I acquired a D'lite yesterday, i am the third owner hand (6 to 9 years old) for about US $ 77. I always wanted a really good trailer. But I never bought one because the best ones seemed crazy expensive. I had started on building one but then this one came along. I thought i'd share my experience with Burley and BOB's so far.
The Burley i bought was cheap (the new price is pretty darn high) because the people were cool, i explained my financial situation and because the top canvas was pretty battered. There is only a small tear and it still works fine but whether it will hold up for another 4 months or 4 years is very hard to say.
So i went to pick up the trailer with my Twenty. The first positive surprise was that the attachment system (a type of adjustable clamp that does not damage the paint) fit just fine on my Twenty! Rack up some more point for the Twenty and it's rather traditional geometry/back triangle, also rack up some points for Burley's patented "hitch".
I take off and it's like i am not towing anything at all! Crazy! When i was checking out the burley i already noticed it was crazy light for any trailer especially one so roomy. See the specs on line to see what i mean. Biking up and off hills, biking close to sidewalks and up them, no problem what so ever. The spacing between the two axles is just optimal for me, a wide wheel base yet not so wide it will be difficult to manage in urban areas. The two 20 inch wheel design is excellent as well. Sidewalks are taken so easily and rattle free, amazing. I inspected the wheels and they look bombproof, lots of pretty thick rustproof spokes, great Sachs axles (no play or grinding whatsoever despite the previous owners towing two kids and shopping very regular for years) and a quick release to easily collapse and store the trailer. Dropouts are Alu but thick and solid.
Later i threw in my full Ortlieb style Courier bag (about 10 Kilos i am guessing) and i still felt like i was almost not towing anything. I could fit about another 4 to 7 ortliebs in terms of volume.
I do have some experience with the other contender to the Trailer Crown, the Bob. After both my experiences i have to say: NO CONTEST! The Yak is a great product to be sure but it falls short (in comparison and for my needs!) on the following counts:
1. Somewhat odd small wheel and tire size. 16 inch can be hard to get a hold off (especially on Tour) though having only one wheel does have advantages as well of course.
2. Heavy! I am usually all for using Chromo but in this case it makes the Bob heavy compared to the Burley if one factors in size. Both seem to last very long so this is a non issue.
3. Less multi functional. The burley can tow crazy freights with two kids at the same time and be used as a great touring trailer. Bob has way less capacity, can't safely transport even one kid but is also good for touring. Oh yeh, with an attachment the Burley converts to a very good Stroller than can be used for jogging or anything else, Bob will expect you to buy an entire new product if you want a stroller.
4. Price, The Burley i have be somewhat more expensive than the also expensive Bob but a model that is comparable to the Burley in all aspects (see 3) is about the same price. A smaller model would probably be a lot more suitable for touring, Burley has many models so there is one to suit almost every need.
5. Bob doesn't fold/collapse to a small package! Burley folds pretty small and damn quick. If you take a half an hour for total dissasembly it becomes very small. Burley comes standard with very a rain resistent "canvas" the Bob has an optional 'Dry Sack' at some expense.
6. The feel when you are towing it. The Bob Yak was by no means bad but i did feel way more torsional & pulling forces and the bumps of the road with it. I think this is inherent to it's small one wheel design and the narrow swivel arm and attachement system. The Bob Ibex model may do better than the Yak in these respects though i very much doubt it will be as good as the Burley. But it may not be too fair a comparison as i still have to tow the Burley with a real heavy load (will do so today i think). Still the former owner was a small woman and she towed two heavy kids. She said she didn't have to strain to do this.
I have taken the canvas of the Burley, for a couple of reasons. I wanted to get very acquinted with it's construction and learn how it it comes apart. I also wanted to save the canvas (i think the sun may affect it even though it takes many years to fail i am guessing) for applications when i really need it (touring, towing kids) and because i want to mount some collapsible 'market crates'. These are the rather large plastic crates that are often used to move and sometimes display produce. With some tinkering i can fit two (no platform needed) which means i can then stack some more on top. I actually use these crates to store about 65 % of my belongings so in theory i could use to the Burley to move house with some luck and effort. I am also mounting the crates to make the Burley look more ghetto so i won't get ripped off (unlikely but i already would hate to do without it.) I could get a new canvas from Burley for about 60 Euro's. I may do this or i may have the one i have patched.
I might update once i have had more use of the Burley, possibly post some pictures. But, who knows maybe it could fail tomorrow, though i doubt it very much. I am not worried in any event, i gather Burley (As well as BOB!) is renowned for it's excellent customer service, even if i am not the original buyer i hope they will help me out of ever the need is there.
I love the look of the Burley with my Twenty, they are both about the same size in length, they have the same size of wheels and when attached the swing arm is completely level. If any other folder users gets a trailer i'd make very sure it and the hitch works well with the geometry and such. However both Burley and Bob have a variety of hitches that fit up to 90% of bikes ik think, some work with any geometry as long as you have a standard size quick release type axle (this is the one i used with the Bob). But i by far prefer the hitch i have. It mounts or comes undone very rapidly. But it is nicer than the quick release variety because additionally there are no extra bits you have to attach to your frame in order to use it, it requires no minor modifications of axle or anything else and it should mount on lots of different bikes which is great when touring for example.
Any downsides? Well no not as such, but one thing that has me a little confused is that Burley makes it's wheels dished (see site) for added strength..?! But another great thing about the Burley D'lite (as oppossed to many other trailers is that it can fit any standard wheel, none of this one sided axle stuff).
So in conclusion i think i can say that in my experience so far the Burley is the very best trailer. I'd even go so far as saying it is so good that even the high new price is justified/worth it.
That is no mean statement coming from me as i am not rich at all and am very hard to impress when it comes to durability and good gear.
But i think the price is ok because it is made in the US, not using slave labor and you pay for what you get. I would always advise people to get what they need, the D'lite may be too big/wide for some. Not for me. In the case of trailers (and quite some other things) i feel that a large version can do everything that a small one can but the converse is not true. This is especially true because all Burley's are crazy (not stupid) light. In my case i also stand to save lots of cash. I am going to use the Burley today (and i hope way more often) to go buy lots of non perishables in bulk at the cheapest supermarket in town. Previously i could not as it was not viable to carry so much stuff in my backpack and it seemed a bit far to make frequent trips to. I am sure the improved self-reliance, mobility and transportation the Burley offers will have other financial benefits in my case.
Lastly, if you have kids, the Burley has very comfortable seating and many safety features standard, such as harness, four reflectors, a roll bar, a reinforcing slat on each sides etc. Happy Towing!