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Old 01-02-11, 10:17 PM   #1
PhilWinIL
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Bike Trailer Question

We just became grandparents Sept 2nd, and our daughter and son-in-law live about 2 miles away from the Katy Trail in St. Charles, MO.

I have been looking at trailers for young kids, and have seen prices all over the map! Are here any tips as far as how much to spend, brand preference, and specific features to look for? I'm just window-shopping now, but may pick up something later on this year.

Another question that comes to mind is, how long do kids last in these?

Thanks!
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Old 01-02-11, 11:06 PM   #2
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I am no expert but we did purchase a trailer that my 5 year old daughter just hated! The seat was this hammock-thing that kept her in an uncomfortable, hunched over position. And the "axle" ran right under the lowest part of the seat meaning if we went over a big bump, she would often "bottom out" against the metal bar.
Think we got it at Target for roughly $120, gray and red.

Got another for $20-30 more and it was much better. yellow and gray.

So, I guess my advice is try it, or look it over set up if possible before buying.
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Old 01-03-11, 12:56 AM   #3
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My daughter and son-in-law picked up a Burley on Craigslist. Patrick was comfortable in it until he began to ride on his own. Quality always pays for itself. Also I believe that this model had the optional jogging stroller setup (which ws never used).
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Old 01-03-11, 08:44 PM   #4
PhilWinIL
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I went to the LBS today and checked out the trailers they had on hand. The prices were around $250 for the lower end one and $450 for the higher end ones. The main difference I saw was the fabric that the seats were made of. The higher end ones had the moisture-wicking fabric on the seats, while the lower end model had more of a standard fabric. They all were 2 passenger models with the option of carrying only one in the center. With the exception of one, you had the option of using a front wheel for a jogging stroller on them all. We have plenty of time, but right now I'm leaning towards the $250 model. It uses more velcro than the higher-end models; they use more snaps. All of them have screening and heavy clear plastic to serve as protection from the wind, rain, etc.

I have seen lower priced ones (sub-$100) at department store web sites, but they look kind of questionable to me.

Our daughter remembers well taking a spill on a children's seat mounted on her mom's bike when she was young, so she has a rather dim view of those!
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Old 01-05-11, 08:10 PM   #5
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I got one off ebay, new for 120 shipped. It has a solid seat, easy hookup, and suspension on the axle. I like it and think it's an excellent buy. The front has either a screen, or screen and plastic to block the wind too. You can put a wheel on the front that comes with it and use it for a stroller. Works great out in the trails too (as a stroller). The front wheel does not pivot, it is in a fixed forward position. So to turn you have to take a little weight off by pushing down on the handle and turning. Not that big a deal, but it is annoying on pavement sometimes as it will wander one way or the other. I keep saying I'll make it a castor type wheel, but I use it more as a trailer than a stroller, not like it'll fit in stores or anything. See if I can find a link for the one we have..
http://cgi.ebay.com/AOSOM-RED-2IN1-B...item20b6421d52
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Old 01-06-11, 08:48 AM   #6
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PhilWinIL, I'm in a similar situation, both daughters had babies eight days apart in March. I'd been looking and decided to buy off CL. In early December I learned that both are pregnant again (May/June and June/July due dates) so I started looking for a bigger trailer. I'm looking at the trailers that can attach to the seatpost of my aluminum mountain bike primarily, but a good trailer that mounts to the chainstay isn't out of the running as I can attach it to my old Raleigh, which incidentally hauled the two new moms around when they were infants... sentimentally seems appropriate.

Brad
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Old 01-06-11, 05:47 PM   #7
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seat post hitch : http://cycletote.com/
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Old 01-06-11, 06:26 PM   #8
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Put the kids in them at the LBS if you can to see what style works then hit CL. These trailers get purchased and used for a short amount of time, often hardly used at all. You'll know what you need and save a bunch in the process. Then when they outgrow it, it goes back on CL!
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Old 01-06-11, 08:06 PM   #9
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I've owned a Chariot Cabriolet for a couple of years. The kids liked it quite a bit and fit both boys till they were 30lbs and 50lbs. There is a 100lb weight limit but it is too small for my oldest now at a tall 5.5 years old though he would happily still cram himself into it with his brother.

Burleys and Chariot hold their value well. When I bought mine there were literally none for sale on the used market in western Canada.

From what has been posted here and casual observation the higher end have more space in the carrier and are overall better constructed which if your are riding over 20km/hr is important from a passenger comfort and safety point of view.

You'll want a carrier with a ball/socket and quick release skewer mounting hardware. Some of the cheap ones have a mounting bracket that clamps to the frame.

The kids will probably out grow it around age 5 when they are riding themselves anyway. The quality brands will last at least that long and you'll get a good return on investment if you sell it.

BTW. I would have bought one at least three years earlier but I didn't know if the kids would ride in it. When I took them to a LBS to buy my wife a bike they crawled right in and had to be dragged out. It was a good sale day for the shop.
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Old 01-17-11, 12:36 PM   #10
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Chariot Chariot Chariot!!!! They are expensive, but hold their value extremely well, and do everything! My shop has sold just about every brand of trailer under the sun, and even though we carry less expensive trailers, we sell nearly 3 times more Chariots than every other brand combined! The difference in quality, child comfort, and ease of use is monumental. Most Chariot models can convert between cycling, strolling, jogging, offroad hiking, and cross country skiing in a matter of seconds. I have a Chariot Cougar, and use it as my primary stroller, because it works better than the combi we got as a baby shower gift. Also, I have been taking it out on the XC ski trails this winter, and it has been great. On the bike, it is superbe. All summer long, I bike down to our local farmers' market, put the stroller wheels down, and go. I've got plenty of room for all the produce I buy in back, and have an easy ride home with all our grocerys and Jr. in tow.

While the up front investment is high, you can see on craigslist and Ebay that these things really hold their value. I figure that by the time my son outgrows the chariot, I will be able to sell it for about $125 less than I put into it. Thats the same investment as a cheap Target brand trailer that would have no resale value and would've been a pain to use. The Chariot is worth every dime!
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Old 01-18-11, 01:39 PM   #11
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I just did research on trailers and purchased one. The higher priced trailers seemed to have more features, such as the ability to become a stroller, or to put ski's on, etc. I also noted that the higher end trailers had nicer looking restraints, though the safety standards/quality was the same. The lower end trailers seemed to weigh less than the higher end counter parts as well, probably because they lacked all the frills.

I ended up with the Burley Bee. $249, 19lbs and it rolls great. I actually don't feel the weight of it on the bike until I start going uphill or until about 16 mph. It's also extremely maneuverable, allowing me to turn around on the MUT with ease. You can also order the snuggler, which for legal reasons they say you can only use for jogging/strolling, but it looks ideal if the child is a bit small for the base restraints.
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