Buxum Box Ventoux Mountain bike box review £799.00
Extremely tough aluminium bike box which is easy to pack and to wheel around; a premium product; definitely consider if you want confidence your pride and joy will arrive in one piece when flying.
Oct 16 2018
Bike bags and cases
Super tough, durable & well designed
Packs very easily
Extremely easy to wheel around
Heavy (but similar to most of competition)
Extra long wheelbases may not fit standard-sized box (custom builds possible)
You want utmost peace of mind when flying with your bike and are willing to pay for a premium product.
As the only aluminium bike box on the market, the Buxumbox Ventoux MTB’s unique design means it affords great protection for ultimate peace of mind. It’s quick and easy to pack and extraordinarily easy to wheel around. Yes, it’s a lot of money but it’s a high-quality piece of kit and should last a very long time.
It is beautifully made from 0.5mm aluminium sheets, with thicker aluminium at the edges and corners for extra strength. The aluminium panels do flex a little when pushed and will scratch and dent through regular use, but this does not compromise their ability to protect your bike at all. Overall, like the (cheaper) Buxumbox Tourmalet reviewed over on road.cc, the look is industrial. Perhaps it gives the impression that you’re ‘with the band’ as it resembles equipment cases used by roadies! Personally, I like the look.
Note that a non-MTB-specific Ventoux case has been sold by Buxumbox for some time. Based on feedback from customers, Buxumbox has now released this MTB-specific version, which is bigger and longer to better fit modern mountain bikes.
Packing and unpacking the bike is straightforward and stress-free, and only takes 5-10 minutes. The Ventoux MTB comprises two halves, a base and a lid – the front ends are marked by small red rivets. Remove both wheels, one pedal and the handlebar. Position your bike in the box by replacing your front and rear axles through the supplied cylindrical fittings then fitting these in the box’s axle mounts. Two pins then secure each axle in place. You can slide the rear axle mount back or forwards to fit your bike’s wheelbase. This mount is raised up to put the wheelbase on the diagonal, meaning the box can accommodate longer bikes.
Remove the handlebar (no need to remove the stem) and secure it vertically against the frame. Buxumbox can provide padded strapping to do this, for an added cost. Wheels go into a bag each, and these both sit on one side of the box, slightly overlapping one another. An aluminium rod is then placed between the spokes, across the width of the box, and acts as a strengthening brace. The wheel bags have two extra pockets each, which can hold pedals or small tools, though note your airline’s policy on extra items in the box.
The box has two recessed catches on each side which securely clamp the two halves together. To lock it you can use a small cable lock on one of the catches on each side (I used cheap TSA locks, which can be opened by customs officials).
The box can be set up to take bikes with common non-Boost and Boost axles and also Lefty forks – when ordering you state what fittings you want. For an extra £24 fittings for different axle sizes can be purchased, ideal if you own multiple bikes. If you have 157mm-wide or 20mm-diameter axles, speak to Buxumbox and they may be able to accommodate these for no extra cost.
With the standard-sized box, the seat post is secured with elastic cords at the bottom of the box – fine if you don’t have a dropper. Buxumbox offers two no-cost modifications to allow dropper posts to be kept in place: raising the height of the lid and/or dropping the rear axle mount down in the base. The latter option slightly reduces the maximum wheelbase that can be accommodated. At the time of writing, these options have a longer lead-time than the standard box.
I’ve flown with the Ventoux MTB several times and it’s done me a great service – I have confidence it will withstand a pummelling during transit. According to Buxumbox, they have never had a bike damaged in transit in one of their boxes – and they’ve been selling equivalent bike boxes for four years. (I’ve certainly got a few sorry tales of friends’ bikes in boxes from other brands getting damaged). Yes, my box now has dings and scratches (the pictures in this review are after four flights), but I’m left feeling very much at ease, and that the bike is safe.
One of the best things about the Ventoux MTB is it’s unbelievably light to wheel along; you can literally use one finger. It runs smoothly on four sealed bearing wheels, just remember to pull it from the front (subtly marked by the red rivets) as these are the wheels that steer. The mounting points for the wheels are recessed to reduce the chances of getting damaged in transit.
Compared to my travelling companions’ wheeled bike bags, the Buxumbox was by far the easiest to manoeuvre. You can even transport small to medium-sized luggage around the airport on top of the box. The four sprung, recessed handles are comfortable, sturdy and well placed and make it easy to lift the box too.
The bike does move slightly on the axle mounts, but this is intentional and takes up some of the force if the box is dropped. Also, the bike wheels can move around in transit, but Buxumbox assures us that there have been no reports of damaged spokes with any of their boxes.
How big a bike will fit?
Before purchase, Buxumbox will work with you to spec your box, based on your bike’s dimensions and axle sizes. With a standard-sized box, my 21.5in (XL) Trek Fuel EX9.9 fitted fine with no dropper, but would not have fitted with a dropper post.
To ensure a fit Buxumbox will need to know wheelbase (117cm on the Trek), seat tube length (51cm) and the measurements from the fork axle to the highest point on stem (77cm), and from fork axle to the top of the cap on the steerer tube (79cm). In a few cases, Buxumbox may need further dimensions but will advise on this.
The maximum wheelbase possible is 124cm with the standard box. On the Trek, the length of the forks to top cap meant a tight but still perfectly fine fit – I’m 198cm tall (6ft6in) so run a very long steerer.
