years mostly touring on a very basic tandem we wanted to upgrade
and our wish list included S&S couplers. For the
specification we wanted, we were looking at UKú3500 / US$5500.
Luckily we found and bought a 12 year old Richmond custom-built
Reynolds 531 tandem which fitted us perfectly. The owners had
ridden for 5 yrs and then laid up the bike in a shed. Via the
S&S website, we accessed their approved installers of S&S
couplers and we sent he stripped frame to Ben Cooper of
Kinetics, Glasgow for a complete rebuild. As well as fitting the
couplers [six, to give us front and rear triangles plus three
loose tubes] he added braze-ons for rear disc brake and extra
bottle bosses. The frame was resprayed by Dave Yates who believed
that he had build the original frame, and the bike was rebuilt,
main features being 27 speed Dura Ace/Ultegra/XT drivetrain, Hope
tandem hubs and rear hydraulic disc brake, Avid arch rival 50
front brake, Dia Comp levers, Mavic 217 rims, etc. A suitable box
was built by a local firm with foam padding and wheels. We took
the tandem to Cape Town recently which involved 5 flight sectors
without a hitch. Assembly took 1 hour and repacking 50 minutes.
Very little tuning was required. There is no noticeable
diminution in performance due to couplers. Overall cost
was about 60% of new purchase. We had the opportunity to
detail/specify every component and are very pleased with the
result. If you can find the right second hand frame its a
good way to go."
Michael & Pippa Maclaran, Holywood, Northern Ireland
The following question was posted to the
internet tandem group Tandem@Hobbes:
"I am looking at custom tandems. The S&S coupling feature is attractive because we like to tour in far off places. I am wondering if the extra $$s and extra weight is worth paying in return for the ability to pack up the bike in a neat container? I'd also like comments from anyone who has traveled often with a bike that can not be taken apart."
Click here to read six responses from owners of S and S Coupled tandems
"I just returned from a trip
around the world with an old modified Diamond Back
mountain bike with S and S couplers. These devices are
worth the expense if you own a steel bike like me and want to
ride a full size bike. There is nothing better
than being in a foreign country and being completely comfortable
on your bike you've been riding for years. With the
addition of these couplers, I was able to travel without
a single airline hassling me - from New Zealand, Japan,
Hong Kong, Nepal, Germany and back home to Washington D.C. USA. I
never paid an extra cent to travel on the planes. I
packed the bike in a cloth "backpack" reinforced with
aluminum bars. I added this reinforcement myself and it seemed to
do the trick of keeping the bike from being crushed. There is a
picture of it on my website at http://pws.prserv.net/TheBentWheel/GearDetails.html
S & S couplers are the best choice for full size bicycle
"......Last year I took the bike to England once and to Japan twice but they were business trips and I used the bike for my daily workouts and as an opportunity to explore the areas. All I can say is that it was great to have it with me and without the S&S couplers I couldn't have done it.
A normal bike case would NEVER fit in a London taxi or be manageable on the Shinkansen (the Japanese "bullet
Dave Bialosky, Pittsburgh, PA (on a Co-Motion Co-Pilot road bike)
"I flew to Sydney in September last year to ride the
on the Olympics 2000 MTB course. It was such a feeling of liberation being able to fly with one suitcase and a
hand luggage. No wrestling with oversized cargo and no problems with taxis
etc. Of course hotel staff always look more than a little amazed when I
proceed to assemble the bike outside their lobbies."
"By the way, I was riding in SoCal last week at the Aliso-Woods Canyon Park. Nice technical singletrack. I'm happy to say that the Seven rides no differently than my Obed, perhaps just a touch quicker and slightly stiffer in the rear triangle......."
We built our S&S allrounders in 1997. They've been wherever we have
(Australia, USA and Europe); they've done road races, hill-climbs and trailquests, on and off-road day rides and lightly loaded touring. In all they've done
21 air-flights so far and never sustained damage....well, they have sustained damage but not while in their boxes!
Shortly after we got them we took them to Boulder, Colorado where we got knocked off in a head-on collision with a Harley Davidson...I thought they drove on the right in the USA?!? Yes, the guy managed to hit both of us. James' bike was well toasted, both front and back ends bent at really crazy angles.. However the central triangle containing the couplers was still true and undamaged. Being steel it was easy enough to get new forks and a new back end brazed on to James' bike and its been fine ever since...although it is now dark blue not light blue (My frame was only scuffed in the collision since my body absorbed the impact rather than my bike!) The bikes tend to do short trips and day rides rather than epic tours - they are great for taking away for a working trip when we might have time for a couple of rides, and they aren't designed for serious touring.
Julia Hargreaves and James Annan, United Kingdom
In spring of 1998, we had our two single bicycles modified with your
couplers by Glenn Erickson in Seattle, WA, we added the cable splitters as well.
That summer, we toured in Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary for about 2000 kilometers in 5 weeks, 35 nights out, 33 of them camping , which we prefer over motels. It was a great trip. We started bicycling from Frankfurt, AM, up the Main to near Wuertzburg, then up to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the famous walled town, then down the Altmuehltal to the Danube, on to Passau and Wienna, Austria. We then followed the Danube down into Slovakia and Hungary and eventually back up to return to Vienna. On our return trip, we bicycled from Passau to Munich where we picked up our tiny rental car. Incidentally almost all of this was on bicycle paths or tiny little roads, with little or no traffic, our best trip yet, but the last trip we have taken is always the best, we love to tour on our bikes...
The bicycles, one a mountain bicycle and the other a cross with 700 wheels, took about 3 hours each to pack with the touring gear on them, racks fenders, etc. This was quite a bit of time, but worth it to have our bicycles arrive in a bomb proof container, (your hard case with struts). For our return flight, we started to fit the bicycles in with the racks the way we had when we flew to Europe, but decided to pack the racks separately. This was an excellent move for us, the time was now down to 1 1/2 hours per bike. This is the time to either pack or unpack each bicycle and disassemble or assemble it. The extra 1 1/2 hours was simply trying to get the bicycles positioned just right to get the racks into the hard case. Not worth it, so now the racks go separately.
But the most satisfying part of having our S & S BTC couplers was being able to fit the bicycle in less then 10 minutes into a rental car slightly smaller than the Ford Fiesta car, an Opel Corsa. It also took less than ten minutes to put the bicycle back together again and be ready for riding. This was merely taking the frame apart and the three cables and setting the two pieces of the bicycle into the car. I believe the two bicycles would fit in any car with two people, no problem. Now somebody could, by hurrying, do the operations in 5 minutes each, but heck, it is still probably faster than putting the bicycles on a normal roof rack. I used this capability several times. At the end of the trip when we picked up our tiny rental car and several times as my wife visited family and she dropped me off somewhere and I road my bike back, most satisfying. I had asked you about this capability before I left and you said "no problem", but I did not realize how nice and easy it really was...
Steve, the S & S, BTC couplings are one of the most satisfying bicycle purchases that we have made, we feel that we have gotten more than our money's worth in one trip.
