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  1. #1
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    Ritchey Break Away type bikes

    Does anyone have any practical experience of the Ritchey Break Away bikes? I am interested in one as I like the traditional road bike design for use as an occasional folder when I go on holiday to ride the hills of France. It looks ideal for me after reading a review, but I still have some reservations:

    - I'm not certain the fold will make a big difference to travel, since the case still looks quite big.

    - Some have complained that the case isn't that great quality and doesn't protect the frame from dings very well and looks worn after a couple of trips. I would be prepared to put quality pipe lagging on the frame tubes, so hopefully solving the ding problem, but what about the case getting squashed. I would prefer a hard plastic case.

    - Have they sorted out the cable connectors chipping the paint? this seems such an obvious issue that I would imagine it would be on their list to fix.

    - Price looks a bit over the top. Frame isn't cheap, plus the case costs over 150, which is frankly ridiculous for an unbranded cheap nylon case. For a full plastic hardcase with a brand I would pay this. Should I try to get an alternative case separately? Is the bike available without the case?

    Final question, do any UK framebuilders build using these couplers as it seems a much more elegant and cheaper solution than those big stainless teethy lugs whose name escapes me at the moment.

    Thanks,

    Andrew

  2. #2
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    I've got the Cross version of the frame ( without case ), which I imported from the States. I did not save any money doing this - but as the UK importer did to respond to my requests for a price, I had no other option.

    The UK road frame+forks price ( 700 inc. case ) is comparable to, if not slightly less than, a custom steel frame with carbon forks ( and that's before another 350 is added for S&S couplings ).

    I bought cable couplings from sjscycles as theirs have rubber 'O' rings at both ends of the couplings, whereas the Ritchey ones have only one 'O' ring so might be more prone to pinging off the frame.

    There is a plastic hard case available from S&S but you will definitely not like the price.
    I made a 26"x28"x10" cordura soft case, with stiffener side inserts, that has survived one trip to NZ.
    I use medium density foam and cable-ties, then pack clothes and panniers around to keep everything together in transit - no problems so far. It will face another test in January when I go back to North Island this time.

    It's a lot easier to transport around than a full size bike, and is a joy to ride - I'm sure you won't regret getting one.

  3. #3
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    The Dahon "Allegro" is the same type frame as the Ritchey Break Away (steel)
    http://www.dahon.com/us/allegro.htm

    by the way Retired physical chemist Gerd Rosenblatt, 72, rode his Ritchey Break Away on a 2800 mile PAC Tour across America on the old Route-66 highway from Lax - CHI. Here is a photo of him. I think he is from the UK. http://www.galfromdownunder.com/gall.../P1020337.html

  4. #4
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    Thanks Cameraman.

    How easy do you find it is to break it down? It does look like significantly more work than I'd do to put my standard bike in a bike case, so not ideal if I'm lazy. I guess the trade off is that it's a better bike to ride than a real folder.

    I guess another option would be a Setavento for 650 plus 250 for S&S, coming to 900, plus case = 1000. Ritchey cost is not so bad after all I guess.

    Re. the Dahon, it looked to me like the same frame with a boring paint job, worse groupset and worse brand for the same price as the Ritchey. Am I missing something?

  5. #5
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    mrfish,

    Breaking the frame into half takes about a minute.
    Packing it for car or train transport about 10 minutes, just zip tying everything together.
    Packing it for an air flight about 20 minutes, with padding and protection etc.
    Sticking it all back together and cycling away is possible in 5 minutes.

    So, it's not really recommended as an everyday commuter folder, but for a holiday jaunt, it's ideal.

    PS: If you buy from wiggle, you get £70 worth of shopping ( aheadset ? ) as a bonus

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrfish
    Thanks Cameraman.

    How easy do you find it is to break it down? It does look like significantly more work than I'd do to put my standard bike in a bike case, so not ideal if I'm lazy. I guess the trade off is that it's a better bike to ride than a real folder.

    I guess another option would be a Setavento for 650 plus 250 for S&S, coming to 900, plus case = 1000. Ritchey cost is not so bad after all I guess.

    Re. the Dahon, it looked to me like the same frame with a boring paint job, worse groupset and worse brand for the same price as the Ritchey. Am I missing something?
    I have owned the Ritchey Ti/Carbon road bike since March. It is a great road bike and compares well to a regular high-end road bike (i.e., one that does not come apart).

