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Old 11-28-09, 04:23 AM   #1
earthtoandy
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Road Bike + Trailer for touring?

So I have a grand master plan in my head and am currently in the planning stages, I need a little wisdom and input.

I am planning on taking a one way Pacific Coast ride from California to the Seattle area. I plan on camping out the whole trip.

I ride a Cannondale CAAD8. Carbon fork and seatpost, rest is aluminum.

Right now I am leaning toward a trailer for the trip. The reasons for the trailer being the obvious storage increase, minimal or no change to the bike as well as flexibility for the future. I also like the idea of easy unloading and packing, nice space for a solar panel...

I am wondering how well that will work with the Road bike. From what I have gathered there is some hesitation. Is it a "bad idea" or more of a "less than ideal" kind of scenario? What kind of downsides can I expect? Any strong feelings to make me reconsider?
I am not looking at changing bikes as this is my baby and owning multiple bikes isn't an option. I am essentially moving and am not looking at adding possessions.

I appreciate the help.
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Old 11-28-09, 04:57 AM   #2
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I recommend the Burley Nomad whole-heartedly. I've toured with panniers/racks, and I've toured with a BOB trailer and I didn't like either. With panniers, IE: everything loaded on the bike, the bike handles horribly. Some people don't mind it but it drove me nuts and killed my knees. I didn't like the way that the BOB handled and I got tired of replacing rear wheels. With the Burley, or almost any lightweight two wheeled trailer, the load is stabilized and bike handling is unaffected for the most part. You can pull one with any bike. I'll never go back.
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Old 11-28-09, 05:36 AM   #3
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I was focused on the Nomad myself. While the BOB was intriguing, and I like the separate bag, it seems like the stability, space and fact that the weight is mostly on the wheels of the trailer have put the Nomad ahead for me. Plus it seems better for grocery shopping and such. Thanks for the input!
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Old 11-28-09, 07:33 AM   #4
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I've owned both the Nomad and Bob..... For road touring I prefer the Burley Nomad hands down. For other than road the Bob will always win. YMMV
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Old 11-28-09, 07:43 AM   #5
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I toured with a BOB for a week with my Cannondale SR500. The only downside of a one-wheel vs two is the tipping factor. Gotta lean bike and trailer correctly so one doesn't take the other down. It's all explained though. Oh, and obviously a two wheeler weighs more. For cross country, that's a lot of extra cumulative energy expended.
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Old 11-28-09, 07:44 AM   #6
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I was focused on the Nomad myself. While the BOB was intriguing, and I like the separate bag, it seems like the stability, space and fact that the weight is mostly on the wheels of the trailer have put the Nomad ahead for me. Plus it seems better for grocery shopping and such. Thanks for the input!
Well, if you've already decided what you want, then there might be no point in my responding. If not, here's my considered 2 cents:

If your bike frame is carbon, you can either use a trailer or if you can go ultralite, you might be able to make do with a large handlebar bag and saddle bag (i.e. Carradice). For most people the BOB works fine. For others, the Burley is preferred even though most of the time one wheel is in the gravel. If you don't want to accumulate gear, you already have a road bike, and you plan to stay on pavement, then the BOB trailer is the way to go. I have 6000 miles touring with a BOB and would suggest upgrading maybe the rear wheel, but upgrade the tire for sure.

Last edited by Cyclesafe; 11-28-09 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 11-28-09, 07:56 AM   #7
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One thing I've noticed using the Nomad that I don't know if it has been mentioned or not...... People in cars tend to give you more room. They seem to think you have a child in the trailer so they seem to give you more room when passing. This fact alone made touring with the Nomad my preferred choice. As for one wheel being off the road..... Never been a problem since I don't ride that close to the shoulder. I tend to make drivers drive around me instead of trying to squeeze through. Less stress seems to be applied to the rear of the bike with a two wheeled trailer as well.

