The Burley Coho XC offeres many different configurations for whatever application you might use it for as well as some critical features that make it useful day to day such as a kickstand and one-handed hitching. The combination of single wheel efficiency and the ability to expand the Coho's gear-hauling capacity to 70+ liters made for an incredibly versatile bike cargo trailer. Out of the box, the Coho came together easily (in about 15 min), and the provided thru-axle fit guide provided step by step instructions to order the proper 12mm thru-axle. While the Coho is significantly heavier than our Editors' Choice Bob Ibex Plus we feel like the size, durability, and available features make this trailer a strong contender.If you're looking for a durable and capable bike cargo trailer that is equally at home on a paved bike path as it is on flowing smooth single track or dirt roads, look no further.
Burley Coho XC Review
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Coho was our Top Pick for Versatility in as it can pack away tons of equipment and utilized a one wheel design making it more capable on single track. In addition to how smooth this thing rides, it can stand on its own when detached from the bike and has an easy to use one-handed hitching system. What else could you want?!
The Coho boasts a 70lb max payload and a 70 liter cargo bay expandable with addons and a stretchy cargo net. When compared to other single wheel trailers, the Coho has a similar weight allowance but a much larger space to pack that material. The result of having a larger cargo bay is the ability to fine tune where heavier items are placed. This allows us to reduce the sway and improve the ride quality when compared to more restrictive one wheel trailers. Initially, we felt compelled just to dump our camping supplies into the trailer haphazardly to see how the trailer rode. We discovered quickly that careful packing was essential.
Because of the included stretchy cargo net, we found that we could stretch the capacity of the Coho significantly. When everything was packed and we realized we forgot to throw our jackets in, we could just drop them on top and lash them down without any concern of them getting loose. All of this expandability did allow us to overpack the trailer. While it does boast a 70lb weight limit, when we approached that weight there was a significant amount of side to side wobble emanating from the trailer. Packing weight closer to the wheel of the trailer (counter-intuitive we know) did help reduce the sway.
The Coho has ample storage capacity for a mega grocery run, camping off your bike for an extended period of time, or just rolling a cooler full of ice cold Butterbeer down to the Quiddich match to get "Lumosed". All kidding aside, the Coho has the ability to haul more weight and volume than you will realistically want to pedal, plus the space for the perfect payload balance.
Ease of Use
Once you have the correct thru-axle or skewer for your whip, the Coho is extremely easy to use. If you're entertaining the thought of hitching up the Coho XC check out their bike fitting guide and make sure it is compatible with your ride. It will most likely be compatible; however they do have some warnings related to specific carbon frames as the trailer may put forces on the rear triangle that your bike wasn't made for.
The Coho offers both one-handed hitching and unhitching as well as a kickstand to keep the contents in place while you are managing your bike. As our main gear tester has to descend stairs from his apartment before heading to the grocery store, being able to easily detach the trailer and take the bike down separately is critical.
In addition to being easy to set up out of the box, and hitch and unhitch, it is also easy to load up. While positioning of heavier items low, towards the middle, and near the trailer wheel was important, lighter equipment could be tossed in and secured with the stretchy cargo net.
Overall, the Coho is extremely easy to use. While determining the correct thru-axle and setup out of the box took a bit of time, the actual use of the trailer was pleasantly simple. All of the removable components of the trailer are attached with quick release skewers giving you the option of a completely tool free disassembly (handy if you're flying to a destination to bike tour). The clever hitch system really did offer one-handed hitching and unhitching.
Ease of Towing
If you're planning a long bike tour on a route like the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route and are set on utilizing a bike cargo trailer, the Coho would definitely get the job done. The current gold standard for touring cargo trailers is the Bob Ibex. The Ibex tows just as easily as the Coho but weighs in a few pounds lighter. Definitely something to consider if you are planning an ultra-long tour.
That being said, the Coho is fantastically easy to tow, offers adjustable coil suspension, and is a bit easier to pack than the Bob trailers. Our biggest complaint with the Coho and all other one wheel trailers we tested was the utilization of such a small wheel. Bike wheels continue to grow in diameter for the added rollover benefit making rocks seemingly smaller and potholes shallower. The 16in wheel of the Coho made chunky singletrack riding a no-go as it just couldn't roll over the big stuff. As long as we stuck to fire roads, smooth singletrack, and maintained dirt roads the Coho towed like a champ.
