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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 02-12-07, 07:23 AM   #1
YalzaDon
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Traveling with only ONE set of S&S couplers

I'm considering a carbon fiber tandem with only one set of S&S couplers (cuts the price a lot). Apparently the two parts will fit into a regular bike box. Anybody have any experience with this?
--Don
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Old 02-12-07, 08:42 AM   #2
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you sort of miss one of the big advantages with having the bike fit into the S&S boxes: you'll be paying $75 each way for EACH regular bike box. Done it a millions times, maybe once or twice no charges. The rest: $75 each way. S&S boxes, so long as they don't weigh too much, meet the size requirements for airlines. NO charge.
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Old 02-12-07, 08:45 AM   #3
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I have no direct experience with such a bike but traveling with an uncoupled one is a pain though many do it. You would have to travel a lot to pay back the cost of a coupled tandem if money is the only reason you are avoiding a complete couple job.

Our new tandem was coupled and its a simple matter to fly or take a cab or a small rental car. One thing that is not mentioned a lot is the weight limit of a suitcase, 50 lbs.. You may end up paying for the bike box, but even a coupled tandem may be overweight due to the 15-18 lb suitcase that one uses. You idea seems like a good one to me, with the money you save you can take a trip somewhere.
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Old 02-12-07, 10:16 PM   #4
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A standard c/f tandem with *one* set of S&S couplers (3 S&S fittings) could conceivable be custom built. However an upcharge for custom building would likely negate the cost of the other couplers. Then there would be the custom cases/boxes you'd need . . .
A standard tandem with S&S takes 6 couplers.
A 'no-lateral' tandem with S&S takes 4 couplers. . . and they'll fit into 2 S&S suitcases! That would cut 1/3 of the cost of the couplers.
A c/f tandem, without couplers, will set you back between 8- to 11,000 bucks depending on component selection. If you do airtravel with tandem at least 3 times a year, couplers will soon pay for themselves.
Calfee and ariZona Tandems will build carbon fiber 'no lateral' S&S tandems.

Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 02-13-07, 03:40 AM   #5
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The British regularly build tandems with only one set of couplers. It works for them.
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Old 02-13-07, 06:10 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by zonatandem
Then there would be the custom cases/boxes you'd need . . .
Just a data point on travel tandems and cases.... you don't "need" to buy the S&S or any type of custom cases for a travel tandem any more than you "need" to buy a bike case if you're travelling with a single bike. An S&S tandem -- two, four, six, eight or how ever couplers you use -- can be carefully packed into a standard, cardboard bike box just like any other bicycle so long as proper dunnage (wadded up newspaper, air-pack, etc..) is used to protect the frame pieces. For folks who belong to organizations with "bikes fly free" type programs or who patronize airlines that allow bikes to be checked as luggage without fees can enjoy the same benefits by using this packing method.

If your goal is to meet the checkable luggage criteria, a pair of cardboard boxes that conform to the 26x26x10 and 50# weight limitations can also be used. Again, the key is proper packaging, dunnage, and the use of internal bracing -- bracing that can be easily made using rolled-up cardboard strips.

Don't get me wrong, the hard and soft cases are "nice to have" and when properly packed provide an added degree of protection to a travel tandem or bike; we use one of each, although our hard case isn't one sold by S&S. Instead, it was a more "robust" electronic equipment case with reinforced rib construction and a telescoping pull handle which I found preferable to the S&S offerings. S&S has now added a similar type of case to their line up.



However, the point is you don't "need" to use these optional cases to safely travel with a travel bike. Frankly, a poorly packed bike in a hard or soft case will just as likely end up damaged as one that was poorly packed in a cardboard case. In fact, I would argue that a corrugated cardboard bike or similar box will be every bit as damage resistant as an S&S softcase.

Therefore, for anyone who plans to take an unsupported open-jaw trip that does not want to hassle with the logistics of having cases shipped between arrival and departure airports, or who wants the convenience of a travel tandem but can't justify the expense of the cases, there are alternative packing options.

More information regarding our first hand experience with travel tandem packing and cases can be found here: http://www.thetandemlink.com/article...cksonpack.html

Last edited by TandemGeek; 02-13-07 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 02-13-07, 09:59 AM   #7
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We use non bike especific cases. One of the cases is about 6" above the 26+26+10 dimensions. We never had an agent measure the dimensions of the cases. On the other hand, while on the return flight from Mexico, we had to change airlines in LA, after clearing customs, and the agent wanted $100 for 3 lbs over 50 lbs in one of the cases. We took the bag with the pedals and the tools out and stuffed it in our personal suitcase. Has anyone ever been ask to pay extra for an slightly oversized case?
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Old 02-13-07, 11:17 AM   #8
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While you don't 'need' hard and/or soft cases to carry a take-apart tandem, they are preferable to a cardboard box. S&S is not a necessity for flying a tandem, it is a convenience option.
Can't think of too many folks willing to spend 10,000+ bucks on an S&S c/f tandem then not spending a few mores sheckels to protect that investment.
While some Brits build tandems with only one set of couplers they do not build any c/f tandems, with or without S&S, to our knowlege.
Your choice of couplers, whether steel or titanium, will also affect the co$t.
After the securiy folks at the airport get through opening up your cases and rummaging around looking for whatever, and then trying to stuff things back in place, you may not be overjoyed!
In the past, have flown a tandem without any kind of box and things were fine. Have flown one inside a cardboard tandem box and somehow they bent up the rear wheel! You take your chances.
Being retired, we no longer are pressed for time for cycling vacations and do not fly . . . if we can't get there by car/bike why bother?
Hope some of these replies will be of a help to you.

Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 02-13-07, 07:21 PM   #9
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The airline tried to charge us for being over 50 # I too took stuff out of the case to make it under 50 # and thus saved a charge. It was interesting as the box was 26 by 26 by 12, if you count the wheels and the handles etc. we were likely 4 inches over!
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Old 02-13-07, 09:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElRey
you sort of miss one of the big advantages with having the bike fit into the S&S boxes: you'll be paying $75 each way for EACH regular bike box. Done it a millions times, maybe once or twice no charges. The rest: $75 each way. S&S boxes, so long as they don't weigh too much, meet the size requirements for airlines. NO charge.
+1.

Also keep in mind that the smaller 26x26x10 cases will fit into smaller airplanes, cruise ships (the original reason that they were developed), and most rental cars and shuttles. So, factor that into your decision process as well and spend some time talking with your builder about what his experience has been with buyers who have chosen the 2-section frames vs. the 3-section models, noting that several of the early S&S tandem offerings were 2-section models.

Again, while it's not definitive, my current survey of tandem owners reflects that a little more than 4 out of 5 travel tandem buyers are very happy with their travel tandems and have no regrets. Of the 16% that aren't thrilled with them, about 11% bit off more than they could chew in terms of the assembly/disassembly and packing/unpacking process.

As previously noted, you can find more information regarding the cases we use and how we pack our tandem at this link: http://www.thetandemlink.com/article...cksonpack.html

Last edited by TandemGeek; 02-14-07 at 06:43 AM.
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