Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Panniers or trailer

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Panniers or trailer

Old 06-25-12, 07:23 PM
  #1  
Newspaperguy
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Newspaperguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 2,206
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Panniers or trailer

On my last short bike tour, just over a week, I used a Burley trailer to haul my gear. On most trips, I've used panniers.

The trailer handled admirably and I often would check to see if it was still behind me. The weight was there, but no handling issues. The trailer also meant I did not have to worry too much about balancing the load, which becomes more important when using panniers. The biggest drawback is in trying to load the trailer in a bike box. Using a trailer also requires carrying spare tubes for it, since the trailer does not accommodate the same size tires as a bike. Oh, and it's also easy to pack way too much onto a trailer.

The panniers will affect the handling a little, but then everything's on the bike. It's also a lot easier transporting the bike without a trailer instead of a bike and a trailer.

I'm interested in which option you prefer and why.
Newspaperguy is offline  
Old 06-25-12, 08:19 PM
  #2  
B. Carfree
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Posts: 7,048
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 509 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 8 Posts
I use a variety of trailers around town, but would never bring one on a tour. When the shoulder is just barely okay for a loaded bike, it would often be too narrow for anything but a Bob. I also seek out the steep hills and don't trust a trailer on them, particularly the unpaved descents. Also, racks and panniers are lighter and have less rolling resistance than a trailer.
B. Carfree is offline  
Old 06-25-12, 09:02 PM
  #3  
mdilthey
Senior Member
 
mdilthey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,923

Bikes: Nature Boy 853 Disc, Pugsley SS

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 251 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 5 Posts
It's a no brainer for me. Saved weight is a big deal. An unladen touring bike gets less flats and breaks less often. Less stuff means less stuff to care for, remember, guard against theft, and keep dry. I pack light with 2 panniers and wouldn't dream of adding 10-20lbs to my bike just to carry more things I don't need.
mdilthey is offline  
Old 06-25-12, 09:34 PM
  #4  
prathmann
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Bay Area, Calif.
Posts: 7,239
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 659 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 5 Posts
I've only used a trailer when touring with my Bike Friday. When doing a one-way tour and flying back the trailer box is also the suitcase that will hold the bike and trailer parts on the flight. Works fine and connects/disconnects easily in a couple seconds when wanting to leave the luggage somewhere and ride an unloaded bike.

But generally I still prefer to use panniers to minimize the overall weight. I try to keep my touring load down to about 20 lbs. and adding a trailer adds a substantial amount to that. If I were touring with a load of 40 lbs. or more then I would reconsider use of a trailer.
prathmann is offline  
Old 06-25-12, 09:34 PM
  #5  
pacificcyclist
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 920

Bikes: 2012 Masi Speciale CX : 2013 Ghost 29er EBS

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
On my last short bike tour, just over a week, I used a Burley trailer to haul my gear. On most trips, I've used panniers.

The trailer handled admirably and I often would check to see if it was still behind me. The weight was there, but no handling issues. The trailer also meant I did not have to worry too much about balancing the load, which becomes more important when using panniers. The biggest drawback is in trying to load the trailer in a bike box. Using a trailer also requires carrying spare tubes for it, since the trailer does not accommodate the same size tires as a bike. Oh, and it's also easy to pack way too much onto a trailer.

The panniers will affect the handling a little, but then everything's on the bike. It's also a lot easier transporting the bike without a trailer instead of a bike and a trailer.

I'm interested in which option you prefer and why.
I do both.

2 small front panniers and a Burley Travoy at the back.

Jim Shubert once said..

"It is somewhat counterintuitive that putting weight on the bike’s steering would improve the bike’s handling, but it most certainly does. For proving this, we owe thanks to Jim Blackburn, the since-retired founder of Blackburn Designs."

