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  1. #1
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    Overwhelmed with child carriers!

    Iím a young father who is interested in getting a jogger or child carrier for my wife and I. Iíve been looking at products like the BOB joggers and the multi-use carriers like the Thule & Burley.
    Do any of you own products like this and if so what made you choose the one you did?
    Are there any companies you would recommend or that I should stay away from (in general)?
    Thereís so many options Iím just feeling a bit overwhelmed!

  2. #2
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    You have two basic choices: a seat that mounts on the bike or a trailer that goes behind the bike.

    The trailer has more drag and makes you significantly wider. But if the bike tips over, the trailer does not (I unfortunately have a fair bit of experience here. ).

    I bought a (no-longer-made) aluminum trailer from Amazon for $150ish several years ago. It worked fairly well.

    If I were to do it again, I'd definitely start on Craigslist. The biggest things I would look for is how well the wheels spin when loaded and how easy it is to get it to fold flat.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    I only read the thread title, but I can tell you women do not like it if you call them "child carriers".

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    Quote Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
    I only read the thread title, but I can tell you women do not like it if you call them "child carriers".
    I used that because that seems to be the actual product category name for the multifunctional trailers/carriages. On the Thule and Burley websites they call them "child carriers", and they morph between bike trailers and joggers/strollers. I'm not sure what else you would call that.

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    Only thing I'd add here is you didn't tell us the age of your kid. In other words, until you child can support himself/herself, you're limited to a bike-mounted seat or one of the enclosed trailers. You have to stick with that until they're developed enough to use a trailer that has a conventional bike seat (usually around 2). Our youngest is 19 months old and is quite tall for his age, yet he's not quite to the stage where we can move from seat to trailer. Trailers do have some drag, especially since many mount them on a hybrid that's already heavy, but you get used to that.

    This is another one of those areas where I don't think it's a bad idea to buy from a local bike shop if you're not really sure of what you want. You'll pay a bit more, but the advice you get may stop you from making a poor selection. I'm all for buying online when it makes sense, but for a specialized product such as this, buying the wrong thing could be an expensive and annoying goof.

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    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by youngdad98763 View Post
    I used that because that seems to be the actual product category name for the multifunctional trailers/carriages. On the Thule and Burley websites they call them "child carriers", and they morph between bike trailers and joggers/strollers. I'm not sure what else you would call that.
    Welcome to BF- You've just been Razzed.

    We have a Burley Bee that I use for the two smallest. It does add drag but it's well made, light and folds flat. I know they also make a convertable jogger that we skipped on as I don't jog.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

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    What made you go with the Burley compared the other trailers?

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    Daughter is about 6 months right now. I've read that you don't want to put them in a bike trailer until they are at least 1 or can "hold their head up on their own". It sounds like you are talking about a "ride along" trailer-cycle type deal. Have you owned an enclosed trailer before?

  9. #9
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by youngdad98763 View Post
    What made you go with the Burley compared the other trailers?
    Lightness, cost, availability and reputation.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  10. #10
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by youngdad98763 View Post
    Daughter is about 6 months right now. I've read that you don't want to put them in a bike trailer until they are at least 1 or can "hold their head up on their own". It sounds like you are talking about a "ride along" trailer-cycle type deal. Have you owned an enclosed trailer before?
    That and the risk of brain injury from vibration.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  11. #11
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
    Lightness, cost, availability and reputation.
    Because he had consistently bought his kids the absolutely coolest bikes I have ever seen kids on.

    Quote Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
    That and the risk of brain injury from vibration.
    Yes. Please wait until said child is at least a year. Smaller kids may be happier close to 18 months (my daughter was in this category).
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  12. #12
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    Thule Chariot hands down. Just a heads up that Thule didn't buy Chariot until 2011, so only the new ones will say "Thule" on them.

    We have a Bob Ironman that gets no use whatsoever. The Chariot does it all (we have the Cougar 1). We have the bike attachment, the regular stroller attachment (ie. two small wheels up front), and the jogging stroller attachment (fork with one large wheel up front). There is also a hiking and ski attachment.

    I, too, would recommend holding off until the child is closer to 1. We put our daughter in it at 15 months, and I felt that was about right.

    I bought our Chariot used off Craigslist and saved several hundred dollars. The thing had been used maybe 5 or 6 times. It had been sitting in a garage and was a little dusty, but has held up great for 3 years now.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by youngdad98763 View Post
    I’m a young father who is interested in getting a jogger or child carrier for my wife and I. I’ve been looking at products like the BOB joggers and the multi-use carriers like the Thule & Burley.
    Do any of you own products like this and if so what made you choose the one you did?
    Are there any companies you would recommend or that I should stay away from (in general)?
    There’s so many options I’m just feeling a bit overwhelmed!
    I have, and have used, a host a bike trailers and strollers, and can share a few thoughts.

    First, it's wise to really define your needs, i.e. how you'll use these things and where. For example, convertible trailers (i.e. bike trailers that convert to strollers and/or joggers) are quite big, and not really convenient for using as strollers around busy downtowns, tight restaurants and the like. My preference has been to use a dedicated trailer and toss in an umbrella stroller for that type of stuff, simply for the convenience. I'm talking something like the Chicco Capri, for example, which is pretty durable and easy to push.

    Big, honking, dedicated strollers, like the BOB Revolution, which I have, are nice if you're going on walks across varied terrain in all weather, or if it's a jogger, for actually jogging. They're unwieldy otherwise, and for smaller folk and smaller vehicles, they are a royal pain. All the size caveats I mentioned about convertible trailers applies to these as well.

