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Coupled Frames, Is it Worth it for Me?

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Coupled Frames, Is it Worth it for Me?

Old 06-21-21, 05:56 AM
  #26  
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I should add one more clarification on my comments on time to assemble and disassemble my S&S bike. This is the touring forum, thus my comments are generally oriented towards loaded touring, with camping gear.

My S&S bike is a touring bike, that means rack on front, rack on rear, three water bottle cages, when I assemble it at home I put fenders on it. The full size fenders that I use at home do not fit in the case, but I made some brackets for some shorty fenders I can add for travel. Kickstand, etc. So, there is a lot to dis-assembly and re-assembly. The only times this bike has flown was to a foreign country for a trip that is at least a month long.

But, for a bike to ride around for a few days while staying in a single motel, you probably are talking no racks, no fenders, maybe one bottle cage. In other words, a lot less assembly and disassembly, and a lot less time, and less hassle.

Touring, I use 57mm wide tires, even pumping them up with a small Lezyne pump is time consuming, but if you are only using a bike for a few days near your motel, you likely are using smaller tires that pump up in one third the time.

If you have a smaller sized frame and can leave the fork in the frame when you pack it too, that saves more time.

S&S cases are 26 by 26 inches, that is why I got a bike with 26 inch wheels, when I deflate the tires the wheels easily fit in the case, 700c is a tighter fit.
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Old 06-21-21, 08:09 AM
  #27  
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I got an S&S coupled bike a while back when I was working a job that looked like two-week-long trips were going to happen 4-6 time a year, and two checked bags were free. One year later I changed jobs and the airlines started charging for checked bags.. :/ Still, I made a dent in the extra cost with savings from the $30-40 second bag fee and the checked bicycle fee.

One hour is my goal for unpacking and assembling the bike (which I can usually hit with a bit to spare), and for disassembling and packing the bike to fly home (sometimes I hit it, sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes much longer!). My bike is big enough that it has to be pretty well disassembled -- fork, stem, and bar come off, along with the cranks That one hour is without the racks and fenders, though. It's been a good bike to take to supported tours (out west where it doesn't rain much!) Because of that time, and the fact that I'm usually out of the motel at 7 and don't get back until after 5 in the afternoon, I'm lucky to get a couple rides in a week of work travel. I've taken to flying out early or back late for time to ride when I go someplace new and/or interesting.

Building the bike up and then uncoupling it for "nearly-built" transport in compact cars works well -- just make sure you tighten the couplers before you go ride! I haven't had issues transporting the packed bike in taxis or shuttles -- except when there were too many other cyclists in the same vehicle.

While I'd be interested to hear how long unpacking and packing a Bike Friday takes, the next bike I may buy is probably going to be a custom standard setup without S&S couplers. Cost is the big driver for me. Without the special $200 airline bike fee, it would take too long to recoup the $1,000-1,500 for another coupled bike, case, and packing material. If the airlines get greedy again, I'll plan to use shipbikes or bikeflights to ship the new bike in a $500 case. Or I'll use the coupled bike some more.
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Old 06-21-21, 09:38 AM
  #28  
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Can you please tell us more about that interesting handlebar? Also, are those Ergon GC1 grips? How do you find them? I also have swept bars and think about replacing grips as I have some wrist pain on long tours with my existing grips.
The bars are from Velo Orange. They are Casey's Crazy Bar or as listed on their site Crazy Bars. I also have Psycho rims. I tried several other bars before settling on the Crazy bars. There is a review of them by Cyclingabout. I have them double wrapped with Cinelli cork tape. They offer enough hand positions for me to be comfortable on longer rides.

The grips are the GC1 BioKork by ergon. They are the version for swept back bars. They offer them in a Rohloff version but only for right handed. Grandma tried to fix my being different by tying my left hand to the chair at the dinner table but dad caught her. So I had to cut the left grip down myself. I really like these grips and Casey's Crazy bars.
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Old 06-21-21, 11:42 AM
  #29  
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If anyone reading this gets a bike with S&S couplers, Ritchey Break Away system, or something similar, one more piece of advice. Once you have figured out how to pack it the best way, when you unpack it, take a series of photos that show everything in detail. If you put that series of photos on your phone or tablet or whatever you bring on a trip, that can help a lot next time you go to pack it.

Every bike is different, some bikes will be packed in a different way than other bikes.

I also added a DIY wooden center support to my S&S Backpack case. I also put a sheet of Corroplast on the two 26 X 26 sides for more structure to the soft bag.

I do not use a lot of padding in my packing, I suspect that vast majority of S&S owners use more than I do. I think an expedition bike is supposed to have a few nicks and scrapes and scratches. I just try to put padding between the parts that touch each other.



If you have to remove your fork to pack it, put the headset back on the steerer tube in the correct order and orientation, keep it there with a rubber band. And a photo of that might help later if you can't remember how to reassemble your headset.



I wrote up a summary of how I pack it on a different forum. (My S&S bike is a Thorn, that write up is on the Thorn forum). There may be other notes or ideas there in my writeup that some may be interested in too.
Unpacking my S&S Nomad MkII from the S&S Backpack Case
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Old 06-21-21, 02:18 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
If anyone reading this gets a bike with S&S couplers, Ritchey Break Away system, or something similar, one more piece of advice. Once you have figured out how to pack it the best way, when you unpack it, take a series of photos that show everything in detail. If you put that series of photos on your phone or tablet or whatever you bring on a trip, that can help a lot next time you go to pack it.
Absolutely! I made a document with my pictures, printed it out, and put it into sheet protectors. It sits on top of the packed bike inside the case.

