The Buxum Box Tourmalet is a strong aluminium bike case for carrying your bike safely when you fly, and it's very easy to pack too. The price and possibly the weight are hurdles.
The Buxum Box is made from 0.5mm aluminium sheets with thicker aluminium used for the edges and corner caps to provide extra strength. The walls are thin enough to flex slightly when you push on them and they will dent and scratch if you – or, more likely, baggage handlers – aren't careful. Still, you might think that those war wounds add to the character. As it is, the overall look is very industrial.
The Tourmalet's lid and base are separable; you open the catches and lift the top half completely off. Packing your bike inside is easy, even if you're not mechanically gifted. You remove both the wheels, the pedals and the seatpost, and you take the handlebar out of the stem. That's all very simple.
Then you fix the rear dropouts to a quick-release mount at the back, and clamp the fork to another quick-release mount at the front. You can move the rear mount backwards and forwards to set it to the correct position for your bike's wheelbase.
The wheels go into their own bags that sit either side of the frame and you slot an aluminium rod from one side of the box to the other through them. This rod can't shift once you've put the top of the box on. It's an important part of the design in that it stops the box – and therefore your bike – getting squashed if it finds itself at the bottom of a pile of luggage.
Then you simply put the top on, do up the latches and you're done. It took me less than 10 minutes first time and a 58cm road bike fitted very easily. It's a completely stress-free process.
The box runs smoothly on sealed bearing wheels, the mounting points of which are recessed so they're unlikely to get knocked off in transit. The box's handles are recessed too and the latches are half recessed – the bottom halves are recessed, the upper catch sections sit proud of the box sides by a few millimetres. It would be good if they were completely recessed like they are on a roadie shipping case to avoid damage, but I really can't imagine them getting knocked badly because they're so low profile.
The Tourmalet doesn't come with integrated locks but you can run a cable lock between the latches so they can't be turned.
We took this bike box on a flight to test it in real world conditions and it did a great job. Its main feature, as you might imagine, is its strength. Your bike simply isn't going to get damaged in here. It'll handle all kinds of abuse without any trouble. It would probably withstand prolonged carpet bombing, it's that tough. Yes, the walls have a couple of scrapes but there's absolutely no danger of your bike getting hurt.
One addition I'd have appreciated is some form of shoulder strap. Yes, a bike box gets pushed around most of the time, and that works very well when you're at the airport, but there are occasions when you need to lift it – going over a gravel driveway, for example. I made my own strap with a length of webbing strung between two of the handles and it worked just fine.
How big a bike can you get inside? I usually have 57-58cm road bikes and they all fitted in easily. Buxum Box say you can get a 61cm bike in there.
If that's not big enough, the Buxum Box Ventoux will take a 63.5cm bike, although that one weighs in at a claimed 15kg.
Weight & airline charges
Speaking of weight, at 13.3kg the Tourmalet is a bit weightier than most other bike boxes out there. The Scicon Aerotech Evolution hard case that we reviewed last year is 11.5kg, for example. Is that extra weight going to be a problem? It depends.
The EasyJet bike box weight limit is 32kg (you have to pay on top of your normal ticket fee) and you're not allowed to put anything else in the box other than your bike, so it doesn't really matter if your bike box is 13.3kg, assuming your bike weighs less than 18.7kg. This box is designed for road bikes. If 18.7kg road bikes exist, no one is flying them out to France to ride up Alpe d'Huez, surely.
Ryanair have a weight limit of 30kg for bike boxes (you have to pay extra for any bike box), so that gives you nearly 16.7kg for your bike.
With British Airways, "Charges are applied for bags over 23kg and up to 32kg", so you can take a bike weighing up to 9.7kg in the Buxum Box before you have to pay extra.
Monarch make you pay £25 for sports equipment up to 20kg and £35 for sports equipment weighing 20-32kg, so the extra weight of the Buxum Box over the Scicon we reviewed might push you into the higher category and cost you an extra tenner.
So, them's the airline bike policies as they stand at the moment (or at least some of them); make up your own mind on the issue of weight.
Overall, this is a really tough bike case that's super-easy to pack. It's a strong contender if you're after total peace of mind when flying with your bike, and it should last an age.
Super-tough aluminium bike box that's easy to pack; strong contender if you want peace of mind when flying with your bike
road.cc test report
Make and model: Buxum Box Tourmalet bike box
Size tested: One size
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Buxum Box say that their boxes are lightweight cases for your bicycle made of sustainable aluminium, 100% recyclable, with class-leading strength to fly your bike to cycling event."
The Tourmalet is designed "For the travelling roadie – compact and lightweight but with generous capacity".
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Here's the spec:
Dimensions (LxHxD): 1129 x 781 x 305mm
Typical maximum frame size (c-t): 610mm (24in)
Suitable for Road, Track, TT & Cross
Disassembly required: Wheels/skewers, bars/stem pedals, seatpost
Pack/unpack time: 10 min/10 min
Wheels: 2 fixed, 2 caster
Includes two wheelbags
I'd have liked some kind of shoulder strap.
It's an tough aluminium box. The catches are very slightly raised in part, but you'd be massively unlucky if they were ever damaged.
A couple of kilos lighter would be useful.
It's one of the most expensive bike boxes out there, no two ways about that. On the other hand, you're pretty much guaranteeing that your bike won't be damaged.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's very strong and it's very, very easy to pack.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The strength, ease of packing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'd have liked some sort of shoulder strap so I could carry it over rough surfaces more easily. It costs a lot but it should last ages.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
The price drags the overall score down a little but you will probably get years of use out of this box without any trouble.
About the tester
Age: 43 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.