    When it comes to trailers, dedicated or otherwise, the devil is in the details. Good ones are a joy to use; easy to adjust, nice features like rain covers, reclining seat backs, storage space and so on. I've never met a trailer that didn't haul, but some are just easier and nicer to use.

    I personally prefer spoked wheels as opposed to composite 'mag' types, the latter of which are found on BOB strollers. They can deform and have no way to true. I think spoked are lighter, more durable, and maintainable.

    So, you'll probably want at least two things, a bike trailer and an umbrella stroller. The two-in-one thing sounds appealing, but has real use limitations in some circumstances. If you're a jogger, then you'll want a jogging stroller, or at least a stroller with a rigid locking front wheel. Define your needs and that should guide you well.

    I agree that Chariot are fantastic, but Burley are just as much. I haven't used modern Burley, and I've only looked at them, so I'll defer to those with more experience, but in general I think the Chariot are more targeted for specific needs whereas the Burley are nice all 'rounders. I've got an old Chariot Sidecarrier sidecar that I love, but that has been disco'd; Chariot also had a Child Supporter insert that had head and body bolsters for small kids, which was very cool; dunno if that's still available.

    In the end, I guess I'd say that, unless you really know what you want and need, it may be more economical and convenient to have several dedicated devices rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket (pardon the pun). Kids grow fast, and your needs will change; things that sound like fun now may not be in two years or with kid #2 . If you live in a new development in suburban sprawl and drive a minivan, that's a different set of priorities from the car-free, downtown brownstone dweller. Think about the things you do, how you live, and let that guide your choices.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  14. #14
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    Back when I did the research for a child carrier (about 2001 or so...), I went with a trailer for the reasons already stated: if the bike falls over, the kid doesn't.

    So, when looking at trailers, I think I used Consumer Reports among other sites and I found some reviews on various trailers. One thing I noticed was the reviews tended to cover points I probably wouldn't think of otherwise. Like how likely the trailer is to tip over. Because some of the trailers actually were prone to rolling over in turns.

    Back then, same as now, you pretty much got what you paid for. The best back then were Burley and Yakima trailers. I think Yakima no longer makes trailers, though the Chariots mentioned probably are equivalent.

    I wound up with a Yakima, and it worked great for years. (And it's still in just about perfect condition.) The only negative was the way it attached to the bike. It used a large clamp that would attach to the left rear triangle close to the rear hub. The way it clamped made me want to use it only on steel bikes and never aluminum or carbon fiber, and the location of the clamp made it impossible to attach to bikes with disk brakes on the rear. I didn't care because I was attaching it to an old steel road bike.

    I have a friend who has a trailer that's pulled by a ball-and-socket joint where the socket attaches to the left side of the rear axle. That looks like a great solution. Not sure what brand it is, though, since when we ride together he's not pulling his twins in the trailer.

    I also found that the combined jogger stroller/bike trailer was something I didn't want. The ones I tried were either a crappy jogging stroller or a crappy bike trailer - and those two characteristics weren't exclusive. I wound up with the aforementioned Yakima (Caddy Yak, IIRC) and a Baby Jogger jogging stroller. I'm not sure I like the new Baby Joggers, though, with their molded wheels. The one I have has standard - and maintainable - spoked wheels.
    Last edited by achoo; 04-22-14 at 09:35 AM.

  15. #15
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    One thing to consider , the seats on the bike are only good until the child is to large for them, whereas a bike trailer will be good for additional
    hauling tasks even after the children no longer want to sit in it..


    many people sell their bike trailers for cheap at that age of their kids , so they re sell a lot.. for less..

  16. #16
    Hoards Thumbshifters mechanicmatt's Avatar
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    A lot of the advice, I would say is spot on here, I thought I would add my two cents.

    I have a hand me down Burley 2 child trailer (the yellow on top, purple on bottom one) that my brother gave to me. It works fantastic. In KC you can find them for sale on Craigslist $50 to $100 in a variety of condition. If your patient that is the way to do it trailers, otherwise I think the prices are outrageous.

    We rode around with our son a couple times at 8 months (not far and not fast), and he slipped down a lot or kind of fell to the side. We tried again around 1 and it all worked and fit much better. I can tell you from experience when you have the one kid you want to try to sit him in the middle and what happens is he/she will slump over. I found in our trailer, to put him on one side and a big stuffed bear buckled into the other and everything worked much better. He really likes cruising around in it now a days.

    Lastly, strollers are hard to decide on. If you are actually a runner, a BOB stroller can be somewhat fantastic, but all the other runner style strollers do a pretty good job as well. I don't run, so I looked at what folds down well and is relatively easy to open and close, that was my primary criterion. You haul that thing in and out of cars an awful lot.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    First, I can't stand the kid seats on the back of the bike. I assume that since I have broken my arm on a simple fall, a fall with a child on the back could cause severe damage to my child. And with the Burley it has never tipped over. As for being low and less visible, this came with a flag so drivers can be aware of its presence.

    Second, I got a Burley when my daughter was 1, she is now 20 and I still have it. I have used as recently as a couple of years ago for touring. I got the Burley because at that time it seemed to be the only really good trailer made that would fold flat. I don't know anything about trailers now but at the time I made this purchase it was the best trailer then.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
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  18. #18
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    Trailers are great if you plan on riding from your house or have a vehicle that can easily transport it to where you are riding. I don't feel comfortable riding on the streets in my area with my daughter and needed to transport the trailer to the local rail trail. Not having a suitable vehicle to easily transport it made it a pain. I ended up getting a seat for the back and it's worked out well. Some seats use a nice touring rack that you can use without the seat, so at least you get some use out of it after the kid outgrows it.

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