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  1. #1
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    Trailers: Chariot/Burley vs everything else

    My wife and I had our first baby in September, so I'm delving into the Family forum for the first time, a little ignorant about baby biking gear. I plan to use my GT Peace 9er single speed as my baby carrier bike, I guess, mostly for rail train type riding. (My wife will probably ride my old Fisher hardtail beater bike, which leaves the Santa Cruz free as my main bike.)

    I'm leaning toward getting a trailer, and after a cursory look through this forum, all I seem to read about are Chariot and Burley. The other two main players in the US market seem to be Instep and Schwinn. Instep appears to be a plastic wheel $75 piece of garbage that looks like it'll fall apart after a few rides. But I was curious about the Schwinn trailers and whether anyone's had any experience with them? I'll admit, the fact that these are sold at Walmart sort of scare the crap out of me, but I thought I'd throw the question out there - Has anyone tried these? Are they junk? Or what is it about Chariot/Burley that makes them so much better? Is there any other brand I'm missing that sub $400? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    For various reasons we had a schwinn and a chariot.

    My kid (who started riding in the trailer at 1) did not like the schwinn trailer at all. When he was old enough to talk, he was able to verbalize his grievances.. very uncomfortable seatbelt and rough ride, as well as awkward headrest with a helmet on. He's logged about 2,000 km in the chariot, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

    We kijiji'ed the schwinn by the time his little sister arrived, so I have no second opinion available.

    My nephew seems happy enough in his MEC-branded trailer, but they are pretty much Canada-only.
    The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

  3. #3
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    Hi Jonz. Saw your post. Here's a quick piece of info on what separates Burley from the others - ****************GE6hrl If you have any questions, we'd love to help!

  4. #4
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    Oops, link didn't work. Sorry about that, we're too young on this site to post links!

  5. #5
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    Ummmm, with all due respect, I'm looking for consumer feedback, not manufacturer's propaganda. You may want to discuss with Gregg or Francois the proper channels for advertising on this site.

  6. #6
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    Hi Jons, I purchased a Chariot CX1 recently for my 9 mos old and am completely in love with it. Its pretty pricey but with the additions of an "infant kit" to keep my son safer and snug in his seat really is a plus especially when they doze off during rides. The infant kit has additional cushioned head protection on each side of your childs head, which they can rest on when sleepy, and keeps his head inline with his body. This along with the adjustable suspension offered on the mid and higher level models was a bonus. They look extremely cool as well not that this matters to most, but ive gotten more than a fair share of comments from plenty of passers by. I feel the materials and attention to detail is at a high standard, safety is top notch and the way it folds up makes it SUPER easy to transport. I love mine.

  7. #7
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    I went the cheap route last summer, less than $100. I bought a slightly used instep ez-(something?). The trailer has spoked wheels and looks just like the schwinn trailer. I use this trailer on paved rail/trail and put 2 kids inside (60 lbs). So far I've put approx. 400 mi on the trailer. I'll just note a few short comings.

    I upgraded the 16" tires to high pressure (Kenda kwest). The trailer is rougher for the kids but, they love it. More speed and bumps means more fun. Another thing I was not happy with is the bearing they use for the wheels. Two sealed bearings per wheel that look like they belong on a wheel barrow. They were a royal pain to grease this winter. I'm looking for some real, sealed bearings.

    One last thing, I pull this trailer with a GT Passage (26" hybrid) set up as a pseudo mtb.

  8. #8
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    That's for the input guys.

    I've been keeping an eye on Craigslist as well, and just today picked up an older Burley D'Lite for $200. I thought it was a decent score.
    Last edited by jonz; 03-21-2012 at 07:25 PM.

