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Putting my bike in a suitcase

Old 05-01-08, 09:32 PM
  #1  
raybo
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Putting my bike in a suitcase

I leave for France soon and am in the middle of packing. One of the tasks is to uncouple my bike and put it into its traveling case. I thought people might be interested in seeing how this is done. It took about 2 hours, this afternoon (and will take another 2 hours, at least, in Paris).

Here is the fully assembled bike:



Here is the bike and the box it fits into:



There are 5 major parts:



Here is the disassembled bike:



Here is the bike in the suitcase:



A few notes:

I have to take the tires off the rims to get the rims into the case. I twist the tires once to make them smaller (but thicker). They aren't shown.

There are pieces of bike hardware that I bag up and put into the box but that aren't shown (pedals, skewers, handlebar hardware).

I had to disassemble the plastic fenders (removed the connecting rods) to get them into the box. This was the first time I've had to do that.

The case requires a bit of force to close with just a hint of point where the tip of the hub sits. All of the bike parts are padded and, for the most part, nothing is forced into position.

Ray
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Old 05-01-08, 10:26 PM
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Thanks!
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Old 05-02-08, 12:46 AM
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Yes, thank you for documenting this. Is there a lot of cable-adjusting when you reassemble?
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Old 05-02-08, 04:10 AM
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Thanks for sharing. On the first photo with the full bike and case I thought there was no chance that was going to fit in there.

But it looks like the frame comes apart. Is that right? What is it like to ride?
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Old 05-02-08, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by thePig View Post
But it looks like the frame comes apart. Is that right?
Yes, apparently with S&S couplers.

I'd also be interested to know if you need to re-adjust all the cables when putting the bike back together?

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Old 05-02-08, 08:25 AM
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As Juha notes, the bikes has S&S couplers that split the bike in two. While I've never ridden a Waterford without couplers, the bike rides like any other bike I've ridden. You can see the stainless steel couplers just in front of the seat post and the bottom bracket in the first picture, above.

As for the cables, the bike has cable splitters. When they are screwed tight, the cables are adjusted properly. The only cable adjustment is on the front brakes as I have to undo that one to take off the handlebars (maybe I should get a cable splitter there too!).

The main things that have to get done to reassemble the bike are to install the front rack (which attaches to the front brakes) and get those brakes set right afterward, remount and inflate both tires, put the handlebars back on and adjust the fork/headset correctly, and get the seat on the seat post right.

As I said, it takes a good long while to put it all together on the other end, but it does make me quite familiar with the bike!

Ray
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Old 05-02-08, 10:16 AM
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I did the same thing last night with my Bike Friday. The Bike Friday does not require so much disassembly; it takes me about 45 minutes to pack it away and about 20 minutes to unpack it.

I leave for Paris on Sunday. I'll keep a lookout or you and your Waterford!
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Old 05-02-08, 04:07 PM
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what do you do with the suitcase?
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Old 05-02-08, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by jabantik00 View Post
what do you do with the suitcase?
Take on a plane as checked luggage at no extra charge.

Ray
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Old 05-02-08, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post
Take on a plane as checked luggage at no extra charge.

Ray
I think he means "what do you do with case while on tour"?

Bike Friday has an ingenious use for their travel case - it turns into a trailer!
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Old 07-02-08, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
I think he means "what do you do with case while on tour"?

Bike Friday has an ingenious use for their travel case - it turns into a trailer!
I left the bike case at the hotel when I arrived as I planned to sleep there the night before I leave and put the bike back into the case.

Ray
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Old 07-04-11, 03:41 PM
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Hey Raybo: Could you give a few more details on your packing method. Can't quite tell from the pictures where you have the rear wheel. Also, are the parts labeled 1-5 put in in that order? I'm packing my 54cm Traveler's Check and have never been able to do it without taking the crank off. Thanks, Ben
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Old 07-04-11, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by beninslc View Post
Hey Raybo: Could you give a few more details on your packing method. Can't quite tell from the pictures where you have the rear wheel. Also, are the parts labeled 1-5 put in in that order? I'm packing my 54cm Traveler's Check and have never been able to do it without taking the crank off. Thanks, Ben
Ben,

The numbered pieces were randomly assigned.

