"I purchased a custom-made road frame with the S and S
Coupling about a year ago. Since then, I have logged over 10,000
training and racing miles on the frame. The S and S Coupling
has performed flawlessly! I am able to quickly pack and
unpack my bike for air travel and have never once been
charged a fee or even questioned when checking in my baggage.
Besides all the great travel bike features, the bike rides
fantastic. There is zero compromise in performance, stiff while
sprinting, never creaks, and it has never loosened up on me.
Three of my friends have already bought bikes with the Coupling
since seeing and riding mine. In addition, I am planning on
having my track bikes retrofitted with the S and S Coupling in
Jim Stone, USCF Master Racer, Cat. 2 Road, Cat. 2 Track, Tucson AZ, (on a Don Walker Cycles road bike)
"Glenns heard my raves over and over, so I thought
Id pass some on to you regarding the Erickson
travel bike built for me using your couplings.
I used this bike almost exclusively all winter 96; this included 100-200 miles weekly commuting on Seattles rough city roads and Glenns famous race-pace Saturday rides. Also, in mid-June I raced to a first place finish in the Masters Nationals road race championships. Right after Nationals, I placed it in its suitcase, checked it plus a tandem - no hassles - on a flight to Europe, where I cycled the French Alps, Tuscany, and Provence. Plenty of climbing, needless to say! In all riding situations the travel bike has performed beyond my expectations, and I wont hesitate to use it in the Masters World championships summer of 97 or 98". Nancy Bruce, Seattle WA (Erickson, road)
"After 6,000 hard (rough road) miles that included
a Paris Brest Paris Qualifier, the Davis Double Century and the Paris
Brest Paris itself, I can say I am thoroughly satisfied with
my Steve Rex bike equipped with S and S Bicycle Torque
Couplings. It's fast and responsive. The couplings are rock
solid and consistently perform at 110%. I was even involved
in an accident with a truck which ruined my front fork and
derailleur hanger, but the couplings were fine. They didn't even
loosen up. Then there was that pot-hole that flatted both tires
and caused both wheels to go out of true, but again no problem
for the couplings. They have really earned my confidence. When
traveling abroad I sometimes have a difficult time finding a bike
shop to purchase tires, tubes, etc. and it would be impossible
with some of those travel bikes that don't use standard parts.
Although I love not having to pay for my bike to 'fly,' the
feature I appreciate most is the convenience of carrying it in
rental cars and the ease of handling it in general. I couldn't
be more satisfied and am looking forward to the purchase of a new
tandem equipped with S and S Torque Couplings".
Jerol Harrington, Cyclist, Fair Oaks CA, (on a Rex Cycles road )
Perhaps the best thing about our new custom Co-Motion
tandem is the name my wife chose--because it describes the bike
beautifully. Co-Motion's standard Softride beam equipped
road tandem is the 'Cappuccino.' Our custom is a 'Decaf
Cappuccino with a Twist.' We added a short (very short) stoker
seat tube. Remove the beam and a three-year-old child can ride
without a child-stoker kit. You wouldn't want all the that
caffeine for a child, hence, Decaf. Finally, a Twist, a twist of
the S and S BTCs and the bike splits into three sections. I can
put this bike in the back of a Cessna 152! Two days after
receiving the bike, we took it on a 500 mile trek across Iowa.
Everyone thought I was nuts; what if it broke down? Not to fear, S
and S claimed it would ride just like a normal tandem--I think it
was better! By the second day, everyone wanted to ride the
beamed and coupled bike. At the end of the ride, I took it apart,
packed it in the trunk and headed to the airport. Now all I
need is couplers on my commuter bike . . . my mountain bike . . .
my other tandem.
