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New S/S Couple Team

Old 11-16-19, 01:52 PM
  #1  
Mayonnaise
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New S/S Couple Team

My wife and I purchased a new S/S Coupled Tandem. As excited as we are, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at the idea of actually packing it up and taking it on an airplane. I've poked around the 'net a bit to see if anyone has written about what it actually takes to do it. Was hoping to find a first-hand account of an experienced team detailing dos and don'ts and things to watch out for. So far, haven't really found much. Anyone have a resource link or personal experience that might help?
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Old 11-16-19, 07:39 PM
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Though we have a Co-Motion Tandem with S&S se don't tour with any . But we have in the past and have packed it for air travel.
There are a number of videos showing the process. But one thing I see from your pic is the handle bar you have might not fit in a case. We have to pack certain items in the duffle bag for travel.
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Old 11-17-19, 09:00 AM
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We use 2 S/S hard cases and prefer shipping ahead of time with bikeflights or shipbikes because we do not trust TSA to examine contents without damaging stuff. The first time I packed I took pics of the process to help remember the order of packing.
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Old 11-17-19, 09:57 AM
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https://santanaadventures.com/bills-tips/

Found this
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Old 11-17-19, 10:11 AM
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Is there much cost difference between the two choices (airline, shipping)? Intrigued by the idea of shipping ahead.
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Old 11-17-19, 01:09 PM
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Co-Motion has a good packing video. https://co-motion.com/pages/videos
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Old 11-17-19, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Mayonnaise View Post
Is there much cost difference between the two choices (airline, shipping)? Intrigued by the idea of shipping ahead.
Depends on flights, if baggage is free then of course cheaper to fly with. Shipping ahead, one S/S case is ~$35 within US. For the convenience of not having to carry cases (in addition to much other gear) to/from airport, and not having TSA messing with bike, shipping ahead within US is good.
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Old 11-18-19, 01:47 AM
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Since you bought a Co-Motion, try their packing video first. The best way to pack any S&S coupled tandem is highly dependent on the positioning of the couplers.

We use 2 hardcases. Basically most of the bike goes into one case. Wheels and 'other' stuff goes into the other hard case. I usually move bits between cases to balance the weight. Usually we do 21-22Kg per case which is at or just under the weight limit for normal checkin luaggage. Exactly how to balance depends on the details of your bike (wheel weight+size? frame size? frame material? accessories?).

We only do the packing once a year so it always take me about 45m-1hour to fit everything into the 2 cases.
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Old 11-19-19, 05:15 AM
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Nice looking bike!
Our tandem is on the big side so we have to remove the fork completely and also both cranksets. Take lots of photos while the paint is in pristine condition because when you pack it for the first time you will inevitably get a few paint chips.
We use two of the backpack S&S bags which are getting a bit old. I'll be replacing one of them before our next trip with one that has wheels.
We normally aim for about 21-22 kg per bag
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Old 11-19-19, 01:35 PM
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When we bought our first S&S tandem from a local tandem dealer, shortly afterward they held a group clinic where many couples all got together and did the pack/unpack process right in the shop - and provided the needed materials and instruction.

Yes you may ask here and find info online, but if you bought this tandem through a LBS or tandem dealer, they should assist you with demonstrating how to properly pack it. Post-sales service is always touted as a primary reason to buy local. Put them to the test.
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Old 11-20-19, 11:01 AM
  #11  
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Clear out a spot where you can work. Take it apart. Put stuff in Ziploc bags and lable them. List the steps you take (tape that list in the box, or in a Ziploc bag in the box.) Set aside in one place every single tool that you use. Pack it. Take a series of pictures on your phone. Put it back together again using only those tools, and looking at your notes. Do this twice before you travel. Hint-don't tighten the pedals so tight you can't get them off with a Park multi-tool------don't forget the long allen wrench and spanner for the Bushnell BB------carry several pair of rubber gloves to stay clean.
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Old 11-21-19, 09:54 AM
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A few thoughts:

1. Pack a few full-size tools rather than just relying on a multi-tool. I have a few cheap T-handle Allen wrenches (with ball ends to work at an angle if needed) from Harbor Freight (nice because the handles have colors). Mainly a 4 and 5mm, and a 2.5 or 3mm to fit water bottle cage bolts. S&S wrench, of course, with a built-in 15mm pedal wrench. Also a screwdriver with interchangeable phillips/straight bits. You can get by with a good multi-tool, but full-size wrenches are a lot easier (I started this after reinstalling six bottle cages on our triplet after an overnight flight with nothing but a multitool, and I wanted to shoot myself). I also pack a Park masterlink plier to make removing quicklinks easier (depends whether you pull the chain or not, or course, with your drive belts it's not needed). All go i a Ziploc bag and stay with the S&S case in storage.
2. A good-sized piece of light-colored, lightweight cloth makes it a lot easier to keep track of parts when building/tearing down and is nice to kneel on if you are in grass outside. Alternately, on a overnight/overseas flight grab one of the cheap, free blankets and take it with you (return it on your return flight if you feel guilty).
3. Add a Problem Solvers locking headset spacer to your steerer tube in place of one of the spacers. (Note I've only seen these for 1-1/8" and not Santana-size 1-1/4".) Allows you to remove your stem/bars and still keep your preload set up and fork in place: https://problemsolversbike.com/produ..._spacer_-_6788

I've seen folks pack a full-size floor pump and even a folding repair stand. That seems like overkill to me, but sure nice to have!

Any city big enough to have an airport will likely have a competent bike shop in case of any big needs, so really not much need to pack along a bunch of "what if" parts.
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Old 11-21-19, 01:32 PM
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Making a nice list of pointers I'm collecting from this stream. I've spent the last few days tinkering with various component systems to ensure I've got a solid idea of how they work. I do a little google/youtube research to deepen my understanding. I come from this experience and think, wow, these bikes are very well engineered.

After working a bit with the tubes and tires it became clear that a travel pump was necessary. The 29, 2.0 tires hold a lot of air and I don't want to hand pump them in some far away hotel room.

My plan next is to dial in exactly what tools I will want to carry. I'll build a small kit and it will stay in the cases.
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Old 11-21-19, 09:07 PM
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Honestly. We had a coupled Co-Motion tandem, but found it was easier to ship it nearly assembled in a hard tandem case instead of disassembling, packing, unpacking, assembling, retuning, etc...
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Old 11-22-19, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Mayonnaise View Post
Making a nice list of pointers I'm collecting from this stream. I've spent the last few days tinkering with various component systems to ensure I've got a solid idea of how they work. I do a little google/youtube research to deepen my understanding. I come from this experience and think, wow, these bikes are very well engineered.

After working a bit with the tubes and tires it became clear that a travel pump was necessary. The 29, 2.0 tires hold a lot of air and I don't want to hand pump them in some far away hotel room.

My plan next is to dial in exactly what tools I will want to carry. I'll build a small kit and it will stay in the cases.
29, 2.0 tires will be difficult to put into standard S&S 26" cases. Even normal 700c tires need to be mostly deflated to fit if left on the rims. Caution though, I've seen teams blow their tubes during the unpacking process. My theory is that the tubes were pinched when the wheels were crammed into the S&S hardshell case lids, then blew during reinflation or shortly thereafter. One tip if traveling with a group where there might be a shared pump... bring along your own little digital pressure gauge as you never know how accurate someone else's pump gauge is, or at least to ensure you can reproduce the exact same pressure you use at home.
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Old 11-22-19, 12:27 AM
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Gorgeous bike! I'd love to have a rohloff tandem with 2x belt drive.

Does anybody have any tips on what to do with the bags or hardcases after arrival?
Do you rent lockers and store them?
We do mainly self sustained tandem touring, and i didn't find any tips on what to do with the bags / cases after transportation. I can imagine that even the s&s duffel bags take up too much space in the panniers.

Last edited by rocknrollin; 11-22-19 at 12:40 AM.
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Old 11-22-19, 01:57 AM
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[QUOTE=rocknrollin;21218673
Does anybody have any tips on what to do with the bags or hardcases after arrival?
[/QUOTE]

We do loop tours so we make sure the start/end accomodation is willing to store the 2 hard cases for us. It's a restriction but it works well for us in Western Europe.
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Old 11-22-19, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by rocknrollin View Post
Gorgeous bike! I'd love to have a rohloff tandem with 2x belt drive.