Keep in mind I'm not a fan boy. I don't like touring with either...... I prefer panniers but.. If I had to choose hooking up a trailer to my Carbon road bike it would be a Burley Nomad. My same thinking would go for an alum Cannondale.
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Old 11-28-09, 07:56 AM   #8
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no touring experience here but working on a touring bike build this winter so i can start some distance rides/weekenders and maybe a tour in 2010, everything i have read and researched as well as verbal advice from the guys who have been doing this forever, get some sturdy rims, quality tires, and a comfy saddle.
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Old 11-28-09, 08:34 AM   #9
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If your bike frame is carbon, you can either use a trailer or if you can go ultralite, you might be able to make do with a large handlebar bag and saddle bag (i.e. Carradice).
+1. I've never understood the desire to pull something as heavy as a trailer on a long tour. I can see their utility for moving ungainly loads like furniture, but as far as touring goes they strike me as an anchor weighing you down. Take a look at the lightweight touring options and see if you like them. Consider the large saddelbag, handlebar bag or frame pack combinations. If they aren't for you then I'm sure you'll get good trailer advice on here too.
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Old 11-28-09, 12:51 PM   #10
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I have never pulled a trailer, but I have put in a lot of miles on your route. Pulling a trailer into headwinds for 4 or 5 weeks doesn't seem like much fun to me. Since you are still planning, maybe you can look into reversing your route to take advantage of the prevailing winds. Either way, you are still out on the road. Enjoy!
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Old 11-28-09, 03:17 PM   #11
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Well, if you've already decided what you want, then there might be no point in my responding. If not, here's my considered 2 cents:

If your bike frame is carbon, you can either use a trailer or if you can go ultralite, you might be able to make do with a large handlebar bag and saddle bag (i.e. Carradice). For most people the BOB works fine. For others, the Burley is preferred even though most of the time one wheel is in the gravel. If you don't want to accumulate gear, you already have a road bike, and you plan to stay on pavement, then the BOB trailer is the way to go. I have 6000 miles touring with a BOB and would suggest upgrading maybe the rear wheel, but upgrade the tire for sure.
I haven't decided at all, I was just leaning toward the nomad from my limited research, before I had all the first person perspectives.

Now you say most of the time the Nomad is in the gravel. I was reading that the current model is off center to the left to prevent the right wheel from being in gravel and such, not sure if previous models were the same way. Is this your experience? Or even with that it still ends up in the gravel?

The BOB is nice for sure... I love the streamlined design. Seems like it would be easy to pull, less resistance.

@kayadiver Yeah i saw someone else mention that people seem to give you more room with the Nomad, thats a solid feature. I stay to the right when safe but I also don't go out of my way. I'm with you, its safer for them to just slow down and pass, kinda nice to force them into that.

@surfjimc Yeah I heard you get headwinds going south to north, unfortunately my destination is in Seattle, if it was just for the ride I would change it.

Well I am still compiling lists of the gear I'll need and if I can fit in a Panniers I will try for that. How do Panniers affect a really light bike? I'm guessing balancing the load becomes more important?

Thanks for all the input everyone
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Old 11-28-09, 03:21 PM   #12
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5 years ago I did the Northern Tier with our daughter. We both used road bikes and trailers. She: Burley Nomad. Me: BOB. I'd say the primary downsides are additional weight, and lots of wear on the drive train and brakes because of the heavier loads. Face it. Road bikes are not really designed to pull that much weight for an extended distance. But, if I were to do it again, I'd definately consider the same arrangement before I invested in a touring bike.
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Old 11-28-09, 03:27 PM   #13
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. For others, the Burley is preferred even though most of the time one wheel is in the gravel. .
?????? That's not true. Unless you ride within 3 inches of the edge of the pavement, the Nomad will not drop off the side, it tracks slightly off to the left. Even when one wheel does drop off the side of the road, you hardly notice.
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Old 11-28-09, 03:33 PM   #14
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Oh, and obviously a two wheeler weighs more. .
That's not true. Check the stats.
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Old 11-28-09, 09:13 PM   #15
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I ride the Oregon portion of your contemplated route quite a lot . I would suggest you consider doing the route N to S if for no other reason than the ocean is off to your immediate right. From S to N the ocean is across the road. I have used a Bob trailer with a mountain bike/touring bike (26' wheels) on this route and although I do not load the trailer heavily I appreciate having Avid BB7 disc brakes. With thoughtful gearing and an exercise program (do your squats!) you'll have a wonderful time.

Last edited by JoeMan; 11-28-09 at 09:17 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 11-28-09, 09:17 PM   #16
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I would suggest you consider doing the route N to S
2nd the North to South suggestion
1. most of the time the wind is to your back
2. DOT has set up the route with N to S in mind
3. Drivers typically look at the ocean, therefor, if you traveling N, you are more "out of sight"
4. I've traveled North along the coast plenty of times, its always easier... much easier... going south.

my 2cents
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Old 11-28-09, 09:44 PM   #17
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I wish I could but this isn't a trip just for fun, I need to end up in Seattle.
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Old 11-28-09, 10:01 PM   #18
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Is it a "bad idea" or more of a "less than ideal" kind of scenario?
It's a far less than ideal scenario bordering on a very bad idea. That bike you have is a lightweight crit bike. It is not designed to pull a trailer. The more weight you put in a trailer the more likely you are to break that nice frame on your bike. The stays are very delicate and you will void the warranty if you use a trailer that clamps to the chainstay. The short wheelbase will also make the bike handle badly at speed if you use a BOB. Also keep in mind that one-wheeled trailers are good at damaging frames.

