Featured User Review: Ritchey Break Away Cross Frame

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Featured User Review: Ritchey Break Away Cross Frame
by 55×11

Price: $1049.00 at BicycleDoctorUSA
Overall Rating: 5 of 5
Value Rating: 5 of 5

Favorite Ride:
Random city rides

Bike Setup:
Ritchey Breakaway Steel Cross (Cyclocross) 2011 model, with 105/Ultegra components. Tested with Mavic Aksium and Easton EA70 SLX wheels, as well as 700×23 road racing and 700×35 cyclocross tires.

Summary:
This review is for Ritchey Breakaway Steel Cross (Cyclocross) 2011 model (White/Burgundy). I bought frame (58 cm) and built it up myself with older Ultegra/105 components.

The bike works really great! Disassembly and assembly is fairly straightforward, but takes some time to figure out the proper order of things, as does packing. I can pack/unpack the bike in about 10 minutes now, but more careful, slow assembly takes closer to 20 min.

I am not sure why so many people comment on the flex of the frame (I do not notice ANY – at all, I am 165 lbs), or problems with packing. I use soft sided Ritchey case that comes with a bike, and packing works just fine. One does NOT need to take remove brake calipers, cranks, or deflate tires. Wheels do NOT get out of true after each packing/unpacking, in my experience so far.


For packing, follow these simple steps:
1. Remove wheels and skewers
2. Remove pedals
3. Remove handlebar (at the stem faceplate)
4. disconnect cables at cable connecting points and disconnect cable from front brake.
5. “break” the frame into two pieces
6. Pack everything: take straps out, rear wheel first (cassette side down against steel plate, do not deflate), front wheel offset to the side, Ritchey provided cover in between and on top. Shoes and clothes go into corners. Rear triangle next, derailleur side towards the bottom of the case; front triangle with fork/stem/brake attached (turned 180 deg.), then handlebar, plus helmet and all tools, pedals, skewers etc. Relatively easy. Total weight of the bag is as low as 42 lbs, but I have gone as high as 49 lbs if you pack extra clothes, pump, tools etc. Don’t pack water bottles in the bag as this gets the bag red-flagged by TSA for screening. Bring an extra few screws for handlebar and seatpost, don’t pack CO2 cartridges – bring frame or mini pump instead.

Bike handles very nicely – it’s more stable and not as twitchy due to cross geometry, and is 1-2 lbs heavier than similarly equipped crabon bike I own, but it doesn’t make much difference. I have put 700×35 cyclocross tires that allow me to ride most trails – and I suspect one can go as high as 700×40 with no problems, plenty of clearance left.

Strengths:
Full-sized bike that handles and rides great! Can be taken apart and packed in a bag in just 10-20 min. Cross frame allows for wide selection of tires. Soft-sided bag works fine. Smooth, stable ride, good enough for racing on!

Weaknesses:
steel frame is a bit heavier than aluminum/carbon. Bike not as “twitchy” due to cross geometry, longer wheelbase. I can imagine frame being scratched up after many trips in the bag.

Similar Products Used:
n/a (folding bikes are not in the same league, ride-quality wise).

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About the author: Thien Dinh

Thien Dinh gained most his cycling knowledge the old fashioned way, by immersing himself in the sport. From 2007 to early 2013, Thien served as RoadBikeReview Site Manager, riding daily while putting various cycling products through its paces. A native of California, Thien also enjoys tinkering with photography and discovering new music.


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  • Ritchey Rider says:

    Good review- good TSA friendly tips, I knew about the C02, but never considered the water bottle flag. My BA cross (56cm in Magenta, like the new color much better!) has seen at least 20 trips overseas over 5 years as a tool for my work in developing countries, I carry an extra pair of cables, spare spokes and an extra coupler but I’ve never needed them. The BA cross version may be a little heavier than the Road version (mostly due to the stouter fork) but the extra versatility of wider tires and/or fenders when you need them make it the smart choice between the two, it’s more of an all rounder road bike than a cross racer anyway. And what true traveler stays on pavement all the time? As to the claims for frame flex? I call BS, if anything the beefed up tubing thickness at the BB, and the double length ST lugs make this stiffer than an equivalent butted 4130 frame. Everyone’s an expert (roll eyes). As RBR states “You don’t have to be an expert – everyone’s opinion counts.” So many reviews here are worth about what you paid for them.

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