It’s not often that we celebrate a bike breaking in half, but Ritchey’s Break-away Carbon is one clear exception.
This is a bike that can literally split into two pieces for storage within a standard sized suitcase (it comes with its own dedicated one). To make the frame bike-shaped once again involves the tightening of just three Allen bolts.
This is where the magic happens Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media
Two of those bolts feature at the seat clamp, which attaches the top tube to the rear triangle in the same way that a stem grips a steerer tube. A hinged clamp at the frame’s downtube is then secured with another bolt, forming a secure connection at the lower end of the front triangle.
Once torqued up, the bike’s cables must then be reconnected, which is an easy thing to do thanks to threaded connectors. Then it’s ready to be ridden like any other carbon road bike.
From experience with Ritchey’s previous Ti/Carbon Break-away road bike, we know that disassembly/reassembly takes around five minutes for those familiar with the system.
The Carbon Break-away uses slender carbon fibre tubes that taper seamlessly into alloy sections Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media
Perhaps the most amazing thing about this design is how well it hides its dividing abilities. We’re willing to bet that most riders would never guess this bike can do what it does, and who could blame them, it’s a great looking carbon frame with plenty of interesting shapes.
The geometry doesn’t stand out awkwardly either, with angles and measurements that sit closer to that of a racing bike than an endurance machine. Unlike most race bikes though, the Break-away uses slender carbon tubes that taper seamlessly into alloy sections where the bike joins/separates.
The Break-away system isn’t new of course; it’s been used successfully on everything from mountain and road bikes to this rather incredible tandem from Ritchey. Yet this is perhaps the most exciting use for it yet.
A hinged clamp at the frame’s downtube forms a secure connection at the lower end of the front triangle Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media
This model isn’t particularly new either, the keenest of break-away carbon owners may have been riding their bikes for three years already. It’s a rare beasty though and well worthy of its space here on BikeRadar.
The Break-away is sold as a frame only (£2,699 / $2,999.95, if you were wondering). Our size large test bike arrived built with Shimano’s Dura-Ace 9000 groupset along with what could easily be considered a rolling showcase of Ritchey components. To give some context, the claimed frame-only weight for a large Break-away is 1,810g.
This example was wearing Ritchey’s WCS Apex Carbon 38mm clincher wheels wrapped in the company’s own WCS Race Slick tyres. At 25mm in width they’re hardly pushing the clearance capabilities of this frame though, which should be happy with most 28mm tyres in place.
Other highlights include Ritchey’s Superlogic stem and handlebar, seatpost and saddle.
This size large example weighed just 7.1kg / 15.65lbs.