Posted in Activities, Blog, Gear, Rebecca, Reviews, Safety out & about

Finding a bike trailer

My husband and I are both avid mountain bikers. When we had our son, we knew we’d be eventually getting a trailer to go out on the trails with him in tow. Last summer I didn’t bother looking into it but this summer I was definitely getting one.

Although I can look online and do google searches, my hubby is a lot better at researching products to buy. He just seems to know where to find reviews, etc. I put in my own time looking for trailers and asking around to see what the best brands were. I tend to go more on actual customer (or friends) feedback. He tends to sway more to the quality of the product and how it’s built, function, features, etc.

Burley bee 2004

After we did our research, we browsed Craigslist and Ebay for weeks looking for a killer deal. There were lots of deals, just not many stellar ones. We finally found one on CL and pulled the trigger. I had set up an RSS feed so I got the listings instantly. I highly recommend that. I emailed the gal within 30 min of her posting the trailer. (and I was first) but she later told me she had over 50 emails in just a few hours in response to her ad. We ended up buying a Burley Bee. Even though it’s a 2004 model, it’s in great shape because they hardly used it.

A few of my friends asked me to post my findings on here. Great idea. Why didn’t I think of that? haha. Just so you know, there are lots of quality options depending on what features you want and your price range. I’ll tell you what my qualifications were and then what I found.

Brands – We found a few brands that seemed to be the most popular among enthusiasts. Burley and Chariot were the ones we kept hearing about. They both make a few different trailers that range in price from $250-$900.

Both of these brands seems to have a lot of features (probable explaining the price tag). You can convert them into strollers, joggers, and even ski trailers. One difference of these brands is that ALL the attachments for converting them are sold separately. That will add to the overall price tag so keep in mind when adding it all up. Most used ones you find come with either a stroller or jogger attachment. A few of the models come with suspension, reclining seats, and shoulder pads. What I loved about Burley is they made a low end model with the basic features for the budget consumer. You could always try this model and see if your kids like it and then upgrade later.

Another brand we found that we actually almost bought was the WIKE. Based and made in Canada, this trailer seemed to just make the most sense. It was good quality, had good features, and seemed like a great company to also support. The only reason we bought a burley instead was because we found a killer deal on CL. When you go to the Wike’s site, make sure to check out the assembly video. It is SO easy and you will laugh your head off. (but I’m not giving the secret as to why) The base model for the Wike is only $250 and compared to the low end Burley Bee model, the Wike has a lot more features.

You will find a few other brands out there such as InStep, Schwinn, Xterra. These seems to be cheaper trailers made in China that are all made in the same factory even though they have different names. If you are only looking to spend $100, maybe one of these is for you. Do the research and choose for yourself.

Safety – I noticed when I looked at cheap trailers at Target and other stores that they didn’t say anything about safety standards. Only Burley, Chariot, and Wike said that their trailers met ASTM F1975-09 standards. You can look it up and read about what it means. I decided it was important for me to buy a trailer that met these standards.

Bike helmets – If you live in the city of seattle, it is the law that you not only have to wear a helmet when biking, but your kid does in the trailer too. Safety first!

seats 1-2 kids

Hitches – Before you buy a trailer, make sure the hitch will work on your bike. If you and your husband are biking together, you may need an additional hitch so you can choose to switch who pulls the trailer. Also, I have a newer bike than my husband and I have disc brakes. The original Burley hitch that came with our trailer works on his bike but not mine so we had to buy the other Burley hitch.

Features – Some features to think about that you may or may not want….side pockets for drinks, toys or snacks. Rear storage. Tinted windows. Rain cover. Reclining seats. Ability to have a baby sling (sold separately.) Age minimum of kids (some have a minimum that the baby has to be 12 months. Others are from newborn.) Width and height of seat. Shoulder pads. Suspension. Conversion options. How small does it fold? (my friend bought a trailer from Costco that doesn’t fold at all.) Type of seat (some have sling seats, some have benches)

storage area

One of the biggest things I noticed that did have an influence on my final decision to buy a Burley is the resale value. I bought a 2004 Burley bee for $125. They only sell for $250 brand new and that’s 6 yrs old. I’ve seen trailers just a few years old that are Chariot and Burley sell for practically what they go for new. That’s because they are well made and have great features. They are worth it. You will also not find very many used ones. My husband used to work in a bike shop over 10 years ago. They were making Burley and Chariot back then and he vouched for their quality back then. I noticed in my research online that there have been many brands that make trailers for a few years and then stop.

I can’t think of any other things to add to this post. There is a lot of information to process, I know. If I forgot something and you are curious about it, please leave a comment and I will respond. Also, if you have any other questions about where to buy, what brands, or anything else, feel free to leave a comment or email me at Rebecca@momsalive.com.

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