Project travel bike: a whole new view

By James Huang, tech ed, in Boulder, Colorado | Sunday, January 29, 2012 8.00am

Luckily enough, my Ritchey Breakaway Ti/Carbon road frameset tester arrived just in time for my trip last weekend to see family in Las Vegas, Nevada. I know it's only been one trip so far, but I'm already declaring this a game changer.

I was only on the ground for two full days and two half days, yet I was still able to log 4 ½ hours of blissful — not to mention high quality — saddle time in the picturesque areas west of town. Day one took me out to Red Rock Canyon, a loop inside the park, then back. And two days later, I managed to squeeze in an early two-hour ride before flying back to Colorado in the afternoon.

If all you've ever seen of Vegas was flashing neon lights, you're certainly missing out. There are few things prettier than the desert at dawn, and let's just say that Calico Basin is especially stunning in early morning light.

Overall, the whole trip went remarkably smoothly. Despite the hectic nature surrounding the frameset's arrival, which was followed by a frantic late night session of transferring parts from another machine, and crash course in learning how to pack the Breakaway in the included case — I was able to pack the completed bike in just thirty minutes. Better yet once at my destination it, also, arrived intact and unscathed. The wheeled case is as easy to move around as any other similar piece of luggage and the airline counter agent barely gave the case a second glance when I checked in. Thanks to a Garmin GTU 10 tracker tucked inside, I always knew exactly where my precious cargo was after that point, too.

Reassembly was even faster, taking just fifteen minutes. All assembled and I was ready to hit the road on a bike that I knew fit me and was properly built with components of my choosing. It turns out that I wasn't sacrificing much weight-wise in bringing along a travel bike instead of some fancy carbon machine, either.

Built with a complete SRAM Red group, all aluminum cockpit components, and SRAM S30 AL Gold clincher wheels — I originally planned on Bontragers but the SRAMs already had tires and a cassette installed and I was seriously pressed for time — the whole thing weighs just 7.1kg (15.65lb, without pedals for sake of comparison). Sub in some good carbon tubulars into the mix and the bike would barely even be UCI-legal.

Yep, it all fits in here - and quite easily, in fact. we did, however, find the s&s machine method to be much more efficient than what ritchey prescribes: yep, it all fits in here - and quite easily, in fact. we did, however, find the s&s machine method to be much more efficient than what ritchey prescribes

Yep, it all fits in here — quite easily, in fact. We did, however, find the S&S Machine method to be much more efficient than what Ritchey prescribes

All in with heavy pedals, a stuffed saddle bag, a bulky computer, bottle cages, a mini-pump, and front and rear flashers, it's still only 7.99kg (17.61lb). Even more impressive is the fully packed weight of 15.54kg (34.26lb) including the bike, case, some tools, spare small parts, and a full-length frame pump – roughly the same as an emptyfull-sized hard case.

I'm only one trip in with more planned in the near future but this thing has already turned my perspective on travel on its ear. Instead of ruing the prospect of days off the bike, I'm now wondering what far-off location I'm going to ride this thing in next and eagerly mapping out routes — quite the reversal.

I also have a bunch of tips on traveling with a bike to share with you after this first go-around, some are Ritchey Breakaway-specific but mostly not. With this inaugural trip under my belt I imagine plenty more insight, and stress-relief, to come as I pack on the miles (both pedaled and flown) this spring — stay tuned.

Calico basin, shortly after dawn - certainly a more pleasant view than the las vegas strip: calico basin, shortly after dawn - certainly a more pleasant view than the las vegas strip

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Calico Basin, shortly after dawn — certainly a more pleasant view than the Las Vegas Strip

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