The small panniers at the lowest point provide little aerodynamic drag, but improves steering especially climbing and downhill descent. I use the Burley Travoy to carry the rest of the camping gear. So far, it's stable and does not effect bike handling at all. As far as I am concerned, I'm riding a bike with 2 front panniers. Headwind performance is better than 4 panniers system as the trailer is drafting me. The small aero penalty on the front panniers is very negligible. No rolling resistance noticeable as the tires on the trailer are low pressure which ACTUALLY promote better rolling resistance since the pneumatic effect helps keep the shape of the tire round with a camping load and resist punctures. Low pressure tires have better puncture resistance than high pressure tires. Here's the conundrum. If you tour with panniers, you have all the weight loaded on the tires. You have 2 choices. You either change to fatter tires so you can run lower pressure and accept some minor possible increase in rolling resistance OR keep the same tires and run higher pressure. Higher pressure is what makes tire more susceptible to punctures compared to lower pressure. I carry a spare tube, but I rarely have punctures on the trailer though.

During my last trip to the island attending a Velo conference, I would EASILY out climb traditional 4 panniers system due to the fact that I can stand up on the pedals and attack the hill like I would with a single unloaded bike. With a loaded bike, the weight on the bike means you need to work harder with your core muscle groups to do the same -- ends up more tiring than a low front pannier and trailer system.

For anything less equal or less than 20lbs, I usually tour with 2 panniers.

Last edited by pacificcyclist; 06-25-12 at 09:50 PM.
pacificcyclist is offline  
Old 06-25-12, 09:53 PM
  #6  
DFleming
Junior Member
 
DFleming's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Florida!!! Tallahassee/Palm Bay
Posts: 10

Bikes: 1992 Koga-Miyata Prologue, 2003 Cannondale T2000, 1980s Bureley Tandem Touring Bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Personally I enjoy the feel of panniers on the bike. A loaded touring bike handles a little bit more solid to me. Changes are more smooth and no wiggle. Also when im flying down hill I feel more solid. With panniers you can take them off the bike and bring them in the tent with ya, also its a bit more inconvienient to steal 4 panniers as opposed to throwing a trailer in the back of a truck, though its unlikely. Panniers allow for a bit more organization as well, as long as everything goes back where you put it.

Trailers are fantastic with multiple people for larger bulkier items but for a solo person id definitely stick with panniers.
DFleming is offline  
Old 06-26-12, 05:19 AM
  #7  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,132
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 956 Post(s)
Liked 423 Times in 326 Posts
I am not a fan of trailers. I pack pretty light so that is one factor, but I also do not want to have to deal with shipping a trailer to and from my tour location.
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is offline  
Old 06-26-12, 09:07 AM
  #8  
Big Lew
Fraser Valley Dave
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Fraser Valley British Columbia Canada
Posts: 546

Bikes: devinci monaco (upgraded)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've used a homemade 2-wheeled trailer to haul heavy loads on logging, mining, and forestry roads with motor vehicle restrictions, locked gates, or accessed by water only. By heavy loads I mean inflatable rubber rafts or float tube with chest waders, normal camping gear, fishing gear, hunting gear including rifles etc., and a deer carcass. Total weight sometimes exceeds 140 lbs. on the trailer. It's only possible when using panniers to weigh down the bike as well, especially the front end. Other than the obvious problem of ascending steep hills, braking while descending can be very tricky. On the worse grades I will dis-connect the trailer and make 2 trips for safety reasons. If I could keep the weight down to the bike's ability to handle the load, I would much rather just use panniers. On non-maintained or partly washed out back-roads, it's difficult to miss all the deep ruts or boulders with the trailer wheels. I've seen some very nasty incidents on mountainous paved hwys. where cyclists using trailers have got carried away and allowed themselves to go too fast while descending, started fish-tailing and lost it, scattering themselves and their gear all over the road.
Big Lew is offline  
Old 06-26-12, 10:11 AM
  #9  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,343 Times in 850 Posts
One thing beneficial .. off the bike you have 5 or so things to deal with,
4 panniers + perhaps, a handlebar bag.. + the stuff on therearrack,
Vs 1 bag on its own wheels..

