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  1. #1
    sonkist
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    trailer vs loaded touring bike

    recently got a bianchi brava 94' model. thinking of going down natchez trace pkwy nashville-natchez.
    i realize this is not a true touring bike and am thinking of using a bob-yak and this bike for the trip. any thoughts? thanks for any input!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I've always used panniers, but I recently bought a Bob. I'm going to test it versus the panniers and see what I think. In my initial test ride I could definitely feel it back there (even though it was empty.) It's no lightweight. It didn't affect the handling at all though. I wouldn't have even known it was there except for pulling the weight uphill. Maybe that would change if it was loaded up.

    The reason I'm interested at all is because I had a tour spoiled by broken spokes. I'm a big guy and I was carrying a lot of weight. With the trailer, the weight would be divided between the rear wheel and the Bob's wheel. It would be wonderful not to have to worry so much about breaking spokes.

    Having said all that, I also have to say that before my last tour I went to the local bike shop and told the guy to "build me a wheel that won't break spokes." I spent quite a bit of money and the guy assembled what he thought would be a bombproof wheel. I took my tour and, sure enough, no broken spokes.

    So now I'm still unsure. Maybe a properly built wheel won't break spokes, even on a long tour with a big load. Or maybe my last tour (which was only 12 days) wasn't long enough and the spokes would still break on a longer tour, so I need the Bob.

    I'm going to start by trying out the Bob on a real tour and seeing if I like it.

  3. #3
    Left OZ now in Malaysia jibi's Avatar
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    After more years than I care to remember with panniers and the associated wheel problems I got a BOB and for long distance would not go back to panniers. The Ibex has suspension which I find helps on the rougher ground and seems to level out quicker.

    Although for a quick Credit Card weekend I still have a road bike and my panniers.

    I too had bomb proof wheels built and they seem to be doing well, although they have only had about 5000 miles in them :-), still under test.

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  4. #4
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    If you prefer something a bit lighter and a whole lot cheaper have a look at one of these. I have one and I'm impressed.

    http://www.extrawheel.com/index_en.php

  5. #5
    sonkist
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    trailer vs panniers

    thanks for your input. my biggest concern is wheels. my first road bike had alex rims and i had to build up an open pro wheelset fo recreational riding. i weigh 270 so that is a concern for me. thanks

  6. #6
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    I'm a little off the idea of using a trailer after a friend of mine had a really nasty crash while towing one down a winding mountain road. I'm comfortable with panniers, so I don't intend to change anytime soon. About my only thought on selecting a trailer is make sure it has two wheels on the rear rather than trying to balance everything on one.
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  7. #7
    Stand For Something mntbikedude's Avatar
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    I really like using just using panniers and really rear panniers at that. Some of my friends have trailers and love them. I find them to cumbersome and ackward to deal with when trying to get on and off curbs or getting on small ferries.

  8. #8
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    One option if you are huge but still want to ride with paniers is to get a very solid front rack and carry 60% of the load up there. A lot of front paniers are small and hard to load with heavy stuff. It depends on what you carry.

  9. #9
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris L
    I'm a little off the idea of using a trailer after a friend of mine had a really nasty crash while towing one down a winding mountain road. I'm comfortable with panniers, so I don't intend to change anytime soon. About my only thought on selecting a trailer is make sure it has two wheels on the rear rather than trying to balance everything on one.
    I have two different trailers and I wouldn't use either one on a road tour. I find that they tend to push the bike around too much for my tastes. It was worse with my old steel touring frame but even a stiff aluminum frame like my Cannondale or my Specialized Stumpy mountain bike still get pushed where I don't want to go. If I'm off-road touring, I'll use a trailer but on road, I'm gonna stick with panniers.
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  10. #10
    Member Eurostar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onbike 1939
    If you prefer something a bit lighter and a whole lot cheaper have a look at one of these. I have one and I'm impressed.

    http://www.extrawheel.com/index_en.php
    I am fascinated by the Extrawheel. Must be handy to use the same wheel and tyre that you have on the bike, and also to have the trailer following in the same rut as the bike when off road. The company told me they are working on an ultralight version too.

    Please tell us everything you can. How heavy a load do you carry? What kind of bike do you attach it to? Do you also have panniers on the bike? And if you don't mind me asking, how much do you weigh? What do you make of cycocommute's concerns about the trailer pushing the bike? Does it come unhitched on bumps? Does it rattle? What's it like down a steep hill?

  11. #11
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eurostar
    I am fascinated by the Extrawheel. Must be handy to use the same wheel and tyre that you have on the bike, and also to have the trailer following in the same rut as the bike when off road. The company told me they are working on an ultralight version too.

