Today’s market for bike trailers has seen a tremendous growth for the last five years. Not only new players are entering the market, established brands keep innovating and add new features. It’s hard to navigate and find the right trailer for your little one(s) among this plethora of options, so we have created a guide for the most common features.
While it’s not even the most expensive trailer in Thule lineup, it provides best features for the money. Thule offers a more advanced Sport model. The only difference between the two is that the latter has disc brakes (can only be activated via handlebar).
With huge storage compartment, reclining seats and adjustable suspension it’s indeed the most versatile trailer today.
The package includes regular stroller wheels and bike trailer attachment. So, if you want a front jogging wheel and XC ski kit – these have to be ordered separately.
Hamax Outback offers a very comfortable ride for your kids – not only it has great seats and suspension, the tires that come with it are level-up compared to similarly-priced counterparts.
Overall, a very well-built trailer-stroller-jogger.
Croozer Kid is great bike trailer manufacturer from Germany that is not very popular in North America. It has some non-critical flaws (mentioned above), bit overall we liked how it handles in all of its styles (as jogger, stroller and trailer itself).
Cheetah XT is Thule’s offering in middle range – this means the trailer has all of the key features, but lacks those fancy ones like suspension and reclining seats. The latter, however, should not be an issue. The angle, at which the back of a seat is reclined is comparable to that of more expensive Cross model.
The drawbacks include lack of suspension (even non-adjustable) and lack of a storage bag – capacity of attached mesh pocket is fairly limited.
Coaster XT is basically the same as Thule Cadence, but with one key difference – it has a stroller attachment now available as standard. Otherwise, it’s still the same in terms of weight, features and ease of use.
It’s a great option if you need only trailer/stroller that will hold for years. However, if you need extra functionality it’s better to look at other brands that offer better functionality for comparable price, like Burley.
Bee model from Burley has surprised us in a good sense – it has the looks of premium trailers for half the price. If you couple it with 16-inch wide wheels (sold separately) it can go off-road easily.
It’s a great budget option if you need just the bike trailer. In case you want to a stroller as well you will need to upgrade to Honey Bee model.
Cadence is Thule’s most basic trailer. It’s pro’s a con’s reflect this clearly – if you want to use it as a trailer only, it’s relly comfortable for kids, has great ventilation and is attached/detached from a bike easily. Straps and other accessories are high-quality.
However, lower price point means that an array of great Thule multi-sport attachments become unavailable for you. Want a stroller? Please upgrade to Coaster XT or Cheetah XT (at least).
It’s nice to see an aluminium frame in a trailer within its price range. Since it’s lightweight and has bigger wheels it makes it really fun to ride, but mostly on paved trails. It won’t hold up for long if you decide to take it even to light off-road.
Trailblazer also has comfortable benched seats and lots of space in foot area.
It’s a great choice if you plan to use it occasionally on short distances and good road surfaces. After some time of use several parts can cause issues – mech cover tears, harness buckles stop working, etc.
Yes, Allen Sports’ Deluxe trailer (also known as T2-R) doesn’t have all the nice features of his premium competitors, but if you need a trailer for just this core functionality, it’s a good choice. The rain cover, mesh layer – all is standard, functional and easy-to-use.
Yes, it’s made of steel, so be ready to haul a bit more weight. It can become a bit of a problem if you actually need to bring it to places – lifting it and putting in your care can be challenging.
This particular model doesn’t come equipped with stroller attachment, but Allen Sports (the manufacturer) has several other models prices just as competitively that have it included as standard.
We researched all of the main features of bike trailers so that you can make an informed decision when choosing.
It’s subjective, but out of all three we like Multi-sport ones the most. And here’s why: Flexibility. Not only they can be used as regular strollers, but also as jogging strollers (with single fixed front wheel) and even cross-country skiing/hiking strollers.
Multi-sport trailers are the most expensive out of all three, so if you need a trailer for bike only, basic models will save you a lot of money. However, remember that if you plan to purchase multi-sport accessories like jogger wheel in future, these not fit cheaper models (like Cadence/Coaster XT from Thule or Burley Bee). They simply don’t have needed attachments.
In case of future upgrades we recommend sticking to mid-level models like Thule Chariot XT.