In the case of a carry-freedom,city trailer, and Brompton's folding bike
the trailer can carry the bike .. then itself fold flat..

my 20" wheel Burly flatbed, pop off 2 QR wheels, unsnap the truck-tarp
fabric over the short side rails, so they come out, and it folds pretty flat too.

Using front panniers on Front Low Rider Racks, And a Trailer
resolves Heel strike/ rear Panniers on short Chainstay Road Bikes Go away..

And the front load makes the steering stable..

or Ala Brompton touring bag, 1 big Frame Mounted Bag in Front.
or maybe a Porteur Rack, Bag..


and have a trailer for the other stuff..

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-25-13 at 01:55 PM.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 06-26-12, 10:32 AM
  #10  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 25,863

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, a black and orange one, and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 138 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5254 Post(s)
Liked 2,824 Times in 1,666 Posts
Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
On my last short bike tour, just over a week, I used a Burley trailer to haul my gear. On most trips, I've used panniers.

The trailer handled admirably and I often would check to see if it was still behind me. The weight was there, but no handling issues. The trailer also meant I did not have to worry too much about balancing the load, which becomes more important when using panniers. The biggest drawback is in trying to load the trailer in a bike box. Using a trailer also requires carrying spare tubes for it, since the trailer does not accommodate the same size tires as a bike. Oh, and it's also easy to pack way too much onto a trailer.

The panniers will affect the handling a little, but then everything's on the bike. It's also a lot easier transporting the bike without a trailer instead of a bike and a trailer.

I'm interested in which option you prefer and why.
On-road, panniers...hands down. Off-road, trailer...but only because it's harder to put panniers on a suspension bike. Even off-road I don't really like the trailer, however. I find that it tends to wag the dog. On downhills it tends to jack the back up and on corners it tends to push the bike in directions I don't want to go. But it's still better than panniers.

I have Revelate Design bags for the mountain bike but I've only used the seat bag so far. It works like a dream.
__________________
Stuart Black
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
cyccommute is offline  
Old 06-26-12, 01:33 PM
  #11  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 36,010
Mentioned: 204 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16569 Post(s)
Liked 11,524 Times in 5,550 Posts
Ginger or Marry Ann? Betty or Wilma?
indyfabz is offline  
Old 06-26-12, 04:30 PM
  #12  
Newspaperguy
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Newspaperguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 2,206
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I pack pretty light so that is one factor, but I also do not want to have to deal with shipping a trailer to and from my tour location.
That's the biggest drawback to using a trailer. For a loop tour beginning and ending at home and never using any form of transportation other tan the bike, it's great. But if I ever need to ship the bike or even put it on the rack of a transit bus, the trailer is going to cause complications.
Newspaperguy is offline  
Old 06-26-12, 04:48 PM
  #13  
pacificcyclist
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 920

Bikes: 2012 Masi Speciale CX : 2013 Ghost 29er EBS

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
That's the biggest drawback to using a trailer. For a loop tour beginning and ending at home and never using any form of transportation other tan the bike, it's great. But if I ever need to ship the bike or even put it on the rack of a transit bus, the trailer is going to cause complications.

Not with the Burley Travoy trailer or any folding trailer that can fold flat and meet airline regulations for carry-on which this indeed does.
pacificcyclist is offline  
Old 06-26-12, 05:54 PM
  #14  
Thulsadoom
Senior Member
 
Thulsadoom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Cape Vincent, NY
Posts: 1,342

Bikes: 2002 TREK 520, Schwinn Mesa WINTER BIKE

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 45 Post(s)
Liked 50 Times in 30 Posts
Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
That's the biggest drawback to using a trailer. For a loop tour beginning and ending at home and never using any form of transportation other tan the bike, it's great. But if I ever need to ship the bike or even put it on the rack of a transit bus, the trailer is going to cause complications.
I've shipped trailers several times and never had a problem. Many trailers fold right up pretty small and it's just another box. A trailer, when broken down, isn't really larger than a set of panniers. Can't imagine why it would be much of a logistical dilemma.
Thulsadoom is offline  
Old 06-26-12, 07:23 PM
  #15  
egear
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Baltimore, Md.
Posts: 172

Bikes: Salsa Casseroll, Salsa Pistola, Surly 1x1, All-City Nature Boy

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I dont use a trailer for 2 reasons.

