2014 NAHBS: Breadwinner’s Throwback B Road Gravel Bike

Don’t adjust your handheld or desktop computers, those are indeed indexed downtube shifters… This bike is a throwback to Ira Ryan’s personal history as a bicycle racer and frame builder. Ira is no stranger to gravel, or dirt road riding and racing. Years back, in the early years of the Rapha Continental, Ira was on 23c tires tackling some of the US’ most picturesque roads. Maybe that’s what inspired this ride? That and classic road frames, with an edge. Think of this B Road as an homage to the bikes of yesteryear, with modern upgrades.

Breadwinner‘s bikes this year absolutely slayed and this tangerine B Road “gravel” bike had so much zest. The project began with Ira and Tony modifying Dura Ace downtube shifters to fit 11-speed bar end internals (yes, it shifts like butter). From there, a tapered head tube with an ENVE CX fork and 32c Pasela tires provide more than adequate clearances for true all-road riding and racing. Then, Breadwinner added a third bottle cage and fender eyelets to the ENVE fork!

TRP’s Hylex hydro disc brakes (with custom drillium levers!) will provide the stopping power and modulation. The internal cable routing ensures the lines of the frame stay clean. I don’t know why I love this machine so much, maybe it’s a combination of it truly being unique or the color? For whatever the reason, I enjoyed photographing this in the morning light at this year’s NAHBS.

See more of this mind-boggling machine in the Gallery!


    This is just so amazing. Downtube shifters and hydraulic discs? Yes!

  • pgoretraill

    This is a perfect mix of new and old school technology. This bike just looks like it would be a blast to ride.

  • Noel


  • boomforeal

    love this bike. nice anachronistic custom touches, but throw on dt mounted housing stops and brifters and its 21st century all the way. fender mounts are the cherry on top; perfect mix of form and function

  • caliente

    DT shifters look so clean! awww shitchyeah!

  • ap

    thumbs up. i just built a couplered road bike with those same 10 spd dt shifters (but canti brakes) and I love it. 2nd modern downtube shifter setup I’ve built and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

    • Adam Miller

      Ha, just looked at the full-res image and saw your brake levers are drilled as well. Awesome.

    • PwetStar

      Are the shifters indexed?

      • ap

        if you meant my bike, yes. Front is friction but rear is 10 speed indexed 7800 shifters with a 10 speed ultegra 6700 cassette, and XTR M950 derailleurs f&r. I had to change the deraileur limit screw to a longer one but otherwise it all plays perfectly together.

      • Tony Pereira

        We modified some 10speed levers to fit the internals from DuraAce 11speed bar-end shifters since Shimano stopped offering them this year. Yes, they are indexed.

        • ap

          that’s a very trick mod you did, Tony. I just stuck with 10 speed on my bike because I don’t mind at all being a little behind the drivetrain times but cool to know that’s a possibility. It’s a shame Shimano isn’t offering dt shifters with the current line. I never liked using bar-end shifters as much and I find the dt shifters great for couplered travel bikes and they shift very crisply. Anyways, great job on the bike. Makes me want an orange soda.

    • Richard Smith

      Oh baby

    • adanpinto

      I prefer your set up. I don’t understand why discs brakes are everywhere, even in this kind of bike. The other day when riding in Het Nieuwsblad Cyclo, I was close to a guy with a road/gravel bike fitted with discs brakes…in every muur I had to listen the rubbing of his brakes when he was on the pedals…in addition, they are heavy, ugly and normal road brakes perform superbly.

      I understand big names in bike industry want to sell more bikes by introducing new formats but for a hand made bicycle…same for big headtubes in small tubed steel frames…

      • Tony Pereira

        We like disc brakes, but can also build this with Cantis if that’s your preference. That’s the beauty of a custom bike!

        • Adan Pinto

          Thank you for your answer, Tony. I didn’t want to say anything negative about your bike, the problem is that I like it so much that when I look to the brakes I feel a bit disappointed. In fact, this is a general feeling with what I’ve seen from 2014 NAHBS, amazing bikes, most of them fitted with dis brakes. Maybe I am getting old…
          Going back to yours, it’s one on my favorites from the show, in fact I love DT shifters and riding in B roads. This is what I have designed 5 years ago. of course, with DT shifters. Cheers, Adán.

          • Tony Pereira

            Adan, no worries. Wasn’t taken as negative. The reason you are seeing so many disc brakes on road bikes is because the manufacturers have finally released hydraulic discs for road bikes. Those of us who have been using disc brakes on our mountain bikes for the past 10 or 15 years know that they are superior to cable brakes. I haven’t been very excited about building disc road bikes until now. I understand they aren’t for everyone, but apparently a lot of builders are pretty excited about them, so that’s what you see at the show. Thanks for your comments. Cheers!

