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  1. #1
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    2 wheeled trailer width a problem?

    Hey Guys (ahem and gals), I'm planning on purchasing a trailer soon for an upcomming tour and am slightly concerned about the extra width of a two wheeled trailer. I'm looking into the burley nomad because it seems to have gotten the best reviews (I've hearb BOB trailers can buck people off). Has anybody tried one of these? Is the extra width ever been a significant problem when traveling on roads with fairly heavy traffic with small shoulders? I'm planning on riding the CA coast between SF and Santa Barbara.

    Thanks for the replies!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Sounds like you are answering your own question...

    Heavy traffic, narrow shoulders, with a trailer that will not allow you to get as far to the right as you normally could.....yes, I can see where that could be a problem. Still, that highway one gets a lot of tourists, most people are pretty attentive through there, I would hope.

    A Bob bucks people off? I don't understand that one. I tow one behind my 520, and you have to get used to it when you stand, but if one can learn to ride a bicycle then one should be able to tow a Bob without getting thrown off.

  3. #3
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    I use to have a BOB trailer and liked it very much. I now use a Nomad and I don't notice the width as a problem most of the time. Not much wider than a bike with panniers. But there are some issues with the Nomad such as highways with rumble strips. Both trailers are very good and both have their good and bad points. For my needs the Nomad was better but I am not saying it is better for your needs. Panniers, one wheel trailer, two wheel trailers, decisions, decisions!!!!

  4. #4
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    I have never pulled one on tour nor would I want to, But I haul groceries in mine( burley nomad)most every week during the summer on busy suburban roads and state highways. I find motorists give me more room and tend to be extra considerate when I pull the trailer.

  5. #5
    Year-round cyclist
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    I use a 2-children trailer to haul stuff around, not for touring. Back when the kids were smaller, I often rode on streets, roads and sometimes even trails with the trailer.
    Note that the trailer I have is 32.5-in wide whereas the Nomad is 25 or 26" wide.

    In a nutshell:

    – Streets : no problem ; even the wide trailer isn't really much wider than your shoulders, so I didn't need to ride further away from the curb and cars don't need to pass me further away than they would have to if I were riding by myself. Zig-zagging aggressively between rows of cars in dead traffic is much harder to do with a trailer, but I don't do it anyway.

    – Roads. The wide trailer requires me to ride a few inches away from the white line. It doesn't make that much of a difference when the lanes are wide and well groomed or when there is a paved shoulder, but on horrible roads where paint seems to be the only thing that keeps the asphalt from falling apart, it is much harder to find a good place to ride, let alone a safe one. Zig-zagging between potholes is hard to do with a trailer.

    – Offroad. I have often travelled on gravel or sand roads where the only decently compacted part is a narrow car rut. Your trailer wheels might need to dig their way. I have no experience there, but let me say that pulling a trailer in deep snow is hard work.

    – Bike trails and multi-use trails. I generally tend to avoid them, but there are a few that are not too bad. One of the major design issues – my main beef with them, in fact – is the use of fences, posts, chicanes, bollards, etc. at intersections. Chicanes are hard to negociate with a longer bike, posts are usually fairly tight with a child trailer, so you should clear them with a Nomad.

    As a cyclist who often rides and tours with a fully loaded tandem and trailercycle, let me tell you that I have learnt how to precisely control the bike, as I don't like to put the foot on the ground more often than necessary!
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  6. #6
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    From Michel

    "– Roads. The wide trailer requires me to ride a few inches away from the white line. It doesn't make that much of a difference when the lanes are wide and well groomed or when there is a paved shoulder, but on horrible roads where paint seems to be the only thing that keeps the asphalt from falling apart, it is much harder to find a good place to ride, let alone a safe one. Zig-zagging between potholes is hard to do with a trailer."

    This would be my concern, especially on Hwy 1. I did that route from Washington to San Francisco pulling a Bob trailer. That road is very narrow with a huge traffic volume, you will be hugging that white line a lot. Dodging potholes with a Bob is nothing, it follows along perfectly and I don't know how it could buck you off, maybe a very light person on a very light bike, pulling a very loaded trailer would have some problems? Be sure to have some L O W gears for that route, tight switch-backs and steep (short) climbs.

