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Bike Trailers - Anyone used one?

paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
edited October 2009 in Tour & expedition
Looking for some advice on bike trailers for touring - I am thinking of taking a tour of france/spain next summer but planning to go on my MTB with a view to stopping at good off road ride spots, chucking knobblies on and doing a couple of days local riding before moving on. The MTB doesn't have rack mounts so i am thinking of getting a bike trailer such as the freewheel or bob yak to take the load.

I would also like to ride off road with the trailer on easy terrain so if anyone knows which trailers are up to the job please let m know!

Any recommendations for sensibly priced light weight, single person summer season tents and the like also gratefully received!
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  • bike-a-swanbike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    i like the vango banshee- it's simple and light, but also pretty cheap. admitedly i've managed to get away with only pretty good weather camping, but it seems solid. it's not tall, but it's roomy enough for one person for a bit of time.
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • I toured France with a BOB Yak pulled behind a recumbent trike. So no offroad, but they have since started to sell a Yak with suspension.. Can't recommend them highly enough, although they cost a freakin' fortune. Trailers do in general though.

    I remember mine was, fully loaded, around 30+ kg, but it was almost unnoticeable when riding, and didn't much affect the handling.
    Litespeed Tuscany, Hope/Open Pro, Ultegra, pulling an Extrawheel trailer, often as not.

    FCR 4 (I think?)
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  • CunobelinCunobelin Posts: 11,792
    Depends what you want....

    I started out with a cheap child trailer and ripped out the innards. Worked fine for shopping and bulk, as wel as camping, but storage is an issue.

    My Bob Yak is smaller and equally versatile, but the stress placed on trikes rear frames by single wheel trailers makes it inadvisable for the recumbent trikes.

    At present I use either the Radical Cyclone which is basically a holdall on wheels and excellent for hotels and B&B, or the Carry Freedom if I want to carry a suitcase or something more robust.
    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
  • paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    Thanks - the trailer is specifically to follow a normal MTB either on road or on easy off road so not looking for a double wheel set up at all - the Yak is one option but whay pricey (350 ish), the freewheel is another (250 which also has the advantage that you are riding with a spare rear wheel should you need it.

    I saw a cheap Yak copy on ebay but it was going so cheap I figured it must be flawed in some way the scrap value looked more than the trailer was selling for.

    There seem to be a limited number of options otherwise.
    Closet jockey wheel pimp censored .
  • WooliferkinsWooliferkins Posts: 2,060
    A good friend of mine did LeJoG with a Bob Yak rough camping most of the way, with no mecchanical problems. I would fit a small twin leg stand as fitting the loaded trailer can be a little frustrating on your own. The Bob Ibex has rear suspension.
    Help I'm Being Oppressed
  • hisokahisoka Posts: 575
    I've used a Carry Freedom Y Frame small, it was good other then I managed to damage the hitch early on which meant it flipped up and took out the spokes on my back wheel (8 spokes snapped, 4 more bent).
    I think the trailer is still good, just the hitch is a bit of something to keep a careful eye on.
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  • El GordoEl Gordo Posts: 394
    I've put over 7000 miles on a Bob Yak with no trouble at all (except one puncture). It was on a tandem and didn't affect the handling at all.

    I have heard that they can weave around at speed if used on bikes with short wheelbases but on a MTB it should be OK. That's just anecdotal, I don't know if it's really true. Ours went along at over 50mph without complaining.
  • The other one that apparently is as good as a BoB is the Edinburgh Bike Co-ops own version - half the price of a Bob ... 155c018343

    Also - does anyone know where you can rent a Bob in the UK? I'm doing a tour in NZ next year and renting a Bob over there, but would like to do a few UK rides to get used to using one before i go.

  • crankycrankcrankycrank Posts: 1,830
    The MTB doesn't have rack mounts so i am thinking of getting a bike trailer such as the freewheel or bob yak to take the load.
    Have a look at these MTB racks. :wink: ... Racks.html
  • Kenjaja1Kenjaja1 Posts: 744
    Hi Paul,
    I will second Jim’s suggestion of the BOB Yak and give you a few reasons.

