How to Pack a Bike With S&S Couplers




About: Eric J. Wilhelm is the founder of Instructables. He has a Ph.D. from MIT in Mechanical Engineering. Eric believes in making technology accessible through understanding, and strives to inspire others to lear...

My bike has S&S couplers (also known as S and S Machine Bicycle Torque Coupling) that allow it to be broken apart and packed into a normal-sized checked luggage box that flies at no additional charge. Getting it to fit is always a challenge, so I took photos to help me remember.

Your S&S-enabled bike will probably pack in a slightly different configuration, but you can still use this as a starting guide.

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Step 1: Disassemble Bike

Take off the brakes, the rear deailleurs, the cranks, the handle bars, and fork.

Step 2: Fork and Front of Frame

Cover the frame with pipe insulation to protect the paint. Place the support bases, fork, and frame.

Step 3: Rear Wheel

Take the tires off both wheels, and place the rear in with the cassette facing down.

Step 4: Cranks

Wrap up the cranks and chain rings in a plastic bag, and pack them.

Step 5: Seat and Rear Frame

Place the seat and rear frame section.

Step 6: Front Wheel

Place the front wheel.

Step 7: Handle Bars

Fit the handle bars in.

Step 8: Tires and Finish

Squeeze the tires in. Place the top parts of the supports, add in the remains pieces, and carefully check if the box closes.

I always try the pack my bike the night before flying, to ensure I have time to do it properly.

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    8 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Are there any diy S&S couplers ? those things are Way costly . Love to be able to do that with a similar cheaper pipe connector .


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Hopefully the expiration of Steve-Frank Smilanick's patent 5586652Bicycle torque coupling in 2013 will make these couplers more readily available.  They're extremely clever, but currently apparently only available to qualified bicycle frame builders. Which frame does your bike use?  Also, are the bottom portions of the white supports attached to the bottom of the case somehow?  Thanks for the clear pictures and detailed steps.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    My frame is custom-built. The white supports are not attached to the case, they are fit in wherever there's space.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I've heard by a bunch of people that they treat large cardboard boxes not very nicely and you can end up with something broken.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    In fact, once when shipping my bike in a cardboard box on an airline, one of the chainrings got badly bent. Fortunately, it was on the return flight after my bike trip.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, Houdini probably wouldn't be able to fit a bicycle in a luggage bag that well. Good stuff chap. -Punk