    The Breakaways are not "folding" bikes, so you would not want to disassemble and reassemble them on a daily basis. They are intended for travel by air, rail, car or bus with the idea that you will be riding for several days once you arrive at your destination.

    I must not be as efficient as CameraMan. I can disassemble my bike in about 10 minutes, but it takes me closer to 45 minutes to pack the bike carefully. Reassembly usually takes about 45 minutes as well. Note that an S&S coupled bike would be no faster to assemble or disassemble and would fit into about the same size case.

    I have the Ritchey deluxe case (the one with wheels) as well. The case has soft sides, so it will not provide great protection for the bike. On the other hand, Ritchey does supply rubber tubes that cover most of the frame and you can purchase additional padding. Nonetheless, this was one of several motivations for me to get the Ti bike so I did not have to worry about paint chips or more serious frame damage.

    One nice thing about the Ritchey case is that it more or less meets airline luggage requirements. Thus, you don't have to pay extra to travel with the bike. Technically, the case is about 3 inches too wide (29" when it should be 26") to meet US airline rules, but in 6 air trips, no one has measured or objected. Even a very stiff customer service agent from Lufthansa couldn't figure out a way to hassle me over the bike case, but she sure tried ;-)

    In addition, the Ritchey case fits in most car trunks (or boots as you might say ;-). This is another advantage over a full sized bike case. It is easy to get the Ritchey case into a cab or your car for transport to/from an airport.

    I've taken my Breakaway on business and vacation trips from the US to Japan, Germany and Hawaii. In each case, the bike was easy to transport and it was great to be able to ride my bike in these exotic locations. I did not find the packing and unpacking too much hassle even for trips as short as 2 days.

    So far, the only damage my bike has sustained is a few small cuts in the handle bar tape and a bent cable adjuster on the rear derailure. The case also looks to be in good shape. If it does wear out at some point in the future, Ritchey sells replacements for about US$200 or less at some internet discout shops.

    One concern I have read about for the steel bike is that the paint on the down tube can chip and this may cause problems with the clamp that secures the downtube to the bottom bracket. This was another motivation for me to get the Ti bike.

    Even though the Ti bike is quite a bit more expensive than the steel model, I don't regret the extra expense. I actually sold my regular road bike (a 2000 model Trek 5200) when I got the Ritchey. The Ritchey is lighter, more comfortable and in my view a much better bike overall than the Trek. Getting the Ti model allowed me to have only one bike instead of two and allows me to view my travel bike as being just as good as my home bike (since they are one and the same). This way I never have to wish I could bring my better bike on trips.

    Hope this helps. If you have any further questions, don't be shy ;-)

    Ira

  7. #7
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    Nice - thanks for the very informative posts. Agree on the comments about the Ti bike. I'm disappointed Ritchey didn't make a full Ti frame version though as the Ti version really would last for ever, and could have all scratches and chips buffed out without bother.

    What about the seatpost? Do Ritchey advise use of non-superlight metal posts? If not, I guess the frame stresses at the joint area are small in comparison with the seat bending load.

    I just need to see whether I can somehow get the bike on our 'bike to work' scheme which businesses in the UK can operate. It allows employees to buy bikes with pre-tax income and without VAT, saving 50% on the price. I have heard that people buying Colnago Extreme C, lightweights and full record groupsets for 'commuting'. Only problem is that our office only allows you to spend 800. Still, 400 off a new bike is not to be sniffed at.

  8. #8
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    The 2007 Dahon Cadenza may fit budget limits better. It is a true folder, with a new (for Dahon) hinge design on toptube and downtube. Sold as a 26", it can be modified for ISO 622 wheels. The pixs show a 2006 Cadenza, with the traditional maintube hinge.
    The M.K'denza

  9. #9
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maunakea
    The 2007 Dahon Cadenza may fit budget limits better. It is a true folder, with a new (for Dahon) hinge design on toptube and downtube. Sold as a 26", it can be modified for ISO 622 wheels. The pixs show a 2006 Cadenza, with the traditional maintube hinge.
    The M.K'denza
    ...but the Cadenza can't fit into a suitcase big enough to take on a plane without getting charged, correct?

