The Best Bike Trailers

I love to ride my bicycle, I love to ride my bike as the song goes. And for many of us, we do truly love to ride our bikes. Cycling is fun, maybe you stick to paved roads, maybe you race, maybe you cycle mountain trails. You might have even been on a cycling holiday or plan to. The biggest drawback of a bike is carrying more than you have in your pockets. The basket at the front of your grandmother’s bike is not really practical for much more than a few groceries. So what are your options? You could load up a day backpack, but this is not ideal and will cause stress on your back.

What about panniers? Panniers are the bags which can sit to each side of the cycle back and front wheels, these work well but it is best to try and distribute the weight evenly, and if you want to take more than one change of clothes or a larger tent. This is especially true if you are a family taking a biking holiday. Or you like to ride off-road, and putting all that extra weight on our bike frame in panniers is worrying, what then? Well, a bike trailer. Bike trailers really come into two categories, one wheel, and two-wheel trailers, both with advantages and disadvantages. Have a look below at the top 5 trailers, how to choose and what you need to know.

Last Updated: July 26, 2018
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By Mackenzie Jervis:

We've updated our list of bike trailers to give you the best options for your next outing. Check out some of our picks from Burley, Weber, and BOB.

Burley Nomad
  • Burley Nomad
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Excellent overall quality
  • Price: See Here
Weber Monoporter
  • Weber Monoporter
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Stable and secure
  • Price: See Here
BOB Ibex
  • BOB Ibex
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Reliable performance
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Bike Trailers

Burley Nomad

Number of wheels: 2

Type of bike attachment: Axle with pivot

Weight: 6.5KG

Size:82cm x 55cm x 57cm

Cargo Space: 105 litres/ 50KG

Wheel size (in/cm): 16/41

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Overview

The Nomad is a two-wheel trailer from Burley. This trailer is designed specifically for touring, with a huge cargo capacity. This heavy-duty trailer is also very lightweight. The trailer includes a waterproof cover and fabric side to ensure whatever you are hauling will remain dry whatever the weather conditions. Inside the trailer, you will find a large capacity, with a space divider which can be collapsed if not needed to separate luggage, and six interior clips to tie gear in place. The side panels feature three large mesh pockets to keep small items separate. The trailer folds down for ease of storage when you are not using it and the wheels can be removed with the push of a button so that they can be stored inside. When attached to your bike and fully loaded the balance point and center of gravity makes the trailer easy to tow and reduces stresses on your bike frame and axle. The two wheels offer good stability and tracking. The hitching the trailer is easy once you have installed the towing hitch and with the added safety straps the chances of you losing your trailer are slim if not impossible.

Pros

Quick and easy to hitch

Hitch bolt/bracket can be left on the axle when not towing

Very stable

Waterproof cover included

Foldable for storage

Quick release wheels

Cons
  • Wider than your bike
  • No suspension
 

Weber Monoporter

Weber Monoporter
Number of wheels: 1

Type of bike attachment: Axil fixed

Weight: 5.7KG

Size: 76cm x 44cm x 15cm

Cargo Space: 25KG

Wheel size: 16/41

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Overview

This is a great single wheel trailer. The aluminum frame and high strength plastic enable the Monoporter to be incredibly light but also strong. It can carry 25KG of cargo over all types of terrain. The width of this trailer is the same as your bike itself and as it connects to your bike with a double-sided coupling it just becomes part of your bike when cornering, the single wheel allowing it to lean with the bike into a bend. The coupling is very straightforward to attach. Once the hitch or coupling parts are attached to your axil, a job you only have to do once, the monoporter trailer just clip and locks in place. The trailer incorporates a suspension spring to protect your load from lumps, rocks and other general off-road impacts you might experience. The cargo bed is low to the ground to add to stability by lowering the center of gravity, however, this might over very rough terrain ground, but this would be rare. The flat cargo bed features ten slots to secure your luggage with the quick self-locking tension straps, or to fix the waterproof bag. The option of removing the waterproof bag enables you to carry loads which would not easily fit into the bag if the need ever arose. When you're not using the trailer or if you need to put in into a suitcase to transport via train or plane the monoporter can fold to an average suitcase size, and an optional transport bag is available. It comes in two standard colors of silver or red, but 12 additional custom colors can be ordered.

Pros
  • Quick and easy coupling

  • Follows your bikes wheels exactly.

  • Narrow, only as wide as your bike.

  • Low center of gravity

  • Removable waterproof bag

  • Steel suspension spring

  • Multiple colors to match the color of your bike.

