1990 Ritchey P-23 Team #9P10
Early P-Team, fully fillet brazed by Tom Ritchey
Before I get to the bike this post is about, I should start by saying the one bike I lusted after most as a kid (besides the Slingshot) was the Ritchey P-23 Team. Don Myrah grew up in my home town and raced for Ritchey at the time. Since I've been collecting, I've always had a Ritchey in my garage. Some of my first Ritchey builds were....not great. We all had to start somewhere. A quick timeline of my Ritchey whoring.
I started with a 1995ish Ritchey ST (Softtail). Get in the wrong flow with this bike and it would start to pogo. It was built with wrong XTR, Rolf wheels, colored tires...awful. I moved to a P-22 that I had repainted undoing the original patina and putting incorrect decals on it. Again, wrong XTR, V-brakes, tires you'd never find on a Ritchey, Ringle wheelset. Rode great, but not right as a bike. From there I moved to a P-22 Team. Awesome gold to rootbeer brown fade and my first attempt at a drop bar bike. This bike was ultimately too big for me and the wrong platform for drop bars. It was also missing the correct matching fillet brazed fork. Very awkward looking bike.
I finally landed a proper P-23. Tig welded bike in black. Simple and understated. A decent, user friendly build with some inaccuracies. I enjoyed this bike a lot, but it wasn't a Team bike fillet brazed by Tom.
From there I found an exceptionally clean P-23 Team. Beautiful bike in a steel blue, early serial number bike. But...it was one size bigger than I like and for me, a paint job that was partially too clean to ride and too understated for what kind of bike it was. Still some inaccuracies in the build with the too new saddle and MB-2 level Force stem, Chris King headset. All incorrect for the year of the bike.
This delightful Sunset Fade P-23 Team popped up. It was the one. My 1990 P-23 Team. 9P10 (19" P-Series, 10th one built in this size). This bike checks all the boxes for me. Very early Team bike with the carry over Shimano dropouts from the Super Comp that was the predecessor to the P-Series. An unusual fade of which I've never seen another like it. Good patina with all original decals still in place. My size. Fully fillet brazed by Tom Ritchey including the matching fillet brazed fork and fillet brazed Force stem. Below is a photo of the bike as it was found on Craigslist. My buddy beat me to it. His rebuild was not correct for the bike with XC Pro and Logic, other incorrect pieces.
It was at this point I bought the bike from him and rebuilt the bike from scratch.
Perfection. Fully period correct with Shimano M730/2/3 front to back. This bike predates Ritchey Logic parts (brakes/levers/headset/bb/cranks/saddle), though Prolite bars, Force stem/post, Vantage rims, and Megabite tires were available.
The only part of this bike that isn't correct are the brake pads (ok, and chain). After years and multiple Ritcheys, this final one is the culmination of those efforts and learnings. A classic amongst classics.
Frame: Ritchey P-23 Team Fillet Brazed
Fork: Ritchey Logic Fillet Brazed
Rims: Ritchey Vantage Comp
Hubs: Shimano XT M732, black, 32h
Quick Release: Shimano
Tires: Ritchey Megabite 2.1
Pedals: Shimano XT M737
Crank: Shimano XT M730
Rear Cogs: Shimano XT 11-28
Bottom Bracket: Shimano XT UN70
Front Derailleur: Shimano XT M735
Rear Derailleur: Shimano XT M735
Shifters: Shimano XT M732
Handlebars: Ritchey Prolite, black
Grips: Ritchey True Grip
Stem: Ritchey Force Fillet Brazed
Headset: Shimano XT M735
Brake set: Shimano XT M732, black
Brake levers: Shimano XT M733
Saddle: Avocet Racing
Seat Post: Ritchey Force (Nitto)
Paint: Yellow/Orange fade
Serial #: 9P10
Place of Origin: Redwood City, Ca.
Ritchey's are pure xc race bikes. No bullshit. They run on the small side, quick, nervous bikes. They don't do well as mellow cross country casual riding bike. They demand attention from the rider at all times. Fantastic climbers, quick through single track. A bit of a handful when they're up at speed. I rode this bike for a lot of miles and thoroughly enjoyed it. And while it's no longer officially in my collection, it was definitely tough to let go of. To me Ritcheys are a common rare bike. If you want one bad enough, they're not too hard to get. Might be tough to find one as cool as this, however.