Burley Design Flatbed Review
Cons: No straps or dry sac included
Manufacturer: Burley Design
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Burley calls the Flatbed the "utilitarian choice for pulling larger loads" and in our multiple testing scenarios, we confirmed this. If you are in search of a more eco-friendly way to commute around town and not be limited to what you carry in your bike trailer, than this may be a great option for you. The Burley Design Flatbed weighs in at a little over 14 lb. and with a weight carrying capacity of 100 lb. this bike cargo trailer has very little limitations. The open front and back design made it very easy to move large or misshaped items with ease, like skis or even kayaks. As long as you tied your cargo down properly it didn't matter if it was sticking out over the edge of the trailer or even sitting on top of the side rails, the Burley Design flatbed managed to carry and transport a large variety of gear and cargo with ease.
With a weight carrying capacity of 100 lb. the Burley Design Flatbed makes for a great all-around cargo transporter. It flawlessly transported a heavy uneven load of skis, a snowboard, two pairs of boots and multiple backpacks. We enjoyed how easy it was to load and unload bulky or misshapen items. Especially longer or heavier objects like wood or skis.
Ease of Use
The Burley Design Flatbed has a very easy assembly and disassembly, and the push-button release wheels are a space saver when trying to store the trailer. The Burley Design Flatbed is pretty much ready to go right out of the box, it only took around 5 min. to fully construct and attach to a bike. The Burley Design Flatbed comes with a forged aluminum hitch that easily attaches to your bike back wheel either through your quick-release skewer or on the nutted axle mount. It's a lightweight design constructed with a heavy-duty rubberized nylon fabric that is stretched between the two side walls of the frame. The sides easily fold down with two quick-release pins so storing and transporting in your car are much easier than some of the other models we tested with unfold-able steel frames.
Ease of Towing
The Burley Flatbed comes equipped with a forged aluminum hitch that mounts directly to your bikes back skewer or nutted axle, allowing for easy attachment to and from you bike. One thing we noticed through testing was that when getting out of your seat on the uphills or around turns the hitch allows the trailer to move separately from your bike which makes for better handling and maneuverability especially while cornering.
Smoothness of Ride
One of the things we really liked about the Burley Design Flatbed is that even without any cargo in the back it handled and pulled really well, unlike a few of its counterparts that really needed something loaded and weighted in the back to make it function properly. It handled well on the paved roads around town. The two-wheel design of the Flatbed makes it a little more stable than the single wheel designed cargo bike trailers.
The Burley Design Flatbed ranked highest in the versatility department. The open front and back design allows you to load large objects with ease. It is also a two-wheel design bike cargo trailer so it is much more stable when not connected to your bike which makes it easier to load and unload your cargo. The bottom of the trailer is lined with a durable PVC tarp bedding that holds up great to wear and is also very easy to clean when it becomes dirty. At first, we were worried that the stretched nylon bedding would not be strong enough to support heavy uneven loads, but throughout testing the bottom barely sagged and was able to maintain its tough and rigid construction. We did notice through testing that the bottom of the trailer does lack support and if you are transporting sharper items it might be a good idea to lay something down on the bottom of the trailer so as not to puncture the bedding.
The open front and back is something to take into account when hauling loose items. You need to make sure you have plenty of tie downs but with an interior width of 22 inches, you won't have any trouble fitting a cooler or storage box for loose items such as groceries or small packages in the Flatbed.
We found the Burley Flatbed to be an extremely versatile and lightweight option for hauling and transporting everything from skis and backpacks to groceries and large packages. We even learned that if properly balanced you can use the Burley Design Flatbed as a built-in kickstand for your bike to stay upright. Note that we were using a 26-inch mountain bike and it might be harder to achieve this balance with a smaller wheeled bike.
You just have to lean the back wheel of your bike while turning the handlebars the opposing way to create a wedge between the bike tire and the arm of the trailer, and balance the bike upright. This also only works of the trailer is weighted with some sort of cargo in the back.
The Burley Design flatbed makes a great all-around town commuter option, it can easily haul your groceries and even get your gear to the slopes, if you live in a ski town that is. The lightweight open design is great for loading everything from large packages, ice, and even your skis or kayak. The two-wheeled design makes this trailer stable while attaching it to your bike with a full load in the back. The Burley Flatbed would not be our first choice for touring, the two-wheeled open design of this trailer allows for overloading. It would also add more drag along with wind resistance on the road. Short or even long trips around town work great for the Burley Design Flatbed.
The Burley Design Flatbed sells at a fair price for the great functionality you get. It includes the aluminum forged hitch to mount to your bike and two 16 inch alloy, push-button release wheels, and the trailer arm for mounting. The PVC tarp bottom bedding held up surprisingly well to use and even sharper ended objects and lots of wear and tear. It was also very easy to keep clean, you simply spray it off with the hose.
If you are looking for a more eco-friendly way to transport or pick up cargo of any kind then the Burley Design Flatbed is probably the right fit for you. We were very impressed with how resilient the Flatbed was while transporting and hauling heavy uneven loads of cargo. It really is the utilitarian choice for your all-around bike cargo transportation needs.
— Katherine Elliott