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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 07-03-10, 10:29 PM   #1
pkulak
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Why spend $450 on a child trailer?

I live in an area with a lot of bikes, and most people I see have Burley trailers, which are really expensive. I have one child, so I would want the solo, which is about $450. Even on Craigslist the best you can find them for is $250, and that's for the beat up ones. What do I give up by going with something like this?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002QAZ8WC/

That looks fine to me, and it's a third of the used price brand new!
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Old 07-04-10, 12:19 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by pkulak View Post
I live in an area with a lot of bikes, and most people I see have Burley trailers, which are really expensive. I have one child, so I would want the solo, which is about $450. Even on Craigslist the best you can find them for is $250, and that's for the beat up ones. What do I give up by going with something like this?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002QAZ8WC/

That looks fine to me, and it's a third of the used price brand new!

You just have to be patient. I have seen nearly new kiddie trailers go for $40 bucks on the Houston area craigslist. I scored mine for $80 off of eBay.
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Old 07-04-10, 02:24 AM   #3
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Don't!

I have a used Bell trailer I picked up at a garage sale for $50. I have toted my kids, and other things, everywhere in the local area. I have carried 100 pounds of kids and 100 more pounds of clothes to Goodwill at the same time (two kids in the front, one large garbage bag of clothes in the back, and two large garbage bags of clothes strapped on top). Sure it's heavy and was way over the stated capacity, but it worked fine. I personally would not buy a trailer new. I've got so many miles on mine that I'm on my third set of tires!

The most important part of the trailer, IMHO, is the hitch. Many of the low-budget trailers have terrible hitches, like this one. Fortunately, Burley makes a hitch that will fit on most low-budget trailers, such as my Bell. I bought the Burley hitch and the Burley round bar connector for my trailer. This added about $30 onto the cost of the used trailer, and it has been worth every penny. The clamp style hitches will damage the paint on the rear triangle and are a less reliable connectoin than the Burley style hitch (Chariot uses a similar kind of hitch). All in all, I'm very happy with my trailer, and in hindsight I wouldn't do it any differently.

Also, consider a used trailer with bars that protect the wheels from curbs, like this one.

Last edited by hopperja; 07-04-10 at 02:29 AM.
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Old 07-04-10, 06:55 AM   #4
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i got my trailer for free but when i got mine it was no longer any good for hauling kids because all the canvas is all faded and torn and it did not come with a hitch so i had to make my own. i ended up cut all the canvas off and putting a flat deck on it. since i have found it i would have to guess that i have moved over 20 tonne of stuff using it. it still has the stock tires and bearings both of which need to be replaced, badly.
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Old 07-04-10, 07:14 AM   #5
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It depends on how much you are going to use your trailer. I have seen 15 year old Burley trailers still going strong and in great shape when cared for. They can be used for hauling more than just kids too.

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Old 07-04-10, 09:29 PM   #6
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I have a really old Burly that I got at a garage sale for $10 that I used to use for cargo hauling until I got my Xtracycle. Never put my kid in it (nor would I, seemed very uncomfortable for him). For my son, I bought a CoPilot Model A (retail is ~$250). Seats up to two, comes with back handlebar and front wheel for using as a stroller. Not sure why someone would want to drop the big bucks for a Burly, doesn't seem like they are a whole lot more rugged (or lighter, or cushier, or...)
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Old 07-05-10, 11:13 PM   #7
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I forgot to mention that IF you want to haul unusual cargo (either weight or volume) then $450+/- for a Bikes at Work trailer is probably well worth the expense. I imagine you could easily strap a good car seat onto one, and even build a conduit frame if needed, to carry one or more children.
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Old 07-07-10, 05:24 AM   #8
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A lot of people ask how much my Bikes@Work trailer costs and I get a lot if different reactions to the answer ($480) ranging from anger and ridicule to nods sometimes with raised eyebrows and/or a smile. No one has said "Wow, that's a great price!", but some seem to think it is reasonable and are still interested in getting one.

If they appear at all put off by the price, I reassure them that less expensive trailers are available and adequate for all but the heaviest loads that my trailer can handle.

