I bought the In-Step "Take Two"
at Target for $80 on sale.
I looked at Burley and Chariot first. I was very impressed by Chariot in particular and if I earned a lot more money I would have grabbed the Cougar. I didn't actually test ride the Chariot with the kid, but the features blow away all
of the competition IMHO.
I chose the In-Step because it was soooooo cheap. I figured I could sell it for $30-$40 based on the number of people on craigslist looking for used trailers.
I am very glad I chose the cheap route. the boy loves the thing. He is 2 years old. He falls asleep in it. He reads his books. He shoots me with his super soaker. He laughs and laughs. I can't imagine that he would love the Chariot any more than the In-Step.
there are countless reasons to get a cheap trailer:
the quality is good for a department store cycling item. I'm a huge advocate of bike shops over discount chains when it comes to bikes, but the differences between the trailers isn't as great as the difference between bikes. Profesional assembly and adjustment isn't necessary with a trailer like with a bike.
He'll outgrow it in only a couple years no matter what trailer I get.
He isn't going to sit in it for more than ~30min or so at a time so we're not touring with it. I don't believe that he would want to sit in a fancy trailer any longer than a cheap one. Climate is the biggest factor for comfort right now and I didn't see air conditioning listed in the features of any trailers. The In-Step lets a nice breeze flow through the trailer (although I wish it was vented a bit better at the rear to reduce the parachute factor when riding into the wind).
It is surprisingly easy to tow. I ride a Cross Check with a Nexus 8 hub and I find myself cruising one gear lower than I would without the trailer on the flats, two gears lower on hills.
I don't think his mom would load less stuff in it if I bought a lighter trailer. the trailer is 30lb, kid about 30, and we haul around about 10-15 lb of stuff (kite, diaper bag, toys, books, water, snacks, etc. Total weight is around 70-80lb. If I bought a trailer that was 7lb lighter I'm only saving about 10% on weight and I'm not climbing any huge hills or trying to set acceleration records.
I stick to mostly well maintained residential streets and paths so there aren't a lot of bumps to contend with. He actually giggles when we do encounter bumps and sleeps through bumps when he's tired.
It is easy to fold/unfold and put in the car's trunk when necessary.
It is easy to connect/disconnect. the $80 includes a stroller kit and a bike arm. We have only used the stroller once, at the local zoo. It worked out just fine. It is a bit big for strolling in a store or such, but those places have carts anyhow. It fit the doorways and paths at the zoo both in and outdoors just fine.
I can't speak to resale of the in-step but I'm sure there is some aftermarket for it. the Burley De'Lites I found on Ebay sell for $250-$300 used. the Chariot Cougars sold for $50-$100 more. those things have high resale, but your still losing $150-$250 when you buy one (plus with little tikes you miss the layout of $500)
I'm glad I didn't spend $500 MORE on a Chariot. I think I might buy myself that joy-ride Electra Ghostrider cruiser I've been eyeing with the money I would have spent on the fancy trailer. You can never have too many bikes
Get the in-step trailer. You will have more fun for your $100 than you could ever imagine