Monday, March 19, 2007

S&S Couplers for Travel Bikes

For those that like to travel and would like to take their bike with them a good solution is a bike fitted with S&S couplers. This past weekend's visitor, Brent, had a beautiful full titanium HAMPSTEN (the brand of 1988 Giro d'Italia winner Andy Hampsten) with S&S couplers.

S&S couplers are made by the S and S Machine Company ( If you are interested in learning more about S&S couplers start with this website.

Since 1993, the S+S Machine Bicycle Torque Coupling system has revolutionized the bicycle industry and forever changed the image of travel bikes. The S+S Coupling system allows a truly high performance bicycle to be disassembled and packed for travel quickly and easily in airline-checkable luggage! No more extra charges, no more oversize boxes, no more worries about delays when switching ALL fits in a case meeting the requirements for checkable luggage.

So, how does it work? One coupler is installed on the top tube and another on the down tube. The couplers have interlocking tapered teeth which are drawn together by a threaded lockring, providing an extremely rigid joint with minimal tightening force.

There are companies that specialize in selling new bikes equipped with S&S couplers such as CO-MOTION (, very informative website). Others that build new bikes are Bilenky, Calfee, Davidson, da Vinci, Erickson, Merlin, Moots, Rodriguez, Santana, Serotta, Seven, Ti CYCLES, and Waterford, just to name a few.

There are others that specialize in retrofitting bikes with the couplers. Builders that perform this work can be found at

Steel, titanium and even (some) carbon frames can be retrofit; unfortunately, aluminum frames can't be retrofit.

Another reason for writing about this subject is that I have a beautiful Richard Sachs with S&S couplers. I bought it on ebay before coming to Italy. For one reason or another I had not built it up. After seeing Brent's S&S coupled bike I now have the ambition to get the Sachs on the road.
Photos: a S&S coupler; a coupler installed on top tube, a spanner wrench is used to tighten it; "split" cables are connected; it all, including wheels, goes in a hard case

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