If you insist on doing it use a Chariot-type skewer hitch and a two-wheel trailer and don't put very much weight in it. Even better, don't pull a trailer and do the trip as a credit card tour. Without the trailer you can triple your daily mileage up to 175 miles to 200 miles per day. Lots of people do the PCH that way. Mail your stuff ahead to Seattle.

Or get a Surly Long Haul Trucker.

Last edited by Randobarf; 11-28-09 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 11-28-09, 10:39 PM   #19
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If you insist on doing it use a Chariot-type skewer hitch and a two-wheel trailer and don't put very much weight in it. Even better, don't pull a trailer and do the trip as a credit card tour. Without the trailer you can triple your daily mileage up to 175 miles to 200 miles per day. Lots of people do the PCH that way. Mail your stuff ahead to Seattle.

Or get a Surly Long Haul Trucker.
Wisdom.
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Old 11-29-09, 08:41 AM   #20
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Oh, and obviously a two wheeler weighs more. For cross country, that's a lot of extra cumulative energy expended.
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That's not true. Check the stats.
I stand corrected. 17 lbs for the chro-mo framed BOB vs the aluminum framed Burley Nomad's 14.5 lb.

Still, two wheels = greater rolling resistance/rolling inertia than one wheel. And a two wheeler presents a larger profile to the wind. Both have plenty of cargo capacity. Both are fine trailers.
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Old 11-29-09, 08:50 AM   #21
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I wish I could but this isn't a trip just for fun, I need to end up in Seattle.
best of luck

about a year ago, i too had a "go north" objective
i can relate

be safe, and best of luck.
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Old 11-29-09, 10:49 AM   #22
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How about trying an Extrawheel?

http://www.biketrailershop.com/catal...lers-c-46.html
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Old 11-29-09, 12:39 PM   #23
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I like carrying everything in panniers, rather than a trailer. There's less weight, less rolling resistance, and no need to bring a different sized spare tube. However, your bike must have capacity to carry racks. There are adapters if you don't have braze-ons, but make sure your chainstays are long enough that your heels won't hit your rear panniers. Also, make sure your rear wheel is heavy-duty enough to carry the extra load. I've broken spokes on tour and it's a drag.

Bob trailers have the advantage of being narrow; the wheel follows the bike's wheels, which makes it easier to navigate through obstacles - rocks, tree branches, potholes, etc. I found mine to handle great. I never had a handling problem. However, there's a tendency to jackknife when handling off the bike - parking, loading, etc. This can put quite a strain on the stays, from what I've heard. Be careful and you'll be fine. Be careless and something could break.

I've never used one, but the Burly would seem to have the advantage of having almost all the weight of the trailer born by the trailer's wheels. There should be no jackknifing issue. The disadvantage would be the extra weight and the need to account for the wider footprint when navigating through obstacles.

If you're doing the west coast, I'd recommend north to south to take advantage of the prevailing winds. I'd also recommend July and August. My nephew started from Vancouver in late September and the weather was horrible. His experience was completely different than mine (last two weeks of June and first two of August - warm weather the whole time, and only two brief spells of rain - less than 24 hours each time.)
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Old 11-29-09, 01:40 PM   #24
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How much do you weigh? The lighter you are the less getting a rack & panniers would be an issue for the bike.
I don't expect the weight of the bike would be a big concern for using panniers, geometry would be a bit more. I'd mostly be concerned with the strength of the frame & wheels. That said, I recently did a tour across France with 2 guys who were on road bikes (one was a ~2002 Caad-something ish cannondale) , and they got by fine using panniers. (Although I had to carry 2x the weight because they didn't have front racks and their rear racks were pretty cheap).
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Old 11-29-09, 01:49 PM   #25
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Yeah the more I think about it I don't think Panniers would be a real option for my bike. They simply wouldn't fit up front and if they did they would be small. The back would carry small ones. I'll need more room than that.

It seems like the prevailing issue may be the fact that the nomad only puts 10% of the weight on its tongue which means it shouldn't stress the frame or wheel too much. The BOB is rather tempting for its small footprint, no doubt, enough so that I still haven't made up my mind between the two.

and I weigh about 200lbs. which is 40lbs less than I use to weight while riding this bike.
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