Thanks again for providing a quality solution that allows us to take our single bicycles anywhere we go - plane, train, car, - we can even sneak the two halves hidden in light-weight rip-stop nylon bags into hotel rooms where bikes would most definitely not be welcome.
Randy and Christel Dickinson, cycle tourists, Portland, OR
My husband and I both have Waterford 1900 (touring) bicycles. Roger's is S&S
coupled and mine is not. We have the hard shell case for
his. He took it on a week long Michigan trip last August. It is not quite a year old (mine is about a year and a half old), and has never been uncoupled yet. It probably won't be this year either, because we are saving vacation for a 65 day South Tier trip in the fall.
The Waterford are both great bikes, and dealing with Waterford was a very positive experience - both bikes arrived a week early and were exactly as ordered.
We have ordered a new S&S coupled tandem for our cross country trip from Bilenky. It should arrive in May. We will definitely get practice coupling and uncoupling it for shipping to San Diego and then home from St Augustine.
Personally I think S&S couplers are one of the greatest things to happen in bicycling in the last 20 years! Especially for tandem owners. Only once have we taken our current tandem anywhere we couldn't drive to (rode Amtrak).
4-18-03 regarding their new Bilenky tandem "...The bike rides great - extremely comfortable. And the S&S couplers worked wonderfully. Everyone else in our group had the usual worries about finding boxes and shipping their bikes. We had it easy! Thanks. I still think S&S couplers are the greatest thing that has happened to tandems in a long, long time...."
Roger and Lynn Brucker, Dayton, Ohio (Waterford 1900 touring and Bilenky tandem)
I had a set of S&S couplings installed in the frame of my Columbine loaded touring bike in 1995. I pedal this bike about 1000 miles per year.
The couplings have been totally trouble free. They are transparent in the handling of the bicycle.
Frank Berto -- former Engineering Editor -- "Bicycling."
"Other than the extra couple of ounces of added weight,
I didn't even notice the couplers were there!"
Brian DeSousa, Orange, CA (Specialized Stumpjumper converted for touring and retrofit by CyclArt)
"I haven't used the S&S
couplers for travel yet, but I am very impressed with their design. It really
is easy to split the bike in half and I don't notice the couplers while riding. They
are very strong and require minimal maintenance."
Alex Wetmore, Seattle, WA (1993 Bridgestone XO-1 retrofit by Courtney Custom Cycles)
"We just received our new Erickson S+S equipped tandem and we nominate your company for the greatest tandem engineering achievement of the 20th century! We just got back from a trip with it and having
traveled with a non-coupled tandem in the past, I can't tell you how easy it was.
No hassles with the airlines, no problems with transport at our destination, and, best of all, no stress! I can't wait to travel with it again (I used to dread
traveling with our non-coupled bike)."
Roger Strauss and Eve Kofsky, Atlanta, GA
"I'm very impressed with the ride, nice, stable.........It's particularly fun to see the look on skeptic's faces when they realize they can't feel the couplers affecting the ride. They tromp on the pedals, they shake the bars, they lean it over...as if they WANT to say they felt flex or play.
I've ridden enough bikes to know this one is a gem."
Paul Smeulders, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Bilenky Eco Sport 853)
"This will be my second S&S bike.
True to the testimonials, it's a great product.
Glenn Reed, San Francisco, CA (His first bike was a Bridgestone X0-1 retrofitted by Rex Cycles. The new bike will be a Sycip with a Shimano Nexus 7-speed internal hub)
bike rides great - extremely comfortable. And the S&S couplers
worked wonderfully. Everyone else in our group had the usual worries about
finding boxes and shipping their bikes. We had it easy! Thanks. I still think
S&S couplers are the greatest thing that has happened to tandems in a long,
Roger & Lynn Brucker, Dayton, Ohio (2000 Bilenky S&S coupled Tandem)
"I've been so happy with the S&S couplers that you folks installed in my Rivendell All-Rounder that I'm considering having couplers installed on a road bike as
well......I consider the reduced hassle of travel with the bike in the suitcase a worthwhile tradeoff for the slightly more difficult assembly/disassembly when compared with a full size bike case."
Ray Sachs, West Chester, PA (Rivendell All-Rounder retrofit by Bilenky Cycle Works)
"Thought I would drop you a line after our 8 day circumnavigation of
Vermont. It was such a treat to drop the cases off at the airline counter in SF and watch them come out the regular luggage chute in Burlington in
perfect condition. So easy after years of oversized overpriced special handling bike boxes. But better than that was the ride. Stiff as any
regular frame, solid, no downhill shimmy......."
Ed Bredthauer, Pacific Grove, CA (Bilenky Eco Travel Bike)
LeMond "Every year I do a number of charity and pleasure rides around the country and a couple of overseas rides as well. I had gotten tired of doing these rides on borrowed bikes so I had one of my 853 LeMond bikes retrofitted with S & S
couplings. This past summer I brought the bike to a Tour de France reunion and rode it up Alpe d Huez. I was amazed at how well my new S&S equipped LeMond compared with the bikes I used while competing professionally.
I'm sorry I didn't have the conversion done sooner, the bike rides great and now
comes with me on every trip Thanks for putting out a great product."
Greg LeMond, 3-time Tour de France winner (1986, 89 and 90), about Greg LeMond
"I am 6'6" tall and have a long body. Needless to say, the largest standard mountain bikes don't fit me. I tried to rent a bike on vacation one year and it was a joke. The biggest bike for rent in Flagstaff was way too small. I had Steve Rex build a
custom softride mountain bike in 1996 complete with two S and S couplings.
I go to visit friends in Idaho. We spend the whole trip mountain biking. I could not do it if I didn't have my own bike. With the couplings I merely pull apart the bike and put it in a suitcase. I don't even need a special case since I borrow wheels from my friends at my destination. I just check my extra suitcase. When I get to Boise it takes about 45 minutes to reassemble the bike.
Your wonderful product gives people freedom....Freedom to have their faithful and trusted steed along for all of the rides!"
Pete MacRostie, cyclist, Folsom, Ca (Rex Cycles mountain bike)
In spring of 2000 we bought a da Vinci Global Venture from the fine folks at Gateway Bicycles in Portland, Oregon..........
In September of 2000 we departed our home for a one year self-supported tandem tour around the perimeter of the USA, with side trips into Mexico and Canada.
Our travel distance for the year was a little over 20,000 miles.....As you of course have already surmised, the
S&S Couplers were completely trouble free.......We stayed with many friendly folks along the way, and some had no place to store a tandem at night. The solution -- you got it -- just undo the couplers, take off the front of the bike and then it goes up narrow staircases and fits into the smallest of spaces.
We used this procedure when staying on the 19th floor of a "swank" hotel in New Orleans. Just remove the front, then put the bike on the luggage cart and up we go in the elevator.........We are very pleased with the performance and quality of our da Vinci, and your couplers. If anyone questions the durability or usefulness of your product, please feel free to point them our direction and we will be happy to pass on our experiences. (shortened due to to space limitations)
George and Sharon Miner, bicycle tourists, Vancouver Bicycle Club, Vancouver, Washington, USA, (2000 da Vinci Global Venture).