1) I ride backraods where the shoulder is well, non exsistant. I have had my trailer drop of the edge on an uphil and it is NOT fun.

2) I pack way to much stuff in the trailer simply because I can. Kinda the same reason I bought the smaller panniers not the biggest Arkel sells.
egear is offline  
Old 06-26-12, 08:58 PM
  #16  
bicyclridr4life
Bicyclerider4life
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Florida and Idaho
Posts: 1,077

Bikes: Huffy Beach Cruisers, Miami Sun Trike, Vertical PK7, KHS Montana Summit, Giant Cypress DX, Schwinn OCC Stingray

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 147 Post(s)
Liked 10 Times in 7 Posts
Considering my gear, I plan on using both panniers and a 2 wheel trailer. 10x12 dome tent; ancient Coleman 2 burner stove; Coleman fuel; old HP laptop ... they take a lot of space and are not exactly light weight, but get the job done, and I cannot afford to buy new gear.
__________________
"Whenever I see an adult riding a bicycle, I know there is hope for mankind." (H. G. Wells)
bicyclridr4life is offline  
Old 06-26-12, 11:19 PM
  #17  
Tansy
Senior Member
 
Tansy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 211

Bikes: Novara Safari(2009)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've ridden 7300 miles in the last year with a burley nomad trailer in addition to panniers. Before the trip, I was worried about tipping the trailer, getting it caught on obstructions, or being too wide for narrow shoulders. It turns out my Ortlieb panniers on a wide, disc-brake compatible rack are actually slightly wider then the trailer. The trailer, however, appears wider and more visible, so vehicles tend to give me a lot of space. The long trailer arm dampens the jolt of potholes, rocks, and minor curb-bumps. Unless you're hitting something pretty big, pretty hard, it doesn't 'pull' on the bike. It's also easier on your bike, since the main weight load is centered over the trailer axle.

The primary downsides to the trailer are the addition of two more tires which may be punctured, and more hassle trying to get a ride or take a bus. I almost exclusively wild camp, and a few times I've had to pass up on nice spots because I didn't want to haul the trailer over a crash barricade or through thick brush. It also means I have more bright, yellow surface area to camouflage.

Last edited by Tansy; 06-26-12 at 11:29 PM.
Tansy is offline  
Old 06-27-12, 07:18 AM
  #18  
saddlesores
Senior Member
 
saddlesores's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Thailand..........Nakhon Nowhere
Posts: 3,504

Bikes: inferior steel....and....noodly aluminium

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 983 Post(s)
Liked 257 Times in 173 Posts
i liked my bob for long tours (3 months-1 year), across the us or around oz.
i'm gonna be on the bike for a long time, and i don't wanna just bike.
i want my short wave radio, and my hiking boots, and my extra large tent, and........
i also want to easily carry 5 gallons of water when crossing a stretch of desert.
single-wheel handles fine up/down paved hills.
not too bad on rough roads if going slowly, not as fun on downhill dirt.
big drawback is having the extra thing to carry. load onto trains, or up three
flights of stairs, or over fences...
saddlesores is offline  
Old 06-27-12, 07:29 AM
  #19  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,132
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 956 Post(s)
Liked 423 Times in 326 Posts
Originally Posted by Tansy View Post
The primary downsides to the trailer are the addition of two more tires which may be punctured, and more hassle trying to get a ride or take a bus. I almost exclusively wild camp, and a few times I've had to pass up on nice spots because I didn't want to haul the trailer over a crash barricade or through thick brush. It also means I have more bright, yellow surface area to camouflage.
Thinking back on some of the roads I have toured I would think a two wheeled trailer might have been pretty hard to deal with given the rumble strip configurations on some roads. Have you not found that to be an issue for you?
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is offline  
Old 06-27-12, 08:16 AM
  #20  
pacificcyclist
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 920

