Hands-on Gear Review

Burley Design Flatbed Review

Burly Designs Flatbed
By: Katherine Elliott ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 28, 2015
Price:  $229 List  |  $228.95 at Competitive Cyclist
Pros:  Solid axle makes the trailer stable for large heavy loads, folds down small for easy storage, open design allows for flexibility when hauling non-traditional cargo
Cons:  No straps or dry sac included
Manufacturer:   Burley Design
82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 7
  • Capacity - 30% 9
  • Ease of use - 20% 9
  • Ease of Towing - 20% 7
  • Smoothness of Ride - 20% 7
  • Versatility - 10% 9
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Top Pick Award

Our Verdict

The Burley Design Flatbed is an excellent and eco-friendly way to transport and pick up cargo of all shapes and sizes. The unique flatbed design and ability to haul large and heavy cargo made it our Top Pick award for its ability to handle an eclectic range of cargo. The open front and back design allow for easy loading and unloading of cargo, and with a weight limit of 100 lb. the Burley Design flatbed has very few constraints as to what it can carry. We loaded the Burley Design Flatbed with everything from skis, to coolers and also kayaks to take to the beach. We loved how adaptable the Burley Design Flatbed was in comparison to the five other models we tested.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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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.

Performance Comparison


Taking a break on the way to the ski hill with a fully loaded Burley Design Flatbed cargo trailer in tow. You can tilt the back wheel of your bike against the trailer arm creating a sort of kickstand for your bike using the trailer.
Taking a break on the way to the ski hill with a fully loaded Burley Design Flatbed cargo trailer in tow. You can tilt the back wheel of your bike against the trailer arm creating a sort of kickstand for your bike using the trailer.

Capacity


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. I enjoyed how easy it was to load and unload bulky or misshapen items. Especially longer or heavier objects like wood or skis.

A rear view of a fully loaded Burley Design Flatbed bike cargo trailer.
A rear view of a fully loaded Burley Design Flatbed bike cargo trailer.

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.

The Burley Design Flatbed comes with two 16 inch quick release alloy wheels.
The Burley Design Flatbed comes with two 16 inch quick release alloy wheels.

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.

The hitch connection of the Burley Design Flatbed is easy to use and allows for you and the bike to move freely from the trailer which makes getting out of the saddle on uphills more stable.
The hitch connection of the Burley Design Flatbed is easy to use and allows for you and the bike to move freely from the trailer which makes getting out of the saddle on uphills more stable.

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 Burley Design Flatbed make it a little more stable than the single wheel designed cargo bike trailers.

You need to give yourself plenty of room while making turns with the two wheeled bike cargo trailer models. Seen here is the Burley Design Flatbed making a turn on a dirt road.
You need to give yourself plenty of room while making turns with the two wheeled bike cargo trailer models. Seen here is the Burley Design Flatbed making a turn on a dirt road.

Versatility


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 two wheeled design of the Burley Design Flatbed keeps the trailer upright and stable and the sturdy stretched nylon bottom maintains its shape even with heavy cargo.
The two wheeled design of the Burley Design Flatbed keeps the trailer upright and stable and the sturdy stretched nylon bottom maintains its shape even with heavy cargo.

Best Applications


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 my 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.

Value


The Burley Design Flatbed sells for around $239 at market value. In my opinion, it really is a great price for the great functionality you get with the Burley Design Flatbed. 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.

Conclusion


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

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Most recent review: July 28, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
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5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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