Author Topic: S&S couplers  (Read 1289 times)

jul

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S&S couplers
« on: February 02, 2022, 01:05:12 AM »
Hi all,

I had the opportunity to transport my Nomad by plane and i don't have a good memory of it, even if everythink went well.

The problem is the cardboard box, it was to big.

I think to buy 2 S&S couplers and why not to adapt it by myself...

But before i would like to get some advice and an address where i can by these couplers in Europe.

Thanks in advance

George Hetrick

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Re: S&S couplers
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2022, 02:50:50 AM »
From http://www.sandsmachine.com

Where can I buy them?
  • Consumers should purchase complete bikes, frames manufactured with BTCs™ and accessory items from a local retailer.
  • If your retailer doesn't carry bicycles with BTCs™ and is unable to work with a listed framebuilder, we suggest you contact a framebuilder to locate a retailer in your area. In areas where a framebuilder isn't represented, they may sell to you direct, but there is usually no price advantage.
    Some framebuilders don't sell through retailers, they only sell direct to consumers.
    For information regarding whether a framebuilder sells direct or through retailers, see the builder profile for each framebuilder which can be found by clicking on the framebuilder's name on the framebuilder lists..
  • Retrofitting BTCs™ to your existing frame can be arranged through a retailer but it is more commonly done by going direct to a framebuilder.
  • BTCs™ are sold only to professional bicycle framebuilders.  We're sorry but couplings are not sold to amateur framebuilders.
  • S and S Machine does not sell bikes or retrofit bikes, we only make the couplings which we sell to professional bicycle framebuilders.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2022, 03:01:37 AM by George Hetrick »

George Hetrick

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Re: S&S couplers
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2022, 02:58:03 AM »
If you were in the US, I'd suggest going to https://www.bilenky.com to have it done, but here's the non-US-based frame builder list from S&S Machine:
http://www.sandsmachine.com/fbplist.htm#Foreign

S&S Machine doesn't sell to amateurs, I suspect that's primarily a liability-based decision.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2022, 03:02:12 AM by George Hetrick »

Danneaux

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Re: S&S couplers
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2022, 04:26:23 AM »
I had the option of couplings when I got my Nomad Mk2, seriously considered it, and in the end decided against for several reasons...

1) S&S recommend the couplings be checked daily and given I ride very rough roads, even the unlikely possibility of loosening sort of put me off in my use.

2) The couplings consist of nuts and retaining rings and it is recommended they be kept fairly clean to ensure easy de/coupling. Given I often ride in desert areas where fine talc-like alkali dust blows in the air and gets into everything, I thought it would be difficult to keep the couplings clean and lubed. Several bikes I've serviced for friends use short sections of innertube to keep the couplings clean, but this makes them difficult to check for tightness.

3) Depending on how you choose to lock your bike, it is possible for someone to use a pipe wrench to undo the couplers and steal the bike. That actually happened locally in my town where bike theft occurs at high rates. The rear of the bike was locked properly but the thief left behind the pipe wrench used to take the front frame half with its handlebars, stem, brifters, and fork. Something similar happened to the local owner a Moulton AM7 some years ago. I seriously considered buying one at the time, so I noticed whenever I passed this one parked in a rack until one day, it was only half there.  :'(

4) I didn't expect to use the couplers enough to be worth the extra cost.

5) For my 590M frame size, the uncut fork steerer would be too long to fit in a 26x26x10in box with the frame and wheels, so I would need to carry it separately with my cabin luggage.

This article may be helpful, too: https://cycletraveloverload.com/all-about-ss-couplers-should-you-get-them/

I mostly don't regret passing on the couplings, but one gadget came out recently that might have changed my mind; the very clever Japanese-made "Kamoya Moulton Porter Joint Bracket". It consists of two q/r hub nuts that have annular rings and a separate aluminum sleeve that slides over them and uses two thumbs crews to engage the annular rings. The sleeve ties the two halves of a separable bike together at the hubs. If the frame uses S&S Torque Couplers,  then the top tube is pivoted on the headset so it can be strapped to the saddle. The lot will stand upright on a pedal if you first take care to ensure the crank is vertical. Ad copy reads, "Allows the coupled bike's halves to be linked together at the hubs and stood upright for space saving storage at home, say in a closet, or on a train or in a car trunk". A brilliant idea originally conceived in the Japanese aftermarket for the separable Moulton AM series bikes and for quickly "Rinko-ing"* randonneur bikes for easier travel in trains. See: https://www.kamoya-ne.com/?pid=46809719 Full photos of it in action appear here: https://www.instagram.com/niigata0252/, outtakes attached below with full credit to Niigata0252.