Does anybody have any tips on what to do with the bags or hardcases after arrival?
We use one hard case and one soft case (for the wheels), and put the soft case inside the hard case when not being used. Our soft case has a band of plastic to form the walls, and you can take that out and roll it up, which makes it easy to store in the hard case.
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Old 11-23-19, 01:57 AM
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Originally Posted by twocicle View Post
29, 2.0 tires will be difficult to put into standard S&S 26" cases. Even normal 700c tires need to be mostly deflated to fit if left on the rims. Caution though, I've seen teams blow their tubes during the unpacking process. My theory is that the tubes were pinched when the wheels were crammed into the S&S hardshell case lids, then blew during reinflation or shortly thereafter. One tip if traveling with a group where there might be a shared pump... bring along your own little digital pressure gauge as you never know how accurate someone else's pump gauge is, or at least to ensure you can reproduce the exact same pressure you use at home.
I did the trick of not checking that the tyres were seated properly in Luton airport many years ago. It happened in the baggage collection area and we were talking to some air hostesses and some police who were armed with machine guns. There would have been at least 300 people in the area where we were. You could have heard a pin drop until people realised no one had been shot. A lesson well learned!
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Old 11-23-19, 06:27 AM
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Lots of good info. Here are a few additional tidbits I use.

-I have always found that tightening the front eccentric to be a real pain using a pin spanner so I carry an open ended bottom bracket tool and use it apply torque to the eccentric. I had to grind the tip off of one of the tines in order for it to fit between the crank and bottom bracket.

-The TSA are looking for contraband and CO2 cartridges. I pack everything in clear plastic backs and place the bags of small pieces on top for easy inspection. On a sheet of paper I print my name, address, and phone number and in very large bold font print "TSA - No CO2". I don't know if it helps, but my hope it messages the inspector that I am aware of the rules and not trying to hide anything.

-We have the S&S hard cases and unlocked, the clasps do not inspire confidence (with me). I tied a carabiner to the handle with waxed cord whipping and use it to "lock" the case through the pad lock tabs. The inspectors have always replaced it.

-I created a word document with photos of how to pack and find it invaluable. One interesting finding, like rebuilding a carburetor, it never goes back in the cases the same way twice.



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Old 01-03-20, 11:02 AM
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We have been travelling for over 21 years now with an S&S coupled tandem (1 or 2 trips every year). We have had a Santana tandem for 20 years but we just replaced it this year with a Rolhoff/Gates Co-Motion tandem very similar to yours. Even though theyíre being phased out, we decided to have our new tandem built with 26in wheels as it makes the packing easier. We can fit 27.5in wheels if need be.

We have always used the S&S soft backpack cases and never suffer any significant damage beside a broken rear rack bracket and a cracked helmet. The reason we bought the soft cases is to have the ability to carry them with us on the rear rack, useful for trips where we donít end up where we began in countries where we donít trust the postal operator. But most of the times, we do a loop and leave the cases at the hotel.

We did travel this year with our new Co-Motion (to Cambodia) so I had to figure out how to pack it. I documented my procedure here but unfortunately I canít put the link here. It is based on Co-Motion`s procedure, except that I pack one wheel per case.

Here are the rules I try to follow as much as possible when packing:
  • I make sure that all ďhangingĒ parts (derailleurs, disc brakes, brake rotors,...) are not exposed by either removing them (thatís what I was doing with derailleurs) or by making sure they are well protected inside the case.
  • I make sure that if pressure is applied on one point of the case, the content can give in without breaking anything.
The fork was too long to fit flat in the case, but luckily it did fit when laid diagonally. I didnít have to remove it. I also didn't remove the brake rotors (the one on the Rolhoff hub is a PITA to remove) - I put them in home-made protective covers and made sure they are facing inside the case.

I brought spare Gates chainrings (drive side, timing side), a Rolhoff sprocket and brake rotors that I leave at the hotel with the cases. We carry spare belts with us.
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