Bike Box Alan Premium
by Robert Thorpe
by Robert Thorpe
When you look at most bike boxes, the design, even of the newest models, often seems to follow the classic design from our own favourite brand – Bike Box Alan. Now, we’re based in Yorkshire too, so let’s get this out of the way immediately; yes, we see BBA as a partner, now and into the future. Why – well, simply because they cannot be beaten in terms of looking after your precious bike. So yes, we tend to use them all the time and we truly do believe that you should too. After all, if others are trying to copy them, that has to be good recognition. Now onto the review.
The BBA Original Premium is still going strong and is a favourite across the cycling world. I was recently in London visiting my son at his bike shop, when he showed me their stock of hire bike boxes in the cellar – all Bike Box Alan. It was a pleasure to tell him that I already knew how fantastic that they were, as I had 2 at home (the Original and the Easy Fit) – he’d simply not noticed them, as they’d been loaned out to our writers for a couple of years. It’s also the only box that comes with a 7 year guarantee. Personally, having seen how luggage handlers throw bikes around at airports, I’m chuffed to bits that my bikes are always looked after by Alan and the team.
Weighing in at only 11.2kg, it’s also surprising light for its strength, coming in a one piece molded plastic shell that simply slots together. I want to dispute one important thing with Alan and the team though – sorry guys. Their website says that it takes only 20 minutes to load it up. Nope, I’ve got it down to about 10 to 15 minutes now. It’s simply a case of having a few small bags handy for accessories – I use those net bags that you can buy at Sainsburys for vegetables – yes, they’re spot on; some foam tube insulation from a diy store, and you’re away. The box already comes with two layers of custom cut padding, and the extra tube padding on the frame allows me to put my clothing, shoes and accessories in and around the frame – hence the small net bags from the supermarket 😉
It’s then simply a case of pedals off, wrap them; wheels off and fit them into the lid with skewers; handlebars and seatpost off, wrap the post and fasten them down with the numerous tough Velcro straps inside the box. Just make sure that you’ve changed the gearing down and that the frame is laid down correctly, and before you know it, it’s all safely placed inside the ample box. It also comes with an anti-crush bar, that fits neatly between the two lids and adds that extra protection.
Due to its size, it’s also really easy to fit into any car and any taxi when you arrive. The wheels are strong and multidirectional, meaning that even when you’re wheeling it along cobbles, as I was recently, they won’t break. You can even get a string strap from BBA to help pulling things along.
I added a few airport friendly TSA locks to the box, making sure that the security team can easily access the contents if required. In terms of space inside the box, I got in all of my kit, along with several items from our photographer too, and the box was still within weight. Nothing moved around inside, due to the ample number of well thought out straps. And when it was being thrown around on minibuses on arrival, everything inside was safe. Storing the box is easy too, as it’s no bigger than a large suitcase.
It you’ve paid lots of money for your own special bike, and you plan on doing lots of travelling, in our eyes the best option that we can recommend is a Bike Box Alan. It’s a simple design, but well thought out and extremely well made – which is why others are still trying to copy it. Don’t risk lookalike boxes though. It’s like the Elvis impersonator singing at a festival. Eventually, you’ll realise that the catsuit doesn’t really fit, and he’s actually only 5’6” and looks like Derek from Hackney. There really only was one Elvis – and there’s only 1 Bike Box Alan.