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  1. #1
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    Ritchey Break Away Bike

    Does anyone have experience and comment regarding this bike? I am considering buying it, but would like to have some real references. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    The Ritchey bike is a more expensive version of the Dahon model . Check on the Dahon Bike forum they are basically the same bike.Dahon makes them for Ritchey.

  3. #3
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    I have owned one of these since January 2004. I've raced on it a few times. The only frame-specific beef is that I am still a bit uncomfortable with the lower coupling. Ritchey appears to recognize a potential for overtorqueing this coupling, since it released a bulletin on the issue. But if I don't tighten it "enough" I've had the coupling move around - never separate the frame, but essentially travel, probably in response to vibration. So I've gone through one coupling, had to replace it, and am worried about stretching the second.

    Another minor beef is that the rear brake cable stop integrated into the seat lug forces the last bit of cable housing into an awkward travel pattern to the rear brake calipers. I started with Ultegra dual-pivots and more recently went back to the Dura Ace single-pivot caliper. Both types have problems with the cable routing. I suspect that this problem is limited to the smaller frames (I have a 54 cm).

    Finally, a really minor beef is that it would be nice to have shift lever bosses still. I wouldn't mind being able to still have the option to go to a downtube shift lever, especially for the front derailleur, but generally, since the bike's appeal is its travel simplicity, I wouldn't mind just going back to Dura Ace indexed 9-speed downtube shift levers. All I have is cable stops. Again, this problem isn't particular to the Ritchey, but it is a design limit to versatility of use.

    How does it ride? Well - I'm faster on it than I was on a Serotta steel CSI frameset. The compact design is a winner. I have traveled with the bike three times, never had problems in the airport, and the case has enough room for my helmet, clothing, water bottles, and shoes - it really is a complete solution. The only reason I wouldn't get it again would be if I was racing really seriously.

    Would I buy it again? Absolutely. The price at retail, with travel case, is a good honest value. And the technical support at Ritchey has been prompt and responsive to all my inquiries.

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    Thanks dcrocker, this is exactly the information I was looking for. I just noticed that the baggage dimension is 2" over the limit for most airlines. Since you mentioned that you've had no problems, I take it that the airlines are not too "picky" about the 62" total dimmension limit - good to hear.

  5. #5
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    One other point - while I've never had a problem with Ritchey's OEM bag, I've noticed that Excel is now selling the S&S luggage for use with the Ritchey Breakaway. You might want to call into tech there and ask which they recommend. Only a $100 difference between bags. The Ritchey bag came with my bike, so I'll use it until it breaks.
    Roadie since 1982, former Cat 1 and still racing but much slower. Dean El Diente, Ritchey Breakaway, Litespeed Xicon, Bianchi Milano, Motobecane Fly mountain bike, Lamborghini Viaggio tandem for riding with my kids. And the best job I ever had was as a 16 year old kid prepping frames and building wheels at Performance for Richard Snook (now at Wabi Cycles).

  6. #6
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Saw the prototype of the Ritchey breakaway system on a tandem on display at the 2003 Interbike trade show in Las Vegas; looks simple and impressive and also light weight. Did not get to ride it.

  7. #7
    Lost in Greece
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    My first post - will probably cross-post it at the CX forum.

    I'm finishing my "want list" on my next bike, and probably going to build up one of the new Ritchey Break Away cross bikes. They've been racing them on the circuit with no problems. But they're checked by pro mechanics before every ride.

    For those who have ridden this, do you carry a small torque wrench to make sure you don't overtorque/undertorque the fitting? And for the guy who did ruin a fitting, how hard is it to get new ones? I was thinking about probably ordering a couple to have in my bag, so that if I screw it up, it doesn't toast my whole trip.

    Thanks,

    Pat

  8. #8
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    It seems to be a high quality part. If you are going to disassemble it just a few times a year, I wouldn't worry about it. If you are going to break it down 15 times a year, I'd get a spare clamp.
    I assembled mine without a torque wrench. Just check it before each ride.

