dhb Bike Box Review
dhb Bike Box review
I should preface this review by saying this particular bike box is, infact, the only one I have used. However, both myself, Swazy and Malcolm have all purchased the same box, so the experience here is nothing but collective.
Lets face facts. A bike box is a wholly functional item, probably not used that regularly unless you're on 'Le Tour'. If this situation matches your need, then it's unlikely you're find a better value bike box. I could not find one. Dhb's 'Elstead' represents the entry level of bike boxes, a product where you can comfortably spend > £450. Indeed, one brand advertises itself by throwing it's product out of a moving car at 50 miles per hour. I get the point, but surely if that happened it's more down to poor packing than anything else. Either that, or not shutting the boot properly. Anyway, for the amount of times I estimated I would use it, £450 was an unpalatable price point. Hence dhb's offering.
Sadly, I have already mentioned most of it's strengths. The case itself is a hard plastic shell, lined with a heavy gauge foam inner liner. It comes complete with 2 smallish squares of foam I've used to protect the derailluer, plus a pair of padded wheel bags. The case features a combination lock with 2 additional locking latches, left and right at the top. There are 2 additional clips per side which snap shut, keeping the box relatively secure and rigid.
The main issue is the overall build quality. The case itself is pretty tough, easily able to withstand a heavy handed airport-induced bash or two. However, the fit is so tight that the case easily goes out of alignment, making securing the case a difficult one man job. The pair of clips that secure the box down each side are also poor. The catch mechanisms themselves are temperamental and mostly very hard to release. I am being generous saying it requires a special touch. The latches at the top are pretty flimsy as well. They provide the illusion of security as opposed to being properly secure. Taking all this into account, I think you need at least one hour to take your bike apart and fit it in, shut. Typically, it's not an easy job. (I completely lost it trying to pack the bike in a field in Sutherlin, Oregon.)
If you are a larger rider you also need to be mindful of the frame size you are trying to shoe-horn into it. I have a 58 cm frame and it barely fits. I need to bend the rear mechanism back to fit it in properly. I would be astonished if a larger frame would fit. Even to manage this, the handlebars, seat post, pedals (and wheels obviously), all need to be removed. It's a very snug fit.
In summary, if you are looking for a box that will be used infrequently, then it will probably be fit for purpose, depending on how large your frame is. If you intend to use it on a regular basis, my advice would be to invest a little more and buy a better, more robust box. It will be worth it in the aggravation you'll subsequently save!
The dhb 'Elstead' can be purchased from on-line retailer wiggle, found at www.wiggle.co.uk. Prices vary between £141 and £160, depending on the offers available.
Dimensions, nominally 110 cm x 80 cm x 25 cm, weight approx 12 kilos. 'Ready to travel', the box usually weighs between 23 and 26 kilos, depending on how much additional gear has been included.
Words, Thumbnail and Slide image - bikebritain Ltd