Are Couplers Right for You?

S&S couplers have made elite travel bikes possible for thousands of riders. For the right rider, they are a godsend. However, they aren’t right for everyone. Consider the following questions:

  • Is your bike small enough? If you need a frame with seat tube over 62cm, a top tube over 59cm or a total fork length over 63cm, you might not be able to fit your bike in a 10 inch deep coupler case, no matter how hard you try. The bigger the bike, the more parts need to be removed to fit in a case. This may mean the crank and the fork, as well as parts that need to removed for all sizes like wheels, handlebars, and saddle.
  • Do you have adequate mechanical skills? The coupler system requires that you know how to:
    • Remove and reinstall wheels, quick release levers, racks, stems, bars, seat as well as possibly the brake calipers, rear derailleur, cranks and the fork.
    • Adjust derailleurs and brakes.
    • Properly inflate tires.

    These skills take time to learn, though they come in handy on all kinds of riding situations.

  • Do you have the time to learn how to pack your bike? While the S&S Coupler webset includes an excellent section on packing, every bike packs differently. Plan on four or more hours for your first packing job. Plan on packing and unpacking your bike at least twice before you travel with it. Be sure to pack the proper tools and parts as part of your packing plan (such as a crank puller if you should need to remove the crank). Tip: take digital photos of the packing sequence.

  • Will you travel enough to retain the packing and unpacking knowledge? If you travel only once or a year, you may forget how to pack and unpack the bike, making each trip a chore. Riders who travel four or more times per year will develop routines that make it faster and easier to get your bike on the road or back to the airport.