The funny part: I always tell them to look at Burley for a cheaper option if they don't need the extra capacity. I didn't know Burley was in the same price range. Even B.O.B. trailers (one of which I also own and much prefer for light loads) start at $300 (I think. It seems they don't bother to mention price on their website. )
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Old 07-14-10, 12:48 PM   #9
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Burley Used to be owned by the people who did the work, A co op, in Eugene. that's over now ,
not the same company at all.

they are off shored now, as usual looking for cheap labor, shipped in containers back across the Pacific.
price margin now is markup. carbon footprint in bike industry is shipping ,
some things circle the globe more than once before getting to the store.
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Old 07-21-10, 05:04 PM   #10
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Instep trailers are also sold at Target under the Schwinn name. The better ones have spoked wheels. I have used one of these for years, they seem to be a very solid piece of equipment. You might consider the double model for more room for your child and future cargo carrying capacity. Seems like the wider ones would be more stable also.

Allen
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Old 07-21-10, 08:05 PM   #11
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I bought an older Burley D'lite trailer in good shape (I think the older ones with the bar that gos all the way around the outside of the wheel are much better then the new ones anyway) at a bike shop that sold mostly used bikes in Portland, Oregon for $50.00. I've seen them on craigslist for as little as $10.00.

You just have to be patient and wait for a reasonable price to come up. I'm amazed sometimes how much some people ask for used stuff.
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Old 07-23-10, 11:00 PM   #12
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Here is one in Seattle for only $40.00!

Burley Bike Trailer - $40 (Bothell)
Date: 2010-07-23, 2:29PM PDT
Reply to: sale-h6h6w-1859552259@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

A bit older Burley kid bike trailer but in great working condition. Attaches to any kind of bicycle. Comes with additional bug screen, plastic cover/window, and spiffy flourescent orange safety flag.

* Location: Bothell
* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

image 1859552259-0 image 1859552259-1

PostingID: 1859552259
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Old 07-29-10, 10:05 AM   #13
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The reason you don't get the cheap Instep is because you are cooler than kiddie trailer when you roll the Chariot sidecar!



http://www.chariotcarriers.com/engli...?flaID=gallery
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Old 07-29-10, 11:32 AM   #14
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That's a unique and stylish hauler, chaadster! Did you use it to carry the cargo trike I see in the background and it's driver?
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Old 08-03-10, 12:00 AM   #15
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my two cents...

i tried 3 different used trailers (1 burley and two "lesser" brands i can't recall), all of which i got from craigslist. all of them had something i didnt like. crappy wheels that didn't track, too heavy, lame hitch, generally low build quality, etc. any of these things could probably be tolerable if you're only using the trailer occasionally, but if you want to use it everyday, some of them are a huge pain.

i got a chariot cougar 2 from REI on sale 2 summers ago. i think they were closing them out at the time, maybe just cleaning out inventory as it was end of summer. i think i got it for 25% off, so it came to around $450 with tax.

i went with this model because even though we only had one kid we were planning on more (#2 coming any day now), and also my daughter always wants to bring a friend whenever she rides in it.

i don't mind what i spent on it because it gets used a lot, nearly every day. it is very well made, lightweight, pulls very easily, and has some really clever features that are useful to me.

it has seats for two kids with harnesses and seat belts. there are storage pockets on each side for the kids to put their stuff in. there is a set of screens that cover the passenger compartment which can be deployed to suit the conditions. you can put the mesh screen only down to keep debris and rocks from flying in but keep the kids cool. there is another layer which is clear plastic to keep the rain out. we added another for shade.

chariot has made their trailers (this one at least) convertible. you can use this trailer as a hiking trailer, a bike trailer, stroller, jogger, or a ski trailer. all you have to do is add the appropriate accessory which just snaps on.

i got the stroller addon, which is a set of caster type wheels that snap on/off the front and turns it in into a big stroller. this is really cool because it takes about 30 seconds to go from hitched to the bike, to the tongue being stowed and the stroller wheels on. when i go to the grocery store with the kid(s), i just unhitch it and wheel it into the store and use it as a shopping cart. the wheels are attached/detached by pushing a button on the side, and they can be stowed by inserting them upside down, so they don't get lost.