Anton Nielsen, Montgomery, AL (en route to Boston, Ma)
"Immediately after receiving our Co-Motion Co-Pilot
Tandem, we took it on vacation in England. We're thrilled with
the bike and the way the S and S Couplings perform. They've given
us absolutely no trouble and are totally undetectable while
riding. So far, we've had the bike in and out of it's case
five or six times, and have yet to make a single cable
Gary Dinsmore, Cyclist, Mt. St. Helens, OR
""I took my S and S Coupling equipped mountain bike out to
the Catalyst meeting in Colorado recently and rode it all over
the area. I find it packs and unpacks very easily and the couplings
are invisible when I ride. I am delighted with the
Ed Benjamin, Benjamin Cyclry, Ft. Myers, FL (on a Waterford Precision Cycles mountain bike)
"I had the S and S Bicycle Torque Coupling System
installed by Kimo Tanaka before leaving on a trip to the
French Alps. The system worked perfectly and never came loose
while riding many of the famous 'Tour De France' routes. The soft
case with the backpack straps worked beautifully, was easily
transported on European trains and while walking to hotels. I
would highly recommend the coupling system to bicycle
Ron Dejohn, Frequent Bicycle Traveler, Sacramento, CA (on a retrofit by Tanaka Custom Frames)
recently purchased a Bilenky Tandem built with S and S
Bicycle Torque Couplings and we are certainly enthusiastic about
the product. We have already taken advantage of its ability to
fly as luggage on a trip to Japan. The reason we like it most,
however, is the fact that living in an apartment in New York with
the bike as our only mode of transportation, it allows us to take
it with us everywhere we go. We have taken it apart for
transporting in cabs, buses, planes, trains and small cars
without ever being questioned and it's certainly handy to be able
to use a cab as a support vehicle on rides with sections that
can't be ridden. We expect to get many more miles on this bike.
We have only logged about 500 miles so far but we are really,
really enjoying it. We have never detected any movement in the
couplings, even at high speeds. This last week we did a
narrow single track mountain bike ride over rocks, roots and
everything else. We ended up with eight flats but the couplers
worked perfectly. We checked the couplings after the ride because
we were concerned about the roughness of the terrain, but the
couplings hadn't loosened at all. When we were purchasing the
bike and were told how much extra it would cost we didn't even
think twice about it because we wanted to avoid the
disappointments we had in the past when we couldn't take our
tandem with us. We also wanted a bike that was easy to ship. We
are definitely happy with the coupling system and the bike
and have already recommended it to someone and would do so again
to anyone who asks."
Updated 3-19-2000 I have owned a beautiful Bilenky Tinker since 1995, and a Rans Screamer with silver-brazed stainless steel couplings, since 1997. I am a complete believer in these couplings. These couplings actually make transporting our upright tandem quite easy, packing in two boxes in 17 minutes (at least that's my record, when I was trying to catch a train in Nagano, Japan) and you don't have to pay extra when you are flying. I've traveled with our first tandem, Burley Duet, and the difference was night and day. Traveling with our Screamer is still difficult, but now possible, as it would now fit in the trunk of a taxi. Perhaps these couplings are absolutely the most faultless cycling product that may exist now. I wasn't concerned or have not even noticed the extra 1kg or so. The increased convenience is so drastic that I cannot imagine ordering another tandem without them.
Ken and Kate Iisaka, Cyclists, Mill Valley, CA
"I had my Schwinn Tempo retrofit with S and S Couplings
about 3,000 miles ago by Rex Cycles I can't detect any
difference in the ride since I had the couplings installed. It
performs great and is maintenance free.
Sandra Gogas, cyclist, Benecia, CA (retrofit by Rex Cycles)
"We love the bikes. We gave you a couple of fairly well
used touring bikes. You gave us back bikes that were practically
new. The S and S Coupling System works fantastically. We've used
the bikes on several trips so far and have had absolutely no
trouble with the Coupling System at all. As a matter of fact, you
can't tell it's there until you're ready to pack it up to
take it on a trip. And gee, we've taken them on some great trips.
Right after you finished the bikes we were off to France. It's
wonderful traveling with the bikes. We learned something
traveling that not only can you take your bikes on U.S. airlines
and not pay, but there are also things like the French TVV trains
over there where you can't take your bike on the train except as
baggage and there is no guarantee it will be on the same train.
But with our bikes that fold up in the cases, we just rolled our
cases right onto the train and there was no problem. So beyond
saving money on the domestic airlines we found it was very
convenient even bopping around other forms of conveyance,
particularly in Europe. We recommend the Coupling System to
everybody and we certainly recommend you to do the work. The
workmanship on the bikes was superb. The bikes were beautifully
painted when they came back. We're extremely pleased and anytime
you want to use us as a testimonial, you're more than
Mike Prince, Tourist, Hanover, NH (on a retrofit by Bilenky Cycle Works)
"I wanted to drop you a short note explaining my
satisfaction with my new Mt. Bike built with your couplings.
The simplest thing I can say is that you don't even know they are there! As you know I am a large guy, going 6'5" and 225 lbs. I generally can flex, induce creaks or break most anything. I have yet to hear any creaks, feel any flex or have any other suspicions that the couplings are even there.
