By: Robert Myint aka ‘pineapplebob’
Travel bikes have been around for many years and have been enjoyed by countless cycling enthusiasts, but these were mainly road bike models. There haven’t been too many options for mountain bikers as far as travel bikes are concerned, except for a couple of cheaper “folding” models that were very heavy and cumbersome. Developing a mountain bike that’s lightweight and compact enough for airline travel (without the oversize baggage charge) and tough enough to withstand serious trails (not just bike paths or gravel roads) was in the works, though.
Well, along comes Ritchey with their years of experience in the bike industry, including their expertise in the breakaway road bike arena, and what do you know? They did it – a breakaway mountain bike that performs as well as most high end hardtails on the market with the added bonus of breaking down and fitting into a normal-sized piece of check-in luggage. All of this at 30 pounds – yeah, that’s correct, 30 pounds for the whole shebang – bike, packing materials and case!
The folks at MTBR.com had the tough job (once again) of testing out this latest innovation from Ritchey. They sent an 18” Breakaway Ti MTB frame outfitted with their WCS signature carbon fork & components, WCS wheel set, and Shimano XT drive train/brake set. Now they needed someone to put it to the test…
This is where I come into the picture. I’m an avid mountain biker, but also travel quite a bit – since I live in Hawaii and work out of LAX as an airline pilot. MTBR’s testing guru, Francis, thought it would be a good idea if I put the Breakaway to the test. So I agreed (yeah, twist my arm!).
Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3…
The first test was to try and put the bike together. Ritchey provides a CD and some written instructions along with the bike and most guys would do, I took a cursory glance at the pictures and dove in. My first attempt took about 35 minutes – a bit longer than I would have hoped for, but like anything else, practice makes pretty good. Subsequent attempts took me near the 20 minute mark. The breakdown took nearly the same time overall, because of the extra time it takes to pack the parts back in the case.
Simple frame design – notice the coupling on the down tube.
Cable couplings helped to keep things simple, as well