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Ritchey Breakaway vs SS couplers

Old 09-12-18, 11:10 PM
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Ritchey Breakaway vs SS couplers

Does anyone have experience with the Ritchey Breakaway system as compared to SS couplers . I'm about ready to put together a travel bike and wondering how the Ritchey system holds up against SS couplers in the long term, durability , ease of use, etc .
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Old 09-13-18, 06:15 AM
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people don't seem to like the Ritchey down tube part. The main complaint is about corrosion. There are some builders that use the Ritchey seat cluster and the SnS down tube connector. However, I have never heard of any deal breakers for the Ritchey, just note that you need to take anti-corrosion measures for the down tube coupling. For retrofit, SnS is king. The Ritchey parts are 1/3 the cost. Both work.
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Old 09-13-18, 09:11 AM
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I was in the bike room as people were packing up from the Mac-and-Cheese and there was one titanium break-away and 3-4 SS coupler bikes. The vast majority of people just used a full size bike box and shipped via bikeflights for forty bucks. With baggage fees on just about every airline vs. the bikeflights option, you would have to do a fair amount of international travel to justify either one.
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Old 09-13-18, 10:03 AM
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no doubt, but one trip to PBP is $400
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Old 09-13-18, 12:48 PM
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Thanks unterhausen , I'm leaning towards Ritchey as it seems like its a fairly basic attachment process, as well as affordable and I'm fairly good in preventing corrosion when considering I live in a rather rainy area . I ride a fairly heavy LHT at present, which I could install SS couplers as well, but think my next bike should be a little lighter . But I'm still not yet committed to either system .
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Old 09-15-18, 11:06 AM
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For domestic travel within USA, I agree with Kingston that Bikeflights is the way to go. Possible exception would be if you fly Southwest, two free checked bags. This past April I did a week long van supported trip with ACA. I traveled with two friends, we flew Southwest. My friends shipped their full size bikes to the motel with Bikeflights. But I put my folding bike in my S&S case and took it on the plane because it was my second (free) checked bag.

On that van supported ACA trip I did, two of the riders had Ritchey Breakaway bikes. Both had traveled extensively with their bikes and were quite happy with them. I am not sure but I think both were cyclocross type bikes. Both had cantilever mounts, one of the two bikes had a carbon fork.

After that trip, I learned of a fantastic price on a bike with the Ritchey Breakaway system, the bike was pretty much a normal road bike with a steel frame and sidepull brakes. The price was screaming take me home, so I bought it. It is not a Ritchey bike, it is a Raleigh Grand Prix, they licensed with Ritchey to build that model. I have not traveled with the bike, but I have taken it apart a couple times to see how the coupler works. I think that the Ritchey coupler system is perfectly adequate for a road bike or cyclocross bike or rando bike that would likely never be used for anything more heavy duty than credit card touring.

I built up an S&S coupled bike five years ago for expedition type touring. Heavy bike, but I wanted a bike that would go anywhere so weight is one price I paid. At one time when I was in Iceland I had over two weeks of food on my bike, along with the camping gear. The bike is quite robust and is not going to break, handled a heavy load great. That of course is much more heavy duty than you would be looking for if you just want a travel bike. I mention it because you are looking for a comparison.

Bottom line, I think they would both work well for you. The S&S is clearly the robust option and the Ritchey option I think is much lighter duty.

But one thing you should be aware of. The Ritchey Breakaway Case exceeds the standard airline criteria of 62 inches. The two guys that I met on that ACA trip last spring, one of them said that on one occasion the airline charged him the oversize fee, the other guy said that he had never been charged that fee. I am guessing that since the airline is so focused on over-weight luggage, they just do not notice that the case looks a bit big.

My expedition bike fits into the S&S Backpack case pretty well, that is exactly 62 inches. A bit of trivia, a 26 inch wheel (like my expedition bike) fits into an S&S case a lot easier than a 700c wheel.

The Raleigh case that came with my Breakaway bike is not a very good case, so if you get a Raleigh Gran Prix, assume that the case will not protect your bike on an airplane. I have beefed up my Raleigh bag with more structure but have not flown with it yet.

If the Grand Prix might meet your needs, Amazon, Nashbar, Raleigh USA (and others if you google it) have limited size choices but a good closeout price. If you want to know more about my Raleigh, there is a long thread on it here:
https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/1...rand-prix.html
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Old 09-15-18, 09:02 PM
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Thanks, I've a touring bike already and my travel bike will be used for Randonneuring and day rides outside the USA, so I am rather sure the Ritchey system will be the way I go. Thanks for the details regarding your experience
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Old 09-22-18, 10:10 PM
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I have both an S&S bike and a Ritchey BreakAway CX. I use an S&S hard case when I travel with either.