I have already taken the bike on one trip to North Carolina and was so pleased to have a full sized Mt. Bike to ride. As you may remember I also own a Bike Friday Pocket Llama which I used to travel with. Do you know anybody who may be interested in buying a used Bike Friday? Off road riding requires full 26" wheels period, 20" wheels just don't cut it.
"I also wanted to compliment you on your excellent case and tubing covers. Your bike system is well thought out and provides excellent and easy to use frame protection...
Jeffrey King, Cyclist, Venice, Florida
"I had a Steve Rex road bike built in March 1995,
just in time for a trip to Andalusia (Southern Spain) over
Easter"......."At the time of our trip, many of the
roads in Andalusia were being repaved or otherwise upgraded, so
many a time we were riding roads that would've been more
appropriate for hybrids or suspension MTBs with fat tires. One
day in fact we had to take a connecting road that was basically a
14km stretch of unpaved jeep trail made up of fist sized
rocks. It went through a desert-like region that was barren
of anything except a couple of burned out hovels. I had no
problems with the bike on this road, nor for the rest of the
trip, which covered Granada, Seville and the "pueblas
blancas" in southwestern Andalusia.
While we were near Seville, I rode a Moulton that belonged to our tour leader on a loop ride one morning. It was severely under-geared, so I had to spin really fast to keep up with the conventional bikes. The rear suspension pogo-ed quite a bit as well. I decided I preferred my own bike with the S&S torque couplers.
Since then, I've taken the bike to Italy without incident and I now use it as my regular road bike. As for why I picked this system, I did also consider Bike Friday, but concluded that when traveling overseas I wanted a bike that was as conventional as possible so that finding parts would not be a problem. Also, smaller tires wear faster. From what Bike Friday owners have described to me, it takes just as long to pack away a Bike Friday into its suitcase as it takes me to pack my S&S torque coupler bike and unpacking and setup time is also comparable."
Andate Michael Khaw Sunnyvale, CA (on a Steve Rex road bike)
"All this talk of airline horror stories makes me really
glad I retrofitted my bike (6 year old Novarra Randonee) with
S&S couplings. The bike fits into a regulation sized suitcase
and there is no question of paying extra charges. And the
suitcase has backpack straps, making it much easier to lug around
the terminal, too (plus the bike fits on the standard conveyer
belt). Retrofitting wasn't cheap, but I'm really happy with it.
trip (to Italy) came off without a hitch. And the bike
rides EXACTLY as before -- no noticeable difference."
Emily Kenyon, cyclist, Berkeley, CA (on a retrofit by Steve Rex Cycles) This message was posted to the "firstname.lastname@example.org" mailing list is response to a discussion regarding airline bike charges. Copied with permission.
..."The bicycle handled like a
dream, extremely responsive with that tight wheel base. The
S&S Couplings were a non-factor. You wouldnt know it
was a two piece bike. The bicycle was even more stable the
next fall when I used my front panniers on a week long
self-contained ride down the Oregon coast. I carried
approximately 50 pounds on that trip. Once again, the S&S
Couplings were a non-factor. I like them so much that Im
having them installed on my wifes Bianchi San Remo before
our 1997 European tour. P.S. The only time Ive had to
tighten the couplings during my ride is after demonstrating to
the curious how they work."
Dave Shank, tourist, Spokane, WA (on a Cycles LaMoure touring bike)
"Every time I check on the progress of the BTC I am amazed
at all of the incredible new aspects of the BTC. The first time I
ever saw a coupling I grabbed it and held it like a small child
holding a new Christmas toy. It was beautiful. I was so impressed
with how the BTC system worked that I invested in a small
business to promote and sell bicycles equipped with the BTC
system. I was so confident in the system that I bought myself a Co-Motion Express, road
bike (the name was created for my business). I have since
ridden many miles both in racing and just riding and haven't had
a single problem. Even when a friend of mine, who rode the
same style bike, was hit by an ice-cream truck the couplings
didn't budge. The frame wasn't so lucky but the couplings weren't
even loose. By the way the friend is ok. Every time I ride I have
someone inquire about what those "things" are on my
frame. When I tell them they are amazed. I just completed the
annual Tour de Tucson, a 111 mile race, which is the country's
largest perimeter cycling event and as I whizzed past other
riders they would catch me just to ask about the BTC system. I
even saw a few tandems which had the BTC system installed. I have
also made a few trips where without the BTC system there would
have been no way I could have taken my bicycle along. In my
opinion it's the only way to fly."
