Tandems on Planes
We are buying a new (or new to us) tandem. We hope to do some touring in Europe. I've been told that I MUST have S&S couplers to take the bike on the plane. Is this true? It will add a lot to the cost of our bike and I'm not sure I want the added inconvenience.
I have several sets of friends who take periodic European cycling vacations. They all use S&S equipped tandems. They all seem very satisfied with their choice.
My daughter and son-in-law took their bike on a plane in a huge, 8' long, Santana shipping box for the regular bicycle upcharge and I know one other couple who used a commercial tandem shipping box. Both of those trips, however, were prior to 9/11. One thing to consider is what to do with the big shipping container while you are on vacation.
Relative to the amount of inconvenience, the reassembly process isn't all that much different however you do it.
Folks have been travelling abroad with full-size tandems for many years... they're not essential and, yes, they bump up the price of a steel framed tandem by $1,200 - $2,000 depending on what you decide to do about cases (more for Aluminum, Ti or Carbon).
Originally Posted by stokell
However, a coupled tandem will eliminate almost all of the hassles and added expense associated with toting a full-size tandem around if you're not riding to and from the airport, e.g., you've got to get your 80 - 100lb "coffin-sized box" to and from the airport, onto public transit, shuttle buses, trains, etc... and those are not always easy things to do. The 45-60 minutes associated with unpacking/assembly and disassembly/packing are a small "price" to pay, and if you travel enough those oversized luggage fees, larger than standard size rental vehicles, and other related expenses can begin to add up.
Bottom Line: Having a travel tandem means you can decide to take your tandem along on a trip... not planning your trip around travelling with a tandem.
Last edited by TandemGeek; 09-04-06 at 07:01 PM.
We have traveled numerous times with our non-coupled Litespeed. Flying with it is easy - you just put it into a big case (we like our soft-sided TravelPro case), wheel it up to the gate and pay the $80 charge. But as Mark stated, the ground transportation on the other end can get tricky, especially in Europe.
If we were purchasing a ne bike now we would get the couplers just for the convenience. The price is high, but the price of the travel case is almost halfway there anyway.