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Thread: Breakaway system frames

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    Default Breakaway system frames

    It's the Ritchey "breakaway" takedown system - a pretty decent alternative to the S&S couplings a lot of 'builders are using. I've given one of them a pretty decent wringing out and have been building a few of these lately. The basic system is a set of couplings at the bottom bracket and seat tube. The seatpost becomes a structural member in the frame! A setup includes disconnects for the brake and derailleur cables. Ritchey also makes a shipping bag that costs extra. I got a chance to give it a test on a recent trip to Tucson. The bag is somewhat larger than allowable under the airlines' current 62" L+W+H allowance, but I thought I'd give it a shot. It sailed right through Southwest Airlines bag check with no oversize fees - the counter staff didn't bother to measure. Some airlines may be a little more anal about things. We'll see.

    I figure I saved at least $100 on this trip by having the breakaway. I think I'll take it to Italy when the weather warms up a bit.

    jn

    "Thursday"
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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    Thanks for the intel. They are really well made.

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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    There is absolutely NO margin for error in cutting the downtube and the seat tube. Also, it is **really** easy to get the DT coupling misaligned. Don't ask me how I know these things.

    jn
     

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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    Quote Originally Posted by jon_norstog View Post
    There is absolutely NO margin for error in cutting the downtube and the seat tube. Also, it is **really** easy to get the DT coupling misaligned. Don't ask me how I know these things.

    jn
    Wouldn't you cut the down tube at the desired location of the coupler, weld the inserts in, put the coupler on and then treat it as a normal build from there on out? I've only done one S&S contraption (a custom pedicab) and that's how I went about it. It wasn't any different than building a normal tube structure from there on out. Maybe I'm missing something?

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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    Quote Originally Posted by abbeyQ View Post
    Wouldn't you cut the down tube at the desired location of the coupler, weld the inserts in, put the coupler on and then treat it as a normal build from there on out? I've only done one S&S contraption (a custom pedicab) and that's how I went about it. It wasn't any different than building a normal tube structure from there on out. Maybe I'm missing something?
    Which is what I did for my only two S&S frames. But was told by a few more experienced builders that they cut a finished frame to add them. Andy.
    Andy Stewart
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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    One reason the S&S system is so popular with many 'builders: you build the frame, then you cut it. Can't do that with the breakaways. You have to cut the tubes to exact length before brazing them up and they had damn well better be **perfect** The seat tube connection goes on at the end of the ST and TT and there is only about 10-12 mm of "sleeve" where the tubes can braze up to the lugs. The lower flanged coupling, one end brazes to the BB shell and the othere end sockets into the DT. Again, about 10-12mm of brazed contact. I'm thinking about writing up a set of 'builder's instructions if Ritchet will pay me for them.

    jn
     

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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    hey, thank for posting this, i have been thinking about building a similar travel bike for myself. are those lower frame bits available directly from ritchey? i know you can get the clamp for the down tube junction, but i haven't seen the two frame components that you need to braze into the down tube available separately. i would love a link i you have one. thanks-

    dylan varekamp
    nyc, ny.
     

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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    DylaN,

    You have to buy a license from Ritchey ($75), then buy the kit (another $75). Ritchey sells parts but they are pretty pricey compared to the whole setup.

    BTW the bag is too big to make the airlines' 62" LWH rule! And it is at the same too small to fit a broken down bike. I had to take off the racks and the rear derailleur, and loosen the stem on the bars, to cram everything into the bag. I do think, though, that I could have included a set of fenders if I placed them around the wheels.
     

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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    I've been using, abusing, and traveling with my Ritchey cx breakaway for a decade now. Despite being a 60cm frameset, I can get it in the Ritchey case and have never been challenged about the measurements, probably because it looks so much like a regular piece of luggage.

    I'm surprised that the bits are so inexpensive for frame builders. That's great. It's a much more economical and discreet option compared to S&S couplers.
     

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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    Hey Jon,
    I sent you an email but maybe it's best to post your response here?

    Also, quick update for folks that are interested.
    The license fee is now $80 and kits are $100/ea.
    elysian
    Tom Tolhurst

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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    for what its worth, having tried both, i prefer s and s. the ritchey clamp thingy at the downtube corrodes and doesnt inspire confidence. it also seems to encourage rusting. i slightly prefer the look of my ritchey bike, but prefer the s and s for its actual use.
    Matt Zilliox

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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    Do you have examples of the corrosion?
    Are you riding in a particularly wet/humid/salty climate?

    Trying to understand what you might subject the bike to vs what I might.
    elysian
    Tom Tolhurst

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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    Quote Originally Posted by false_aesthetic View Post
    Hey Jon,
    I sent you an email but maybe it's best to post your response here?

