The Best Bike Cargo Trailer Review
Are you a cycling enthusiast who needs or wants to haul something big? Are you looking for the best bike cargo trailer available? We chose these six best selling products and we compared them side-by-side in the areas of versatility, maximum capacity, how easy they were to use and tow, while also keeping in mind how smooth the ride was on each one. Read on to learn more about the differences between the six models and to find the best bike cargo trailer for you.
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Test Results and Ratings
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Analysis and Award Winners
Best Overall Best Bike Cargo Trailer
BOB Ibex Plus
Best Bang for the Buck
Burley Design Flatbed
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Analysis and Test Results
Our main motivation for choosing the Burley Design Nomad bike trailer was its large carrying capacity and balance point designed to reduce torque on the frame. The suspension on the BOB Ibex Plus offers 3+ inches of travel so we wanted to see if it could handle a large capacity load and still handle well on the singletrack and dirt roads around our neighborhoods. The Aosom Solo Single Wheel cargo trailer offers a lightweight, single wheel system that is said to make long distance trips with heavy cargo loads a breeze. The Burley Design Flatbed cargo trailer offers an open front and back design and its accredited 100 lb. weight capacity peaked our interest for heavier and longer objects to transport. Lastly, the Aosom Wanderer offers a lightweight steel frame and easily collapsible side walls for storage which made it a must on the testing list.
Some uses of cargo bike trailers:
Capacity is the highest rated rating metric we used for testing the cargo bike trailers.The Aosom Wanderer is rated for the highest weight capacity of 110 lbs. Both the Burly Design Flatbed and Nomad are a close second, rated for 100 lbs and the Aosom Solo follows at 88 lbs. The lightest weight capacity tied at 70 lbs, goes to the Bob Yak and the Bob Ibex Plus.
The Aosom Wanderer held the highest weight capacity at 110 lbs. One thing we noticed while testing was that the empty trailer itself weighs about 30 lbs so to load it to its full capacity would mean you are pulling a staggering 140 lbs. behind you. This made starting and stopping much more work than it was worth with a fully loaded trailer. Both the BOB Ibex Plus and the BOB Yak Plus are rated at a 70 lb. capacity. Although the extra three inches of suspension on the back of the BOB Ibex Plus adds one pound to the empty weight of it, the suspension made for a much smoother ride and was an added weight that we were happy to have. The Burley Nomad and the Burley Flatbed are both rated at a 100 lb. capacity. We noticed while testing that it was much easier to fully load the Burley Flatbed then the Nomad because the open front and back design made it possible to fit larger and heavier objects in the trailer with ease. The Aosom Solo single wheel cargo bike trailer is rated for a maximum 88 lb. capacity. The bright orange dry sac included was a little smaller than the ones included with the BOB Ibex Plus and Yak Plus which made it a little more challenging to test its full weight capacity. Once we reached the 88 lb. capacity the handling of the Aosom Solo single wheel became a little squirrelly, especially while trying to make sudden stops.
Ease of Towing
Is a one or two wheeled model better and why? Is towing something lighter always better or is towing something heavier, sturdier?
To answer a few of the questions above we put our six bike cargo trailers to the test. There are some major differences between single and two wheel bike cargo trailers and we have given you some pros and cons below to help you better make a decision on which of the two would be right for you and your application of the product.
Some things that make having a two wheel bike trailer a plus is that having two wheels makes them more stable at a standstill. One person can easily attach and remove the cargo bike trailer by themselves. Two wheeled trailers usually have a larger width which makes more room for packing, this can also be a downfall because of weight limitations. The weight is distributed on the two trailer wheels so there is less torque placed upon the bike.
Some of the downsides we have observed throughout testing is with two wheel bike trailers, they are usually a bit wider which creates more drag on you and the trailer. They tend to be wider and take up more space on and off of the trails. They are less stable when making sharp turns and going on and off of the pavement.
