S & S Coupler Retrofit.
Many of you might know I happily offer S&S stainless steel couplers as an option built into frames from new but I’m guess most didn’t know that I can also retrofit the couplers into an older Kirk to give the owner the option of using the frame as a travel bike. The S&S system is very cool and bomb proof and allows a complete bike to pack down into a 26″ x 26″ x 10″ case that is airline compatible. The size of the case insures that most airlines will not charge an oversize or bike fee and the case is treated like any other piece of luggage.
For those tech curious folks out there here’s how the retrofit is done.
– The first step is to set the frame jig to the original specs and fit the frame into the jig.
– With the frame set in place the location for the couplers is picked. Generally we want the coupler to be as far to the rear as possible to keep the rear section of the frame as small as possible when broken down to make it easy to fit into the case.
– The frame is then marked where for the two sections of tube to be removed. Each section is about 36 mm long and the space will be taken up by the coupler.
– The coupler is ‘dry fit’ to insure everything lines up as it should.
– Once the dry fitting is done all the pieces are cleaned to remove any paint or dirt in preparation of the couplers being brazed in place. You can see that instead of the large and shiny stainless nut the steel ‘work nut’ is in its place. This assures that the fancy nut’s finish stays clean and pretty during the brazing process.
– The new joints are covered in white flux and the frame is placed back in the jig. With everything in place the S&S couplers are brazed in place using silver.
– Once the brazing is done the the joint cools the flux is removed and the joints are cleaned up and made pretty. Then the stainless nuts are put in place and everything is tightened down and the alignment is checked.
– Lastly frame is boxed and shipped to Joe Bell for a full repaint. In this case the original paint scheme will be replicated with a fresh version of the original paint done including the original period decals.
And that’s it. Cut out sections of tube, replace those sections with couplers and repaint. A great way to turn your existing bike into a travel bike. If you have a Kirk that you’d like to retrofit and have any questions please let me know.
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