We’re sure lots of you have suffered the frustration of trying to manhandle cardboard bike boxes around airports and their rather large car parks. Having to master the art of a cross between carrying and dragging makes the whole flying with bike experience quite a stress! We at ENDURO MAG have suffered this too, that is until we got delivery of the 2017 Bike Box Alan GPRS Race Bike Box.
These boxes grabbed our attention after seeing YouTube videos of them being thrown off high bridges and getting driven over to prove their strength; no more arriving at your destination with bent or broken bikes or components after taking the “underpaid baggage handler lottery challenge’ seemed like a winner to us. The GPRS Race Bike Box is packed with features when it comes to strength and piece of mind.
The 11.88 kg GPRS Race Bike Box is their best of the best, sporting a GPRS tracker, secretly hidden in the box, which can even be used as removable security to be fitted to your bike if required. Just log into their App and register your tracker, you can then see your tracker’s exact whereabouts, moving speed and “last logged in” time, immediately available from a quick text, it really is that impressive!
So what do you get for your money after parting with € 625 (£ 549) for the top spec model? For that kind of money, we expected a lot but weren’t disappointed. As mentioned, you get your tracking device with charger and SIM card. Plus the GPRS Race Bike Box comes with a carbon fibre central anti-crush pole. Bike Box Alan will send your box with lots of customised stickers, including your name, country flag, bike brand and twelve name stickers too. There is a Bike Box Alan drinks bottle, saddle tool pouch, removable padded pull strap and a TSA combination lock. The standard Premium Bike Box comes in at € 472 (£ 415), with a steel pole, no pull strap, stickers or combination lock.
We were slightly concerned at first, as this box is very biased towards road bikes, thinking our bigger mountain bikes may be too much of a squeeze to fit in. But after a bit of head scratching, we realised it is fairly easy to fit a large 29er (as seen in pics) in the box after ignoring the packing pictures and removing the forks as well as the handlebars; although we left all cables and pipes attached.
After the bike is placed in the right position, we fitted a bit of minimal padding between any rubbing parts. Then everything is easily strapped down with the use of their many velcro straps fitted. A decent foam pad keeps the wheels from scratching the frame. We found we could fit several other items in as well as the bike, but a note has to be made of your weight allowance which can vary from flight to flight, so check your complete packed Bike Box Alan box before clamping all the six sturdy metal clasps together and locking it up.
When it comes to wheeling this thing around over kerbs it is so easy to move about and with its seven-year guarantee, we feel it can be trusted to keep our loved bikes in one piece when travelling the globe. Yes € 625 is pretty wallet-busting, whereas € 472 is a way more palatable and taking the forks off is an extra bit of time we don’t really want to spend when travelling with our bike, but for the piece of mind, we think it’s worth it.
Words & Photos: Jim Buchanan