It only takes one glance at his one-of-a-kind custom Revel Ranger to realize that Bill Fritts knows bicycles. Having amassed 19 years in the cycling industry, with a lengthy background in road and XC racing, Bill set out to create his dream XC/trail machine.
- Rider: Bill Fritts
- Height: 5’10"
- Weight: 150lbs
Frame: Revel Ranger, size L
Shock: RockShox Sid Lux Ultimate 115mm
Fork: RockShox Sid Ultimate 120mm
Wheels: White Industries Hubs, DT Comp Spokes, We Are One Faction Rims
Tires: Maxxis DHF front, Maxxis DHR rear
Drivetrain: Shimano XTR 12-speed
Brakes: Shimano XT 4-piston, 160mm rotors
Cockpit: One Up Carbon 35mm rise bar, Paul Components Boxcar 50mm stem, Red Monkey grips, Bike Yoke Revive 180mm post, Fizik Saddle
How long have you been riding? Where did it all begin for you?
I started on a BMX bike in the fourth grade, then road cycling in high school and that really took off. I raced road in college, then soon after college started racing mountain bikes. Now, I’ve been racing off and on since 1990.
What were your criteria when looking for a new bike?
Well, this was a first-ever full suspension build for me. Even though I was trying to get away from race-oriented XC hardtails, the main box I wanted to check was that I still wanted to be able to climb and to feel that I was climbing efficiently. I really love to climb, it’s probably one of my favorite parts of the riding. So I still wanted to be comfortable climbing and maintain it as an enjoyable part of the ride.
I was surprised that with the angles on paper, in more technical stuff, and going downhill it felt really composed and like an extension of myself. It wasn’t a major “oh my gosh I can’t believe this bike does this,” it was more so “this is what I’ve been looking for”.
How does your new bike compare to some of your older XC race bikes?
This bike climbs amazingly, it really does. When you lock it out it’s like running on one of my carbon hardtails. Even unlocked, it climbs well. On anything that’s not super smooth, I’ll unlock the rear suspension, gaining a lot more traction. I don’t bounce in the saddle at all; that CBF suspension is really, really good.
You were also considering the Revel Rascal, is that something you’d still want to try in the future?
I wouldn’t be opposed to it. I really did like that bike, but I have no regrets with the Ranger. I have thought, only because of our area, maybe I should have gotten a little bit more travel and a little bit slacker angles. Although, I think people could ride my bike on trails that I’d be like “no way” and they would be fine with it. So I don’t know, maybe I’d consider it.
What is one thing you remember about your first ride on the Revel Ranger?
It felt comfortable right away. It was very immediate, like “Wow, this feels like my bike already”. That was pretty cool because I’ve definitely had some bikes, knowing what it should be like and it just never was as intuitive as this one.
What aspect of your bike setup are you most particular about?
Fit; I’m pretty detailed when it comes to how a bike fits me. How a bike really feels like an extension of myself, versus just being on something. I’ve been on bikes where you just kinda work around the bike, never really feeling comfortable because you never know when the bike wants to throw you. The Ranger felt good right away.
Twenty years ago would you have thought a bike would look and feel the way your Revel Ranger does now?
It’s interesting because I’ve ridden full-suspension bikes from friends and such for the past 15 - 20 years. I always felt on top of the bike. It was like you were on top of the “squish;” like you were riding a horse, just really tall. It was cool that you had that suspension at times but it never felt like you were “in” the bike. Now, the suspension is so good you can be “in” the travel, and you are still on this lightweight bike that handles exceptionally well.
Did you dig Bill’s bike? With Fanatik’s Custom Bike Builder a race-ready XC machine or an aggressive backcountry adventure bike is all within the realm of possibility. The Ranger is also available in complete builds such as the stunning Ranger XO1. Custom or complete, the Revel Ranger is a single-track slaying machine, even more so when custom outfitted to Bill's liking.
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