Travel Bikes

S&S Machines of Sacramento, California, has developed a wonderful system which lets you make your bike travel friendly. We’ve been installing them since 1995 to the delight of those riders needing a travel bike. The best information comes from S&S Couplers themselves. We plagiarized a bit of their site to make ours but we wanted to show how to make the coupler system work on your Gunnar.

The nice thing about having couplers on your bike is that when you get to where you want to go, you’re riding the same bike you’d be riding if you were home. We’ve had a number of people report that even though they bought a Gunnar coupler bike to supplement their bike collection that the Waterford has become their primary riding bike.

Click here to see if S&S couplers are right for you.

Gunnar Rock Hound with Couplers

Above is an example of a typical coupler installation. The couplers are installed on the top and downtube just ahead of the seat cluster and bottom bracket. On the right you can see a close-up of the installed coupler. The Stainless steel of the coupler has a jewel like look that doesn’t draw attention to itself. Note the special placement of the brake cable guide for easy disassembly. Though this customer used our integrated derailleur head lug cable guides, we recommend using downtube shifter bosses for easier packing and re-assembly. We also use straight-gauge top and down tubes to maintain adequate strength in the tubes around the couplers. Couplers add 1/2 to 3/4 pound to the bicycle’s weight.

To take full advantage of the coupling system you should consider other S&S-related products:

Hard Shell Case: This is S&S’s ultimate carrying case. It falls below US airlines oversized baggage limitations. Made of rugged aluminum-reinforced fiberglass, the case can stand plenty of baggage handling abuse. The case includes a handle, lock, wheels and a special handling for rolling the case from place to place.

S&S also offers lower cost cases – a soft backpack case and a cardboard box/Courdura cover combination. The S&S site has more info on this.

Compression Members:
This simple assembly prevents side impacts from jarring your bike and parts within the case. A set of 4 members is recommended – especially for the soft backpack case.

Set of Compression Members.
Tube Cover Section

Tubing Covers:
Cramming your bike into an airline compatible space certainly raises the risk of scratches. While you can use substitutes like pipe insulation and the like, you’ll find S&S’s nylon covered padded tubing covers reliable and easy to use.

They are made from nylon fabric laminated to foam and come in 10 foot length by 5 inch or 7 inch widths. Hook and loop closure strips are sewn on opposite sides along the entire 10 ft. length. Tube covers are custom fit to each frame by the builder or consumer by simply cutting a piece of material of sufficient length from the ten foot roll to cover any length tube. Once a piece is cut to length it is wrapped around the tube to form a protective sleeve that is held in place by the hook and loop. Includes one 5″ x 10′ and one 7″ x 10′ piece.

Here’s how the tube covers work on each tube (you cut them to length.)

Tip: Pick up some heater hose from your local auto parts store to provide extra protection fro the downtube section nearest the rear cog. Though the photo shows just the positioning of the heater hose, the tube covers should be installed between the tubes and the heater hose.

Coupler Spanner Wrench: Another optional item to consider is this handy combo coupler spanner and pedal wrench. You get a sure grip to tighten and loosen your couplers why also being able to easily remove and reinstall your pedals.

Dupont Teflon Grease: Like all stainless steel, S&S couplers can get stuck when threaded without proper lubrication. S&S has tested a number of lubricants and has determined Dupont’s Teflon Grease to work better than any other product.

Teflon bearing grease photo.

Da Vinci Cable Splitters: These handy devices let you disconnect your derailleur and brake cables easily while allowing you to keep your adjustment when you reconnect at your new destination.

Example of a security net.

Security Net: Today’s airport security means that your carefully packed bike will likely be opened an inspected in the course of air travel. Security staff won’t repack the case as easily as you did. The security net allows them to inspect your bike and then easily repack it into your case.