I've got another contribution for your gallery. This is my primary road bike, a Ritchey Break-Away. This is the bike that Rivendell reviewed in the Reader a few years back and I bought it from them at one of their garage sales. I took this shot on Cap Martin during my recent trip to the French Riviera.

I like to think of my Break-Away as a classic steel frame that just happens to break down to fit into a suitcase. Nobody's ever noticed the double seat clamps or downtube clamp without me pointing it out. Unlike other travel bikes, the Break-Away doesn't stick out like a sore thumb, so when on vacation I can hang with the regazzi without looking like the tourist I am. The geometry is relatively relaxed, even compared to my RB1, but the lack of rack and fender mounts (and even pump peg!) belies its intended use for fast recreational riding. I've been adding flag stickers to the top tube for every country I visit with the bicycle.

Nearly nothing on the bike is original. (Rivendell readers can compare with the published photo.) I run friction Shimano eight speed on all my geared bikes so they can share wheels and cassettes, and this one is no exception. The 9 speed Dura Ace rear and gorgeous Sun Tour Supurbe Pro front changers are mated to Ultegra barcons with cables routed under the tape to the top of the bars. I cross the cables under the downtube, so the cable housing has a more elegant, larger radius routing from the bars. Chorus skeleton brakes are operated with Tektro campy copy levers. The most significant change is probably the fork. Local builder Patrik Tegner brazed some slender SLX legs into the Colnago-like-crown-you-see-everywhere, a fork that suits the frame much better than the clunky carbon model that came with the bike. I've kept the Ritchey Pro headset and stem for the moment. The bike is pictured in alpine livery, with a DA-Open Pro rear wheel with an XTR 12-28 cassette and 28 hole Ultegra-Open Pro radially laced front wheel, both shod with IRC 23 tires. The Salsa skewers from my ancient racing mountain bike provide clearance aplomb for the clever-but-clunky Breezer-style Ritchey dropouts. The original Ritchey crank didn't last long, and the 105 I bought in a panic before a trip. It may get replaced with a compact Truvativ or Campagnolo unit later. A Nitto 176 44cm bar and Nitto post, Avocet O2 saddle, and Zefal pump with one of those AFA umbrella-style clamp-on pump brackets rounds it out.

The bike has been built up to reflect my personal riding style and tastes. It is a racy bike for fast riding, but doesn't succumb to trends, and should never be more out of date than it is today.

Hans Stoops



Ritchey BreakAway - Traveling in Style







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