Best,

Dan.

*What's "proper" Rinko? Glad you asked. See:
https://cycling-intelligence.com/2019/07/31/the-secrets-of-a-rinko-bike-how-to-get-a-near-perfect-steed-for-train-travel/
https://www.renehersecycles.com/rinko-parts-useful-not-only-for-train-travel/
https://www.renehersecycles.com/how-small-is-a-rinko-bike/ With comments on air travel with a Rinko'd bike.
https://www.rossmancycles.com/rinko
« Last Edit: February 02, 2022, 04:33:19 AM by Danneaux »

martinf

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Re: S&S couplers
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2022, 10:02:43 AM »
I investigated S&S couplers when getting my first Thorn, but after discussion with SJS cycles decided it wasn't worth it for me.

For a "travel bike" I have used:

- a lightweight full sized bike with quick release wheels and wingnut attached mudguards for (relatively) easy disassembly, combined with a large home-made nylon bag. Just adequate for some trains, but too fragile to do much else.

- old 16" wheel Moulton bikes. I used the same bag as above, disassembly was much quicker, package smaller but still the problem of having several bits (front half, back half and rear rack). I used very thin camping mattress to separate the bits. when cycling the bag  + bits of mattress made a light but bulky addition to my luggage. As I had two Moultons, I optimised one for frequent use of transport (3-speed coaster brake hub, with the gear shifter on the seat tube, so no need to split brake/gear cables, shortened flat handlebars, rear rack only) and the other for longer tours (5-speed hub, drop bars, front rack as well as rear).

- a TSR that replaced my old Moultons. This had the same drawbacks as above, but it was easier to fit wide range gearing. I eventually sold it as I hardly ever used the frame splitting feature, as I nearly always used a Brompton for travel using other transport.

- Bromptons. These have the advantage of folding quickly to a very compact size, once bagged they are easy to manipulate with no loose parts. So I have been able to take one almost anywhere, including some places where bicycles are not allowed. Even been on the Paris Metro with one, I'd hate to try taking anything bigger on that. I now have 3 of these, one for my wife, one optimised for easy carrying (lightweight, no rack, 5-speed hub), the other for longer trips (heavier, rear rack, Rohloff hub).

My Raven Tour and other large-wheel bikes have occasionally been on French trains, but not on trains where you need to dismantle and bag the bike (so no TGV high-speed or Eurostar trains).


Danneaux

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Re: S&S couplers
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2022, 08:25:47 PM »
Quote
...why not to adapt it by myself...
There is this alternative, available to amateur builders and others...
http://www.groupj.net/bicycle-frame-couplings.html
Associated blog here: http://www.groupj.net/blog

The blog has not been updated in more than five years, so not sure if all is still active.

I consider myself an accomplished hobbyist framebuilder, and because of that hands-on experience, respect the extra care needed to cut the frame accurately, insert these couplers, and maintain alignment.

Best,

Dan.

mickeg

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Re: S&S couplers
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2022, 09:12:31 PM »
I got the S&S couplers on my Nomad Mk II.  And I bought the S&S Backpack case, which is a soft case and the case can be disassembled to make it smaller.  The case eight years ago was roughly $225 to $250 (USD).

At that time it cost about $150 one way to take a bike on a USA airline on top of the cost for the second piece of luggage.  Thus a round trip to carry a full size bike was $300 more than a S&S bike.  European airlines were much less costly to transport a bike than USA based airlines, so I think that S&S couplers were a bigger seller in USA than in Europe. 

