Folder or S&S Couplings?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Bertieboy
Posts: 22
Joined: 1 Apr 2008, 8:31am

Folder or S&S Couplings?

Postby Bertieboy » 3 Jun 2015, 10:19am

When I travel abroad accompanied by a bike I use a Polaris Eva Bike Pod into which I pack the cycle. Problem is this is quite large and I often have problems arriving and departing airports as it needs a large taxi / van to accommodate this plus cases. Recently, as I am recovering from surgery and have had to take enforced leave of absence from riding my bike as something to keep me interested I have been wondering how whether to either:

A) Invest (?) in a folding cycles, my preference is for an Airnimal Chameleon or Joey.

or

B) Purchase a new conventional frame but with S&S couplings which, judging by videos on You Tube seem to allow a cycle to be separated and packed into a large conventional suitcase.

I have no experience of folders, but have read several reviews of the Airnimal range. My only concern is they have an alloy frame, and all my bikes are steel, and the folding mechanism adds weight. Also I would want to change the gearing on the Chameleon which has a low gear of only 33."

The alternative of a new frame with S & S couplers would be custom built in either Reynolds 853 or 953 and I have plenty of spares / wheels etc so would not require too many additional components plus it would give me the pleasure of building it up. S & S couplers seem to have a good reputation and can be supplied / fitted by many frame builders.

Does anyone have experience or any advice to offer?

Brucey
Posts: 36763
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Folder or S&S Couplings?

Postby Brucey » 3 Jun 2015, 10:28am

It might help if you say what kind of rider you are and what kind of riding you do.

If you want a road bike and are feeling spendy, you could do worse than look at a Rob English frame with a folding rear triangle.

Also, if you look up 'Rinko bicycles' on the interweb,

eg. http://www.bikequarterly.com/images/BQ_rinko.pdf

you will see that with a little modification and cunning, an ordinary road bike or touring bike can be knocked down small for transit in just a few minutes.

My own cheapskate solution to this is to use a Rudge (monatgue) BiFrame folder; these can be had for cheap, ride like a normal bike, and can be turned into anything you want, -except something properly lightweight, that is!

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

iandriver
Posts: 2251
Joined: 10 Jun 2009, 2:09pm
Location: Cambridge.

Re: Folder or S&S Couplings?

Postby iandriver » 3 Jun 2015, 2:39pm

Looking at one of our member groups Dawes the other day, he'd had S&S couplings retro fitted to the existing frame. If you're 100% happy with your current bike, might be worth exploring if you're thinking you need a new frame to get them.
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....

mrjemm
Posts: 2933
Joined: 20 Nov 2011, 4:33pm

Re: Folder or S&S Couplings?

Postby mrjemm » 3 Jun 2015, 3:26pm

I have an S&S bike, and as yet not used it's splitting capability, except when building it, it was easier to take just the back end to the workshop for some braze-ons. When flying with it, Virgin didn't charge, so didn't bother dismantling.

What I do find though, from just tinkering and playing around, is that dismantling the couplings may be easy, but dismantling and re-assembling the bike generally is a real pain in the bum. As for packing it, well, not tried, but everything I've seen about it, suggests it's not a simple process to get neat and safe from damage, especially if you want to get into a non-chargeable size box. IIRC, 700c tyres need to be deflated fully, if not removed.

In my case, a Salsa Vaya Travel, it has the added indignity of the designers not allowing for coupling the rear brake too- it has open braze-ons for full length hoses or cable outers, so no back-stops to allow a cable coupling. This means the rear brake cable would need removing from the caliper, and the housing unclipped as far as the S&S joint. Pain in the bum.

For me, I'd need a good reason to de-couple the bike for travel. Think I'd rather not bother.

Brucey
Posts: 36763
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Folder or S&S Couplings?

Postby Brucey » 3 Jun 2015, 5:51pm

mrjemm wrote: .... In my case, a Salsa Vaya Travel, it has the added indignity of the designers not allowing for coupling the rear brake too- it has open braze-ons for full length hoses or cable outers, so no back-stops to allow a cable coupling. This means the rear brake cable would need removing from the caliper, and the housing unclipped as far as the S&S joint. Pain in the bum....


I wonder if you can get a nested coupling, whereby the inner cable has a threaded (or hooked) coupling, and this sits within a larger coupling housing that accepts the brake outer....?

-just a thought.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ubert767
Posts: 136
Joined: 4 Aug 2013, 8:16pm

Re: Folder or S&S Couplings?

Postby ubert767 » 3 Jun 2015, 9:03pm

My wife and I have a couple of Thorn Raven Nomads fitted with S&S couplings from new, so cable routing lugs and splitters have been taken into account. The couplings have proven to be useful when transporting the bikes by car and on flights abroad. Another bonus is that the bikes can be broken down to a dimension less than the 85cm limit for free transit on Eurostar. I've made transit bags from new "Dumpy" aggregate bags (£3 each from Ebay) which I resized and had sewn by a local sailmaker, they stow easily on the back racks. The best way I've found to realign the frame for reassembly is to invert the bikes.
We have found the couplings to be completely trouble-free and I think they look good too. Not cheap though, but then anything good rarely is!