  9. #9
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    I've been using a Croozer 535 for our two girls for nearly two years. It's survived well riding in torrential rain (wet/dry tropics), fits a decent amount of gear in the back, and it's got seperated bucket seats with good harnesses. Don't know if it's available where you are, but for me it was a good compromise between the cheapies and the Chariots at around AUD700. It also comes complete with stroller and jogger wheels, which the Chariot doesn't (you have to buy them separately). It doesn't have suspension like the fancier Chariots, but I don't take it off road and my area is pretty welI served with a good network of bike paths that take us to the library, museum, water park, beach etc. It's given pretty good service so far (nearly 300km).Edit: that should read '3000km'!!
    Last edited by disfocus; 04-13-2012 at 11:02 PM.

  10. #10
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    chariot's site no longer lists the sidecarrier, am I lost or has anyone heard whether it's been cancelled?
    If steel is real then aluminium is supercallafragiliniun!

  11. #11
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    A newborn, congratulations! My daughter is coming up on 12 this June.

    All those years ago we were looking at a Burley or Trek trailer. I ruled out the other trailers for two reasons-they weren't using bicycle hubs on the wheels and they didn't work on all my bikes. I have a lot of bikes.

    In the end I chose the Trek for a few reasons. It is easy to fold up. The wheels are QR hubs and the wife can work with that. The hitch is a longer QR that goes in the bike and holds a receiver for the trailer. This was the nicest feature. While I picked up a second receiver just in case, it switches from bike to bike as quickly and easily as removing any quick release. There were any number of rides where the wife would start out pulling the trailer and I'd have to pull it the rest of the ride.

    We did crash test it once. Well, I did once. I routinely pulled the trailer on 30-60 mile road rides with groups of other racers. One ride was hilly enough I was dropped and once the wife caught up we rode together with a few other friends. On a slight downhill I was coasting at about 40 mph and there was a wash-board section that was unavoidable. The trailer was bouncing up and down, from left wheel to right wheel enough that it flipped on its side. I managed to slow down enough before the L-corner at the bottom that when we went off the road and into the ditch we were only going 5 mph. The trailer fell on me with my daughter strapped into the 5-point harness still wearing her helmet... and screaming bloody murder.

    Other than a slight tear in the fabric on a roll bar the trailer was fine. The daughter was another story. She was pissed. She wanted to walk home but we were easily 25 miles from the car. Trying to negotiate with a toddler must be like being at the UN. Eventually we got her back in and mom pulled her for a few miles before we realized it would be dark very soon. So we talked her into letting me pull again and we made it back slightly after dark.

    She was back in the trailer the next day as though nothing had happened.

    So about your trailer options. While Burley is the the industry standard, when I was looking 11 years ago their trailer hadn't changed since the first one I saw in the early 1990's. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's a solid design. I like the Trek because it worked with any bike with a QR. While I didn't have a carbon bike at the time, it will work with one and not come in contact with the carbon. I tried borrowing a trailer from a riding buddy but it wouldn't work with my Cannondale, Seven, or most of my other bikes because of the way the seat and chain stays join at the dropout.

    This is the next version of Trek trailer "the Gobug" and I see that Trek doesn't make trailers anymore. Trek Sport Gobug Trailer - Penn Cycle for Bikes. Trek, Gary Fisher, Cervelo, Haro, Electra

    A quick phone call later, it sounds like the Burley has a QR-based receiver now.
    Authorities speculate that speed may have been a factor. They are also holding gravity and inertia for questioning.

  12. #12
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    We bought this Croozer 525 (which is probably identical to something else and just rebadged) about a year ago and its really awesome. Nice spoked wheels, rolls great, strong thick fabric, flexible arm, kids seats stay separate without them sagging to the middle good, sized "trunk" for stuff, I could go on. I want to say we paid $299 for it a year ago from Amazon, so either it was on sale or the price has gone way up. I'd but it again even at $400...

    amazon.com/Croozer-Double-Bicycle-Trailer-Silver/dp/B001GAP5DA/ref=sr_1_16?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1334334498&sr=1-16


    (For some reason it looks pink on Amazon. Its definitely not pink, but rather a deep, normal red.)

