The Best Bike Trailers
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. You could load up a daypack, but this is not ideal and will cause stress on your back. Panniers are also an option: those bags which can sit to each side of the back and front wheels, but there's only so much you can put in them. If you have more things that you need to transport, the only option left for you is a bike trailer. Bike trailers come into two categories, one-wheel and two-wheel trailers, and both types have advantages and disadvantages.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 10 hrs of research
Easy to use
Comfortable for children
- Thule Chariot Cross
- Hamax Outback Multi-Sport
- InStep Take 2
- Schwinn Day Tripper
- Burley Nomad
- The Original Burley Bee
- Schwinn Echo
- Allen Sports Deluxe
- BOB Ibex
- Aosom Elite II
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top Ten Bike Trailers
1. Thule Chariot Cross
Easy to use
Comfortable for children
Not much ventilation when the "windows" are up
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.Read more
This eye-catching design sports two large back wheels and two small front wheels. It is available in two unique colors, Roarange and Poseiden. This is actually one of the most versatile trailers on our list, as it gives you a buying option of another wheel to use it as a jogger, stroller, and also the option of one child seat or two. The suspension system is adjustable, which makes it a great option for many different terrains. The trailer itself weighs 28-pounds and can support a weight up to 60-pounds (one seater) or 100-pounds (two seater). A 5-point safety harness is included for each seat/child.
This trailer comes with Thule’s “Bring It!” limited lifetime warranty. The walls of the carriage are made from a strong Nylon material with a zippered mesh to help control ventilation. The wheels do not swivel or wobble and have received many compliments from past users!
Attaching this trailer to your bike is fairly simple. Once you have received all of the parts and attached them to your back wheel, it’s just a matter of taking off the front two wheels, inserting a metal bar, looping around a few pieces of the leash and setting it into place.
This is the king of all things active with children. As mentioned, this trailer can be used on all types of terrain, including snow (ski kit sold separately). You can use this as a stroller and/or bike trailer, with the option to purchase ski and jogging kits. There is plenty of storage built in and it folds down very compactly.
2. Hamax Outback Multi-Sport
Large passenger area
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.Read more
This Hamax trailer reminds us of a car seat, but larger and less restricting. It has two or three wheels, depending on how you are using it. There are two sizes available, for one child or for two. There are three different colors to choose from, charcoal/red, red/black, or white/orange.
This model actually won the 2016 Red Dot Designer Award for its safety and durability. The frame is made completely from aluminum which helps with rollover protection. The carriage itself features reflectors to aid in nighttime visibility. Each seat includes a 5-point safety harness. The carriage material is 600D polyester and is UV and water resistant. For days of heavier rain, a rainfly is also included.
Hamax boasts this trailers ability to be attached to a bike with just one click. There is a color-coded safety point that gives you peace of mind when the device is securely in place. Through further investigation, customers agree! It is a very easy system to use and connect.
This is another versatile addition to our list, as it can be used as a bike trailer, jogger, and stroller. The jogging kit includes a larger front wheel and hand brake and is sold separately. The wheels are 19.5” and great almost any terrain.
3. InStep Take 2
Not compatible with all bike wheels
Stroller kit not included
Seats are not adequately padded
The Take 2 meets all ASTM safety standards. However, this is an inexpensive model, there are some features lacking. 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, you may prefer to look for one of our other recommended and comfortable trailers.Read more
The style of this trailer is simple, it provides a canopy for your children and leaves you with enough room for an extra twelve pounds of gear. As with most bike trailers, you have the option of one or two seats with the Instep. You can choose from multiple colors including red, blue, light blue, green/gray, and green.
While this trailer does meet all ASTM safety standards, 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 will have plenty of lateral room. They will be safe and strapped in snugly, but the 5-point harness can be easily adjusted. However, the seats are unfortunately unpadded and your children will most likely feel every bump on the road.
This trailer connects to your bike using a coupler hitch that is compatible with most bikes. Reviewers agree that this hitch is easy to attach on and off, with one exception. One user was having issues and called customer service to find out that the trailer is not safely compatible with bike wheels over 26”.
This trailer comes with two 16” tires with molded rims. Luckily the tires are large enough to provide a semi-smooth ride, but the lack of padding in the seats is worrisome. The Take 2 can also be converted into a stroller, but this kit is sold separately. The weight capacity for one child is 40-pounds and 100-pounds for two.
4. Schwinn Day Tripper
Connects to any bicycle
Folds when not in use
Might be smaller than expected
Some reviewers have complained about the material being thin
This bike trailer is for the environmentally conscious person as you can use this bike trailer for all of your errands and travels if you need to transport gear. This trailer is also brought to you by Schwinn who is a powerhouse in the cycling industry.Read more
This trailer brought to you by Schwinn has a sleek and stylish design to help you get to where you need to go in style. It has a wide frame and is able to pack most or all of your gear securely so when you reach your destination, you will have everything you need for your adventure. When you are not using this trailer, it also folds up nicely and becomes compact so storage is easy and this will not take up a large amount of storage in your garage. This trailer is available in two color combinations, red/gray or yellow/gray.
