NAHBS 2014: Ritchey Builds His First Fat Bike & First Carbon Breakaway Road Bike! (UPDATED)

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It’s not often we want to see someone get fat and go commando, but we’ll give Tom Ritchey a pass.

The new Ritchey Commando fat bike prototype is headed for production, likely coming out this winter. Price is TBD (likely around $1,100), as is some of the final spec. It’s a 170mm rear end for now, but they’re still playing with it and may go to 190mm.

The tubing is their triple butted, heat treated Logic tubing. This one’s a one-off fillet brazed prototype, but production frames will be TIG welded. The 1-1/8″ head tube will stay, and the fork will likely remain QR. Rear also uses a quick release skewer rather than a thru axle. It’ll handle up to a 3.8” tire.

UPDATE 1: Weight corrected for carbon road bike.

UPDATE 2: Price on Carbon Breakaway officially lowered to $2,999.95.

Streak through for more pics and a look at the insanely lightweight Carbon Breakaway road bike…

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CARBON BREAKAWAY

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The new Carbon Breakaway is the first carbon fiber bike built by Tom Ritchey. As in this particular model was hand built by the man himself. It uses all carbon tubes cut to size and bonded to aluminum pivot hardware.

Tom wanted a bike that focuses more on ride quality than absolute race performance. So, the tubes are smaller diameter than what’s found on modern race bikes, with a thicker walls. That gives it a smooth ride while also making it a bit more ding resistant. It is, after all, a travel bike.

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It uses a standard threaded BB and straight 1-1/8″ head tube.

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Launching in November. Five sizes planned (final range TBD). It’ll be $3,199 $2,999.95 for frame, fork and headset. Production bikes will be made in Taiwan, not hand built by Tom, but will still be hand made. The complete bike here with SRAM Red 22 and SuperLogic build came in under 14 pounds at 15lb 10oz or a full size folding travel bike. The carbon tubular wheels certainly helped, but still. (Note: Ritchey’s reps just emailed to say they noticed a glitch in their scale at the show when we were at the booth. It was showing 13lb 11oz on average, but once they got it straightened out, it consistently came in at 15lb 10oz. Still pretty darn good for a travel bike, and thanks to Ritchey’s team for keepin’ it honest)

SWISS CROSS DISC

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We spotted this one at the Taipei Bike Show also (along with lots of other new components!), but snapped more pics anyway. They took the regular cyclocross bike and curved the non drive seatstay to fit the caliper inside the rear triangle. They say this added the least amount of weight and keeps the ride quality smooth. It also looks sleeker.

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The new disc carbon fork comes in under 480 grams and will retail separately for $449. It’s a straight steerer but meets all strength and safety requirements. They say that thinner design with their shaped head tube saves a lot of weight on the front end compared to an oversized 44mm headtube and tapered fork.

Both frame and fork will be available in August. $1,300 for frameset including fork and headset.

RitcheyLogic.com

Comments

i - 03/19/14 - 2:17pm

curious on the logic of 1 1/8″ ht and qr dropouts on the fat bike. The head tube in particular seems like it’s limiting component options now that tapered-only forks are more common than straight only, plus you can always run a reducer, where you can’t run an enlarger. Is there some benefit to a small head tube I’m not thinking of?

suede - 03/19/14 - 2:36pm

“Is there some benefit to a small head tube I’m not thinking of?” Yes, stubbornness. 44mm straight and 44/56 headtubes should narrow the bicycle standards very well, but some builders just don’t seem to care about that or their customers future needs. Straight 1 1/8″ steer tube suspension forks are becoming more scarce by the minute. I’m not even a fan of the change, but at least the builders/manufactures could come to a consensus, wait stupid thought, how can they suck more money out of people if they didn’t use planned obsolescence as a primary design consideration?

Jim - 03/19/14 - 3:05pm

maybe some buyers know they don’t want a taper-carbon fork on a steel bike and recognise that thru-axles aren’t adding anything they need – Paul Comp etc will be making nice qr hubs for a while yet. looks much better as a complete bike with a std head tube, matched fork etc anyway, imo.

Andrey Kobzar - 03/19/14 - 3:52pm

@i: Aesthetics, at least for steel frames. Unless you’re building something super burly your top and down tubes are going to range between 1.125″ to 1.5″, with the latter being overkill for most applications. If you stick a 44mm headtube onto tubes of these sizes it becomes, imo, a total eyesore. You can solve this by using something enormous, like a 1.75″ downtube, but then people will complain that your bike is heavy. There’s a structural component to this as well. When you’re applying a load perpendicularly to a tube, its best to load the outer edges of the tube rather than its center. You essentially have twice the material handling the load this way. A tube-to-tube junction is strongest when the outer walls of both tubes flow smoothly into each other, exactly like they do on the fatbike in question. When you have a tiny tube welded to an enormous tube its kind of like a stick poking a balloon.

mellon - 03/19/14 - 5:10pm

Oh suede. You big silly.

Now that you’re done telling Tom Ritchey how to design steel mountain bike frames, why don’t you head on over to Surly and tell them to update all their steel fat bike frames and forks.

Because the bike industry needs your help suede. They’re idiots and they need you, and your internet wisdom. Godspeed.

wheelguy - 03/19/14 - 5:13pm

Fatbike looks pretty good, but hopefully Ritchey will get with the program and switch to a tapered-compatible head-tube. I’d never buy a mountain bike without front/rear thru axles, but certainly not one with a 1 1/8″ steer tube.

Frank - 03/19/14 - 5:15pm

Is it just me or would Di2 make a lot more sense on a the breakaway? Anyway, that seems like an incredible weight for a “travel bike”.

Alex - 03/19/14 - 5:58pm

A carbon road bike called ‘the breakaway’ does not inspire confidence.

Adam - 03/20/14 - 8:40am

What Jim said.

Matt B - 03/20/14 - 9:34am

@ mellon. I’m not trying to hate on you here but FYI that Surly is actually updating their bikes to 44mm head tubes. The Instigator 2.0, Karate Monkey Ops, Krampus Ops and new Ice Cream Truck fat bike all have 44mm head tubes.

Personally I love Tom Ritchey’s bikes. They have a great classic look and I hope he keeps it that way. Nothing wrong with a straight steerer…..they have functioned perfectly well for a very long time.

brian - 03/20/14 - 4:03pm

1 1/8 head tube? QR front and rear? I’ll pass. With others keeping standards current, I’d rather go with something that is a bit more future proof’d

cb - 03/21/14 - 6:14pm

Well, his bikes used to be so smart, now they’ve become a collection of design gimmicks. Very sad.

bushranger - 03/22/14 - 8:10am

Got two current Ritchey frames. P-29er and P-Team. I was a fan of steel rather than a brand b*tch. Got some bikes with tapered steerers as well. Everybody claiming they “need” tapered steerers….. I call bullish*t. Your reading too much into media hype rather than just the plain old nice ride…. I’ll be lining up for a Commando just for the fun of it. Cause that’s why I would buy a fat tyre bike… for fun. If your buying a fat tyre bike for anything else… suck down some pre workout creatine, go buy some carbon, run it for 6 months then sell it on ebay for your next fad.

dave - 07/05/14 - 3:21pm

As long as your willing to buy used, or lower end forks, 1-1/8 is fine. Fox doesn’t make any 1-1/8 forks, and RS offers them on their lower end. Remember, 1 inch was all we needed when everyone protested 1-1/8.

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