After years of road riding, I finally decided gravel biking just looked too darn fun to pass up. Below, you’ll find the lowdown and step-by-step video walkthroughs for my Ritchey Breakaway 1x gravel bike build!
- Frameset: 2020 Ritchey Breakaway (size M)
- Wheelset: Hunt 4 Season
- Levers: SRAM Apex 1×11
- Rear derailleur: SRAM Apex 1×11
- Crankset: SRAM Apex 1x (42T, 170mm)
- Cassette: Sunrace CSMX8 (11-42T)
- Chain: KMC X11EL
- Brakes: SRAM Rival
- Tires: WTB Exposure TCS (30c)
- Handlebars: Ritchey Butano Comp (42cm)
- Stem: Ritchey 4-axis Comp (100mm)
- Seatpost: Ritchey 4-axis Comp (27.2mm x 400mm)
- Saddle: Brooks Cambium C15
- Bar tape: Fizik Vento
With most of 2020 spent sheltering in place, I was getting bored of biking around the same roads in my neighborhood. The nearby dirt paths I’d never explored beckoned me. For more exploratory riding (which is the most fun kind), a gravel bike offers more capability and flexibility than a conventional road bike.
Why the Ritchey Breakaway?
First, I already ride a Ritchey Road Logic. It’s awesome! When traveling, I constantly find myself wishing I could bring it along it with me. Unfortunately, the time involved with disassembly/reassembly, along with the oversize luggage fees, are prohibitive. The Breakaway, on the other hand, comes apart simply and quickly, and can be stashed in the included check-in sized suitcase!
Moreover, like the Ritchey Road Logic, the Breakaway has clearance for up to 30c tires. While that’s far from huge (gravel bikes generally roll on 32-35c or wider tires), it’s about as wide as you can go with rim brakes.
Note: I get that gravel bikes are supposed to have disc brakes. But after working on countless bikes with discs, I can definitively say I hate them and they are the worst. They’re a pain to set up and an even bigger pain to maintain. Warping, scraping, and squealing are just a few examples of their never-ending issues. Trust me – under normal, moderate gravel conditions, rim brakes are simple, light, cheap, and get the job done.
Actually, I love the double chainring setup on my Ritchey Road Logic. It’s versatile and elegant.
However, a 1x setup, with only a single chainring, is simpler, lighter, and cheaper (in theory). This makes traveling easier, since ditching the front derailleur means one less fuss with every time I break down the bike. (It’s also one less thing to go wrong when up on a mountain in the middle of nowhere.) Furthermore, with a big enough cassette, you can get basically the same gearing range as a 2x system. And to be honest, I almost never use the highest gears anyway, even on compact chainrings.
What will I need?
To make life easier, you’ll need the following tools for best results:
- Hex wrenches (ideally with ball ends)
- Bottom bracket tool (I use a ratchet attachment type)
- Lockring tool (for Shimano/SRAM)
- Cable cutters
- Chain tool (I have a pocket style one)
- Hacksaw (preferably with a carbon-specific blade for carbon steerer tubes)
- Bike grease
- Frame protector (I used Boeshield T-9)
- Tubeless tire sealant (I like Orange Seal Endurance)
Ritchey Breakaway 1x gravel bike build
Here, you can watch the following videos to see the Ritchey Breakaway 1x gravel bike build come together, from beginning to end!
I hope you found the article and videos informative. Maybe it will inspire you to build your own bike as well!
In closing, what do you think about my Ritchey Breakaway 1x gravel bike build? If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!