    Please tell us everything you can. How heavy a load do you carry? What kind of bike do you attach it to? Do you also have panniers on the bike? And if you don't mind me asking, how much do you weigh? What do you make of cycocommute's concerns about the trailer pushing the bike? Does it come unhitched on bumps? Does it rattle? What's it like down a steep hill?
    I've not long had this trailer and have never toured with it as yet. It will be used for cycle-camping as that's my thing and for 30+ years I've used panniers.
    I'm self-supporting so I would guess as my stuff is all light that the load should be around 35-40 lbs. Up to this point I've ridden a classic Mercian Tourer but I now ride Thorn Nemisis, 26" wheels and with short chainstays so no room for large panniers. I don't intend using panniers as in my view that defeats the whole purpose of using a trailer.
    I think, given that the thing came with waterproof bags of 60L capacity each, there should be no need for anything but a bar-bag. I think this trailer would be fine for any kind of bike and I specified the 26" wheel to keep everything simple.
    I weigh 12 stone which is around 168 lbs and my priority was lightness. As this thing only weighs just over 8lbs I'm happy. There is nothing on the trailer to rattle as it consists of an internal frame (looks like an elongated mountain bike fork, but with the fork-ends extended and joined together to form a handgrip. The shape is banana-like with the wheel-dropouts in the middle at the lowest point mid-way on the frame. Simple and elegant and wheel-changing is a dream.
    First off, when I received the trailer it was clear that in order to prevent potential wear on the waterproof wheel-cover due to awkward shaped loads, it needed some cushioning. I fitted two leather flaps with cable-ties covering the wheel-nuts and used pipe-lagging to pad the internal frame where it meets the cover. Ten minutes work and I'm now happy with it.
    As to its ability to track , it follows the bike exactly and one is not aware of it's existence most of the time. When going up-hill then obviously one will feel a drag. As to concerns re "pushing" then this is true of any trailer when going downhill but I see no reason to be concerned about this.
    As to the possibility of it unhitching, the makers say that this is only likely to happen when too acute an angle is created when hitching and unhitching. Looking at their video of the guy off-road on the website, I tend to believe them.
    Overall I'm impressed with the design and the quality, but only extended touring will tell the real story.
    If you are interested then I note that they have dropped the price which is incredible, and now offer smaller bags (40 L).

  12. #12
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I hate all that weight hanging about on the front pannier. Don't like the effect on steering. I suggest maybe a trailer is better on flat land tours. Going down mtn. roads has disadvantages with all that weight on ther rear pushing the bike. I bought a trailer and on flat tours, I hardly notice it's presence.

  13. #13
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I just got back from my first trip with my BOB trailer - an overnighter. My impressions:
    1) It holds a ton of stuff.
    2) It effects handling quite a bit less than fully loaded panniers. I hardly knew it was back there, handling-wise, except when I took a sharp corner. Then I could feel it effecting things.
    3) It's heavy. I wasn't really in shape for this trip, having only ridden once every two or three weeks in the past few months. I took hills a sprocket or two or three lower than I might have with panniers.
    4) I liked it, except for the heaviness. I want to try a longer trip where I've trained, and where I work myself into shape. (The first two or three days of a tour are always unpleasant for me.) If I get the chance to do this, I'll report back to this list.

  14. #14
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    If using a trailer gets you on tour sooner, then do it. You can buy a proper loaded touring bike, but using your existing bike with a trailer is a good way to go. The wheels are another matter. Whether you use a trailer or not, get some good wheels and make sure that the builder really understands how to stress-relieve spokes. If you are breaking spokes on a tour, it is because the builder did not stress relieve the spokes. I've had many, many cross-country tourists stop by my shop, and their number one mechanical problem has been from poorly-built wheels. This includes those using trailers.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Rogerinchrist's Avatar
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    Simple search on "trailers" in this touring forum provides alot of info on the spokes & trailer issue.

    I like the 2 wheeled Burly trailers. Here is a good review........

    Burley Nomad cargo trailer--a review

    Also on the spokes...........

    Spokes?

    There are 192 other threads involving "trailers" to choose from here in touring too!

  16. #16
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    I've tried several options and personally I like touring with rear panniers only and a trunk rack if possible. I don't like front panniers if I can get away without them, like this past summer we had some long days with almost a hundred miles with a 20-30 mile crosswind and that can make for tricky steering or at least you had to keep correcting yourself and that makes for an even longer day in the saddle. I agree with several opinions, just get some really well made beefed up wheels and you'll be fine. This is the biggest reason why a lot my touring buddies will only ride mountain bikes.

  17. #17
    Member Eurostar's Avatar
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    What's it like getting a bike and trailer on a plane? Does it cost extra?

  18. #18
    Florida to Oregon in 2007 lighthorse@eart's Avatar
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    While touring I noted that those pulling trailers were very careful going down steep inclines. Seems that the trailers can bounce around at speed and cause handling problems. Those who were towing had made the correction, but I like going downhill without my brakes on so I use panniers. This is a personal choice but it has now been mentioned several times.
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  19. #19
    Tuck Fexas SoonerLater's Avatar
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    Not exactly what the OP was asking about, but...

    Another option is Xtracycle. The makers call it a trailer, but that's misleading. It's a subframe which extends the length of your bike, giving you enough cargo capacity to haul furniture. The RidingTheSpineguys are riding from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, riding Xtracycles with 100+ lbs. of cargo each. People who have them, swear by them.

  20. #20
    Has opinion, will express
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    Quote Originally Posted by lighthorse@eart
    While touring I noted that those pulling trailers were very careful going down steep inclines. Seems that the trailers can bounce around at speed and cause handling problems. Those who were towing had made the correction, but I like going downhill without my brakes on so I use panniers. This is a personal choice but it has now been mentioned several times.
    I think BoB has a strong recommendation that 25mph not be exceeded with a trailer attached, and apparently any admission voids the warranty! Can't imagine that with panniers
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