Heath Langle, USCF Amateur Racer, Cat 4, Tucson, AZ (On a Co-Motion Express road bike)
"I rode my bicycle from Sacramento, California to
Missoula, Montana fully loaded with touring equipment during June
and July of 1996. One would not even know that there was a set of
the BTC's built into its titanium frame until he or she looks
down and sees one on the top tube and one on the down tube. The
bike rides as I would expect it to if no BTC set was installed."
9-20-98 "Your BTC (Bicycle Torque Coupling) continues to function flawlessly. It is such a beautiful piece of precision manufacturing. I've added another 7000 miles to the bike. It now has gone 17,000 miles and provided wonderful riding comfort"
10-18-99 "As time has gone on, I'm more and more pleased with the S and S Machine BTC (Bicycle Torque Coupling). It's ease of assembly and disassembly continues to impress me. My titanium bicycle has now been ridden over 25,000 miles and its frame performs just like new. About the only time I even notice the BTC is when some admirer asks, "What's that?" I then launch into an explanation of its genesis and why I'm happy to have a pair installed in my bike. Perhaps the greatest feeling comes from the knowledge that I can take the bicycle anywhere in the world and be confident that it can be packed safely and securely.
1-17 02 It's been some time since we've communicated, so here's a little update on the adventures with my titanium bike with S&S Torque Couplings. The bike and the couplings are still going strong. Yes, those couplings are lifetime pieces of hardware. Last year I completed the Adventure Cycling Southern Tier route from San Diego, California to Saint Augustine, Florida. It was a fine trip which included many adventures along the way. We would like to do it again sometime. The length of the trip was 3200 miles and, with my additional riding, I and the bike logged about 4000 miles.
Bob Canon, TOUR LEADER for Adventure Cycling Association, Oxnard, CA
4-3-03 Since we last corresponded, I've had a second titanium bike (wo/S&S Couplings) made for me by Bill Holland of Spring Valley, California. I also had Bill overhaul my bike made by Leo Castellon because it was approaching 50,000 miles. It is now back in service and I'm alternating it's use with my new one. The S&S Torque Couplings are still like new. I suspect that they will truly last forever. Bill, as you know, also installs your couplings in many of the bikes he builds. He too, speaks very highly of them.
5-18-04 "My Bike with the S&S BTC installed is still going strong. It's now well over 55,000 miles"
3-28-05 Both of my titanium bikes are going strong. The one with your Bicycle Torque Couplings (made by Leo Castellon) is now well over 60,000 miles. The last time I inspected it, its couplings were just like new.
Bob Canon, TOUR LEADER for Adventure Cycling Association, Oxnard, CA (On a Castelon custom titanium touring bike)
"Just returned from 4 weeks in the Puerta Vallarta region
where I rode my bike 340 miles. I gotta tell you, YOU DID AN
OUTSTANDING JOB!!!! My machine
exceeds expectations and my expectations were exceedingly high!
I climbed steep single track trails, forded rocky and deep stream
beds, cruised down busy cobblestone roads, and did some bomber
down hill runs. The bike handled beautifully. (I even had
a good crash - took the skin off my knee, hip, fore arm,
shoulder, and fore head. Wrecked a nice helmet and a new pair of
gloves. The bike survived without a scratch."
Derek Peterson, educator, Juneau Alaska (an excerpt from a letter written to Steve Bilenky from Derek regarding his BTC equipped Bilenky Hedgehog mountain bike)
"As I work for an airline, training personnel, I have to
travel quite a bit. That is why I ended up having Bilenky Cycle
Works fit my Trek with the S&S Couplings. This also means
that I have the unusual benefit of picking my baggage up from the
side of the plane, thus bypassing the possible disasters that I
know do sometimes happen. That is how I came to be standing next
to the aircraft when the S&S hard case containing my Trek
was dropped a full ten feet from the forward cargo pit of a 757.
Well, as it turned out the bike was totally as if nothing had
happened to it. The case is a bit compressed and warped, but it
did the job and the bike is fine."
Bob Torres, Carlstadt, NJ (Trek retrofit by Bilenky Cycle Works)
" I now am the proud owner of a Bilenky cross bike with
couplers. While it was kind of a wait for the frame it was worth
it. I owned a folder before whose brand rhymed with no-way, and
on a good day it was ok, but no rocket. The Bilenky is a rocket,
handles like a dream, and oh yeah, its got those S and S
Couplers. You would never know unless you wanted to put your
bike in a little travel box, or in the trunk of your company car.