  13. #13
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    Can we rename this thread "The grand bicycle trailer thread"
    I've got my 6 and 9 year old girls and had a Schwinn trailer that survived both girls, but I sold it a few years ago... Now we're having another baby, so I am in the market for one again.
    Got some time to shop around, but was very happy with that one... except the cloth floor. Once they were stepping into it on their own, it started sagging a lot. Also wish there was a brake on it when using as a stroller, and that is had a cup holder near the handlebar. I jerry-rigged a cup holder onto it, which worked OK.

  14. #14
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    Im in the market for one also for my 2.5 yr old but cant afford a burley.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by FromBackEast View Post
    Im in the market for one also for my 2.5 yr old but cant afford a burley.
    Check your LBS and see if they have a bulletin board with used bikes and trailers. Some do or know of folks with them for sale. Other options are craigslist, your local paper (which may have on-line classified ads) and you could resort to posting a "wanted to buy" ad.

    The problem with Burleys and brands that did a decent job designing and manufacturing a trailer is that they hold their value. Unless the trailer wasn't cared for they hold up pretty well even after 10 years of use.
    Authorities speculate that speed may have been a factor. They are also holding gravity and inertia for questioning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Caffeine Powered View Post
    The problem with Burleys and brands that did a decent job designing and manufacturing a trailer is that they hold their value. Unless the trailer wasn't cared for they hold up pretty well even after 10 years of use.
    Yup... I sold our Chariot Cougar 1 for almost what we paid for it. We had it for a little over 2 years. It lasted 1 day on Craigslist and I had a list of people with dibs on it.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caffeine Powered View Post
    Check your LBS and see if they have a bulletin board with used bikes and trailers. Some do or know of folks with them for sale. Other options are craigslist, your local paper (which may have on-line classified ads) and you could resort to posting a "wanted to buy" ad.
    +1. Here's the Burley D'Lite I ended up with from Craigslist.. It's Burley's old frame model, so it's pre-2003/2004, but still in nearly perfect condition. The little dinguses are still on the tires, so it's doubtful it saw much use. Seeing as how my boy is only 6 1/2 months, I'm just strapping his carseat into the trailer and going for easy rides on asphalt.
    Quote Originally Posted by indianadave View Post
    Can we rename this thread "The grand bicycle trailer thread".
    I don't think I can, the thread's too old to edit the title. Need a Mod to do it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trailers: Chariot/Burley vs everything else-dscn2601.jpg  


  18. #18
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    I have a Burley D'Lite and I love it!!! Worth every penny. Most importantly my 3 year old and 1 year old love it.

    If you're on a budget they sell the basic Burley Bee for $279. Basic Burley but I'd take that anyway over a POS Instep.

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    +1 for the Burley Bee. We like it far better than the Schwinn we started with. From design to construction it s better in every way. And you'll get at least 50% of your purchase price back when you sell it

  20. #20
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    Burley

    They really do hold their value so you can get a good portion of your investment back.

    Our local bike shop sells both Burley and Chariot. All of their techs recommended Burley so that's what we got. Not a single regret!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonz View Post
    +1. Here's the Burley D'Lite I ended up with from Craigslist.. It's Burley's old frame model, so it's pre-2003/2004, but still in nearly perfect condition. The little dinguses are still on the tires, so it's doubtful it saw much use. Seeing as how my boy is only 6 1/2 months, I'm just strapping his carseat into the trailer and going for easy rides on asphalt.

    I don't think I can, the thread's too old to edit the title. Need a Mod to do it.
    The model you have appears to be a 2004-2006 model.

    The frame style changed for 2007-2009.

    And the current 2012 style wasintroduced in 2010.

    There should be a serial number on the trailer. It will tell you the date it was manufactured.

  22. #22
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    chariot.

    well worth the money.

    plus, i dont know if things are different, but burley used to not work with disc breaks.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by weltyed View Post
    chariot.

    well worth the money.

    plus, i dont know if things are different, but burley used to not work with disc breaks.

    I have disc brakes on my Cannondale CX2 and I have no problems with my Burley.