With careful packing, we found the Coho to pull just as easily as our Editors Choice Bob Ibex. When we were a bit more careless with our packing, there would be a noticeable pull to whatever side had more weight as well as difficulties pushing the bike up steeper terrain.
If you are tackling a multi day overnighter with the Coho, there is an option to add a 16+in tire giving you extra roll-over as well as a fatter tire that won't sink into soft dirt roads or sand. While we didn't test this $89.00 add on, we have ridden many fat bikes and there is no doubt that fat tires offer a huge benefit on soft surfaces as well as some extra roll-over for the chunk.
Smoothness of Ride
We often completely forgot we had a trailer hitched on our way to the grocery store. Once we loaded, the Coho down the only noticible differences in the smoothness of ride was the pull and sway we would feel if heavy items were loaded too close to the hitch. We quickly discovered that loading heavy items near the trailer wheel kept this sway at bay.
The adjustable coil spring suspension did take some of the harshness out of rough dirt roads. While the suspension has no dampening, it is better than nothing and helps keep the trailer tire on the road when things get bumpy. Compared to trailers without any suspension, the Coho is noticeably smoother especially when we were testing it in isolation riding over a curb.
The unique hitch system offered a huge range of motion. Like your shoulder joint, the hitch clips over the two ball joints of the thru axle. This lets the bike and trailer move independently letting us drop and climb steps without too much drama.
The biggest downside to the quality of towing was the large spacing from the rear wheel of the bike to the cargo bay of the trailer. The result of this large spacing was a big more of a wagging sensation almost like the cargo was a hammock and the trailer wheel and bike wheel were the anchors it swung from. The Bob Ibex had significantly tighter spacing which kept this wagging to a minimum.
The Coho was one of the most versatile bike cargo trailers we have tested. In fact, it was so versatile we gave it our Top Pick for Versatility. While it boasts a similar cargo capacity weight and volume as the Bob Ibex, the Coho has a larger enclosed cargo bay, letting you pack in more without having to use a big duffel bag like the Ibex. The one-wheel design offers a very narrow profile making singletrack possible where two-wheel trailers wouldn't fit.
Having the ability to hitch/unhitch the trailer with one hand and have it stand on its own also opens up possibilities that aren't possible with other trailers. On a recent Idaho trip, we found ourselves using the Coho as a bike to fish companion allowing us to throw in a small cooler of ice (for the bounty) as well as our fishing equipment, food, and water.
The elastic cargo net is the icing on the versatility cake. The ability to pile in groceries above the edge of the cargo bay and still have everything held down and not damaged was fantastic. The cargo net also came in handy when biking through variable weather when we didn't want to pack our rain jacket too deep in the trailer but didn't want to wear it. We were able to tuck it into the cargo net and keep trucking.
While the Coho is marketed as a trail-ready bike camping rig, the reality is anything other than buff singletrack is a challenge for this trailer. Chunky climbs and descents are difficult and the small 16in wheel has significant trouble rolling over anything close to baby-head size rocks. If you want to get the most benefit out of a tool like the Coho sticking to flowing dirt roads is the ticket. The ability to get camping gear off your back and into the trailer for long remote dirt road camping was where the Coho is in its element.
The Coho isn't cheap, considering other similar trailers sell for around $300. However, the price alone is only part of the story. The Coho is extremely versatile, has a huge range of add on products and even offers a fat tire option for sandy or soft terrain. Considering these extras, the Coho is one of a kind right now. If its capabilities fit your needs, the price is justifiable. It's also worth noting, if your bike utilizes a 12mm thru-axle, there will be an additional $60.00 cost to order the proper axle bumping the price to over $500.00.
We love the versatility of this trailer. The combination of one wheel efficiency with a burly and user-friendly construction makes for an excellent bike cargo trailer. The kickstand and one wheel hitching is one of a kind among bike cargo trailers and sets the Coho apart from the competition.
— Brian Martin