  • Luggage clipping system

Cons
  • One Wheel means less stable, so if your bike falls over so does the trailer
 

 

BOB Ibex

BOB Ibex
Number of wheels: 1

Type of bike attachment: Axil fixed

Weight: 7.7KG

Size: 64cm x 41cm x 46cm

Cargo Space: 35KG

Wheel size: 16/41

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Overview

The Ibex is a strong single wheel trailer made from steel tubing, which adds to its weight compared to other single wheel trailers. However, the extra strength from the steel frame and steel mesh flatbed enable this trailer to carry just over 35Kg of luggage. The trailer is easy to hitch with the BOB quick release system, once the hitching components have been installed on your bike. The trailer has an adjustable suspension spring, which will protect your load from the bumps and lumps of rough off-road terrain. And as the suspension spring is adjustable up and down 3 full inches it improves handling both on and off-road. The trailer follows the back wheel of the bike but is also pivoted to enable tighter corners when needed. The trailer does not include and bags or covers, as many other trailers do, but a tarp or waterproof sheet can easily be used to wrap your cargo and bungee strap it to the trailer. The trailer is compatible with all bicycles and even some motorbikes.
Pros
  • Adjustable suspension
  • Quick and easy coupling
  • Follows your bikes wheels exactly
  • Narrow, only as wide as your bike
  • Low center of gravity
  • Great on all terrains
Cons
  • Heavy compared to other single wheel trailers
  • No bag or cover included
  • No cargo fixing system
  • Will fall over if the bike falls.
 

Thule Chariot Cross

Thule Chariot Cross
Number of wheels: 2 (4 when converted)

Type of bike attachment: axle with pivot

Weight: 28 lbs

Size: 44" x 24.4" x 45"

Cargo Space: 100 litres/ 40Kg

Wheel size: 19.5"
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Overview:
The Thule Chariot Cross is a great bike trailer that is durable, designed to handle anything your active family throws at it and will keep your little ones truly comfortable on your long rides.

The trailer is fast to set up, extremely light and has plenty of safety features. While it is on the expensive side, it might be worth it for your family to invest in a long=lasted and well-made trailer.
Pros
  • Durable
  • Easy to Set Up
  • Comfortable for Passengers
  • Weather-proof
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Expensive

The Original Burley Bee

The Original Burley Bee
Number of wheels: 2

Type of bike attachment: Axle with pivot, quick release rubberized trailer hitch.

Weight: 19/95 pounds

Size: 32.25" x 30" x 36"

Cargo Space:

Wheel size: 20"
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Overview

This basic model of the Burley line is a great addition to your outdoor gear. With a padded seating area, great safety features, very light, and quick assembly for daily use, it makes it a no-brainer to add to your collection.

With two aluminum frame bars, the top of the trailer is secure for little riders. With a five-point harness inside, a UPF 30-rated windows, and good ventilation, With an extra back window with mesh the ride should be comfortable for little ones.

While there is no suspension system like other trailers out there, the passengers might notice a bit of jostling if on unpaved or rough roads. If you tend to do off-road riding, you might want to look into another trailer.



Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Great hitch design
  • water-resistant
  • Great value
Cons
  • No passenger padding
  • lacks versatility
  • No suspension

Extra Wheel

Extra Wheel
Number of wheels: 1

Type of bike attachment: Axil fixed

Weight: 4.79 KG

Size: not stated

Cargo Space: 35KG

Wheel size: 28/71

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Overview

Extra wheel is exactly what it says, it is an extra wheel. If you don’t like the idea of pulling a trailer and prefer panniers but need to carry more than four panniers can hold, then this is definitely for you. It is an extra wheel which you add more pannier too. The extra wheel is incredibly easy to fit, whether you have quick release axle, standard nut axle or even a gear differential axle, the extra wheel will fit in minutes the first installation and then in the second thereafter. Once attached the wheel pivots up and down from the axle fixing point, this may mean that the contents of the panniers on the extra wheel may be bounced and banged on rough terrains. As it is only a wheel it is very lightweight, weighing less than 5 Kg but this does not mean that it can not carry as much as other trailers, in fact, it is able to carry up to 35Kg of cargo, the downside is that they have to be able to fit inside pannier bags, which may mean separating parts of your tent into different panniers depending on the size of tent. It is available in different wheel sizes the idea being that as well as being a trailer it doubles as a spare wheel in case of unrepairable damage to your front wheel, however, if you intend to attach pannier to the extra wheel a wheel larger than 20inch is needed of the panniers may rub against the ground. Panniers are not included but all types of pannier are easily attached to the extra wheel frame, meaning no need to buy new panniers if you already have some.
Pros
  • Quick and easy coupling
  • Follows your bikes wheels exactly.
  • Narrow, only as wide as your bike.
  • Low center of gravity
  • Great on all terrains.
  • Very light weight. The frame weighing only 1.65 Kg the rest of the weight is the wheel.
Cons
  • No flat cargo bed
  • No bags included
  • Cargo needs to be split evenly on each side of the wheel
  • Fishtailing when riding downhill at speed

