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Take-a-part bike or standard frame ?

Old 02-18-13, 11:00 PM
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Take-a-part bike or standard frame ?

First time poster on this forum...
What's the consensus on this subject when flights are required ?
Seems like a no brainer to get the surly Deluxe frame Vs. the Standard one-piece LHT.
Price wise it is probably $500.00 difference on the frame, but that difference can be offset really quick with "free" bike flying cost.
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Old 02-19-13, 12:01 AM
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I have an S&S coupled bike that I've toured on for the last 10 years. I wrote an article about the good and bad points of this bike.

The real cost issue is how much flying will you do with the bike and what do you plan to put the bike in when you fly? If it is a case, you have to include that cost in the price, as well.

Several people, who will likely post here, like folding bikes for traveling to/from a tour.
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Old 02-19-13, 12:15 AM
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You might want to research that "no brainer" a little more. Do a search on this forum and you should get a number of hits. You might get the Deluxe in the suitcase sized package but that requires taking off the racks and fenders. You also have your panniers and other gear to deal with. If all this requires additional baggage, the "free" flying costs for the bike are somewhat offset. The Deluxe has 26" wheels so it is less of a problem, unless you don't want 26" wheels. I prefer 700c wheels on my touring bikes. Some of the folks with 700c wheels show pictures of their "compact" packages, but if you look closely the tires are off of the wheels, and there are no racks or fenders in sight.

My wife's bike has SS couplers, and I'm still not convinced it was worth the extra expense. We fly and travel quite a bit with our bikes. We have probably been on close to a dozen flights since she got that bike. We've also been on many more trains and buses during the same period.

There will soon be a flood of folks extolling the virtues of SS couplers, so you will get the "rest of the story"
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Old 02-19-13, 01:54 AM
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I'm a Bike Friday owner and I also have a Surly LHT. I kind of have to agree that it's not exactly a no brainer, it's kind of complicated. Your style of touring really matters a lot and how you value your time. Taking apart bikes and trying to make them fit into small boxes takes time and can be frustrating; at least when you aren't worrying about the size you can add protection.

P.S. does the deluxe feel the same as a LHT? I mean exactly the same. The only reason I ride that one is the extra comfort.
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Old 02-19-13, 10:10 PM
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I knew it is not a no-brainer... that's why I ask you guys with touring experience...
I ride Mountain and Road bikes quite extensively, but I'm new to touring.

I really don't mind taking the bikes apart and putting it back - I love it as much as I love riding.
I will actually have to do it for 2 bikes... my wife's and mine.
I had a Ritchey breakaway bike for a couple of days (I returned it to the seller) and it was a breeze to take it a part - no more than 15-30 minutes.
I don't believe the S&S will take more (other than the rack and fenders).

I don't believe I want Bike Friday's due to the small wheels.
The 26er wheels should be great for loaded touring and yes, I believe that the Deluxe is exactly the same as the LHT (that's at least what I read on Surly WWW site)


For those that flying with full bikes, what do you use for a package ? a box form you LBS ? what do you do on the way back ?
Also what is the typical current cost to fly a bike from the US (West Coast) to Europe round trip /per leg ??
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Old 02-19-13, 10:52 PM
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Bike Friday.. they pack even smaller, in fact their design is centered around packing into a suitcase,
the 406 20" wheels are very strong. and it's part of the compact pack.

you cannot make a bike fit in a box smaller than its wheels.

I have taken my big wheel touring bike to Ireland , but that was 15 years ago..
I showed up at SFO with a recycled amtrack box , they wanted to inspect in the carton,
but as a result, I got a new box from United.., discarded it in Dublin airport.

on the way Back I taped together a couple Shop boxes.. so as to make a long one and so left my wheels on.
for the return from Aberdeen Scotland , via AMS , back to SFO.
Panniers were packed in chicken feed grain Bags.

previous trip I rode up to KLM Counter in AMS Shiphol airport and bought a box for 20fl.. pre Euro era.

Last edited by fietsbob; 02-19-13 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 02-20-13, 09:28 AM
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Airlines are now charging for normal luggage. You don't wind up saving a lot on fees, unless you plan to fly frequently with the bike.

A folder offers one advantage over a standard bike with a break-apart frame, namely you may be able to use the fold in other situations -- such as taking the bike(s) on trains or in car trunks.
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Old 02-20-13, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
Airlines are now charging for normal luggage. You don't wind up saving a lot on fees, unless you plan to fly frequently with the bike.

A folder offers one advantage over a standard bike with a break-apart frame, namely you may be able to use the fold in other situations -- such as taking the bike(s) on trains or in car trunks.
A couple of things.

Some airlines will carry sport equipment for free, if it fits their size requirements. BA and Virgin are two that have done this for me. My S&S bike fits when it is in its box.

Also, uncoupling my bike and putting it in the trunk isn't much effort and I do it all the time.

There are some trains, notably in London, where the only bikes allowed on the trains are folders. Often, a full-sized bike can be put on a train but usually their are limitations.
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Old 02-20-13, 10:34 AM
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Take-a-part bike or standard frame ?

The "one piece" policy is being adopted by more and more airlines. There are often rules for "sporting equipment" as well. The differences between airlines can be huge.

I would suggest meticulously studying the baggage rules of airlines you may be flying with before deciding whether SS will help.

BA for example allow one piece of free checked in luggage with a max weight of 23kg, and if it's sporting goods up to the size of a regular bicycle cardboard box. I can just get my bike with rack and fenders, bottles, pump as well as one pannier with pointed stuff (tent pegs and poles, tools etc) cooking gear, handlebar bag and sleeping pad into these restrictions,
That leaves clothes, sleeping bag, and soft tent parts in the other pannier to max out the hand baggage allowance.

The cardboard boxes empty weigh more than may be expected, about 3 kg depending on size.

An SS bike in it's own box would mean two pieces of checked luggage, and thus additional fees.

The advantages/disadvantages depend hugely on the airline's policies...

Oh and... BEWARE CODE SHARING!!!!!!!

Last edited by imi; 02-20-13 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 02-20-13, 11:11 AM
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S&S couplers added, and cases cost what some people pay for their bike.
then you have to cope with the empty case, some how.

the RT from Paris to Brest, for the Audax event, no problem.

open jaws; leaving from airport B after arriving at airport A. you create a logistics problem.
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Old 02-20-13, 11:34 AM
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Unless one does a lot of flying with a bike, the additional cost of retrofitting a bike with couplers or choosing a take-apart frame over a conventional frame seems to be more money than it is worth. Depending on the airline, fees for a bike will start at $50 each way. Some may even take the bike for no additional cost.
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