i am thinking about getting the jogger attachment which adds a 3rd 20" wheel to the front, and snaps on into the same attachment point the trailer hitch does.

another clever thing is the way the main wheels attach. all you have to do to remove a wheel is push on a release button in the middle of the hub and slide it off. makes storing, hauling, or changing a flat an easy task.

i wore out two sets of tires of the type it came with, but for the third set i ordered up a pair of schwalbe big apple 20x2.35s. these are holding up very well. could be my imagination, but i feel the trailer pulls much easier with these tires than the skinny ones that were on it before.

by far the best feature of it in my opinion is the hitch. to setup your bike to use the trailer you remove the skewer from your rear wheel and replace it with a longer one that came with the trailer. the longer skewer is necessary because the hitch, which is a steel cup, gets clamped onto the bike with the skewer and the added thickness requires the longer skewer. this is all you have to do to the bike. no tools required, and it is very clean, you don't need to remove the hitch when not using the trailer.

the tongue of the trailer slides into the steel cup and is then secured with a pin that has a rubber safety strap. there is also a nylon strap that goes around the chainstay as a backup safety catch just like the chains you use when hooking a trailer to a car.

with the hitch already on the bike, it takes about 15 seconds to hook/unhook the trailer to/from your bike. if you wanted, you could get an extra cup and skewer and have more than one bike setup to use the trailer. we have done this so either my bike or my wife's bike are ready to pull it.

the end of the tongue is a hard rubber piece that is designed so that if the bike falls over, it won't damage the tongue.

so this has turned into a long winded description of why i like my chariot trailer. i didn't mean to go that far but i wrote it so i may as well share it. the point i am trying to get across with all this info here is that, at least with the chariot, you do get a lot for the money. whether or not that lot is useful to you, depends on how much you will use it and what you will use it for.

this thing did cost a lot of money and it would be a very expensive toy if only used for occasional use.

for me though, i expect to use it for at least 10 years from when i bought it, and with that in mind the $450 doesn't seem too bad.
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Old 08-03-10, 12:00 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by xargaun View Post
i tried 3 different used trailers (1 burley and two "lesser" brands i can't recall), all of which i got from craigslist. all of them had something i didnt like. crappy wheels that didn't track, too heavy, lame hitch, generally low build quality, etc. any of these things could probably be tolerable if you're only using the trailer occasionally, but if you want to use it everyday, some of them are a huge pain.

i got a chariot cougar 2 from REI on sale 2 summers ago. i think they were closing them out at the time, maybe just cleaning out inventory as it was end of summer. i think i got it for 25% off, so it came to around $450 with tax.

i went with this model because even though we only had one kid we were planning on more (#2 coming any day now), and also my daughter always wants to bring a friend whenever she rides in it.

i don't mind what i spent on it because it gets used a lot, nearly every day. it is very well made, lightweight, pulls very easily, and has some really clever features that are useful to me.

it has seats for two kids with harnesses and seat belts. there are storage pockets on each side for the kids to put their stuff in. there is a set of screens that cover the passenger compartment which can be deployed to suit the conditions. you can put the mesh screen only down to keep debris and rocks from flying in but keep the kids cool. there is another layer which is clear plastic to keep the rain out. we added another for shade.

chariot has made their trailers (this one at least) convertible. you can use this trailer as a hiking trailer, a bike trailer, stroller, jogger, or a ski trailer. all you have to do is add the appropriate accessory which just snaps on.

i got the stroller addon, which is a set of caster type wheels that snap on/off the front and turns it in into a big stroller. this is really cool because it takes about 30 seconds to go from hitched to the bike, to the tongue being stowed and the stroller wheels on. when i go to the grocery store with the kid(s), i just unhitch it and wheel it into the store and use it as a shopping cart. the wheels are attached/detached by pushing a button on the side, and they can be stowed by inserting them upside down, so they don't get lost.