Pretty nice to show up for a club ride and take my bike out of
the trunk, and have it put together in a couple of minutes. Not
allowed to have any bike racks on the company cars, and no matter
how clean you keep it putting it in the back seat just doesn't
seem all that professional.
I would really like to thank S and S for this product, and to you for this great web-site. I told my friends at HP and they own a pair of Waterford S and S equipped bikes. I have figured out that this is the way to go when you get a bike, and I highly recommend Steve Bilenky for a custom frame. He very obviously knows what he is doing with bikes and his expertise with the couplers is extremely obvious. Cable routing, and guides, the bike just comes apart and goes together so easily with no tools other than the coupler spanner. Just two more tools, a 5 MM for the seat, and a 6 mm allen for the pedals and the stem and it go in the travel case. Takes less time than my folder to put in the box and take out of the box and requires less tools. Once it is put together, the bike functions perfectly with no adjustments.
Now my only problem is that I want them in all my bikes, because there are advantages that I didn't understand before I owned this bike. Could you get busy and make sure that all bikes are built with these couplers already installed. It sure would make my life easier.
Ray Edmonds, cyclist, Manitou Springs, CO (on a Bilenky cross bike)
spoke with you at the bike show in Anaheim. At the time I was the
Master Tech for the REI store in Northridge, CA. I was waiting
for my custom
Cherry. Well it came and I love it!! I had a few
months with it in California before I came here to Korea. I did
and epic four day 560 miles all out push from San Francisco to
Los Angles fully loaded as a test. If you only have four days off
you have to do it in four. Plus I got in some great high speed
fire road descents, and tons of tight single track. I even made
some spiked tires and got some winter snow riding in before I
left. I am going to attempt to ride up to the DMZ. I will see how
far I can get. I meet so many bikers here that wish they could
have brought their bike. The S and S Coupling saved me. I could
not think of living without my bike. Thank you so much for such a
wonderful product. A lot of the time I have to hop on a subway
to get to a good riding destination so I just put it in its back
pack, go to the desired stop, put the pack in a locker, and then
hammer. It's the best!!! " (on a Cherry Bicycles custom
Updated 3-19-2000 "Here's my Seven Cycles cyclocross bike with your couplings (dressed for touring) by the famous 38th parallel marker. The bottom is at the airport as I am putting my bike together."......"It is a Seven Cycles Tsunami cyclocross frame with mostly WTB components. It rides like a dream!! During the first couple of rides it is so plush I kept stopping to check if I had a flat. Even with this incredible degree of plushness as soon as I step on the cranks this baby moves with hardly any flex. As for tracking, point it... and you are there. Truly amazing. It sounds like a great bike. I am in the process of ordering a Seven Softride tandem right now. The Ti couplings are beautiful and made the ordeal of bringing a bike overseas a no-brainer. Once again Steve, thank you for developing such a great product!!"
Garryck Hampton, cyclist, Seoul Korea
"My wife and I spent three months touring Australia with our Co-Motion Custom Cappuccino with
S&S Couplings and had a great time. Having S&S
Couplings is the way to travel with a tandem"
David and Fiona Love, cyclists, Oakland, CA
..."By the way, our experience with the S&S couplers
has been excellent as we have explained many, many times over to
persons who happen to admire our bike. The Co-Pilot is blue and
the silver S&S couplers just seem to be part of a beautiful
looking design. We took advantage of the couplers for our
"Cycle Montana" trip this year and it came apart and
went together easily on both ends of the trip. We sure
wouldn't want to go through the airline and ground transportation
hassles we experienced the previous year with our other
"uncoupled" tandem! What a great concept and
Bob & Carol Anderson, Portsmouth, RI
"In 1996 Bilenky Cycle Works retrofitted my 1983 Peugeot
touring bike with your couplers. I took the bike to England in
the summer of 1996 and the plane travel was much more convenient
than ever before. The bike rode better than before presumably
because it had to be re-aligned after the couplers were
installed. It probably had never been so well aligned when it was
new. I chose the backpack case and I'm pleased about that too. In
England I just stacked the plastic edge panels, placed them
inside the cloth part (turned inside-out), and lashed the whole
thing across the top of my rear panniers with bungies. It worked
just fine."..." I took it on a much bigger trip too. In
the summer of 1997 I rode it west to east on the ACA transcontinental ride. I
took this bike even though the it was never taken apart since I
drove to the start at Astoria, OR and then back home from
Yorktown, VA (We used my van as the sag wagon for our party of
6). I just preferred this bike over all my others..."