          • Adan Pinto

            I have been also using hydraulic disc bikes in my mountain bikes, but I don’t see the advantage in a CX/road bike. Heavier, noisy (it’s easy to have rubbing discs and when you are climbing, focused, enjoying a nice mountain road it’s the last thing you want to hear, believe me), user unfriendly compared with cable-actuated brakes, and, one important thing to me, is that you miss the chance of swaping wheelsets with different tyres depending on the route. I really love the versatility of my CX, I have done everything with it, from Paris-Roubaix Challenge to Liege-Bastogne-Liege, snow rides, monster cross rides, cx racing…just two wheelsets and one bike, plenty of fun. I only see discs brakes for real of road riding, in really bad riding conditions and/or very long downhills. and for this I have my mtb…

          • Andreas De Koster

            I always thought that disc brakes on road bikes were useless. I thought it didn’t matter that the disc has superior stopping power to other brakes because the tires on road bikes are so skinny there isn’t a whole lot of rubber to transfer the stopping power of the discs to the road. I picked up a sweet 80’s road bike to commute to school with and because of it’s terrible bad weather braking I’ve been wishing I had the money to get something with discs. The B road is my new dream bike and one day I will own one. I love the DT shifters and the amazing lines on this bike. Congrats on the amazing bike you have made!

          • Tony Pereira

            Thanks Andreas. I used to think the same thing about disc brakes on mountain bikes back in the 90’s when I had the “amazing” Avid Ultimate v-brakes. I could lock the tire, what more could I need? We’ve come to find that isn’t really how it works. You can never have too much brake or too much horsepower!

  • Adam Miller

    DAT DRILLIUM brake lever(!)

  • Eddie Barksdale

    The fender tabs on the ENVE fork and third bottle cage make this for me. Also, Ira’s legs must be explosively powerful to run that gearing… either that or I’m weak as shit.

  • Raving Elk

    Why is steel moving to 1,5″ headtubes and fat carbon forks? Those fat tubes are so out of context with the rest of the frame.

    • Richard Smith

      Get with the times, maaaaan. This is modern steel, not your grandpa’s bike!

      • Raving Elk

        It’s not about the times.
        It’s about this kind of disproportional tube set.

        • Ok

        • shankshiv

          Proportion is in the eye of the beholder.

    • Ok.

    • Powell

      It’s getting harder to find threadless stems that aren’t girthy (dare I say overcompensating?), and I’ve always thought that the larger threadless stems look disproportionate on regular skinny steel tubing. Components are moving the way of “bigger and better”–fat headtubes, fat forks, fat BBs, fat handlebar stem clamps, longer axles in rear hubs, more gears, ad nauseam.

      I agree that the argument seems a little nit-picky, but don’t you think the front end of the bike looks a little lopsided compared to the back end, John?

      • It just looks like a steel bike with a tapered head tube IMHO. It’s something I’ve gotten used to. Personally, I don’t mind, because I think the ride quality is superior to a 1 1/8″ and we rarely look at bikes in the real world like this.

        • Scheezler

          the head tube’s not tapered, it’s 44mm to accommodate a tapered steerer. IMHO

    • Tony Pereira

      If you asked me a year ago I would have said the same thing. The disc brake forks we like only come with tapered steerers. After building a bunch of them I’ve grown to like the look. We can also build this bike with canti brakes and a straight steerer.

  • reteptterrab

    Good call on the Pasela tires, they’re great off road and lots of versions too.

  • Doug M.

    It’s also a reference to Trans Iowa the bike Ira used to win V1 & V3.

  • shankshiv

    Dura Ace and Discs = KICKASS

    Need to Moto those brakes so you dont endo.

  • Reggie

    A real beauty!


    Perfect mix of old school and new school? Sorry, but the down tube shifters are terrible. Just what I want to do is go back to 1980 to shift my bike. No thanks. Its a beautiful bike and I do appreciate out of the box thinking, but no on the shifters. Spend a wad on the bike for what? To go back 30 years with that shifter style???

    • I’m sorry that Ira Ryan didn’t build his new bike with your sensibilities in mind. He’s been a fan of DT shifters and won V1 and V3 of the Trans Iowa on a bike with DT shifters. Ira was riding for the Rapha Continental, on gravel roads, on 23c tires and DT shifters before most knew what Rapha was. I like his style and I think this bike is a modern day equivalent to what he was riding 10 years ago.