Last year I traveled in England and France with my Coupled Calfee Luna in a
softcase-backpack. As far as I am concerned, it is the only way to go. I went on airplanes,
trains, taxis, the Tube, the Metro, all without any difficulty. Fantastic! We are now awaiting my wife's coupled Calfee Tetra and are booked for and
even longer European tour this year.
Roger Coombes, cyclist, Los Altos, CA (Calfee Luna)
My matte chrome plated S&S coupled Marinoni is the best travel bike I can imagine. The bike and couplings speak for themselves, but my addition of a matte chrome finish is extremely durable and very nice looking. . I’ve had the bike in 9 states, raced the Bermuda stage race, and I’m headed to the Canary Islands later this month...... I work as a Captain for a major airline and see just how rough bags are handled. I once saw my box bounce off a moving baggage cart! Ugh! Fortunately no damage. My other worst case is that the box was handled so hard that the press fit bearings in my front wheel were almost completely out of the hub! I’ll resist the urge to share stories any longer.
"After a year commuting to
work (a 21-mile round trip each day through central London), in weather that's
been fine and downright disgusting, I took a week's vacation in August 1999 on
the Roberts Compact Audax. My wife accompanied me on her Roberts. Fully-laden
with panniers front and rear and 700x35c tyres, we went camping in France.
Running the gamut of changeable northern European weather, we nevertheless had a
perfect view of the total solar eclipse from the garden of a beautiful chateau
near Amiens. Though I was carrying more than 25lbs of gear every day, I never
even noticed that the S&S couplings were there.
Late in the autumn, I finally found myself apprehensively approaching the bike with the coupling tool in hand. Time for a full service. Certain that the threads would have seized, would I have the strength to undo the couplings after a year's use without checking or relubing? When they came undone smoothly and easily with minimal pressure, I was relieved and mightily impressed! I look forward to more adventures this year - both the bike and couplings have exceeded my wildest expectations."
Neil Carlson, cyclist, London, England (custom Roberts compact audax)
On June 29 1998, this message was posted by Bill
Mattinson to the Bob (Bridgestone Owner's Bunch)
I recently had my XO-1 fitted with S&S couplers by Rich Powers, a member of this list. The S&S system is great and packing the bike in the hard shell case is quite easy. You may spend an hour or two the first time figuring out the best way to pack it, but after that the breakdown, packing and reassembly is fast and easy. Reassembly after my first packing took about 15 minutes or less. Once packed the case can be rolled up to the ticket counter and checked just like any other suitcase.
I bought the foam hook and loop padding from S&S to wrap the tubes while the bike is in the case - this protects scratching from other tubes or components. I carry some plastic zip tiles to snug the sections together once I've got it packed. Even with VERY high profile Mafac cross canti brakes, I never had to remove the brakes or derailers. My XO-1 is 55cm and I have lots of room in the case for the bike with the foam wrapping and extra riding gear stuffed in.
Regarding S&S compared to Bike Friday: I have a very good cycling friend who is a world traveler and has been to Japan, Australia, etc with his Bike Friday. I've helped him pack it several times. To pack it in a soft bag takes only a few minutes but it isn't well protected. To pack it in the GreenGear Samsonite hard case is significantly more difficult than packing my S&S bike. My friend recently bought the S&S coupled Salsa Viajero that was offered on this list as a replacement for the Bike Friday to be his travel and all around bike. It is much more fit for all conditions than the Friday, and is easier to pack for air travel.
4-17-03 I bought another S&S equipped bike - a Rivendell All-Rounder which was originally built with the couplings by Waterford. My wife or teenage kids ride the xo-1 so when we travel we can easily take two bikes with us. The nice thing about the x0-1 and the All-rounder is that they are both at home on road or off. It's easy enough to throw a couple of extra tires in the case and be able to explore any road or trail that strikes our curiosity.
You've got a great product.
Bill Mattinson, cyclist, ( Brigstone XO-1 retrofit by Powers Design Quality and a Rivendell All-Rounder)
I'm a student that has been all over the world for my academic programs. In each place I've been, instead of buying a car or paying every day for public transportation, I just ride my bike. For about 300 bucks, I was able to retrofit my cross-bike with S&S couplings. I don't have to pay to have the bike boxed up before shipping, or reassembled after shipping. I don't pay the usual $70 to fly with a bike box, either. I've already covered the cost of retrofitting in shipping savings. It takes less than an hour to pack up the whole bike and not much longer to re-assemble it.
I've taken the bike on roads, trails and totally off-road, and don't even notice the couplings. The frame is as stiff as ever, and there's no squeaking or vibrations. S&S is the best thing since quick-release. I highly recommend them. Oh, and they add quite a bit to the re-sale value of the bike. I get offers regularly.
Geoff Ankeney, Beer Sheva, Israel (Surly cyclocross retrofit by Cycles LaMoure)
I recently had your couplers installed on my bike by Steve Bilenky, in Philadelphia. What a great job they did. I believe I bought a great product from and had it installed by a great company---BILENKY. I would recommend Bilenky to anyone contemplating these couplers as well as for a custom bike!
Tom Maguire, cyclist, Avalon NJ (retrofit by Bilenky)
My wife and I have traveled domestically and internationally with our S+S
coupled bikes and can't imagine traveling without them. They are easy to take apart and rebuild and ride exactly like a bike without couplers. In
fact, we both ride our S+S bikes at home more than we do while traveling. We love that fact that we have
no surprises when we travel. The bikes check right in as regular baggage with no extra fees. No having to worry about
the logistics of getting a regular bicycle box in a European cab or rental car or whether the baggage handlers will have mangled the frame or whether
the rental bike is good quality or the right size. No hassles and no worries. That's why I am now looking into getting couplers installed on my
Perry Braun, cyclist, Scarsdale, New York
This comment was forwarded to
S&S by Bilenky Cycle Works. "I've done some 2000 km on the Bilenky, and it works perfectly. Last year, I biked from Nice along the the cote d'Azur, over the Pyrenees to San Sebastian.
... - I did some of the Tour de France stages. ...This trip was with panniers. This year, I've been to Italy, biking around in the mountains of the regions of Lazio, Abruzzo and Umbrien - mid-Italy. This time without luggage.
This Bilenky just handles wonderfully. It is stable with panniers, and yet agile without - something I actually thought impossible. Bravo to Stephen...!!!!"
