Travel Case - S&S Coupled Tandem
I am looking for insight into whether I should purchase a single case (Santana) or two cases to pack our Santana Arriva w/S&S Couplers.
All feedback is greatly appreciated.
WE don't have a Santana but have been on trips with the cases and they are quite big but very organized. We have a coupled Calfee with two cases. We have never been charged as they seem to just assume normal suit cases. we travel with wheeled duffles and can just attach them to the cases and tow them so it is easy to move around the airports etc. Having said that the the advantage to the Santana cases is the foam protection is good. We have to put covers on everything and still get some scratches due to TSA not being very careful. On departure I ask to watch when they inspect if I can and suggest gently how to repack the cases, it seems to help sometimes. I also demount the tires and tubes and they fit in the cases better. We can get most of our bike clothes shoes water bottle in the cases with the bike. With the airlines getting expensive with oversize bags I like the two small ones. I under stand Delta will no longer ship standard tandems in a tandem case or box. We love our coupled bike for traveling and wouldn't have a tandem any other way
Gear Combo Guru
I understood that Santana tandems didn't fit in the standard cases because of where they place the couplers - the front section is too long on many frames. Therefore, you would have to use a Santana case. But you should check whether this is the case for your frame.
Frankly, unless someone here who has gone through the same decision process for their Santana chimes in, your best bet would to call Bill McCready at Santana and let him walk you through the pros and cons of the alternatives. Phone toll-free (800) 334-6136, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time.
Originally Posted by jhcarter
You might also want to read his air travel tips as part of your decision process:http://santanatandem.com/Events/BillsTips.html
Not sure about that. Erickson, Calfee and others install couplers at either end of the stoker's compartment in the same way that Santana does and with few exceptions (very large tandems), they also fit in the standard size S&S cases. For the very large tandems, they typically move the front couplers ahead of the captains seat tube, similar to where Co-Motion places their couplers.
Originally Posted by Chris_W
Last edited by TandemGeek; 04-20-10 at 05:59 AM.
We have a Calfee and it's similar to a medium-small. We have to remove the fork for it to fit in the standard size hard case and even then it barely fits. So, the frame would not have to be very large for the front section not to fit. Soft sided cases are more forgiving and would probably fit a larger size.
We have a medium frame Santana Fusion (26" wheels) and a medium Santana Cabrio triplet (700c wheels), both with standard Santana coupler setup (the Cabrio is the same as a standard 700c Santana tandem, with the exception of the center section). Both can fit in standard S&S cases, of which we use two backpack-style cases. The center section of the triplet does not fit in an S&S case, as an aside. We've flown with our S&S tandem to Europe just about every year since we got it in 2001, occasionally twice a year.
Bill M at Santana will tell you that their "Safecase" is the preferred way to go, and not to worry about the possibility of extra charges. While I see his point - and he and I have had e-mail exchanges about this, even - I prefer knowing that my S&S cases are "legal" and within the 62-inch limit. Bill says that the Safecase is "close enough" and rarely, if ever, gets measured or hit with a surcharge. I can't argue with his decades of experience and data points, but for me, I prefer the standard S&S cases and not having to sweat it out each time I go to the airport.
To my knowledge, the advantage to the Safecase is being able to fit the entire bike in one case as opposed to two cases. My opinion is that, given the increased focus of airlines on size and weight limits, this simply is rolling the dice every time you go to the airport.
One additional thought: if you have a large frame size, you may need to pull your fork to get everything to fit. I definitely recommend investing in a Chris King headset (or similar) to make this process easy.
Don't disagree about Bill's likely commentary on the Safecase, but if you ask good questions you can sort through the various pros and cons...
Anyway, and FWIW, I started out with the two hardcases and didn't like that approach. After doing some homework on who makes the hardcases and what other options existed, I changed over to a pull behind hardcase (similar to what S&S now offers) for the frame and a soft, backpack case for the wheels, saddles w/seatposts attached and other stuff. The softcase can be piggy-backed on the pull-behind hardcase which we've found to be really convenient when moving through the airport or at any other time we're moving the cases on foot. The two smaller and lighter cases are much easier to move around than any single, larger case and I can pull the entire tandem along with just one hand, leaving Debbie free to pull along our pullman case with street clothes and her 'overnight back' piggy-backed on that case. When we arrive at our destination, the soft case can be stored in the hardcase to consolidate luggage when needed.
There's some further packing tips, examples and related discussion on a Web page I built back in 2002: http://www.thetandemlink.com/article...cksonpack.html
Last edited by TandemGeek; 04-20-10 at 11:32 AM.
Co-Motion's hybrid S&S case looks pretty cool. If I were buying again I'd probably look seriously at it. http://www.co-motion.com/information/s&s_couplers.html (scroll down to bottom of page).
My 54/54 Calfee will not fit into two hard cases. I discovered this the night before departing to New Zealand!, fortunately a friend had insisted on loaning me his soft cases. Looks like the way to go for Calfee is 1 soft and 1 hard case. BTW fork and crank sets are removed, LBS and Calfee have tried to fit front triangle in hard case, no luck.
