Trailer or Panniers

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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Alex L
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Re: Trailer or Panniers

Postby Alex L » 20 Jun 2012, 10:27pm

alanesq wrote:I know it is probably not the sort of quality you are looking for when touring, but I have had several of these panniers:

they are very good for the money

I have a pair of them. Found them to jump off when you go over a pot hole etc, they do have velcro to keep them on but still have to stop to fiddle with the hooks. Also mine have developed a hole after a few months and the plastic inner just falls off. Do you not have these problems?

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Re: Trailer or Panniers

Postby Goinridin » 21 Jun 2012, 11:02am

I used a Bob Yak in 2009 when I did the Canal du Midi and it was excellent and tracked very well behind the bike where the path was rutted. It did slow the bike down considerably and you have to remember that the Bob is behind you as you only really feel its presence as you slow down, if its well loaded it can make the bike feel a little wobbly at slow speeds and parking needs a bit of practice.
In 2010 I went over the Pyrenees coast to coast and used Ortlieb panniers front and rear and an Ortlieb handlebar bag. Although the bike felt really heavy it rode really well and I rode up the Col Du Tourmalet fully laden without stopping (looking back now I don't know how I managed it).
I suppose its horses for courses and what you feel comfortable with, I found both systems ok and thoroughly enjoyed myself on both occassions.

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Re: Trailer or Panniers

Postby redders » 22 Jun 2012, 7:30pm

I use a Carry Freedom Y-frame trailer and love it.
I use the small one which carries up to 45KG, although I only carry about 18 KG (for a 2 week camping tour) in the form of a Mountain Equipment holdall held on with a couple of bungee ropes. I bought it because I didn't want to pod out £1000+ for a half decent tourer and so I could use it with my lightweight audax bike. You can use it on virtually any bike - even Bradley wiggins could use it on his racingbike :-)
I've done three 2-week camping tours and never had any problems - it's solid, well made, really stable (even at 50MPH on an Alpine descent), never feels like it might jack knife, and the bike feels and handles like normal, except you have to push a bit harder on the pedals.
The coupling onto the bike is via a nylon coupling onto a metal pin. I use a MTB skewer (which is longer) on my road bike to allow for the coupling bracket thickness (about 8mm). It's never come close to tipping over whilst being towed - it's only tipped over on me when I was pushing my bike down a high kerb, but this wasn't a problem as the coupling is incredibly elastic/flexible and zero damage was done.
The only thing I'm going to change for future tours are my bike tyres (as I currently use totally unsuitable lightweight Schwalbe Blizzard Sport 700x23C, but only because I couldn't be bothered to put on something more durable) as a couple of weeks using the trailer wears out my back tyre. Even though there's very little dead weight from the trailer acting on the bike, there are some dynamic forces which scrub the tyre.
I have used panniers in the past and would never go back to them unless forced to. Therefore I would highly recommended using this trailer.

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Re: Trailer or Panniers

Postby Cunobelin » 23 Jun 2012, 8:42am

I end up using both!

Mainly because I carry a lot of stuff for my wife who is disabled and this allows her to travel further with less weight.

My latest "find" though is the Ortlieb Vario.

Only 20 litres, but quickly converts to a rucksack - perfect for carrying odds and ends in the evening or when shopping.

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Re: Trailer or Panniers

Postby SteveL » 23 Jun 2012, 4:35pm

Mick F wrote:
SteveL wrote:I have a carry freedom, if you want to try it out.
Me too, of course.
I'm a bit out of the way for most folk, but if I can be of assistance in lending mine for a road test, I would be delighted to show it off.

Well Ralph, two offers and not so much as a kiss my !!!


bronco bill
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Re: Trailer or Panniers

Postby bronco bill » 23 Jun 2012, 6:07pm

some interesting opinions on use of trailers;i use a trailer and find it just great,and in retrospect superior in my mind to pannier glitch is pushing it up hill;not to be enjoyed,and for this operation pannier bags would be far preferable

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Re: Trailer or Panniers

Postby memnoch » 23 Jun 2012, 7:34pm

SteveL wrote:
Mick F wrote:
SteveL wrote:I have a carry freedom, if you want to try it out.
Me too, of course.
I'm a bit out of the way for most folk, but if I can be of assistance in lending mine for a road test, I would be delighted to show it off.

Well Ralph, two offers and not so much as a kiss my !!!


Sorry for the delayed reply Steve, I'll send you a pm shortly.

