S&S BTC vs Ritchey Breakaway and other thoughts

Im a long-haul pilot - got into cycling 9months ago. The frustrations of rental bike availability has convinced me to take my bike with me. I have a fullsize hard case which is great but theres a high risk of it not joining me on trips when i say adieu to it on the outsize baggage belt.

A number of colleagues have the Ritchey Breakaway which seems to work well,
particularly when fitted with SRAM wireless etap. However, id like something a bit more special. Im talking to a UK firm that will fit the S&S BTC to a titanium frame.

Ive not ridden a Ti frame, any pros and cons that i need to consider? experiences with BTC? I want disc brakes but the need to split the cable when packing away prevents full hydro so im considering the TRP cable actuated hydro disc.

Id like to trim the weight a little perhaps replacing the stock Al bars and forged stem with Ritchey carbon- will this compromise comfort?

any thoughts and suggestions most welcome

I’m on my 2nd S&S bike and my wife has one too. Here’s what I can think of off the top of my head.

In no particular order:

  1. Your bike will get scratched up. Ti is by far the best in this respect.

  2. I had TRP HY/RD brakes on the old bike. They are OK and that is what my wife’s bike has. I have Campy disc now and they are way better. But routing is a PITA on full hydros. The best way I have found to deal with them is to disconnect the brakes from the bike.

  3. Using cable splitters is EASY and FAST and I have never needed to readjust solely because I split the cables. So don’t worry about that.

  4. Ritchey Break away cases are technically over-sized but tons of people use them without a problem. The Co-motion cases are pretty good and look like normal luggage.

  5. If you are getting this as a gravel bike and using large tires I highly recommend going 650b. They will pack much better.

S&S Machine, as I’m sure you know if you’re looking at the couplers, does have hard-shell cases that don’t exceed oversize limits. I have the Ritchey Breakaway, which I love, however as the years wear on my steel rig I worry about rust and the Ritchey coupling system. If I had to do it all again, I would go with the S&S system. I have mechanical disc brakes on my unit and am very happy with those. And I can corroborate what @Wefty mentioned in points #1 (I recommend wrapping frame in under-carpet rubber padding to limit scratching) and #3.

thanks for your replies -

with regards disc brakes - do you need to remove the rotors? - it will depend on which case I guess.

my frame will be ~59cm - from what i can see with the S&S 10” case the cranks could remain fitted but im not sure.

@Wefty with regards disconnecting brakes from the bike - you mean the brake/shifters from the bars? so would need fixing over the bar tape? otherwise any hyd brake disconnect would need a re-bleed?

i want the option of fitting a gravel/ higher volume tyre particularly to use this bike for that purpose instead of my road bike, one reason for going disc.


Yes I do remove the rotors and wrap them separately in a bubble-wrap envelope. But I have an older version of these whereby you can just spin the rotors onto and off the wheel hub. I believe these were American Classic hubs that came standard with the Dahon Flo breakaway MTB.

Get Centerlock type hubs. They will make removing/installing the rotors easy.

I take the calipers off the frame and fork. The hydro routing on the frame is the zip-lock/c-clamp type. I use c-clamps (or whatever they are called) and remove them and the caliper from the rear triangle. No bleeding is required. Removing the front caliper might not be necessary but it makes packing much easier for me.

I have looked long and hard for in-line hydro quick connect fittings and have come up dry. SRAM has the connectamjig but from what I understand it is not lossless so you could end up with air bubbles.

Like I said above if you want high volume tires go 650b. I ride 650b with 42mm tires and love the bike. If you go with 700c +high volume tires then you’ll need to let the air out to pack and can’t go tubeless.

Post 57 on this thread has a good summary. Worth reading the whole thread:

thanks again.

i think im going to go with -
TRP cable hyd brakes
on Enigma Ti frame

for me, travelling with the bike approx once a week, its a balance between flexibility, performance and minimising the rebuild on each trip.

ill try to report back once the project is complete.

I’m also a LH pilot and have an Engima Espirt S&S bike, and I absolutely love it. I bid for destinations which allow me to take my bike with me, and find I do the majority of my long training rides while at work; allows more time at home to keep the girlfriend happy.

  • I have friends who have steel Ritchey BA, and they’re great bikes, but a titanium S&S is the ultimate. The Ritchey BA is slightly heavier (esp the rear triangle), and the joining system is good, just not as good as the S&S ( my opinion).

  • titanium is a great material; my bike is light, stiff, responsive, and with a narrow seat post (to allow a little flex) extremely comfy (due to the frame design it doesn’t have much seat post exposed).

  • I’ve raced the bike, and out the saddle you really don’t feel any flex from the titanium or the couples.

  • There’s a lot of good titanium manufactures out there, Moots, Seven etc who also offer S&S. I think (and could be wrong) a few of the cheaper engima frames are from the Far East.

  • I would make the bike as robust and fixable as possible; you can get great lightweight wheels which use J-Pull spokes. This means if you bust one it’s significantly easier to replace from almost any bike shop anywhere.

  • Alloy Bar and (maybe carbon) Stem to protect against Loaders. You’ll save a few xxx grams with a carbon cockpit, but with a good quality fork, it’s not 100% necessary. My stem is fairly well protected in the box (12” hard case) but I wouldn’t vouch for the bars, as such they are deliberately alloy.

  • definitely carbon seatpost (Ritchey superlogic?)

  • SJS cycles (if you’re in the uk) do some good anti crush poles, netting etc.

  • get a Headset Spacer Lock Ring. Means you remove the bars and stem together; meaning you don’t have to reset your handlebar tilt each time, less bolts to Undo , and speeds up assembly/ disassembly. The lock ring keeps the headset compressed.

As a rough guess/guideline can fully pack my bike in around 20-25mins.

Aside from my shoes and helmet, the bike is completely self contained ready to travel; tool bag (+spare cables) saddle bag etc.

It’ll be a great purchase which I highly doubt you’ll regret.