The idea of getting a take-apart bike has been rolling around in my head for quite some time. S&S couplers and the Ritchey Breakaway system offer excellent options. Many custom builders can use the Ritchey fittings for about half the price of S&S couplers. Some folks seem to be ordering customs with hybrid systems that make up for the perceived fragility of Ritchey’s small bolt on the downtube joint by getting the mullet: all-business S&S coupler on the down tube, and party at the Ritchey seat cluster. Here’s a glam, big-hair metal Ahearne donning such a set-up:
The elegance of the Herse idea can still be had:
I know of three builders who can do a Rene Herse-style démontable: Toei, Wantanabe, and Mark Nobilette. If anyone knows of more, let me know. The Nobilette system was displayed at NAHBS, and A. Wetmore, among others, took several photos found here. I’ve seen the bike in person, with paint, as my friend Sky owns it. It comes apart in quite the cultivated manner.
Cyclofiend Jim does a good job of explaining it here.
I thought I’d compare a traditional 650B frame (MAP Rando Project) with a contemporary custom take-apart randonneuse (Nobilette). The seatstays hit a bit lower on the seat tube, and the seat cluster and bb are fillet brazed, but seems pretty similar in shape. I wonder if the demountable is stiffer. Its a nice option.
Of course, as I discuss in this post from last year, traveling with a bicycle offers benefits and drawbacks. The idea of a take-apart frame means that you have your regular bike, set-up your way, ready for long and short rides. I’d use one for randonneuring and cyclotouring. For short city rides, on and off trains and buses, a folder might work better.