Radical Designs Cyclone IV

Radical Designs Cyclone IV
Number of wheels: 2

Type of bike attachment: axle with pivot

Weight: 5.5 KG

Size: 132cm x 65cm x 50cm

Cargo Space: 100 litres/ 40Kg

Wheel size: 18/47
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Overview

This is undoubtedly my favorite, they have pretty much thought of everything. The cyclone is a two-wheel lightweight bike trailer, weighing only 5.5kg, but capable of carrying 40kg or 100 liters.

The trailer hitches very easily to the hitch fitted to the rear axle of the bike. The trailer can be flattened to be stored under your bed or in the back of the closet.

Imagine you are planning to go on a biking adventure. So you pack the trekking bag of this trailer with all you are going to need, you attached the wheels to the back and the hitch becomes a handle for this now hand cart similar to a golf cart. Once you are outside by your bike you press the quick release wheels and move them to the center of the trailer, evening the weight distribution so as not to put stress on the bike frame, and hitch the trailer to the quick release trailer hitch, and off you ride. Let's say for example you are going to take a train to the starting point of your tour. Just detach the trailer, then remove the towing arm and place it inside the trekking bag, remove the trailer wheels and place them inside a special wheel bag and place these inside the trekking bag, and clip a shoulder strap turning your bike trailer into a duffel bag. At the end of your train journey, you quickly and easily reassemble your bike trailer, maybe fitting the waterproof rain sheet over the trekking bag to protect it from the rain. And off you ride. If all of this versatility is not enough the trailer also has an option which is included to enable the trailer to become a backpack, yes you heard right, a backpack. OK so you found a transformer of a bike trailer but how does it perform as a bike trailer. And if you have read this far you deserve to know. It is a two wheel trailer so it is wider than your bike, but not any wider than if you had panniers on each side of your bike. The trailer lacks suspension, so your luggage may be bounced about a bit if you are off road, so be careful with that bottle of soda. The position of the wheels when in the trailer mode are in the center of the trailer evening the weight distribution making the trailer stable in itself and easier to pull.
Pros
  • Quick and easy to hitch
  • Hitch bolt/bracket can be left on the axil when not towing
  • High capacity
  • Very stable
  • Water proof cover included
  • Foldable for storage
  • Quick release wheels
  • Bag for wheels
  • Several wheel positions for use as bike trailer or hand cart
  • Transforms to a hand cart, duffel bag, and backpack
Cons
  • Wider than your bike
  • No suspension

InStep Take 2

InStep Take 2
Number of wheels: 2

Type of bike attachment: axle with pivot

Weight: 23 lbs

Size: 51.8" x 32.5" x 31.9"

Cargo Space: 100 litres/ 40Kg

Wheel size: 16"
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Overview:
The Take 2 meets all ASTM safety standards: 5-point harness, roll cage, even if minimal, and...

Because this is an inexpensive model, there are some features lacking. The roll bar isn't the strongest we've looked at and only held together by a small clip.

The Take 2 is well-ventilated, with a mesh-covered window in the back for extra airflow. It will keep out rain, but won't be able to withstand a downpour.

As for our little passengers, they have plenty of lateral room. They will be strapped in snugly but can be easily adjusted. The seats are unfortunately unpadded and will most likely feel every bump on the road.

If you're looking for an inexpensive model to get you and your family out onto the road this is a great option, but if you have some money to spare, definitely look for one of their comfortable trailers.
Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Larger interior 
  • well-ventilated
Cons
  • Small Plastic Wheels
  • Not Weather Resistant

Hamax Outback Multi-Sport

Hamax Outback Multi-Sport
Number of wheels: 2 (3 when converted)

Type of bike attachment: axle with pivot

Weight: 44.1 lbs

Size: 27.6" x 13" x 41.7"

Cargo Space: 100 litres/ 40Kg

Wheel size: 19.5"
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Overview:

The Hamax Outback is a great convertible bike trailer that can take you from biking to jogging. It's one of the best options to ensure your little ones have a comfy ride. With an extra-wide interior, washable padded seats, and adjustable seat back your passengers won't find a comfier ride than the Outback.

However, this added comfort comes at a price, and that's the weight. You will notice it's considerably heavier than other models and might make your ride much more difficult.

