Bicycle Cargo. Chapter 2: Bike Trailers
A couple of weeks ago we started out on what we naively thought to be simple task. To catalogue some of the more popular forms of bicycle cargo hauling. In Chapter One, we catalogued more than a dozen different • Bicycle Bag and Racks, Here, in Chapter Two, we showcase over 20 different Bicycle Trailer builders. Using their engineering ingenuity you can jump aboard your bike and transport anything from kayaks to kids, fridges to freight, shopping to sofas.
In Chapter Three we'll check out Extended Frames as a means of ferrying stuff about on your bike, so, no we haven't forgotten Xtracyle, et al. Patience.
Photo: Surly Bikes
We lead off with a German trailer (you'll find plenty more Deutsch haulers as you move down the list). The Royal Shopper Plus is a detachable, waterproof, 45 litre (2,750 cu in) shopping bag mounted to a folding aluminium frame. Push it around the shops to load up with a maximum 50 kg (110 lb) worth of groceries, making sure your bananas and tomatoes are on top! Then to travel home simply engage the handle with one of three different bicycle hitch systems and you have an instant trailer. Okay for short commutes, but we doubt its handling characteristics are anything special.
132 litres (35 gallons) is a lot of stuff. This is how much the Heavy Duty Trailer by BicycleR Evolution is designed to ferry about. And all in the watertight, lockable storage hold formed by the plastic tub. Or, if have your own favourite container you can save some pennies and just order the frame alone, which is rated to cope with up to 68 kg (150 lbs). Should you needs be more modest there is a smaller Shopper model too, as well as a Kit form for those on even tighter budgets.
Photo: Bike Friday
Bikes At Work
What makes Bikes At Work different from many other manufacturers is that they pedal their talk. Aside from selling trailers they run a furniture delivery service, hauling the likes of sofas and carpets around town. This gives them real world feedback on what makes a useful cargo trailer. Hence their channel frame aluminium trailers, the biggest of which is a massive 2.4 m (8 ft) long. Primed to heave up to 136 kg (300lb) of whatever about the place.
Photo: Pedal People
Almost 20 years ago, the YAK trailer appeared. It wasn't just the single wheel that broke the mould, it was also how it connected directly to a bikes rear axle (once you'd swapped over the skewers for longer ones.) Now BOB trailers are known the world over for their reliability in lugging big loads (32 kgs or 70 lbs) up hill and down dale, which is kinda apt coz' the company name derives from an acronym of Beast of Burden. There are two models. The original Yak; and the more high-tech Ibex (pictured here), which has adjustable suspension system, said to improve on- and off-road handling. The drybag is an optional accessory.
We've mentioned Burley, (a bicycle trailer maker of over 30 years standing) once or twice before, noting their utility 'pick up' trailers like the Flatbed, but probably it is for their kids trailers that they are more well known. Seen here is their Encore model. It can convert from a bike trailer to a kids stroller, jogger and even a ski unit. You can use it to move 45 kg (100 lbs) of cargo, or tow up to two children secured in the 5-point hammock-styled seat system.
Before carry Freedom offered up plans for a an Open Source Bamboo Bike Trailer they spent quality time designing smart urban bike transport. For example, the Carry Freedom City Trailer sports a large 70 litre cargo bag that doubles as courier style satchel, when detached from the trailer. It includes seven pockets, a helmet net and reflective piping. The trailer itself can fold flat in 5 secs, or be towed by hand.
Photo: Carry Freedom
Chariot produce a line of bike trailers for kids that have a decidedly chameleon tendency. For not only can they be towed behind a bicycle, but also be pressed into service as a stroller, jogger, hiker and cross-country ski vehicle. Talk about a multiple personality disorder. However, the model that most caught our eye was the SideCarrier. It's like a sidecar for your bicycle, with the very clever feature of remaining upright as the bike leans over into turns. But probably the key feature of the Side Carrier is that it allows the parent and child to easily communicate with one another as they ride together.