Steen Navrbjerg, cyclist, Denmark on a road bike built by Bilenky Cycle Works
This comment was forwarded to
S&S by Bilenky Cycle Works. "With regards to the S&S retrofit you applied to
my white Lemond Zurich frame
two weeks ago, it turned out great. I assembled the bike last week and rode it on Saturday and am highly satisfied. I came to my bike club meeting place
with the 350Z (car) pulled out the bike from the trunk and assembled it. Everyone around
me was fascinated. The only disassembly required was removing both wheels, unscrewing the cable quick connects and couplers. The
seat and handlebars remained in place. During the ride, I wasn't even the slightest bit aware that the bike had been modified with the couplers, it
Domenick Creaco, cyclist, Franklin Square, NY on a Bilenky Retrofit
After the success of the installation of a pair of your couplings on a custom built hard tail mountain bike by St. John Street Cycles here in the UK a few years ago, I
researched the possibility of a full suspension mountain bike. After hours of
research I found only one possible frame, namely the Dean Baja titanium frame. I took delivery of the
completed bike last month and was off to the mountains of the
Cannary Islands the next day. It fits (only just!) in the 26" case and is a great success.
I'm looking forward to lots of trips with it this year, Turkey next month, French
Alps latter, then I will see if my aging bones will take me further.
John Murch, cyclist, UK, Dean USA
This comment was forwarded to S&S by
Bilenky Cycle Works. " Dear Steve, I wanted to let you know how well your conversion of my Mongoose road bike into a folding bike has worked out. I ride it the fourteen miles to work several days a week when I am in town and see no difference in performance from my other road bike. In fact, I am as apt to ride the folding bike as I am the regular road bike when I go on other rides. As I mentioned to you, the new bike gets some “wows” when I bring it in to bike stores. The couplers have been mistaken for fancy -somewhat misplaced- Italian lugs.
I am able to break it down right on the street and fit it in a large canvas carry bag in less than five minutes. It takes even less time to reassemble. (The key is to put the front wheel on after the bike is assembled-a very key step as it is a chore to get things aligned with the wheel on.) I take it back on the train and am able to reassemble it either on the platform at Suburban Station or on the train itself. The bike in the bag” is a little heavier than I expected but I have little trouble lugging it the two blocks from my office to the station and I am hardly a muscle man. As you know, I had the bike made up so I could bring it into my building which has a policy against bicycles in the elevators. One guard would ask me every day if that was a bike in my bag and I thought he was going to enforce the rule. It turned out he was an avid cyclist who was thinking about having one made himself so he could get around the policy and bike to work too. All my best,"
Howard Langer, Philadelphia, PA (retrofit by Bilenky Cycle Works)
This comment was forwarded to S&S by Bilenky Cycle Works. "Dear Steve, I have just returned from visiting my son in California. This was the maiden voyage for the new take-apart bike which I just purchased from you. I must say that when I first saw the bicycle apart I had trepidations as to whether I could handle it; however my misgivings were completely unfounded. When I arrived in L.A. it took me about 1/2 hour to reassemble the bicycle (I have been practicing and can now do it in about 15 to 20 minutes). My son lives about 5 or 6 miles from the beach so we rode down to the beach and up and down the coast. The amazing thing is that the bike, when assembled, as the same phenomenal riding characteristics as my regular road bike. The hard case worked like a charm. No damage at all and the airlines had no trouble with the size. In fact, after I packed the bike I was also able to squeeze in my riding shorts, shirts, and shoes and socks. I wrapped a red canvas camping strap around the case to insure that the case wouldn't break open and this also made it very easy to identify in the baggage claim. I must say that your demo on how to take apart, pack (I took a Polaroid of how the bike went into the case), and reassemble the bicycle helped quite a bit. I am already making plans for my bicycle trip to Europe in late spring. Thanks for a wonderful product!!! Keep up the good work. Sincerely,"
Henry Meil, Ivyland, PA (Bilenky road bike)
This comment was forwarded to S&S by
Bilenky Cycle Works. "I just wanted to dropped a quick note to let you know that I thoroughly
enjoy the Noreaster Travel bike. I have used it on two trips so far and it was
fantastic. The first was a quick trip to visit the parents. But the second was to England and to the North York Moors. Even with Foot
and Mouth disease, the roads were open. I was on the bike almost every day. It was so beautiful riding around (up and down) the moors.
Thanks for a great bike"
Steven Milburn, cyclist, Maine (Bilenky Cycle Works Nor'easter)
This comment was forwarded to S&S by Bilenky Cycle Works. "Well, I got my bike in the box and took it to Europe. Did a week's touring in the Dordogne Valley and then took a couple of rides in the Pyranees including climbing the Col de Peyrasourd (category 1) and up to Luz Ardiden (hors categorie). The bike worked great. Thanks."
Jeffery Horowitz, cyslist, New Jersey
"We did a wonderful trip through northern Sonoma County the first week of June, putting the first 200 miles on the new tandem. It was a great trip on a fantastic bicycle.
No significant problems packing/unpacking - it’s all pretty intuitive. There was a very nice bike shop in Healdsburg, the town we stayed in, so I had someone to check the bike out after I put it together to make certain I’d gotten it right.
The bike is a pleasure! It is beautiful to look at and handles beautifully as well. I love taking it through the turns. Nadine is absolutely in love with it and no longer has any use for her single bike. I only get to ride my single by getting up early and sneaking out for a
Jeff and Nadine Grossman , Madison Wis ’02 Bilenky Touring STI Tinker tandem SL (36 lbs - 6 couplers)
comment was forwarded to S&S by Bilenky Cycle Works. "We just returned from Vermont with our Bilenky S and S
tandem. We are running 45cm drops/bar-ends and use it in the dirt and on the
road. The bars come off with all the cables. Xt v-brakes with a v-dapter in front
and an inline c-ted for the rear. Bruce Gordon cable splitters on the derailuer cables and 2 bolts release the
brake cables.(split cable stops throughout).Bars/seats/wheels come off-the whole thing fit in
one 26x26x10 soft case. 45 minutes takedown and assembly. After flying with a
Bike Pro bag, this was a nice experience."
Bill and Darlene Clevenger, Bilenky tandem
This comment was
posted to T@H and then forwarded to S&S by Bilenky Cycle Works. Used
with permission. "People on the list have asked about retro-fitting S&S couplers and who does it well. We've been riding and
taking apart (and putting back together) our Bilenky coupled tandem. His work is marvelous. The bike is
flawless. The tubes fit together smoothly and easily, with no straining and no bending. I would certainly
trust him to retro-fit S&S couplers on any bike and to do it properly and beautifully.
A friend of mine who is a master mechanic picked our bike up while he was in Philadelphia and was so
impressed he's going to have Bilenky "hack" his beloved Serotta. Bilenky's prices are fair and so is
he. He can be found at www.bilenky.com. Some of the bikes Bilenky builds are amazing. Anybody in New
England who wants to see our Bilenky is welcome to visit us in New Hampshire."
David Levine New Hampshire on a Bilenky tandem
This comment was forwarded to S&S by Bilenky Cycle Works.
"Thank you for an enjoyable buying experience. We appreciate your integrity, dedication to your products and listening to us, the consumer,
about our purchasing needs. Our new mountain bike tandem with the S&S couplers is not only a pleasure to ride but equally a pleasure to our eyes!
