Author Topic: 10 years of experience touring on an S&S coupled bicycle  (Read 1307 times)

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Offline raybo

10 years of experience touring on an S&S coupled bicycle
« on: February 07, 2013, 07:20:12 pm »
This year marks that 10th year that I've owned my S&S coupled Waterford Adventure Cycle. A fabulous bike.

I wrote an article summarizing my experiences touring with a coupled bicycle.

Highlights:

Likes - Savings on flying with bike, being able to put in any vehicle, rides likes a regular bike.

Dislikes - Learning to put it in its box, having to travel with a 45 pound suitcase, dealing with the box once at the destination, having to carry a special wrench.

I realize other people find traveling with a regular bike fine and others swear by folding bicycles. I'm not proselytizing here. Only reporting on my experience.
Visit the on-line bike touring archive at www.biketouringtips.com

Offline DaveB

Re: 10 years of experience touring on an S&S coupled bicycle
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2013, 09:52:41 am »
I bought an S&S coupled Co-Motion single road bike in 1998 and sold it in 2012.  I bought it when I was traveling for business a fair bit and it accompanied me to England, Japan and Italy and a couple of domestic cities on several trips.

What prompted me to sell it was retirement and the fact that airlines no longer accepted the hard case (or anything else) as free checked baggage.

My likes and dislikes mirror yours:

Likes: No oversize baggage charges, the case fit in taxi trunks and train luggage racks, once assembled you had no indication it wasn't a regular full size bike.

Dislikes:  Disassembly and reassembly were a bit laborious and time consuming and not for the faint of mechanical skills, the old-style the hard case was awkward to wheel around airports, etc.  (the newer ones are better),  these days having to pay to check any domestic luggage removes some of the incentive, the hard case was easy to store in hotel rooms for local riding or a loop route but would be a real hinderance for a point-to-point trip.






Offline Dr. John

Re: 10 years of experience touring on an S&S coupled bicycle
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2013, 10:54:29 pm »
I bought a Surly Trucker Deluxe a year and a half ago and their backpack softcase.  I love it.  I hate (commercial) flying and love train travel.  It is so nice that I can carry it onboard Amtrak, get off at a station in a small town, reassemble it in about an hour, and carry the case on top of my rear rack.  And if I am certain of where I will end up, it is easy enough to send the case to a post office via General Delivery, and save a little weight.  I live in CO and I can get to Lake Tahoe for about $105 one way, for example.  I'm guessing thats about what it costs to check a regular bike on an airplane, and then you have to buy your own ticket, and if you want to get to a less populated area.....  I'm gathering my courage to try Greyhound for access to more lightly populated destinations - wish me luck :o

Offline DaveB

Re: 10 years of experience touring on an S&S coupled bicycle
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2013, 08:33:30 am »
A couple of suggestions for anyone reading this and contemplating an S&S coupled bike of any kind:

1. Install cable splitters for the shift and rear brake cables.  S&S Machine sells a couple of makes and they are essential for ease of packing.  Adjusted properly they work perfectly. 

2. If your bike has a threadless headset, buy a Problem Solvers Locking Headset Spacer.  You have to remove the bars and stem to pack the bike and, without the locking spacer, the fork will want to fall out too.  The spacer retains the fork and keeps your correct headset preload adjustment.

3. Use a chain with a master link such as a KMC, SRAM or Wippermann or get a master link that fits your Shimano or Campy chain.  These make chain removal and reinstallation litterally a snap.  SRAM says their 10-speed links aren't reusable so you might want to use something else.

4.  Park sells a small light pedal wrench (RW-1) that is a great take-along.  Otherwise a 15 mm cone wrench is also usable.  Pedals don't have to be that tight.


Offline cgarch

Re: 10 years of experience touring on an S&S coupled bicycle
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2013, 09:24:58 pm »
snip
2. If your bike has a threadless headset, buy a Problem Solvers Locking Headset Spacer.  You have to remove the bars and stem to pack the bike and, without the locking spacer, the fork will want to fall out too.  The spacer retains the fork and keeps your correct headset preload adjustment.

4.  Park sells a small light pedal wrench (RW-1) that is a great take-along.  Otherwise a 15 mm cone wrench is also usable.  Pedals don't have to be that tight.

Couple of comments - I've traveled with our tandem on Amtrak several times. On Amtrak it is only necessary to remove the bars. I turn my 10 degree up threadless stem over so it fits in the box better. No retainer needed and it makes is easier to maneuver the bike into the box. No reason too that you couldn't spin it around and lash to the top tube. Now that Amtrak no longer takes tandems my investment in S&S couplers is paying for itself. Be sure you have the little clicking torque tool for the bars.

The S&S wrench includes a 15mm slot for pedals (in case you were wondering what that slot was for) . . no extra wrench necessary unless you have pedals that don't have a wrench face (some Shimano SPDs are like this). If you put the pedals on with this wrench, you will most likely be able to get them off.

Craig
Santa Rosa CA


Offline DaveB

Re: 10 years of experience touring on an S&S coupled bicycle
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2013, 09:11:08 am »
[Couple of comments - I've traveled with our tandem on Amtrak several times. On Amtrak it is only necessary to remove the bars. I turn my 10 degree up threadless stem over so it fits in the box better. No retainer needed and it makes is easier to maneuver the bike into the box. No reason too that you couldn't spin it around and lash to the top tube. Now that Amtrak no longer takes tandems my investment in S&S couplers is paying for itself. Be sure you have the little clicking torque tool for the bars.

The S&S wrench includes a 15mm slot for pedals (in case you were wondering what that slot was for) . . no extra wrench necessary unless you have pedals that don't have a wrench face (some Shimano SPDs are like this). If you put the pedals on with this wrench, you will most likely be able to get them off.

Craig
Santa Rosa CA
A couple of comments on your comments:

I find removing the bars from the stem  more labor intensive than removing the bars and stem as a unit and, since you turn the stem over and have to retension the headset anyway, why not use the Problem Solvers clamping spacer and avoid that too.

My S&S wrench did not include a 15 mm pedal slot so they must have redesigned it since I bought mine.  Pedals that do not have 15 mm flats have a hex recess in the interior face of the axle that usually takes a 6 mm allen key.   One of those is easy to pack too.