Bikes: 2012 Masi Speciale CX : 2013 Ghost 29er EBS

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Trailer versus Panniers had been debated through ages ever since the first trailer came out. You'll never get a consensus of why panniers are better than trailer or vice versa. You'll also get people providing comments on trailers that they never owned nor toured for an extended periods of time. You'll also get people commenting that it's dangerous to do off-road touring with a trailer because they saw people crash with it. Well, guess what. I see people crash and loose control with their panniers at Saturna Island in British Columbia going down a 22% grade hill towards the winery. I think if people want to nitpick stuff on the trailer, I can nitpick stuff on panniers too. Crashing and accidents are the cause of the rider. Don't assume all riders have good bike handling skills either the same as some people cross country ski or downhill ski at the various black diamond trails we have in British Columbia. Accidents do happen every year.

Having said that, I had toured extensively with the Bob Yak (when they first came out), Burley Nomad, Leggero Max (P.O.S made) and lately the Travoy and I would have to say that for each trailer, there are always plus and minuses. Do I still tour with panniers. The answer is yes because it really does not make sense to tour light and carry a trailer at the same time. But for trips that require me to carry a laptop, documentary gear and stuff and a suit to a attend a conference, the trailer makes more sense. Perhaps you won't need a trailer and never need to. No system is perfect. Retailers love to just carry just 1 perfect touring setup. But that system does not exist and it never will.
pacificcyclist is offline  
Old 06-27-12, 09:30 AM
  #21  
vins0010
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 250

Bikes: '86 Trek Elance 400; '83 Trek 520; 90s Specialized Crossroads, '84 Trek 610 (wife's), 90s Trek Multitrack (wife's), Cargo Trailers, Burley for the Kids, WeeHoo Trailer

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'll give you my experience and logic - and I have a trailer. I was driven largely by finances as I picked up a barely used Burley Nomad on Craigslist for $125 (pretty good deal) that I think someone left behind when a relationship ended. I'm able to put this on an old "sport geometry" bike that I find comfortable - but have since switched out the crank on it (from a road double) to a used Sugino AT (50-36-26) triple and a taller stem - so I have good gearing for touring and in a relaxed riding position. I haven't used this set-up a lot and the longest tour I've gone on was for four days (and I can't compare to a "touring" bike because I never got one although I was very, very tempted). When I considered this trailer, I did consider weight. The trailer weighs about 14 pounds...which seems like a lot until you consider that racks and panniers can easily weigh about 12 pounds or more (especially more for beefier racks or water proof bags). So, the weight is about equal, especially once you factor in that with a two-wheeled trailer, you don't need a markedly beefier wheelset, tires, or bike to handle the weight. Of course, you're still pulling two more wheels but,that, by itself (judging by empty trailer) hasn't been noticeable to me. I do prefer how the bike handles, generally, with the two-wheeled trailer compared to loaded down rear panniers.

In the trailer vs. pannier debate, more people do seem to report liking panniers...if that makes a difference. I think panniers are the more common/traditional approach to touring. At the same time, there are trailer diehards. I think it is hard not to like whichever way you go as both obviously work well enough where both have their adherents and and both do require some investment (see cognitive dissonance).

The main driving factor, for me, was that I could save a lot of money by not buying a dedicated touring bike, modify my current bike (vintage 80s sport geometry Trek which I find very comfortable), while still getting a set-up that is a legitimate touring set-up for fully loaded touring (with tent, small stove, etc.). I spent $125 on the trailer, already had the AT crank (but a new Sugno XD600 would cost around $110 with a BB costing an additional $20), $40 for the stem, and, for good measure, got kool stop pads for my brakes (still caliper, but no issues with my clearances or stopping, probably around $20). So, assuming new crank, that would total up $300+ to be good to go (on the bike I had) or cost me, personally, about $200+. This is also me doing all my own mechanical work on the bike; paying for labor would make this go up a lot. I don't even want to think how much a dedicated touring bike, racks, and panniers would cost....probably $1000 to $1600 + any other modifications I'd want. Even a used tourer (which might be the more appropriate comparison here) would still probably cost more than that. So, I've managed to tour comfortably without spending a lot of money.