  24. #24
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    I got an Instep a few years ago, and I've used it several times recently carrying my son and my nephew. It's decent, and it didn't cost that much.

  25. #25
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    Anyone in search of a Burley DLite? We just got one as a gift so we now have 2!!!

    Excellent barely used condition. All original components.

    Prefer local pick up in Hampton Roads or Washington DC.

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    How does the hitch attachment work? I have quick release axles, I think they're 9mm. My bike also has disc brakes, but my wife's has rim brakes.

    Also, I'm planning to take the trailer on gravel roads. Not full on single track, but still rougher than concrete or asphalt. For this reason I've been leaning toward a Chariot because of the suspension. Does anybody have feedback on whether the Cougar would be sufficient for this, or whether a Burley would work?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjhall View Post
    How does the hitch attachment work? I have quick release axles, I think they're 9mm. My bike also has disc brakes, but my wife's has rim brakes.

    Also, I'm planning to take the trailer on gravel roads. Not full on single track, but still rougher than concrete or asphalt. For this reason I've been leaning toward a Chariot because of the suspension. Does anybody have feedback on whether the Cougar would be sufficient for this, or whether a Burley would work?
    Burley does pretty well on gravel trails. I have no complaints whatsoever.

    I have disc brakes and have no problems. The hitch stays mounted on the bike like a washer with an extension.

  28. #28
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    I need to get to a computer to post a picture.

  29. #29
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    Trailers: Chariot/Burley vs everything else-imageuploadedbytapatalk1335678426.532574.jpg

  30. #30
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    Hope that helps!

  31. #31
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    If you will tow on anything bumpy at all, the Chariot suspension system is far superior to anything else on the market. That aside, their trailers are extremely well thought out and designed, and top notch construction. I find niggles with almost every product I own, and am super impressed with our Chariot. They didn't cut a single corner or make any compromises. I've owned Burleys as well as others, and they don't come close to the Chariot. It costs more to make a superior product, and yes, the Chariot cost more. And I'd spend every penny again, because it lets us go places we couldn't go with any other trailer. If you can muster the price of entry it's worth it. If money is too tight there are other decent trailers for sure. I'd put Burley second on the list after the Chariot. Both will also hold their value well.
    "I thought you'd never love me without my Mojo." -Austin Powers

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrenEv View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ImageUploadedByTapatalk1335678426.532574.jpg 
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ID:	692650
    Same piece I have for my Burley D'Lite for bike with QR and disc brakes. Purchased on Amazon for $22: Amazon.com: Burley Forged Standard Hitch: Quick-Release or Nutted: Sports & Outdoors

  33. #33
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    I used the instep for my daughter and it worked well as a sleeper but When my son came out of the backpack and into the trailer it did not work at all. they just fell into each other and that was disastrous. I got Croozer for around$500, yeah I know, but it was awesome. bigger wheels, bucket seats with 5 point harness, turns into a jogger and stroller and hauls lots of cargo. very good design.

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    I have just started to use my Burley for my 2.5 year old and its great. The only thing I can't figure out is when I need to stop and go back to check on her or adjust the harness I have no way to set my bike down. The connection point to the rear wheel has no flex so doesn't allow me to lay my bike down. If I'm lucky there's a tree close by I can prop up against.

  35. #35
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    Looking for trailers for a 2yo. Started off looking at a Burley D'lite but now considering a Chariot. Should I go with a Couger 1 or Couger 2 for one child? It seems nice to have more space, but a single child has to sit on one side (can't sit in the middle) on the Couger 2. The narrower profile of the Couger 1 makes it more maneuverable and useful as a jogger. But, will it also be more prone to tipping over? Also, is the Chariot CX that much better than the Couger to be $1000? I have to look at the attachments for the bike trailer to make sure they will work on my Jones bike's dropouts
    Kokopelli Racing

    "Curb drops to flat, or curb drops to transition? There's a BIG difference there." Qfactor03

  36. #36
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    We went with the one-seater, even planning to have another kid, because the Chariot2 was just too wide IMO. The original purchase intent was a 20-km daily daycare commute, and avoiding busy sections of road meant passing through pathway gates etc that were already a pretty tight squeeze.

