The nonlinear propagation of a superluminal, linearly polarized electromagnetic wave in the presence of a relativistic cold electron beam is investigated. At large amplitudes the wave couples to the electron-beam plasma mode owing to two important nonlinear effects, namely the relativistic variation of the electron mass and the excitation of longitudinal space charge fields by strong v × B forces. The nonlinear propagation equations for the coupled electromagnetic and longitudinal waves are derived within the context of a relativistic cold-fluid model. Nonlinear travelling-wave solutions are sought to describe the saturated state of the coupled system. Using Hamiltonian techniques, a wide variety of solutions are obtained and their characteristics discussed.