I already owned a Sherpa.  I was looking to buy a 26 inch S&S heavy duty touring bike with Rohloff.  I considered the Nomad Mk II and the Co-Motion Pangea.  Chose the Nomad Mk II based on price.  I did not discuss the merits with SJS of the couplers, my decision was made before I contacted them.  In both cases, I was only looking at frame and fork cost, as I would build up the bike myself.  The Co-Motion was more expensive.  I think that the additional cost for S&S couplers plus the Backpack cost was roughly equivalent to five one way flights for cost savings.

Now Delta, American and United which are the main USA based airlines have all dropped their oversize fees for bikes.  So, if I was buying a bike today, I would probably forgo the S&S couplers.

But, there are other advantages to having the S&S couplers.  The best example I can describe is my last bike tour, flying from Madison WI, USA to Halifax NS, Canada.  Trip went like this:
 - Take taxi from my home to a bus stop.  Two carry on bags and two bags to check.  The S&S Backpack case and the orange checked bag both fit in the Toyota Prius taxi trunk.
 - Take a bus to ride 150 miles to an airport in another state.
 - Take my luggage across a large airport (O'Hare) to a shuttle pickup point.
 - Take a shuttle to a motel.  Stay there the night.
 - Take the first shuttle from that motel at 6am to the airport. 
 - Take a flight to Montreal. 
 - Go through customs.  Was lucky, I expected to have to retrieve my checked bags and take them through customs, and then re-check the bags.  But did not need to, I could pick up the bags in Halifax.
 - Pick up luggage in Halifax.
 - Take a shuttle bus to the hostel in downtown Halifax.  Got lucky again, the shuttle driver was not supposed to stop at the hostel, I expected to have to carry my luggage about half a km from the train station to the hostel.  But he dropped me off at the Hostel.

This was a 30 hour trip from my home to destination.  If I had to lug a full size bike box on that trip, quite simply I would not have gone.

For the flight home, I carried my S&S Backpack case and one bag to the train station, walked back to the Hostel, carried my big orange backpack and my other bag to the train station.  I had no wheels for one of my bags, thus the easiest way was taking two trips.

Thus, if I fly again, I will probably use the S&S couplers since it is so much easier to get a bike to and from an airport when it is in a smaller case.  I live ina small community, there are very few direct airline flights from my local airport to anywhere else, flying is a hassle.

My bike and S&S Backpack exceed 50 pound and exceed 23 kg.  So, some parts are put in my other bag to keep the bag below airline weight.  A luggage scale is the travelers best friend.  I can't fit my fenders in the case, the fenders stay home.  The rear rack will not fit in the S&S case with the bike, the rear rack is in a different bag.

Keep in mind I built up my Nomad Mk II.  Thus, I knew what parts went where.  So, for me, disassembling a bike and reassembling it later is a time consuming inconvenience.  But I think for most people that are less mechanically inclined, to disassemble a bike could cause a mild case of panic.

Dan in his previous post above stated that the fork would not fit in the S&S case.  That is what Thorn said in their literature on bikes with S&S cases.  I however did fit mine in the case, Dan was citing what the seller had told him, so that is the reason for the discrepancy.  I cut my steerer tube a bit shorter to make it easier to pack, but my other bikes I have never cut the steerer tube.

Regarding Dan's comment on the couplers coming loose, earlier this year for the first time one of my couplers did come loose.  But that is only once after eight years.  I carry a coupler wrench with a spare tube on the bike, so that is of no concern to me.  It however did take a while for me to realize that a coupler was loose.  If you pick up a bike front wheel a few inches and drop it on the pavement, you will hear a bike bounce off the pavement.  But if a headset is loose and you do that, it sounds very different.  That is what my bike sounded like, so it took me some time to realize that it was a loose coupler and not a loose headset.

First photo.  Most of my tours were with Ortlieb panniers, but to make a long story short I had bought a set of rear Carradry panniers for a trip a few years earlier.  I had nothing against the Ortliebs, but on this trip I decided to try the Carradry anyway.  Photo is my luggage that I took from home to Halifax.  The black bag is the S&S Backpack.  The orange bag is a backpack that had a few more bike parts and most of my camping gear.  The two panniers were my carry on bag and personal item.  I also wore my helmet onto the plane because I did not want baggage handlers to crack my helmet in a checked bag.