Now, this being said, as a project, I did buy an '83 Trek 520 a few months ago ('83 520 is really a sport geometry bike marketed as a tourer) that I am setting up as my dedicated tourer with some unnecessary personal preference tweaks unique to what I like when I'm touring...and readjusting the old bike solely back to my around town exerciser and commuter. This bike will still be set up for the trailer. So, I'm finding a way to spend money anyway but not too much...still far less than getting a heavy duty touring bike and setting it up with racks and panniers.
vins0010 is offline  
Old 06-27-12, 10:53 AM
  #22  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 36,010
Mentioned: 204 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16569 Post(s)
Liked 11,524 Times in 5,550 Posts
Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
I've shipped trailers several times and never had a problem. Many trailers fold right up pretty small and it's just another box. A trailer, when broken down, isn't really larger than a set of panniers. Can't imagine why it would be much of a logistical dilemma.
+1. My GF uses a B.O.B. trailer. We shipped it to Montana last year. Even a B.O.B. isn't that bigh when disassembled abnd packed with the yoke and wheel inside the cage. It's just one extra box, and the shipping wasn't that much. Inside the box were also my racks and my stove and empty fuel bottle.

BTW...Marry Ann (I once met Dawn Wells) and Betty.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 06-27-12, 01:30 PM
  #23  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,343 Times in 850 Posts
A good driver knows where their trailer wheels are .. even with 18..

since 2 wheel trailers center line is the left dropout of the bike ..
drive on the left countries is only slightly more likely ..
to drop a wheel over the pavement edge
than there is in drive in the right lane countries.

the right wheel being further to the left,
less likely in drive right roads.

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-27-12 at 01:34 PM.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 06-27-12, 01:54 PM
  #24  
pacificcyclist
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 920

Bikes: 2012 Masi Speciale CX : 2013 Ghost 29er EBS

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by vins0010 View Post
I'll give you my experience and logic - and I have a trailer. I was driven largely by finances as I picked up a barely used Burley Nomad on Craigslist for $125 (pretty good deal) that I think someone left behind when a relationship ended. I'm able to put this on an old "sport geometry" bike that I find comfortable - but have since switched out the crank on it (from a road double) to a used Sugino AT (50-36-26) triple and a taller stem - so I have good gearing for touring and in a relaxed riding position. I haven't used this set-up a lot and the longest tour I've gone on was for four days (and I can't compare to a "touring" bike because I never got one although I was very, very tempted). When I considered this trailer, I did consider weight. The trailer weighs about 14 pounds...which seems like a lot until you consider that racks and panniers can easily weigh about 12 pounds or more (especially more for beefier racks or water proof bags). So, the weight is about equal, especially once you factor in that with a two-wheeled trailer, you don't need a markedly beefier wheelset, tires, or bike to handle the weight. Of course, you're still pulling two more wheels but,that, by itself (judging by empty trailer) hasn't been noticeable to me. I do prefer how the bike handles, generally, with the two-wheeled trailer compared to loaded down rear panniers.

In the trailer vs. pannier debate, more people do seem to report liking panniers...if that makes a difference. I think panniers are the more common/traditional approach to touring. At the same time, there are trailer diehards. I think it is hard not to like whichever way you go as both obviously work well enough where both have their adherents and and both do require some investment (see cognitive dissonance).

The main driving factor, for me, was that I could save a lot of money by not buying a dedicated touring bike, modify my current bike (vintage 80s sport geometry Trek which I find very comfortable), while still getting a set-up that is a legitimate touring set-up for fully loaded touring (with tent, small stove, etc.). I spent $125 on the trailer, already had the AT crank (but a new Sugno XD600 would cost around $110 with a BB costing an additional $20), $40 for the stem, and, for good measure, got kool stop pads for my brakes (still caliper, but no issues with my clearances or stopping, probably around $20). So, assuming new crank, that would total up $300+ to be good to go (on the bike I had) or cost me, personally, about $200+. This is also me doing all my own mechanical work on the bike; paying for labor would make this go up a lot. I don't even want to think how much a dedicated touring bike, racks, and panniers would cost....probably $1000 to $1600 + any other modifications I'd want. Even a used tourer (which might be the more appropriate comparison here) would still probably cost more than that. So, I've managed to tour comfortably without spending a lot of money.

