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Hands-on Gear Review
Burley D'Lite Review
Cons: Difficult to assemble, Not as Aerodynamic as other designs
After months of testing in every condition imaginable, our testers love this trailer! From taking the kids to school to evening rides around the neighborhood, the D'Lite does not disappoint. The cargo compartment is unrivaled in size, with enough room to carry book bags, groceries, or whatever else you may need to stow in the back. Top tier safety features such as a horizontal roll bar and five-point restraint system give us peace of mind as we cruise down the road. Top scores in all of our rating metrics and the universal love of our testers have earned the D'Lite our Top Pick award for best trailer for commuters. Read on to see how the D'Lite stacks up against other trailers in our review.
RELATED: Our complete review of bike trailers
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
The Burley D'Lite is a top of the line multifunction bicycle trailer, and the winner of our Top Pick Award for commuters who need lots of cargo space. Burley goes to great lengths to ensure that their products are amongst the safest in the industry, with standards that go above and beyond the minimums required by ASTM. Features such as a horizontal roll bar set the D'Lite apart from other trailers in our review. With the largest internal cargo capacity of any trailer we tested, the D'Lite was a favorite amongst our testers for commuting. It is not quite as easy to assemble and disassemble for storage or travel as our Editors' Choice Award winner, the Thule Chariot Cougar 2, but overall quality and construction is top notch. For those who use their trailer for more than just recreation, the Burley D'Lite is an excellent choice.
Protection for Child
The Burley D'Lite is our top scoring product when it comes to safety. The anodized aluminum frame provides excellent side protection, and the roll bar provides class-leading roll over protection. Burley takes safety seriously, and it shows in their products.
The five-point restraint harness is well padded and easy to adjust. Our testers especially appreciated the recessed helmet pocket, which allows passengers to wear helmets without the back of the seat forcing the head forward into an unsafe position. Getting kids to wear helmets is tough, and it should not be more difficult than it has to be.
The cover on the D'Lite provides excellent protection from the elements, and the windows are UV protected to provide protection from the sun. The retractable sunshade keeps the sun off of the passenger's faces on hot days, and can be pulled back when not in use. The D'Lite offers up a high level of protection for your valuable cargo, unmatched by any other trailer we tested.
Ease of Attachment, Storage, and Assembly
The Burley D'Lite scores well here. Our testers were able to assemble and attach the D'Lite in 2:00 min from the folded position with the wheels removed. Assembly took slightly longer than our top scoring product, the Thule Chariot Cougar 2. In order to fold the D'Lite, you must partially remove the cover to access the internal frame latches. When the D'Lite was brand new, it took a significant amount of force to deploy the frame, because doing so stretches the fabric. After a few cycles of folding and unfolding, the process became significantly easier as the fabric stretched out. The D'Lite uses push button axle wheels, making wheel removal easy. The tow bar and hitch attachment are slightly more difficult to engage than the other models we tested, such as the Thule Chariot Cougar 2, but the trade off is a hitch mechanism with less play.
Ease of Towing
The Burley D'Lite is a pleasure to tow. The hitch attachment system has no play, so the lurching and tugging sensation we experienced with other trailers is not an issue. This is especially important for commuters or other riders who do a lot of stop-and-go riding. The D'Lite is not as aerodynamic as the Thule Chariot Cougar 2, and is more affected by wind when towing. The larger side profile of the Chariot gets pushed around cross winds. Affects from the wind are more of a factor at higher speeds, and do not come into play when towing at lower speeds.
The D'Lite has 20" wheels and the newest version has an adjustable suspension system. On older designs the elastomer suspension was not adjustable, but Burley changed this with the most recent model of the D'Lite. It is similar in this respect to the Thule Chariot. The turning radius is similar to the Thule Chariot Cougar 2, with limitations when making sharp right hand turns at slow speeds, where the rear wheel of the bicycle can come into contact with the tow bar.
Smoothness of Ride
The Burley D'Lite is a top scoring product in this category, only being outdone by the Thule Chariot Cougar 2. When towing over rough roads, the D'Lite tends to bounce around a bit more than the Cougar 2. The 20" wheels help the D'Lite over rocks and other small obstructions when towing off road, and do a substantially better job of tracking in rough terrain than trailers with 16" wheels such as the InStep Take 2. Overall, the D'Lite offers a smooth ride, as would be expected from a trailer of this caliber.
The versatility of the D'Lite is only challenged by the Thule Chariot Cougar 2. The D'Lite can be fitted with a wide range of accessory kits, such as a jogging kit, a strolling kit, and a cross-country ski kit. Purchasing the available conversion kits turns the D'Lite into a true multi-sport machine. The Thule Chariot scored slightly higher due to it's unique Versawing™ on board conversion kit storage system that allows the trailer to be converted to a stroller once you reach your destination by bike.
The D'Lite is best suited to commuters and those who use their trailer for trips to the store and other shopping. The D'Lite has the largest internal cargo area of any trailer we tested, and can handle dual duty, hauling the kids and bringing home the groceries at the same time. The hitch system is a bit more difficult to attach than the other models, but offers unrivaled stop-and-go towing with no lag or knocking, making it ideal for city riding. The D'Lite is also a capable trailer for off road adventures, but it's suspension system does not quite measure up to the Thule Chariot Cougar 2.
The Burley D'Lite can be purchased for about $100 less than an equally equipped Thule Chariot Cougar 2. It offers many of the same optional conversion kits, and in some areas, outperforms the Chariot, such as cargo capacity, which is why it is our Top Pick for commuters. It is an excellent value for a versatile, well-built trailer.
The Burley D'Lite is versatile top-of-the line trailer. Premium features such as a padded five-point harness, parking brake, and a host of conversion kits made the D'Lite a favorite amongst our testers. Top scores in all of our rating metrics, and unique features such as the expansive cargo space, vaulted the D'Lite into position to take our Top Pick Award. The D'Lite appeals to commuters due to its excellent slow speed towing characteristics and large cargo space.
Other Versions and Accessories
Burley Design Flatbed
— Curtis Smith
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: July 17, 2014
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