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S&S Couplers question on folding

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S&S Couplers question on folding

Old 07-19-23, 06:54 PM
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S&S Couplers question on folding

I just watched a video about folding a Rodriguez bike and it got me to wondering about using it for folding without fully breaking it down. Like, let's say I want to put it in a car or on a train. I don't need to get it as small as I would need it for an airplane. It it possible to keep it mostly together, but just undoing the cables for brakes and gears and splitting it in two?

I tried to do a search here on this forum and everything I see is about breaking it completely down.
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Old 07-19-23, 07:36 PM
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S&S couplings aren't really intended for regularly daily use. The grooves for the spanner aren't excessively deep so are or can be prone to damage (stripping out) especially with a worn spanner.
The couplings also must be greased to get reliable consistent torque. Ungreased stainless steel is also prone to galling resulting in complete seizure. The torque is probably high enough you'd not want to do it all the time and being on the low side can court unexpected separation.

S&S couplings are brilliant for travel uses. Exceptionally strong, rigid and reliable for infrequent disassembly. But daily disassembly for the purpose of fitting a bike in your trunk or in the handicap seats in the front of a bus probably isn't the ideal use case.

Ritchey BreakAway might be friendlier to continuous frequent assembly/disassembly if you must have a full-sized bike. Xooter Swift or the new version by Origami are strong contenders if you are looking for a full-size bike stand-in substitute that'll fit in a car trunk.
IIRC ChangeBike nestles about evenly between those 2 roles.

Last edited by base2; 07-19-23 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 07-19-23, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by base2
S&S couplings aren't really intended for regularly daily use. The grooves for the spanner aren't excessively deep so are or can be prone to damage (stripping out) especially with a worn spanner.
The couplings also must be greased to get reliable consistent torque. Ungreased stainless steel is also prone to galling resulting in complete seizure. The torque is probably high enough you'd not want to do it all the time and being on the low side can court unexpected separation.

S&S couplings are brilliant for travel uses. Exceptionally strong, rigid and reliable for infrequent disassembly. But daily disassembly for the purpose of fitting a bike in your trunk or in the handicap seats in the front of a bus probably isn't the ideal use case.

Ritchey BreakAway might be friendlier to continuous frequent assembly/disassembly if you must have a full-sized bike. Xooter Swift or the new version by Origami are strong contenders if you are looking for a full-size bike stand-in substitute that'll fit in a car trunk.
IIRC ChangeBike nestles about evenly between those 2 roles.
I should have been clearer. I have a Bike Friday that I plan to use for around the area bike rides. But, let's say, I want to ride the Allegheny Passage - I could take Amtrak and use a couplers bike maybe not COMPLETELY taken down, but small and safe enough for the train car. And then say in a year or so, I want to do another tour- getting there by train. Most of the time, the bike would stay as a solid bike, but if/when I needed to travel, it would be there and I wouldn't have to worry about weight limit.

Huh... or would I? I guess I never thought about that one!
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Old 07-22-23, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by mams99
I should have been clearer. I have a Bike Friday that I plan to use for around the area bike rides. But, let's say, I want to ride the Allegheny Passage - I could take Amtrak and use a couplers bike maybe not COMPLETELY taken down, but small and safe enough for the train car. And then say in a year or so, I want to do another tour- getting there by train. Most of the time, the bike would stay as a solid bike, but if/when I needed to travel, it would be there and I wouldn't have to worry about weight limit.

Huh... or would I? I guess I never thought about that one!
I agree with most of what Base2 said, but I do not think that Ritchey Breakaway would be better for frequent disassembly.

I think both Ritchey and S&S would work just fine for someone that wanted to split a bike to make it smaller to put in the back of a small car, or something like that where they are the ones in control of how the bike is packed. In this case you could load half, put a sheet of fabric on top, load the other half. This would probably work best if the front wheel was also removed.

That said, if you are thinking that you could split the frame and carry the two halves onto the train as a carry on piece of luggage where you are the one that loads it, (1) it is not a folder and I do not know if Amtrak would object to a full size bike that was split into two halves and (2) if there would be room for your "carry on" bike to be packed where other luggage would not damage it.

I am guessing that splitting the bike frame and removing the front wheel would allow the rear half, front half, and front wheel to be tied together in a way that meets the Amtrak folding bike size criteria, but that you would want to verify first.

I assume you are not suggesting handing a split bike to an Amtrak baggage handler to put in a baggage car. I would be fearful that the downtube and top tube are just sticking out where the frame could be damaged. And the Ritchey, the parts of the downtube where they attach to each other do not look particularly robust to me, I would be nervous about the end being dented.

I do not see much advantage to this if you already own a Bike Friday. But maybe your model is not well suited to carrying the additional luggage you would need for a multi-day trip?

I have to go, I will think about this some more, I might add more later. But I am quite curious what your situation is, are you thinking of loaded touring GAP and C&O with camping gear, or what? If that is the case, the touring forum might get you better input.
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