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Old 01-15-09, 11:24 AM   #1
redrider09
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Bob, Panniers, or Extracycle??

I'm debating these options for my tour this summer.

I've talked to people who are head over heels for each of these... what do you think??





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Old 01-15-09, 11:29 AM   #2
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If you are going to use your bike for grocery getting in addition to the tour, get a BOB. It will give you the most usable space for cargo of the three. If you want the option that will keep the most weight off the bike, get the extrawheel, and ditto of you want something that can be used as an spare front wheel in an emergency. If you want to keep weight down go w/panniers.
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Old 01-15-09, 11:31 AM   #3
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Where are you touring? What kind of terrain? How long a trip?
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Old 01-15-09, 12:01 PM   #4
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Me and my buddy are leaving Lubbock, TX (forever) and aiming for Vancouver. It will be all on road.. mostly via the adventure cycling routes.

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Old 01-15-09, 12:11 PM   #5
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If it's all road, you can consider a two-wheeled trailer. I love my Burley Nomad, although I haven't taken it on a tour. Yet.
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Old 01-15-09, 12:29 PM   #6
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I'm a pannier lover, FWIW. Had a bad experience with a BOB trailer (it wanted to go first, and flipped me over the bars). Also, since you are riding w/ a friend, the trailer makes your draft pretty useless.
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Old 01-15-09, 12:35 PM   #7
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valygrl has a good point.

Of course, you and your friend could always trade off who carries the panniers and who pulls the trailer.

Red, it's worth asking: Why are you considering a trailer over panniers? Ease of packing? Cargo space? Keep in mind that it's easy to overpack if you have the room, and a set of panniers will be far lighter than any trailer.

My bike handles far better with my Nomad than it does with a similar load in panniers. However, hills are easier with panniers. I'd guess that's because you have extra drag from the trailwer wheels as well as the weight. You also have to be far more careful going around corners, particularly with a 2-wheeled trailer.

Historian, you took a BOB clone on tour, can you speak to this?
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Old 01-15-09, 01:38 PM   #8
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look into the ExtraWheel trailer: I have TWO. I bought the classic, and now I have the Voyager (packs better for airline travel). I'm selling my extrawheel classic: PM me if you are interested (a very good price)

see: (watch some of the videos, there are quite interesting).

www.extrawheel.com
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Old 01-15-09, 06:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by redrider09 View Post
I'm debating these options for my tour this summer.

I've talked to people who are head over heels for each of these... what do you think??





K
The people at Adventure Cycling, along with their website, might be able to help with your decision. You could call and ask to speak with Deme, who has followed the debates over many years.

I've tried all three.

If you want to keep it light, simple, and clean, go with high-quality racks and panniers. Tubus or Gordon racks (if you want very high-end) or Jandd or Blackburn expedition models (excellent racks, and good values) would be good choices, and Jandd or Ortlieb or other well-made panniers.

If you want extra stability (on offroad descents, for example), the Xtracycle wins. You can also carry extra weight easily; but I've done that and it isn't as fun as touring with light or moderate loads.

I'm not a fan of trailers, single-wheeled or double-wheeled.

Last edited by Chiricocycle; 01-15-09 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 01-15-09, 06:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilfein View Post

Historian, you took a BOB clone on tour, can you speak to this?
I'm not Historian, but I play one on tv....

I've done three tours on a Bob, a 50 mile overnighter, 250 mile Long Island vineyard tour, and about 400 miles of the Washington Parks AC route, and I use it to occasionally grocery shop/do laundry. Valygirl's point about the Bob wanting to push you downhill can happen if the load is heavy enough, and the rider is light enough. I'm 290, and the only time I ever came close to feeling it was when I carried two bundles of firewood, two or three bags of ice, a sixpack and assorted other sundries down a steep hill, probably well over 60 lbs of weight overall.

Pulling up hills is a bear with a fully loaded bob, but it tracks with the bike well, so you really don't notice it is there much of the time, until you stop. You can carry a lot of stuff in a bob, and frankly, you can carry too much. If you want to keep your bike unloaded, and want flexility in arranging your cargo, the bob is the best choice. If you keeping your bike as unloaded as possible is the most important criterion and extrawheel is probably better. If light weight, go panniers.
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Old 01-15-09, 07:55 PM   #11
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Pans are great unless you carry a load over 30 pounds Much more than that and the bike will typically handle like a truck.

