Planning on flying somewhere nice with your bike? Here is our review of the Bike Box Alan hard case as used by Chris Froome and Laura Trott to name but a few.

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 10

Bike Box Alan

Pros:

  • Very strong
  • Inspires confidence
  • Seven year guarantee
  • Easy to wheel around airports

Cons:

  • Expensive, but pays for itself over time.

Product:

Bike Box Alan

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£448.00 (basic box)

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If you are lucky enough to heading to warmer climes and are planning on taking your bike with you then a bike specific bag or box is an essential item in order to make sure your pride and joy reaches your destination in one piece.

>>> Evoc Bike Bag review

We have flown with bikes on many occasions and Bike Box Alan remains the best solution we have found. Starting at £448 the box is customisable with regard to stickers and colour – Bike Box actually supplied us with a box for review featuring Cycling Weekly stickers.

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If the upfront cost of buying a box is too expensive, the boxes can rented for £60 per week, but considering the box has a seven year guarantee, it will pay for itself overtime if you are planning to go away on multiple trips. It is also worth factoring in the potential added expense of fixing or repairing a damaged bike, the risk of which is considerably reduced with a hard case such as this.

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Note the provision for a track pump, helmet. Also pictured is the anti crush pole.

Packing the Bike Box Alan is easy. Tyres are deflated and wheels are held in place by their skewers in special recesses in the lid. Pedals are removed along with the bars. In some cases, you may need to remove your stem too, depending on your frame. The saddle is often removed, but again in some cases can be slotted down into its lowest position, as pictured.

>>> For buyers guides, click here

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An additional foam layer is inserted. The anti crush pole fits in-between the spokes.

A large number of velcro straps hold everything in place and the anti crush pole is inserted. There is space and velcro tabs for tools such as track pumps and plenty of space for a helmet or clothing. Adding bags of clothing further pads out the box too. A second layer of foam is added and box closed.

It is easy to pack and typically takes 15 mins when you know what you are doing. Aside from the sturdiness of the box and ease of packing, a big advantage is that you do not need to remove your rear mech. This makes packing and unpacking quicker.

The weight of the box is 11.2kg. Most airlines tend to have a weight limit on bikes around 20-30kg, so it is easy to make sure it is under, considering most bikes weigh in the region of 8kgs.

Bike box

We took this shot out of the plane window.

When you actually see baggage handlers ‘handling’ baggage you become very thankful that your precious bike is in a hard case. We took this photo out of a plane window and the benefits of a hard case were obvious. There were worried facial expressions on all my fellow travellers who were using soft cases. The demands placed upon baggage staff mean that carefully and delicately handling every bag/box is not possible.

For more information, head over to Bike Box Alan.

Verdict

Nothing beats the peace of mind you get when flying with your bike safely packed in a Bike Box Alan.

Details

Rental Price:~£60 a week
Weight:11.2 Kg
Colours:Many available
  • spbinfla

    I live in the US, new to cycling. Bought a Bike Box Alan online, shipped to me quickly, all good. Flew to Europe (US to London to France & return). When packing my Specialized Vita Carbon Pro (hybrid), wheels barely fit but did fit with some effort, except the skewers stuck way out on the outside, had to tape them so wouldn’t cut or harm me or baggage handlers when moving the box. Bike Box Alan (when I checked if my bike would fit their box) suggested I remove the disc brakes, but my bike shop worried I might bend them when reassembling so left them on (fine both ways since the padding protected when lid shut). I put lots of bubble wrap all over the bike and to protect the disc brakes. Had to remove the derailleur for the frame to fit in the box, and the straight handlebars were a bit of a challenge, but all worked. I typed big notices in English and in French on bright paper & taped on both sides of foam a notice to customs to please be cautious about the center bar to ensure it went between the spokes when shutting the box. I ran into 5 problems: 1, the sides are flimsy (even though protective) when shutting so the locks don’t slide into the latches easily, British customs didn’t get them aligned so the side ones were bent and side locks not closed when I retrieved it in Toulouse (luckily the top latch closed & was zip-locked so it didn’t open); 2, there was nowhere for the airline to wrap the baggage claim sticker around a handle (the handles all split apart when opening, which would happen when customs inspects and the ticket would then come off), I added a zip tie to part of one lock with a loop and put it thru there, but on the return the airline didn’t want to do that so stuck the baggage claim sticker on the bag — hard to notice easily with all the other stickers on the box; 3 – same problem, nowhere to loop or tie my name tag to the box (made another looped zip tie just hoping it wouldn’t come off); 4 – on return from Heathrow to the US on Delta, terminal 4, the box would not fit on the oversized baggage conveyor, I had to return to the Delta counter, wait for an agent had to walk me downstairs to special security where employees go (the Delta agent had to stay with me then walk my box through somewhere else – thanks Delta!!!), and we had to wait a long time for a manager to make his way to me and visually inspect the box while I was there (thank God I went there 3-1/2 hours early), although I didn’t have that problem in Heathrow terminal 5, in Toulouse or in US airports. And there were no scissors at that security stop to cut the zip ties so it took longer to find something to cut them off with. Delta manager said nicely that the entrance to the conveyor belt is exactly the legal size (the wheels made the box just a bit too big to fit). Luckily I wasn’t charged extra for oversize. I was told there were hundreds of bags that ran into the same problem after the Olympics in London. 5 – customs in London (both ways) and customs in Atlanta (when making a plane change and re-checking the box) didn’t have zip ties to lock the box again (side locks still bent and unusable) – luckily I had lots of extra so just taped several to the top of the box each time I checked the bag in for them to use. My bike shop guy was able to straighten the side locks when I returned home so they work again. After one trip round trip the box is all scratched up. The test will be if it can survive more trips to Europe this coming year.

