An S&S coupler is a type of connector that is installed in certain types of bicycle frames to allow for the bike to be separated into two halves and packed away for easy transportation. With this type of connector installed, a full size road, mountain or touring bicycle can fit completely inside a single 26″ x 26″ x 10″ case/cardboard box that travels as regular airline luggage.
The Co-Motion Pangea Co-Pilot that I’ve been using on my bicycle tour across Europe is one such bicycle that can be equipped with S&S couplers and transported in this manner.
In the video above I will show you the box I flew my bicycle in while recently traveling from Zurich, Switzerland to Istanbul, Turkey. I will also show you the steps involved in putting a bicycle with S&S couplers back together again after it has been split in half. Finally, I will finish by showing you the steps necessary to assemble your touring bicycle after flying with it on an airplane.
Rather than watching the whole video above, however, I recommend reviewing the time markers below and then skipping to the parts of the video that interest you most. The two halves of the bicycle coming together with the use of S&S couplers, for example, begins at the 17:40 mark.
00:00:00 – Introduction
00:01:50 – Opening the cardboard bike box
00:04:40 – Removing the bicycle from the box
00:10:20 – Reattaching the rear derailleur
00:11:20 – Separating the two halves of the bicycle
00:13:00 – Reconnecting the handlebars
00:16:20 – Close-up shots of the S&S couplers on both halves of the bike
00:17:40 – Reconnecting the two halves of the bicycle with the S&S couplers
00:29:50 – Tightening the S&S couplers with the coupler wrench
00:30:50 – Mounting the front fender and front rack
00:40:20 – Mounting the rear fender
00:42:50 – Reattaching the pedals
00:43:55 – Attempting to reattach the brake and shifter cables (read more about this below)
00:46:35 – Inserting the seat post
00:47:30 – Mounting the rear rack and the rear fender
01:04:20 – Attempting to reconnect the cables for a second time (again, be sure to read about this in my notes below)
01:08:50 – Answering questions from viewers
01:11:00 – Pumping air into my tires
01:17:50 – Attaching my handlebar bag mount
There are two major things I learned from putting my bicycle back together in the video above.
Reconnecting The Derailleur Cables
If you watch the video above you will see that I was unable to figure out how the two derailleur cables were meant to reconnect with one other. What I failed to realize at the time, but figured out just moments after the video recording had stopped, was that in order to reconnect the cables I simply needed to shift the gears on both sides of the bike to their lowest possible position. Doing this added the length to the cables that I needed in order to simply grab both sides of the cables with my hands (no special tools were needed) and screw the cable connectors back into place.
The Time It Takes To Assemble A Touring Bicycle
Finally, recording this video has given me a record of just how long it takes to put a touring bicycle back together again after it has been split in two and fully dissembled. While I did take a little time during the video recording to snap some photos and gather tools in the next room, the video is proof that the process of putting a touring bicycle with S&S couplers, fenders, racks and a handlebar bag back together again can be done in about sixty to ninety minutes.