-by Philippe Tremblay

Photo: Philippe Tremblay

Watching a bundled bike go down an airport conveyor belt can make any rider a bit nervous. Will the bike be OK in the cargo hold?   Having the right bike box for the flight will calm your nerves and help to ensure the bike arrives ready to ride.

Ahead of a trip where I hoped to spend a lot of time in the saddle, I packed my bike into a Premium Bike Box Alan hard case. Emblazoned with a Canadian flag sticker, I bid adieu to the Bike Box Alan containing by bike as it passed through the oversized security and as always I crossed my fingers hoping to see it at oversized pickup at my destination. For a change, I wasn’t worried about my bike being damaged in transport. I had done a good job packing it up and the Bike Box Alan’s solid construction gave me invaluable peace of mind.

Packing the Bike Box Alan

I ride a 54 bike with an integrated seat post meaning only the saddle and seat post topper can be entirely removed instead of the entire seat post. This means my bike doesn’t pack into just any case. The Premium Bike Box Alan is extremely spacious and fitting the bike was no problem. And while I was using my road bike on this trip the Bike Box Alan is compatible with almost all TT and Tri Bikes as well.

The process of packing my bike involved removing both wheels, pedals, removing the seat post topper and loosening the bolts on the stem so then handlebars could be rotated downwards. I didn’t even have to remove the stem from the fork which is required with many other travel bags and boxes I have used. It was a very straightforward process that took about 20 minutes the first time I did it. The wheels can be held in place in the top of the case with the skewers or with rope if it’s a thru axle bike on mine.

The frame is held in place with padded Velcro straps and finally, a lightweight steel rod is inserted before the box is closed to ensure the box and the bike it contains aren’t squished in transportation. I taped a rag around the rode so the metal wouldn’t come in direct contact with my spokes. Once my bike was packed there was plenty of space to pack my shoes, helmet, a bag of spare parts and tools along with some of my clothing so I didn’t have to check anything else except my bike.

Transporting the Bike Box Alan

Moving the Bike Box Alan around is fairly easy. Though lifting it can be a little awkward with the two handles on the top and one indented on the back side, it’s never impossible even when lifting it up stairs or in small spaces. Once on the flat ground, the wheels roll really smooth and it only requires one hand to manoeuvre even with a light dusting of snow and slush on the ground.

I took public transportation to the airport and on route loading the box onto subways, buses and trains never felt like an inconvenient hassle. I used the Bike Box Alan pull strap, which needs to be purchased separately to make dragging the bag from the front at the airport even easier. At the airport, the box needed to go through oversized security.

The hard plastic exterior of the case protected my bike on the trip. Nothing inside was disturbed and I suspect customs officers appreciated the simplicity of the design making it easy to open and inspect.

Upon arrival at our destination, we rented a car and I was a little nervous about it fitting into the vehicle despite the assurance that the dimensions of the Premium box made it possible to load in the majority of vehicles. Despite receiving a car even smaller than I had requested, the bike box fit with room for a second soft case on top.

At the end of the trip, everything packed up just as I expected with plenty of room for a couple of souvenirs. Because packing is quite straightforward, so is the re-assembly process which can usually be done entirely with a multi-tool.

Conclusion

The Bike Box Alan provided me with peace of mind I appreciated in my travels. It’s well designed and gives the versatility to travel with almost any bike. It’s straightforward to pack and easy to move around. Most importantly, in transit, the box is strong and well constructed so you don’t need to worry about your bike. Bike Box Alan’s start at $783 with the top end GPRS Race priced at $993. The pull strap costs $21.

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