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Old 11-08-02, 08:41 AM   #1
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Should I take BOB with me?

I have been checking the archives and can only find afew comments about bicycle trailers.
I did a full-camping trip to Mexico in '79 using only back panniers, rack and sometimes a handlebar bag. I am not sure of the total weight, but cooking equipment, tent, sleeping bag, and food would have added up to quite a bit of weight.
I spent quite a bit of time fixing back wheel flats, especially since I tended to use Wal-Mart style cheap tires 27x1/14.
I would like to hear comments on the BOB system, and other trailers. Do they improve the riding feel of the bike? Are they recommended for full-camping touring, or is it still better to use a pannier system, including front panniers?
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Old 11-08-02, 10:11 AM   #2
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this topics been covered a bit...

here's my comment from
trailer is great!
* rides wonderful, stable and safe even going fast downhill, less wind resitance than panniers - you hardly even notice it's there until a hill comes (and then you notice the weight, not the trailer per say) - you have to learn how best to pack the weight for fast downhills - on tour i felt safe going 50mph downhill with 40lbs while my friend with panniers was all over the brakes at 35mph
* easily detachable in a few seconds and you can stow your trailer somewhere safe and do a day or rec. tour or MTB ride w/o unloading all your paniers and racks and stuff
* for MTBing the trailer tracks great - i've down serious singletrack downhills with the trailer on trails w/ small drops where some rec riders were walking their bikes downhill b/c it was so technical - obviously uphill is harder if you carry weight, but downhill and tight singletrack is UNBELIEVABLY good (just don't crash!)
* low wind profile so REALLY nice in comparison to panniers when the wind is strong
* less force and pressure on bike frame and wheels (although i did brake a lot of light-weight racing type triple-butted rear spokes until i replaced them with stronger touring-type spokes)

* trailer/bike is long and a pain to 'walk' through pedestrain areas or your hotel, but OK except when you stop and want to load your bike in a train or lock it on a normal bike rack
* as Blue Marble said, there's only 1 bag, so you need you own system to locate stuff - panniers have the advantage 'item x is in left-front pannier, outer pocket'
* i often got charged extra on trains or whatever when panniers can be removed and count as 'baggage'
* it encourages you to carry TOO MUCH stuff for a tour - don't fill it up just b/c you can!

in the end panniers vs. trailer is a personal choice, but for a recumbent where (i guess) full panniers is harder to achieve, the BOB should be the better choice

i am 100% satisfied with mine!
** 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)

**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
I have the YAK, but the Coz is pretty similar just with the Rubbermaid box instead of the whole aluminum frame and bag.

the Yak is rated for 70lbs. but yeah, the COZ is only 50lbs... i guess the frame must be a little less stout... for touring with the YAK you can load it with way more weight than you should. for shopping or hauling maybe you could meet the weight limit. BUT, my personal comment, is that when they say it's good to 75lbs, it means i can probably use it up to say 100lbs - it's just not recommended and they're not responsible if you break something... in my YAK i've had 50lbs on tour and 70-80lbs for local hauling (like shopping).

see info/reviews:
the trailer's great. in the end, for touring it's a personal choice between panniers or trailer -- i personally have been very happy with the trialer
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Old 11-12-02, 11:52 AM   #3
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If you have the cash for a trailer go for it. It'll only take you a matter of feet to get used to the feel of it. You'll be glad that you did as it feels so much better to have the weight off the bike and on a trailer.
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Old 11-12-02, 12:09 PM   #4
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I do not have a BOB trailer, but do haul a Burley d'lite behind my tandem on trips. I chose this trailer as we bring our dog along on all our trips. We travel light and find we have plenty of room for the dog and all of our stuff. A picture of the bike and trailer from our trip to Prince Edward Island this fall is attached below:
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Old 11-12-02, 01:48 PM   #5
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I've been using the BOB trailer for the last 4000+ miles on my tour. I couldn't imagine going without it. I'm sure I could do it, but touring wouldn't be as comfortable as it has been with the BOB.
You don't have to worry, the BOB will hold up to whatever you put your bike through. I haven't taken it much on trails but I hear you can if you wanted.
I ride with rear panniers (clothes), no front panniers, my BOB and my tent and sleeping pads and bag up on the rear rack.

As far as handling, the BOB takes some getting used to, but you'll get it in no time. And it seems you always have to find a longer wall to prop the bike on, or lay it on a sign post at the right spot to avoid jack knifing, but other than that, its A+ for the tour!

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Old 03-01-03, 09:54 AM   #6
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I positively love the trailer on the back of our tandem. Our total length with the tandem and trailer is about 12 feet. Trailers are great as far as carrying the weight, and I don't think they will be as cumbersome as panniers, although for short tours and day rides we do use panniers and a rear rack.

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