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Thread: Bob Trailers

  1. #1
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    I'm looking for feedback from people who have used BOB trailers. Like em or hate em let me know, I'm trying to figure out if I should make the switch from paniers.

  2. #2
    ebg
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    Bob trailers

    We used a BOB trailer for three months in France last year and were very happy with it. It made it possible for us to live a comfortable life on our bikes for a lengthy trip. We could carry leftover groceries, guide books, etc. We never regretted having decided to use the trailer instead of panniers.

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    Bob Trailers

    My husband uses the BOB, I use panniers. I like panniers better because there are more places to stick things. And it's easy to partition out areas for cookware, food, nasty, skanky clothing, and the towel that never dries. Also, it's easier to balance the bike (true touring style) with the weight evenly spread. It's also nice to pick up your "shower" pannier and head to the faucet rather than digging around in one big bag.

    On the flip side, my husband really likes the BOB. Especially around town for groceries, big bags of dog food and hauling his garment bag to and from work.

    Your post was in January. I hope you figured it out!

  4. #4
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    I'd say go with it (well, you already have, one way or 'tother!)

    I toured for 6 months with a BOB trailer across three continents and loved it. I found the biggest advantages were:
    1. Having one bag made packing easy, plus you have heaps of room (the standard bag at the time was about 120 litres). It's easy to balance your loads too.
    2. Having one bag makes life more comfortable when you have to catch planes, trains etc to get around. It's hard enough to lug a bike through customs without having to carry a bunch of panniers as well.
    3. If you decide you want to stop touring and go mountain biking (assuming you're touring on a mountain bike) you just remove the QR pins, pop off the trailer and you have your bike back.
    4. Waterproofing is simple - get a big plastic pack liner (cheap and tough from any camping store), chuck the whole bag into this liner then pop it on the trailer - simple and it works. Although I think now they come with waterproof bags anyway.
    5. You can use the trailer when you're not touring for carrying groceries, sports gear, trail tools, beer, in fact anything that will fit. You can put it onto any bike you own too, which can come in useful - if you're a regular cycle commuter it has a myriad of uses.
    6. It's really stable offroad and downhill - I've topped 90 km/h with mine.
    7. Turn it upside down and it makes a great table when camping.
    8. It's a great conversation starter when you pull up to a campsite!

    As you can probably tell I love my BOB. I'm sure it's got some disadvantages compared to panniers, but as I've never toured with them I don't know!

    Happy touring

    Vanders, Australia.

  5. #5
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Speed loss BOB vs panniers?

    For those of you who have used both, does their seem to be any difference in speed/ease of pedalling when using the trailer vs panniers?

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    Ive tried both and I think this debate comes down to 2 things:

    1. With the bob, you don't have to spend big bucks on a touring bike.

    2. Try both and decide which one feels better. I personally like the "tank feel" of a bike with panniers. With the trailer, i sometimes felt like some force would throw me off balance when i least suspected it. Maybe i didn't give the bob enough time...

    Rick

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    Junior Member Grover's Avatar
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    I just got back from a blat round cornwall with a BOB and im a convert

    I did some foreign touring a few years back on a touring bike (4 panniers and all the caboodle) and was wondering whether to go the pannier way again but got a good deal on a BoB and so like...didnt

    Yes theres some drag but a laden tourer aint exactly flickabe.

    Best thing is the ability to just unhitch and stash your load and then hit the trails on your regular bike.

    Take some spare clips and fit the trailer unloaded, Ortlieb canoe bags are better than the holdall supplied and remember that the valve is a schrader (i didnt)

    Oh yeah, and lose that bloody flag first chance you get.

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    Trailers are more hassle to move by train, over steps/footbridges, anti-motorbike barriers, stiles, through hotels to the back yard.
    Those are the only cons I can think of.

  9. #9
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    I havent had my BOB very long but so far, i love it. It trails great and is extremely durable. After you get used to it, you wont even know its there. I am planning a 1500Km trip in 2 months, im taking BOB and Panniers. The BOB has multiple uses also, not just touring, its great for carrying anything.
    Overall, its an excellent product. Durable, reliable a little pricey, but but the advantages overcome the price in a hurry.

    Hope you enjoy it.
    Spinning Japan

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    Seems that I'm the odd one out. I prefer both, panniers to hold the stuff that I may need during the day...some food, water, tools, foul weather gear with the BOB hauling all the rest...camping gear, more food , extra water, etc. It's a better system than either alone. The big plus is that the rack is not piled to the sky with gear thus keeping my CG much lower, makes for a lot safer ride on twisty downhills..........
    Stop wasting space....live on the edge

  11. #11
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    One advantage of the BOB over panniers:
    pizza
    When I order pizza, I always go and pick it up on my bike. With the BOB, I can just put a large pizza box onto it, and not have to worry about it tipping, leaking, etc. (I used to bungee pizzas to the top of my rack, but the bungees tended to crush the box slightly.
    The Easter Island people were clever, but their civilization collapsed after they chopped down the last tree on their island. You can't be 'resourceful' if you've used up all of your resources.

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    I like both, panniers for road and Bob for off road. One thing about having a trailer is it is usefull all the time not just when your touring. Having a trailer means I can leave the car at home more and use the bike for all kinds of shopping and stuff, (ever tried to bring home a watermelon on your bike?)

