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  1. #1
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    Trailer or panniers?

    I'm curious which you prefer and why. So far, I've used panniers, but the trailer sounds like an idea which would have some merit.
    Life is good.

  2. #2
    Senior Member gavtatu's Avatar
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    i used a trailer on a MTB for one trip, no real probs, the odd off road track was a bit difficult, lifting bike and trailer.
    on my recumbent tour, used panniers, with no probs, no off road, but easy to lift bike up as a whole !

  3. #3
    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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    Tons of information on this subject if you do a search... it's been brought up and argued about tons...
    Save 15% on your first order at Hammer Nutrition!!

    2010 Giant TCR SL 3
    2010 Novara Randonee

  4. #4
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    This issue is well settled. If you can't fit panniers, you get a trailer.

  5. #5
    Doesn't ride enough Lamabb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    This issue is well settled. If you can't fit panniers, you get a trailer.
    And if you want less flats and broken spokes, you get a trailer too.

  6. #6
    Buddy Ratzinger's Avatar
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    And if you want to bring a guitar, you get a trailer.

  7. #7
    BeaverTerror Yan's Avatar
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    Flying with panniers is much easier than flying with a trailer.
    Yan

    2013 True North custom touring; 2010 Novara Randonee; 2009 Unicycle.com Club 24"; 1989 Miele Tivoli; 1979 Colnago Sport

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamabb View Post
    And if you want less flats and broken spokes, you get a trailer too.
    No, you address the problem and get better tires and wheels. Then you have almost no flats and literally no broken spokes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ratzinger View Post
    And if you want to bring a guitar, you get a trailer.
    Yes, if loaded touring means bringing any manner of $hit, then you'll need a trailer.

  9. #9
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    haven't tried my look alike bob trailer as yet.i have just finished my project on turning my Raleigh road bike into a light weight tourer. it will be used to pull the trailer ,the tubes in the bike are reynolds finest 753 and way to light for racks /panniers.When i load up my thorn with front/rear panniers it's a dog on climbs (don't know how to add smiles)
    so like yourself i'm dead curious to see which is better.

  10. #10
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    Rode one 1300 mile tour using both trailer and panniers (not at the same time). Short and dirty summary:

    Trailer (BobYak semi-clone/single-wheel)
    - less affected by crosswinds
    - technically able to carry more/heavier/strangel-sized/shaped loads
    - carried 1 additional inner tube (trailer wheels not the same size as the bike's)
    - handling issue #1 - bike & trailer got tipped over by a rambunctious kid. Picking it back up was more awkward than doing the same thing with panniers
    - handling issue #2 - this particular trailer mounting system was more sensitive to the QR skewer/mount being "just so" than any pannier mount I've seen/used. Incorrectly tightened just slightly, it caused a crash with minor injuries when torgueing the pedals while starting off (occured pre-tour during a warmup/shakedown ride).
    - handling issue #3 - seemed to take longer to stop than with panniers
    - reduced weight load on rear axle
    - far larger turn radius/harder to back up
    - no heel-strike issues due to panniers mounted too far forward
    - extra locations for mounting water bottle cages
    - extra wheel to check pre-ride each day (air pressure, detritus in tire, axle tightness, etc)
    - 1 "big" bag rather than 4 smaller ones (storage space and carry issue - could go either way depending on how loaded/stuffed)

    Panniers and racks (front and rear)
    - sensitive to crosswind gusts affecting "my line". Definitely noticeable when winds were 20mph+ - but still usually more than manageable.
    - more sensitive than the trailer was to load balance both left/right and front/rear
    - much more built-in organization of packed items
    - weighed slightly less than the trailer (negligible in terms of being rideable)
    - three more bags to waterproof than with trailer cargo bag
    - easier to park than the trailer
    - daily bolt check tightness routine more involved than with the trailer. Did have to retighten one pannier mounting clip during the 3 week tour (have heard of others who've broken/had to repair mounting clips). Have heard of people losing a pannier at very inconvenient time - have never heard of similar issue with trailer cargo bag.
    - wider than trailer (straight-line path wideness issue)
    - I found panniers easier to balance at <5mph than the trailer
    - needed to match rack to pannier mounting "system" (usually not a big issue, but I used "no longer made" panniers and a decades-newer rack).
    - removing rear wheel/repairing rear flat was more time-consuming than when using the trailer

    Others probably have difference experiences/perspectives.

    Preference - shrug - it's a coin toss depending on terrain, tour length and road conditions. Trailer in rolling hills seemed to require more effort than panniers. Garbage-strew/rough shoulders were easier to negotiate with the panniers. In windy conditions, I definitely prefer the trailer.
    Last edited by drmweaver2; 05-25-11 at 04:57 PM.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    One other issue with trailers that wasn't mentioned is that they are not great to draft behind. That may or may not be an issue for you, but I know that we rode pace line a lot on the TA and it was a big help in windy open country.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Nigal's Avatar
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    I use a trailer because my bike (Raleigh Clubman) isn't heavy enough for touring. I spent $150 for a Croozer as opposed to $800-$1,500 for a touring bike and it has allowed me to begin touring. About the only issue I have with the trailer is the amount of wind resistance due to it's cover and squareness. I do plan on getting a robust tourer and using panniers later.

  13. #13
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I prefer panniers on the road. This summer I'm riding the Great Divide Route and will be pulling a Bob trailer, due to various issues. I could have tried panniers, but there were too many obstacles and I'm worried about broken spokes. I'll be sharing my conclusions after the tour.

  14. #14
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    I can't speak about panniers because I won't use them--I'm the world's biggest klutz and have already wiped my face off of the pavement when I had an unbalanced bike. I'm not knocking them, just that they're not for me. I know my limits.

