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S&S Couplers - worth having for occaisional travel?(17 posts)

S&S Couplers - worth having for occaisional travel?PdxMark
Nov 26, 2003 10:41 AM
I'm having a frame built and I'm torn about whether to have S&S couplers installed. I can see the great benefits to travel - meeting baggage requirements, saving the bike surcharge, simplified ground travel with a smaller bike case.

But I don't expect to travel alot. Enough to justify the cost of the couplers, but not much more than once a year. Are there any downsides to having the couplers on a bike that might be ridden alot (likely in wet conditions), but might travel once a year or less? Would it be a nuisance to have cable splitters on such a bike? For example, would the cable splitters degrade cable reliability? Do couplers provide a great enough improvement in travel that it offsets the simple, relaible elegance of a non-coupler frame?

Thanks for your thoughts.
My LBS told me "don't get em" when I asked this same question.Scot_Gore
Nov 26, 2003 10:48 AM
I'm considering a long distance touring bike. I asked the same question with the same expectations (travel once a year or so) and they recommended not to get them. Why ? They are heavy and I might not want to push them up every hill in my neighborhood just to make it easier to pack.

No personal experience. Len J's got them, travels a bunch and likes them, hopefully he'll respond, else page em.

Good Luck

Scot
Long distance touring frame...Dave Hickey
Nov 26, 2003 11:00 AM
What frame are you thinking about? I'm planning on the same thing. My touring is going to be more credit card touring so I'm looking for a fairly light comfortable frame. I'm thinking a long wheelbase, light frame with eyelets on the back....
Similar... but a bit of a Frankenbike...PdxMark
Nov 26, 2003 11:05 AM
Ultimately a long-distance light touring bike, suited for brevets in all weather conditions. Cantilever brakes, fender-compatible. The Frankenbike part is that it will be easily convertible to single-speed or fixed gear operation. Once I can do the brevet-like rides in multi-gear mode, I'm thinking that I'll switch over to ss or even fixed gear mode.
Had it all settled until MB1 stuck his (very informed) nose in : )Scot_Gore
Nov 26, 2003 11:06 AM
I had decided on the Waterford T1900 and had the appointment and everything. Mark recommended that I go back into evaluation mode and re-look at the Bruce Gordon's. I'm in the middle of that now. Early leanings are for one of the bikes in Gordon's BLT line.

Scot
Thanks - follow-up question...PdxMark
Nov 26, 2003 11:01 AM
I haven't done any fly & ride traveling so far. What does one do with the bike case (either big giant one or airline-legal one if you have couplers) while you're riding?
The Bike Case Can Be An Albatross...Gregory Taylor
Nov 26, 2003 11:18 AM
I've traveled a couple of times to Europe with a bike case. The first time, which was a self-supported trip in Ireland, I called/e-mailed a bike shop near the airport and arranged to have them store my case for a couple of pounds. The guy even picked me up at the airport. Very nice.

The other time, which was a trip to France via a tour company, the bike case became baggage. I packed the bike into the case whenever we changed base. It was a pain in the can, but it did prevent my bike from getting dinged. I use a Trico Ironcase, which is pretty dang big. Nice case, though...
Storing casesGeoCyclist
Nov 26, 2003 6:14 PM
I have a Santana Rio tandem with S&S couplers. I bought the bike with couplers; as it was the only way I could get the frame sent from California to Turkey via the USPS. Since owning the bike (bought in 1999) I have acquired two S&S hard cases (26x26x10 - $780 dollar investment) and have travelled several times using the cases. I have been fortunate in storing the cases; as I have always started and ended my tours in the same city. I would assume this would be normal; as the price of airfare goes up dramatically when you use a different city for departure. Anyway, I have always stored my bike cases at a hotel. I book a room for my first and last night of my trip. To date, I have yet to find a hotel that wouldn't hold my bike cases while I was out touring; although, I should mention that I do tend to stay in three to five star hotels.
They must be stealth S & S.................Len J
Nov 27, 2003 4:36 AM
cause I can't see them on any frame i have.

