Which trailer?

Specifically for cycle touring subjects & questions
fiendoidel
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Which trailer?

Postby fiendoidel » 16 Apr 2018, 3:15pm

Hello

I am planning to take the family on a camping holiday by bike. I am fairly certain that panniers alone are not going to cut it, even if we pack very lightly and so I am looking at getting a trailer.

I anticipate that the riding will involve a mix of quiet-road tarmac, cycle paths, tow paths and dirt tracks (but no 'proper' offroading). I imagine that the cycle paths and tow paths will have various obstacles such as kissing gates, bollards etc which might make a narrower single-wheeled system a better bet than a wider two-wheeled version, but I may be wrong on this (anyone able to comment?).

In the single-wheeled camp I am looking at the Bob Yaks, the Bob Ibex and the Adventure CT1. For two wheeled systems, I have seen the Carry Freedom and the Burley Nomad.

Does anyone have any first-hand experience of the above bike trailers and, if so, could you share your experiences / advice?

Are there any other makes that I should be looking at?

Any makes that I should definitely avoid?

Finally, does anyone have a trailer in their shed that they don't want / need anymore and that they would like to sell?

In case it is an issue, I would ideally want the trailer to be compatible with a selection of bikes - specifically an old MTD (26" rim brakes), a road bike (700c rim brakes), and a CX bike (700c disk brakes)

Many thanks for any advice.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Which trailer?

Postby Tangled Metal » 16 Apr 2018, 4:24pm

How about this one? Apparently it's a very good touring trailer make from Switzerland IIRC. Weber hitch too which is the best trailer hitch so I've been told.

https://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/RECUMBENT-OR-BIKE-OR-CYCLE-TRAILER-MADE-BY-VITELLI-A-HIGHLY-REGARDED-DESIGN-/123048493768?_mwBanner=1

I have a Burley child trailer and it's a good two wheeled trailer with a good hitch. Cheap to get a second hitch for your partner to take a turn towing. The child trailers and luggage trailers share similar hitch and towing arm. IIRC 16" wheels. The vitelli has 20" wheels which are a more common wheel size to get decent tyres for (IIRC Brompton bikes use this size).

I've toured with the adventure single wheel trailer. Once! Never again. If you load it up I found that it makes your whole bike really unstable. It took me half an hour to feel safe with it attached. Since I was on holiday and had no choice I had to stick with it. At one point we nearly gave up. I suspect we overloaded it but tbh we didn't have too much. If we both had the ability to take front panniers I doubt we'd have needed it. So it couldn't be that overloaded.

So IMHO avoid single wheel trailers or literally put very light kit in it. As in a lot less than the claimed maximum load. Two wheeled or reduce your weight and go without a trailer if that's even possible with a family.

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sabrutat
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Re: Which trailer?

Postby sabrutat » 16 Apr 2018, 4:50pm

I'd agree with Tangled Metal, but only to a certain extent; I've toured over 10,000 miles with a single wheel trailer. I started out with the cheap BOB knock-offs from ebay, and went through two of them before buying a decent mid-range replacement from a now defunct German (I believe) company that's still going strong. They handle well, even barely noticeably on the flat, but add some 'fun' to hills and mountains. But the way you load them makes all the difference.

I use panniers too (I tour with more stuff than most), and put the heaviest stuff either in the panniers or at the front and bottom of the trailer. If you pack weight too high, or too near the back, that's when you get handling issues, especially dangerous fish-tailing down hills. I've had some close calls over the years when I've packed a little lackadaisically!

Single wheels are also, I think, far superior on narrow canal paths and such, as the rear wheel tracks your bike wheels. Two wheeled trailers will bounce around all over the place unless the track is wide enough to accommodate them. They're also easier to navigate through the various anti-motorcycle gates you see. Different parts of the country have different designs, but the most common is probably the bottle-shaped barrier, which aren't a problem for the single wheels. Mind you, recently I have noticed in many places a lot of the vehicle gates are now left open to accommodate the two-wheeled child trailers which I think are becoming more common on cycle routes. Someone must have complained.

Most single wheelers come with the skewers you need for all types of bike, but you might want to check. Plus, we've had issues with the quality of workmanship on the cheap trailer skewers, so have discovered all kinds of workarounds and whatnot on this thread from a few years ago:

https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=77175

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b1ke
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Re: Which trailer?

