Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Cheap, compact when folded.
Cons: 16" wheels, rough ride, poor weather protection
Best Uses: Ocasional casual use, short trips
The inStep Take 2 is an affordable bike trailer that will get you out on the road without draining the bank account. Easy to attach and assemble with a unique folding design, it folds up smaller than any other trailer we tested. It lacks the bells and whistles of the other trailers in our review, but it will get the job done for the occasional user. If you want the ultimate in child towing, check out the deluxe Thule Chariot Cougar 2, our Editors' choice winner.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
An affordable bike trailer that folds into a very compact size, the InStep Take 2 works well for those on a budget and with minimal storage space.
Protection for the Child
The inStep Take 2 meets ASTM safety standards, and features a five-point harness like all the other trailers in our test group. However, it is obvious upon examination of the frame and overall build that quality control is not up to the level of its competitors such as Burley and Thule. The frame is made of square tubing, and the welds are not the cleanest we have seen. The cover is less substantial than other trailers we tested, and does not do a good job when conditions get wet.
Ease of Attachment, Assembly, and Storage
The inStep Take 2 is easy to fold up and assemble. The wheels are not of the push button design like the other trailers we tested, but they go on nearly as easy with a push release lever on the frame. The frame of the trailer folds up like a box with the sides folding inward, but the cover must be removed to fold the trailer. Once folded, the inStep is more compact than any other trailer we tested.
Attachment to the bike is similar to the Burley D'lite, and relies on a cotter pin to make the connection between the tow bar and the hitch receiver. The overall set-up time from the folded position with wheels removed was 2:15, longer than the other trailers we tested due to the need to remove the cover for assembly and storage.
Ease of Towing
The InStep Take 2 is not the best towing trailer in our test group. The cover is not stretched tightly over the frame, allowing it to catch a lot of wind, in both head and crosswind situations. The loose cover can also be noisy at high speeds. On smooth roads, the smaller 16" wheels feel similar to the 20" wheels of the other trailers we tested, but when used off road or on bumpy surfaces, the difference is notable. Feed back and vibrations are more pronounced with the 16" wheels. We also noticed intermittent creaking from the tow bar while towing, which did not affect the mechanical aspect of the tow, but was quite annoying.
Smoothness of Ride
The smaller wheels and lack of suspension yield a much rougher ride than other trailers we tested. A smaller wheel has less air volume in the tire than a larger one, and with no suspension, the tire is the only component providing dampening on rough roads. The seat on the inStep Take 2 is also unpadded, and consists of tensioned fabric, which contributes to the rougher ride feel.
A single wheel stroller kit is available for the inStep Take 2, but there are no provisions for onboard storage other than the small cargo area. By contrast, the Thule Chariot Cougar 2 has space built in to carry conversions with you, allowing you to tow to a destination, then convert to a stroller. The seat back on the Take 2 does not lay flat like in the Burley D'lite, so using the Take 2 for cargo is possible, but the space is divided, and there is also less overall space.
The InStep Take 2 is best suited to occasional use and short trips. The seat is not as comfortable as other trailers we tested, and the cover does not provide good protection in inclement weather. The avid, daily user will likely be thwarted by weather, and less comfort for the child will limit the time you can stay out. For those looking for an affordable option and who will only use the trailer occasionally, the inStep Take 2 may be a good option.
Despite the low price of the InStep Take 2, we feel that most users would be better served by an option such as the Burley D'lite or the Burley Bee. The Burleys will cost you a bit more, but they are far more refined products, and well worth the money.
The InStep Take 2 is an affordable option if you are on a tight budget. It is no frills, and of generally lower quality than the other trailers we tested.
Other Versions and Accessories
InStep offers a range of 1 and 2 child trailers, as well as a stroller kit for the Take 2. More information available here.
— Curtis Smith
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Most recent review: July 18, 2014
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