I added some plastic panels to the side of the soft cases for good measure, If yo do this be careful about the panel thickness they get heavy very quickly.
Bill M is right. We have never had our cases measured for size. On the other hand we have always had our cases wieghed. There is no way that our rig would be under the 50 lbs limit in a single large case. Also once you arrive at your destination the large case would be a hard fit into a small rental car or taxi.
Originally Posted by briwasson
I think that's good advice.
Originally Posted by TandemGeek
We have close personal friends who are both unusually tall. Their custom sized S&S Santana had to have 2 additional couplers (on the captain's top tube and seat tube). It does, however, fit (just barely) inside of one large case.
One other thing to think about. If you decide to use two cases, it would be nice if one would nest inside of the other.
We had our S&S hard case measured twice at the airport. We now exclusively use the soft backpack cases. Never have had a problem, and you can pack a lot of clothes and whatnot in their pockets, too.
Our now 10 yr old Erickson came with the old 14" thick (by 26 X 26 inch) case from S&S that could hold the whole bike. With the new airline regs that limit to total 62" (L + W + T), this case was too big. I took off the hardware and cut it down to overall 10" thick. Some are able to pack the bike in one of these but it is too heavy anyway, so I built a second case of wood/epoxy/fiberglass like building a boat. Actually 2, one from plywood, one from bead/cove redwood. Have used the plywood on Detroit>Paris>Florence and return with good results, but see this discussion:
I found web sites specializing in gear for touring rock musicians to be a gold-mine of perfect hardware, for example:
Now for something completely different.
I have a 62cm Co-Motion Americano (single) with S&S couplers and their hybrid case. I rarely use the case any more as it is far more convenient to use cardboard boxes and foam pipe insulation instead. This eliminates the need to send the case home at my start and to have it sent back to me at my finish. You can imagine other situations with equal or even no incremental convenience. It depends.
I need a 28x28x6 box (cut down a UPS 28x28x28 box) and a 26x26x10 box, one for each half. The "larger" box is needed because a cardboard box doesn't bulge like the hybrid case. There's plenty of space left over for my panniers and camping gear for an extended fully loaded tour. (Of course, if you are already at a UPS Store, it's hard not to just ship the boxes home and save the hassle.) When I have used this method I have also used a standing piece of 2x4 to prevent compression damage and have zipped tied the whole shebang to better insure that it goes back in the box after the TSA inspects it.
There's nothing like claiming your cardboard boxes, building up your bike in baggage claim, and riding out the airport. When done, ride to a UPS store, ship your bike home and mosey on over - unladen - to the airport.
Two S&S cases work with my Calfee Tetra Med/Sm frame
My Calfee Tetra Med/sm will fit in a S&S case with the fork installed. See attached photo. I also have a Santana Rio that I've travelled with using two S&S cases. I don't see the point in using one case, as it is much easier to pack everything into two cases.
Originally Posted by rmac
Our Calfee is actually a custom size and the fork is a WoundUp with a disc adapter. I guess it's just enough different that it won't fit without removing the fork.
Originally Posted by Geocyclist
We have traveled with our Co-Motion Small S&S coupled tandem multiple times using a combination of cases: 1) Hard S&S case (borrowed from a friend) or 2) Co-Motion's hybrid case (we bought this recently and really like it) and 3) Ritchey Breakaway Case (came with our Ritchey Breakaway Cross-Check single bike). We also have a single Bike Friday that travels in a Samsonite suitcase.
The airlines have been measuring the cases more often. The Ritchey case is 4 inches beyond 62 and we have been charged once so far. The other cases all meet the 62 inch requirement. The cases have been weighed almost every time. We were once at 54 pounds on one case and were asked to redistribute the weight between the two cases. We have also arrived to find that the case with the bike (or half the bike) has been lost.
I would like to have the well organized foam of the Santana over size case in a 62 inch total dimension package. But for now, I plan to use two 62 inch cases weighing less than 50 pounds. The airlines all have different rules but they are increasingly enforcing them.
Cornucopia, do you have S&S cases or a Santana case?
Originally Posted by cornucopia72
In our domestic travels, we get charged most of the time for our Santana case; internationally, probably about half the time. Bill gets charged much less frequently (and quite often transporting more than one tandem at a time). He has a couple of advantages over me: 1) He's one of the more personable people you will ever meet...which goes a long way when checking in. 2) He flies a lot...and may even be considered a travel agent by the airlines.
Anyway, with most domestic airlines now charging for a second bag, it probably does not make much difference if you have two regulation size cases or one oversize cases.
PS: Nobody listen to chichi. He has the world's biggest Calfee.
We havea Samsonite type 26x26x10 hard case and a large semisoft piece that is aproximately 30x22x10. The frame goes in the semisoft piece and the wheels in the hard one. There is no way that my front frame piece would fit into a 26x26x10 case.
Originally Posted by 72andsunny
See thread on excess baggage charges for a "heads up" on airline policy