  10. #10
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    Baccia, since the 2007 Cadenza is not yet on sale, the packing issue is uncertain. However, my Dean El Diente with S&S couplers and ISO 622 wheelset goes in the 26x26x10 S&S hardcase just fine. Because I have a 60 cm frame, I have to remove the left crank arm to get it in. The fold on the Cadenza will be wider than a separated bike, but the smaller wheelset of the Cadenza would allow the other case dimensions to be smaller. I've only seen Lufthansa agents get a tape measure out. On other airlines, if it's close, they don't care.
    Last edited by maunakea; 11-10-06 at 04:58 PM.

  11. #11
    Ridin' Velomancer's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=mrfish]Does anyone have any practical experience of the Ritchey Break Away bikes? I am interested in one as I like the traditional road bike design for use as an occasional folder when I go on holiday to ride the hills of France. It looks ideal for me after reading a review, but I still have some reservations:

    - I'm not certain the fold will make a big difference to travel, since the case still looks quite big.
    It can mean the difference between checking it in and taking it to "oversize baggage" and possibly paying extra. I found Airline increasingly charge for bikes. Plus the wheels make it easy to lug around. Plus the soft case dismantels and will fit in an airport locker... if you want to fly n; ride.

    - Some have complained that the case isn't that great quality and doesn't protect the frame from dings very well and looks worn after a couple of trips. I would be prepared to put quality pipe lagging on the frame tubes, so hopefully solving the ding problem, but what about the case getting squashed. I would prefer a hard plastic case.
    I have not had a problem with the bike being damaged in any way. The hard reinforcing in the case did crack once... but the bike was fine.

    - Have they sorted out the cable connectors chipping the paint? this seems such an obvious issue that I would imagine it would be on their list to fix.
    Buy the Ti version or put a clear sticker, like the one usde to protect the paint against cable rub, where the connector touches the tube. The connector vas one side "shaved" so it is not so close but I still hear it "dinging" when I go down hill fast on a rough road.

    - Price looks a bit over the top. Frame isn't cheap, plus the case costs over 150, which is frankly ridiculous for an unbranded cheap nylon case. For a full plastic hardcase with a brand I would pay this. Should I try to get an alternative case separately? Is the bike available without the case?
    Excelsportsdotcom will sell you a frame without the soft case but I think the saving is not much. I must admit that after mine broke I'd prefer the hard case. Have a look on eBay... I see them "pop up" now and again.

    Final question, do any UK framebuilders build using these couplers as it seems a much more elegant and cheaper solution than those big stainless teethy lugs whose name escapes me at the moment.

    Thanks,

    Andrew
    If you want the best go for the Ti version. It is truely one of the best bikes I've ever ridden (I have 7) and my bike and bag weigh 10.5kg. Having said that I have yet to ride the steel version.

    Here it is with Shimano Ultegra... it is now all Record


  12. #12
    Elmira>Taiwan>Elmira flatlander_48's Avatar
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    I bought a new steel BreakAway in May of 2005. To this point, I have about 2000 miles on it and 7 or 8 round trips to Taiwan. Basically I bought it to prevent having to buy 2 bikes. At the time of purchase, Ritchey was still selling Ultegra 9s bikes. I bought a frame and fork from GVHBikes and had them outfit it with a full Campagnolo Centaur 10s drivetrain and Proton wheels. With the deluxe bag the total price (including shipping to my house) was within $30 of the fully built Ultegra model with deluxe bag.

    Things I have learned the hard way:
    • Follow the Ritchey packing instructions, but not the T.R. video. Print off the pdf file and keep it in the bag.
    • Pay attention to how things are arranged and make sure everything is either covered or tied to something. I did get something wrong about the second time I packed it and some damage resulted. Fortunately that was the only time, so far.
    • Secure the chain to keep it from bouncing around. (NOTE: I use a Wipperman Connex chain that you can separate by hand. That way I can put it in a bag and keep it in one of the pockets.)
    • I didn't think too much of the relatively thin rubber padding, so I use pipe insulation. However, the pipe insulation does take up more space and make it a bit harder to pack.
    • I remove the rear derailleur and wrap it (but DON'T disconnect the cable!). Northwest broke 2 before I started removing it. No problems since.
    • Recently I've started putting a note in the bag as a reminder to the TSA folks: "Please secure after inspection or damage will result."


    So far, so good. The only thing that bothers me about the bike is how the wheels nest when packed. Low spoke count wheels would probably work better as you would get less interference between the 2 hubs.