  7. #7
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    I don't think it's a problem at all. I ride with a burley flatbed(same width as nomad). You would have to be way right to encounter what you descibe. Much safer to take the lane on this sized road. Some folks have reported hitting curbs when turning with a 2 wheel. I never had this issue. My only complaint with the trailer is "what to do with it in town". You find yourself walking not riding around town, looking for a place to eat and you've got this limo size beast that needs to be parked. It takes up a lot of the sidewalk area BUT you'll manage. I've always found a parking space.

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    I did searches on this website and I think at least 2 if not more people reported being thrown off their bikes by a bob trailer. Honestly I'm not sure how this happens either, if other people haven't had problems I may consider it again.

  9. #9
    Year-round cyclist
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    The problem with the BOB seems to happen at high speed, and more particularly with a bike that has a slender rear end, like a 1980-1990 touring bike or a randonneur bike. I would suspect (from other behavioural problems) that a 7-speed 126-mm rear wheel is more subject to the problem than a 135-mm rear wheel.

    What happens is that the trailer tends to "twist" the hitch right and left because it is the cyclist that keeps the trailer upright. With a slender rear triangle and possibly a weak rear wheel the bike wiggles a bit. Enters a point where there could be harmonic oscillations... and the trailer jacknifes. If you do an emergency braking, braking hard with the rear wheel could be very problematic because the rear wheel of the bike may skid sideways and the trailer may then try to come ahead of you.

    I have read and have been told of quite a few stories like that, so I have no problem in believing that it can happen. I don't know how easily preventable those mishaps could have been.

    How to prevent that? Using a bike with a rigid rear end (ex.: loaded touring bike), loading the trailer properly and securing the load so it doesn't move, and keeping one's speed in check. And if you need to brake hard on clean asphalt, use the front brake.

    BTW, the BOB was originally designed for off-road biking. When riding offroad, one typically uses a mountain bike (very rigid triangle) and rides slowly, even downhill, because of horrible conditions.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by velonomad
    I have never pulled one on tour nor would I want to, But I haul groceries in mine( burley nomad)most every week during the summer on busy suburban roads and state highways. I find motorists give me more room and tend to be extra considerate when I pull the trailer.
    i've wondered if the extra width of nomad vs bob wouuldn't actually be a safety benefit.

    if you're wider you present more area for visibility.

    also i've read the nomad tracks a little to left of bikes center, i suspect this is design feature to keep right trailer wheel from going off road when riding on the fog line. but this would also have the effect of "forcing" motorists to give you a few more inches..

  11. #11
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333
    i've wondered if the extra width of nomad vs bob wouuldn't actually be a safety benefit.

    if you're wider you present more area for visibility.

    also i've read the nomad tracks a little to left of bikes center, i suspect this is design feature to keep right trailer wheel from going off road when riding on the fog line. but this would also have the effect of "forcing" motorists to give you a few more inches..
    With the nomad motorists probaly think I got kids in it. Runnin over a grown man on a bicycle with a SUV only gets you a mention in "other area news" but mashing little kids in a trailer will get you on page one and talked about in church.

    The trailer is offset a couple or 3 inches to the right. my previous trailer a Winchester was offset at least 5"-6 "to the right

  12. #12
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    It toured in Tuscany with a Burley solo trailer without any problem. the roads at times had very heavy tourist traffic (esp. the climb up to San Gimignano) and never had more than about a six inch shoulder. The photo is just to illustrate what the shoulders looked like - that's my wife - I was behind towing the baby in her trailer.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    __________ seeker333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by velonomad
    With the nomad motorists probaly think I got kids in it. Runnin over a grown man on a bicycle with a SUV only gets you a mention in "other area news" but mashing little kids in a trailer will get you on page one and talked about in church.

    The trailer is offset a couple or 3 inches to the right. my previous trailer a Winchester was offset at least 5"-6 "to the right
    i had those thoughts as well. at one time nashbar was selling a double kiddie trailer for ~$75 after coupons. i was thinking it would make a suitable cargo trailer and the illusion of "precious cargo" would discourage motorists from behaving in their normal impatient, homicidal mode.