You'll have to decide what is best for your situation.
Pros
  • Comfortable seats
  • Large passenger area
  • adjustable interior
  • great safety features
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Bulky

Aosom Elite II

Aosom Elite II
Number of wheels: 2 (3 when converted)

Type of bike attachment: axle with pivot

Weight: 5.5 KG

Size: 63.5" x 35" x 41.25"

Cargo Space: 100 litres/ 40Kg

Wheel size: 19.5"
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Overview:

The Aosom Elite II is a great option for an inexpensive trailer that is versatile and well-made. This trailer can cover to a jogger and while it's not the best jogger out there, it's a great addition so you can unhitch, walk around (while still keeping the child contained), and hitch back up when it's time to go.

The Elite II has a smooth ride that helps keep little ones from being bumped around on uneven terrain.

The front wheel is fully independent and swivels for easy steering, There are brake and adjustable handlebars for comfort.
Pros
  • Convertible 
  • Lightweight
  • Easily maneuverable 
  • Great value
Cons

Vague assembly instructions

Some users felt that that breaks were not strong enough

 

Here’s What We Looked For

OK so you’re gonna take the plunge and get a bike trailer, what type should you get? One wheel, two wheels, axil attached, or frame attached. It all depends on what you are going to do with the trailer and how you are going to load it and with what.

One wheel trailers

If you are going to be going off-road, one wheel trailers are the best, they equally are great on paved roads. The single wheel setup makes the handling very natural as the trailer wheel will follow the rest of the bike, making negotiating difficult terrain and enabling better maneuverability. Some single wheel trailer such as “Extra wheel” with its twin panniers is almost unnoticeable on paved roads, maybe a slight drag when hill climbing, but that’s expected more weight more drag, whereas other single wheel trailers have a flatbed setup to hold your luggage in a single bag.

The length and center of gravity are important considerations and can affect the handling and the need to distribute the weight evenly. All one wheel trailers the weight which you place on the trailer is distributed between the trailers one wheel and the rear wheel of the bike. This increases the weight to the rear wheel of the bike, which has advantages and disadvantages. The extra traction you get from the extra weight makes uphill off road accents easier with less wheel spin.

Two Wheel trailers

Two wheel trailers are best on paved roads, but that is not to say that they can not be used off-road, but keep in mind the width of the trailer and the width of the tail, I wouldn’t want to be weaving in and out of trees on a mountain bike trail with a two-wheel trailer, however that is not to say that you cannot ride off road with a two-wheel trailer.  But if I want to carry more than 15kg and not really notice the extra weight and be mainly on paved roads, then a two-wheel trailer is for me. Most two wheel trailers are a flatbed cargo trailer attaching to the frame or axis.

They can carry a lot of weight. Two-wheeled trailers usually hitch in a similar way to a car trailer, that is to say, they don’t stay statically fixed to the bike by a pivot on there fixing, this means turning corners may need to be taken wider than usual.

Is there an advantage between one or two wheels?

The main advantage of a two-wheel, compared to a one wheel trailer, is the balance. A two wheel trailer is easier to handle because it provides it’s own balance. It has less of an effect on the handling of the bike. Also, where a single wheel trailer tilts over when it’s not attached to the bike, a two-wheel trailer stays upright, which makes loading, unloading, and storage easier.

Axle Mount

The most common place to fix a bike trailer is from the axle. Depending on the weight and size of trailer you are going to carry depends on the added stress you are placing on the bike frame. It is recommended that your axil is a 12mm axil, but 10mm axils are generally OK depending on weight.

Seatpost Mount

As it says it is mounted to the seat post. The only advantage to this is a smaller turning circle as the pivot is closer to the centre of the frame.

Fitting your trailer

Most bike trailers are designed to be easy to hitch. But to do this you will need to fit a hitching part to your bike and in most cases to the axle itself. Depending on the type of axle your bike has quick release axle or more standard axle bolts it is fairly straightforward as long as you are comfortable in taking part of your bike apart.

Standard bolted axles are probably the easiest to fit a hitch. In most case,s the hitch for the trailer for this type of axle is a replacement bolt or a bracket type attachment which fits behind the bolt. When loosening an axil bolt only loosen one side at a time. I would recommend loosening the opposite side to the bike chain first and replace that bolt or fit the hitch to that side first. Then tighten the new bolt. This will lessen the chance of the rear wheel moving and making the chain loose. Then if needed loosen and replace the chain side bolt. Before hitching the trailer and riding into the sunset, check that the bike chain is still torte and not about to jump off the sprockets.

