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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
    sheep in FOX clothing
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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.

  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
    Sweep the leg!
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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.

  16. #16
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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.

  19. #19
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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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