As far as Tom Ritchey is concerned, innovation never sleeps. It's evident in the products in the Ritchey line-up that are constantly evolving. The C260 is a prime example of this approach
In the past few seasons, one didn't need to ruminate about stem choice, just slap a on a WCS 4-Axis and off you went. The C260 now gives you another viable choice for a high-end Ritchey stem solution. The most noteworthy feature of the stem is the clamp and faceplate design. This is where the stem's namesake is derived. The C260 nomenclature effectively means Circumference 260 degrees. If you take e peak at the sideways profile of the stem, you can see the clamping area that is on the stem wraps around the bar 260°, while the faceplate is a mere 100° to complete the 360° wrap of the handlebar. In effect, the stem clamp holds around 2/3 of the bar in an over-center design and the faceplate holds only about 1/3 of the bar. A stark difference from the 50/50 support of the standard faceplate design. This design produces a more balanced and circumferential clamping force on the bar instead of the more two-dimensional vise-like force of a standard faceplate design. The faceplate fixing bolts now clamp from the back and create a smooth svelte look.
At the rear of the stem, the clamping mechanism to the fork has been altered from previous designs as well. The slanted slot is replaced with an arcing radius and 3 bolts with the middle bolt having an opposed direction from the top and bottom bolts. This helps further reduce the amount of stress on the steerer tube of today's super lightweight carbon forks.
The body of the stem and faceplate is constructed of 3D Net Forged 7050 alloy that is heat treated and anodized. The faceplate and body have a matching Wet Gloss finish. All bolts are M3/M4 micro sized and coated black. Low-profile, but classy logos round out the package. 31.8mm clamp diameter only.
Ritchey C260 stems have been coming with T20 Torx bolts - not Allen (hex) bolts. Please verify and use the correct tool.
Without going into a lot of technological detail, it's a solid stem, with a solid feel. Sort of like Fizik bar tape, if you like to feel what the road is telling you. It's a tad bit difficult to install and it's won't work with winged bars. I had peel off my handlebar tape all the way to the brake levers and remove the tape holding the cables. Then you put the stem in the tapered portion of the bar and slide it over. The stem bolts are small and the bottom one's have to be tightened from the inside and it's sort of a PIA. I imagine you can't mess with them too much or you a chance of rounded them out. I did not tighten them enough, the first ride out my bars slipped a tad. If a 6o rise works for you, you should be happy with this stem. Wet black is gorgeous. It replaced my 5 year old 4 Axis 44. The C260 has a more solid feel. No regrets with this purchase, it's a keeper.
Pros: Good solid feel, wet black is a pretty one
Cons: Tad difficult to install