Frederick is also one of the few cyclocross pros to be riding a steel bike.
We originally looked at Ben Frederick’s Ritchey Swiss Cross bikes in Cincinnati, where he used a geared configuration. At Nationals, Frederick took on the Chicago course in an attempt to spin to singlespeed redemption after a shoe mechanical in 2019 while leading the race.
At Cantigny Park, Frederic was using 40×17 and 40×18 gear, removing his AXS derailleurs and replacing them with an idler. “It wasn’t a strategic thing to have different gears, Frederick said. “It was because I only had a single 18! I would have gone with a 19 if I had it.”
Although Frederick used a variety of tubeless tires through the season, in Chicago he used Challenge Limus tubulars on Zipp 30 wheels.
The Nationals course had seen a variety of weather conditions leading into the Singlespeed race with a massive storm moving through the night before, resulting in significant damage and a delay in Saturday’s racing. All the rainfall made for a fairly wet course, although it became a tacky surface by race time. “The course was heavy so anything I could do to speed up the cadence would have been great!” Frederick said of the course.
Below is a profile of his bikes as seen in Cincy:
Even before his life-changing crash and subsequent return to racing, Ben Frederick has been riding the Ritchey Swiss Cross. When he set out to take on the American World Cups and raise awareness for brain injuries with the Small Monsters Project the partnership continued.
Ritchey’s most famous factory rider may be Thomas Frischknecht, who helped design the original Swiss Cross, but Frederick’s story prompted the brand to sign him and provide equipment.
Ritchey designs and markets a wide variety of components in addition to its steel frames, so Frederick was able to source most of his bike from the brand.
His bikes start with a custom-painted pair of Swiss Cross Disc frames. Built from Ritchey Logic tubing, the Swiss Cross was the only steel frame in the World Cups and probably the only bike of any material with a straight 1 1/8 steerer fork. While Frederick used wireless SRAM shifting, the Swiss Cross is externally routed for both brake and shift cables.
Frederick’s Small Monsters Project paint job is a nod to the concept of bringing your monsters into the light, with a two-color finish that is mirrored on the two bikes.
According to the Small Monsters Project website: “The frame has a dark side and light side. The dark acknowledges that hard things exist, and that it’s okay. The light, that there’s hope. The purple in the rear triangle and fork represent recovery and that growth is possible.” On top of the custom paint, Frederick installed Small Monsters decals to the frames, ensuring that the two bikes are unique.
To build his Swiss Cross, Frederick used a selection of components from Ritchey. He selected a Toyon alloy stem to hold his WCS Carbon Evocurve handlebar which he wrapped in Ritchey bar tape.
Like many Ritchey stems, the Toyon series uses a wraparound mounting surface for the handlebar to increase the clamping security while protecting lightweight carbon bars from crush damage. The EvoCurve handlebar features a compact drop shape and flattened tops with a small amount of backsweep to create a more ergonomic position on the tops.
He supported his Specialized Power Saddle with a zero-offset WCS Carbon two-bolt seatpost. Ritchey also supplied his WCS XC pedals and even tubeless WCS Zeta wheels. Frederick used a variety of tires based on conditions but had IRC Boken Cross and Donnelly PDX WC tires mounted in Cincinnati.
Fredrick built both bikes with SRAM AXS 1x drivetrains, although one bike was adorned with RED components while the other was equipped with Force level parts.
Both bikes featured 10-33 cassettes mated to 40t chainrings, and 160mm rotors front and rear. In Cincinnati, Frederick had equipped both bikes with Wolf Tooth chain keepers to address chain drop problems he’d experienced earlier in the season.
At the end of the season, one of these unique frames will be raffled as a fundraiser for Love Your Brain. All entries include a Small Monsters Project sticker pack and the winner will receive one of Frederick’s size large frames. You can learn more about The Small Monsters Project and purchase a ticket at thesmallmonstersproject.com.
Ben Frederick’s Small Monsters Project Ritchey Swiss Cross Disc Specs
Frame: Ritchey Swiss Cross Disc, Ritchey Logic triple-butted tubing, flat mount disc, 12mm thru-axle
Fork: Ritchey WCS Carbon, 1 1/8″ steerer, 12x100mm thru-axle, flat-mount disc
Shifters/Brake Levers SRAM AXS
Calipers: SRAM AXS
Rear Derailleur: SRAM AXS
Chain Keeper: Wolf Tooth GnarWolf braze-on mount with band clamp
Crankset: SRAM AXS
Chain Rings: SRAM narrow-wide
Cassette: SRAM AXS 12 speed 10-33
Chain: SRAM Flattop 12 speed
Wheelset: Ritchey Zeta tubeless
Handlebars: Ritchey WCS Carbon EvoCurve
Stem: Ritchey Toyon C220
Seatpost: Ritchey WCS Carbon two-bolt
Saddle: Specialized Power
Pedals: Ritchey WCS XC, SPD Compatible
More Info: ritcheylogic.com