What Makes a Winning Gravel Grinder Bike? Oregon Outback Winner Ira Ryan’s Breadwinner

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Ira Ryan's Breadwinner B-Road weighed roughly 30lbs fully loaded and watered. Without gear, it clocks in at just over 18lbs. © Robert Carver

Ira Ryan’s Breadwinner B-Road weighed roughly 30lbs fully loaded and watered. Without gear, it clocks in at just over 18lbs. © Robert Carver

Ira Ryan took the win in the Oregon Outback 360—that’s right, a 360-mile long gravel grinder in the best that Oregon has to offer. The race win was especially sweet for Ryan, since it was his company’s own bike, a Breadwinner, that took the win in under 30 grueling hours.

Ryan is a custom frame builder who, along with builder Tony Periera, recently launched Breadwinner Cycles, building an array of custom, TIG-welded steel bikes in all the major disciplines. For the Outback, Ira raced a beautiful Breadwinner “B-Road”, their response to the growing gravel market.

The Breadwinner made good in the Oregon Outback. © Robbie Carver

The Breadwinner made good in the Oregon Outback. © Robbie Carver

“The B-Road is close to our ’cross bike, but we made a couple of slight tweaks for gravel racing,” he says. “We lowered the bottom bracket drop by four millimeters, which really makes a difference. We used oversized Columbus tubing, but not too big—we designed it to be stiff and responsive, but not so much that it beats you up.”

The oversized headtube was designed specifically for the Enve CX disc fork. © Robert Carver

The oversized headtube was designed specifically for the Enve CX disc fork. © Robert Carver

Ira’s B-Road had a couple interesting personal touches. He gutted a ten-speed down-tube shifter and managed to fit the guts of an 11-speed TT shifter inside it, “to my knowledge, it’s the only 11-speed down-tube shifter in existence.” He drilled out the levers on his TRP Hylex hydraulic brakes, “for style”, and rocked a 90’s-era Sella Italia Flight because he liked the shape better than the current models. He custom made his saddle bag, smaller than those on offer by Revelate, using 1000 denier cordura, leather upper and bottoms, nylon straps and toe straps, “the duct tape of the cycling world.” He road without a GPS, choosing to rely on maps and a cue sheet.

Ira drilled out the levers on the highly praised TRP Hylex hydrolic brakes. © Robert Carver

Ira drilled out the levers on the highly praised TRP Hylex hydraulic brakes. © Robert Carver

“I like the simplicity,” Ira said. “It might not be the raciest build, but for something like the Outback, when you’re hundreds of miles away from anything, you want reliability and fixability.”

The B-Road is made from a mixture of Columbus Spirit and Life tubing for the front triangle, and Zona for the rear. © Robert Carver

The B-Road is made from a mixture of Columbus Spirit and Life tubing for the front triangle, and Zona for the rear. © Robert Carver

“The first 90 miles, I used so much energy,” said Ira. “My whole body was wrecked, it was like a ’cross race for 90 miles. You’re just cooked.”

 © Robbie Carver

TRP Hylex Hydraulic brakes on Ira Ryan’s Breadwinner. © Robbie Carver

Ira Ryan’s Breadwinner B-Road

Frame:
Oversized Columbus Life and Spirit (front triangle) and Zona (rear).
Enve CX Disc carbon fork w/ fender mounts
44mm Headtube, HT + ST 72.5 degrees
BB Drop: 66mm
BB: English 68mm threaded
Derailleur, axle, and break mounts all have stainless steel inserts

Components:
TRP Hylex Hydraulic brakes, levers drilled out
Chris King BB, HS,
Dura Ace cranks and derailleurs
Custom made 11-speed Dura Ace downtube shifter (11sp TT shifter parts inside gutted 10sp DT shifter)
Sella Italia Flight w Titanium rails, circa late 90′s
Thompson seatpost, X4 stem, and Carbon Road bars

Wheels:
Velocity A-23 rims laced to Chris King R45 Hubs
Panaracer Pasela Tourguard
700×38

Touring:
Rear bag: Custom made from 1000 denier cordura, leather upper and bottoms, nylon straps and toe straps
Front: modified Axium handlebar bag

 

Beefy tires for a long 360 miles... © Robbie Carver

Beefy tires for a long 360 miles… © Robbie Carver

 

 

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12 comments
Jonas Rullo
Jonas Rullo

Nice bike, it's almost identical to the bamboo bike I made two years ago. I opted for rear disc and front V-brake. I don't think the Enve disc was out yet. Had to cheap out with an Easton CX fork anyway. Enve is sweet but pricey. 

rpd raposa
rpd raposa

talking about outback, "reliability and simplicity" i would not have used disc hydraulic brakes, v-brakes (out of fashion) would be not only lighter, but much easier for maintenance and repair.  furthermore, not having a suspension fork, i would prefer a curved fork to a straight one. 

Lee Slone
Lee Slone

Salsa knew this (hence La Cruz, Las Cruces, and Vaya!)

Lee Slone
Lee Slone

Orange ones grind gravel greatest?

Timothy Stephen
Timothy Stephen

Sweet ride! You might want to check the article for incorrect spelling of "brakes"

g2em3
g2em3

Ira told be in a previous conversation, tubeless and had one rear flat on the entire route.

jdkimple
jdkimple

Why? That is where frame pumps traditionally mount.  As well, there aren't normally barriers dyring gravel race so no worries about shouldering bike.

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