The Day Tripper comes with a one-year limited warranty. While there have been a few complaints about the material of the trailer being thin and not weatherproof, customers are overall pleased with the wheels. The wheels are 16” each and have molded rims.
Another great feature of this trailer is the fact that it is delivered fully assembled. If you are worried about if this bike trailer will connect to your bike, then worry no longer as this trailer has a universal fitting to connect to your bicycle.
This small beast can carry up to 100-pounds of gear. Unlike many other entries on this list, this trailer is not recommended for toting around children. We like to think of this one as more of an adult-wagon. There are D-rings built into the trailer that allows you to strap in your gear.
5. Burley Nomad
Quick and easy to hitch
Hitch bolt/bracket can be left on the axle when not towing
Wider than your bike
The word “burley” in the name might make this sound like a man’s product, but we assure that it is unisex. With all of the built-in organization and bright color, it is definitely meant for everyone. This entry is best suited for traveling or camping.Read more
The Nomad is a two-wheeled trailer from Burley. This trailer is designed specifically for touring, with huge cargo capacity. It is only available in yellow, which can be frustrating for those who don’t adore bright colors. This heavy-duty trailer is also very lightweight. It weighs slightly under 15-pounds and can haul up to 100-pounds.
The trailer includes a waterproof cover and fabric side to ensure whatever you are hauling will remain dry whatever the weather conditions. However, it is important to note that only the top of the waterproof cover is waterproof. If there is a lot of wind or puddles while you are riding, the contents of the trailer could get wet. The wheels are 16” each and made from spoked alloy.
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.
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.
6. The Original Burley Bee
Great hitch design
No passenger padding
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.Read more
This two-wheeled trailer is compact, adorable, and great for kids. This model is only available as a two-seater and weighs about 20-pounds, with a holding capacity of 100-pounds. This particular model is only available in a yellow/black combination at the moment. There is also reflective piping stitched into the design to allow for better visibility.
With two aluminum frame bars, the top of the trailer is secure for little riders. There are two five-point harnesses inside, UPF 30-rated windows, and good ventilation. There is an extra back window with mesh to ensure that the ride is comfortable for little ones. The floor of the carriage is made from nylon, and not solid. 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.
Out of the box, this trailer is ready to go. The hitch, tow arm, and safety flag are included. Once you set up the connectors, this trailer is a breeze to attach to your bike.
Due to the lack of suspension system and material floor, if you tend to do off-road riding, you might want to look into another trailer. This model is best for riding through the park or around the neighborhood.
7. Schwinn Echo
Children fit comfortably
Canopy to block the sun
If riding on trails, dirt can fly back into the trailer
This bike trailer is another one brought to us by Schwinn who is a powerhouse in the industry. This sleek trailer not only will allow you to carry around your children comfortably and securely but also will allow you to fill it with gear if you are cycling to your next adventure.Read more
The color and style of this trailer make us feel a little bit nostalgic for the ‘60s. It is available in only one trio of colors, which is blue, yellow, and off-white. This buggy has room for two children up to 40-pounds each. There are two large wheels that make for a smooth ride. There is plenty of window space to allow your passengers to view the outdoors clearly.
As mentioned, this trailer has two wheels. They are 20-inches each and made from spoked alloy. The interior seats have 5-point harnesses that feature shoulder pads and helmet mesh to keep your children safe and comfortable.
This trailer has a universal hookup which means it can hook up to any bicycle, and also comes equipped with a canopy to block bugs, the sun, or any debris from entering the trailer.
This trailer brought to us by Schwinn is a great and affordable trailer if you are looking to either transport your children or store gear and bring it with you on your next adventure. A few reviewers say that dust and debris can enter through the windows if you are on a particularly dirty road, so it may be best to stick to the roads more traveled. If you are wondering about storage, this trailer collapses when not in use to make storage easy.
8. Allen Sports Deluxe
Fits two children
Folds for easy storage
Takes a bit longer to connect to the bike
This bike trailer brought to you by Allen is a great trailer if you are looking for something affordable that will allow you to bring your children with you on your next cycling adventure. If you are also looking for a way to transport your gear, this trailer is also great. Definitely, one to check out if you are on a budget and in the market.Read more
This trailer from Allen is affordable and built to last. It has two wheels and is available as a one-seater or two-seater. It is available in five different color combinations, including gray, red, red/white, white/red, and yellow. It is lightweight to ensure that while you are cycling that you are not feeling the weight of a bulky trailer behind you.
The frame of this trailer is constructed from steel. The wheels are 16” each and easy to remove when folding up the trailer. All ASTM safety requirements are met with this product, including a 3-point harness paired with a 2-point lap belt. Some reviewers are unimpressed with the harness and say that it is only suitable for toddlers that don’t slide down in their seats. There is also a foot guard tube along the bottom floor to protect your children’s feet. This product comes with a lifetime warranty.
