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Traveling with coupled Calfee Tandems

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Traveling with coupled Calfee Tandems

Old 12-09-13, 12:41 PM
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Traveling with coupled Calfee Tandems

I've read threads where people stated they had issues traveling with the Calfee tandems, but didn't elaborate.
Can anyone who has had bad experiences traveling with coupled Calfees tell me how they were packed & what happened?
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Old 12-09-13, 01:24 PM
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There have been reports of cracked rear triangles. That's not unique to Calfee's though.

The answer is to put a support in the rear dropouts, so it won't be crushed if a baggage handler steps on it.

You can buy them, or cut a 145mm length of 3/4" PVC pipe, and thread a QR skewer through it.

Having traveled with a S&S coupler bike, the other issue I'd be worried about is abrasion of the CF frame, from parts rubbing on it in the case. Cheap answer for this is foam pipe insulation.
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Old 12-09-13, 10:33 PM
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We have a very well travelled coupled Calfee Tetra. It has been in the cases at least 20 times. We live in Alaska and as we have to fly for all events it goes in the cases. It has been to Europe 6 times, Turkey,New Zealand and Hawaii many times in addition to all over the lower 48. I use the foam covering
made by S&S and have the pieces marked with silver sharpie for easy identification. the front half of the bike is in one case and rear in another. A few tricks I have learned are we use the S&S compression posts in the cases (3 in each case) and I tape the post to the base on each one. this way if TSA takes the bike out of the case they only have to put the top piece back on. I also remove the tires and one wheel goes in each case. I have thin foam cut to fit the cases on top and bottom. I am not obsessive about packing but careful and so far no damage save a slightly dented gates belt sprocket. I have no clue how it got bent. I put a copy of the itinerary in each case before each trip along with contact info. We carry our cycling shoes, tools and spares in the cases and each weights 48 lbs packed. the S&S cases have held up very well but are scratched and scraped. I remove the rear derailleur but not the chain. It takes about 1 hour to pack and unpack it. A Topeak mega morph pump fits in the case so we have a full size pump along for trips.
We have never been charged a bike fee just occasional 2nd bag charge for each of us.
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Old 12-09-13, 11:21 PM
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The only problem we ran into was a bent big chainring. God knows what some luggage handler did to it. However, through careful use of a large crescent wrench, I was able to straighten it out enough that it worked fine for a week long trip in Italy. Now, I unbolt the middle and outer chainring when I am packing the bike. Pad it, block it, and put it in a couple of hardshells and you should be fine.
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Old 12-11-13, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by seth10015 View Post
I've read threads where people stated they had issues traveling with the Calfee tandems, but didn't elaborate.
Can anyone who has had bad experiences traveling with coupled Calfees tell me how they were packed & what happened?
hi Seth. I am not aware of any travel/packing issues unique to Calfee.

On a general note (or two), large S&S frames may require the fork to be removed in order to fit the front section into a standard 26x26" S&S case. Also, wider spaced rear sections (ie: 160mm) and matching rear wheel with a wide hub can be a tighter fit too, but not a deal breaker.

If shoehorning a tandem into the smallish standard S&S cases causes you concern, then there are other options too. For example, one of our friends uses a single "Tri All 3 Sports Velo Safe Pro Series ISP" case to quickly pack his S&S Rolhoff tandem without needing to disassemble the rear drive or remove that wheel from the frame.

A few "gottchas" with this approach is
1) weight... case is 38.5lbs empty + your tandem may be > 70lbs which can be a baggage loading problem in some countries,
2) case size may be a problem finding taxis big enough, though in reality even the standard S&S cases + luggage pose this same problem.
3) depending on which airline you fly and your checked baggage count, this may or may not add to the travel cost. As we found last year when flying UAL with a very large and heavily packed (96lbs) Bikepro case, that was only $200 each way to Europe... no more expensive than checking 2 standard S&S cases @ $100ea. But as I said, your costs depend on which airline you fly.

Here are some photos of the Tri All 3 case in action:

In order to provide any specific answer to your OP question, perhaps you could provide links for the threads you are referring to?
Attached Images

Last edited by twocicle; 12-11-13 at 12:57 PM.
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