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Ritchey Double Breakaway tandem?

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Ritchey Double Breakaway tandem?

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Old 03-04-18, 02:55 PM
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JBinDC
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Ritchey Double Breakaway tandem?

In our interest in having a gravel/light mountain tandem built I came across the Ritchey Double Switchback Breakaway. Has anyone ridden this bike? I remember Ritchey frames being highly regarded from my mountain bike racing days but never owned one. Apparently these are welded up in Asia instead of the USA now but they look great. They claim you can build it with 700c road wheels or 650c mountain and maintain good handling with either. Pricing seems reasonable and it's obviously something that you aren't going to come across out on the road! For these reasons the bike also makes me weary, is there just so few built they don't come up on anyone's radar screen or do they kinda suck and that's why? Any thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 03-07-18, 08:37 PM
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Bornco
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I have no personal experience with them, but they look cool and the write up on the Ritchey page makes them sound very interesting. I also found this on the Tandemgeeks blog - https://tandemgeek.wordpress.com/201...rn-to-be-sure/
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Old 03-08-18, 06:38 PM
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I considered the Double Switchback before my latest tandem build, but ultimately went full custom for a host of reasons. The Double Switchback is an interesting beast. I really like that it fits reasonably wide tires, packs for travel, and takes disc brakes.

The geometry is somewhat limiting, however. The stoker top tube is on the short end for production bikes ó 710mm versus a more common ~725mm. The captain position is off the charts, though ó itís very long and low in both sizes. I personally happen to ride bikes that are similar in stack and reach to the M/S. I think the L/S would only fit most captains with flat handlebars. The geometric trail is somewhat high with the 71.5degree head angle and 47mm rake fork. Some folks would like that feel, others want much lower trail. I havenít seen a published frame weight, but I suspect itís around 12lb for the bare frame. The frame construction passes an eyeball test for reasonable frame stiffness, but I havenít ridden one.
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Old 04-08-18, 04:04 AM
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springbok99
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Personal experience

My wife and I purchased our Ritchey Breakaway tandem about 2 years ago, and have put thousands of miles on it. We rode the Dirty Kanza 200 on it in 2016 and plan to again this year (did not get in last year). Last year we rode Rebeccas Private Idaho on it as well. It was purchased specifically for the purpose of riding gravel. For the last 9 months or so we have ridden this bike more than any other bikes in our stable, as we have gravel accessible from our house. We also own a Santana tandem with Columbus tubing which we have owned since new.
For us, this bike replaced a Cannondale 29íer tandem which we rode in the 2015 Dirty Kanza 200 and I sold two months later - it was heavy and unresponsive, etc. I also totally stumbled upon this bike on the Ritchey website and rolled the dice on it, as I simply could not find anyone who knew anything about it. My short assessment of this bike is:
Pro:
Breakaway system works for airline travel. In numerous trips still have not paid a dime in fees.
The fit and geometry work great for us. For gravel, the geometry works for us, including rake, etc. and provides great stability. If you want a corner-carving machine, there may be better options out there, but you will find tires make as much difference as anything in cornering.
While not light, this is several pounds lighter than our Cannondale.

Con:
Limited water bottle mounts (4), insufficient for long gravel rides.
Cheap front eccentric Bottom bracket bottom bracket. Very difficult to adjust timing chain tension.
Ride comfort in my opinion just so-so. Better than our Cannondale but nothing compares to the Columbus tubing on the Santana.

We had some headaches with component build. The shop we bought the bike from put more road-oriented chainrings and gearing, and I have subsequently changed much of the components over to lower gearing suitable for gravel events. We run drop bars. I also would recommend you run with the biggest brake rotors you can find. We run 203mm. The shop put smaller rotors on and we can say from personal experience it can be rather terrifying to lose your brakes when they overheat. Cool stop pads and larger rotors have solved our issues. One other issue we had from the beginning was a defective coupler which had bad threads on one of the bolts and took us a few months to thoroughly diagnose ( the shop never could).

Overall a great bike for the money. There are other great options out there but probably none in this price range considering you donít have to pay extra for the breakaway travel feature. Good luck with your search.
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Old 04-11-18, 04:36 PM
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JBinDC
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Thank you!