The two wheeled bike trailers we tested tended to be great for around town commuting and hauling larger loads than their single wheel counterparts.
Some elements that make the single wheel cargo bike trailers stand out are that they are usually pretty streamline with your bike and that creates a lot less drag. They tend to track much better behind your bike. They are slimmer and are more easily maneuvered on a crowded street or narrow passage. The weight of the trailer is distributed between your rear bike tire and the trailer tire which gives you more traction and better handling on dirt roads especially.
Some of the downsides we have noticed while pulling a single wheel bike trailer are, you as the rider are always balancing the weight of both your bike and trailer when stopped and with a full load this can get tiresome. When attaching the trailer it usually takes two people or leaning the trailer and the bike against something to get the cargo trailer attached.
The single wheel bike trailers we tested were great for longer excursions and overnights and handled a lot better on the dirt roads.
Throughout the testing process we personally preferred the handling and maneuverability of the single wheel bike trailer over the two wheeled cargo bike trailers.
In the case of towing heavier or lighter objects to make a steadier ride we observed that in the case of the Aosom Wanderer it made for an easier tow if there was a heavier load that was properly tied down and secured. Both the BOB Ibex Plus and the BOB Yak Plus performed better if most of the weight was distributed along the back wheel on the trailer. The same goes for the Aosom Solo single wheel, but with a few extra moving parts the Aosom single wheel was a little harder to fully secure.
One thing about the single wheeled cargo bike trailers is that you should attach them empty and then load them from there. They are much more stable and light when empty and is easier to handle. Attaching the trailer to the bike usually requires an extra set of hands or a sturdy wall for support to lean your bike and trailer on, but with practice it becomes possible to do by yourself. The extra three inches of suspension in the back makes travel on and off bumpy single track dirt roads a breeze and it almost eliminated all of the fish tailing characteristics that we encountered with the BOB Yak Plus while traveling on dirt roads, with a heavy load at higher speeds. We encountered a lot of streams on the single track dirt roads while towing the Ibex Plus and the dry sac when properly loaded and closed keeps your items safe and dry from the elements.
The single wheel design also makes this a great trailer for maneuvering through tight spaces or a crowded street. It tracks behind your bike almost as if you don't have a trailer behind you. We found the extra three inches of travel especially comforting on bumpy washboarded access roads. It really cuts back on the wobble while taking the BOB Yak Plus off road. We observed that the lower center of gravity with both the BOB trailers really allows for better maneuverability and handling with or without a cargo load.
Smoothness of Ride
The Bob Ibex Plus had the smoothest ride as its suspension includes a coil spring shock absorber that adds an extra three inches of travel to the back trailer wheel.
The BOB Yak Plus has a similar build as the Ibex Plus making it strong but not able to match the smooth ride of its brother, the Ibex Plus.
As far as the Aosom Wanderer goes the empty trailer makes a lot of noise when you are moving and tends to jump around when you are in motion. It does settle down a bit with some weight in the trailer, but did receive the lowest rating metric for smoothness of ride. The Aosom Solo single wheel bike cargo trailer also scored rather low in that category. It has a lot of play in the main body frame which allows for extra movement when in use. There are also a lot of moving parts especially around the front fork mount that tend to rattle and bounce when accelerating or decelerating. The Burley Design Flatbed and the Burley Nomad both offer the same movable hitch mount that allows for a fairly smooth ride because you and the bike move freely from the trailer itself.
The Burley Design Flatbed tested to be the most versatile model as it has an extra large and open cargo space along with easy fold down sides.