There's still that tricky placement of seatpost and bars, though...
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Old 06-29-21, 05:11 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Parkyy16 View Post
I need some guidance from people who travel with their bikes. I've read old posts, and I know I'm bringing up a subject that's been covered quite a bit before. I'm debating a coupled frame for some occasional travel for work and vacations. I go to about 1-3 conferences for work per year, none international, a few in-state within Texas, but some in west and east coast. At these events, I'm always stuck in the hotel room after a day at the conference, wondering how nice it would be to go for a ride.

​​​​
There's really two arguments here - financial and hassle factor.

If the airline you travel on has high fees, you can quickly figure out how fast couplers pay for themselves. That's the financial argument.

The hassle factor argument is that it's a lot less hassle to schlep around a packaged up bike that fits in taxi's and buses without drama than one that doesn't.

There are cases like the Orucase that come close to a coupler sized bag but without having to take apart the bike. That said, you always want to get the smallest version that fits your bike and it does take some wrestling to get it all to fit - again, hassle factor.

I've traveled with both coupled and uncoupled bikes. The coupled versions are easier and more convenient.

At any rate, with S&S couplers, the bike is super strong. Otherwise it's not worth overthinking it.

J.
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Old 07-01-21, 07:40 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Parkyy16 View Post
I need some guidance from people who travel with their bikes. I've read old posts, and I know I'm bringing up a subject that's been covered quite a bit before. I'm debating a coupled frame for some occasional travel for work and vacations. I go to about 1-3 conferences for work per year, none international, a few in-state within Texas, but some in west and east coast. At these events, I'm always stuck in the hotel room after a day at the conference, wondering how nice it would be to go for a ride.

I built up a Velo-Orange Neutrino(Mini Velo with 20 inch wheels) for its packability and nostalgia(I had a folding bike when I was little) last year. I haven't traveled with it yet since all the conferences have been virtual this past year, but the bike now has a rack, basket, fenders, which makes it more of a hassle to break down, especially since fenders are such a pain for me to setup. I haven't bought a case for it yet, but apparently it fits into a BMX bike bag. And it seems that BMX riders have gone out of their way to make some travel bags that look like golf club bags to avoid airline fees, which I think is absolutely brilliant and hilarious.

About me:
I mostly stick to paved roads, ride alone, non-competitively. I have 3 bikes, no car, early in my career. I want to eventually travel across the country more in the next few years before settling down, buying a house, etc. I have hopes of traveling to Europe and bikepacking/credit card touring, visiting family in Asia and touring my home country as well. I'm mechanically inclined enough to be able to pack and unpack the bikes. I build & maintain all my bikes myself, so that's not a concern.

I'm trying my best to not have too much overlap in bikes since I still live with roommates, and need to keep my bikes in my rather small room(I'm considering keeping the travel bike in its case if space is a huge concern). I'm trying my best to look for a used travel bike, but haven't had much luck. It also seems like retro-fitting couplers onto a production bike seems exceedingly expensive. When you factor in the cost of the production frame, retro-fit couplers, repaint/touch-up, frame alignment, and the case, it comes out to the price of a decent custom frame+case. On average, a "retro-fit coupler package" seems to cost $1,500+, including a case.

My questions are:
- Are Breakaway/S&S couplers worth it for occasional travel?
- Should I just get a case for the mini velo?(Around $200)

Frame Options I've considered:
- Ritchey Outback Steel Breakaway(Overkill for my road riding, probably)
- Ritchey Carbon Road Breakaway(Steel model seems to be discontinued)
- Crust Evasion Breakaway(Single Speed, I got some spare parts to put on a single speed/fixed gear, but difficult to use for bikepacking/touring)
- Custom Coupled Frame from Overseas(Waltly Titanium, Marino Bike, etc.)

What I'm thinking of doing:
- Get a case for the Neutrino for the next in-person conference, bring and ride the bike, see how the experience of traveling with a bike is.
- If it's a good experience, and I want the ability to ride drop bars, get a set of drop bars, shifters, brake calipers, and derailleur, keep them in the travel box
- The next time I travel, I can break down the Neutrino and choose between drop bars or up right bars depending on the type of ride I expect to be doing
- If it's a bad experience, look into a Ritchey Breakaway or a Custom coupled bike

Does this make sense? ​​​​
Hi, I am a frame builder and have been through the whole travel bike thing. (I have my own patented system). Because I am short and ride small bikes (usually about 36 to 42cm seat tubed length). at some point I figured out that if you take the bike apart (including the cranks and fork), If the frame is small enough, You can fit it into a cut down bike box. (38 x 17 x 7) and it is still under size. You then just need to buy a 26 x 26 x 10 cardboard box or suitcase for the wheels etc.
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Old 07-01-21, 08:04 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
Hi, I am a frame builder and have been through the whole travel bike thing. (I have my own patented system). Because I am short and ride small bikes (usually about 36 to 42cm seat tubed length). at some point I figured out that if you take the bike apart (including the cranks and fork), If the frame is small enough, You can fit it into a cut down bike box. (38 x 17 x 7) and it is still under size. You then just need to buy a 26 x 26 x 10 cardboard box or suitcase for the wheels etc.
There is a vintage bike by Gitane called the "Traveler" or "Traveller".

It has some of the most wonky dimensions of a vintage bike. But, I presume it was designed to be taken down to fit into one or two boxes without disassembling the frame. I don't know if it will get below the typical airport size, but it might.







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