The Ritchey system is easier to use with no special tool to tighten the couplers and doesn’t suffer from getting grit in the threads (my S&S is a custom 29er MTB). I never noticed any difference in lack of stiffness in either bike. I did get some rust on the mating surface of the downtube couplers on the Ritchey one winter I rode it w/o disassembling it for a few months, but that was easily cleaned up.

If I was having another custom bike built I’d specify the Ritchey system hands down. I’d probably just buy one off the peg though as they’re really nice riding bikes and (at least the steel frames) affordable.
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Old 09-22-18, 10:23 PM
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An outfit that installs S&S couplers routinely is TiCycles in Portland. They have the operation down to the point where several of the best custom builders just send their finished frames to TiCycles for the S&S rather than doing it themselves. (You could ask them if they do the Ritchie's.)

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Old 09-23-18, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by anotherbrian View Post
...I use an S&S hard case when I travel with either.
...
... getting grit in the threads (my S&S is a custom 29er MTB)....
I tried to get my Ritchey type bike into my S&S case, it was a bit too big with my crankset on the bike. I decided not to invest in the crank removal tools at this time, but might later. My S&S bike also needs the crank arms removed, but since I built up that bike from the frame I have those tools for that type of crank.

I think every bike is slightly different when it comes to frame dimensions, some people need to remove one crank arm, some do not need to remove any.

***

I used to use electrical tape to seal off the ends of my S&S "nuts" but that was too much hassle to get the tape under the cables, instead now use some short tubes from inner tube rubber that I stretch over each end of my S&S "nuts" to keep the crud out. Both are quite effective in keeping the threads in the couplers clean.

First photo is of the electrical tape that I no longer use, second photo is of the inner tube rubber seals but my next generation of the inner tube rubber seals will be longer than shown in the photo. I have seen some photos where one long piece of inner tube rubber has been used, but I think two pieces that allow you to still put the S&S wrench on the coupler is best so you can occasionally check to make sure it is still tight.


.
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Old 09-23-18, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I tried to get my Ritchey type bike into my S&S case, it was a bit too big with my crankset on the bike. I decided not to invest in the crank removal tools at this time, but might later. My S&S bike also needs the crank arms removed, but since I built up that bike from the frame I have those tools for that type of crank.

...

I used to use electrical tape to seal off the ends of my S&S "nuts" but that was too much hassle to get the tape under the cables, instead now use some short tubes from inner tube rubber that I stretch over each end of my S&S "nuts" to keep the crud out. Both are quite effective in keeping the threads in the couplers clean.
My Ritchey is a 58cm (59?), and the BB shell is in one corner of the case, and dropouts in the other. I have Shimano Hollowtech cranks on both bikes, so the complete crankset comes off for packing (then wrap the large chainring to keep teeth from scratching anything). Crankset removal/install is super easy (5mm hex, I know not to overtighten) and only requires a small plastic tool to snug the crankarms together.

The MTB requires the brake discs to be removed, 29er tires completely removed from rim, and suspension fork compressed to fit. I have sliding dropouts, and the rear disc caliper + rear derailleur come off with two bolts. The MTB was a chore to pack (but everything fit), which led me down the path of the BreakAway. My BreakAway takes more effort (at least for the hard case) than Ritchey's demo video shows, but it isn't a problem.

I use electrical tape on the S&S bike after trying the inner tube method and battling to get them on. I used much longer lengths of inner tube though, and should probably try again with shorter lengths like you have. All my cables have full length housing and I cut/zip tie them at each assembly/disassembly, so do need to remember to tape the (top tube) joint first.
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Old 09-23-18, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by anotherbrian View Post
... after trying the inner tube method and battling to get them on. I used much longer lengths of inner tube though, and should probably try again with shorter lengths like you have. All my cables have full length housing and I cut/zip tie them at each assembly/disassembly, so do need to remember to tape the (top tube) joint first.
I am not sure what size inner tube I used to cut from, but later I was in a large bike shop and asked one of the mechanics if I could have one of the wider inner tubes from their trash bin, he was very happy to let me sort through the bin looking for the widest one I could find. Next time the couplers come off, that tube will be the donor for my coupler seals.
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Old 04-08-19, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by anotherbrian View Post
If I was having another custom bike built I’d specify the Ritchey system hands down. I’d probably just buy one off the peg though as they’re really nice riding bikes and (at least the steel frames) affordable.
I recently bought a S&S Seven because @unterhausen said it costs $400 to take a bike to PBP, and now there's a breakaway ti cross on ebay in my size. I like everything better about the seven other than possibly the frame, but really just based on your comment. In your opinion is the breakaway enough better than S&S that I should get both, build the bike I want and part everything else out or just keep the seven?
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Old 04-08-19, 03:25 PM
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the only complaint I have ever heard about the S&S is that the top tube coupler is really obvious and people think it's ugly. I don't, but I do I think that the Ritchey seat lug is ugly. I see no reason to have both bikes.