    - Firstly the design of the Yak is extremely good and very simple. It incorporates many of the engineering principles employed to make articulated lorries safe and stable (albeit in a lighter & simpler form)
    - This bulk of the weight of your touring load gets taken by the trailer. If your bike is not designed for touring then the weight of rider and loaded panniers can, over long hard distances, put too much stress on the bike frame and wheels resulting in major failure while on your tour. So a trailer such as the the Yak can help you take care of your bike.
    - The single wheel tracks behind the rear wheel of your bike without messing up your steering or causing wobble as a two wheeled trailer may do (especially at speed).
    - Centre of gravity is good and low. This is great for stability and is OK for off road trails unless you intend riding over really rough terrain when the low slung trailer may snag on rocks etc.
    - -The trailer attaches to the rear wheel axel of your bike which gives much greater stability & better control than one which attaches higher up at the seat post.
    - -The wheel of the Yak is small in diameter & therefore inherently as tough as you can wish for.
    - It is made of CroMo steel and is as tough as you are likely to need, but in the unlikely event of a failure CroMo can be repaired
    - The Yak Sak is big, waterproof and very good quality. The price difference between a Yak with & without a bag makes it a no brainer i.e. get the bag with the Yak. The downside with the bag is that everything has to go in it and there are no internal dividers so I recommend getting hold of lightweight stuff sacks to help keep gear organised. Do not put wet stuff such as a wet tent inside the bag & don’t put smelly stuff in there either (petrol for a camping stove for example)
    - The standard Yak is great on the road and fine for off road trails provided you don’t go like a bat out of hell with a load up. I haven’t used the suspension version so can’t comment. If you are taking fairly reasonable off-road trails you should have no problems with a Bob Yak. I am planning a trip for next year where the yak & bike will (I hope!) cope with a lot of bike hostile terrain. I will then know for sure just how tough it really is!
    - The capacity of the Yak is phenomenal – but I would suggest you apply self discipline to keeping any load as light as practically possible. Always remember your legs have to pull that weight up every hill. I have ridden with a load of over 70lbs with most of it in the Yak & some in 4 panniers (when I had some shifting to do and the car died on me.) Riding was OK but hills became very hard and slow and were not much fun.
    - You can get spares for the bits of the Yak that may (eventually) need to be replaced
    - It is the preferred choice of most cyclists who do long expeditions and who want a trailer instead of (or in addition to) panniers

    - The main disadvantages of the YAK are:
    Cost: The Yak is not cheap but if you are doing a long tour or planning a number of trips or your trips are likely to be on poor surfaces with heavy loads then the money does buy you reliability and peace of mind. I doubt if you will find anyone offering much (if any) discount on a new Yak. I bought mine second hand (but in excellent condition & complete with Yak Sak) on ebay early last year for £134.00. However the pound has nosedived since then and these things come from the USA . I guess the price of used ones will have increased in the same way new ones have. (Blame Gordon Brown for that!) Used Yaks don’t show up on ebay too often – so you have to keep checking. In general, as long as a Yak has not been damaged by accident or rust then it should be fine. As I said earlier all the bits which wear and eventually fail are obtainable so second hand is worth considering. As with anything second hand and anything on ebay just be careful.

    Wooliferkins has already suggested fitting a stand and this may be worth considering. Dealing with the bike and trailer when stopped & off the bike can take some getting used to. Personally I have usually managed to improvise when attaching the trailer and/or loading up etc & would not fit a stand but I am sure many people will find life easier with a stand. You need to have a few good test runs before your first big trip to decide what is best for you. Once you are on the bike then the bike & trailer becomes a unit which is very easy to handle

    Try & get hold of a Yak for a test drive (PM me if you have a problem organising this as I may be able to help).

    Regarding the light tent I am sure the suggestions already made are fine. I use a Terra Nova Competition Laser. It is very good and light at around a kilo but it is expensive. I am about to order the material to make a hammock and tarp as I will be wild camping much of the time. In summer this sort of set up is cooler than a tent and can be used on the ground if no suitable trees or other “hanging points” can be found. It might be worth thinking about but as France is not good for wild camping you may be better off with a conventional tent. Let me know if you want more info.

    Best of luck
  • paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    Thanks again everyone - especially Kenjaja1 - very comprehensive.

    Ebay was my next port of call for the cheap yak option.

    I shall do some further research about routes and so on before making a final decision.

    Cheers again.
    Closet jockey wheel pimp censored .
  • Kenjaja1Kenjaja1 Posts: 744
    Pauk - I have just seen this M-Wave luggage trailer on ebay for £176 including shipping.. ... 518c1a03e3

    I had heard about them before but have not seen one. From the pictures it looks well engineered & it is made from steel so should be reasonably tough. It has the advantage of folding down & SJSC are a very good company to buy from. It might be worth considering - perhaps as an alternative to a Yak if you can't pick one up at reasonable cost or perhaps if someone on here has good experience with one.

    My personal choice would still be the Yak because of my cautious nature and because of the number of people who have used them seccessfully on long hard trips. I might be persuaded by the big difference in cost if that were backed up by positive reviews from people who have put the M-Wave through its paces. If you can talk with Andy Blance at SJSC then I would regard his opinion very highly indeed. Andy is a very experienced cycle tourer in various parts of the world. His knowledge and experince are both deep and wide and he is a very helpful chap. What he does not know about cycle touring & associated kit & bikes is not worth knowing!

    Hope this helps rather than confuses.
  • paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    On sale by SJS - you'd hope they wouldn't be offering anything substandard wouldnt you?! Looks good for the money - I know what you mean about brand reliability assumptions but half the price - bag maybe doesnt look so useable but plenty of scope for lashing stuff to the top and so on.
    Closet jockey wheel pimp censored .
  • Kenjaja1Kenjaja1 Posts: 744
    From the photo the M-Wave bag looks very similar to the Yak bag (apart from the colour) i.e roll top closure system. This type of closure is about the best waterproof system I know of but it will depend on the quality of the material & how well it is put together. The hi-viz yellow has been proven to be the most easily seen colour especially in poor light conditions: The red is less easily seen. From a road safety point of view I don't rate this as a major issue as I cannot see why anyone would want to cycle tour at night or in poor light. If other road users cannot see you then you cannot see the scenery so I reckon that makes two good reasons to get off the road as soon as possible.

    Whatever you decide to do, let us know & if you opt for the M-Wave then lots of us on here will be very interested to read your review
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