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Old 05-09-02, 11:29 AM   #1
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B.O.B. Yak Plus.

There have been quite a few topics regarding using panniers for transporting gear on a self contained ride or tour. But has anyone ever used a trailer? I'm recently in the process of purchasing a B.O.B. Yak Plus trailer from my LBS. It will be towed using my Vision R40. With the bike and trailer combined it will be over 10 feet long. The trailer is designed to haul 75 pounds of weight. I will never need more then that and more the likely a lot less. I can put panniers on my Vision. Even on the front despite the 20" wheel. But after considering it I figured out that a trailer is best with a recumbent because you can haul more if you need to.

Anyone else ever use any of the B.O.B. trailers? Likes dislikes about them? Pros and cons of using a trailer versus panniers?

Your opinions, thoughts, and suggestions please.
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Old 05-09-02, 02:58 PM   #2
Gus Riley
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We use a YAK with our tandem. It pulls nicely. We don't notice it until we hit the hills. We plan to pull it when we cross the US of A. We also plan on using half a bike of panniers, we just haven't decided front or back yet. I'm leaning toward aft mounted panniers. On a tandem it isn't such a big deal front or aft.
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Old 05-09-02, 03:49 PM   #3
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i have wondered about the trailers.. i can see if you needed to haul some serious stuff and have no but other than a long trip.. like the one across the u.s. why would you want to be pulling all that weight?.. just curious.
my friend has one but she takes 3 and four day trips.. camping etc.:confused:
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Old 05-09-02, 05:08 PM   #4
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I just pulled a BOB trailer behind a TourEasy recumbent for about 1500 miles. (I was on my way across the country until I got some serious food poisoning. I ended up taking an extended break, and I'll be back on the road in a couple weeks. Long story...)

Anyhow, I really like the BOB for a long haul. It tracks really well - I didn't really have to adjust my riding to the trailer, other than slowing down up the hills, but that would happen however you pulled the extra weight. It's very stable too. Before I started the trip, I tried panniers on my TourEasy and I could feel the entire frame flexing. On the other hand, my bike is rock steady with the trailer, even going 35 mph down steep, curvy hills in the Appalachians. I wouldn't want to make a sudden sharp turn on a fast downhill, but under normal circumstances it works great.

The trailer is also extremely easy to remove. I sometimes found that I would be camping just a little ways from a restaurant, and I could easily unhook at the campsite and ride into town for a meal.

A couple downsides: The BOB comes with a big waterproof duffel bag. It really is waterproof, but it's a pain to get things in and out of. The duffel's roll-top closure is awkward to open and close when the bag is in the trailer. I packed my stuff in separated smaller bags inside the duffel so that I wouldn't have to search around through that giant bag. Also, I used a rack trunk for various things I would need during the day. Panniers, especially with multiple compartments, are probably easier to access your junk.

Another problem (not major) is that the TourEasy/BOB combination is loooong. I don't notice it while riding, but when I pull up to a restaurant or convenience store, it's sometimes tricky to find a parking spot. I often need to hunt around to find enough outside wall space so that I don't block a door or crush a window.
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Old 05-10-02, 04:39 AM   #5
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my experience agrees with almost all of what Lost Marble said...

also, search the forum, b/c i know some months ago this topic was covered and i wrote a long review of the pros and cons of BOB vs panniers, plus others made good comment too...

i'll try and summarize shortly here:

trailer is great!
* rides wonderful, stable and safe even going fast downhill, less wind resitance than panniers - you hardly even notice it's there until a hill comes (and then you notice the weight, not the trailer per say) - you have to learn how best to pack the weight for fast downhills - on tour i felt safe going 50mph downhill with 40lbs while my friend with panniers was all over the brakes at 35mph
* easily detachable in a few seconds and you can stow your trailer somewhere safe and do a day or rec. tour or MTB ride w/o unloading all your paniers and racks and stuff
* for MTBing the trailer tracks great - i've down serious singletrack downhills with the trailer on trails w/ small drops where some rec riders were walking their bikes downhill b/c it was so technical - obviously uphill is harder if you carry weight, but downhill and tight singletrack is UNBELIEVABLY good (just don't crash!)
* low wind profile so REALLY nice in comparison to panniers when the wind is strong
* less force and pressure on bike frame and wheels (although i did brake a lot of light-weight racing type triple-butted rear spokes until i replaced them with stronger touring-type spokes)

* trailer/bike is long and a pain to 'walk' through pedestrain areas or your hotel, but OK except when you stop and want to load your bike in a train or lock it on a normal bike rack
* as Blue Marble said, there's only 1 bag, so you need you own system to locate stuff - panniers have the advantage 'item x is in left-front pannier, outer pocket'
* i often got charged extra on trains or whatever when panniers can be removed and count as 'baggage'
* it encourages you to carry TOO MUCH stuff for a tour - don't fill it up just b/c you can!

in the end panniers vs. trailer is a personal choice, but for a recumbent where (i guess) full panniers is harder to achieve, the BOB should be the better choice

i am 100% satisfied with mine!
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