Made in Yorkshire – Bike Box Alan
They keep things plain and simple in Yorkshire; nowt is wasted, including unnecessary words or titles. It’s a bike box and guess what … it’s made by Alan. Oh, it’s tough too. In fact it’s probably the toughest bike box in the world, passing a scientifically developed test recently – it was dropped over 30 metres from a railway viaduct! Now I’d say that this is as good a test as it gets, because I’ve never seen an aircraft hold as high as that.
Based in Rotherham, on the edge of the Peak District and with some of the finest road cycling anywhere, Bike Box Alan has been making their indestructible boxes for over 16 years. This area of Yorkshire is famous for its engineering heritage and Alan has been a part of that for his whole working life, being an engineer and designer by trade. The company came about after cycling friends would bring Alan their badly built bike boxes from other brands, all needing either the wheels, the castors, the base or the straps and fasteners fixing and of course Alan would not only repair them, but his repairs improved the quality of the boxes themselves. Through word of mouth his reputation grew, until this unassuming and quiet Yorkshireman realised that his skills made it possible for him to design and manufacture his own bike boxes and to make them far superior to anything else available.
Like most great designs, the first bike box Alan has remained almost unchanged in their range, save for a few upgrades to the internal Velcro strapping and anti crush pole. They now offer a carbon anti crush pole as well as a steel one. The distinctive shape of the Bike Box Alan original is formed by two specially designed moulded sides, with extra strength built into the design at key areas, such as where the rear mech fits. Unlike other brands, there’s no need to wrap the mech or to add a cover, as it simply fits neatly against the box frame. The boxes come with a 7 year warranty and fits 95% of known bikes, with a few minutes spent removing the wheels, seat post and handlebars, all of which have specific areas and straps inside the box for safe storage. There’s even Velcro straps intelligently placed for wheel skewers and pedals. Best of all, this impressive guardian of your carbon bike weighs in at only 11.2 kg, meaning it’s well within airline limits. It’s a neat size box too, easily fitting 2 boxes into most hatchbacks, meaning you can share your Bikecation adventures.
Now, every well travelled person loves a sticker and the boxes come customisable too, with an array of awesome bike stickers to adorn it. You’ll look and feel like a pro as you walk through departures and arrivals towing your Bike Box Alan behind you with the custom strap in hand. Many of the worlds top teams use these made in Yorkshire bike protectors and cyclists such as Chris Froome, Sir Chris Hoy and Laura Kenny trust their own two wheeled steeds to them. Add to this the Wheel Box and this enterprising engineering brand have got you covered – literally 🙂
Chatting to Alan, he’s a man who is always thinking and despite having designed what was seen as the ultimate bike transporter, he’s widened the range to include the new Triathlon Aero Easy Fit. Bikes have developed immeasurably in recent years, with marginal gains from all areas, especially at the cockpit end of things as riders try to fight the wind. Many high tech bikes have integrated seat posts and handlebars formed as part of the stem, with cables hidden away totally inside the frame. Bikes like this mean that removing the handlebars is virtually impossible. The Bike Box Alan Aero Easy Fit is designed so that both the seat post and handlebars can remain in place. Five minutes it all that it takes, removing the wheels, pedals and letting some air out of the tyres before fitting the wheels into the interior moulded sides and you’re ready to go.
The clasps are also able to take secure locks and your precious handlebar and seat settings can remain in place, because how many riders actually know their ideal saddle height. Even hydration systems can generally stay in place too. This new addition is designed for all Road bikes, the larger Enduro Mountain Bikes, Gravel, Cyclocross bikes plus some types of Touring bikes. We managed to fit an Easy Fit and a Premium Bike Box Alan into the boot of our Audi A4 easily, with room to spare for bags. At the top of the range you can get GPRS tracking too, so that should the worst happen, you’ll be able to locate your expensive bike, even if it ends upon the wrong aircraft!
When you look at the soft sided alternatives on the market, it’s hard to comprehend the mind that thinks it’ll look after your pride and joy. My own current favourite bike is my custom built Bianchi, finished with 3T and Vittoria, and there’s no way that I’d trust it to something that in essence in no more protective than wrapping a 15 tog quilt around your frame and attending church each Sunday in the hope that the cycling gods will look kindly on you and deliver the baggage handlers of the world from evil. Truth is guys that it just won’t happen, because they’re often on minimum wage, working to pressurised timeframes and limits and haven’t got the time to carefully and delicately place you’re bike down. No, air transport is a rough game and all too often bikes in poor quality bags and boxes get damaged beyond repair.
Yes, cheaply made boxes are just as vulnerable. That made in China bargain on the Internet might well leave you with enough money to splash out on a new dropper post, but you’ll have no carbon mtb to fit it to if your box simply falls apart at the airport Olympics, where box throwing is the main attraction. When Alan and his team did their drop test from the viaduct, they also dropped a Chinese made alternative … I won’t go into detail, but it wasn’t pretty!
Alan and the team in Yorkshire are proud of the boxes that they make. Visiting the workshop and speaking with the team of artisans that put the boxes together, I was in awe of their professionalism, skill and care as they refined each element to ensure that every Bike Box Alan has their hallmark of quality, strength and performance.
Yorkshire is the home of cycling within the U.K. and is widely respected as one of the greatest cycling locations globally. It makes perfect sense that this proud county also makes the worlds best bike boxes, drawing on the engineering heritage of this industrial heartland to produce the Bikecation protection that the worlds greatest riders trust.
We’ll be testing the Bike Box Alan range into 2020 and beyond, travelling the world with our own bikes, all safely ensconced in this guardian of the gears.