The S&S couplers made it possible for us to take our Bilenky on our winter vacation. Now it can fit in the back of our pickup camper...yea!Thank you again for all your courtesy and
Jeff & Lynn on a Bilenky tandem
This comment was forwarded to S&S by Bilenky Cycle Works.
"Every travel bike is a compromise of one sort or another. For me, I
value comfort (fit), and performance over clever and quick folding. If you
are a cyclist and a traveler, I highly recommend looking into an S&S coupled
I have a custom road bike. My wife had her favorite mountain bike chopped and modified. As about half of my travel is to developing countries, I had a second bike, a 29er, built, and just took delivery this week. A 29er is a mountain bike with 700c wheels and fat tires. It fits in a checkable 26" x 26" x 10" hard case, as does the road bike and my wife’s modified Trek mountain bike.
Yes, it takes a little time, twenty minutes, to assemble it at the destination, and a like amount of time to prepare it at departure. But during my stay, I have a standard, custom-fit bicycle. One with real wheels, not tiny wheels. I have a Dahon, which I ride for fun around town once and a while. We call it the circus bike. I agree that the Dahon is a great design for bike/train commutes. But when I travel I generally use my bike as my main form of transportation, typically urban sightseeing and more adventurous light, "credit card touring".
I checked out a number of frame builders authorized to build with the S&S couplers. www.sandsmachine.com . I settled on Bilenky Cycle Works in Philly http//www.bilenky.com/ . I live in Alaska, so one distant city is as good as another, as far as shipping and communication are concerned. I chose Bilenky for their experience, creativity and build quality, based upon customer reviews. I highly recommend Stephen Bilenky. He is a master at fit and frame design. I love both of my bikes and take one of them on virtually every trip.
John Sahnow, cyclist, (Bilenky Cycle Works 29er mountain bike and a Bilenky Nor╣easter)
This comment was forwarded to S&S by Bilenky Cycle Works.
You hacked my KHS soft-tail and it works great!
Shawn Mallady, cyclist, Danville, IL
This comment was forwarded to S&S by Bilenky Cycle Works.
"The Ibis is great. We were in Northern Michigan in June and on Vancouver Island in August. No
hassles with the baggage, other than "please open the bag so we can check for explosives".
It goes together/comes apart in 20-30
minutes now that I figured out how to organize the padding to cover the bike."
David Friedman, cyclist (Ibis tandem retrofit by Bilenky Cycle Works)
"It's a great traveling bike. I take it to Florida when we visit
grandparents each winter and it travels great, though I should probably get a proper case for it. Last trip
I packed it in a 26x26x10 cardboard box with a gator-foam lining, pipe insulation, zip ties, etc. I traveled with
it as checked luggage on the plane with no ill-effects (or additional charges). The box took a bit of a beating, however. I also think I'd be a
bit more confident with the compression resistance your system provides. The modification was done by Waterford for the previous owner. The
Paramount frame is an '89, and the couplers have performed flawlessly. Because it is a fixed gear, the
assembly/reassembly process is quite fast
and simple. I now run a front brake only, so there are no gear or rear brake cables involved.
It's a sweet riding bike and get lots of comments."
Elton Pope-Lance, cyclist on a Paramount fixed gear road bike retrofit by Waterford Precision Cycles
"...hopefully others will discover the beauty (!) (both figuratively and
literally) of S&S Couplings. Really. My bike is much prettier with them - just adds a bit of "chrome" class in addition to the utility."
Judy Colwell, bicycle tourist on a Rex Cycles custom touring bike
This comment was forwarded to S&S by Bilenky Cycle Works. "The job you did a couple of weeks ago "cutting" my Sampson Ti has turned out great. I flew it to Whidbey Island on the 9th and have ridden over 200 miles here. I am highly satisfied with the work, the way you accommodated my limited available time, and the convenience I now have to take the bike with me. Now if my knees will only hold up under the strain of the HILLS out here. I plan to get in touch with you on my return about a "cuting" job on my loaded touring bike (without, I promise, any rush being involved).Regards,"
This comment was forwarded to S&S by Bilenky Cycle Works.
"Airport security have always scrutinized 'oversize' bike bags/boxes and after several frustrating charges recently, it was time to own a travel bike. My best buddy upgraded to a Ti-Seven in the off-season as I discovered that his 'ill-fitted'
Waterford 1200 was my size; a prime candidate for an SandS retrofit. Several conversations with
an S and S builder (not Bilenky) suggested an added cost of $375 (in addition to
their normal retrofit charge) to retrofit the mismatched top-tube and downtube inherent with the Reynolds 753 Waterford framesets. This blew the budget and my dreams of cutting a bike quickly waned. After a
conversation with Stephen at Bilenky Cycles, he was able to install the S and S conversion kit at no added
cost, (no upcharge beyond the standard $395 cost for basic retro-fit) add new rack braze-ons, original Waterford decals and a killer paint --- far below the costs of purchasing a new frameset. Once again, I was surprised with the quality of the work; the paint was flawless and the
S and S conversion kit beautiful. My buddy now envies his loss and have considered
Bilenky Cycle Works for his next frame project. I recently rode the 1200 at a local charity ride, only to be pampered by its snappiness, practicality and classic looks. Thanks again, Stephen....
Ed Mantaring, cyclist, Greenwich, CT (Waterford 1200 retrofit by Bilenky Cycle Works)
This comment was forwarded to S&S by Bilenky Cycle Works.
"Went to Italy again in May for 17 days…. This time ALL 3 bikes hacked. Spent time riding Como, Donoratico (Tuscany – the Etruscan coast) and Italian Riviera and some time with the Giro d’Italia. Bikes worked great. Traveled between destinations by train as always bikes were boxed. Never a problem with hotels and storing bikes and boxes.
No damage but we flew Alitalia. Last time we flew Continental and you could tell the boxes went through hell. But with compression posts no problem to bikes.
Always a great deal of interest and respect from the Italians about our cycling and our bikes.
This time had a lot of things figured out so the boxes took the bikes and a lot of the bike stuff as well.
This is a perfect way to travel using the train which is of course inexpensive and relatively painless, because the bike box is just luggage so ANY train works especially the FAST trains.
Donoratico continues to be the great cycling secret and riding with the Italians is always passionate and spirited. My other bike is a Colnago CT1, and I am a USA Cycling Expert coach so I know a little about cycling. Need to say that there’s no difference in handling with the Lemond from before hack to post-hack. Some rides with Italians in the hills involved a lot of pedal dragging. Ok so I have some spacers but seriously the bike always performed flawlessly.
What’s next? Next year a tour from Genova over to Cannes, ferry to Corsica and Sardinia, ferry to Livorno and back to Donoratico before we have to leave. Also plan to use the Lemond on Seattle-Portland ride because it’s much easier to deal with the box rather than shipping the Colnago to Seattle even though I can ship for free. That’s really saying something.
