In terms of geometry, with a sizeable reach of 397mm for the 56cm frame size, the Emitter puts you in a fairly aggressive position on the bike and that’s seen throughout the six frame sizes on offer. Otherwise, our 56cm frame has a 562mm toptube and 155mm headtube, contributing to that low position, and a compact 990mm wheelbase combined with 405mm chainstays, helping to achieve that responsive ride.
Additionally, following the trend towards wider tyres, the frame will take 28mm rubber without mudguards, though there are no eyelets to support full ‘guards, which is no real surprise on a carbon, race-orientated frame. The paintwork is also tasteful in the tested black and orange, although if a neutrally-coloured bike is important to you, you’ll be forced towards the top end R1 at £2,200.
The ride – fast, responsive, but a little harsh in places
Given the racy geometry of the frame, I expected a stiff and responsive feel to dominate the experience – and I wasn’t disappointed. Stepping on the pedals out of the saddle launches the bike forward, while in the saddle pace is easy to build and maintain. The BB86 bottom bracket is certainly stiff enough to absorb and transfer the biggest wattage I could put through the frame, and feels solid and reassuring when you break into a sprint for the odd 30 sign out on the road.
This is all helped by the chunky tubes and stays, which deliver top levels of stiffness and good levels of feel when out of the saddle or down on the drops through the Ritchey finishing kit (more on that later) when you’re climbing and descending. It really means you feel you can put the hammer down with confidence, or tip it into a turn on a descent at high speed and have confidence in the frame beneath you to respond consistently. In fact, when the road pitched upwards or downwards, I found the Emitter R2 to be a rewarding ride, helped by the low weight and stiffness, and easily taking me to a few Strava PRs – which I interestingly set with Merlin’s similar-in-focus carbon race machine last year, with a similar level of fitness.