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    I've been considering buying a Bob trailer, too, so the comments on this forum are helpful. I've noticed that Yakima has a bike trailer, as well. Has anyone used one of their's?

  14. #14
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    i would agree with most of the comments here and there are advantages and disadvantages to panniers/bob.

    i bought a Bob a few years back and have used it on all big tours. i also have panniers for in the city or small trips, but don't have a full touring pannier capacity.

    Bob:
    ** can ride offroad, panniers almost impossible w/o breaking something. if your load is not too heavy you can actually do some pretty extreme off-roading - i'm ridden downhill sections with the Bob and maybe 35-40lbs(15-17kg) on weekend trips in the Alps where other MTBers were walking their mountain bikes...
    ** less wind resistance if you have head or especially cross winds
    ** more stable at high speeds although you have to learn how to pack the weight - i did a 5-day trip on the Northwest coast with a friend with panniers and downhill he had to ride the brakes and always dreaded the downhills while i cranked to increase speed!
    ** easier to unhitch, lock up the trailer and your stuff and do a trail ride w/ racks or whatever
    ** loading your bike onto a train or into a hostel or whatever can be more difficult with the BOB - although it can be easier... the BOB definitely takes up more space in a bike room unless you detach it but then you have 2 things to carry and have to worry about leaving one unattended
    ** BOB puts less stress on the bike and requires less maintenance - also as someone else said, you need a good bike and frame for a full-load w/ panniers and with the BOB it's not really important
    ** no problem with front or full-suspension - front suspension pannier mounts exist, but they can be difficult to find and set up - full suspension and panniers (no idea if that works)

    Panniers:
    **more places to put things: e.g. knife is in front of left front pannier, etc.
    ** can be easier for train or something where you have to walk the bike

    if you're doing any off-road, BOB wins hands-down. OR if you have front suspension or full susupension, it's also way easier...

    For road touring, it's a mixed bag - you have to learn how to pack the BOB - so you can remember when everything is b/c it's just one big bag and and so you can get to the items you need easily without unpacking everything and to get the weight stable...

    but i think for road touring neither choice is bad - just different

    i've been really happy with my BOB and on my tour with my friend w/ panniers i usually felt i had the better setup except when i had to pay for 2 bikes on the train b/c they counted the trailer as a bike (b/c it has a bike wheel it's not luggage). i also had a little more trouble when pushing the bike through heavy pedestrian crowds b/c of the length

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    Was just wondering what your strategy was for hauling the BOB into trains and hostels? I have a BOB which I love but have been concerned about logistics for a European tour. My thoughts were, detach BOB, and then carry the BOB bag and trailer as one unit using the bag handles, it's unwieldy but seems easier than leaving BOB attached. And, how did you pack your BOB to fly? Did you box it? Thanks for the info. Zach

  16. #16
    AnarchyOnWheels
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    I have toured across America with a BOB , as well as much off road use, and for years commuting. The only problem I had was when a car smacked into the side of it.Got a new one, gave the bent one to a friend, and as far as I know it's still rollin.However, Im now considering panniers for a multi-continental trip, mainly due to dealing with airlines.Any one have any input on this?Extra fees and such?

  17. #17
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    as for BOB on the plane --- no experience with that and no real knowledge... in theory you could disassemble it and the BOB gets pretty small with the rear wheel and fender and the front tow linkage removed - then you can pack stuff inside it (i.e. in the bag or the trailer in the bag maybe) and shouldn't be too big - and then you need either a bag or a box so i think it would count as a 'regular' bag with no additional 'bike charge' that the airlines usually add on... best case would be if your luggage bag that normally fits inside the trailer is big enough to fit the trailer inside for flying but i think the normal bag that comes with the BOB is not big enough for this...

    as for Trains and hostels:

    i guess it wouldn't be ideal if you were to use the train a lot but probably if you have a trailer you're mostly there to ride...
    to load/unload from the train i unhitch the trailer and then load the bike and trailer separately - the trailer with all the gear still loaded. this works great if you have 2 people or 3 - but if you're by yourself you have to watch either your bike or trailer while you load the other... if your trailer is really heavy with gear usually someone will help you out much as people help loading kiddie-strollers or the elderly with bicycles or some nice people help everyone loading and unloading bicycles...

    for hostels i usually keep my trailer connected and walk both together to the storage/lock-up area... if it's really congested then you can unhitch, lock the bike outside or wherever, then take the trailer in and lock it and then come back for the bike - requires 2 locks but if theft is an issue you probably want 2 locks anyway (besides one can be a really small cable lock)...

  18. #18
    AnarchyOnWheels
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    When I have flown with the BOB I boxed it in the original box andI was hit with extra fees for oversized luggage.THe trailer will not fit in the bag, so Im thinking of leaving the bag in the trailer, removing the wheel,fender,wheel hitch and then finding some sort of big bag I can throw the whole thing into.

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    I used a Bob on the Trans-Am tour last summer and cant explain how pleased I was. There were times where I forgot I had Bob and had to look down to check if it was still there.

    Matt

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    Has anyone heard or used a Koolstop Wilderbeast bike trailer? They're very much like the Bob's. Just wondering if anyone is familiar with them. I just bought one on Ebay. Apparently, they fold for easy shipping.

    Schatzi

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