Your opinions on multipurpose children bike trailer - Chariot, Nordic Cab or ...?
I desperately need opinions from those who own bike trailers like Chariot (Cougar, CX, Captain XL) or Nordic Cab or anything similar.
We, parents of twins under half year, need a trailer that can be used for bike, strolling, jogging and cross country skiing. So far I am aware of only two companies that do such trailers, Chariot and Nordic Cab.
Chariots seem to be lighter and have suspension, Nordic Cab seems sturdier and cheeper. There are some interesting construction differences in both.
Please have a look at the list of the questions, I'd really appreciate if you give me some feedback.
- Are they big enough for two rather big children (say three year olds)?
- Can you fit a 6 month old baby inside comfortably?
- Is suspension really necessary (i know NC doesn't have it, but apparently suspension kit will be released this May)? Can just a very fat tire do a good job with two one year olds inside + luggage?
- Is the hard trailer's bottom a big advantage?
- How stable is it (especially the Nordic Cab)?
- How appropriate is it for a wet/snowy winter conditions?
- Is it really good for jogging, do you hit the back wall of the trailer when running?
- Is it appropriate for long distance self supported touring?
Finding a good trailer is extremely important for us, as we almost live on the bikes. Jogging/Skiing is vital too, especially now, when my wife (and i guess me too) need to recover from the birth.
Last edited by mikhalit; 03-22-11 at 04:35 AM.
No first hand experience with either.
Originally Posted by mikhalit
1. They are all kind of tight. I think the Chariot Cougar XL is the largest of all the trailers. Shoulder width being the most important measurement.
2. 6 month olds are tough to travel with because they don't have as much body control (head, righting self, etc.). The NC may be nicer in this regard because of the reclining seat. However, you will only need infant features for @ 6 more months.
3. Suspension is nice but I do not think necessary unless you will constantly be on potholed roads or rough rooted paths. Fat tires should be fine.
4. Stiff bottoms are nice so kids can stand on it getting in and out plus for hanging around.
5. They are all pretty stable. The danger with any of them is getting off camber such as one wheel going up a curb or over a rock. You can make some raise a wheel or flip if you whip a tight turn but you have bigger issues if you need to do that kind of maneuvering. Stability is good with all the trailers at this price point. I don't know of any at lower price points that have significantly worse stability.
6. They both look to seal pretty good. I'd try to find out more about how water proof they are. Cold can be insulated with blankets and such. Wet will make all of that harder and potentially more dangerous.
7. No idea. The cougar looks to have a shape conducive to jogging with the sloped rear.
8. They all handle about the same load (~100lbs). They can probably handle more. I've had mine comfortably at ~150lbs at speed and it is rated for 100lbs. I am not sure if these convert to cargo trailers if that is what you mean.
We only have one small child, so I can't talk to you about the features of the double trailer. We do, however, have the Chariot CX1 and use it as a cycling trailer 3/4 of the year and use the cross-country ski features (for ski and snowshoe) during the other 1/4. We do not use it for jogging so I do not know if your legs will hit the trailer as you run.
The suspension was an important feature for us as we researched trailers. The way I look at it is this: the more comfortable and happy my child is in the trailer, the more frequently and for longer durations will he put up with being housed back there (which means I get to work out longer). A happy baby makes for a happy momma. The suspension, the ventilation, the stability, and the overall safety of the Chariot were all selling features to us.
The trailer is not waterproof but is resistant to most incidental water/snow splash-ups. The only time the inside of our trailer got wet was when we cycled through a misjudged puddle that submerged the trailer and our feet.
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I have the nordic cab version:
>Are they big enough for two rather big children (say three year olds)?
We have a 5 year old and a three year old they now squeeze together!! when they were younger it was a perfect fit, only problem is now the kids elbows sometimes push the outside to the wheel
>Can you fit a 6 month old baby inside comfortably?
Yes but you need the soft carry seat I have one if your interested ?
>Is suspension really necessary (i know NC doesn't have it, but apparently suspension >kit will be released this May)? Can just a very fat tire do a good job with two one >year olds inside + luggage?
Tyres are fine no need for suspension the NC has a soft padded seat system inside anyhow the ids love it!
>Is the hard trailer's bottom a big advantage?
Makes it more like a rollercoaster ride for the kids and keeps there feet safe
>How stable is it (especially the Nordic Cab)?
Very I haven't managed to roll it yet!
as the weight is on the axle the low position makes for a fairly stable bit of kit
>How appropriate is it for a wet/snowy winter conditions?
Snow not sure but wet no problems at all there is weather proof flaps all around
>Is it really good for jogging, do you hit the back wall of the trailer when running?
I dont jog but its nice to push around town the handles are in a better position than and I guess as long as your stride is not to big!! its also more moveable because of the front wheel
>Is it appropriate for long distance self supported touring?
Without the children would be ideal for dumping your camping gear with children yo would be limited in storage space I guess count on a small shopping trips worth of space with two kids
Last edited by q-tip; 03-23-11 at 08:33 AM.
Reason: forgot to mention I was talking about nordic cab!
We have 4 kids, and we own 2 of the XL Chariots. We love them, and I think they would be perfect for what you need them for.
1. We can fit our 5 year old and our 3 year old in one at the same time if needed. They get to be close, but they are fine. Our 3 year old and 2 year old fit together fine, and we have even had our 5 & 7 year old boys in one together and they were fine.
2. I think they say to wait until the baby is 1 year old (neck strength) but we purchased the baby/neck support for the chariot and biked from the time they were 3 months old. Although we did not do long or bumpy rides until their necks were stronger. We actually believe that this helped them develop their strength. (also highly recommend a bumbo chair to help them get strong fast)
3. We set our suspension and never really think about it.
4. Never seen a Nordic cab to comment on it, but we have not had any problems with out bottoms.
5. incredibly stable, I've hit some rough spots on the bike, and it's never even come close to tipping
6. We use the stroller feature on the snow some, but we don't usually use it in snow. I would imagine the ski feature works well in the snow, but have not used that.
7. I've used it for running some, and never had a problem. It has a tether strap, so I often push it ahead to the end of the strap then catch up to it. Most of our use is just walking or biking though, as I rarely take the kids with when I run.
8. I would imagine it would work for a tour, but probably not as well as the trailers made for that. I use mine to haul my computer and other things to work when I commute, as well as some grocery shopping trips, but I have never used it for touring. It works well for groceries, but I'm not sure how much stuff it would hold for touring.
The chariot XL's are an investment for sure, but one we would do over again. Our's get hours of use every week and have stood up for over 5 years, with no problems. I couldn't recommend them more highly. If you have any questions about them, feel free to pm me, as I would love to help.
Last edited by scottguhlke; 03-26-11 at 08:04 PM.
Thank you all for replies! I guess we will go for Cougar as it's more convenient for running and a bit lighter.
There is a Norwegian forum where people gave nice feedback on their CX's and Nordic Cabs, very worth reading if you can't make a decision. This is the page, scroll all the way down to see the part of discussion in English.
Also, i was in contact with NC Germany, they told that this May a suspension system for NC will come out, and will fit all the models back to 1992.