The Perfect PNW Shred Sled: The Ritchey Timberwolf 650b

I’ve been riding the Timby for a little over seven months now and it’s become my go-to bike out here in Portland, Oregon. From shredding to the local bar to nighttime poaches to jumping big lines at Gateway Green, the Timberwolf is my go to ride.

 Photo Will Christenson

Photo Will Christenson

The Build

The Ritchey features internal routing for droppers so the first thing I did was pedal over to my local bike shop and picked up a Fox Transfer Post. After numerous hydraulic failures, I've switched over to cable actuated Droppers and have never looked back. 

I also replaced the Ritchey Trail Bite tires with the faster Maxxis Ardent's. I found the Ritchey's to be too aggressive for the kind of riding I was planning on doing on the Timby.

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The stock build on the Ritchey Timberwolf is generous, click here for the specs. 

Stands outs for me were the Ritchey WCS components, SRAM X1 Crankset, and shifting.  It's also pretty rad that Ritchey built the bike with Shimano SLX brakes because I've fallen out of love with SRAM Guides. 

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The Ritchey WCS Vantage wheelset is impressive. The rim is seamless and you only need a small piece of Gorilla Tape over the Valve hole to get the tubeless set up rolling. No rim strip no problem! There is a lot of rad technology that has gone into the wheelset which you can read about here. I guess that's why they've held up to all the abuse I've thrown at it. I feel really sorry for these wheels. They've been taking a beating!

The Timberwolf is also rocking the new 35 bar and stem combo which I am a big fan of. I run 35's on my Santa Cruz 5010 and Jackal. The cockpit feels stiff and it's nice having the system across all of my mountain bikes. 
P.S. The faceplate on the Ritchey WCS 35 is sexy! 

So probably one of the most important components on the Timby is the RockShox Revelation. I am no suspension guru, in fact, I always revert back to what my friend told me when I first got into mountain bikes. "The less you know the better." 

Coming from a Fox 34 and a Pike I immediately noticed the difference in the forks. The bigger forks feel silky smooth while the Revelation feels a bit more springy and flimsy. I've spent a fair amount of time tuning the air and rebound and have yet to find a setting that I am stoked on.

I spend most of my time in the middle position which is excellent for jumping and jibbing around town. The lockout is super nice as well, I took the Timby on a 50+ mile ride over the summer that had over 8000ft of climbing. This is something I'd dread on a bigger fork. 

I am keeping my eyes out on used forks and will eventually be putting on a 140mm Fox 34 or RockShox Pike. For what it’s worth I’ve been beating the hell out of the Revelation for months! It’s never let me down but I just miss that silky smooth suspension that my other bikes have.

Few can claim to have played a bigger hand in the evolution of the mountain bike than Tom Ritchey. And he’s still at it. The original Timberwolf debuted in 1984 as Tom’s answer to the growing demand for a mountain bike that could handle more of anything. Reborn 30 years later, the Timberwolf is a hardtail incarnation of an all-mountain trail bike that can shred anything you throw at it. Designed around 650b wheels, the Timberwolf is agile and fluid whether bushwacking the mountainside or carving single track. It’s the bike we can’t stop riding.
— Ritchey
 Photo Will Christenson

Photo Will Christenson

 Photo Will Christenson

Photo Will Christenson

The Ride

If you're like me you probably have a small or large stable of bikes that are used for specific conditions, terrain, etc. I personally use the Timberwolf for the following:

1. The Commuter Shred Sled
2. The Night Time Poacher
3. The Adventure Rig

The Commuter Shred Sled

On any given day in Portland, thousands of residents choose cycling as their means of transportation. From the doctor dressed up in full Rapha kit to the mother on her e-cargo bike filled with smiling toddlers. Our bicycles are an extension of who we are. This is a concept that I've long identified with. As a BMXer we grew up building our own bikes, choosing every part carefully, placing every decal purposefully. Living in Portland we get to see this on such a large scale. It's pretty rad. 

So, in short, the Ritchey Timberwolf is my perfect commuter. No, it doesn't have fenders or rack mounts but I can hold a manual down a city block, lay down sick skids and jump everything that comes in my way! 

And if you were wondering, I do lock up this bike. 

 Photo Will Christenson

Photo Will Christenson

The Night Time Poacher

Portland has over 100 miles of trail within its city limits but only a few miles of that is legal on a bicycle. Crazy right? Portland is portrayed as this cycling utopia tucked away in the beautiful PNW but when it comes to off-road cycling the city is decades behind. 

So when the sun goes down and the Teslas are back in their garages, riders take to the night. Having a bike that I can pedal from my home to the trailhead is important. The Ritchey Timberwolf is a fucking beast at that. Also, the trails in Portland are so buffed out from decades of running groups and baby strollers that a hardtail or high volume cx bike is perfect.

Let me be clear, I am in no way in encouraging or promoting the poaching of trails. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I think most importantly

it's about doing the right thing. 

It's up to you to define what the right thing is. 

The Adventure Rig

The PNW is truly a wonderland for cyclists. We're constantly questioning what bike to ride, what tires should I put on and how many pairs of gloves should I bring. There is a fine line when a high volume cx/ gravel bike is just not enough and over the years I've learned when to hang it up. 

It often comes down to this scenario. The route is over 40 miles. The route features a mix of road, gravel and single track. What bike do you bring? You can solve this by answering this question. 

Do you want to ride faster or do you want to have more fun? 

Like I mentioned before, it's up to you to define what the right thing is. 

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