        Been in the bike business for 30 years, I know who Rapha is and was. Good for Ira, seriously. I’m just saying its not something that makes sense to me. Certainly, what I think is not a shared thought with everybody but its simply put, a comment. I also stated that it was beautiful bike as well. So don’t take it as a bashing. Not everyone has to think its genius. I love your site but I’m not gonna gush over everything you post. People are gonna like stuff and not like stuff simply put. For example: I own a single speed cross bike and most people that have commented on it have said,”why the heck would you want an SS Cross bike for?” No worries. We all march to the beat of a different drum.

        • It’s cool, your original comment wasn’t as reasonable as that one. You don’t need to gush, but being abrasive does no good. Not everyone enjoys reading negativity.

          • Raving Elk

            People on this site don’t take kindly to critique. :[[

            As far as I can recall, the main reason down tube shifters were droped by pro racing is that for most people it was too distracting. Having them on bar end’s is a great alternative.But still you can’t have proper grip and shift at the same time.

            And still… why do some frame builders insist on using those super fat head tube and forks with slim steel tubing? Is this mainly a strange aesthetic or is there something more in it? Can’t imagine it makes much of a difference performance wise on a steel bike.

          • I don’t mind critique at all, as long as it’s tactful and polite. We all have a lot to learn and that process is easier when people aren’t being dicks. Ya know?


            Don’t think anyone was being impolite. Let me state it again and for the last time, I said the bike was beautiful, you keep forgetting to see that I said that as well. Who’s focusing on the negative?

          • Dude, you lead in with “Perfect mix of old school and new school? Sorry, but the down tube shifters are terrible. Just what I want to do is go back to 1980 to shift my bike. No thanks.”


            Of course I saw that you said the bike was beautiful. AFTER that lead in. All I’m saying is people can work on their presentation a little. Sorry, this isn’t all directed at you, but in general, the theme of ‘critique’ here on the site is lead in with a bunch of ill-worded criticisms and maybe one or two positives.


            I can see how you took it and starting off the thread that way was a mistake perhaps, but not meant to come across as mean spirited. Hand shake extended to you, Prolly. Lastly, I happen to think the oversized head tube looks fine with steel tubes. Strong is building me one right now similar to the Breadwinner minus the DT shifters. ;-) I’ll send ya pics when its done and you can bash it all ya want. Double ;-)

          • Like I said, I don’t mind critique! And believe me, I’m trying to be less sensitive about this kind of stuff.



            Cheers, John!


            Raving Elk, I concur.

          • I take critique, especially when it is more than “why the fat tube… :[[” – how the hell is that constructive? ;-)

    • Tony Pereira

      It’s a custom bicycle. We can build it with modern shifters if that’s your preference. Ira likes the simplicity and reliability of down tube shifters. He mentioned the other day that he hasn’t replaced the cables on his current DT-shifter equpped bad weather bike and that thing sees heaps of miles in crap weather. P.S. I find it funny that you don’t “get” this, but you “get” singlespeed cross bikes. To each his own, brother.

      • Thanks Tony!


        Tony, I know its a custom bike. I’ve sold tons of custom bikes. Simply put, Ira can love them all he wants and thats great. I don’t and that’s fine too. Hence my earlier comment, “we all march to the beat of a different drum.” To each his own indeed.

  • Sam Appelbaum

    This is my dream bicycle! I reckon they machined a new stopper tab on the DT shifter to accommodate the extra cog out back? I absolutely love downtube shifting, both my touring and road bikes are equipped with it. I can’t wait to see some jerk pedaling this thing around Portland. I will cat call it.

    • Tony Pereira

      yep. See my other comment above.

  • chinny


  • Dan

    I reckon it looks sweet with down tube shifters. Something a bit different is always good – especially on a custom bike. Most people that would ride a bike like this would have a stable of bikes anyway and wheres the fun in having them all exactly the same?

    • Agreed +1 to newness / oldness and interestingness

  • Jason_Adams

    Beautiful bicycle indeed but tell me about the reasoning for the offset seatpost. Tilt adjustment appears to be maxed out and the saddle is still not level (of course actual saddle angle is a personal choice). It would appear that form is being sacrificed for function?

  • Max

    If Tony is still listening, those brakes look beautiful. I just ordered a pair of Hylex brakes and now I’m inspired to drill them. I’m effectively building a budget version of this bike (Soma Double Cross frame). When you drilled the levers, did you completely disassemble them or drill it as is?

  • Wakatel Lu’um

    I just love the frame and the fact it has down tube shifters!

  • misterdangerpants

    A little late to the game here, but I really like this bike! My Tomii #12 is very similar.