Bikes that Travel Easily
You’re in the market for a new bike. It’s time to get a new road, gravel, tandem, or mountain bike. Consider this: why don’t you get this new bike S&S coupled so that it can travel with you this year or at any time in the future? Why not make it travel-ready? This is your opportunity to have a travel bike, so take advantage of it!
You get to ride the right geometry, fit, position, and the components you
want to ride at home. There isn’t anything different about the bike aside
from it having couplers. S&S couplers add ½ lb of weight to the bike, this is the only ride quality difference noticeable to the rider.
Coupled bike considerations:
a. If the bike is usually traveled with to the middle of nowhere, there
are component considerations to be taken into account. Allowing the
rider maximum ability to service the bike is important. If the rider
goes places where there are bike shops or mechanics nearby, it’s fine
to play it less safe. (change this wording)
Couplers add stiffness to the tubes they’re incorporated in. They are a very
solid connection, no need to worry about them. The longevity of the frame
is the same as any Seven or Honey without couplers
Ease of transport of coupled bikes is significant. Most European cars can’t fit two passengers and a single full-sized bike box. If a taxi can fit two bikes in boxes and two passengers, that trip in the taxi is going to be very expensive. Or the rental car is a very expensive rental!
We didn’t find a taxi or Uber-equivalent in our European travels that didn’t fit two coupled bikes and two pieces of regular luggage along with our carry-on items.
How many hours, not just dollars, are saved in traveling with a coupled bike over renting a bike?
a. Time to get to bike shop
b. Time at shop getting set up with the bike
c. Is bike shop open when you want to get the bike? Sundays and
Mondays often not open or limited hours. What happens if your flight is delayed and you arrive
at a different time than expected?
d. Need to return bike during bike shop hours. You pay for every day
you have the bike. What if you want to ride some days, sightsee or
do other activities on other days?
e. Need to return bike well in advance of catching flight, might lose an
opportunity or two to ride because of this
How long does it take to put together a coupled bike and take it apart?
— The simplest setup is a SRAM eTap (wireless) bike with rim caliper brakes. This bike will take ~20-25 minutes to pack up and no more than 15 minutes to unpack and put together.
— The most time-consuming bike to pack and unpack is a disc brake bike with hydraulic brake calipers and mechanical shifters: 40-45 minutes to pack, 30-45 minutes to unpack and put together.
Tandem bike setups vary greatly. Our shop demo S&S coupled Seven Cycles 007 tandem is a Di2 coupled bike with 1x drivetrain, cable-actuated disc brakes. It takes ~45 minutes to pack well (we’ve been known to pack it in 20 minutes), and 35-45 minutes to unpack and set up to ride.
What are you renting? Even if you fit a stock bike, and few people do fit
very well on a stock bike – this still doesn’t guarantee the bike has the right
fit, correctly sized handlebars, comfortable saddle, right width tires for the
riding you want to do? How does the bike ride, how does it handle, does
the frame material allow it to be comfortable enough?
Component wear on rental bikes: Do you trust the tires? You don’t know
how the bike has been treated or maintained. We’ve heard stories of disc
brakes failing during a rental, tires blowing out for no apparent reason,
shifting not working ideally.
Transportation – Checks on flights as a normal piece of luggage. No
oversized baggage fees.
The bike arrives where you do, when you do. No missed rides at home since
you’re not shipping the bike ahead of time. No missed rides once you get
home since the bike came with you.
Decoupling the bike allows you to clean it better than when it’s a complete
bike. In general, you get to know your bike better than you would
For a Di2 bike, it’s easy to reach the internal junction box.
Familiarity and lowering your travel stress: When traveling the last thing you need is a new bike in a new place. The comfort of a bike you know well, one that fits well, and one you are very familiar with operating is not just comforting but it’s also important for safety.
Titanium: doesn’t need to be painted and very easy to clean and take a
scratch out in case it does get scratched. The lower stress levels are
Titanium: very strong and withstands all of the handling involved in
traveling between being put in vehicles to being put in an airplane.
Your bike will fit in the travel case, we’ve packed a bike built for a 6’ 7” rider with no problem. Here is a photo of that very large bike with particularly tall geometry suited for a very tall gentleman:
To call a bike that’s coupled a “travel” bike does a huge disservice to that bike. Any S&S coupled bike we work with you to build will be a super bike to ride near home and it won’t leave anything to be desired for your cycling needs no matter where you ride it.
Reasons we’ve heard for not getting an S&S coupled bike:
I won’t travel with the bike.
Are you sure you’ll never travel with your bike? If there’s a chance you’ll ever get a job that requires travel or if you want to take a cycling vacation in the future, one trip might end up turning into many more. Remember, you’ll own this bike for the next ~20 years. This presents many opportunities to travel that you might not have yet considered.
Price of getting the bike coupled is more than I’d like to pay.
The math: It costs $1,495 to get a Seven Cycles titanium bike coupled. It costs $1,295 to get a Honey titanium bike coupled. The travel case is $395. This is all it costs to be ready to take your bike anywhere. Total for a coupled Honey Bike: $1,690. It’s also not required for you to purchase the travel case or packing accessories when you buy your bike. You can wait on these until your first travel opportunity arises.
Cheapest way to fly your bike: BikeFlights.com - Flying a bike from Massachusetts to California takes 4-5 business days ground, this is $71.95. Insurance on a $6,000 bike is $87. Total to get your bike to and from your Californian vacation is $318 and you’re without your beloved bike for a total of 8-10 business days on both sides of your trip. Your coupled bike is paid for in 5 trips and you don’t have any lost time without your bike while you’re waiting for it to be returned to you. Over the course of ~20 years with your bike, do you think you might take more than 5 trips? The math here assumes travel within the US. International shipping costs are significantly more expensive.
Traveling with your full-sized, uncoupled bike on a plane - If you are traveling with an uncoupled bike, it will check in as oversized luggage. Oversized luggage is typically charged at $100-$200 each way. Sometimes this is added on top of the extra baggage fee which is often $25-50. This adds up to $200-500 per trip.
I rent bikes when I travel.
Are you really happy with your rental bike experience 100% of the time? Do these bikes offer you the same comfort, gearing, shifting, perfect tuning, and properly maintained parts that your bike gives you? Are you 100% confident in the bike you’re renting? Even if you trust the bike shop, are you sure you trust the tires on a used bike that someone else has been riding? Do you like touching handlebar tape that has been sweat upon by many riders prior to you?