    I'm using a Mayacycle trailer and absolutely love it. I've taken it on over 1200 miles in the last few months as I train for my tour. It goes up and down hills, through obstacles (Mexican roads are...hmmm...interesting at times), over speed bumps and potholes. It can be a drag going uphill, but I think it'd be just as difficult to power a heavily loaded bike up that same hill. I like that all I have to do is disconnect the attaching fork and I'm done. I honestly don't notice it behind me when I'm moving. It doesn't affect my stopping distance, nor does it "push" me forward. Since this particular trailer is connected with a fork and is only one wheel, there's no real difference in my turning radius. The only disadvantage is that it does add some length to my bike. This has never been an issue, so far, when parking it. It's kind of nice to know that I can take a little extra crap with me if I want. Of course, the bad thing is that I may take too much crap with me because I have more room with a trailer!

    For safety, I keep a red blinky light on it at all times, plus one on my bike (will be buying one of those traffic triangles as soon as I hit the States). I've never had any problems w/cars getting too close or not seeing me. Of course, there are always those $%^&* who like to sneak up and honk, but that's a different story...

    I think it all boils down to what is comfortable for you. We can all tell you the benefits of panniers vs trailers or trailers vs panniers, but you have to decide what's important for you.

  15. #15
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    I just packed for my 1st tour in 20 years and we have severe rain/thunderstorms predicted for at least the first 2 days of our 4 day trip. I'm looking at the Bob my son borrowed and having one big dry bag is a lot easier than water proofing 4 panniers and and any outside compartments!

    I envision I'll envy him at the end of the day when he can haul all his gear into the shelter with one pass. I may not envy him on hills, because a trailer - with heavy dry bag - will almost always work out to more weight that 4 panniers with the extra front rack.

    If I fit his bike, may we will change mounts during the ride so we can experience the difference on the same tour - although I am carrying more weight and stuff than him.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    In the next few weeks, I'll test both options with the same load to see which handles better.

    The disadvantage of a trailer is transporting it by plane. It almost but not quite fits the bike box. The box is wide enough to accommodate the trailer and the bike, but the trailer is just a a couple of centimetres too high. I'm hoping Air Canada will not have too much of a problem with that. (The trailer I'd be using would be a cargo trailer.)

    The advantages include being able to load all my gear in one bag rather than several panniers and having a much easier time dealing with flat tires, especially on the rear wheel.

    Still, I'll have a better idea within the next couple of weeks after I do some testing.
    Life is good.

  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    You have 5 0r more pieces to deal with off the bike, with panniers.
    with all your stuff in a trailer, there is just one piece,
    and it has it's own wheels.

    if you want to go on a back county hike in the middle of your trip
    then you can put your backpack and boots in a trailer.

    there was a Swedish guy, rode his bike to Nepal, climbed Everest,
    then rode home.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dengidog View Post
    I'm using a Mayacycle trailer and absolutely love it. I've taken it on over 1200 miles in the last few months as I train for my tour. It goes up and down hills, through obstacles (Mexican roads are...hmmm...interesting at times), over speed bumps and potholes.
    Yep - when there wasn't a problem with the QR skewer not holding, it's at least as good as the Bob.
    -----------------------------------------
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by drmweaver2 View Post
    Yep - when there wasn't a problem with the QR skewer not holding, it's at least as good as the Bob.
    It's never been a problem for me and I've put it over some really, really bad terrain (most times it wasn't intentional). But like anything, you have to make sure everything is properly connected. I know you had a problem w/yours, but did you speak w/the company to report it? Since nothing in life is 100%, maybe you got a duff skewer. It'd be a shame not to be able to enjoy your trailer for something that's "fixable" (plus saving others from the same problem). Considering the roads and paths that I've been over in the last 7 or so months, I have no problem giving it a strong endorsement (and no, I don't get diddly squat for saying so). It's a good value trailer so I was really sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience.

    FTR, I was really just trying to explain why a trailer was the best option for me.

  20. #20
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    How about both?

    www.extrawheel.com

    I first read about it on this guy's blog about his trip across the Australian outback.

  21. #21
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuan View Post
    How about both?

    www.extrawheel.com

    I first read about it on this guy's blog about his trip across the Australian outback.
    I've had one of those and think it is a great trailer. Weighs less than 8lbs, trails beautifully and, depending on model, can take Drybag or panniers. It has an ingenious method for attaching the trailer also which I rate highly.

  22. #22
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    You have 5 0r more pieces to deal with off the bike, with panniers.
    Maybe, but for me it is usually only one piece including the bike with panniers because I usually do not take them off the bike at all during a tour. I think that in 73 days of the TA I took them off once to leave the panniers in a hosts garage and again at the end of the tour when we were staying with friends for a few days and they shuttled our gear. On my other tours I don't think I removed the panniers even once until the end of the tour.

    Edit: The handle bar bag is an exception since it generally stays with me at all times.

  23. #23
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I liked meeting and talking to people in other countries , flew there,
    took trains occasionally,
    then the issue of handling the panniers, etc., off the bike came up.

  24. #24
    Junior Member velotrain's Avatar
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    I prefer panniers as I see the trailer as just one more big thing to deal with. There are always situations on my tours where a trailer would be a real pain - needing to lift the bike over a highway guard-rail, getting through a British stile, etc. I've toured with my bike weighing over 100 pounds (not recommended, but I even managed a century [double century?] one day), and I still think it's easier to handle than a trailer would be.

  25. #25
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuan View Post
    How about both?

    www.extrawheel.com
    I loved my ExtraWheel - it's a great trailer. I switched to the BOB after 5000 miles because it BOB was sturdier. ExtraWheel has now redesigned their trailer and they've addressed all the issues I had with it. I'll try it again.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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