    By the time kid #2 was ready to ride in the trailer, kid #1 had his own bike and intended to ride it (and the long-haul daycare commute was history).

    Didn't like the CX myself, had a lot of expensive accessories that I just saw as dead weight on hills, Cougar was minimalist and light.
    The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

  37. #37
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    Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    We went with the one-seater, even planning to have another kid, because the Chariot2 was just too wide IMO. The original purchase intent was a 20-km daily daycare commute, and avoiding busy sections of road meant passing through pathway gates etc that were already a pretty tight squeeze.

    By the time kid #2 was ready to ride in the trailer, kid #1 had his own bike and intended to ride it (and the long-haul daycare commute was history).

    Didn't like the CX myself, had a lot of expensive accessories that I just saw as dead weight on hills, Cougar was minimalist and light.
    Kokopelli Racing

    "Curb drops to flat, or curb drops to transition? There's a BIG difference there." Qfactor03

  38. #38
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    Chariot Cougar1

    I recently picked up a Chariot Cougar1. I will probably have to put some slicks or road tires on the Jones if we start riding serious mileage though.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trailers: Chariot/Burley vs everything else-jones-profile.jpg  

    Trailers: Chariot/Burley vs everything else-tralier.jpg  

    Trailers: Chariot/Burley vs everything else-wheel-attachment.jpg  

    Kokopelli Racing

    "Curb drops to flat, or curb drops to transition? There's a BIG difference there." Qfactor03

  39. #39
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    Has anyone used a Burley with a bolt on single speed hub? Specifically I've got a White Industries Eno Hub with rim brakes. Can the standard hitch attachment be used with my set up, or does it require a quick release?

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveX View Post
    Has anyone used a Burley with a bolt on single speed hub? Specifically I've got a White Industries Eno Hub with rim brakes. Can the standard hitch attachment be used with my set up, or does it require a quick release?
    I haven't tried towing my Burley with the SS yet, but I don't see why it would be a problem, so long as your threaded axle is long enough to allow you to mount the hitch receiver behind the axle nut. Here's a link to all of Burley's hitch configurations, go to page 10 for bolt on SS LINK

    I tried the "Classic Hitch" contraption on all three of my bikes (all have disc brakes) and it didn't come close to fitting on any of them. IIRC, it was not only the caliper that was a problem, but also that the rear triangle geometry made it impossible.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    We went with the one-seater, even planning to have another kid, because the Chariot2 was just too wide IMO. The original purchase intent was a 20-km daily daycare commute, and avoiding busy sections of road meant passing through pathway gates etc that were already a pretty tight squeeze.

    By the time kid #2 was ready to ride in the trailer, kid #1 had his own bike and intended to ride it (and the long-haul daycare commute was history).

    Didn't like the CX myself, had a lot of expensive accessories that I just saw as dead weight on hills, Cougar was minimalist and light.
    If you are only going to use it as a bike trailer, then the Cougar will do. If you plan on jogging or running, then the CX is the way to go. I borrowed a Cougar before I bought mine, and when running down a hill, it was hard to slow myself down, plus the weight of a baby and the stroller. I bought mine with the intent to use it 90% running and 10% bike, so having rear brakes was worth the weight. The seat fabric on the XC is much nicer and the side windows can be removed for better airflow.

  42. #42
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    I'm a fan of the Chariot - we have the Cougar model, and it's held up well, is relatively compact, and is well made. Lots of nice touches - and I'm nerdily impressed by the reflective and the GLOW in the DARK panels. So cool!

    Best of all, it appears to be quite sturdy. How do I know? Well, I flipped my 2-year old in it while on some singletrack. I was riding slow, but must have hit a root or rock just wrong, combined with the perfect incline, and probably the leaf suspension of the trailer, which gave it a little extra rebound. It was a slow topple, but I was surprised at the fact that it went over. Daughter was shaken / stirred, but not at all hurt, thankfully - the harness did its job of keeping her nicely centered in the cage. My guess is that rooty east coast singletrack is not recommended terrain with these trailers.

