Time to upgrade the bicycle trailer.
I currently have a Chariot 2-children trailer: a 2000 model, which is fairly close to this. The kids have outgrown it and for the last 2 years I have used it only for cargo. However, the fabric is on its last days: there are a few really worn areas in the floor (mostly from children's feet) and the plastic of the front door is held by lots of clear tape. Therefore I am looking at a few alternatives:
1. Repairing the floor with a few patches and lining it with Coroplast, and replacing completely the front door by new fabric.
2. Buying the "Classic Cargo Kit", which simply is a professional version of the above repair work. Nicer looking and more resistant than the above.
Here are my issues with the current trailer; most of them won't be addressed with the two options I just described:
- The trailer is large and high, but it has a fixed roof and a structural member going from side to side at the top. With the door configuration, it is not a problem to carry groceries, but getting bulky items in the trailer is a challenge. And it is next to impossible to carry a bike in the trailer.
- The floor sags a lot, partly by design (foot cage), partly due to wear. Not too much of a problem with cans, but it is hard to carry potted plants and not get a spill.
- It's a 32" wide relatively high trailer: lots of wind resistance and a bit bulky to manoeuvre (especially to drive it into the house).
- Wheel bearing cartridges will need to be replaced soon: a minor expense, but still something to consider. Even though they spin freely, the wheels definitely cause some major drag, robbing me of at least 2-3 km/h under the best circumstances.
- The towing bar (the piece that goes from the trailer body to the hitch) tends to spring a bit: a little like a "Slinky" effect. If I accelerate unevenly, hit a pothole, a speedbump, etc., I feel that the trailer wants to spring forward and backward as if the arm flexes under the load. I start feeling it when the trailer has more than 50 lb and it's definitely an annoying problem with more than 80 lb in it. I haven't seen any cracks in the bar so it is not a safety issue, but I would find it *very* annoying if I were to ride 50 or 100 km fully loaded.
I wonder to which extent these issues would be addressed by a new trailer.
3. Buying another trailer such as the Burley Flatbed, the Wike Cargo trailer or the CargoTrailer. However, I think I might be buying a too heavy trailer for my needs.
4. Buying a Burley Nomad.
Probably my preferred option.
I have been able to see it for real in one store but it was up in the air. I have been able to see the traditional hitch and I tried it with my single, but not (yet) with my tandem or trailercycle. I must add that I am NOT considering a single wheel trailer because of stability issues under heavy load and because I also want to hitch it behind the Piccolo once in a while.
Here are my questions:
- Anyone has used both the regular hitch and the alternative hitch? Is it worth the extra money?
- One issue I have with the alternative hitch is that it is offered in two lengths: 126 to 135 mm, and 140 to 160 mm. As I have a tandem and a single, is it possible to use the longer hitch with regular bikes or do the lack of threads prevent it?
- Is the regular hitch hard on paint?
- Does the regular hitch work with an Arai drum brake?
- With the regular hitch (but not the alternative one), they post a warning for below 0 C (32 F) temperatures. Anyone with cold-weather experience here?
- When the bicycle leans to the side, where does the twisting occur? Does the tow bar swivel where it attaches to the Nomad or is it the rubber elastometer that twists severely? (The Chariot Carrier uses a ball joint, so the ball rotates in the hitch receiver).
- Is it easy to attach to the bike and detach from it when fully loaded (i.e. getting the grocery inside the house)?
I read that the front and rear may be folded if necessary. Is it a quick job or a chore?
I know it has a fabric floor, not a plywood floor. If I carry 50-75 lb of stuff like a full load of preserves, canned tomatoes, potted plants, etc., does the floor remain level or does it sag noticeably?
Once I remove the front wheel, how easy is it to fit an un-boxed bicycle in it? I am aware that I'll have to wrap the fork ends to prevent them from going through the fabric.
As I looked through the Nomad documentation (page 8), I see there is a horizontal cross member (or roll bar).
Is it necessary to have that cross member at all times? Is it easy to install and remove?
In other words, if I carry a bulky load, can I remove it without having the trailer fall apart, and is it an ordeal to remove?
It seems that the cover can be installed and removed quickly. Right?
Any long-term issues, in terms of drag, maintenance or durability?
Anyone has attached taillights or done other customization to it?