The best bike boxes for triathletes
If you’re taking your beloved bike abroad, it’s essential to make sure it arrives safe and sound. Jack Sexty finds out which of these bike cases tick all the boxes….
BikeBoxAlan is the bike travel companion of many professional triathletes and cyclists, and the GPRS is their hard case Premium box with the addition of a tracking system. It’s easily the lightest on test here at 11.2kg and an absolute breeze to cart around, with strong Velcro straps inside to secure the bike in various places. The holes to secure your wheel spindles are a genius touch, and foam is provided to separate them from the bike frame.
While the box itself is fantastic, we weren’t so sure on the tracker. It’s time consuming to set up and accuracy was a little off, telling us our box was half a mile away from its actual location. While it’ll give you peace of mind that your bike has arrived at the right airport, similar trackers are available for around £50 – the GPRS box is £120 more than the Premium version, so we’re not convinced of its value.
Verdict: Tracker doesn’t merit the extra spend, but the box is as good as ever 85%
The Elite Vaison is the least expensive box on test but still not cheap by any means, which is why we were a bit disappointed with the lack of innovative features for the £375 price tag. At 17kg it’s not light, and has five locking catches to secure it plus a supplied padlock for security. To hold your bike in place there are a number of straps that can get confusingly mangled, and although it looks the most simple this actually took us longer to secure the bike than Thule’s internal holder system.
After removing our headset we didn’t quite know where to place the handlebars to stop them making contact with the frame, and you’d need to wrap them really well to ensure this didn’t happen. There’s a useful roof rack fitting kit supplied, but as for the protection the box gives the bike itself we’d want to go heavy on the bubble wrap before putting it on a plane.
Verdict: Quite basic, and not enough protection to fully secure your steed 68%
On first impressions we weren’t sure about this beast from storage specialists Thule, but we were pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy it is to use. Thule have transferred their roof rack expertise into this design, with an internal rack that slots into the box and which handily doubles as a workstand. There are also wheelbags to prevent them making contact with your frame.
During some quite rough testing the rack held our bike in place superbly, and it fits anything from a TT to a mountain bike. (If you’re looking to pack an MTB and accessories, be careful on some budget airlines where there’s a 32kg weight limit for sports luggage as the Roundtrip weighs 17.6kg on its own.) A small gripe is that one of the handles caught our hand and was uncomfortable, so make sure to cart it using the large handle underneath the locks.
Verdict: Doddle to use and a genius design for your £500, just a little large and heavy 89%
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