Thank you all for the great responses. Clearly this is a quality tandem capable of some rough riding but Iím concerned about ordering one sight unseen. We are 6í and 5í2Ē which is why we like our Cannondale road tandem so much. The funky geometry is perfect for our sizing but I wonder if the Ritchey geometry and sizing will work.

Springbok, fantastic riding you two do! Are you from South Africa? I ask because we are planning to tandem the Argus.

Thank you all again!
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Old 04-15-18, 07:46 PM
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No personal experience with the Ritchey Tandem, but I have done DK.

200 miles of gravel will expose any weak links in your bike setup.

If it holds up to DK, that's a pretty significant endorsement.

I wish I had known about the Ritchey before we bought our gravel tandem.
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Old 04-23-18, 11:04 AM
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I am quite sure that the Ritchey will work for you in terms of sizing. I am 6' tall and my wife is 5' 7" and the bike fits us well. There is a lot of room in the back for adjustment - for example our bike could easily accommodate a shorter rider as the top tube is sloping, and with an adjustable stoker stem (which we use) it is easy to set up the proper seating/cockpit size.
I am originally from South Africa but living in Texas now.
As for gearing setup, think carefully about what kind of riding you are going to do. If all onroad, then very different gearing than what you would need for gravel - where you typically need gearing lower and more in line with MTB riding. I just recently switched to eTap and am loving it.
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Old 05-03-18, 03:22 PM
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Ashun
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How long is it typically to set up the tandem from each use? I am interested in Ritchie breakaway primarily because I don't have much space in my home to store a tandem and I don't have the rack or the big car to transport a tandem...if the setup is somewhat within 20mins each time, I will finally be able to get a tandem to take my wife along the ride.
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Old 05-05-18, 04:51 AM
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Ashun, google ďhoist for a bikeĒ and see if that would work for you. No one wants to build/take apart a tandem every time they want to ride.
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Old 05-07-18, 05:57 AM
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Agree a hoist may be better choice for purely purpose of apartment living. Obviously when traveling you have other concerns such as packing to avoid damage etc, but in those cases plan on minimum of one hour.
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Old 05-09-18, 03:47 PM
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Ritchey Breakaway Tandem

My wife and I have one of these, and we love it. I am about 6'3" and my wife is about 5'6". Our frame is a Large. My regular road bike is a 61 ETT, so the bike is a little cramped for me, but it is still a pleasure to ride.

Ours is setup as a flat bar touring bike. Surly rack on the forks. Hope V4 brakes. SRAM 1X11 drive train. Spinnergy 700C Tandem wheels and Schwalbe 700C X 35 tires. All up, including riders and luggage we are carrying around 450 pounds, plus the weight of the bike.

The time to assemble depends on the degree of dis-assembly. Fully dis-assembled, meaning the brakes are off, the cranks are off, etc. and the bike is packed in the bags, I can put it back together in about an hour. A partial dis-assembly to pack in our car may take me 15 minutes. I have had to break it into 2 pieces to fit on Scottish Rail bike racks, and we can be back on the road in 5 minutes.

The bike has done a fair amount of local rides, and a couple of extended tours in the Scottish Highlands. It is stable at speeds even with the fork mounted luggage. The bike itself weighs about 40 pounds, so it is not a featherweight. We have ridden some cow trails with it, but it is not a great off road bike. On gravel roads, it is fine.

The brakes were a bit of a problem. I started off with the Hope E4 brakes, and they overheated badly when we needed to stop in a hurry on a steep downhill in Scotland. We had smoke pouring off the disks at 40 MPH on the speedometer. I replaced the E4 with the V4 and replaced the Hope rotors with Shimano Ice-tech. We have not had any further trouble. If you get one, do not skimp on the brakes.

I have not had any trouble adjusting the front chain tension. I did have trouble getting the GXP cranks to line up with the rear cluster. The rear hub needs to be a 135 mm, which is not a common size for modern tandems. Water bottles are not an issue for us. We can carry plenty on the rack.

It does indeed come apart and fit into a pair of airline legal bags: one for the frame and one for the wheels. It has even flown in a Twin Otter to the Isle of Barra airport in The Outer Hebrides, Scotland.
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Old 05-16-18, 09:02 PM
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I have a titaniun breakawat single and find it to be an outstanding ride.
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