Prefer to travel with a cardboard bike box instead of a bike bag? The Bike Box Roller could be what you’re looking for
It’s the age-old question. Travel with my bike and a cheap and lightweight cardboard box, or buy a purpose-built bike case?
For me personally, I’ve only ever travelled with a cardboard bike box. For a start, it’s the cheapest solution – bike boxes can be sourced from any bike shop for free (if they try to charge you, go to the next shop).
It’s also lightweight. Those dedicated bike bags/cases aren’t just expensive, they’re also heavy too (an EVOC Travel Bag Pro weighs 10kg before you put anything in it!). And if you’re planning on packing all your riding kit, spares, tools, backpacks, and whatever else you need to take along on your riding holiday, then the total packed weight becomes very important.
People worry about how tough a cardboard box will be while being swung around by airport baggage handlers. I’ve not had any issues to date, but reinforcing your cardboard box with tape (specifically the bottom, all edges, and the hand holes) is the best way to make sure your box makes it to its destination in one piece. As for the bike inside, with the right disassembly and padding, a cardboard bike box will be plenty secure. And after all, bikes travel all over the globe inside those things *usually* without a problem.
In my experience, the only problem with the cardboard bike box solution is lugging it around. If, like me, you’re dangerously close to that 32kg limit, carrying around a heavy bike box can be a royal pain.
But that’s where this little gadget comes in.
The Bike Box Roller
Mick Williams, the Canberra-based mountain biker who founded Bike Box Rollers, says he came up with the idea for the design after his wife needed to travel with her bike. Having balked at the price of dedicated bike bags, they sourced a free cardboard box instead. It did the job, but was awkward to move about.
After searching around online, Mick found a set of wheels to bolt on to make the box easier to transport.
“After testing them out I chucked them in the bin and set out to design something better“, responds Mick. “The end result is pretty cool. It’s not the prettiest thing ever built but it works really well.”
How It Works
The Bike Box Roller is a small, collapsable alloy carrier that’s designed to sit at one corner of your cardboard bike box. The alloy tray is adjustable for boxes between 20-30cm wide, and comes with its own soft carry bag.
There’s a threaded hole on each side of the carrier, which are there for stable, wide-profile skateboard wheels thread into.
A simple wingnut means no tools are required to install the wheels. In fact, the whole thing is tool-free to install and remove.
Adjustable straps extend up to the opposite end of the bike box, where a small harness wraps around the corner securely.
The straps tighten down, using the diagonal strength of the box to hold the wheels in place. Once you’ve got the straps tightened down, you can trim the excess length off.
The harness at the top of the box can then be used as your carry handle. Not only does this make things easier for you when you need to wheel your bike box around the airport, or to the bus stop after you’ve arrived, it should hopefully make things a little easier for your friendly baggage handlers. It’s worth nothing that it does add a teeny tiny amount of width to your box, at the wheels, so if you’re pushing the limits of box or baggage sizing allowed by your airline or you get a particularly pedantic official at check-in, you might need to be prepared to whip it all off and carry it in your hand luggage.
Bike Box Roller Features
- Designed to turn a regular cardboard bike box into a travel case on wheels
- Adjustable width to suit boxes from 20-30cm wide
- Alloy frame with collapsible design
- ‘Unbreakable’ skateboard wheels
- Includes adjustable compression straps
- Confirmed weight: 995g
- Designed and manufactured in Australia
- From: BikeBoxRollers.com
- Price: $85 AUD (approx £46) plus shipping
I was going to shoot a video to show how the Bike Box Roller comes together, but Mick has already done that, so here’s his video instead;
As the whole assembly weighs just under a kilo, you’re not adding a whole lot of weight to an existing cardboard bike box.
This is the main advantage over YT Industries’ Body Bag, which is considerably heavier at a claimed 4.5kg. That said, the Body Bag does provide an extra layer of protection around the cardboard box, since it’s an actual bag. It also costs more at over £100, so it’s swings and roundabouts.
Comparisons aside, what do you folks think of the design? A clever idea? Or not quite the right solution for you?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!