By the way, I was accompanied by two lovely lady cyclists. Besides the riding and convenience they enjoy being able to pack and unpack the bikes, because as we all know if you can do that then you really know your bike.
Steve, Linda, and Beth in Albuquerque (3 LeMond road bikes retrofit by Bilenky Cycle Works)
"Just thought I'd write to tell you how much I like your product. Stephen Bilenky did an an absolutely amazing job retro-fitting my steel
Surly CrossCheck cyclocross bike with your S&S
Couplers. He is truly an artist! I originally intended on using the bike just when traveling, but I like it so much I find myself riding it even on fast training/group rides at home. I've made several domestic trips with it and one international trip and the bike/case are holding up nicely - and of course no fees when checking in! I
live in a small apartment in New York City and the couplers have a another benefit for us city dwellers. I simply do not have the storage space for a full-size bike box, nor does a "regular" bike box fit in the back a taxi for the drive to the airport... With your system, I can keep the case in my closet (and with the bike inside when I have guests) and I have no problem catching a cab to airport. Once I even took it on the subway!
I've ridden nearly 5,000 miles on the bike so far (including about 10 miles on gravel roads) and taken one high-speed spill; the couplers have exceeded my expectations - they are solid and well-designed. I cannot think of any reason to ride a bike without the couplers. I am contemplating the purchase of a new titanium frame and I will no doubt send it off to Bilenky - probably even before I ride it!"
When S&S asked Scott for permission to use his comment, he responded with:
"That would be fine. I can't give enough compliments to your product or to Stephen Bilenky! For those non-believers, well they're just missing out! And I'll remind you that the bikes don't just ride "well" or "fine" they ride perfect - totally seamless..."
This is a comment from Scott to Bilenky Cycle Works that was forwarded to S and S. "Two things. First, the red Surly Crosscheck that you retro-fitted with couplers last year is still going very strong. I've made several more trips with it and the bike is working just great - still looks and feels like new. My friends whom I travel with couldn't believe the whole thing fit into such a small case! I also noticed that it took them just as long to assemble their non-coupled bikes out of the regular size cases than it takes me to assemble my coupled bike. Secondly, I have a friend who is very interested in either retro-fitting an old touring frame or buying a new coupled frame. Naturally, I recommended you. Anyway, just wanted to let you know how things were going with the bike."
Scott Bernstein, Cyclist, New York, NY (Surly CrossCheck cyclocross retrofit by Bilenky Cycle Works)
Steve, I've had my retro-fitted Surly Cross Check (by Bilenky Cycle Works) for about three years now and I still love it. The couplers continue to work absolutely perfectly after thousands of miles and many, many plane trips. But you see I had a problem... As great as the Surly is, it's still a steel cyclocross bike and all my friends have fancy, uber-light non-coupled carbon or titantium road racing bikes. I always beat them out of the airport, but they always beat me to the top of the hill. So I did the only reasonable thing I could: buy a new bike!
I just recieved my new titanium frame from Dean Bikes in Colorado. It was an extremely long wait but in the end it was worth it. The bike is completely custom and fits me like a glove. It rides amazing and is so light! Of course the couplers are the icing on the cake - they are even prettier than they are on the Surly. The couplers seem to just belong there and melt right into the unpainted Ti frame. As I expected from riding the Cross Check for the past three years, you absolutely cannot tell this is a coupled bike while riding it, unless you look down. The builder told me they were going to make it stiff and they were not fooling around! The Surly still rides great, but this bike is whole different animal. So stiff when sprinting or climbing yet it seems to absorb all the small stuff. And the handling? Do you remember that old movie with Clint Eastwood, Firefox, where he flies the fighter plane with just his thoughts...? I just don't have enough superlatives to describe how good this bike is. I think now I will save money while traveling AND beat my friends up hills... Since I have steel and titanium, I may just have to get a carbon coupled bike! And I think I know who to call...
Scott Bernstein, New York, New York
"Bilenky retrofitted a bike (Hujsak) for me about 3 years
ago. I was amazed that I could tell no difference in the ride. Traveling with the bike was no problem and saved me the cost
of oversize luggage. In addition, I had my own bike to ride and not a rented one. I wanted another, more versatile bike for travel and found a Rivendell Rambouillet for sale in my size. I bought the bike and had it sent directly to Bilenky. They did their usual fine job, including new paint.
The bike is beautiful. I am looking forward to getting it built up and the putting it in the box and on the road."
Ben Satterwhite, Cyclist, Columbus, GA (Rivendell Rambouillet retrofit by Bileky Cycle Works
"...As for the BTCs and the ride, there’s nothing to say. When one is
riding, it’s as if the couplings didn’t exist. They do only what they
are there for – and flawlessly."
Neil Carlson, cyclist, London, England (Roberts Backpack" ULT Compact Racer)
"I wanted to mention I love the product, and recommend it all the time. Have taken my bike all over the world (planes, boats, trains, backpacked) with your
product. The same bike (including S&S coupling) has competed in, and even won, Sr. 1-2 races in both the US and Europe. After being at
Spinergy, I was in consulting for about 6 years, and
I took my bike many places where I would not have before and can't imagine how much money I saved. As for a few tid bits about places the bike has been: Sailed (parts of) the Mediterranean, ridden Alp
d'Huez, raced on cobble stones in Germany, rode worlds courses in Norway and Sicily, raced UCI calendar races in Sweden. Raced in the Caribbean. 2 TDF's (train, team bus, riding), many French and Belgian trains, Polti team training camp in Sardinia, Spain, HI, many states in US, yearly trip to Santa Barbara or SF, and it won the Iowa city Pro Am in 1997 (which is a hill
crit, so much for weight of your bike)."
Paul Swinand, Chicago, IL, Cat 1 cyclist, former Bicycle Product Manager, equity analyst (on a Debernardi, Columbus SP retrofit by Rhygin Racing)
This comment was forwarded to S&S by Bilenky Cycle Works.
"Stephen, I just wanted to thank you and reiterate that
I am stoked on the Bilenky/S and S
retrofit. It has passed the test. My first big trip was to Kalispell Montana where I did an awesome singletrack ride the first day before working for a couple days. No one around but Grizzlies! Then, the last day I was there I did a road ride on the closed "Going to the Sun" Logan Pass road through Glacier National Park. 40 miles in the mountains with beautiful high peaks in all directions.
I was a bit worried about luggage inspectors and baggage handlers but shouldn't have been.
The case makes it through the airport as fast as I do.
David Evans, cyclist, Tustin CA (on a Moots mountain bike retrofit by Bilenky Cycle Works)
Here is another of my builds. This one started life a a late model Cinelli Supercorsa road frame. The bike was sent off to the builder with instructions to install S&S couplings and Stainless track ends and repaint the frame to the color you see. Chris King h/s and Phil Wood bottom bracket, Nitto Pearl Road Stem and Nitto Track drop bars and Campy Brake lever and Chorus front Brake and Chorus TI seat post, Shimano 105 cranks and Campy Pedals, Phil Wood h/f hubs laced to Open pro's and Brooks BRG Professional Saddle round out the ensemble. This bike was made to be used as a traveling bike and it breaks down into various component pieces and fits into a divided padded bag that I made out of some Heavy Levi Jeans material that I sewed up into the desired shape, and which protects the bike during shipment. The Couplings do not add hardly any weight and there is
absolutely no change in the feel of the bike from the original configuration as to
flex. It was an interesting solution to the problem of traveling with your fixed gear bike without going to the hard case and all the attendant issues of what do you do with the case after you arrive.