I have tried many different configurations. One time I got it just right and I took photos of each piece as I removed it from the box. I'll post those photos when I am back at home after July 4th holiday.

But, from memory, I put the fork, with front brake arms removed (posts facing up) part 1 in the photo and the front of the frame, part 2 in the photo in first along the diagonal. Then, I put in the rear wheel with the tire removed (I have 27 inch wheels) and the gear cluster up. Next, it is the rear part of the frame, part 3 in the photo. Then, the front wheel, tire removed. Note that the crank is interleaved between the spokes of the front wheel. I thread the tires and tubes between the two wheels. Lastly,using trial and error, I try to maneuver my handlebars into whatever open space I can. It usually takes a couple tries.

When I get it right, the top closes without any effort.

I don't pack my saddle in the bike box. The lad time I did, it got gouged a bit, so now I pack it in the other case I have to take for all the rest of my touring gear.

I try to include my step by step photos soon.

Good luck,

Ray

Last edited by raybo; 07-04-11 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 07-04-11, 10:13 PM
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packing a SNS bike takes a bit of thinking.

Thanks for showing a good spot for the handlebars.

I'm trying to work up a modular system for different handlebars that can be interchanged on my SNS travel bike.

I've been able to put a 54cm travelers check in the box removing neither the fork nor the crank, but its taken a little bit of doing. I also find only having to remove the tire off the upper wheel in the case, not both. I suggest folding tires, twisting beads on wire bead tires can be catastrophic.

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Old 07-06-11, 08:42 AM
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Here is the step-by-step guide I created so that I could repeat the best packing method I've found.

I hope it helps,

Ray
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Old 07-06-11, 09:12 AM
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Hey Ray, where did you buy your bike box (not specifically), and how much did it cost you?
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Old 07-06-11, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Josephdavid View Post
Hey Ray, where did you buy your bike box (not specifically), and how much did it cost you?
I bought the bike and the box all at the same time from a LBS. According to the invoice, the S&S couplers, box, compression bars and tube covers (i.e. everything) were charged at $850. So, I don't really know the specifics of just the cost of the box. Also, this was in 2004.

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Old 07-06-11, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post
I left the bike case at the hotel when I arrived as I planned to sleep there the night before I leave and put the bike back into the case.

Ray
That's the rub for me. I have never started and ended a tour in the same city and don't see it as all that likely to happen in the future. As a result couplers don't really appeal to me. I also wonder how long hotels are willing to hold your case. I would expect no problem for a week or maybe two, but when it gets into months I wonder.

It looks like a great setup for folks who fly to and from the same place, especially for shortish tours.
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Old 07-06-11, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
That's the rub for me. I have never started and ended a tour in the same city and don't see it as all that likely to happen in the future. As a result couplers don't really appeal to me. I also wonder how long hotels are willing to hold your case. I would expect no problem for a week or maybe two, but when it gets into months I wonder.

It looks like a great setup for folks who fly to and from the same place, especially for shortish tours.
Pete,

On my upcoming tour from Bellingham, WA to Newburg, OR, I will be shipping the (empty) box from Bellingham to Newburg via UPS, about $30, is my guess.

I've only kept the box at a hotel once and that was for an entire month. I don't see why they wouldn't hold it for several months, if they knew in advance the exact dates. But, I've never done it for more than a month.

My usual storage place is a friend's house.

I've also used contacts on couchsurfing.org to find a place to ship the box.

Frankly, what to do with the box is one of the many small issues that bike touring brings up. On the other hand, I don't worry about my bike getting broken by the baggage handlers. To me, that alone is worth the time, effort, and costs of the couplers and box. That doesn't count the savings on the airline bike charges.

Ray
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Old 07-06-11, 09:06 PM
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the bike boxes are expensive if gotten as an SNS case. 300 dollars.

i do think there are custom box options that might be a bit less expensive, but the SNS case is pricey!!!!

Dealing with the case is a very minor issue IMO and is totally worth it if you like to travel.

You can bring your bike on a cheap weekend flight to see friends or do rides and its really no big deal.

tis' a great way to see the world, with a bike as your transportation.

its absolutely liberating to be on your own bike you just assembled out of your checked luggage in a new city and discovering the town at your own pace, totally in control with a map and a sense of adventure...
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