Second photo.  The S&S bag and some other luggage that I stored in the luggage room at the hostel.  The side pieces of my S&S bag can be removed, I put some corroplast pieces in the bag, thus the bag stayed 26 by 26 inches, as I did not want to fold the corroplast pieces.  I also put my empty orange backpack in the bag.  Note that is is much thinner with the side pieces removed.

Third photo.  My bike on that trip.

I wrote up a piece on packing my Nomad Mk II in the S&S case, that thread is here.
http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=13407.0

Fourth photo.  This trip I did with my folding bike, not the Nomad Mk II.  But I used the S&S Backpack case on this trip.  The photo is me leaving the airport wearing my S&S Backpack case, it is hard to see I am wearing it because it is black and it does not stand out in the photo.  In this photo, I had a small wheel luggage cart that I could use for a duffle bag, so could carry it all in one trip.  One of the other people I was traveling with took the photo.

Danneaux

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Re: S&S couplers
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2022, 11:50:58 PM »
Quote
Dan in his previous post above stated that the fork would not fit in the S&S case.  That is what Thorn said in their literature on bikes with S&S cases.  I however did fit mine in the case, Dan was citing what the seller had told him, so that is the reason for the discrepancy.  I cut my steerer tube a bit shorter to make it easier to pack
Correct, this is what Andy Blance told me in our discussions when he was building my Nomad -- that the uncut fork of an S&S model would likely not fit in a 26x26x10 S&S case but would if the steerer were timed and a riser stem used, perhaps matched with riser handlebars. I preferred an uncut, full length steerer. Casually measuring the uncut threadless fork on my standard 590M Nomad, it is around 32.5in measured in a straight line from fork tip to steerer top; the steerer extends nearly 8in above the upper headset cup. In contrast, the threaded fork and steerer on my 58cm road bike is only about 22in and would easily fit in a case.

Best,

Dan.

jul

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Re: S&S couplers
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2022, 01:07:35 AM »
It seems difficult to get this couplers for a particular..

First i'll try to call some builder frame in France then Europe and ask if they will be OK to sell me it separately.

Also, it's not my priority the 26x26x10 case, but just reduce significantly the cardboard dimensions.

And definitely, I préfère the S&S couplers than the other who seems cheap making..
« Last Edit: February 03, 2022, 01:16:40 AM by julio »

mickeg

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Re: S&S couplers
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2022, 03:39:04 AM »
Ask SJS if they know of anyone that can add the couplers to an existing frame. 

jul

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Re: S&S couplers
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2022, 06:12:57 PM »
I called a frame builder and i need a confirmation about the 565L Top tube and the Down tube diameter, because my bike is not close to me currently.

On the SJS website, i can read

Top tube: 31.8mm
Down tube: 34.9mm
« Last Edit: February 07, 2022, 06:14:36 PM by julio »

Danneaux

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Re: S&S couplers
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2022, 06:58:49 PM »
Julien,

I believe those figures are correct for the bare steel tubes.

I just measured the actual diameter of my 2012 Nomad Mk2 size 590M tubes using my Mitituyo digital calipers and the dimensions with powdercoat are...

Top tube: 32.20mm

Downtube: 35.48mm

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2022, 08:17:29 PM by Danneaux »

jul

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Re: S&S couplers
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2022, 07:28:49 PM »
Well done Dan

 :)

jul

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Re: S&S couplers
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2022, 06:42:49 PM »
A frame builder is agree to sell me 2 S&S couplers for 465euros ttc   :o

The welding must be in silver (minimum 40%)

The frame must be aligned, meaning a passage to the marble..

So, get the job done by frame builder is preferable and it ask me 1000 euros in total ttc.

It's a lot of money for these couplers option   :-\

Danneaux

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Re: S&S couplers
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2022, 08:32:55 PM »

If you could find a Nomad Mk2 with couplers already installed in your preferred 565L size, it would be factory equipped from Thorn. You could swap preferred parts from yours. After selling yours, I think you would pay less than €1000 for the difference.

You are welcome to post a "want to buy" inquiry here in case someone wants to sell.  :)

Best,

Dan.