Postby b1ke » 16 Apr 2018, 5:41pm

I used a Carry Freedom when I worked as a courier. Nothing negative to say apart from take the wheels off when storing. Otherwise the axles can seize.

Other than that, they're great. Light weight, sealed bearings, durable and versatile. Bungee on a dry bag, box or whatever suits.
http://www.farewellburt.wordpress.com - Europe on a Tandem....
http://www.thespokeandwords.wordpress.com - West Africa on a Tandem....

mercalia
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Re: Which trailer?

Postby mercalia » 16 Apr 2018, 5:54pm

goto the too good to lose section at the top of the technical forum

https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=64417

a few discusions of trailers there in the trailler secttion

the collected wisdom on trailers

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Cunobelin
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Re: Which trailer?

Postby Cunobelin » 16 Apr 2018, 6:14pm

I started off many years ago with a Burley trailer that I stripped out and used, it was big and bulky and so we graduated on to one of the early trailers, basically an "Action Maid" box bolted on to a chassis. The fitting was a yoke that was mounted to the frame with P clips.... somewhat wobbly and insecure

That was fine, but never secure, and in the meanwhile we were doing more touring, so a BoB Yak trailer was bought. It was superb and did everything that was asked for it for camping, it turned upside down and made a superb table.

Then came a couple of recumbent trikes which cannot take a single wheel trailer, and the Thorn tourers so we used the Carry Freedom and again it was faultless, apart from losing the rubber bungs onto wheels fairly quickly. It also had the advantage of being able to secure with a "Pacsafe" when in transit.

Here it is on the Thorn on Scotland

Image

However we still had occasional problems with trains that were getting funny about trailers, and even without the wheels and folded the guards would make it clear that trailers were on teh "naughty list"

For that reason we went for a Radical Cyclone trailer which is basically a holdall with yoke and wheels and entirely solved the problem with trains and made hotels easier as well. Seen here behind the Street Machine:

Image


I would recommend any of the modern ones, and they all do what they say on the box, handle well and carry fair bit of weight.

However I now have the ultimate family load bearing machine...


Image

mercalia
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Re: Which trailer?

Postby mercalia » 16 Apr 2018, 6:22pm

I hope that ia a pedelec :wink:

there is also the EXTRA WHEEL trailer

https://cycloscope.net/extrawheel-trailer-review-best-bike-touring

hamster
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Re: Which trailer?

Postby hamster » 16 Apr 2018, 7:11pm

I had a Burley Bee with the kids in it and also a shared Bob. Both were towed behind the tandem, with the Bee also regularly used behind my tourer.

The big issue with the Bob is that it rotates and the nose grounds past a certain angle. The Bee is a horror with poorly-installed squeeze points or single track.

I can't say that either was a clear winner (or loser) for me, more horses for courses.

fiendoidel
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Re: Which trailer?

Postby fiendoidel » 16 Apr 2018, 9:59pm

Thanks all for the detailed reply’s and for the pointer to the ‘trailer’ forum (which I am probably about to spend too long trawling through).

Unless I have read it all wrong, the take-home message is that for narrow (tow)paths / cycle path gates, a single wheel version might be better. Of the the two people who have had Yaks both liked them. The Adventure owner hated it. I wonder whether this is personal preference or whether it’s a design issue with the Adventure - anyone had both?

I am going to do a recce of the part of my planned route that gives me the most concern regarding width - I.e the bit that is leading me towards a single wheel (Brecon Monmouth canal towpath) and come to a judgement.

I would welcome any further opinions, but thanks all for the help so far.

mercalia
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Re: Which trailer?

Postby mercalia » 16 Apr 2018, 10:06pm

The one advantage of the cheap Yakalikes from China is that they will collapse for taking on a train, the real BobYaks wont. Also a 2 wheel trailer and bike will stand on its own where as the single wheel trailers wont and are a bit of a **** when stationary

Tangled Metal
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Re: Which trailer?

Postby Tangled Metal » 16 Apr 2018, 11:43pm

Bob Yak and adventure trailers look almost the same in use. My issue is it doesn't just track your bike, it actually affects handling. It's like a poorly installed tagalong or trailgator. Any tilt in your bike due to your pedalling action results in a shift in weight on the trailer ime which then feeds back into your handling of the bike. Setting off, stopping and handling the bike at any slow speed such as when you're walking your bike before setting off.