  14. #14
    Senior Member BikePackin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbuzi123
    I did searches on this website and I think at least 2 if not more people reported being thrown off their bikes by a bob trailer. Honestly I'm not sure how this happens either, if other people haven't had problems I may consider it again.
    Dbuzi - I really, really like the 'idea' of a single wheel trailer and because of this bought one (it was NOT a B.O.B., - it was another, nationally sold brand and made by a fine company) and very c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y packed it according to manufacturer specifications and yet was for reasons that I have never been able to understand was put into a wobble by it and was thrown down. As part of the mystery ~ the riding conditions were as follows: 1. Good smooth pavement. 2. Level. 3. Riding was on a straight away. 4. I was not braking. 5. I was not accelerating. 6. I was traveling at about 12 mph. 7. I was alert, and not tired or worn out physically. 8. Sunny.
    I did not have a recurrence of the problem the next 3 days, even though the riding conditions were adverse by comparison to the above.
    At this point, I know that I will never know if I did something wrong in my packing or what..... however, in the interest of 'riding another day' I moved back to panniers, after that tour, and have had to stay there for fear of getting killed (I fully recognize that most folks with B.O.B.'s and the approx. equivalent never have had this type of experience).

  15. #15
    Senior Member BikePackin's Avatar
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    Dubzi,
    I apologize for, below, omitting the type of bike I was riding because it may be part of the cause of my problem or actually worked IN my favor of less chance of having the reported accident - as I said, I do simply not know: a steel framed 1995 Schwinn Moab with 1.95 width Kenda Cross tires.
    One other thought - and actually why I wanted to read your thread - if I were ever to go back to a trailer (and I think that I will always be tempted to do so, cause, as mentioned below, 'on paper' they make so much sense) it would have to be a 2 wheeler.

  16. #16
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    I still tour and run errands with my winchester. Double child trailer that works awesome. People definatley do give you a little more room witht hte kid trailer behind you. Now that kids are all grown, the double really works great. The only downfall is its big enough that you can pack way more than you would normally need. But hey thats half the fun. HAve more of one thing and not enough of another.
    Stacey
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  17. #17
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    I love my Yak, couldn't imagine touring with a two wheeled trailer.

  18. #18
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Staceyfb
    I still tour and run errands with my winchester. Double child trailer that works awesome. People definatley do give you a little more room witht hte kid trailer behind you. Now that kids are all grown, the double really works great. The only downfall is its big enough that you can pack way more than you would normally need. But hey thats half the fun. HAve more of one thing and not enough of another.
    Stacey

    The Winchester was a great trailer! My wife and I would ride the tandem with our son in the trailer, We would go to the grocery store and put six bags of groceries in the trailer along with our son. we gave the trailer to my sister in law who hauled her daughter in it for 4 years and now has passed it on to a cousin to haul his daughter in. It has turned into a family heirloom!

  19. #19
    Senior Member marmotte's Avatar
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    I always tour with this one. I never had any problem



    marmotte

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    I toured through the deserts of central Australia in 2004 with a Weber Monoporter single-wheeled trailer. Off-road the max load is only 15kg but it handled really well and at times the conditions were very rough. I didn't really notice the trailer was there. On tarmac the max load is 25kg. It packs up really well so is easy to transport - I dismantled mine and got it all into the same box as my bike for taking on the plane. It's light, as well. If you look at http://www.edinburghbicycle.com/news...onoporter.html you'll get more info.

  21. #21
    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    I pulled my BOB for about 13,000 miles and loved it. I couldn't let it fly going down mt. passes because it did start to sway back and forth and the momentum builds. By doing little zig zags (no traffic) took care of the problem.

    I would seriously look at the Weber, as mentioned above, or Carry Freedom. The BOB does not pack well at all. Not a big deal if you are starting and finishing in point A. I heard of someone pulling the Carry Freedom City Trailer across Australia. Simple design w/ quality parts and packs in a flash.

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