John Taylor (Cinelli retrofit by Franklin Cycles)
"I think that the tandem is stiffer after the retrofit of S&S couplings, we
have never felt any increase in the frame flexing. We are totally happy with the
couplings, if and when we purchase a new
tandem I would want couplings fitted to the front, we do not tour as much as we used to, anno
domini!!!. However with smaller car's on this side of the
pond it is VERY useful to be able to break a Tandem down to fit in the boot (trunk to you)."
Chris Carr, cyclist, Bath, UK, (on a Swallow tandem retrofit by Swallow) Follow this link to Chris Carr's cycling page
"I've had the road bike
(Litespeed Vortex) to Key West, Cuba, Boston, Spain and France, since I took delivery of it and
absolutely love it!"
Paul Mckenna P.E.I Canada (Litespeed Vortex retrofit by Bilenky Cycle Works)
"Last year, I bought a bike with S&S couplings. I'm so glad I did. IMHO these couplings are God's gift to the touring cyclist. I pack my bike in suitcase that measures 26 x 26 X 10. Not only do I save on the airline surcharges, I have no ground transportation hassles. I've heard lot's of horror stories from friends about being refused service from airport vans and limos because they were carrying full size bicycle boxes. The couplings also came in handy over Labor Day Weekend. I shared a ride to Maine in a friend's car. We put her two bikes on her trunk rack. We took my frame apart and stuffed the entire bike into the trunk of her compact car. Also, the couplings do not have any negative influence on the performance of the bike."
"I still break out into a big grin when I ride my Bilenky
bike. Thousands of miles later, it's still my favorite bike. No aches or pains when I ride this bike! Did I ever send any pictures? These are from my first long trip with the bike in 2003 which was 650 miles on part of the Lewis and Clark trail. The Bilenky bike and Arkel panniers are a great combination."
Camille Gervasio, Cyclist (on a Bilenky touring bike)
"I just wanted to report that I'm back from my 9-day tour of Denmark. The tandem and
the S&S couplings worked perfectly. The bike fit in a single-bike soft case, so checking it was no problem. The first day into the trip I perfected breaking the bike into two in about three minutes - very handy for jumping on trains to
criss-cross Denmark. Thanks for your good work.
Here's a pic of the bike in two on a train in Denmark - secured with good 'ol electrical tape so I can whisk it up and down escalators at the train station."
Carter Yepsen, Saratoga Springs, NY (on a Arriva tandem retrofit by Bilenky Cycle Works)
We just returned from RAGBRAI last night - and the only problem with Jen's bike was that people kept stopping her to talk about it!
Jennie Hampton, Cyclist, Chicago, IL (on a Bilenky Signature Travel Midlands)
this message was posted by the Semons to the tandem@hobbes
e-mail list for tandem bicycle enthusiasts regarding their new
Co-Motion tandem. Used with permission. " Mel (the owner of
East, the retailer that sold the tandem to the Semons) spent time with us showing us how to pack the tandem into the two backpack suitcases and we had a good chance to become familiar with the process. I had spent quite a bit of time on the phone with Mel discussing what we
wanted and we couldn't be happier with the tandem. It survived nearly 2000kms of hills in France with no problems at all.
The S&S couplers proved their worth a few times. The first was still in the US when we had to
transfer from La Guardia airport to JFK. Our plane had been delayed so we were a bit short on time to make the transfer. We were able to just put the
2 suitcases containing the tandem in the boot of a Yellow Cab and off we went, making the boarding call by a matter of minutes.
If we had a full size tandem box we would have needed to catch a bus and in the process
missed our flight. France is great for cycling but the trains aren't quite so good.
The regional trains only carry bikes suspended by the hooks which is great for
a normal bike but not for a tandem. We were able to just disconnect the front section of the tandem which only took a few minutes and hang it in
the train in 2 pieces. We caught trains twice while we were there and it made life very easy. Austria was much easier on the trains that we took
(the bike path along the Danube was flooded) as there was a large baggage section just for bikes in each train."
Geoff & Marian, Sydney, Australia ( on a Co-Motion Mocha Co-Pilot tandem)
In response to an e-mail and photo sent to S&S by Clay saying that he was very happy with the retrofit
results on two Litespeed road bikes, I asked what gave him the confidence to do two bikes
at once and this was his response: "I didn't pursue this on a whim. I contacted several frame builders and spoke with a few cyclists with tandems about the strength of the couplings and the ride quality. Seeing that some very respected and well know frame builders use the couplings and additionally that they are extensively used on tandems, I couldn't go wrong. I figured that if the couplings were incorporated into a durable frame we would have great travel bikes. Your web site made the research much easier, listing many of the manufactures that sell bike with the couplings.
I leave tomorrow for the first trip to Europe, hope to catch a stage or two of the Tour de France. Bikes packed up nicely...after a try or two. Thanks for the multiple packing references.
I failed to mention that I have noticed no change in the ride quality since the couplings were installed. In my opinion that's the most important issue when considering a travel bike. Additionally, it takes about the same amount of time to prepare to ship as when we use our race bikes in a full size travel case."
Clay and Kay Clark currently serving at Ft Bragg, NC (on two Litespeed Classics retrofit by Bilenky Cycle Works)
This comment was forwarded to S&S by Bilenky Cycle
Works "I probably did not tell you that the ride we did in December last year after
receiving the bike from you, was actually done a week before the tsunami event. We took the coastal route from
Langkawi to Penang, traveling 200km south through the areas that were later hit by the tsunami. The villages we pass through were severely damaged. We were of course blissfully
ignorant of the tragedy that was going to take place and enjoyed our ride tremendously. That was our first loaded unsupported ride. I was quite
surprised at how well the Tinker behaved with more than 40 lbs in the front and rear panniers. We did 3 days of riding covering roughly 70kms a day. On the final day, a
Saturday we loaded the Tinker on a night train to Kuala Lumpur, and early Sunday morning we rode 15kms home from the railway station, promising to another tour soon." "Its over eight months since I got the tinker, its a great bike.
My wife calls it her BMW tandem."
Shamsudin Dubi, Cyclist, Malaysia (on a Bilenky Deluxe Tinker tandem with 26" wheels)
a truly one of a kind bicycle. I had this frame built for me almost 10 years ago by
Stephen Bilenky of Bilenky Cycle Works. It is made of Columbus Metax stainless steel tubing, it has stainless S & S couplers and Henry James stainless lugs. Joinery at the stays is fillet brazed and the bottom bracket / seat / down tube junctions are TIG welded (not enough room with the coupler for a lug).""
