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  1. #1
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    Need recommendations for kid's bike trailer

    I am looking for a bike trailer for our daughter who has just turned 1 year. I would love to have the Burley d'lite, but I'm not ready to spend $300-$400 on a bike trailer. I'd prefer to spend under $200.

    I would be pulling her nearly everyday on fairly flat gravel roads (for about 4 miles). We live in Minnesota and I would like a trailer that could be used in the Spring and Fall also so it would need to have some protection from the elements. I would like all openings to have at least a mesh covering so she can't throw socks, sippy cups, hats, etc. out the windows.

    I am mostly concerned about the trailer's suspension. I'm afraid that if I get a cheap trailer, it will create a very rough ride for her.

    I'd also like it to fit 1 or 2 children and have 5 point harnesses for both seats.

    Does anyone have any recommendations?

  2. #2
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    I did some web searching and picked up a Burley Solo on closeout for $199. Great trailer! You could also check Ebay for good deals on gently used ones.

  3. #3
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    We have an InStep Turbo Elite. It has been in daily use all this summer, taking my daughter to day camp. It has mesh and plastic windows and worked fine in the winter as well.

    It is cheap and rugged.

    Paul

  4. #4
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    I'm in the same boat. I don't want to spend $300-$400. I like the looks of the Avenir by Raleigh-lots of nice specs. There are some good deals on this trailer on the internet; however, I am uncertain of the seat and if it will allow for a helmet. Some trailers specifically say "recessed well for helmet." It appears this can be an issue of comfort for the child. I'll keep posting what I find.

  5. #5
    Senior Member oldskoolboarder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bessms
    I'm in the same boat. I don't want to spend $300-$400. I like the looks of the Avenir by Raleigh-lots of nice specs. There are some good deals on this trailer on the internet; however, I am uncertain of the seat and if it will allow for a helmet. Some trailers specifically say "recessed well for helmet." It appears this can be an issue of comfort for the child. I'll keep posting what I find.
    If you do some good searching you can find a used burley for under $200. I actually got a new 2003 from REI because the new models came in. Got it new for $279.

    Your best bet is craigslist, but you usually need to jump on it. Ebay is OK, most of the time overpriced. Here's a secret. Find some local mother's clubs, especially ones w/ mailing lists (posts or email). My wife is on a few and a few times a month, some people are trying to sell theirs because their kids are too big. You're bound to find some ambitious parents who thought that the trailer would work but somehow didn't.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldskoolboarder
    Your best bet is craigslist, but you usually need to jump on it.
    I'm new to this message board. What is craigslist?

  7. #7
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    ...craigslist.org... got it!

    I am interested in opinions about different brands/models of bike trailers. I live almost 3 hours from a large city so I can't do a lot of price checking/waiting for store sales.

  8. #8
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    I have a Burley, but several friends of mine up in Canada have these trailers and swear by them:
    http://www.wicycle.com/faqs.htm

    I originally had a Bell RhodeGear (inexpensive) trailer. When my son was 1-1/2, he kicked out the side panel and it made contact with the spokes, ripping a hole in the side of the trailer. Thankfully he wasn't hurt but I never used the cheapie trailer again after that.

  9. #9
    Senior Member phinney's Avatar
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    If one child then a used older model Burley Solo would be a great choice. It was recently redesigned so that should help bring down the price on the older model used ones. The new one is supposed to fold easier.

    The d'lite is much harder to pull (air drag) and wider but if you have to seat two kids...

  10. #10
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    We have a Chariot Cougar 2 that we bought from REI. I realize that it's above the price range mentioned here, actually it's in the same range as a Burley. However, I put off getting one for over a year because I was too stubborn to pay for a premium trailer, yet I wasn't really happy with the cheaper ones.

    Anyways, I am THRILLED with the purchase for several reasons. It's well-made and feels very solid. It has an adjustable suspension that you dial-in based on the weight of your kid/kids - works great. Also, it has two stroller wheels that attach to the front corners of the trailer if you want to use it in stroller mode - I find this vastly superior to the arm & single wheel of the Burley and others. I have people ask me about the Chariot all the time when when we're using it as a stroller just because of the dual front wheels.

    Oh yeah, I've been pulling our two boys in it all summer and it still works like new. We have a 3 1/2 year old who weighs about 39lbs and a 1 1/2 year old who weighs about 35lbs. (yeah, big kids I know) If the Chariot can hold up to the abuse of my two boys, I think it can stand up to anything.

    In other news, I'm building leg strength like crazy pulling ~100lbs of boy and trailer behind me.

    [/SHILL OFF]

  11. #11
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Zuke, I just bought a Chariot this week. I haven't used it as a bike trailer yet, just as a jogger. I'm very happy with it so far. It rolls very easy, it has lots of options for weather/ventilation, and the kids fell asleep within the first mile so I know they're comfortable.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  12. #12
    Senior Member geoduck's Avatar
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    My opinion is that you get what you pay for, and quality is paramount. If you are really going to be using the trailer every day, do yourself and your kids a favor and dig deep for a good one. A quality trailer will have improved safety features (aircraft grade aluminum, strong welds, safety harness that actually works if you roll the thing), comfort features (bug/rain/sun screens), and other smart stuff (extra storage, easy folding, etc.) It will hold up well, be more comfortable for your kids, and retain a greater resale value. IMO, what you want is either a Burley or a Chariot.

    I'm using a borrowed Burley that is about 12 years old, and besides a couple of rips and some mildew, the thing is still bomber. The harness system is ridiculously out of date, though. I'm waiting for a gently-used replacement to come up on craigslist.

    Really, the cheaper imitators are pretty junky. Bite the bullet (a big bullet, I realize) and get a Burley. You will thank yourself every time you use it. And, when you want to sell it in 10 years, you will still be able to recoup half the original cost of the trailer.