  • ABinLA

    Totally disagree. I have the Trico, fly a bunch from California to Asia, and had to abandon it, as it’s just too complicated for the TSA idiots to put back together properly. You check it, they open it, and then, close it all wrong, and by the time it arrives at your destination, it’s less protective than a poorly packed cardboard box. This Alan box, have not yet purchased, but like the easy of opening it and closing it for .1 brain cell TSA agents. – AB in Santa Barbara California and Sabah Borneo

  • I don’t think this box deserves a 10. In my experience, these bulky boxes are a nuisance. They won’t fit through some airport scanners so sometimes have to be opened. They don’t stack or sit side-by-side easily. This is a big deal if you’re travelling with other riders. For my money, the Trico Sport Iron case is streaks ahead of either the Alan or the Sci-con. Simple shape, simple construction, no parts to fail. Fits easily through baggage scanners and you can put a lot more of them in the back of a car than you can with bulbous, lumpy boxes.

  • Stefan Jooste

    Whats exactly is wrong with riding a Halfords bike? Maybe you and Roberta should team up and litigate against Mr Alan for patent infringement? There’s plenty of consumers (including allot of big names) that’s uses Alans box, at the end of the day that’s all that customers are interested in.

  • Will Bonnater

    what’s there to improve? – i guess the guy who owns a halfords bike and a skid lid might say that too. If your bikebox alan works that’s fine, but it is pretty lame to carbon copy someone elses design, I’ve got more respect for companies that have at least made their boxes a different shape.

  • Stefan Jooste

    I get what you’re saying! Adaptable for ISP, yes that’s really good! I’ve looked at ISP bikes before, but decided against it since I was limited with my “cheap” box.

    Surely if Mr Alan “stole” this idea, Mr Alan would not be in business anymore? Scicon lawyers would be all over that I would expect.

    Anyways I thought this was pretty good review and a great product.

  • Roberta Borgo

    What I’m saying is essentially, Mr Bike Box Alan has completely copied Scicon and I personally would prefer to give my money to the company who designed and engineered the product in the first place and continues to invest in R&D e.g. I have heard that they have a stronger less brittle blend of ABS plastic, TSA locks and have made the box adaptable for ISP.

    It ticks me off when a company like Scicon obviously invest a lot of time and thought into a product and then some joker comes along and essentially steals the whole concept….

  • Stefan Jooste

    Are you really comparing the quality of a bike travelling accessory to the quality of a bike itself?

    Some of us have a limited budget, so we go for the sensible option, enabling us to avoid having to put a Chinarello as you call it into our bike boxes.

    I’ve seen hundreds if Bike Box Alans at airports around the world maybe a handful of Scicon’s. I guess majority of cyclists travelling with Bike Box Alans have been mislead huh?

    Oh and whats there to improve? It’s a hard shell with some straps, wheels and clasps. If it works, it works.

  • Roberta Borgo

    I guess it’s up to you if you want to give your money to the company that had the original idea and continues to improve it… or to a guy who vacuum moulded a copy in whatever quality plastic was lying around.

    Would you buy a Chinarello?

  • Stefan Jooste

    Why pay more for something that does exactly the same? I’ve traveled countless times with my BikeBoxAlan couldn’t have imagined a better product

  • Guest

    Looks like a cheap copy of the Scicon AeroTech…