To Trailer, or not to Trailer, that is the question?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Ride da mOOn Moderator
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    New question here. To Trailer, or not to Trailer, that is the question?

    I prefer trailer...

    ...keeps the weight off the bike, easy to unhook, at the campsite, to ride around on trails, and in a break down(flat tire) working on the bike is easier as the trailer can be disconnected.

    I keep stuff like snacks, camera in a handlebar bag, quick at hand.

    Trailer gets the heavy stuff, tent, sleeping bag, tools...

    Nice to see everyone "bike touring" through life

  2. #2
    A guy on a bike Moderator
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    I think that a lot depends on the terrain and the desired speed. In my brief experience with a trailer, I found that climbing steep technical singletrack was nearly impossible. And hike-a-bike was absolute torture. That's probably why I don't see many (any?) trailers in Colorado.

    But on more casual terrain, trailers can be nice. I once took one on a long railroad grade, and it was a great way to carry gear and water for the entire group. Especially with kids, I think that trailers are a great way to carry extra comfort items like a bigger tent, etc.

    Now that ultra-races like the Colorado Trail Race, Tour Divide, etc. are becoming more popular, I see a lot of people emulating the ultra-light approach to bikepacking. In many ways, that's a good thing, as a lightweight and simple setup is generally more fun while riding. But older systems like trailers, panniers, etc. are still great when the objective is camping or hanging out--or if the terrain is less technical. I'd hate to see people decide that bikepacking sucks because they don't like sleeping in a soggy plastic bivy sacks and eating only Powerbars. While I'm cool with that approach, it's also really nice to sleep in a big tent, kick back in a Crazy Creek chair, and drink a couple of beers from a trailer!

  3. #3
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    I would have to agree that it would depend on the the trip and terrain expected weather to trailer or not. I personally for what bikepacking I am planning on doing, will be looking towards having a trailer. I also have 4 kids at home, 3 of which are on bikes. The more I can carry for them the happier I will be in the long run. Plus, I wont have to haul the trailer all the time since the kids will be more than happy to do their share of pulling it. LOL Plus the kids will have more energy to burn than me, so they will sleep just well when we setup camp.
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  4. #4
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    I haven't had experience touring with my mountain bike sans trailer so can only "vote" for bike plus trailer. That said when I rode the Munda Biddi in 2008, Perry who came with me rode his bike with panniers. After the ride he brought a trailer.



    I guess for the riding around here the trailer works okay. Mind you if I had a Surly Orge I would probably set it up with panniers.

    For me it came down to wanting to keep the MTB "clean" for non-touring duties but over time the non-touring duties isn't happening and I am now adding a Tubus Swing to the bike so I can mount panniers on the front. I am hoping this will give me more balance and hold the front down better when climbing.

    Andrew

  5. #5
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    it would depend for me on where I'm going. I have used BOB trailers in the past. On dirt roads, they're great. they're okay for slightly technical stuff. But I agree that once things get really technical, they become a pain. The width of a BOB can even be too much.

    I am intrigued by the ExtraWheel type. Something of a compromise between a BOB and panniers.

    I would only use something like that on an extended trip, though, where I needed more space to carry more food and water between resupplies.

  6. #6
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    Trailer and an FS bike?

    These guys make trailers look like a blast.

    This has me thinking about something like this. Trailers | farfarer bike trailers and racks

    The attachment point at the seat post would help with stability. Similar to how a fifth wheel trailer improves stability over a bumper tow. I don't think a shock would be very important with that type of set up either.

    For axle tow type trailers, I think the BOB would work better than the extra wheel in terms of stability. The IBEX / BOB has some length and low center of gravity. The Extra Wheel is very short and carries the weight higher. Check out this vid: bicycle trailers Extrawheel and bike panniers - YouTube Squirrley!

    I think a trailer would be a great option for riders that want the capacity or the ability to use with a full suspension bike.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubba13 View Post

    For axle tow type trailers, I think the BOB would work better than the extra wheel in terms of stability.
    I have owned a Bob Ibex and I own an Extrawheel Voyager and have pulled both trailers behind the same bike on single-track, dirt roads and bitumen and I cannot recall any noticeable differences in stability between the two. That said I never did direct comparisons, but my preference is the Extrawheel which is why I sold the BOB

    Andrew

  8. #8
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    I like to off-road tour with my trailer. Hike-a-biking doesn't worry me because I'd be hike-a-biking around the Great Dividing Range, even if I didn't have a trailer. I'm big on portage too.

