Getting a bike box was a natural extension of my desire to cycle in more varied terrain overseas. Having bought the Buxum Tourmalet Bike Box from Thailand. I have now flown with it twice. The first – to and from Bangkok and Singapore, and the second – from Singapore to Sydney and then Queenstown and back from Christchurch through Sydney to Singapore. Here is how it went:
- Very solid. I bought the Tourmalet because it was built like a tank and it held up well. The Tourmalet was thrown by baggage handlers, and my bike and its contents went through without a hitch. (I heard it at at the odd size baggage belt before my box appeared.) Everything arrived in perfect condition. The box did get some dents and dings as expected but the contents were very well protected. Basically, it did its main job admirably.
- No issues with airlines. I was concerned about the airline restrictions due to its massive size but it all went without a hitch. It has been flow on Qantas, Jetstar and Scoot and there were no problems. You will have to pay for the weight and for some airlines, the fact that it is oversized, but that is all. Went through plane after plane without a hitch.
- Easy to pack. The bike box is smartly constructed and packing was mostly a breeze. Pop the wheels, saddle and handlebar off and dump everything in. The only tricky part comes in tightening the quick releases especially the front due to the tight operating space for the front. Make sure the quick releases are fastened tightly. I wish there was no need to remove the handlebars but to keep the handlebars on would require Tourmalat’s larger sibling (the Ventoux).
- Very roomy. Everything bike related can fit in. A foot pump, a full sized torque wrench, a few sets of tools, helmet, shoes, as many cycling clothes as you need, your bars, gels, and more. It is nice from a packing perspective to have everything in one place. Just make sure they are bagged and placed properly so that these items do not bounce around.
- Massive size. The box is huge, really huge. I got constant stares when pushing it around in the airport. Pushing it around and having it flow was not an issue but having it driven from home/hotel to and from the airport was. I do not own a car and the box will not fit the boot of most cars. Most cars will be able to fit the box in the backseat but some taxis may not like the idea. I had to get a larger taxi when travelling to the airport to avoid the hassle of explaining to the taxi driver that the backseat would do fine. To be fair, this is the issue for most full sized bike boxes. Can’t have your cake and eat it.
- Locks were an afterthought. The box can be secured with two cable locks and it should be locked. However, there is no space to keep the locks flush with the sides of the box. This means that the area around the lock will definitely be dinged as the lock will be squashed between the Tourmalet and the next luggage/etc. It is a small issue though as it does not affect the integrity of the box’s construction. For a box so well executed, having built in TSA locks would have been the icing on the cake.
The Tourmalet gave me the confidence to fly my bike and my experience has been positive so far. It played a huge part in ensuring my experience cycling in Queenstown, New Zealand was a happy one. I bought mine from Bike Station located in Bangkok at around S$1700 to save on the shipping cost (would have been above S$2200 to ship from the UK). There is a Singapore third party importer who is bringing it in as well. Looking forward to more flights with my bikes!