This makes it very easy to load and unload a variety of objects and even allows you to add your own personal sized cargo bin that you can attach with extra bungees for loose or smaller items, such as your grocery bags. The BOB Ibex Plus came in close behind the Flatbed in scores for versatility. The extra suspension on the back is great for going on and off the pavement to the dirt roads and since it is a angle wheel design it tracks very evenly behind you. The BOB Yak Plus tied with the Burley Design Nomad for versatility. The BOB Yak Plus design made it easy to load the large dry sac included and tie it down properly, but it just didn't compare to the off road capability of its brother the Ibex Plus. The Burley Nomad was impressive with its versatility but the Flatbed took home the prize. Even with the cargo cover that comes equipped on the Burley Nomad, you still have plenty of room for larger or longer items to fit out of the back of the trailer. The cover is easy to attach and detach from the main trailer body. So if you are hauling large or uneven cargo you just need to unclip the cover from the trailer, load, secure your items and your ready to roll.
Ease of Use
Both the BOB Yak Plus and Ibex Plus had a quick and easy initial set up process.
The only thing that slowed us down was finding two 10 mm wrenches to assemble the front fork and the back shock for the Ibex Plus. Attaching the trailer to the bike is also made easy with two quick release pins that insert into the provided skewer. The two Burley designs have an easy to use trailer attachment as well. It's a forged steel hitch that mounts directly to your bike frame by the back wheel and has a quick release pin that holds the trailer in place and also allows for the trailer to move freely from the bike.
The Burley Design Nomad and the Burley Design Flatbed also come with two quick releases button activated wheels so taking them on and off for storage or travel is quick and easy.
The Aosom Wanderer wheels are mounted with bolts onto the trailer so it takes a little more time involved to adjust the wheel if needed. The Aosom Solo single wheel cargo bike trailer had a few problems with the initial setup. It arrived damaged, with a bent back wheel connector.
We were able to bend the fork connector back with a pair of pliers, but it took some extra time and could have broken the connector which would have caused the trailer to be useless.
The overall design of the Aosom Solo single wheel allows for a lot of play and extra unnecessary movement in the main body of the trailer.
Best for Specific Applications
The Aosom Solo single wheel bicycle cargo bike trailer arrived speedily but with a very bent back wheel connector. With a pair of pliers we managed to straighten out the back connector and get it attached to the quick release skewer and to the bike. The initial setup and connection took around 15 minutes altogether and besides the bent back connector it was a rather easy setup.
It comes with a bright orange carrying bag that was great for visibility on the roads.
One thing we noticed while testing was that when fully loaded the bag doesn't close properly and could allow for loose items to be ejected while traveling if they are not fasted down separately and it impairs the bags ability to be water resistant if it's left open. When not too full and properly closed the orange dry sac repels water very well.
Another observation we had while testing is that the clamping action to connect the trailer to the skewer has a little wiggle room and on the rougher roads with a heavier load (around 50lbs) it creates a lot of play in the trailer and becomes harder to handle.
Being a single wheel cargo trailer it does track very well behind your bike, both on and off dirt roads. With a carrying capacity of 88 lbs this makes a great trailer for your everyday needs. If not loaded evenly though you can have a hard time balancing your bike and really notice the trailer become squirrelly when you turn a corner and while mounting and dismounting the bike.
The first thing we noticed when the Burley Design Nomad arrived was how lightweight the box was. It comes disassembled like the rest of the cargo bike trailers we tested. It includes two, 16 inch quick release wheels, a hitch, trailer arm, trailer sides, and waterproof cover. With very easy to use instructions we had the Burley Nomad fully assembled and ready to use in less than ten minutes.
The aluminum and canvas construction is very sturdy. The trailer weighs a little less than 15 lbs empty and can hold up to 100 lbs. The interior space of the trailer when fully enclosed is 32" L x 18" W x 15" H. You can remove the top and sides of the canvas cover though so the volume of the trailer really is not limited to those restrictions.