i am thinking about getting the jogger attachment which adds a 3rd 20" wheel to the front, and snaps on into the same attachment point the trailer hitch does.

another clever thing is the way the main wheels attach. all you have to do to remove a wheel is push on a release button in the middle of the hub and slide it off. makes storing, hauling, or changing a flat an easy task.

i wore out two sets of tires of the type it came with, but for the third set i ordered up a pair of schwalbe big apple 20x2.35s. these are holding up very well. could be my imagination, but i feel the trailer pulls much easier with these tires than the skinny ones that were on it before.

by far the best feature of it in my opinion is the hitch. to setup your bike to use the trailer you remove the skewer from your rear wheel and replace it with a longer one that came with the trailer. the longer skewer is necessary because the hitch, which is a steel cup, gets clamped onto the bike with the skewer and the added thickness requires the longer skewer. this is all you have to do to the bike. no tools required, and it is very clean, you don't need to remove the hitch when not using the trailer.

the tongue of the trailer slides into the steel cup and is then secured with a pin that has a rubber safety strap. there is also a nylon strap that goes around the chainstay as a backup safety catch just like the chains you use when hooking a trailer to a car.

with the hitch already on the bike, it takes about 15 seconds to hook/unhook the trailer to/from your bike. if you wanted, you could get an extra cup and skewer and have more than one bike setup to use the trailer. we have done this so either my bike or my wife's bike are ready to pull it.

the end of the tongue is a hard rubber piece that is designed so that if the bike falls over, it won't damage the tongue.

so this has turned into a long winded description of why i like my chariot trailer. i didn't mean to go that far but i wrote it so i may as well share it. the point i am trying to get across with all this info here is that, at least with the chariot, you do get a lot for the money. whether or not that lot is useful to you, depends on how much you will use it and what you will use it for.

this thing did cost a lot of money and it would be a very expensive toy if only used for occasional use.

for me though, i expect to use it for at least 10 years from when i bought it, and with that in mind the $450 doesn't seem too bad.
It certainly seems that Chariot are making the best child trailers out there. I took a close look at them--and Burley--before deciding on the Sidecarrier, and in terms of build quality and thoughtful design, it seemed clear to me that Chariot is the industry leader.

I know there are other, high-quality producers (e.g. Tout Terrain), but no one appears to have the combo of quality/price/versatility/availability that Chariot does.

Boy, thinking about Chariot makes me wanna have another baby, just so I can keep using their stuff! Hahaha!
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Old 08-03-10, 10:15 PM   #17
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i tried 3 different used trailers... all of which i got from craigslist. all of them had something i didnt like. crappy wheels that didn't track, too heavy, lame hitch, generally low build quality, etc. any of these things could probably be tolerable if you're only using the trailer occasionally, but if you want to use it everyday, some of them are a huge pain....
That's why I like the CHEAP Bell trailer I picked up at a garage sale. The trailer itself is OK: it tracks well, is aluminum framed so not too heavy, and it has aluminum rims with stainless steel spokes. By the way, not all spokes are created equal. I've had several no-name brand stainless steel spokes break on me (including around 10 on my wife's Rockhopper front wheel, she's 5'3" average build). I've never had a single spoke problem with the Bell trailer.

The problem with it was, as I previously mentioned, the hitch. I replaced the standard clamp hitch with a Burley hitch, which is very similar to the Chariot hitch. It has worked flawlessly for around 3,000 to 4,000 miles. And, I've invested less than $100 total into it.

I've hauled as many as four kids in it (two in front, two in back). That's 200+ pounds of children, for as much as 10 miles at a time. I've hauled countless loads to the recycle center or Goodwill. It's been a fantastic investment, and I don't regret for even a moment not spending 4+ times as much on a Chariot.

To be clear, I use my trailer for at least 10 miles per week every week for the past 6 years. Often times, it gets used much more, and for more than just hauling a kid or two. This is certainly not daily use, but I wouldn't call it occaisional either.

Last edited by hopperja; 08-03-10 at 10:23 PM.
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