  13. #13
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    I have an instep turbo elite as well, and have nothing but good things to say about it. I am not experienced with the "expensive" one's. We have had it for a couple years. I pull my two children, 30 and 25 pounds, without difficutly. It is quite sturdy, has nice screens and plastic "windows" for good ventilation or wind blockade, depending on the weather. Good luck.
    Pat

  14. #14
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    There are many options if you search the internet for bike trailers. I personally am averse to trailers that attach at the axel on one side of the rear stays (like the Burley). This places unusual stresses on the frame and makes controlling the bike hard at higher velocities attained on a downhill. I think that the best place to attach a trailer is at the seat post under your center of mass. Unfortunately, only a couple of brands do so. My own needs are a bit special as I have a special needs child who weighs about 60 pounds (full grown). I bought the Special Needs trailer made by Blue Sky Cycles, blueskycyclecarts.com. The quality and design are outstanding, and it will provide me service for years to come. My daughter loves cycling, it is one of our favorite things to do.

  15. #15
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    In a way, you are right: there are stresses induced on the left chainstay. However, the typical trailer has a load-carrying capacity of 100 lb and the load is fairly well balanced, so if you use it with a robust bike (i.e. city or touring bike), stresses on the frame won't be severe.

    However, there are two problems with the seatpost attachment:
    - trailer trying to twist the seatpost (I had that problem with a Trail-a-Bike that I kept 1 year);
    - when you turn, the trailer tries to push the bike sideways (I have read it on http://bikesatwork.com and it makes sense, but I never pulled that much load).
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  16. #16
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    I have a Yakima "Tot Rod" that I use to pull two kids (3 and 1 year old) 3-4 times a week. I'm very happy with it. The Burley D'Lite is fabulous, but I think this is close enough for my purposes. I bought my Yak for $240, including a kit to convert it to a 3 wheeled jogging stroller. My understanding is Yakima is getting out of this market, so I don't know if they're still available.

    The Yak is well made, light and sturdy, and I've used it as a double stroller with the jogging kit often. Compared to the '04 Burley D'Lite, the Yak is (i) made in China, not Oregon, and certainly not by copperative employee/owners, (ii) has no hand brake for the jogging kit, while the D'Lite does (a big issue if you jog, but I just walk with it in this mode), (iii) does not have the 'helmet pocket' for the kids, but mine haven't complained, and (iv) doesn't have the adjustable shade screens of the D'Lite (but does have a screen and a plastic bubble).

    Good luck.

  17. #17
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    I like the $100 Nashbar trailer. I've used it for one summer of regular use, to pull two boys, 3 1/2 and 2 years old. The chainstay attachment works, there is both a mesh cover and a rain sheild for the passengers. The two seats are very close together, and there are five point harnesses. It does not have supension, or outer guards on the wheels. It collapses and assembles nicely. It was in daily use taking the kids and beach gear to the beach this summer, and on weekend use on 2-6 hour day trip rides.

    It was hosed down after almost every road ride, and it never mildewed.

  18. #18
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Chariot owners: Has anyone had any problems with stress or fatigue to the bike frame with your trailer?

    The Chariot attaches via a coupling that attaches to the bike's rear axel with a QR that they provide. It seems to me that this would be one of the strongest points of the bike but I am still nervous since the bike I intend to use is an aluminum/CR racing frame. I've been looking for an excuse to get a hardtail MTB and I think this might be my opportunity.

    What say you?
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  19. #19
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    My boys weigh 42 & 38 pounds. I pull them in our Chariot with a Trek 790 (cro-moly frame). I've noticed no signs of stress on the frame at all. I don't worry about it at all. The the trailer is pretty well balanced and doesn't put as much stress on the trailer-to-bike coupling as you might think. Besides, the trailer doesn't really attach to the frame, like you said, it attaches to the QR skewer.

  20. #20
    descachalumbrado grimdog's Avatar
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    After considering many options, I settled on the Burley Solo. Not the cheapest, but in terms of reputation, durability, and resale value, it seemed like a good choice.

    On this thread some have wondered about whether the attachment system puts too much stress on the rear triangle, or suggested that this system caused poor handling. As to the stress issue, I don't pull the trailer with my road bike. I'm a little nervous about the alum/carbon fiber rear triangle. However, with my CroMo MTB, I have no concerns.

    As for handling, I couldn't be happier. Climbing, cornering, descending, smooth pavement or bumps, whatever I throw at it, the Burley seems to handle everything extremely well. I find myself looking back to make sure the trailer is still with me.

  21. #21
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    I am considering purchasing either the Burley Solo or the Chariot with the jogger conversion kit. What features should I look at when comparing the two trailers?
    kj

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwellen
    I am looking for a bike trailer for our daughter who has just turned 1 year. I would love to have the Burley d'lite, but I'm not ready to spend $300-$400 on a bike trailer. I'd prefer to spend under $200.

    I would be pulling her nearly everyday on fairly flat gravel roads (for about 4 miles). We live in Minnesota and I would like a trailer that could be used in the Spring and Fall also so it would need to have some protection from the elements. I would like all openings to have at least a mesh covering so she can't throw socks, sippy cups, hats, etc. out the windows.

    I am mostly concerned about the trailer's suspension. I'm afraid that if I get a cheap trailer, it will create a very rough ride for her.

    I'd also like it to fit 1 or 2 children and have 5 point harnesses for both seats.

    Does anyone have any recommendations?

    I have this trailer . I have used it pretty extensively and find it very suitable. I was like you and didn't want to spend too much on a bike trailer. I picked this one up at Target for around $175.

    Last edited by Portis; 11-06-04 at 05:15 PM.

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