Joel Metz riding his Sycip at the 2003 Paris Brest Paris
Down tube coupling
Top tube coupling
Side view of the rack which has carried loads up to 80 pounds.
The rack easily handles this 50 pound box.
Front view of the rack
Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub
This bicycle messenger bike has has been in service since 1998 and has over 90,000 miles. The owner, Joel Metz, is a San Francisco bicycle messenger and since '98, he has been sending us updates regarding the bike's performance. Joel's initial comment and yearly updates are listed here:
Updated 4-29-99 ......." I've now been working as a messenger on this bike for roughly 1 year, that's 5 days a week, 60 miles a day (on average), 52 weeks a year, on crappy downtown pavement - works out to be around 15000 miles so far, and that's not even counting weekend riding. Beyond that, I've carried up to 80 lbs on the front rack you can see in the picture. In addition to loads on my back, I've never once had the coupling loosen up, give me any trouble or even an indication that it wasn't up to the task. If between the mileage on harsh city streets and the stresses from the loads I carry aren't convincing of the strength of the coupling, I don't know what is.
I've made made a total of 6 flights with the bike and have at least 4 more coming up this summer, the most satisfying of which was arriving home from Christmas this year into Oakland airport, which was packed to the gills, and when confronted with the *huge* line for the shuttle to take me to the BART station, I simply unpacked the bike, put the travel case on the rack and rode to BART before my place in line had moved 20 feet.
If anyone out there has even the slightest doubt as to whether the S&S coupling can handle anything you can dish out, I'll be happy to put those to rest. If it can deal with the ravages of messengering, it'll deal with just about anything."
Joel Metz, Cycle Messenger and a member of the board of stewards of the San Francisco Bike Messenger Association (SFBMA), San Francisco, CA (on a custom Sycip)
Last summer it went up l'alpe d'huez to watch the tour de France, with 40 pounds of gear on the front rack! its survived regular loads of up to 100 pounds, and just holds up beautifully. as always, no frame flex, no loosening, nothing to complain about whatsoever. hell, the finish is still spotless, and i *brutalize* this bike.
I cannot recommend the coupling enough. absolutely the single greatest aid to
traveling with a bike I can think of.
I'm even currently in the process of designing a "long john" style cargo bike, designed to carry up to 500 lbs of cargo that we usually use trucks to move - and I'm hoping to be able to use BTCs in its construction as well! I fully believe they'll be able to handle the stresses. when it comes time, and the design is on paper, I will likely send it to you for advice on coupling placement...
Anyone who has the slightest doubt that the BTC is everything its claimed to be should certainly be persuaded by what I've put mine through. thanks again for your support, and for an *excellent* product!"
This bicycle messenger bike has has been in service since 1998 and has over 75,000 miles. The owner, Joel Metz, is a San Francisco bicycle messenger and since '98 he has been sending us updates regarding the bike's performance. 5-8-2001 Well, the 3 year mark has now passed, leaving the estimated mileage on my S&S -equipped work bike at 45000 miles now. (300 miles/week * 52 weeks/year...) - and still, after all that mileage (mostly nasty downtown "paved" streets, with some light mountain biking and heavy loads thrown in for good measure), the coupling has never *once* loosened up of its own accord. I suppose these yearly updates are starting to turn into "OK, so NOW do you believe it's durable?!?" rants by this time... heck, even the finish is still pretty nice, which is pretty good considering that I bang this bike up against bike racks all day.
I'm off to Europe for 3.5 months in a few weeks, taking the bike with me as always, riding 3000+ miles all over Europe, including chasing most of The Tour de Suisse, and doing some heavy rough-stuff riding across unpaved alpine passes in Switzerland. By the end of that trip, the coupling will have saved me well over a grand in airline bike fees (assuming $50/flight). a couple more years, and the coupling will have paid for the bike in its entirety.
I cant say enough good about the BTC - it's bombproof, practical, pays for itself, and looks good. What more could you possibly want?
Thanks Steve, for a fantastic product. One of these days, I'm going to get
around to having an actual touring bike built, and I'd be remiss if i were to
build it without a BTC.
Updated 5-20-02 That time of year again, so here's the latest on the coupled work bike:
Number of years ridden for messenger work: 4
Miles ridden: 60000
Major crashes: 2
Number of times coupling has loosened of its own accord: 0
Percent confidence I have in it: 100 (would be more, but math prevents it)
Estimated dollars saved in oversize baggage charges: well over $ 1000.00.
I know this is getting redundant at this point, but I have to say it again. Anyone who has *any* question about the durability of the coupling should toss it out the window. 60k miles is one thing on nice roads, but this bike has seen everything from daily hard use on the streets of San Francisco (which are sometimes in as poor shape as those in former eastern bloc countries!), to some serious off-roading with full touring gear in the alps of Switzerland.
Last year I did 4000km of touring through Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary on this bike, during which I followed the entire tour de Suisse, over all but one of the mountain passes the racers climbed, including bombing *down* Val Tremola (and getting compliments from some Telekom riders on my form on the ascent of the mountain time trial course at Crans-Montana - ego boost there!), and spending a few weeks doing some rough-stuff passes in the Berner Oberland.
Despite being surrounded by a host of bike-geek features, the coupling is the bit that invariably gets the first question on my work bike. its finish is still close to pristine, despite the rough treatment it gets from being locked up some 50+ times a day.
Hopefully I'll have some new and better pictures for you soon - I've got a digital camera now, and
I'm going to try to get the frame repainted before the cycle messenger world championships this year in
Copenhagen... again, thanks for an exceptional product!
Miles ridden : 65000+
Years owned: 4.5
Money saved: $1200+
Updated 4-24-03 "My typically redundant yearly report would up my mileage count to around 75,000 miles, and say all the things I've said before - still not a single problem with the coupling! This year its going to do Paris-Brest-Paris (1200km, 90 hours) and the messenger worlds and a 5-day ride from San Francisco to Portland. Oh, and go to work every day :)
7-1-04 My standard yearly report... the count now is just over
90,000 miles. Last year, I went for bonus mileage by riding
, followed by San Francisco to Portland (http://www.blackbirdsf.org/sf-portland/joel.html) a week and a half later -
that's two 1200 km rides in 3 weeks, each taking around 4-5 days. as always, the coupling held up marvelously, as it has for the last 6 years.
Counting my flight to the 2004 cycle messenger world championships this weekend, I've made at *least* 30 airline flights in the last 6 years - seeing as flying with a bike unpacked can cost anywhere from $0-100+, I'll average it to $50/flight, and figure that the couplings have saved me some $1500. Not too shabby.
As always, if the coupling can take the type of mileage I put on this bike, under the conditions it's ridden in (ie, any and all, and nasty San Francisco roads, which are worse in many places than roads I've ridden on in eastern Europe), and some measure of neglect (er, yeah... I clean my bike regularly... ah... oops...) - I have no reason to believe that it wont take *anything* anyone else can dish out. I may not be a downhill mountain bike racer or a track spinter, but in terms of sheer repetitive strain, I doubt there are many better tests of bike equipment than messenger work.
Those stats in summary:
Virtually everything but the S&S Coupling has worn out or broken on this bike, at one time or another.
Description of this bike (provided by Joel Metz in 1998)