Are S&S Couplings the only option to retrofit a Break-Away/ Travel bike.
Don't worry, I'm not about to saw a classic in half, I have a good quality base frame that was faked up to look like a Gios, the Frame is a made to order catalog frame so has lost all trace of it's original identity. I was going to build the Frame up as an everyday bike as it has some nice details. Because it has no identity of it's own I have been mulling over the possibility of getting it custom painted (This is a distant project as I have a few on the go already and my time for wrenching on projects will become severely limited once the racing season starts in a few weeks.)
So while I've been day-dreaming on the custom paint idea, I've also thought about combining my other previous day dream of getting a travel frame with some sort of break-away mechanism. The Richie system is really tidy and preserves the look of the bike but I assume it has to be built from scratch like that to strengthen the location of the couplings and haven't seen anywhere that retrofits a similar version. The S&S Couplings look fine on a naked titanium bikes but seem a bit odd in the middle of a painted frame.
Anyways, any thoughts / experiences in this field and Not Buy a Richie Steel Frame and repaint btw, I like the idea of using this orphan frame as it has nice Chrome.
'12 Rodriguez UTB Custom, '83 Miyata 610, '83 Nishiki Century Mixte (Work of Art), '06 Specialized Epic Marathon MTB
S&S is pretty much the only option for your frame. On a bike with a glossy finish paint job and/or with various components and accessories in polish silver, the S&S couplers do not look bad at all, IMO.
Obviously any steel or titanium bike can be retrofitted with S&S couplers. The price of a retrofit + paint, however, is usually quite high. It is best to save this job for a frame that has some decent market value to it. This is why one usually find S&S couplers on customs or boutique bikes. Having couplers that are worth more than the frame itself does not make any sense from an investment standpoint. But if it's all for your personal enjoyment, go for it.
Last edited by Chris Pringle; 01-23-15 at 05:36 PM.
I think S&S is almost certainly the most serviceable option (though John D Thomson's post on the Herse system is just the kind of thing I like to see here in C&V); I don't think a retrofit to the Ritchey system is an option, and there aren't any others widely available.
As noted, the cost to go S&S could be seen as prohibitive by some, unless one is talking about a real bike-for-life or has a decent amount of spending money burning a hole in one's pockets. From a typical, quality US framebuilder, an S&S retrofit (2 couplers) on a steel frame will cost about US$500-650 plus any paintwork ($600+ is typical)...
On the bright side, if you were to pursue this - you already want custom paint, so the repaint is not an added cost associated with the retofit, really (as custom paint will cost what it costs, whether you go S&S or not).
I hear your specific resistance to just buying a Ritchey, but you likely could find one in really nice shape for the cost of the S&S retrofit alone (or, for that matter, you might have a decent chance at finding a quality used frame already S&S fitted in that ballpark).
If the frame you have makes the retrofit a worthwhile endeavour, I think the S&S system looks just fine on a painted steel frame.
When I was in the market for a travel bike myself, I lurked around for the right deal on a used Breakaway Cross - and I'm very happy with it.