  9. #9
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    A couple of new points. Excel lists the replacement coupler for $20 on their website. I've seen more and more builders offering the Ritchey coupling system, so if you really want it these days, it looks like you're not limited to Ritchey/Dahon, but could get a builder of your choice to use it instead of S&S couplers. I have never had a problem with the dimensions of the bag - the airlines just have too much other stuff to worry about, and it doesn't really look oversize. And if you're on a tight budget OR you are planning on using this as a second/travel only bike, you might consider going with the cheaper Dahon. Dahon really has a good reputation. Note - it may be using lighter tubing, since Ritchey claims to use Logic and Dahon claims to use WCS.

    Again, I use mine as my primary bike and only travel occasionally. But when I travel, I'm typically in a place for a few weeks. So it's really perfect for me. I don't mind checking the bolts - I mean, wouldn't you check your stem bolt at least as often, or your quick releases?

    The torque wrench is a great question. I always carry a mini-tool with me on rides, but torque wrench for travel? I don't know yet - just bought an inexpensive Park version. It's not too small. The shorter ratchet types are pretty pricey.

    Finally, for tandem riders: sounds like prevalent advice is to stick with sturdier S&S couplers. But they have different stresses on their frames, I guess.

    If I were wealthier, I'd have a Ritchey as a travel-only bike, bagged up and ready to go. But I'm not quite there yet!
    Roadie since 1982, former Cat 1 and still racing but much slower. Dean El Diente, Ritchey Breakaway, Litespeed Xicon, Bianchi Milano, Motobecane Fly mountain bike, Lamborghini Viaggio tandem for riding with my kids. And the best job I ever had was as a 16 year old kid prepping frames and building wheels at Performance for Richard Snook (now at Wabi Cycles).

  10. #10
    Lost in Greece
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    Thanks a ton for the words. I just got the "go" from my wonderful wife to start the purchase process. Plan is to build up their Cross frame for delivery to me when I arrive back in the States for a couple months this spring. Only beef I have so far is the color scheme of the cross this first year, but I've not owned a "pretty" bike for some time now:

    http://www.bikemag.com/news/interbik...t2/index2.html

    Wish it came in the RWB scheme of the 04 BreakAway road.

    Thanks again.

    Pat

  11. #11
    Lost in Greece
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    Well, I did it. Was planning on getting the Cross version, but frame availability, my desire for a new pure road machine, and a humongous deal convinced me to go with an 04 Road Break Away. Will keep the old 94 Specialized MTB limping along for another few years.

    Ordered this morning.

    BreakAway Road
    DA 9spd
    FSA SL-K
    Custom wheels - DA hubs, Aeroheads, CX-Rays
    New Ritchey Deluxe travel bag

    $2600 including a Cateye wireless7. Will be ready when I'm back in the States this Spring. Can't wait! Now, do I sell my Aluminum/Ultegra road machine or keep it for a rain bike?

  12. #12
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    YAAAY!! Another RITCHEY GETS BUILT!
    I think 5? B.F. members ride his bikes.
    We're cycling consumer rebels.

    Bet it's one sweet bike, probably last for ever. Mine has.

  13. #13
    Lost in Greece
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    By the way, I brought up the idea to Ritchey about a simple travel-size (not bike wedge size) torque wrench you could just keep in the bag, and it got passed to their R&D guys. Would be cool if they decided to do it!

  14. #14
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    Did you consider the Dahon Allegro? I saw prices around $1300 for the 2004 version. It had a pair of $600 wheels and ultegra components, easily making it a good deal not taking into consideration the frame separability. Wish I could have waited a year ago when I had a frame S&S retrofitted.

  15. #15
    Lost in Greece
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    Considered it - looks like a nice bike, but was looking for a performance upgrade from there.

    The 04 was all I could find in the Dahon, and it's a mix of 105 and Ultegra.
    The 05 on the Dahon website says Ultegra 10 or DA, but I couldn't find any.

    Plus, I wanted to add much nicer wheels and some other custom components, including an FSA crank.