If your bike is upright so is your adventure / yak. There is no way of laying your bike down but having the trailer vertical for loading. Not really an issue. It's the feel of the trailer that's the real issue I had.

BTW I loaded heavy low down in the trailer and to the front. Indeed a significant of my total load weight was on the pannier rack of the bike.

As far as tracking, riding on paths, etc. IME two wheeled trailers are perfectly acceptable for most riding you'll do. My Burley D-lite child trailer managed a lot. I even took it on off road routes in the lakes with an 18 month old in it. He slept through the rough stuff too. Going up very steep off road, gravel paths and tracks was hard work. If you get your gearing wrong at the bottom you're simply walking uphill with bike and trailer. Back breaking no matter what your trailer choice.

I've never had much experience of pinch gates. I think I've only ridden through a handful ever. They don't seem to have them where I've ridden my bike. Is it really a big problem outside of the south east and big towns / cities?

mercalia
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Re: Which trailer?

Postby mercalia » 16 Apr 2018, 11:55pm

one further point bobyak type trailer share the weight between the trailer axle and the the rear wheel. 2 wheeled trailer its all on the trailer

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sabrutat
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Re: Which trailer?

Postby sabrutat » 19 Apr 2018, 8:03am

Tangled Metal wrote:IME two wheeled trailers are perfectly acceptable for most riding you'll do. My Burley D-lite child trailer managed a lot. I even took it on off road routes in the lakes with an 18 month old in it. He slept through the rough stuff too. Going up very steep off road, gravel paths and tracks was hard work. If you get your gearing wrong at the bottom you're simply walking uphill with bike and trailer. Back breaking no matter what your trailer choice.


Tell me about it! I've cursed some geography in my time...

Tangled Metal wrote:I've never had much experience of pinch gates. I think I've only ridden through a handful ever. They don't seem to have them where I've ridden my bike. Is it really a big problem outside of the south east and big towns / cities?


It's enough of a problem for me to begin formulating plans to murder entire planning departments. To be honest, I don't particularly mind the pinch gates, or the wider chicanes, it's the other wild and wonderful barriers, like this one, that put me in a throttling mood:

Image

Tangled Metal
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Re: Which trailer?

Postby Tangled Metal » 19 Apr 2018, 8:46am

I can only think of one local gate. It's like the photo with a padlocked gate and a pedestrian gateway to the side minus gate but a piece of concreted in scaffolding pipe in a low, wide U shape. Personally I just rode through the gap to the side of it and once with a child trailer lifted it over after the bike. No real problem.

I've ridden past those gates where they pinch in about head height (shoulder height for me). They're annoying when walking but on the bike I hunker down and just ride through below the pinch point. Luckily I only had a child on a followme-tandem. Easy with that.

They have one of those shoulder height pinch gates I pass through to take our kid swimming. When walking I find them annoying. I forgot to turn sideways once and got my shoulders almost wedged in the pinch point. I did the usual like if you trip or hit a lamppost. Extricate myself then look around to see if anyone spotted it. Then walk off like nothing had happened, ignoring damaged pride and a bit of a knock on one shoulder!

I do wonder why they have them round my way. The toerags who ride motorbikes on paths tend not to come this way preferring to ride their illegal machines (micro bikes and unlicensed scramblers) on the dodgy streets and back passages of their own patch. I don't think I've ever seen any kids on scramblers trying to ride them, ever.

fiendoidel
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Re: Which trailer?

Postby fiendoidel » 19 Apr 2018, 10:47am

Image

Plenty of these beasts on the cycle paths in my area - South Wales. Or perhaps there are just a few, but they are so annoying that it seems like there are more. It was this kind of 'bollard' that I was imagining a single wheeled trailer would be easier for, but looking at the photo maybe any type of trailer would be a struggle.

As predicted, I spent much too much time on the 'to good to lose' trailer posts. I mostly learned that Mike P (or was it F) is a big, big fan of Carry Freedom trailers!

Testing a friendly local bike shop owner's Adventure CT1 at lunchtime today. Not sure that Wiggle offer that service...