Most of the trailers for kids come in either single or double options. If you’re planning to have a new baby anytime soon – double trailer is the way to go. Double models are only 10% to 15% more expensive than single ones, so price is not the key factor here.
Even if there’s a considerable age difference between two kids – you can always use an infant insert (more one them below) for the little one, while the older kid will use a regular seat:
You may want to opt for double trailer if you have one kid, but need extra storage or load capacity, while in single trailers space is limited.
The downsides: of a double trailer: extra weight, less maneuverability, which can be a problem on tight trails.
Out of all differences between lower-level trailers and high-end ones, seating comfort is probably the most important for the long-term use. Generally, budget options will have less padding on seats themselves and harnesses, too. Additionally, they will have less legroom, which is not a problem for short rides, but can become a problem for longer ones.
Reclining seats – another great feature of higher-level trailers. Although recline angle is usually not that impressive, it makes a huge difference during that long ride when your little one wants to fall asleep. In double trailers these seats can recline independently.
Want to start hauling your kid as soon as possible? Luckily, major manufacturers like Thule, Croozer and Burley offer infant inserts for their trailers. Usually, they are sold separately.
Note: Manufacturers advise that your kid should be over 12 months of age if you want to use inserts for cycling. That is, when a child can sit unattended and wear a bike helmet. You can use these slings for younger kids, but only when jogging and strolling.
Usually trailers come with two types of covers installed:
Mesh cover – to keep the debris out and let the air in.
Plastic rain cover – it can be folded when not in use.
Sunshade – some trailers will also have a either a plastic visor made of same material as rain cover – but less transparent, or a dedicated sunshade that can also be folded. Usually, this is a standard feature, but sometimes can be purchased separately.
Although suspension is a feature of more expensive trailers, you need to know it’s a great option to have. If you plan to bike on unpaved trails, it’s an absolute must.
Even in urban setting and paved roads it’s nice-to-have especially if your child is little (and uses infant insert) and tends to fall asleep during your rides.
When it comes to storage, modern trailers offer two main options: are behind the seat and handlebar, where you can attach items like your water bottle, or use trays sold separately by manufacturer if you want better organization.
The amount of storage you get depends on the exact model and manufacturer – Burley trailers traditionally have more capacity, while in Thule it’s less for the main compartment, but there is an additional mesh pocket under the handlebar.
Another major difference between cheaper trailers and more expensive ones. The latter weigh less, and at the same time, can tow more weight. This is thanks to light and as a result, more expensive materials.
Top-of-the-line double carriers can haul up to 100 pounds, which is two decent-sized 6 year-olds. Well, it will not be fun towing such a weight uphill, but at least it’s reassuring to know your trailer can handle it.
The vast majority of trailers come equipped with 20-inch tires on metal rims. This is what we recommend to stick with.
Some cheap trailers can use 16-inch tires, sometimes on plastic rims. Not the best option as the ride quality will suffer, and so will the durability of these wheels. They can warp or crack after some use.
When used as a bike trailer, you put it to stop with your own bike. So, these only make sense for a multi-sport trailer that you plan to use as joggers or stroller.
Usually, most trailers are equipped with foot brake. Some high-end models have a hand brake that is meant to help you slow the stroller down, not putting it to complete stop (very useful when jogging).
For those of us who have limited trunk capacity, how much space a stroller takes when folded is extremely important.
However, some trailers fold better/faster than others (and cheaper models are not the winners here). On the positive side, most of them, even budget ones have detachable wheels for easy transportation.
You can buy a trailer for as low as $200 (maybe even cheaper) or you can get another one for well over $1000. What’s the difference? Well, there are many of them, and most are already discussed above.
To summarize, more expensive trailers tend to be:
– more versatile (can be used as joggers, strollers, or even hiking and ski haulers),
– more lightweight
– are handling better and are more comfortable for your kids (features like reclining seats and suspension)
As mentioned above, bike trailers hold their value pretty well. However, specific brand you choose is very important if you want to sell your trailer in future.
We live in Calgary, Alberta. Coincidentally, this is where original Chariots were invented (and sold to Thule in 2011). Roughly 9 out of 10 trailers we see on local bike trails here are either older Chariots or newer Thule models. For this reason, if we wanted to sell a trailer in future – we would choose to buy Thule now. Not only would it be easier to sell – it’s also easier to find attachments and parts.