Quick release axles are slightly more complicated. Although the axle is easy to release and remove, this type of axle usually has some springs which if care is not taken can spring off the axle and be lost. Your trailer might have come with a new quick release axle in which case it is just a case of replacing the axle with the new trailer hitch axle. However some trailers will come with a hitch which needs to be fed onto the axle, this will entail removing axle springs to feed the hitch into position and then replacing the springs. It sounds more complicated than it is but if you have never removed the axil before can be daunting. Again once you have finished attaching the hitch to the axle, check that the chain is taut and not liable to jump from the sprockets.

Hub gear axle. Unless you are an expert do not take this axle out of the bike, it can cause gearing sync problems.  Most bikes of this type close to the axle bolt there will be two small holes on the bike frame usually just above the axle bolt. These holes are to attach any modification to the bike which would otherwise be attached to the axle bolt. If you have this type of axle with hub gears or internal gears then make sure you specify this when you buy the trailer as the correct hitch attachment will need to be included.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Greater load carrying capacity. You can most definitely carry a lot more weight without the risk of breaking your bikes wheels spokes with a trailer.
  • For tandems, where you are limited to four panniers between two, enables more weight to be carried for two people.
  • It is easy to unhook the trailer and immediately have your normal bike back. With panniers, you can take them off but the pannier frame usually needs to be unbolted.
  • Better handling due to the load is lower and therefore lowering the center of gravity. The lower the center of gravity the better stability you have.
  • Not only for touring, you can use it for shopping trips. Ditch the car, and go to the supermarket on your bike. Not only reducing your carbon footprint, but you get a workout as well.
  • There are no heel-pannier clearance problems. The main problem with panniers is that if not fit right or if they shift once you are riding you can end up with your heel hitting them
Cons
  • More drag especially when riding uphill, however sometimes the extra weight on the rear wheel can assist in traction and make hill climbing when off-road easier.
  • More wheels more possible puncture repairs and more inner tubes.
  • Less maneuverability than a bike without a trailer. Your turning circle will be larger because your vehicle is now longer. Breaking distances will be greater due to the extra weight and you will have to adjust for this.
  • Downhill can be more fun or scary depending on your outlook. The trailer will push you down the hill and may even fishtail especially if it is a one wheel trailer.
  • Transporting a bike with a trailer on a train or plan is a lot more difficult and maybe more costly. However many bike trailers are able to fold and fit in a custom bag or standard suitcase.

FAQ

Q: How old should my child be to ride in a trailer?

Your child should be able to sit upright and hold his or her head up while wearing a helmet. Typically they can ride in the trailer until about age six, or until they become too tall for their helmet to fit below the internal roll bar.

Q:  Which is better, a trailer or a baby seat?

Neither a trailer nor a baby seat is necessarily better than the other. Both have their advantages. The two main benefits of baby seats are that they are, one, more intimate because your child is closer to you, and two, less expensive. Trailers, on the other hand, are considered safer because they don’t tip over if the bike falls over, and in the rare event of a rollover, they provide protection to the passenger. A trailer also has less of a negative effect on how the bike handles.

Q: Does my child have to wear a helmet in the bicycle trailer?

Some countries have mandatory cycle helmet laws. Be sure to familiarise yourself with the laws in your region before using the child trailer. In countries like Germany, where the use of bicycle helmets is not mandatory, children in bicycle trailers are also not required to wear a helmet. Most trailers come with roll-over and side-impact protection and provide a well-protected space for your children so that you can travel together safely.

Nevertheless, we think it makes sense to help children get used to wearing a bicycle helmet as early as possible. Special helmets with flat backs are available for use with bike seats and trailers. These helmets make it possible for children to rest their heads comfortably on the seat back.

Q: What can I do to keep my bicycle trailer looking and working great for as long as possible?

The fabric body, the seat and all metal parts can be cleaned with water, a soap solution or a mild household detergent. Ideally, use biodegradable cleaning agents to minimize environmental impact. A soft brush can be used for cleaning areas of heavy soiling. Never use thinners, solvents, mineral spirits or other aggressive chemicals, as these could damage the materials.

To protect metal parts from corrosion, a thin coat of paste wax should be applied. Preserving metal parts with paste wax is especially important if you plan to use often in wet weather, in the winter or in salty air near the sea.

Never use pressure washers. The strong water pressure could damage the fabric and plastic windows or force water into the wheel bearings, shortening their service life.

Q: What is the advantage of using a trailer instead of panniers?

The main benefit of using a trailer instead of panniers is that it enables you to carry very large loads without compromising the handling or control of the bike. It also reduces the wear on your bike and allows for quick disconnect if you want to take a quick ride without all of your gear.