    I did consider the Allegro and S&S equiped bikes at the time. The Allegro couldn't be customized as they sell complete bikes only. S&S equiped bikes are an interesting option. All built, I suspect you might wind up somewhat more expensive as the couplers and installation are on the order of $500US to $600US over the price of the frame. That said, I have to admit that carbon fiber bikes from Calfee Design with S&S couplers would make for an interesting bike!

    You can find a photo of me on my bike here (before triple conversion).
    Last edited by flatlander_48; 12-07-06 at 08:11 PM.
    2005 Ritchey BreakAway (steel)
    Full Campagnolo double compact drivetrain - Chorus 11sp
    (50, 34 & 12-29)
    Proton wheels
    Cateye CC-TR300TW V3
    Ritchey fork, stem, headset, bars and seatpost
    Fizik Gobi saddle and bar tape
    BeBop Pedals

  13. #13
    Elmira>Taiwan>Elmira flatlander_48's Avatar
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    There is a test of the steel BreakAway in the December issue of Cycling Plus from the UK (Cycling+ 190). Interesting quotes from the article are:

    "Neither component of the system looks especially rigid, but the combined effect is an unqualified success. Even out-of-the-saddle efforts produce no discernable flex."

    "That said, there is nothing this bike couldn't handle, from Flanders-style cobbles to long days in the mountains, thanks to its low weight, at under 9kg, and the kind of supple ride provided by a long wheelbase and high quality steel tubeset."
    2005 Ritchey BreakAway (steel)
    Full Campagnolo double compact drivetrain - Chorus 11sp
    (50, 34 & 12-29)
    Proton wheels
    Cateye CC-TR300TW V3
    Ritchey fork, stem, headset, bars and seatpost
    Fizik Gobi saddle and bar tape
    BeBop Pedals

  14. #14
    Senior Member tblendell's Avatar
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    i love the breakaway. i've had it for around two years and i've only actually travelled with it maybe twice.
    having said that it takes me a good half hour to take it apart and put it back together because i have to relearn how to do it each time. its more or less the bike i ride the most, though, and don't really think of it as just for travel.
    it'll get banged up in the travel case, so definitely pad it up. the pipe insulation is a good idea.
    the configuation when packing it is a little awkward with the wheels and the handlebars (is there some kind of travel/telescoping handlebar?). the case has a small cogsize bubble in the bag to accomodate the rear cluster. this also makes the case a little awkward.
    the price differential for the case with wheels is substantial, but its almost impossible to carry comfortably unless its on wheels. i'd reccommend using a cart at the airport. the case can also get really heavy if you are stuffing it with your shoes, bags, etc.
    the case (i have the non rolling version) does NOT seem to be made well. the hard plastic is coming ring around the case is falling apart.
    also...the road bike isn't at all made for touring or carrying a load. i had hoped to rig something on this bike to take to europe with me for a tour. it didn't handle a load well (at least in the back) and doesn't have rack mounts anywhere. i even tried a specially made rack but it felt wobbly. also if you are going to tour with it, the question arises what to do with the case? i ended up taking a regular bike in a cardboard box and shipping it back in a heavy cordura/canvas bag...but that's another story.

    the rides wonderfully, though. the steel is terrific (zippier than my reynolds 853 bike) but not signifgantly more fleixible than my very stiff aluminum racer.

    the bike isn't cheap. i bought the frame on ebay and built it up with ultegra and 105 etc.

    i would definitely buy another breakaway, but i would most likely go for the breakaway cyclocross bike which seems to be much more utiliitarian and has rack mounts.

    also...check the geometry for your size. i have a 54cm. it has a pretty long top tube and a lot of standover (compact frame). i replaced the OE seatpost with a longer one.

    and it climbs great!

  15. #15
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    I have a Breakaway Cross that I have used for 2 seasons, and traveled with several times. I agree that it is about a 45 minute process to properly disassemble and pack the bike. I have never been charged extra on an airline, but I usually try to go through the skycaps at the curb who tend to be more liberal. TSA opened the case up once, and scratched up the downtube a bit repacking. I figured that this was the risk of traveling with your bike.

    The bike rides great. I use it as a commuter, road bike, and touring bike pulling a BOB trailer. I've never had a squeek (common with S&S couplers). I would buy this bike again in a hearbeat.

    Jay
    Lombard, IL

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