    The Dahon is an outstanding value. Realize that you'll need to buy a travel case (it doesn't come with one), but that only will run you $180-200. You'll still end up saving a couple hundred off the Ritchey complete bike.

  16. #16
    Way2Slow
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    Quote Originally Posted by pilotpat
    Well, I did it. Was planning on getting the Cross version, but frame availability, my desire for a new pure road machine, and a humongous deal convinced me to go with an 04 Road Break Away. Will keep the old 94 Specialized MTB limping along for another few years.

    Ordered this morning.

    BreakAway Road
    DA 9spd
    FSA SL-K
    Custom wheels - DA hubs, Aeroheads, CX-Rays
    New Ritchey Deluxe travel bag

    $2600 including a Cateye wireless7. Will be ready when I'm back in the States this Spring. Can't wait! Now, do I sell my Aluminum/Ultegra road machine or keep it for a rain bike?
    That is a good deal! Where did you purchase it?

  17. #17
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    I just bought a Ritchey BAB and rode it the first time in the mountains around my home. I went around 45 miles. It's fast, tight and responsive, climbs like a monkey, and is very comfortable. I'll be flying with it for the first time in March. Does anyone have any experiences with the travel bag that would be helpful to know??

  18. #18
    Lost in Greece
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    Quote Originally Posted by mfreyman
    That is a good deal! Where did you purchase it?
    www.gvhbikes.com
    I think (not sure) I snagged his last 56cm, but he's got some in other sizes in stock (currently $995 frame/fork).

    He also said he could have any of his Gary V frames built up with S&S for $300 extra. Not bad price for good frames.

    Pat

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sabo
    I just bought a Ritchey BAB and rode it the first time in the mountains around my home. I went around 45 miles. It's fast, tight and responsive, climbs like a monkey, and is very comfortable. I'll be flying with it for the first time in March. Does anyone have any experiences with the travel bag that would be helpful to know??
    I've never had an airline give me any grief (domestic or international) even though, as some reviews have pointed out, it is technically a teensy bit bigger than regulation size. However, the bag isn't exactly convenient to carry around. It's large, heavy, (and, at least the standard version) without wheels. I'd suggest limiting all other luggage to a backpack.

    The deluxe breakaway bag with wheels looks like an improvement, but at $300 its way overpriced. I haven't travelled with the Breakaway since we got our S&S coupled tandem, but next trip I'm planning to use an S&S hard case instead of the Breakaway bag. In addition to the hard case, they have wheels and a usable pull handle. For those with similar ideas, note that there is one potentially notable difference: with the breakaway you leave the tires inflated, while S&S requires complete deflation. (That's how they get it small enough to be official regulation size.) For me, that means I'll stick a regular floor pump in the case instead of relying on the mini frame pump that's normally attached to the Breakaway.

    If you've got money to spend, another suggestion is to use the S&S protection tape instead of the foam stuff that ships with the Breakaway. The Breakaway stuff is okay, but S&S is definitely easier to use and is more secure.

    Stephen

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sathomasga
    The deluxe breakaway bag with wheels looks like an improvement, but at $300 its way overpriced. I haven't travelled with the Breakaway since we got our S&S coupled tandem, but next trip I'm planning to use an S&S hard case instead of the Breakaway bag. In addition to the hard case, they have wheels and a usable pull handle. For those with similar ideas, note that there is one potentially notable difference: with the breakaway you leave the tires inflated, while S&S requires complete deflation. (That's how they get it small enough to be official regulation size.) For me, that means I'll stick a regular floor pump in the case instead of relying on the mini frame pump that's normally attached to the Breakaway.
    Stephen
    I'm wondering if the BAB will fit into the S&S case. The S&S site says

    "We frequently get inquiries from consumers that purchased another manufacturer's travel bike wanting to buy one of our cases. Unfortunately, in most situations, their bike won't fit into our case."

