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  1. #1
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    S&S couplings for airplane/touring??

    Have you used S&S couplings?
    Im interested in the LHT deluxe. Ive traveled in Third world countries a lot, and need a new buzz and thought Ide try bike touring. (Im in Nepal now)
    Im wondering why these s&S dont seem more popular, given (what seems to me anyway) the enormous hassle and expense of moving a full sized bike around.
    In that an S&S equipped bike fits in a standard luggage size, it seems like just the thing to throw on an airplane, get to Bangkok, and put it back together.
    Am I missing something? Everybody I meet bike traveling uses a standard bike, and has to move it around in a refrigerator box. Ive never seen a S&S coupling bike out on an actual tour.
    But Im interested in buying one from Surly, and build it up from the frame, and bring it to Asia.

  2. #2
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    I had an S&S coupled touring bike. It performed as expected. The couplers are a work of art. However the process for breaking down and building up the bike was a real PITA. To the point where I would just rather pay the baggage fees and be able to box and unbox my bike in a few minutes and get on with my life.

    Then you have to consider what do you do with that suitcase you carried the bike in when you get to your destination? Not that there aren't solutions, but it's one more piece of the puzzle.

    If you fly with your bike a ton I can see that it could be a good solution.

    I ended up selling the S&S bike I had I have never been motivated to buy another.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  3. #3
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    OK, thats what I was asking--does it work. If it does, then I am thinking of getting one. All winter I have been planning to build a surly bike, and only just now realized they can be had with S&S. Other sites I have looked at said the couplers worked well.
    There are ways of just using cardboard and tape to get the bike packed.
    I hadnt considered the PITA of putting it all back together. I have limited experience.
    I have a REI Novara Safari touring bike at home. But the bottom line is that I am reluctant to take it touring just because of the cost/hassle of moving a huge boxed up bike around with me everywhere. Some pictures I have seen the biker has a relatively small box (26X26X10) and then a strap to carry it. Anyway, thanks, if the coupler works, Im thinking of getting one and learning how to build a bike. (Surly LHT)

  4. #4
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    If you want a smaller packed size S&S with definitely work. Both in that you can get the bike into a smaller box and say you need to haul the bike by car you can split it into two pieces for throwing in a trunk.

    If you want to avoid airline fees you will likely need to get that bike into a suitcase so it looks like any other luggage and doesn't attract too much attention. A bike in a smaller box will still get you nailed for excess baggage fees a lot of the time.

    I fly with my kitesurfing gear stuffed into a "golf bag" which flies as normal piece of luggage. If they open the bag and realize what is inside you get nailed for sports gear and some airlines charge specifically for kiteboards.

    My buddy is an airline pilot and they nailed him for both kiteboarding gear and a bike - he flies the freaking plane for them! They can be merciless with those baggage fees. Crazy!

    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  5. #5
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    I had a dream last night about an S&S equiped Surly 1X1 with a dingle setup. I can get cheap deals on cruises and it would be amazing to ride out of the ship, explore for the day and ride back on at night.

    You may also look into folding bikes if the riding isn't too demanding. Or plan to pack a Free Parable T2 for lugging you bike bag. I'd think to make the most of an S&S bike it may be best to pair it with another mode of transport (rental car) and just do day rides.

  6. #6
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    Hey, Thanks for those pictures. They are worth a thousand words.
    I cant say as I have heard of the sports gear excess charge. Also, they never seem to look in my baggage when I am checking in--only TSA does that, and by then I am already checked in. But I believe you...I just never experienced it.
    But I fly only back and forth to Asia, I wont be taking the bike to the states. That is not the purpose. Ill take it to Third World countries.
    Also someone said that it takes a long time-PITA-to put together, but I go on trips for 6 months, so I have some time on my hands and not much $$$ in my concealed money belt.
    Ive found other sites, and people say the S&S coupler actually work fine; I havnt read yet where they gave out on anybody, even after years of use.
    Others have complained that TSA at the Airport opens the box and then they(TSA) cant figure how to get it back in and can damage parts.
    There are some obstacles.
    But Ive met a lot of people that ride their bike from Hong Kong to Kathmandu, and they seemed to think it was a blast!
    Ive never built a bike before, but I have been looking at Surly frames all winter, and thinking of building one, and just saw the S&S coupler model like 2 days ago. Ill have 6 months (all summer) to put it together,and weekly 'Bike Clinic' (Free shop time) at the LBS.
    I spent the last 30 winters backpacking around Asia and Africa, 6 months at a time, to escape the Alaska winters.
    I might build a bike and go on a long tour.

  7. #7
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    S&s

    Can't wait to take mine, overseas.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails S&S couplings for airplane/touring??-dscn3177.jpg  

    S&S couplings for airplane/touring??-dscn3198.jpg  


  8. #8
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    If you are going to tour with an S&S coupled bike, especially overseas, I would highly recommend a 26" wheel for ease of access to tubes, tires, etc.

    That said, Bilenky Cycle Works coupled a LHT for me before Surly started producing coupled frames. They are THE shop to see for a coupled frame if you are not buying a pre-coupled frame.

    Either way, it is time consuming to break the bike down, pack it, unpack it and build it back up. Word of advice if flying with the bike, get an airline regulation sized case for the bike. Bilenky and others sell one. Pay the baggage fee for only a bag. If anyone asks, say it is exercise equipment or something similar. For some reason, bikes, even in a regulation sized suitcase, get tagged for an additional fee whereas if you classify it as exercise equipment chances are you won't have to pay the bike fee.

    More info here
    "Ride what you love, love what you ride"

  9. #9
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    Another S&S user here, although not on a touring bike. My experiences are also only in the US, no international travel. I had a 26" titanium hardtail that Bilenky retrofitted with couplers and it worked great. I would take it on business trips to go mountain biking when I had some time off, and it worked great for that. At the time I did a lot of research and found the huge hardsided suitcase that was like 26x30x12. That is over the airline limit, but I was never charged extra for a bike or oversized luggage because it looked like a normal suitcase. Only once did they figure out it was a bike, and it happened to be July and they told me bikes fly free because of the Tour de France! That was like 10 years ago though, so things might have changed.

    Once you get the hang of it, packing and unpacking will take 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how far you have to take it apart to fit it in the suitcase. I suggest cable splitters for the shift cables, makes life easier. In order to pack it, you will have to remove pedals, seat/seatpost, and usually fork & handlebar, cranks. I also usually remove the rear der. to keep it from getting damaged.

    As far as strength goes, you will have no issues. The couplers are way stronger than the tubes they are mounted to.

  10. #10
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    Hi, I think I have the one of the first s & s coupled 29ers. I even gave it its own thread... I'll never give it up. Built by bilenky. I've raced it, toured it and done stupid beer runs with it.

    Return of the bilenky


    From a tech point, it adds less than 1/2 lb to you the bike. I have never sensed any decrease in stifnness and if you go to the S & S site they used to have some boring industrial videos proving the coupler was stronger than the frame.

    Is it a PIA? I have an XXL frame and can usually tear it down in 15 min and build up in 20. You probably spend that long packing and unpacking your regular stuff and that's why the hotel room has a minibar...

    I use the bilenky soft bag and HAVE NEVER been charged extra for it. Of course if you are flying on an airlines that charges per bag, you are going to pay that.

  11. #11
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    This all sounds pretty cool. The surly LHT is a 26 inch wheel. I travel all winter, 6 months at a time. an hour or two putting the bike together is not an issue.Thanks for all the replies.

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