If you're a strong rider, and don't like the way a bike loaded with pans handles, it's hard to beat a two wheeled trailer. You can take whatever you need, and the the bike handles almost as if unloaded. Obviously, you work harder getting over the hills.

Bob and similar one wheeled trailers exert a lot of forces on the rear wheel, and can also make the bike handling difficult.
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Old 01-15-09, 07:56 PM   #12
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A BOB weighs the same as two racks and two pairs of panniers. Only 1/3 of its weight bears down on the rear wheel. I have never had handling issues, but no doubt others have.

The right wheel of a two wheeled trailer is usually off the road.

Panniers can easily carry more than 30 lbs. A bike, however loaded, never rides like a truck.

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Old 01-15-09, 10:25 PM   #13
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A bike, however loaded, never rides like a truck.
With panniers, it depends on how well things are packed. I've seen some pretty unstable setups with BOB trailers as well as with panniers.

With panniers, the most important factors are how well balanced the load is and how high up the center of gravity is. (i.e., extra water bottles and tools go on the bottom, winter clothing and trail mix on top.)

Repacking the same panniers night after night, you learn how to get things very well balanced indeed. My first day on a tour is usually my least balanced load.

My only trailer loading experience is with a two-wheeled cargo trailer. Are balance considerations as important with a one-wheel touring trailer?
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Old 01-16-09, 08:53 AM   #14
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After all said, I think I'm leaning towards the BOB. For some reason it seems like it will be more pleasurable to have 30 lbs BEHIND my bike rather than ON it. ANd the packing/weight distribution issue I could avoid with the BOB. I could see how two racks and sets of panniers could weigh the same as an empty trailer.
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Old 01-16-09, 09:34 AM   #15
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I've used a Yakima Big Tow on tour. Yes, it can develop a mind of its own, particularly on a downhill. I had my trailer begin to rock as I hit 35MPH on a busy Pittsburgh road. But it's probable I had the trailer both badly balanced and overloaded. You need to take care to have the weight evenly distributed and loaded to keep the center of gravity as low as possible.
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Old 01-16-09, 09:40 AM   #16
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redrider09, are you a small person? The BOB handling problems are rumored to be related to rider/trailer weight distribution.

I'm a small person. I heard the rumors of "the tail wagging the dog" about the BOB trailer before I used it, but ignored them b/c I could borrow a trailer and didn't have to buy anything. I even felt the weird handling on my shakedown tour, and decided i just needed to get used to it. I really wish I had taken the warnings more seriously. I had a bad accident. If you get the trailer, experiment with load distribution, pay attention to the handling, read the instructions for the trailer, and take it easy on the downhills.

I know lots of people have good experiences with the trailer, and I'm not saying it's a problem for everyone, but.. I'm just saying what happened to me.

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Old 01-16-09, 09:47 AM   #17
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Pros/Cons - Bob Yak or Ibex ... ???

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After all said, I think I'm leaning towards the BOB. For some reason it seems like it will be more pleasurable to have 30 lbs BEHIND my bike rather than ON it. ANd the packing/weight distribution issue I could avoid with the BOB. I could see how two racks and sets of panniers could weigh the same as an empty trailer.
It seems like the Bob would much easier when doing grocery shopping, rather than trying to figure out how to pack everything ON the bike! I'm just trying to figure out all of the pros and cons between the Bob Yak or Bob Ibex .....

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Old 01-16-09, 09:59 AM   #18
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I have ridden with a burley flat bed trailer on a 330 mile tour in 3.5 days. It was a flat dirt trail(C&O/***). I never felt the trailer until I hit hills. Few hills on this ride(to camps and re-route). I felt it but no problem, handled well on the downhills as well. I think 2 wheels are better than 1 for handling. How would I feel if I rode all day on uphills??? Don't know that answer but will by the end of summer. My main complaint with a trailer is when I get into towns. It's like a semi, hard to park. If you need to hitch a ride, ride on a ferry, shop in a busy town it becomes cumbersome. Doable but problematic.
Benefits have all been mentioned so I won't repeat.
Bottom line: Do you want the weight on the bike or behind you.
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Old 01-16-09, 10:21 AM   #19
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I am currently in India with a BOB, if there are any negatives about using a bob, they have been proven to be insignificant (imho). I was worried about using it in India, but most people just love looking at it, taking away from the other things they could play with (like the gear shifters). It is also a breeze to take on a plane.
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Old 01-16-09, 10:39 AM   #20
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Pros/Cons - Bob Ibex/Yak ... ???

