There are a huge number of solutions available for travelling with a bike, ranging from homemade efforts using the cardboard carton your bike arrives in at the shop, through to some futuristic-looking inflatable offerings.
But ultimately, what we all want is to find that one offering that ticks all the boxes – providing protection, manoeuvrability, a light weight and user-friendliness.
The three bike carriers reviewed here each represent a different approach to the same problem. Two are hardshell boxes, which should offer the best protection for the contents, but that’s not the whole story. The manner in which the bike is secured within the carrier plays a role in how well it will travel, as does any padding or reinforcement supplied.
Handles, straps and wheels each play their part in how easy a carrier is to live with, as is storage when not in use.
Time then to look at how these stack up against each other when loaded with a tri-specific bike from Vitus.
The Evoc has an impressive adjustable frame in the base that will fit most axle configurations. The removable supports make for easy storage, with the bag packing down to just 20cm deep. The base is solid, so the drivetrain is protected as it sits well inside the back of the bag. At 9.9kg, it’s lighter than the two hardshells on test, meaning more flexibility with contents. The wheels fit in outboard compartments, protected from the outside but also shielding the frame from the axles. Straps within the bag hold the mounting frame to the base of the box and the forks to the front of the bag. It’s very well padded, but the limited bar mounting points, and the fact that the front axle is at the very front, means more integrated bikes may not fit without some level of manipulation.
Verdict: Lighter and easy to store than a hardshell, and with decent padding 86%
Buy from www.chainreactioncycles.com
This clam-shell style box has a reassuringly solid look due to its sizeable handles, recessed buckles and TSA-approved locks. It also comes with a GPS tracking device built in for use with the LugLoc app. But inside there are surprisingly few straps and little in the way of padding. At 15.7kg with the wheel bags (which have cutouts for the built-in anti-crush system to fit through) it also eats into the weight allowance. On the plus side, it is relatively easy to pick up and move. Four independent casters each
have 360° of movement, which makes dragging the box around an amusing prospect at best, and it can seem like it has a mind of its own! Being top-heavy, with the wheels not very widely spaced, it does mean it falls over a little more easily than is ideal. shokbox.co.uk
Verdict: We like the GPS and handles, but too many flaws for the price 72%
Buy from: www.probikekit.co.uk
The Triathlon Easyfit comes with the option of a tracking device for an extra £130, has an integrated strut to prevent it being crushed, and is adjustable to one of two mounting positions to best suit your set-up. The bike actually mounts upside down, but there are plenty of straps to stop it rattling around. The wheels mount to the inside of each half and padding is supplied to protect the frame. The only adjustment necessary to our medium-sized TT bike was to angle the aero extensions down relative to the frame to allow the bike to fit. So a more integrated set-up would need the extensions removing, but there are straps to accommodate that. Handles are a useful size to drag the 13.8kg box, and the front wheels pivot while the back ones don’t so handling is predictable.
Verdict: A fine, tri-bike-friendly hardshell contender with plenty of fit options 82%
Buy from www.bikeboxalan.com
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