First up, the irony of a blog post about a travel bike right now is not lost on us! But this project has been in the works since the end of last year, and we're looking forward to when the world gets back to normal and travel restrictions are lifted. So with this optimism in mind lets proceed with another one of our creative & resourceful AVT re-build projects.
As the parts we sell are so serviceable, re-usable and upgrade-able to changing standards we love a new bike build project that gets creative in using old parts and getting the most mileage out of good quality kit.
With this mindset I set out to build a new travel bike. I owned a Ritchey Breakaway steel road frame back in 2010/11 and loved it, rode just like any high end steel frame with no indication it split in half and fitted into a suitcase small enough to check as a regular bag.
But there were a few modifications I wanted to make, the main one being to make the frame eTap ready. Now this not only looks super clean, but makes the whole process of packing the frame and rebuilding the bike a breeze thanks to the lack of gear cables.
I was able to pick up a used, silver demo frameset from our friends at Ritchey, it had a few scratches on it but that didn't matter with what I had in mind for it.
Step 1. Frame Modifications.
To convert the frame to eTap it was time to bust out my frame building and brazing skills, but first up I hacked off the existing gear cable bosses and filed them down so you'd never know they were there.
Next up I added a few improvements starting with a braze on front derailleur hanger. It's a personal frustration of mine to use a band on front mech as they can so easily damage the paint. Next up I added a chain hanger, great for storing the chain on a travel bike, and finally a pump peg.
Step 2. Cerakote ReSpray.
As you might have seen we've been selling Cerakote King Cages for a while, but we'd not tried this finish on anything larger, so this frame provided an ideal test-bed for this.
I was also keen to see what Cerakoted carbon parts looked like with the Ritchey fork. So we dropped the whole frameset and accessories (including pump, stem and an old pair of Ritchey bars) off at our local Cerakoter to see what they could do.
Step 3. ReBuild.
The frame came back looking pretty sharp, the contrast with the silver rear triangle and matte black front triangle looks great. Bar, stem and pump turned out very nice.. only issue was that we I went to fit the pump I realized that due to the shape & position of the rear brake cable holder on the inside of the top tube, the Silca pump didn't fit!
The only other learning experience with Cerakote on a steel frame is that as the finish is so much thinner than paint it does show more of the frame imperfections like file marks from hacking off cable bosses.... lesson learned for the future, the frame needs to be finished off to a much higher level than you would typically do for wet paint or powder coat. But for this one it's nothing to worry about as the frame is inevitably going to get a few scratches from being packed up in a suitcase.
A few new parts were needed for the build, but not many as the eTap groupset came off another bike. I switched out the EE Cycleworks brakes for some Campagnolo Chorus ones, the EE ones are just too fiddly to set up & maintain on a travel bike. The old Ritchey bar and stem look as good as new with the Cerakote, and it was finished off with some fresh Lizard Skins bar tape. A new Chris King Dropset, and lastly I gave the White Industries hubs on Zipp 303 rims a quick service and they are also good as new.
So there you have it, another creative re-build making the most out of some used, quality equipment, given a fresh makeover with some Cerakote and a few new parts. Ready to roll once this travel ban is lifted!