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I am currently in India with a BOB, if there are any negatives about using a bob, they have been proven to be insignificant (imho). I was worried about using it in India, but most people just love looking at it, taking away from the other things they could play with (like the gear shifters). It is also a breeze to take on a plane.
Now .... Which Bob should I get for my Electra Townie ... ??? Someone has said that the Ibex is not any more heavy duty than the Yak. Is there any difference with handling between the Yak or Ibex? They are both rated at 70 pounds.

I need the trailer mostly for grocery shopping for myself and my two boys. I like to stock up whenever there is a good sale, so I can see myself carrying nearly 70 pounds at least once a month, and several more large loads a couple times a month.
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Old 01-16-09, 10:43 AM   #21
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Ibex - Adjustable Shocks ...

I was just thinking about a nice feature with the Bob Ibex .... the adjustable shocks ... !!! That could come in handy with items that are fragile, like eggs, or jars of food ...

The roads and sidewalks, and shoulders, all around our area are very bumpy, tons of cracks everywhere, uneven sidewalks, lots of obstacles everywhere, dirt, rocks, piles of stuff in the roads .... So, maybe the Ibex with the adjstable shocks would be better than the Yak ... ???
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Old 01-16-09, 11:26 AM   #22
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A BOB weighs the same as two racks and two pairs of panniers.
That depends greatly on which panniers and racks you choose. When I compared my 4 panniers and my racks with the weight of the BoB the difference was quite large. I don't have the numbers at my finger tips, but I am pretty sure my racks and 4 panniers weigh less than half of the 13.5 lbs that the BoB weight. Then you have to add the weight of the bag and a spare inner tube in that size.

It works out about even if you choose overbuilt racks like the Surly Nice Rack and Ortleibs in a large size in their heaviest fabric.

Also, flying or shipping of your gear is tougher with a trailer.

I tried both and definitely preferred panniers. I have recently toyed with giving trailers another chance though. I think that a regular road bike and an Extracycle Voyager would weigh less than either of the other options, especially if you built it with a very light weight wheel.

Edit: I dug up the numbers I worked out a while back. They are as follows:
My count is racks a bit over 2 pounds, panniers a bit less than 5 pounds for 4 bags, for a total of just a shade over 7 pounds. For touring in the US (TA this past Summer) we found this gear to be plenty rugged and expect it to last for many years.

The racks were Blackburn ex-1 rear and a blackburn lowrider clone (Nashbar) front. The panniers were Nashbar waterproof. I should note that this stuff wasn't particularly picked for light weight; it is all quite robust.

Trailer about 13 pounds, waterproof bag what maybe 3 pounds? Total maybe 15-16 pounds?

Bottom line... The most commonly used trailer is 8-9 pounds heavier than my normal gear. Plus an extra size of inner tube to carry.

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Old 01-16-09, 06:56 PM   #23
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redrider09, are you a small person? The BOB handling problems are rumored to be related to rider/trailer weight distribution.
Interesting. I'm also a small person and hadn't thought about this, but it makes sense (self + bike rarely exceeds 140 lbs.). Does anyone know if a 2-wheel trailer is less sensitive to bike + rider weight than a Bob? This thread may prevent me from making an expensive mistake.
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Old 01-16-09, 07:25 PM   #24
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I've done both panniers and trailer, and in general prefer panniers - just make sure wheels are stout enough for the load.

I've pulled trailers, kid-kind and cargo kind, for thousands of miles and probably have had my right wheel off the road for 500 feet total. I suppose the comment was referring to busy roads.
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Old 01-16-09, 07:31 PM   #25
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I suppose the comment was referring to busy roads.
Or something like the C&O canal where a lot of it is just two-track.

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