We had a pair of skis and a fully loaded snowboard deck comfortably sticking out of the back and it was just as easy of a ride as with a fully covered load. Attaching the Burley Nomad to your bike is quick and simple. The hardware included is really easy to use. The Nomad is equipped with a lightweight aluminum arm that attaches with a quick release pin to a forged aluminum hitch mount that is easily attached to the back wheel of your bike. This attachment allows the Nomad cargo bike trailer to swivel horizontally and in yaw. Meaning the trailer itself doesn't tilt with the bike which allows you to attach a fully loaded trailer to the bike, unlike its single wheel counterparts that need to be attached to the bike first and then loaded. Another key feature is that since the trailer doesn't lean with the bike itself it is much easier to come out of your seat and pedal on the uphills. There was a subtle push pull effect with heavier loads though, (usually over 40 lbs) but this never really affected the handling of the bike and trailer but it is something to be aware of when hauling large and heavy loads while trying to accelerate or slow down. This trailer is about 25" wide including the wheels. This is a little wider than most standard handle bars so when making a tight turn or going through a smaller space you need to be careful not hit the trailer on anything. With a two wheeled trailer it is always possible to tip the trailer. So being aware of the trailers position is key when traveling from pavement to dirt. The Burley Nomad is off center and a little to the left which turned out to be a great design on Burleys part. When riding with the trailer, if you encounter uneven pavement or a slight ditch on the right hand side of the road the right wheel stays on the road even if you get close to the edge with your bike. Since the trailer is a little larger width than a bike, we did encounter some wind drag especially when the cover was not fasted all the way down, either because of large objects protruding from the back or if a tie down was missed while packing.
The Bob Yak Plus cargo bike trailer arrived speedily and in a rather small box. It came with all its parts in three easy to assemble pieces. The only thing we needed was a couple of 10 mm wrenches to attach the back wheel and front swivel just as we did with the BOB Ibex plus. You simply attach the front swivel to the main body and then you just need to put the wheel on the trailer. BOB has a quick release skewer that comes with the cargo bike trailer that you just replace with the existing back wheel skewer, it also has an attachment for nutted axles as well.
It is really easy to overload this trailer and with that the handling becomes a bit tricky to manage when you are traveling at higher speeds, especially on downhills. It is really beneficial to load the heavier supplies (tent, stove, etc.) in the back of the trailer by the wheel which creates better traction with the trailer and the bike. The body is made of a tubular steel construction that weighs a little less than 14 lbs and is very sturdy. The tubular cargo rails keep the dry sac in place and allow for other bungee attachments to be easily constructed as well. It is also a great place to run a cable lock through when stopped, something that a few of the two wheeled counterparts were lacking. We did observe that when taken on on muddy or wet trails the slash back from the trailers back wheel made quite a mess on the dry sac even with the small metal back fender. The single wheel design allows the BOB Yak Plus to track very well behind the bike so tight turns and narrows passages are no problem. We did notice through testing that when fully loaded to approximately 65 lbs (the BOB Yak Plus is rated to carry up to 70 lbs) the trailer and bike were a little hard to keep in control of when picking up speed on the downhills and or trying to brake rapidly. It becomes a little squirrelly in the back end and if not observant and careful, fishtailing can occur.
Different Types of Bike Trailers
Single Wheel Bicycle Cargo Trailers like the Aosom Solo, Bob Ibex Plus and the Bob Yak.
Two Wheel Bicycle Cargo Trailers like the Burley Design Nomad, Burley Design Flatbed and the Aosom Wanderer.
Child bicycle trailers like all of the products in the The Best Bike Trailer Review.
Some of these types of bike trailers can also be converted to a jogging or hiking stroller.
Pedal Trailers & Trail-a-Bikes like the Weehoo iGo Pro and the WeeRide Co-Pilot neither of which are enclosed and the Weeride is more like riding a bike.
Dog & Pet Bicycle Trailers like the Aosom Elite or the even fancier Aosom Elite II which has rear suspension dampers that absorb shock.
It can be more challenging than you'd expect to select the right cargo trailer for your particular needs. We hope that you've found our ratings and tests helpful to narrow down to the right product for you. If you're still feeling uncertain, you may want to take a look at our companion Buying Advice article.
— Katherine Elliott
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