  43. #43
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    ^^^ Haha, back in the day I one-wheeled it around a tight corner on the road and got an earful from the 2-year-old occupant for going "way too fast" and almost tipping over.

    Of course, now that he's riding his own bike, he dives into corners like a complete lunatic, and thinks that dad's safety advice is the lamest thing ever.
    The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

  44. #44
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    Another vote for the Burley. IMO you get what you pay for so I avoided the junk department store brands. I wanted a quality, safe, lightweight, quick connect, 2 seater, and at a reasonable price. So I went to craigslist and bought a used Burley for $100 about 7 years ago. Now the trailer is at least 12 years old and the only problem is a spot of worn fabric reinforced with duct tape. I've fallen over 1x and the trailer stays upright and is very stable at 25mph about the fastest I reach with the kids. I did not want a trailer/jogging stroller combo because I prefer a specific trailer and a specific running stroller so we avoided the Chariot and opted for the used Burley and a BOB stroller. We use the trailer and jogger so often that I didn't want to spend time converting them. I have no regrets about the decisions and they are both used weekly. I would also consider a Schwinn and Chariot.

  45. #45
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    We tried/tested a number of trailers including the Chariot and ended up with the ToutTerrain SingleTrailer. We ride a lot and the Singletrailer has proven to be worth every penny. It has been amazing what you can still ride with it. Our daughter also really likes it.

    Here are some details:
    Singletrailer
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    So we have a Chariot Cougar1, really like the trailer as does my daughter, for me what makes it nice is
    • Suspension which is adjustable depending on child's weight
    • Reflective material
    • The way it folds flat
    • Glow in the dark material

    For us we used the trailer for running and cycling, the hitch is really easy to use and can be switched between all my bikes with a quick release.
    These should be photos of when my daughter was about 6months old, when we first got the trailer.
    First bike ride


    Off for a walk on the beach


    One thing I did do was change the tyres to some with puncture protection (Schwalbe Marathon plus for rear wheels and Big apple for the jogging wheel). Where we use to run was along a canal and there was lots of glass and thorns, both of which seemed to slice through the original tyres like a hot knife through butter . Since doing this I've had no punctures in over 1500miles , could have probably used sealant in the inner tubes to the same effect.
    Would rather be out riding!

    It's not just about a bike

  47. #47
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    Chariot Sidecarrier


  48. #48
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    I went with the "Via Velo" trailer from Costco. Right about $199.00 bucks. I'm really impressed with the versatility of having either trailer or jogger/stroller. Tows and from having the wife follow me, tells me its very smooth riding. Took it for a walk downtown Sunday and couldn't believe how light it felt and well balanced and the best part is, my grand-daughter loves riding in it.


    Towing Via Velo Montalban Trailer 3 by Boots46, on Flickr
    "I didn't surrender. They took my horse and made him surrender..."
    -Chief Lone Watie

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelzbycks View Post
    Chariot Sidecarrier

    That is way cool...
    "I didn't surrender. They took my horse and made him surrender..."
    -Chief Lone Watie

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelzbycks View Post
    Chariot Sidecarrier

    We've been rocking a (used) sidecar too since our oldest was 1 -- she's now six so our little guy (1) is taking over the sidecar.

    His big sister now rides a trail behind attached at the rear which you can't do with a traditional rear mounted trailer.

    When we were shopping sales folks tried to talk us into a 2 seater saying it would be handy with another kid or for shopping/beer runs with the kiddos) but we made the sidecar work and I like being able to look over (not back) to talk to / check in on my passenger...

    The (circus) bike train looks pretty funny at school pick-up/drop-off, but works great.

    I seem to be getting more play in the connector "male/female" interface but bad enough (yet) to warrent $60 replacement...

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