You must mistake me for the other Len J ;-)

Honestly, I don't have them, never thought about them, and probably wouldn't get them unless I was traveling several times a year. For my credit card touring, I just pack it in a bike carton, and UPS it ahead. Never have had a problem.

Len
Must have you mixed up with another poster, sorry (NM)Scot_Gore
Nov 27, 2003 6:10 PM
Not a problem. nmLen J
Nov 27, 2003 7:23 PM
Don't do it!Dropped
Nov 26, 2003 12:32 PM
If you're only going to travel once a year, don't do it. They are expensive, and they are only going to mar the otherwise perfect lines of your Vanilla (ya bastard!). Plus, you have to deal with the extra hassle of detachable cables, etc.

If you were travelling a couple times a month, go for it. Otherwise, rent a bike if you're going to need one on the road, or rent a hard shell case and pay the extra baggage fee to take the Vanilla with you.
Couplers add 1/2 to 3/4 pound to the bicycle's weightmerckxman
Nov 26, 2003 2:00 PM
...according to Waterford when that option is selected.
Couplers add 1/2 to 3/4 pound to the bicycle's weightPdxMark
Nov 26, 2003 2:12 PM
Doesn't seem like a weight issue, but rather that there might be maintenance or reliability issues. Do give up the clean simple lines of a straight frame.
re: S&S Couplers - worth having for occaisional travel?MGS
Nov 26, 2003 4:48 PM
The couplers are stronger than the frame. The frame will fail before the couplers. Go to the S and S site. Every frame builder I know swears they do not affect the handling of the frame and will gladly install them. That includes Tom Kellogg and Ben Serotta. I spoke to them both, personally, when I considered my options. They both said they recommend them without hesitation.

They add about 8 ounces to the frame.

Check out this bike at
http://gallery.consumerreview.com/roadbike/gallery/files/2003MerlinAgilis.asp

My friend had a Seven with S and S couplers.Used it on a tour. Fell an broke the rear stay. The couplers were undamaged.
re: S&S Couplers - worth having for occaisional travel?nalsdixit
Nov 27, 2003 4:09 AM
the bike will feel and work the same as a bike without the couplers. there should not be any downside or problems due to bad weather or having cable splitters which are very simple mechanically.

it certainly takes more time to pack than putting it into a cardboard box from the lbs, but is much easier to lug around places or handle at airport check-in's etc

if your once a year trip means you will use the bike for a week or more on your travel i suggest you go with it. if it means you are travelling with the bike for a day or two of riding then you mite as well look at borrowing, renting a bike
if you using 700 wheels you will find it a tough to get it into the box the first time, but with some practise and trying different packing options it will suprisingly fit into the case
if you do ride a very large frame, i suggest you get the 12 inch width frame versus the 10 inch. check out the s s coupling web site for more dtls
A couple more thoughtsramboorider
Nov 27, 2003 5:50 PM
I've had em. Weight is not an issue unless you're an EXTREME weight weenie. Reliability / strength is not an issue - they're bullet-proof. Anyone who tells you the bike will ride differently is full of beans. BUT...

Breaking down and packing and unpacking and setting up is a bit of a PIA. Takes about 45 minutes at first and down to about 25-30 once you get good at it. Also, in today's world of luggage searches, good luck getting it through the inspections without problems. They'll usually open the case and it's NOT easy to get everything back in place to get it closed back up. One guy I'm aware of ditched the S&S case and got a suitcase for the frame and wheelcase for the wheels and ships stuff that way - not much less hassle than a full bike case at that point. I've used the case as luggage at the destination and left it at a hotel. No problem with that in my experience.

In short, the bike is fine with the couplers, but it's enough of a hassle to deal with that I wouldn't use it for casual travel - probably only when going on a tour and I'd say it wouldn't be worth it unless you travel a good deal more than it sounds like you will.

-Ray