In standard size, the Ventoux MTB's maximum possible wheelbase (1240mm) should fit most bikes length-wise, although the trend is towards longer bikes. In comparison to the Ventoux MTB, the Thule RoundTrip Transition can only fit wheelbases up to 1168mm, while both the B&W Bike Guard Curv and Bike Case II can both accommodate up to 1300mm. Longer bikes than this, such as the epically stretched 2018 Pole Evolink 140 in XL (1342mm), would need something like the BikND Jetpack XL (longest wheelbase 1350mm), though this is a soft shell bike bag with an internal frame not a hard case.
If the addition of one or both of the two no-cost options to the Ventoux MTB means your bike still won’t fit then a custom build is possible, but for an extra cost. Buxumbox is considering bringing out a longer version of the box if there is sufficient demand.
How much does it weigh?
The standard box weighs in at 15.5kg (different axle configurations may alter the weight slightly). It’s the only aluminium box available (all others are plastic) and it’s still not the heaviest. There are around a dozen bike boxes on the market, but those which are advertised as being suited to 26-29in MTBs are somewhat limited. Fewer still allow the forks to be kept in place – from experience, taking forks on and off is a bit of a faff if you fly regularly. Of those that are for MTBs and allow the forks to be kept on, the B&W Bike Guard Curv is the lightest, at just 10.9kg (including essential accessories), and the reviewer over on road.cc questioned its rigidity. The B&W Bike Case II weighs 16kg. Finally, the Thule RoundTrip Transition is a stonking 17.6kg.
Check out the review of the Buxumbox Tourmalet over on road.cc for the latest information on weight limits for some of the most widely used airlines. Essentially, if your bike weighs less than 14.5kg (32lb) then you should be fine to use the Ventoux MTB on many airlines such as Ryanair, and a bike weighing 14.5-16.5kg (32-36lb) will be ok with some airlines, including easyJet and British Airways.
The Ventoux MTB in standard size is 1315 x 861 x 357mm. Unlike competitor boxes it is a cuboid, so looks quite large. In terms of maximum length, height or width though, it compares favourably and certainly isn’t the largest case out there. The Thule RoundTrip Transition is 1370 x 940 x 393mm, the B&W Bike Case II is 1345 x 880 x 345 mm, and the B&W Bike Guard Curv is 1310 x 910 x 315mm.
With the seats down, the Ventoux MTB easily fitted on its side in the boot of a 2010 Skoda Fabia estate. In contrast to the sloping sides of rival cases, the Ventoux MTB sits flat on roof bars, and the handles act as useful anchoring points. I found this really useful when transporting more than one bike box with the car - I was even able to ratchet-strap another flat box on top of the Buxumbox. Note that lifting the box onto a car roof is likely to be a two-person job, unless you have arms like an orangutan! Otherwise, I found the handles allowed me to easily lift my 32kg loaded box up steps and onto the scales at airports.
Another thing I particularly liked was the way the box splits in two, meaning that each section easily fits through a loft hatch for storage, unlike other hard case boxes.
Priced at £799 (plus shipping), the Buxumbox Ventoux MTB is more expensive than other MTB bike boxes, but then it is the only aluminium box so has no direct rival. While the plastic SciCon Aerotech Evolution X TSA Bike Travel Case comes somewhat close, at £699, it is not advertised as being suitable for MTBs. The B&W Bike Guard Curv is £650, the Thule RoundTrip Transition is £600, and the B&W Bike Case II is £450.
Of their bike boxes, Buxumbox say: "The Buxumbox range represents the ultimate in bike box design, engineered for the discerning athlete and the highest expectations”.
Fork Mount: Strong, secure, quick
Serial Number: Helps us unite you with your box if lost
Twist Latches: Four steel twist latches – ultimate security
Anti-Crush System: Outstanding stacking protection
Axle Mount: Rigid fitting allows for varying wheelbases
Extra-strength: Corners that can take a battering
Product construction extra:
Beautifully designed and made, extremely sturdy; unlike other bike boxes (which are plastic) it is built from aluminium.
Product performance extra:
Inspires confidence that it can take a battering, very easy to pack and extremely easy to wheel around - a joy to use. Extremely long wheelbase bike may require a custom build, for a cost.
Product durability extra:
Aside from a few dings and scratches (which would occur with any box) the box has remained super-sturdy after multiple flights - gives the impression that it should last a very long time.
Product weight extra:
Heavy, though not the heaviest and with weight comes strength and peace of mind.
Product value extra:
The most costly bike box out there but with no direct rivals ie aluminium. A premium item, with a quality approach to customer care too, based on the flexibility offered in options and the tailored approach to each customer's needs.
After several flights I was left feeling that my bike was as safe as it could be - the box was a joy to pack, to wheel around and use in general.
An aluminium box should be tougher than plastic when the going gets rough behind the scenes at the airport; exceptionally easy to move around and very easy to pack; beautifully made.
Expensive, but then you get what you pay for. Heavy, but it's metal not plastic, and actually fares well weight-wise compared to the plastic competition. Extremely long wheelbase bikes may not fit in standard-sized box.
The Buxumbox Ventoux MTB is a really tough bike case which is beautifully made and is also very easy to pack and move around. Yes, there are cheaper bike boxes that should still look after your bike well, but, being made from aluminium, you may feel that the Ventoux MTB offers the best available in terms of peace of mind when flying your bike. The Buxumbox focus on individual customer needs also impresses. Yes, the Ventoux MTB is heavy and large, but it's not the heaviest or biggest MTB box out there. It’s a premium item. And, it should last for a long time. If it was a bit cheaper and if it fitted extremely long wheelbases then the Ventoux MTB would score a 10.