The Buxumbox 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.
- Pros: Strong, durable, easy to pack
- Cons: A little heavier and pricier than most rivals
Several changes have been made since we first reviewed the Buxumbox Tourmalet three years ago, the most significant being that you can now get it with fixing points for bikes with thru-axles as well as open-ended dropouts and that assembly has now been moved to the UK – Okehampton in Devon, to be more precise. I’ll tell you about other changes later on.
The Buxumbox Tourmalet is made from 0.5mm aluminium sheets with thicker aluminium used for the edges and corner caps to provide extra strength. It’s all recyclable. 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. The overall look is 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. That's all very simple. You store the seatpost and saddle at the bottom of the box, held in place by elastic cord.
This is the front fitting for a bike that uses open-ended dropouts...
...and here is the one for a bike that uses thru-axles
The box can be set up to accept bikes that use either quick releases or thru-axles – you state which fittings you need when you make your order. If you want fittings for both systems, that’ll cost you an extra £24. Swapping between them takes a minute or two with an Allen key and it’s perfectly straightforward.
This is the rear fitting for a thru-axle bike
Fixing a bike in place with quick releases is a little simpler. You fix the rear dropouts to a mount at the back and clamp the fork to another 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.
With a thru-axle bike you have to fit little alloy spacers where the wheels would normally go, tighten them in place with the thru-axles, then position the bike on the front and rear mounts.
Either way, it's pretty easy.
You remove the handlebar from the stem and stow it alongside the head tube and fork. 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; the upper section holds it in place. 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 sprung handles are recessed too, as are the bottom halves of the latches with the upper catch sections sitting proud of the box sides by a few millimetres. It would be good if they were completely recessed to avoid damage, like they are on a roadie shipping case, 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.
I’ve flown with this box several times now and it has always done a great job. Its main feature, as you might imagine, is its strength. Your bike isn't going to get damaged in here. It'll handle all kinds of abuse without any trouble. Yes, the walls have a couple of scrapes but there's 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, or up and down steps. 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. Buxumbox says you can get a 61cm bike in there.
If that's not big enough, the Buxumbox Ventoux will take a 63.5cm bike, although that one weighs in at a claimed 15kg.
Weight & airline charges
Speaking of weight, the Tourmalet is now a little lighter than previously, although at 12.8kg it is a bit heavier than most other bike boxes out there. For comparison, the Bike Box Alan Premium Bike Box that we reviewed recently was 11.6kg. Is that extra weight going to be a problem?
The EasyJet bike box weight limit is 32kg (you have to pay on top of your normal ticket fee) and you're not supposed to put anything else in the box other than your bike according to the airline’s rules and regs, so it doesn't really matter if your bike box is 12.8kg, assuming your bike weighs less than 19.2kg. This box is designed for road bikes. If 19.2kg road bikes exist, no one is flying them out to France to ride up Alpe d'Huez, surely.
Ryanair has a weight limit of 30kg for bike boxes (you have to pay extra for any bike box), so that gives you 17.2kg 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 10.2kg in the Tourmalet as part of your normal allowance before you have to pay extra.
So, those are a few airline bike policies as they stand at the moment, but make sure you check the terms of your ticket before flying (even of the airlines mentioned above, just in case they have altered).
As well as the ability to accommodate thru-axle bikes and a lower weight than previously, the Tourmalet has updated, slightly less shouty graphics and the latches and handles now have a black powder coating. Buxumbox is also offering a powder coat finish to the whole box in a colour of your choice for an additional £90.
If you want a custom option, that’s possible. For example, Buxumbox has modified two Tourmalets to take a 29er tandem that uses S&S couplers.
Priced at £699 (plus shipping), the Buxumbox Tourmalet is more expensive than most other bike boxes out there. The Bike Box Alan Premium that we reviewed recently is £438 while the updated version of the Bonza Bike Box is £499. On the other hand, the SciCon Aerotech Evolution X TSA Bike Travel Case is £699 at full retail price (you'll find it cheaper), the same price as the Tourmalet.
You can certainly get cheaper bike boxes that'll look after your bike well, but you might like the fact that this one is made in Britain from aluminium rather than plastic.
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; a strong contender if you want peace of mind when flying with your bike
road.cc test report
Make and model: Buxumbox 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?
Buxumbox says that 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 the option of some kind of shoulder strap.
It's a tough aluminium box. The catches are very slightly raised in part, but you'd be massively unlucky if they were ever damaged.
A kilogram or two 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 strong and it's 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 and up and down stairs more easily. It costs a lot, too, 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
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a high-quality bike box that's easy to use. The price drags the overall score down a little but you will probably get years of use out of this box without any trouble.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight 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.