    I think the frame tubes on the BAB would be too long to fit the S&S case because of where the tubes split on the Ritchey. Here's the link: http://www.sandsmachine.com/regs.htm

    Don

  21. #21
    SAB
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    I have test-ridden the Ritchey BA and compared it to my S&S Coupler equipped bike. In my opinion the S&S bike is better. I felt some flex down at the lower coupling (near the BB) on the Ritchey, while on my S&S bike it feels absolutely whole and solid - no different from a one-piece frame. The Break-Away system seems to me more suited for a specific traveling bike, while the S&S system is much better if you are really racing on your travel bike or will be doing actual fully-loaded touring. Just my thoughts as a simple rider having experienced both bikes.

  22. #22
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    I owned a Gunnar Roadie that was made with S&S couplings. I think it added about $300 to the frame, making the cost about $1200 (frame only.) Nice frame, but heavy with the couplings. If the couplings had a locking mechanism I be more likely to recommend it. It loosened up a couple of times. The threads are delicate, so you had to pack very carefully. The hard case is so tight that the frame usually got scratched when I travelled, even with the official padding and spacers.
    I sold the Roadie and bought a Ritchey. My shop bought the components and sold me the frame and case for about the same price as the Roadie. The Ritchey coupling system is brilliant. It makes for a very light and strong bike. I highly recommend it. The only drawback can be the geometry, because for all the sizes they sell, I understand there are only 2 or 3 different sets of lugs. Before you buy, it might be worth checking to make sure your size has reasonable geometry. I think an old issue of Asphalt magazine test rode the bike and explained the problem.

  23. #23
    Lost in Greece
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    My thoughts after a relatively hard week of riding my new Break Away frame (built up by GVHbikes with DA).

    1. The rear triangle is a lot stiffer than I expected, especially considering the relatively long chainstays for the 56cm. I've got my rear brake set pretty tight, and no rubbing at all when I'm mashing out of the saddle. Not a lot of hills here to really wring it out, but in the heavy winds we've had and a lot of hard intervals, it's pretty rigid. Part of that might be due to the wheels I've got on it, which are pretty stiff laterally also (Velocity Aerohead, DA hubs, CX-ray spokes). Hard to say without having them side-by-side to compare, but I would say that it's stiffer than my Aluminum Novara Trionfo, which is pretty stiff.

    2. It's comfortable. Again, hard to say without the side-by-side (my other bike's in Greece currently), but I think I can feel a slight difference in compliance on rough roads, but I'm not sure. I never thought my AL bike rode all that rough in the first place).

    3. It's pretty dang light for a steel bike. I haven't thrown it on a scale, but Gary said the 56 frame was about 4.5-4.8 lbs with the uncut Ritchey Pro fork. About the same weight as a good Al frame with a carbon fork.

    4. Packing is an art. I ended up using a slightly different plan than the suggested one by Ritchey, and made sure to take a pic with my digi camera. I'll print it out, laminate it, and keep it in the suitcase. I can disassemble the bike in about 15 - 20 minutes. But packing it takes about a full hour. Assembly is down to about 20 minutes. One substitution I made that I'm very happy about - I had GVH put a SRAM chain on it so I could disconnect it and put it in a bag in the accessory pocket. That way it's not getting clothes dirty or scratching the chainstay.

    5. Finish/paint isn't quite as nice as other Ritchey bikes. Nice, but not extraordinary. That said, the RWB 2004 paint scheme is sweet.

    6. You can't tell that this is a folding bike when you ride it. No creaks, flex, noise, etc. Perfectly solid. One thing I'd be careful about, though. I don't think fitting it with a carbon seatpost would be a good idea, as the seatpost holds the top joint together.

    I'm pretty happy so far. Ought to be for the price, though!

  24. #24
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    I just finished a Century on my Ritchey BAB (my first on this bike) I was really pleased with it. It is a custom setup with a Dura Ace Triple and Brakes.

    I also have a Felt 50 (2003 all aluminum frame) which has almost identical geometry to the Ritchey except for the sloping top tube. I think the Ritchey rides a bit better, and suprisingly it is an ounce or so lighter. (I suspect the components are lighter and the frame a little heavier)

    Anyway I think it will be my primary road bike in the future.

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