know!

Anyway, your minty-new rebirth version is great too.

Nice build, love the red and black with yellow decals . Velocals has been great to me as well and done some custom decals on my Ritchey Ultra. Great story but even better ending 👍🏻