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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 01-18-07, 08:17 AM   #1
Xanti Andia
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S&S and airline travel.

I am working on replacing our tandem with something better, and I am arguing with myself regarding S&S couplings. It all has to do with shipping, so I'd like some comments on your various experiences with airline travel with a tandem. Also I'd like to know if there are any drawbacks to S&S beyond cost and added weight.
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Old 01-18-07, 08:35 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanti Andia
I....regarding S&S couplings. It all has to do with shipping, so I'd like some comments on your various experiences with airline travel with a tandem.
It takes us about 1 hr to brake down and 1 hr to re-asamble. Size of suitcases is not as critical as weight. The airlines have always weight our suitcases and never measure them. Some airlines will charge extra for any piece over 50 lbs., as much as $100. The 2 suitcases will not fit in the trunck of a med/small car. Try not to change airlines during a trip if you can as that increases the chances of lost/delayed laugage.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanti Andia
Also I'd like to know if there are any drawbacks to S&S beyond cost and added weight.
We have to carry the tool just in case a coupler gets loose... we have never needed it.
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Old 01-18-07, 08:38 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanti Andia
I am working on replacing our tandem with something better, and I am arguing with myself regarding S&S couplings. It all has to do with shipping, so I'd like some comments on your various experiences with airline travel with a tandem. Also I'd like to know if there are any drawbacks to S&S beyond cost and added weight.
I can comment on airline travel with a non coupled tandem. It's a major pain. You need to check that all the planes on your itenerary can take a full size tandem case (Many regional jets for example can't) Then getting it in a rental car, trains, taxis etc. is a crap shoot. I won't travel a gain with a full size, non coupled tandem.

So if air travel is a significant factor, I'd definitely go with the S&S couplers.

By the way, I have a lightly used Bike Pro USA Tandem Race case, I'd part with for a reasonable price.
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Old 01-18-07, 08:45 AM   #4
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You might want to read through this thread from the archives:

S&S couplers - any regrets?
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Old 01-18-07, 08:58 AM   #5
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Disassembly & reassembly with S&S couplers takes a bit of time. Each time we do it, we get a little better & faster. I would recommend against doing your 1st reassembly of the bike when you arrive at your air destination unless you allow several hours. I agree w/cornucopia72 that it takes about an hour (with practice). We have an S&S softside bag for the wheels & fame pieces and a large hardside suitcase for everything else. The suitcase fits inside the S&S case. We travelled once with a non-coupled tandem and it was a major pain. Not just on the plane but with rental cars, public transportation, etc. Aside from the above, I think the only downsides to the couplers is initial cost & weight.
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Old 01-18-07, 10:23 AM   #6
Xanti Andia
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Thanks everybody, with your comments and reading the thread Tandemgeek gave, the answer is definitive in favor of S&S for our case.
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Old 01-18-07, 09:05 PM   #7
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Dang! Late to the party again.
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Old 01-18-07, 09:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornucopia72
Size of suitcases is not as critical as weight. The airlines have always weight our suitcases and never measure them. Some airlines will charge extra for any piece over 50 lbs., as much as $100.
I've only traveled with the single a handful of times. I think that flying first class and explaining that I was on my way to a charity ride event got the box on free the first couple of times. As the airlines are squeezed for revenue these days, they're a lot more likely to stick to their written policy and charge as soon as they see the box. You'd better tell the truth, and if there's a whole bike in it they have every right to charge the $80 or whatever that they publish to carry a bike regardless of its weight.

The loophole is the tandem in two cases. Each case is not a bike, it's a weight and dimensionally legal piece of luggage containing only "bicycle parts". If it's size and weight legal, it flies free.
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Old 01-18-07, 11:22 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by regomatic
The loophole is the tandem in two cases. Each case is not a bike, it's a weight and dimensionally legal piece of luggage containing only "bicycle parts". If it's size and weight legal, it flies free.
26"x26"x10" I believe is the legal size. I pack my bike in 2 "legal" cases. No issues travelling with the cases on the airline. I also shipped the cases via Fedex - No issues at all.

I have the foam fit system in each case. No room for anything other than the bike itself so I pack racks and paniers in luggage duffel bags.

When touring, if you start and end your trip at the same place, you can organize to leave the bike and luggage bags in storage at the hotel/B&B.

If you purchase "non" legal cases, you run the risk of incurring expensive airline charge at an inconvenient time such as 2 hours before getting on an international flight.

Last edited by djsincla; 01-18-07 at 11:31 PM.
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