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Old 07-22-08, 09:56 PM   #1
msdalpra
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Touring with a bob trailer

I am planning a trip cross country and a friend recommended I look into getting one of these trailers. My friend who has already gone cross country before utilized panniers and was thinking a trailer would have been easier. I can already get an idea of the ease of having the weight of your gear lower and more central to you would be an advantage. I am a bit worried about descending hills, mountains and windy conditions. If anyone who has had experience with this I would appreciate their input.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:00 PM   #2
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They work great and many people love them. Assuming your bike will carry panniers well, load wise the bob is more a thing you would use if you had more gear than the panniers could manage. There are less problems with panniers than with bobs, both work.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:02 PM   #3
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A trailer is your only choice if you lack brazeons for mounting racks and don't want to otherwise "strap on" a rack. If you have a carbon bike, a trailer is the only way you can go. Also if your rear wheel is less than 32 spokes a trailer is advisable.

Trailers are more aerodynamic so you descend faster and are less affected by headwinds. The trailer climbs slower, however.

I've used both and I prefer panniers, but it really doesn't matter which you chose. If you can mount racks then you have a dilema, if not your choice is clear.
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Old 07-24-08, 09:05 AM   #4
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I've used a BOB for several years, but will admit that I haven't done huge tours. I've done RAGBRAI using is rather than having anyone else carry my stuff. I love it. The trick to it trailing well is packing it right. If you get your heaviest stuff toward the front or high in the trailer, it stinks going down hill...gets very squirrelly. OTH, if you pack it right with weight low and as close to the rear as feasible, you can easily hit speeds in the 40's downhill (obviously!) and don't even know it's there.
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Old 07-28-08, 07:45 AM   #5
msdalpra
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thanks for your reply

Thanks. I think I am getting a BOB trailer for my birthday and I feel a bit more confident knowing they are not bad as I was thinking they were. Thank you.
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Old 07-28-08, 08:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by one_beatnik View Post
I've used a BOB for several years, but will admit that I haven't done huge tours. I've done RAGBRAI using is rather than having anyone else carry my stuff. I love it. The trick to it trailing well is packing it right. If you get your heaviest stuff toward the front or high in the trailer, it stinks going down hill...gets very squirrelly. OTH, if you pack it right with weight low and as close to the rear as feasible, you can easily hit speeds in the 40's downhill (obviously!) and don't even know it's there.
I can attest to this, having had my trailer wobble while I was going 34 MPH down a hill while on tour. It was my most frightening experience on a bike.
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Old 07-28-08, 02:32 PM   #7
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I have limited experience with a BOB Yak, even less with panniers. One thing I have noticed is that the trailer seems to wobble only when it has reason to- by not braking in curves and by taking extra care to maintain a smooth line, all was well. Things got scarey a few times when I had to swerve or brake suddenly. All I have to go by is about 300 miles worth of touring/grocery hauling, so there`s a good chance that my view is skewed. Still, I have to say that so far I`m glad I bought mine. For $300 it was the cheapest way for me to try out bike touring and later, if I go with a more suitable bike and a set of panniers, I`ll still have the BOB for groceries or off road trips.
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Old 07-28-08, 06:40 PM   #8
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I liked the BOB for the simplicity of it, just arrive at the campsite, unhook it and you're free to rip around wherever you want on what suddenly feels like a really light bike. I have used a bob for 2 yrs over alot of km's, but rarely had a speed wobble. The pins are easy to lose (my tethers didnt hold them past a week), so pack extras. I definitely liked how low to the ground it was. Another thing I notice with a trailer is it becomes a bit of a conversation piece, a bit of an opening to talk with some locals (not that this should influence a purchase, just saying).

Cyclesafe: You can't use panniers/racks to tour if you have a carbon frame? Really? I honestly didn't know that, did you try it?
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Old 07-28-08, 10:39 PM   #9
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Can I post a couple questions about trailers??

Cyclesafe - You mentioned you prefer panniers. Has that anything to do with the weight of the trailer?

Also, if packed correctly the trailers track well? No wobble at all - right? I hate the wobble - I fear the wobble actually, because, I get it on my current bike when I don't pack my panniers correctly. I'd like to confess that as a near life long vegetarian, I get the urge to eat meat when the bike starts the wobble - thats how much I hate it!!

Must admit that I like the feel of the bike when the panniers are strapped on.

One more thing - what attracts me to the trailer is not so much the promise of social interaction, rather the ability to unzip ONE bag and dump the contents out onto the ground and start digging. For $400.00 is this a realistic benefit or is it just me?

Thanks All - Mr Pincher.
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Old 07-28-08, 11:20 PM   #10
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No wobbles at all if you keep the speed down. I don`t think I`ve gotten any up to about 25 mph or so- trying to be extra smooth, I had it breifly over 40 without wobbles, then decided I was pushing my luck.

The "one bag" thing is a minor hassle for me. I can live with it, but prefer to separate stuff more. FWIW, I bought mine with the BOB dry sack and don`t use it (that bag) any more. It`s very rugged and undoubtedly rainproof, but it weighs about two pounds by itself. I found a much lighter, but not waterproof nylon dufflebag at the thrift shop that I like better.

$400? I`d check around- I think they still go for about $300.
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Old 07-29-08, 01:30 AM   #11
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A Bob, a Bob bag, and a couple of spare 16" inner tubes weigh close to ten pounds more than four panniers and two racks. That's why I stick to panniers. I have a Bob and I love it for shopping and utility use, but it's heavy overkill for touring unless you're carrying an unusually large load (combining your touring and daguerrotyping hobbies, say, or carrying your kids' gear so they don't get tuckered out).
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Old 07-29-08, 06:00 AM   #12
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I owned both and sold the trailer. I would only opt for the Bob if I wanted to use a lightweight road bike rather than a touring bike or maybe for off road touring with a MTB. Lots of people happily tour with them though so it certainly is possible.
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