"I have ridden this bike on multi-day, long distance, loaded tours. I've used it to race cyclocross. I've thrown race wheels on it and gone on the fast local club rides; even a time trial or two. I've put knobby cyclocross tires on it and ridden it on the local mountain bike trails. It has all been very fun. The bike is probably at its best on very long rides and on tight, bumpy cyclocross courses." "The highest praise I can give the couplings is that I forgot they were there until someone asked me about them or I was greasing the threads for routine maintenance. I am blown away at how little they change the bike, until you want them to, and then they change the bike like nothing else can."
Todd Miller, Physical Therapist, Putney VT (on a Bilenky Cycle Works Stainless Steel Cyclocross / Touring Bike)
"We took her out for a down hill test on a one mile 10% grade. The brakes worked great. It seems like the rotor got strong later into the ride. I only had to adjust the pads once, maybe because of initial cable stretch? We tried some 40mph downhill stops and were very happy with the overall stopping power and no rotor noise. More testing to follow. Well since we went down this hill that goes from the lighthouse at Cabrillio Monument on Point Loma down to the tidal ponds we had to climb up out. We do this hill as part over our local day ride so we are very aware of what it takes climb it. Both Sharon & I could not believe how fast and stiff your frame is. We were able to stand over 75% of the climb with Sharon not having any back problems. (we raised the stoker stem to the top of the captains seatpost giving Sharon lots of knee room.) :) We did a quick 30 mile ride on our local hills and were amazed with the ability to carry speed up hills like a single. "
Pat Fuge, San Diego on his Davis Double Lite Flite.
"You've received lots of testimonials re the greatness of the S&S coupling system. We have nothing to add to that as we have been tremendously happy with our Bilenky tandem and how your coupling system has held the tandem together for seven years and over 14,000 miles. Our testimonial regards what S&S
Couplings can do to hold a marriage together.
It is said that tandeming makes a good relationship better and a poor relationship worse. We've been on a tandem for about twelve years now, and the last seven have been on our Bilenkymobile. Tandeming has, indeed, brought us closer together, but having S&S has allowed us to take our tandem to many wonderful places where we could tandem and enjoy the goodness of life. Being able to easily take our tandem to many parts of the world has brought us great joy and happiness. Thank you S&S Couplings for holding our relationship together as well as you hold our tandem together."
Judy and Mike Rothschild, Madison, WI (on a Bilenky Cycle Works tandem)
I asked Zinn
if they could retrofit a titanium frame that would otherwise have gone on sale. I loved this frame, but it was hanging in the garage. Zinn did some fast and beautiful work turning my old bike into a new machine in less than 2 weeks.
I immediately took the bike to Mexico and walked right onto the plane without ANY hassles about extra luggage or huge bike boxes. OUTSTANDING!
Now I ride this bike and others are hanging in the garage. Great craftsmanship by
Zinn Cycles, and awesome Couplers that make travel a breeze.
Debra Banks, Racer, Boulder, CO, (on a DEAN Titanium road bike retrofit by Zinn Cycles)
Communications before and after buying and S&S Coupled bike.
Almost certain to place an order soon for an S&S coupled bike, however...
much of it's use will be on cobblestones in Belgium and France - literally 25-30 km of cobblestones per ride. Although I have read nothing but good stuff, is the 'constant' vibration a problem on a properly tightened bike? Thanks. -Mike
Thank you for your inquiry regarding S and S Couplings. Cobblestones won't be a problem regardless of how much you ride on them. The constant vibration won't damage the coupling or shorten it's life in any way. If you tighten the nuts properly, they won't loosen. Please take a look at our user guide on line at: http://www.sandsmachine.com/guide_c.htm for tightening guidelines. Also, in order to properly tighten the nut, it's important to use only DuPont Teflon Bearing Grease Discontinued so now use Finish Line™ Extreme Fluoro Grease. Please take a look at: http://www.sandsmachine.com/grease_t.htm so you will know why we recommend only DTBG for S and S Couplings. BTW, If you do get a bike with couplings and then hammer it silly, I hope you will let me know how you like it. -S and S Machine
Bike arrived 5 days before leaving for Belgium. About 31-33 km of cobbles total with no need to retighten at all. -Mike
2008 Update: I did it again in 2008 and put over 50 km of cobblestones on it without having to touch it.
2010 Update: - Every meter of stones from the entire RVV and Paris-Roubaix courses plus additional rides. Probably 110 km total over 12 days and only had to tighten it up once (barely). -Mike
-Mike Owens (on a Richard Sachs road bike)
I want to congratulate you on a fantastic product. I have a Dean ti MTB with couplings that has become my favorite bike. I bought when I started traveling to the southwest on business and now I ride it more than any other bike. Several of my friends have since bought bikes with the couplings. Being an engineer by schooling I really appreciate and admire the design.
(A message sent to Bilenky Cycle Works) Stephen and Simon, It's been slightly more than 1.5 yrs since you coupled my white Concorde SL frame for me. I'd thought I'd drop you a line to let you know how the bike has been holding up and where it has been since it left Philly.
What can I say? Thanks to you, I am still able to train and stay somewhat competitive after 20+ years of road/cyclo-crosss racing despite a relatively heavy travel load for work. I have also been able to take my bicycle on vacation and get in some early morning rides in some beautiful places … and come back home before anyone awakes w/ a full bag of croissants! I have met more interesting people and seen more breath-taking sights now that I travel with my bike and while my team-issue bike is cerainly lighter and arguably "faster", it is the S&S-coupled Concorde that has given me the best memories by far!
So a very big "Merci!" for your fine workmanship -- I may soon be sending you a cyclocross frame to convert!
It's gone on 2 trips to
California; one to Monterey and one to Berkeley. Both trips involved quite a bit of climbing steep short hills. I was a bit worried that the
Bilenky would be a bit heavy, but it handled great. On climbs, steady and responsive, and importantly, on descents very stable. A friend I was riding with had brought a
Richey Break Away frame that shook and wobbled terribly on the descents. As you can imagine he did not have much fun with all the up and down
roller coaster hills we rode.
My last trip ended just before thanksgiving and I worked a lot in December. So just when I have time to ride again we've been hit with 3 snow storms! At my house the total accumulation has been about 6 feet! Needless to say the roads are not rideable.
Now I'm up in Wisconsin and I did think of bringing my Bilenky but it's really cold with high temperatures in the teens. So I left it home. But I will be traveling with it a bunch starting in march (to Boston) and may (back to Wisconsin and Boston).
I recently spent 5 weeks training and competing in Italy on my Serotta. The bike road beautifully as always and I put it through some very hard time trials in the mountains that included a lot of wrenching on the frame. The couplings didn't need any tightening afterwards. And, in the course of those time trials I set 3 records, Monte Cesen, Passo Rolle and Monte Grappa.
Chris Villiani (on a Serotta road bike)
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.
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