I have to figure out what I'm going to do about a case. Hopefully I can borrow one from the bike shop
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Old 04-08-19, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
I recently bought a S&S Seven because @unterhausen said it costs $400 to take a bike to PBP, and now there's a breakaway ti cross on ebay in my size. I like everything better about the seven other than possibly the frame, but really just based on your comment. In your opinion is the breakaway enough better than S&S that I should get both, build the bike I want and part everything else out or just keep the seven?
My two cents worth, of the two I think S&S is the better system. The Ritchey downtube coupler is not as robust as an S&S coupler. The Ritchey toptube connection is probably equal to the S&S in strength.

But for rando riding and PBP, I suspect both would be perfectly adequate for you. But in my case my S&S bike needs to be a very strong bike because it is used for expedition type travel. But my Ritchey Break Away bike is a road bike, does not need to be a really strong bike. My Ritchey is really a Raleigh, Raleigh licensed with Ritchey to make it, the Ritchey logo is on the seatpost clamps.

FYI - The Ritchey case is larger than the 62 inch criteria, but of the two Ritchey owners that I have talked to, only one said that he had to pay an oversize fee and that was only once. But you never know when some ticketing agent will have a sharp eye for dimensions.

I wonder why the Ritchey has disc front and rim brake rear? Both frame and fork are Ritchey, so I find that odd.

First photo below is my S&S bike, the second photo is my Ritchey Break Away bike made by Raleigh. You can see that the S&S bike is pretty solid looking.




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Old 04-08-19, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
My two cents worth, of the two I think S&S is the better system.
Thanks for the reassurance. I'll keep the seven. I have a bad habit of second guessing my purchases after I've already made them. I took the frame apart to grease the threads and there was a ton of crap in the downtube coupler, so I may rethink my decision not to cover that one. I read somewhere that a condom works well.
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Old 04-08-19, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
... I'll keep the seven....
If I recall correctly, you said that the Seven was a touring frame and I think you said you wanted different wheels.

Since touring bikes usually take a 135mm rear hub, you might want to make sure you get the right hub spacing on whatever new wheel you use.
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Old 04-08-19, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
I recently bought a S&S Seven because @unterhausen said it costs $400 to take a bike to PBP, and now there's a breakaway ti cross on ebay in my size. I like everything better about the seven other than possibly the frame, but really just based on your comment. In your opinion is the breakaway enough better than S&S that I should get both, build the bike I want and part everything else out or just keep the seven?
BreakAway is just easier to assemble. A metric (or two) hex key to assemble rather than a custom spanner, no threads to keep clean and properly lubricated, and it weighs less, are the benefits I see.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Seven is a nicer bike.

If you were to buy the Ritchey, you'd probably want to put a rim brake fork back on the bike so you get the canti bosses for mounting a small front rack. That eBay's got a mullet with the disc fork in the front and the cantis in the rear. But that's a ton of money to spend on what ultimately might not be as nice of a frame.
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Old 04-08-19, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
If I recall correctly, you said that the Seven was a touring frame and I think you said you wanted different wheels.

Since touring bikes usually take a 135mm rear hub, you might want to make sure you get the right hub spacing on whatever new wheel you use.
Rear spacing is 130, and I coincidentally have 3 other sets of wheels with campy freehubs that will be more suitable than the shamals that came with the bike. I'll post another picture in the other thread when I get it in rando trim.


Originally Posted by anotherbrian View Post
BreakAway is just easier to assemble. A metric (or two) hex key to assemble rather than a custom spanner, no threads to keep clean and properly lubricated, and it weighs less, are the benefits I see.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Seven is a nicer bike.

If you were to buy the Ritchey, you'd probably want to put a rim brake fork back on the bike so you get the canti bosses for mounting a small front rack. That eBay's got a mullet with the disc fork in the front and the cantis in the rear. But that's a ton of money to spend on what ultimately might not be as nice of a frame.
I had been looking for a breakaway ti cross for a while when the seven came along. Then the breakaway showed up, and as you say, I would have to make a lot of changes to make it work. The seven is really close to exactly what I was looking for so thanks for the response. Makes me feel better.
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