In Gear Reviews
The Ritchey looking north from top of Giau

The Ritchey looking north from top of Giau

My first Ritchey was the Break-Away Cross version.

I loved the versatility of that original bike but had two complaints: cantilever-brake are finicky and underwhelming when trying to slow down a steep mountain, and the cyclocross geometry was imperfect for high-speed road riding.

Enter the Ritchey Ti/Carbon Break-Away. It has full road race geometry, normal brakes, that magical Ti ride but with a little carbon out back to make it even lighter than an all-titanium bike.

The Kit

For wheels I’ve been running either Hed Ardennes+ in tubeless mode or Flo Aluminum (30mm deep, 24mm wide) in tubeless mode. In over 15,000 miles (according to Strava) I’ve had just four flats that didn’t seal and necessitated a tube to get me home. But one of those doesn’t count because I was seeing how far I could push a Schwalbe Pro One. You could see the threads. Hed rims are the best aluminum rims, period. I’ve never been happy with the Hed rear hub, however. It has gone through bearings faster than other hubs, and it never really spun that free. I recently built up a Powertap to replace said rear. My front has at least 10,000 miles on it a is still straight and spinning great. The Flo wheels good too, and their hubs are surprisingly nice.

I long ago fell in love with Campagnolo, and this bike is kitted with Chorus 11 speed, though I run a Shimano cassette on the flow. It shifts equally well with Campy and Shimano cassettes. Using a “medium” rear derailleur, I can run a 32 tooth cassette in back, which is very nice thank you when grinding up steep mountains all day every day for a couple of weeks straight.

The only other bike parts worth noting are the awesome comfortable 3T Aeronova and the awesome comfortable Ergon CF3 leaf-sping seatpost, which you may know by sight as it comes on the Canyon Endurace. When doing these really big cycling trips the little comfort things add up. These aero handlebars are the most compliant I’ve ever used and have put them on other bikes, despite the high pricetag. That seatpost flexes when you hit something that would otherwise bang your ass and spine. The 32-tooth cassette keeps the leg fresher when on multi-day big mountain adventures, or even when doing the Flanders sportif, pictured below.

I cannot imagine ever parting with this bike. It does it all with no penalty worth attempting to notice. In fact, it’s been my only road bike now almost two years (as of June, 2020). Daily driver and adventure bike combined.

They don’t make the ti/carbon version anymore, they are rare on ebay, and I’ve never even seen another ti/carbon in the wild. Ritchey now have a steel version, an all-carbon version, and a gravel version, both of which I have not ridden but venture to guess are great. I have two friends who own the all-steel versions and they love the bikes, ride them a lot, and travel to awesome places too. Long live the Ritchey!

The ritchey on flanders cobbles

The Ritchey was the perfect ride for Flanders. Tubeless set at 55/60 PSI and with the Ergon seatpost, I was beat up a lot less than my fellow riders.

 

Zuffnuff and the RItchey at the top of Passo Mortirolo

The Zuffnuff and the Ritchey at the top of Passo Mortirolo

 

The Ritchey looking north from top of Giau

The Ritchey looking north from top of Giau

 

Ritchey breakaway on Tremola pass switchbacks on background

Ritchey breakaway on the cobbled Tremola pass in Switzerland.

 

cyclists with vista in Andorra

Andorra is AMAZING great. Go there.

 

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