S and S Machine Hard Shell Bike Case

Pro Reviews

Reviewed by Brian Mullin aka Gram and MTBR.com Pastajet
http://www.gramslightbikes.com/

Traveling with a bike

I was heading out to Thousand Oaks California for my Nephews Bar Mitzvah, and I really wanted to do some mountain bike riding while I was there. My Father In-Law has a cruiser bike, but getting to hit the nice singletrack in their local neighborhood was more my cup of tea! Although they do have some wicked steep hills in their neighborhood, and the cruiser bikes gearing makes for some good training. Last time I came out that way I drove with the family, and I brought my bike with me. This time I was flying, so I had to think of a way to transport it. I didn’t feel like paying an oversize charge for a normal size bike box/crate, so I decided to try and get a bike suitcase that stayed within the maximum luggage size, which is a 62 inch girth (length+width+height). Ritchey makes a soft sided case for their breakaway bike, but it hard to come by and a bit pricey for what you get. I had seen an S and S Machine bike metal case that has the proper regulation size. After speaking with S and S, I ordered up their 10″ Butterfly Latch hard case, which has a size of 26″x26″x10″.

Taking the bike apart (the breakdown) wasn’t much of a task, and it only took me around 30 minutes. I simplified some things, so I took off the brakes and rotors. Here are all the pieces, parts and tools all laid out ready to pack, along with lots of padding! My Mojo is relatively easy for breakdown, but I think most any 26 inch full suspension bike will follow the same basic steps. The only difference would be how the rear triangle gets broken down so that it fits in the case.

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Rob says:

    “it makes traveling with a bike a breeze”

    REALLY. That looks like a complete pain the a$$ to use. And a rating of 4.5? REALLY? Does the rating scale start at 4 and end at 5?

  • Brian Mullin says:

    No, it was not a pain to use. Yes, it does not a bit of work to get everything to fit prefect, but its not that bad, if you added enough padding you can just jam it all in quickly. It allowed to me to take my bike with me without an oversize charge (or any hassles, also call it a mobility aid if asked whats inside), and when I got there I didn’t have to have a truck to put a normal bike case into. I would prefer a scale of a thumbs down, and 1-3 thumbs up, in that case this would rate 2 thumbs up. It is an excellent product that does just what is needed, allow someone to travel with a bike and prevent it from getting destroyed during that traveling. The case is bombproof and will last a very long time (longer than my bike). Rent a bike on the destination is obviously the easiest method?

  • Jim says:

    As long as the companies keep giving this guy free stuff he keeps giving out 4′s or a 5′s.
    Take a look at all his reviews, he never gives free stuff any bad reviews.
    If he had to pony up his hard earned money he might not be as forgiving.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Actually I paid for this item. I do give poorer reviews on occasion, the thing is that products are being really well made. I have only given out one 5 ever, I am also choosy about what I review, so I sort of filter out the lots of things. I do not get to keep everything, some companies require me to return the item when I am done. Getting them for free does not nor has it ever changed the way I review a product. I have integrity, so please do not call me on my word. Read the review, that is where the information resides, not in the rating.

    Guess what happens when I give an item a bad review? I get raked over the coals for it, so I can’t win?

  • Fatboy Joe says:

    Too much work in my opinion. It’s not fun to tear up your bike, put it together then tear it apart again. If you travel maybe once a year and would stay in your destination for at least 1.5 weeks, then I guess I would buy this case but if you travel a lot, the tear down and assembly would be a hassle. Just my .02cents.

  • sansarret says:

    Me and my wife bought S&S coupled touring bikes a couple of years ago. We love the bikes but it is a lot of work to pack and rebuild. I have work as a bicycle mechanic for close to 15 years and it still takes me about 1 hour per bike to assemble and about 40 minutes for packing. Granted these are full blown touring bikes with fenders and rack. I haven’t tried with a Ibis mojo but I think S&S is ideal with a simple single speed bike. thanks.

  • red endozo says:

    I have the same bike case as yours and i used it last year when i went home to
    Philippines. I dismantled my Racer X and fits perfect in the bike case. No more paying extra luggage fee…imagined paying domestic and internal fee. I have a new Turner Sultan and the frame and wheels fit as well.

  • Fer says:

    I agree with the others. It seems like a pain to use. Having tear apart one’s bike like that is absurd.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Airlines charge anywhere from $50-$200 each way for an oversize charge (although sometimes you can get by without any charge), I don’t think tearing a bike apart is very difficult nor a pain, I did it the other day and can do it in 15-20 minutes, using a cable splitter helps, packing isn’t that bad, maybe 10 minutes now for me, leave the brakes and rotors on, etc. Yes, doing this method takes some effort, but I don’t get charged any fees, and the box protects my bike.

  • JE says:

    I’ve got that case and have used it with my s&s equipped bike to travel. Make your life easier by breaking the frame down and using a regular hard suitcase for frame, handlebar and fork. Pack the wheels on the s&s box. Pack your other clothing and knick knacks in the spaces on both cases. TSA always opens the s&s box cause its huge and heavy. Its only a matter of time before you lose something or they mis-pack and something will be broken. Better the wheels than the frame and fork. I lost some gear from my last trip. Don’t know if they just decided to keep stuff or what. They never open the suitcase with the frame cause it looks like a regular hard suitcase and is actually pretty light.

  • Buddhak says:

    To those who think the S&S case is “too much work,” please offer a comparison. Are you saying that the S&S case is a poor solution for transporting a bike, or are you saying that transporting a bike by airplane itself is too much work? In my experience, there are no great solutions, but the S&S looks like a decent one.

  • Sylv says:

    hi Brian, thanks for the deep review, I am interested by this case for beloved Mojo SL. I have a size L, will it fit? What is the size of your frame?
    Thanks,

    Sylv.

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