Mountain Bike of the Year
Which Bike Won?
Toddler Bike Safety Tips
Types of Hitch Systems
Why a site that reviews Bike Trailers?
When we explored buying a bike trailer we found it difficult to find reliable and useful information online regarding bike trailers, so we decided to share our learnings and our results with other biking parents. Each review is of a trailer we have used personally and have packed into a car for a long and a short trip - what good is a trailer if you can't take it on vacation? Each trailer has been used (and abused) by our child, who also adds his input to the review - what good is a trailer if your child doesn't like it? We find out what the kids think too.
New Review: Burley Piccolo Trailer-Cycle
Reviews: Burley Solo Review
Next Review: Chariot Sidecarrier
Child safety is the #1 issue and relegates all other concerns to a distant second. Parents want to trust the trailer their child will ride in, choosing the safest design is important. The critical item in our research was hitch security; if the hitch mechanism fails then your child's life is in danger, so the hitch system is not a trifling issue. The hitch system should be inspected and tugged at and you should have several choices as to how you want to hitch your trailer to your bike; if you have any doubts about the hitch's ability to hold the trailer (and your child) to your bike then move on to looking at another trailer. Other key items to inspect are: harness system (ie seatbelts); cage protection is there some sort of roll-bar or side frame; finger safety, can fingers get outside of the trailer and into trouble or into the wheel spokes; stability does the trailer resist tipping over, ie how low is the center of gravity.
These 4 areas has the largest impact on trailer road and off-road performance: Weight the heavier the trailer the more required to move it and the less likely you are to reach for it; Wind Drag since most trailers are low to the ground the key issue is width, the wider the trailer the more drag it will have and the harder it will be to move; Wheels the hubsets are the key element as that is the one part that moves on the trailer (and it moves over and over again.) The type of bearing used within the hubset is easily determined by gently twisting the hub around in a circle (just as the wheel would move it); if it feels gritty, like it is catching in places that means it is encountering resistance, which will pulling the trailer harder. A quality hubset can be adjusted and has seals to keep grit and grime out; a cheap one will not be adjustable and will just have simple washer for protection of the bearings inside. The lighter the wheel and the more air pressure the tires can take the better (35 pounds+ is good for small trailer wheels). Road Feel how stable does the trailer feel in corners and how well does it track.
Can the child spend an hour or more comfortably in the trailer; is the fit customizable, does the seat have support, are the straps designed in a way where they do not chafe your child; can the child play with toys while sitting; does the trailer offer the child visibility, can they see 180 degrees.
Does the trailer easily fit in car trunk; how much space does it take up the trunk; does it come apart/together easily, can 1 person take it apart; do hands get dirty when assembling/disassembling the trailer. We preferred models where the wheels could come off easily (quick release mechanism) and where the body could "collapse" down or fold down to to be nearly flat. Why? Kids need more stuff when they travel (think 2x what an adult packs) so we found the smaller the footprint of the the trailer in the car trunk the better.
We rented and tested many trailers, and based upon our experience, the company we felt most addressed the critical issues best was Burley Designs.