    The reason why I started taking the trailer was because there is little to no chance for adequate resupplying in my neck of the bush. I didn't want to be hunting down supplies every week or two. I can travel or stop for weeks at a time, without having to concern myself with keeping moving because of limited resources, that need constantly topping up.

    I've an Extrawheel Voyager Solo trailer. Unloaded it only weighs 4.5 kg. It is good for a maximum load of 30 kg.

    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 12-03-2012 at 07:57 PM.

  9. #9
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    I've tried a Bob trailer road touring, it felt unstable I didn't like it, especially on descents, probably because I am too used to panniers. A decent touring bike with good panniers with the weight kept low down is my preference. A trailer would be useful if you have to carry a lot of extra food water though - I know from experience that panniers suck big time if overloaded

  10. #10
    Unhinged Aussie on a 29er
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleJon View Post
    I've tried a Bob trailer road touring, it felt unstable I didn't like it, especially on descents, probably because I am too used to panniers. A decent touring bike with good panniers with the weight kept low down is my preference. A trailer would be useful if you have to carry a lot of extra food water though - I know from experience that panniers suck big time if overloaded
    The lady that did the trip documented under, Yes I am Precious rode with a bob trailer and crashed out on a descent with it, so it's a pretty realistic threat. I think it would be the case of any heavily laden trailer and not so heavily laden bike though.

  11. #11
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    if you use a trailer, especially one that is loaded down. you need excellent brakes to slow you and stop you on descents. I have never wrecked with my bob, but have came close to blowing curves, because of to much load in the trailer. the trailer can push quite abit. but for what i use them for, panniers will not work.

  12. #12
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    I personally wouldn't bother unless I had this bad boy Kamp-Rite :: Bicycle Trailers :: Midget Bushtrekka.

    (Reposted from backpacking.net)
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by intheways View Post
    I personally wouldn't bother unless I had this bad boy Kamp-Rite :: Bicycle Trailers :: Midget Bushtrekka.

    (Reposted from backpacking.net)
    Was gonna say --motor home --but i guess that wouldn't be quite right so it must be a pedal home!!
    “An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence.” Marco Polo

  14. #14
    Bedwards Of The West
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    I like the convenient kickstand action of the Bob trailer when stopping for the Blizzard of the Month.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails To Trailer, or not to Trailer, that is the question?-picture1.jpg  

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  15. #15
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    I agree that it depends a lot on your load and the terrain you plan to cover. I pack and travel ultralight with about 12-15lbs of gear including my tent, less than 25lbs with food and water. Frame bags are definitely the way to go for me. If you have larger heavier gear maybe a trailer would be better. I've cruised some moderately technical singletrack with a BOB. There is a learning curve, but adding 25lbs to a bike has a learning curve too. My opinion is why tow a 17lb trailer that weighs more than my base gear? I vote frame bags....but the bottom line is whatever it takes to get out and have fun.

  16. #16
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    I have been bikepacking for years and have done the pannier, trailer and ultralight routine.
    Racks and panniers are time proven and you can carry a bunch with them. Trailers are heavy by themselves and add extra complexity to the mix: pivot points, an extra wheel, tube and tire.
    On the White Rim Trail, my pivot bolts on the BOB trailer came out and I had to remove my brake lever bolts to replace them with. I then had to tape my levers in place. It all worked out but it could have been a disaster. Another issue with a trailer is that it tempts you to carry more than you should.
    But the real turning point for me was during the Tour Divide this year. I passed a couple on mountain bikes with a full set of racks and panniers. We were on a downhill section that was fast and rocky. I blew by them as they gingerly rode their brakes all the way down. It finally registered with me what the true advantage of going "ultralight' meant. You can put on huge mileage and the bike handles climbing and descending beautifully. Of course you give up some creature comforts but if you are comfortable enough, the biking is a lot more enjoyable.
    But different strokes for different folks. Trailers and fully loaded racks and panniers have their place, but for they aren't for me anymore.
    My brain went from "you probably shouldn't say that" to WTF!

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