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Discussion: Bike Boxes

in: Adventure Racing; Gear & Toys;

May 25, 2016 11:02 AM # 
Had a search but only found a 2010 closed thread.

Wondering if anyone has had any success with homebuild bike boxes using corrugated plastic?

ITERA are requiring you to provide your own or buy the cardboard ones they are supplying, so thinking of a team batch of boxes.

Looking around and commercial ones are relatively expensive. I was thinking a few sheets of correx, a sapler and heavy double sided tape for the seams would go a long way to achieving a similar result.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has tried and succeeded or tried and failed, so I know what to watch out for.

May 25, 2016 12:31 PM # 
yes, we have made a few, losing the bottom out of the cardboard box mid race is not fun. A few tips,

you need to use 5mm thick sheet (we use a product called corflute in Oz) 3mm is too wobbly. different colours had different stiffness, black was stiffer than white.

We secured the base and side flaps using contact cement and small bolts and washers, mud flap washers are good for distributing the load. an earlier effort used pop rivets and washers which was also good. the top we held down with velcro and clips. if you make 9 in a day then the contact cement really goes to your head :-)

The downside of our boxes is that they don't collapse down, I have still got two in my backyard as they don't fit anywhere and if you want to holiday as part of the trip you have still got a massive box.

Hopefully the link below takes you through to our third attempt:

We cut out hand holes, then glued a reinforcing plate over them with the grain running perpendicular so that they don't split. then ran gaffa tape around the hole so it doesn't cut your hands.

we had a bunch of velcro straps and the like to hold everything secure on the inside, and some padding below the chain ring and a bracket to pick up the chain stays so that the bike doesn't sit on the derailleur. I also build a little container in to one end to hold skewers, pedals etc. Riding an XL 29er means I need to disassemble a bit more than most people.
May 25, 2016 12:54 PM # 
I echo most of what Wally80 has said.
I used 6mm (I think) corrugated plastic sheeting. There are different sizes, and I settled on 2 5x10 sheets. This allowed me to make the whole thing out of 2 sheets.

I used rivets, and I agree with Wally80: make sure you have good washers. The rivets will rip through relatively easily since the plastic is softer than metal or other materials. The rivets (or some other method of bolting) is critical. I don't remember exactly what sort of cement I used, but theoretically it should have worked better than it did. The rivets were necessary to keep it together.

I also cut out hand holds, but I simply used duct tape to soften the edges of the holds. Likewise, I used duct tape to go over the seams.

I also cut out "weight holes". Probably a bit of overkill, but I do think I saved myself a pound or so. Here's what I did, if you can follow: imagine that both sheets end up looking something like this:
I____I______________________________ I_____I

Basically, you fold the flaps and slip the pieces together, securing the side and bottom flaps with cement and rivets/bolts. On the flaps that were folded inside, I cut out holes. No scientific testing, but I feel the box is still plenty secure and sturdy with the holes, and if you cut out enough, you do save some weight. In a race like ITERA or when flying, the pound or two can make a difference.

To secure the lid, I just use strips of duct tape. Found that in the race, you can more or less use the same strips and they re-secure just fine. Maybe replace the tape once or twice if it's really wet. Something permanent like velcro would work too.

We talked about other options. I've seen cool clamshell style boxes. We talked about a lid that completely detaches. I like this model, however, because it's simple and I think the top flaps being attached add stability and security.

Finally: if using rivets, I cut the rivets on the inside of the box. Left sharpish nubs (I think because the correx is softer than metal or other materials, the rivet gun wasn't cutting the tails of the rivet bolts properly, so I had to hand cut them). I used some cement and just covered the ends to protect everything in the box if anything came up against those nubs.

Have used it twice now for expeditions (ITERA Wales and XPD Alaska). Feel like it's as sound as it was when I built it. Will be using it again in Ireland.
May 25, 2016 1:24 PM # 
For the record, I wasn't sure if my schematic would work. On my computer, it didn't come out properly. So, imagine looking at the side of the box. Then draw the four flaps on each end. And that's what I did...
May 25, 2016 1:24 PM # 
AWESOME thank you both very much.

I like the idea of hand holds. I feel a design coming on!! :D
May 25, 2016 1:27 PM # 
@broots the little '' l ' being fold lines bar the bunch on the left hand side being weight loss?
May 25, 2016 3:24 PM # 
Slow day in work so designs done :D
May 25, 2016 5:50 PM # 
Yeah, so had the schematic worked once posted, you would have just seen the outline of the box and flaps. Much like your plan as you drew it. For the holes/weight loss, I cut out a bunch of sizable holes (maybe 1-2 inches in diameter) on the side and bottom flaps of whichever piece's flaps will fold into the interior. I did not cut out holes in the top flap, though you probably could.
May 25, 2016 10:46 PM # 
This is perhaps not as DIY but does have a small crafty element. I learned this from Sami11 who learned it from his Checkpoint Zero team at GodZone 2014.

1. purchase a pre-made bike box from Crateworks. The dimensions are small enough to not incur double-penalties on USA flights (tho usually you are exempt on int'l).

2. purchase extra sheet of 5mm corrugated plastic, industrial velcro, 2" webbing, and extra plastic buckle

3. create 2 "extender" pieces out of the 5mm corflute that bring the original crateworks box up to ARWS max size.

4. use industrial velcro (it already has an adhesive backing, no cement required) to attach. use extra webbing and buckle to enlarge Cratework's H-strap.

we used this for Belize and liked it a lot. nice to have the smaller box for carting around the airport and then make it bigger for extra storage during the race. really study and folds flat for basement storage.

original Crateworks boxes for flying: (the ones with pink on them, natch).

Crateworks (black) + extenders (white) with extra webbing/buckle (pink)
May 26, 2016 2:05 AM # 
It took a while to find.

I use foil tape on my corners.
May 26, 2016 7:37 AM # 
Thanks folks, some great ideas there!

I know shotgun is as excited as a kid in a sweet shop at the idea of a garage day making these up :D

I'm so looking forward to having a bike box of my own that can collect travel and race stickers like those in silkychromes' pictures.

I like the foil tape idea Randy, that's like air conditioning tape so it's waterproof too (?)
May 26, 2016 3:50 PM # 
Correct Sean.

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