The Break-Away® is a conventional size and style, steel road bike that disassembles in minutes and fits neatly inside a 23 x 66 x 73.5cm (9 x 26 x 29”), travel bag. Ritchey’s exclusive, investment cast lugs and patent-pending, cromoly compression coupling are the keys to this new design. The lugs securely grip the seatpost in two places and join the upper portion of main triangle to the rear. On the downtube, nearly at the bottom bracket shell, the compression coupling forms the lower connection for the front and rear triangles. The coupler clamps unobtrusively around small flanges on the downtube. This system adds less than 100 grams to the bike. Break-Away frames are built with custom heat treated Ritchey tubing. Complete bikes are being offered with a combination of Ritchey Pro / Shimano Ultegra® components.
Strengths: My cyclocross version is wonderful. It is my dailey commuter, my niterider which allows me to jump up on curbs and sidewalks and of course a great travel bike. You only have to pay $50 dollars vs $150 to get it on a plane.
Weaknesses: The case. I have had 2 cases and I can tell you the first thing you have to do after you have purchased the bike is to prepare the case. Remove the nylon outside of the case and place 2 lengths of Gorilla Tape around the entire outside of the plastic frame. One at the top and 1 at the bottom. Then wrap the tape around each corner continuously from inside to outside. If you follow these steps your case will last you a long time otherwise you will be replacing your case after 5 or 6 trips.
Other packing tips:
Buy a thin roll of bubble wrap and use it on the inside of your case. A thin layer does not take up much room and keeps you spokes from getting bent and your frame from getting banged up. I always travel with my Mavic Open Pro CDs which have 32 spokes (which are bomb proof) for 2 reasons. #1if you are in the middle of nowhere and you break a spoke you can make it to you destination and the wheels will survive the baggage handlers.
The bike has multiple personalities: it is a wonderful cyclocross bike, a good commuter, and a comfortable road bike. I always take both cyclocross and road tires and tubes with me when I travel. We just came back from a trip to Israel. In Tel Aviv I met up with a bunch of roadies and the Ritchey hung in with the group very nicely. Then we went up to Safed where there are many dirt and badly paved roads and the bike performed wonderfully with the cyclocross tires.
Date Reviewed: March 2, 2013
This is my second Break Away. I've traveled maybe 20 times total with both bikes. For several years my Break Away was my only road bike. I feel there is a slight weight penalty of about 2 pounds vs a carbon frame and a slight stiffness penalty as well, which is only felt is an all-out sprint. I have to replace the frame coupler clamp about once a year to restore the original stiffness. The clamps are said to stretch over time, but what I think actually happens is a reshaping of the inside surfaces, allowing the flanges to move inside the clamp even when it is properly torqued.
What I found works great is to travel with TWO cases. I put all the bike bits except the wheels in a 26x26x10 S&S hard case. There is just enough room for my 58cm frame. I use lots of pipe insulating foam plus about 2.5 inches of foam top and bottom. I use the Ritchey case for the wheels and all the stuff I would normally put in a suitcase, like my clothes, shoes, and other personal effects. Packing goes very quickly and nothing gets scratched, even when TSA has had a look. The loosely-packed Ritchey case will probably last forever, while the S&S case protects all the valuable bits much better than a soft-sided case ever could.
Date Reviewed: December 12, 2012
Strengths: Absolute portability, ease of travel, simple enough to put together, fast enough to race. Case is lightweight and flexible enough to pack your clothes in, too.
Weaknesses: Frame is a little too flexy for sprinting. Back when I was in fast race shape I could notice a definite level of flex when sprinting to the point that it slowed me down. Frame is also a little too lightweight. It does not absorb rough road conditions as well as a slightly heavier steel frame. The Ritchey instructions to pack are terrible and a good way to break your derailleur.
This bike has enabled me to do some amazing rides/races over the years. It gets packed about 4 times a year. I also used it for several months as my regular bike when my main racing bike was kaput. This bike has been to California, Texas, Kansas, Vermont, Florida... I built it up w SRAM Rival, Thompson stem/post and Chris Kind 32h wheels. Total weight is around 17.5lbs with pedals.
Renting a racing bike is extremely expensive ($75/day) and you have to be there when the store is open to rent and return. Traveling with a full size bike is also quite difficult if you every want to use public transit or rent a smaller car. I would sometimes take the bus to work with the bike and then take the train right to the airport. With a full size packed bike you would have to pay considerably more just to get to the airport on top of checked baggage fees.
You need a level of mechanical prowess to put this together. Things go wrong on this bike during packing and they take fixing such as untrue wheels, bent cables... There are a lot of opportunities to make small mistakes putting this together that take some real diagnosis to work out. I pack the bike like a wheel sandwich with the frame in between and the bars laced through the spokes. This has been much more effective than the Ritchey packing method which puts the wheels under terrible stress as well as leads to premature death of the carry case.
The paint will get scratched and it is easy to dent the bike with the crank arms. The white painted areas should have been a darker color to hide the scuffs.
I have only had one issue checking the bike. A Southwest agent told me that because it was a bike, you have to still pay $50 no matter what. I called her on it and brought up the Southwest baggage policy and managed to check it for free.
In the end, this bike has carried me through some of the best rides I have been on in the past few years. It us much easier and more convenient than a full size bike to fly with and generally easier than renting a bike. My rule is if I can get two rides in, I fly with it.
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: September 16, 2012
Strengths: It travels! It's beautiful! It works!
Weaknesses: Bag, cable splitters bang on frame on cobblestones, not ideal for (very) tall riders - 60" requires a *very* long seatpost for me (I'm 6"4.)
After five years of intensive riding I'm about to buy a second road bike. Need something stiffer, racier, but I still hesitate. I've never loved a bike this much. The Break-Away concept works, and I find myself taking in on most trips longer than two days. I've ridden several continents and been on planes maybe 100times without any trouble and saved LOADS of money. No, it's not a hyper-responsive carbon rig, and no, it's not ultra-light, but it does fine in races (in fact, surprisingly well) and perfectly for everything else. If you travel and love timeless, classic bikes, I cannot recommend the Break-Away enough. The bag could be better; I'm on my second now and will be more careful this time.
There are only a few threads with the Breakaway in a S&S case. Wanted to give people my packing and review of the Ritchey road frame and getting it in the case. I have had the frame almost a year and took it to Arizona already. Worked well and was able to get it through the airport without gettin ... Read More »
Next on my itinerary was Germany, namely Hohenkammer, a small village about 20 miles north of Munich. I had some free time and went out for a ride on my Ritchey. It was raining the day before and would rain the next day, but on that particular day I really lucked out.
I didn't research the roads ve ... Read More »
I recently bought a used Ritchey Breakaway Cross frame that arrived today, and it appears to be in great condition. Unfortunately, the previous owner did not include any assembly instructions or any of the connector fittings for brake and derailleur cables or other parts. The instructions appear to ... Read More »
I spent St. Patrick's day in Baltimore. Home of the Superbowl champions Ravens, Michael Phelps, crabcakes, The Wire, rowhouses and Lacross. Of course I brought my Ritchey Breakaway with me. So instead of drinking green beer and talking about how awesome Ravens are, I decided to go for a bike ride. I ... Read More »
A belated post from a few months ago. I drafted it but forgot to post.
Last December my Ritchey Breakaway and I took a trip to Palo Alto, CA (working at SLAC).
It rained most of the days I was there but on the final day the rain stopped, so we went for a ride. We went up to Page Mill Road, up to ... Read More »