Bertieboy
Posts: 22
Joined: 1 Apr 2008, 8:31am

Re: Folder or S&S Couplings?

Postby Bertieboy » 5 Jun 2015, 11:16am

Brucey wrote
it might help if you say what kind of rider you are and what kind of riding you do


Brucey, am a slow rider who potters. My normal ride is about 100k (200K max) and the two bikes I tend to ride most are a Thorn Nomad, stupidly purchased without S & S couplers, and a Longstaff touring bike.
Thanks for the link to the "Rinko" interesting especially dismantling the headset. Having read your comments elsewhere on the forum on Airnimals and the strength of an Alloy beam frame I have gone off this idea, especially as a new one with the guarantee is expensive. I think finding a good Rudge Bi frame folder might be difficult so despite mrjemms experience with S&S couplings on his Salsa Vaya I think this is my preferred option.

Brucey
Posts: 36763
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Folder or S&S Couplings?

Postby Brucey » 5 Jun 2015, 12:37pm

well each to his own... that is some pretty serious riding you are doing there, so a bike that rides well and you are comfortable with would be the #1 priority regardless of folding attributes.

I am not convinced that the Rinko scheme is more than ~x1.5 more of a hassle than some separables are, especially if the cable couplings are not done right on the separable.

I suspect that a 26" wheeled BiFrame could be made to ride a lot like a Nomad, but it would most likely be a bit of a project if you started with a typical used BiFrame.

If you didn't find it already this is Rob English's scheme for a folding bike;

http://www.englishcycles.com/custombikes/folding-road-concept/

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kenn
Posts: 86
Joined: 22 May 2012, 6:04pm
Location: South Devon

Re: Folder or S&S Couplings?

Postby Kenn » 5 Jun 2015, 8:27pm

Another possibility is a separable Moulton. Can be packed into a standard suitcase as shown in online video.

Ken

User avatar
RickH
Posts: 4748
Joined: 5 Mar 2012, 6:39pm
Location: Horwich, Lancs.

Re: Folder or S&S Couplings?

Postby RickH » 6 Jun 2015, 4:42pm

Brucey wrote:If you didn't find it already this is Rob English's scheme for a folding bike;

http://www.englishcycles.com/custombikes/folding-road-concept/

cheers

That's quite neat! :)

Although, if I was him, I would remove the back brake & leave it attached to the cable rather than undoing the cable from the brake. I do that with the front brake if I remove the bars (leaving the stem in place) on mine for packing as I find the front brake cable is usually the limiting factor in stowing the bars. Not that I do it very often.

Rick.

Brucey
Posts: 36763
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Folder or S&S Couplings?

Postby Brucey » 6 Jun 2015, 5:34pm

I thought something similar too.

On reflection I think that the simplest solution might be to have a second nipple soldered onto the cable, less than 5mm OD, with a shoulder on it. This would fit into a modified pinch bolt assy (modded to become a slotted receptacle) and when the nipple is popped out of the slot it will go through the hole for the barrel adjuster once the barrel adjuster is unscrewed.

This way the cable would be QD, at penalty of having to have a special cable made up. I guess that is no great hardship, and in an emergency a solderless nipple could be used (although I don't like them and wouldn't have one on the front brake).

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

petelucas
Posts: 101
Joined: 29 Oct 2011, 8:00pm

Re: Folder or S&S Couplings?

Postby petelucas » 6 Jun 2015, 8:39pm

Hi

I had a titanium frame made in China for me by XACD, and this included S&S copies. Took it to Australia in a Dahon Airporter bag and the airline company (Emerites) simply treated it as a standard case.

I used cable couplers, obtained from SJS.

Disassembly about 15 minutes after a bit of practice, with reassembly 25 minutes or so.

Rides exactly the same as a standard frame.

Please message me if you want further details (like CAD drawing, photos, price etc.)

Pete

LWaB
Posts: 121
Joined: 26 Nov 2010, 5:33am

Re: Folder or S&S Couplings?

Postby LWaB » 8 Jun 2015, 9:00pm

I've had a Frezoni S&S bike since '99, have several separable Moultons and regularly travel with a bike. The Dahon case is quite a bit oversize and 'some airlines' will charge you extra. I use the S&S bag and packing and unpacking my rather large bike takes some time. My partner has had a much smaller S&S bike for a decade and it is noticeably quicker to pack/ unpack her bike. S&S couplings are not a cheap option. We mostly use the Moultons with the S&S bags now.

The Airnimal is quick to pack and rides well but luggage and water capacity is a bit limited. A favourite with a number of Audaxers, despite the odd wheel sizes.