Urban Velo

S and S Couplings By Bilenky

One of our past advertisers, Bilenky Cycles of Philadelphia PA, has become pretty well known not just for their custom frame production but also for their ability to retrofit many steel and ti bikes out there with S and S Machine couplings for travel.

One such bike that has been given the retrofit treatment is Brad’s old Surly Crosscheck. It’s quite nice to be able to pack the bike down into a 26″ x 26″ x 10″ airline legal box, and while many question the ride quality and/or durability of the coupling system, I have no qualms. The frame rides as well as it ever did albeit with an approximately 8oz weight penalty, and the various images on the S and S Machine site attest to the strength of the couplings in crashes. Many tandem racers out there use couplings to make the bikes a manageable size, they’re plenty well designed. Throughout this past summer I did some overnight camping trips and plenty of commuting, though no actual airline travel. As time goes on watch for this and other ongoing product reviews on the blog and in the pages of the magazine. This is just the beginning, and more of an introduction than anything else.


  1. kevlarbikesJanuary 8, 2008 at 8:43 am

    I had Bilenky put S&S couplers on my new Surly Long Haul Trucker a little over a year ago. I took it on a plane to do a tour in New Mexico this past September. When I checked it in at the airline counter, the counter agent didn’t bat an eye at it. Maybe she was distracted by my 30-lb overweight duffel bag…Anyway, you can see pictures at:

  2. Cycle JerkJanuary 8, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    Good to know! They seem to be a pretty stand-up company.

  3. JimKAugust 29, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Northwest Airlines wanted $150 per bike (wife and I traveled with our S&S retrofitted Surly Cross Checks) on a flight to Amsterdam. I asked the gate agent to measure it and call a Supervisor. Bottom line – Supervisor said… no charge. Pays to be firm with US Airlines.

    KLM from Amsterdam to Toulouse didn’t bat an eye.

  4. BryanRDecember 23, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    6 months ago I paid $190 with United Airlines for a standard bike box, no couplers. The rub was that they charged me the $15 dollars for their new checked luggage fee, then they tagged on the $175 for being a bike.

  5. geoff allenSeptember 1, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    i have had the S&S couplers for going on 8 years now and they have been awesome. took my bike to france, canada, oregon, florida, arizona… ride everyday as a commuter with no issues whatsoever from the couplings. Fit the 26×26 box is a challenge, but use southwest airlines it is totally free ! !!!!!

    Making my 6th trip with them this week…. when you have a vacation, and riding a tour de france climb with your own bike, there’s some satisfaction from having put it together and knowing exactly how the brakes will work…. !!!!!!

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