    Also, quick update for folks that are interested.
    The license fee is now $80 and kits are $100/ea.
    I talked with the Ritchey folks at the last Sacramento NAHBS. I questioned them on the license fee as I'm just a hobbyist and do not sell frames. They told me that they could waive the fee in that case. I never followed through on it. I'll ask again this year at NAHBS.
    Chris Dougherty
    Sacramento Ca
    Curious hobby builder.

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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    The one and only Breakaway Ive ever built.
    Put a cut off seatpost through the two seatlugs so that I could fixture them as a single tube.
    Did much the same with the downtube- brazed the couping parts into the downtube and bottom bracket stub, clamped them together. Should have used the longer bottom bracket stub.

    David Benson

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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    I did the same as David.
    Used a surrogate seat post to braze the TT to the ST 'top' coupler,
    Pre brazed the ST 'lower' coupler to the seat tube
    Brazed the DT stub into the DT,
    Then clamped the BB stub to the DT assembly to braze in the DT to BB

    I also have done an S&S. I think the ultimate combo is a Ritchey Seat cluster, with a S&S DT coupler. I don't like how the S&S on the TT looks really bulbous. So you get the looks of the Ritchey but without the cons of rusty clamps at the BB. I've seen this done but can't remember the builder...







    Tim To | Granville Bicycles | flickr | instagram | Smoked Out

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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    Still looking for some of these in the UK
    Joe Rowing
    Blacklab Bikes

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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    Here is a slightly cleaned up copy of a CAD drawing showing how to cut the seat tube and downtube to fit the Breakaway seat cluster lug and downtube flange coupling. These dimensions are pretty close. You should give yourself a little extra on the tubes so you can finish them out with a file. I like to put two notches in the downtube to provide an entry point for the bronze/silver. BTW, the tolerances are close enough on both pieces that you can use silver.

    Cutting the toptube, just remember that the seat cluster lug diameter is 31.8 mm.

    Attachment 109515

    I started riding the breakaway that became my Italy bike winter of 2014/15. It became my main ride in Portland 'cause it had gears and racks. I learned how to break it down and pack it in the suitcase and took it to Tucson many times on Southwest. I rode it down the Oregon coast on US 101 on a five-day trip. I got a set of Black Star bags and took it to Italy summer of 2016 and rode the Amalfi Coast twice, rode from Salerno to Reggio di Calabria, over into Sicily, the Aeolian Islands, back to Reggio, out the Ionian Sea coast to Crotone, back to Salerno and on the Rome. I rode two lane blacktop 5-6 km/hr up the hills and motorcycle speeds on the descents. Stayed in campgrounds when they were available or camped in the wild. I rode fully loaded during weekday traffic in Rome.

    That winter I took the bike to Thailand and rode around Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Bangkok traffic! In all that time I never had a problem with the couplings. Also I never got charged for oversize luggage.

    I'm kind of hard on a bike; I did wear out a bottom bracket and terminally loosen a Race-Face Turbine crankset on the Italian trip. The only trouble I had with the breakaway system was I got nailed for 300+ euros for leaving the suitcase in storage at Fiumicino. I thought the sign said 6.5 E fee each bag. It was 6.5 Euros EACH DAY per bag. Live and learn.

    I made a second frame with stays to accommodate the 26" x 2.1" "Rat Trap Pass" tires. I was going to take that bike to Baja Sur this winter, but it got stolen. Read about it in the Mentor forum here: Rat Trap Pass tires

    jn
     

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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    Jon- So sorry to hear of the stolen bike. I had my #7 stolen, one week after build up and first ride. It was the Eisentraut class frame. I'm not a violent man but this is one thing I would strongly reconsider that for (like my wife's safety), should I ever come across it again. Andy
    Andy Stewart
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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    Jon are you using the Ritchey case or something else?
    elysian
    Tom Tolhurst

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    Default Re: Breakaway system frames

    Quote Originally Posted by false_aesthetic View Post
    Jon are you using the Ritchey case or something else?
    It is the Ritchey suitcase. This is a good piece of luggage on its own and part of the success in crashing airline oversize rules is that it LOOKS legit. It is pricey, though, $300 list and wholesale barely enough less to cover shipping charges. QBP has a bike case that comes in right at 62" LWH but it is kind of flimsy and I could not get it to close om nu 59 x 62 cm touring frame.

    Definitely, buy the Ritchey suitcase or make sure the client gets one. There's no point to the breakaway system if you end up paying those oversize charges anyway.

    jn
     

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