I'm pretty certain about getting the carry freedom trailer as as it will pack flat into the bike bag for the flight home, leaving one bag for luggage. Should have a good resale value aswell if I don't get one with it.


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Mick F
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Re: Trailer or Panniers

Postby Mick F » 24 Jun 2012, 9:46am

memnoch wrote:Should have a good resale value aswell if I don't get one with it.
Yes, good point. Good resale value isn't something I've ever thought about. I reckon they'll hold their value far better than panniers.

However, I'm sure you'll love it! :D
Mick F. Cornwall

willem jongman
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Re: Trailer or Panniers

Postby willem jongman » 25 Jun 2012, 7:39am

When the children were young we used a two wheel trailer behind our childback tandem. That was excellent. I still sometimes use the trailer behind a road bike. Now that the kids ride their own bikes and carry their own gear, I much prefer panniers, and just two rear panniers (tent on top, plus a bar bag) in particular. I think there are only few situations on European trips where you need front panniers. Use your budget to reduce the bulk of your gear.

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Re: Trailer or Panniers

Postby Tigerbiten » 25 Jun 2012, 9:48am

lebarronblue wrote:Does any body in the Northamptonshire area have a Y Frame trailer..? I could have a look at


I'm based just outside Northampton.
At the moment I'm mid tour with my bent trike and large Y frame trailer so won't be home until mid August, unless the weather stays rubbish, otherwise you could have a look/try out of mine.

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Re: Trailer or Panniers

Postby MrsMothy » 25 Jun 2012, 10:20pm

Hi Ralph

If you are still pondering, we bought a Burley for cycle camping with Joybringer, our tandem, last summer but not had chance to try it as yet although hopefully we will have the opportunity within the next couple of months. We are on the other side of the Peak from you but you are welcome to bob over and have a looksi / try of it. It might help make up your mind as to one / two wheels and what sort of trailer, etc.


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Re: Trailer or Panniers

Postby memnoch » 29 Jun 2012, 7:47pm

Thanks for the help and all the offers it's been very much appreciated.

Had a play around with a couple of one a two wheel trailers at the localish store and finally settled on the Bob Yak after all. Had no problems tootling around with a 25kg sack of animal feed and didn't get any wobble on the hills at all. Very happy with my new purchase :-)

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Re: Trailer or Panniers

Postby Ron » 30 Jun 2012, 8:31pm

memnoch wrote: I'm currently using 4 Altura Arrans and I hate the things they bounce off so easily that I generally lose one once or twice a day, once off the front wheel when going 45+mph which scared me stiff!

You have menioned this "falling off" twice now in this thread. :D
I had that problem too with the original clips suppled with my Carradice panniers, but discovered a new type of clip was available with a simple locking device. I have toured now for 000s of miles with the new clips and never had another falling off experience.
It might be worth considering upgrading your clips before discarding your panniers as there can often be an occasion on tour where it can be advantageous to be able to lift and carry your laden bike for a short distance rather than carry the bike then have to go back for the trailer. I'm a little dubious regarding retrieval of items from a trailer, with panniers you can divide your luggage so that eg camping stuff, clothing , food and cooking equipment, maps and paperwork, are stored separately in different panniers.
It always seems to me more convenient to have four panniers with some room to spare rather than two tightly packed.

Edit....Too late, I missed your last post when reading the thread. :D

Abu Milhem
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Re: Trailer or Panniers

Postby Abu Milhem » 2 Jul 2012, 2:06pm

I have used a Bob Yak and panniers on a tandem on different camping tours and firmly prefer the trailer - makes life simpler. It also works on trains. The trailer with the yoke folded back fits between pairs of facing seats - even on commuter trains. Even easier if you take the wheel out and the bag up on the luggage rack - that thing that many passengers now seem to have forgotten exists. If you want to borrow the Yak (with bag) for a trial then you are welcome to collect, borrow and return it anytime between now and the end of August but I am in East Anglia - PM if interested. You will also have to invest in a BOB QR skewer as I only use BOB Nutz on my machines and I have no idea where the original is.

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Re: Trailer or Panniers

Postby ericonabike » 8 Jul 2012, 10:27pm

My Carry Freedom City is in Leicester if anyone would like a trial run with one. Great piece of kit IMHO.
Motorists' mantra: Cyclists must obey the law and the Highway Code AT ALL TIMES. Unless their doing so would HOLD ME UP.