Now, this being said, as a project, I did buy an '83 Trek 520 a few months ago ('83 520 is really a sport geometry bike marketed as a tourer) that I am setting up as my dedicated tourer with some unnecessary personal preference tweaks unique to what I like when I'm touring...and readjusting the old bike solely back to my around town exerciser and commuter. This bike will still be set up for the trailer. So, I'm finding a way to spend money anyway but not too much...still far less than getting a heavy duty touring bike and setting it up with racks and panniers.
Yes. When looking at trailers weight, one must consider the weight difference between a light weight bike that is towing it compared to a Surly LHT with the beefy racks that can equally support the load of the trailer in question. In general, a Burley Nomad with a light weight sports bike is usually lighter than a fully decked out tourer.

I suspect part of the main reason why people prefer panniers than trailers are the things that exposes the skill level of the cyclist in question. The majority of cyclists wiggle their bikes side to side as they pedal. And this frequency exacerbates with poor pedaling techniques, the riding style and type of bike. The wiggling effect actually cost energy from the cyclist, because for 60 pedals revolution you would have to wiggle the bike 3600 times. Imagine you are moving panniers with weight swung side to side from the tires axis 3600 times will cost more energy from the rider compared to an unloaded light weight bike with all the weight on the back of the trailer with minimal side to side movement due to the lower center of gravity. Multiple that by how many hours you're riding and people start to realize that all that wasted energy trying to counterbalance swung weight. This is the main reason why touring bikes have thicker top and downtubes to dampen the vibration resonance generated from this side to side movement of heavy panniers. However, tubes do not stop the rider from wiggling side to side while riding. But because of this, the trailer is a good feedback mechanism to improve rider's riding skills because this wiggling effect will actually be transmitted back to the rider. The worst the wiggling or the wagging of the dog you see and hear from are from riders who wiggle excessively. About 99% of riders wiggle somewhat to some degree. Only about 1% of cyclists don't, but then the only tour they do is the Tour De France or Giro D'italia. You'll see that good riders have no problems handling the BOB trailer, which is considered to be one of the nastiest trailers if bike handling skills are not up to par!

Secondly, a trailer is coupled to the bike 100%, so any forward momentum follows through the bike. If the cyclist pedal in smooth circular motion, then the cyclist will not experience the tugging sensation which is synonymous with someone who does not. Most people when pedaling with dead spots tends to go and brake at the same time. But the trailer moves in a constant speed, so a trailer tends to reform a cyclist by teaching him or her to pedal smoothly. But you see, there are experience cyclists out of there who does not want to get their ego hurt. I get this "what do you mean my cycling skills are poor; I've been riding for 20 years plus" when I'm trying to explain their issues with the trailer. Most do not want to accept this. This is the reason why panniers will always be popular.

Last edited by pacificcyclist; 06-27-12 at 01:58 PM.
pacificcyclist is offline  
Old 06-27-12, 03:18 PM
  #25  
Newspaperguy
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Newspaperguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 2,206
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
In a week of touring with the trailer, I felt the tugging motion just twice, for just a few seconds at a time. I had expected to feel the tug a lot more often. Most of the time, I couldn't even tell I was pulling a trailer. When I travel with panniers, I notice a difference between the handling of a loaded bike and an unloaded bike. That difference was minimized with the trailer.

The trailer I used was a Burley Flatbed, borrowed from a friend. My experiences with it were mostly positive and I'm thinking about going with a trailer again for some future trips. But a trailer is not for all bike touring. There are some trips, particularly lightweight weekend excursions, where panniers seem like a simpler choice.
Newspaperguy is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.