This hitch fits most bicycles with bolted or quick-release tires. While some reviewers say that it takes a few minutes to attach the trailer, there are not many complaints about it being difficult.
The 20” tires are great for smooth or slightly uneven terrains. Off-roading with any child-bearing trailer isn’t exactly recommended but as long as you don’t get carried away with this one, you’ll be fine.
9. BOB Ibex
Quick and easy coupling
Follows your bike's wheels
Heavy compared to other single wheel trailers
Here is an option that can be used with any bike or motorbike you own. Being so compatible can cut down on your shopping time drastically. The heavy-duty construction helps to beef up the carrying potential of this trailer as well.Read more
This one-wheeled wonder follows the back wheel of the bike but is also pivoted to enable tighter corners when needed. It consists of a metal frame and the dry bag is yellow. 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 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 70-pounds 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 is compatible with all bicycles and even some motorbikes.
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.
10. Aosom Elite II
Strong metal frame
Supports up to 180-pounds
Protects gear from outdoor elements
Wheels can become wobbly with heavy capacity
This trailer is a great option for those carrying around a lot of gear, be it for traveling or 3-day hike. The cloth basket cover offers protection from dust and debris and adds a bit of privacy. This is indeed the heaviest entry on our list, but it also makes it one of the most stable.Read more
The two-wheeled style of this trailer is a bit different than our other products on this list. It is a rectangular shape and sits on top of a strong metal base. It is available in two different colors (with two different prices), black/red or black/yellow. The trailer itself weighs 39-pounds. It is not meant for children and it has no windows. A plus side to this is the fact that you can carry whatever you’d like in the trailer and not show it off to the world.
The basket cover is made from a cloth material. Fortunately, this provides protection from the elements, but unfortunately, it is not completely waterproof. The basket cover can be removed and machine washed. The strong metal base of the trailer can support up to 180-pounds.
The Aosom Elite II uses a type A bicycle hitch which is compatible with most frames. Users have attached this trailer to fat tires (29”) without issues. Some have pointed out that the attachment system is so great, it’s actually a bit difficult to take off.
To reiterate, this is not a suitable trailer for children. This trailer is great for grocery shopping, carrying gear, dogs, or picnics. A downside that has been mentioned numerously is the weight of the trailer. At 39-pounds, it isn’t lightweight, but if you think about it as more of an exercise opportunity it’s not a bad thing. When not in use, the wheels feature quick release buttons and the whole system itself folds down easily and compactly.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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 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.
The most common place to fix a bike trailer is from the axle. Depending on the weight and size of the 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 axle, but 10mm axles are generally OK depending on weight.
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 center of the frame.
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 axle 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 loosening the chain. 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 not careful, 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.
When looking to purchase a bike trailer for the reason on transporting your children from one place to another, or if you have some gear that you need to transport, how the bike trailer works and how smooth the ride is will be one of the most important factors of deciding which trailer is for you. Look closely at how the unit connects to your bike, and also how it rides on the road or trails you intend to use it. Most companies will have a return policy, so if you find a trailer you are interested in, purchase it and test it out. If it is not riding the way you like it, then return it and continue on the hunt for your perfect bike trailer.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Next time you need to do some errands and have a bike trailer, try cycling to your shops and storing your products and gear in your bike trailer. This way you save on gas, get exercise and save the environment one pedal at a time.
Doubling the number of wheels on your bike opens you up to more possible punctures and repairs. With any bike, and especially when towing a trailer, you should always carry a bike repair kit. These kits are typically small, sometimes small enough to fit in your pocket.
Other Factors to Consider
The weight of the trailer itself is an important factor to consider. Think about what you will be towing, also, and combine the weights. How much will an extra seventy pounds affect you? Will you be on flat terrain or facing hills? 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. Knowing your personal abilities and not over-working yourself is important. A lightweight trailer will almost always be preferable.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Which is better, the baby seat or a trailer?
In our opinion neither holds any large advantage over the other. The baby seat gives you a closer more intimate ride with your child. While the trailer gives you and your child a little more room to move freely. We can say that with a trailer, in the event you tip your bike, your child will be less likely to become hurt.
q: Does my child need a helmet in the bicycle trailer?
This will depend on the laws and regulations in the area you live in. Laws vary greatly by city, state, or even country. So it is best to brush up on your facts. The unofficial answer to this is although we can't force nor tell you what to do. It is best to have a helmet on your child's head. This will ensure they are safe in the event of an accident.
q: What can I do to keep my bicycle trailer maintained?
In order to clean the fabric, some good old elbow grease, combined with mild soap and brush will do the trick. The best course is to steer clear of any harsh chemicals as those can negate the strength of the fabric.
The metal frame is a different beast. First, let me start by stating it is not recommended to ever use a power washer. This can cause the paint to chip away inviting corrosion to set in. Instead, there are waxes sold on the market which can protect the integrity of the frame.
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.