Bob Taylor, cyclist, Des Moines, Iowa
"... I'm delighted with how neatly everything fits into
the case. I feel SO much freer traveling without an oversize
bike case. And my travel bike is just about paid for by
avoiding the airline fees, and by fitting the case easily into
the trunk or back seat of an economy rental car. (I used to have
to get a Cavalier or larger, with a back seat that came down so
that a full-size bike case could go in the combined space of back
seat and trunk.)"
Kirk Thompson, cyclist, Olympia, WA (Serotta CR Legend (1993); retrofit by Bill Stevenson "yes, you can put your couplers on Serotta Colorado Concept tubing, despite Ben's reservations, and they show no signs of troubling the thin tubing, after the first 1000 mi.")
The following group of comments are from Joel Metz
starting in 1999 and include annual updates. Joel is a cycle messenger in San
Francisco and he is riding a custom Sycip.
"...over the past 2 months that I've had the bike, riding it every day at work (that's 50-70 miles/day of harsh downtown riding), plus weekends (including riding round trip to Guerneville and Petaluma from San Francisco on 2 separate occasions), the coupling has never once loosened, creaked, or shown any sign that it has not been up to the task of being at *least* as strong as the tank of a frame its installed into. put simply, it ROCKS. Any doubts anyone I know might have had about it have been completely dispelled, utterly shattered...."
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 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."
Updated 4-26-2000 "2 years of work on the bike now, that's 30,000 + miles on the BTC-equipped bike so far, and *still* the coupling has never loosened up unless it was me loosening it with the wrench. in the past year, it went through 6 airline flights, bringing its total to 12 flights (which i figure, at $50 a flight, has saved me $600 so far) - and I plan on at least 6 more flights this year (2000). the coupling is gradually paying not only for itself, but for the entire bike!
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! Joel Metz
Updated 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: 60,000
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 :)
Joel Metz, Cycle Messenger and a member of the board of stewards of the San Francisco Bike Messenger Association (SFBMA) (on a custom Sycip
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 Paris-Brest-Paris , 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.
Joel Metz, Cycle Messenger and a member of the board of stewards of the San Francisco Bike Messenger Association (SFBMA) (on a custom Sycip)
"I've spanked the couplings on some of the harshest
single track without a budge and at 6'1"/230lbs...I'm impressed! "
Jim Hayslett, Tourist, Oklahoma City, OK (on a Merlin Mountain)
(this is an excerpt from a letter written to Davidson Cycles,
the shop that did the retrofit) "...I believe they (BTCs)
enhance the exotic look of the bike I received my frame back last
Tuesday. You folks did an outstanding job and went well beyond my
expectations. I built it up over the weekend, went for a long
ride today and I am truly amazed of how transparent the BTCs
are. You can't tell the difference in the ride, and in fact,
I believe they enhance the exotic look of the bike. I took
it down to a couple of local shops with resident framebuilders
and they were truly impressed by your craftsmanship."
Bruce Doeren Cyclist, Albuquerque, New Mexico (on a Basso retrofit by Davidson Cycles)
and I have toured about 11,000 miles on a Rans Screamer recumbent
tandem equipped with S&S couplers - including a couple
thousand miles on some very rough Mexican roads - and have had absolutely
no problems. I can't tell the difference between the having them
and not - absolutely no give or flex at the coupling.
We've used them quite a bit for transporting the bike under buses
and the mechanism is easy to operate - you just
unscrew the coupler with a relatively small tool provided by
S&S. Although we haven't had any trouble with them loosening
much as we ride, we check them every other day or so for safety's
sake. We had our couplers installed by Bilenky Bicycle Works in
PA and are happy with their work. They did what they said they
were going to and got it done on time for the price they quoted.
What more can you ask?"
Paul & Holly Monkman, Boulder, CO
The comments in this section are responses to two questions posted to the Tandem@Hobbes mailing list. The person inquiring about S and S Couplings wanted to know:
Some of the responses were as follows:
Read more comments from owners of S and S Coupled bikes
If you have a S and S BTC equipped bike please
let me know how you like it.
Send your comments to email@example.com
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