After a summer tease, Ritchey quietly slipped out an update folding travel tandem to their line-up late last year… of course it’s a steel gravel bike, and that new Outback TandM Break-Away is ready for you to build up now. Plus, they’ve reshaped their aero Chicane B2 stem more better usability and added a new, stiffer box-shaped Toyon C220 stem, as well…
Ritchey Outback TandM Break-Away steel travel gravel tandem
The fact that Ritchey has a steel tandem, or even a collapsible gravel bike isn’t really new, their Double Switchback or Outback Break-Away have already been there & done that for years. What’s new is that Ritchey has tweaked that old mountain bike tandem idea to give it some new life as a gravel tandem for couples to take on adventures together.
That’s what people were already doing with the Double Switchback, including Tom Ritchey and wife Martha Allen (who notably hopped on a previous generation tandem moments after getting married.) Notice the bike is named T and M… tandm, not tandem.
Anyway, T and M like to ride together when they travel – so is has to fit into regular suitcases to fly, hence the Break-Away couplers. And they don’t want to be confined to roads or loaded down with super heavy mountain bike wheel/tires – so it’s got to be a gravel Outback.
Tandem Tech details
The Outback TandM Break-Away is TIG-welded in Taiwan from heat-treated, triple-butted Ritchey Logic steel tubing with three Break-Away couplers & the double seatpost Break-Away clamp setup under the stoker.
It gets Ritchey’s signature light forged & machined headtube with integrated headset cups to fit a straight 1 1/8″ steerer for the matching unicrown fork inside an aesthetically small headtube.
The frameset features full fender mounts, 5 sets of bottle cage bosses, 27.2mm seatposts, external cable routing, IS brake tabs, a standard threaded stoker BB, an eccentric captain’s BB with a threaded alloy bottom bracket insert to tension the stoker chain, and quick release axles (145mm rear spacing).
The Outback TandM Break-Away gravel tandem has clearance for up to 700x43mm or 650x55mm tires.
Off-road gravel touring Geometry
The Outback tandem is only available in one size (conveniently designed to fit Mr. Ritchey, himself) and generally fitting medium to large size captains and stokers. The geometry is very similar to the older 71.5° head angle MTB Double Switchback (which also had a second S/M size).
What’s changed are slightly steeper seat angles, and a less sloping top tube with a bit longer stoker seattube. Up front, captains will be able to get a lower bar position, thanks to 5mm shorter fork length & a 15mm shorter headtube than the MTB tandem.
Ritchey claims a weight of 5020g for the 3-piece assembled frame, plus another 1070g for the uncut fork. The Outback TandM Break-Away frameset sells for $3000 / 3100€ in Merlot, Creme & Indigo a slightly more subdued tint of Ritchey’s classic read, white & blue paint job.
The frameset includes two soft Break-Away travel case suitcases to travel with the complete bike (with the full wheels & components not included) all the pads to protect it in transit, the Break-Away couple clamps, and rear brake & derailleur cable splitters.
The TandM is designed for “standard tandem gearing” which would generally mean a 52/39/30T stoker triple crankset out back. But it is sold as a frameset only, and that leaves it up to your imagination. And with wider-spaced modern gravel groups, there are tons of options.
Just Bikes Berlin, who built up this custom gravel build connected an old Dura-Ace road double with 53/38T rings to a modern SRAM 2×12 setup with a 10-33 cassette.
The wireless Force eTap AXS derailleurs might just be the perfect option for a collapsible gravel build, with no shift cables to deal with when packing (just use rim brake levers to pull mechanical disc brakes, like the TRP Spyres here). And you could even give the stoker some remote shifting blips if you wanted to go crazy!
Ritchey Comp Zeta TandM alloy tandem gravel bike wheels
Need a set of tubeless, 145mm spaced, disc brake 700c wheels for your new TandM? Of course Ritchey has the solution for that. This $400 / 400€ Comp Zeta TandM tandem wheelset has a 19.5mm internal, 23.4mm deep 6061 alloy rim designed to handle whatever you and your captain can dish out. 2077g for the pair built 36 DT Swiss Champion spokes laced 3x with brass nipples, they should be ready for most any gravel adventure.
New Ritchey Chicane B2 aero & boxy Toyon C220 WCS stems
While these two new Ritchey stems aren’t tandem-specific, you are welcome to bolt them up for the captain. For the stoker, you’ll likely need a shim or a 27.2 clamping stem (which I don’t think is offered by Ritchey?)
Both the new WCS Chicane B2 & WCS Toyon alloy stems are based around versions of Ritchey extra-wrap C220 bar clamp design. Developed to offer a more secure hold on lightweight 31.8mm handlebars, their clamp wraps 220° around the bar, while still making it fairly easy to snap them into place with completely unwrapping bar tape or removing levers.
The $95 / 95€ WCS Toyon is all-new even though it looks familiar. Essentially the same as the standard WCS C220 stem, the Toyon uses the same forged 2014 alloy construction, but with a squared-off 34×34.5mm center section that increases stiffness without extra weight (OK, it’s 1-2g heavier).
At a claimed 140g (100mm), the +/- 6° stem is available in 60-120mm lengths, with a 220° wrap, 44mm wide x 31.8mm diameter bar clamp, for 1-1/8″ steerers. Use it for anything from road to mountain biking.
The $95 / 95€ WCS Chicane B2 is more of an update to another recent design. The hinged-face Chicane was debuted as an aero stem back in 2019, but while the wedge steerer clamp was sleek, it was a bit limiting, and the flush magnetic steerer tube cap was a bit tricky to deal with.
Now the new B2 version gives you the same “smooth hinged faceplate and elegant aesthetic” without the hassle. The -10° only WCS Chicane B2 is forged from 2014 alloy too, available in 80-130mm lengths with a 48mm wide 31.8mm clamp, for a regular 1 1/8″ steerer (claimed 137g, 110mm).
New tandem, wheels & stems are all available now through your local Ritchey dealers.