Burley D'Lite X Review
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Burley D'Lite X
|Price||$539.97 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Ample storage space, best hitch connection, most versatile||Lightweight, best hitch design, water-resistant, excellent value||Comfortable seats, large passenger space, adjustable interior, great safety features||Inexpensive, lightweight, great ventilation, low profile||Inexpensive, large interior space, well-ventilated|
|Cons||Not waterproof, awkward suspension adjustment, minor component durability||No passenger padding, no bottom reinforcement, lacks versatility||Extremely heavy, large and bulky to store, not water-tight||Small wheels, not weather resistant, poor hitch mechanism||Small plastic wheels, saggy fabric, not weather-resistant|
|Bottom Line||This is an all-around excellent trailer with standout safety features and unmatched versatility, making it a clear pick for our Editors' Choice award||This nimble trailer is durable and the easiest to tow at less than half the price of many high-end trailers||This contender offers a smooth, roomy ride for passengers, but bikers will struggle to pull this heavy trailer uphill||For parents seeking an inexpensive and low-profile trailer for short trips around town, the Allen Sports Steel is a great place to start||One of the least expensive trailers we tested, the Take 2 is a functional entry point for those who want to try out bike towing but aren’t ready to make a big investment|
|Rating Categories||Burley D'Lite X||Burley Bee||Hamax Outback Multi...||Allen Sports Steel||InStep Take 2|
|Passenger Experience (20%)|
|Biker Experience (20%)|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Specs||Burley D'Lite X||Burley Bee||Hamax Outback Multi...||Allen Sports Steel||InStep Take 2|
|Converts to Stroller||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
|Number of Children||2||2||2||2||2|
|Harness System||5-point||5-point||5-point||3-point with lap belt||5-point|
|Weight||29.3 lbs||20 lbs||44.3 lbs||26 lbs||24.5 lbs|
|Size Open LxWxH (inches)||33.3" x 31.3" x 38.3"||32.25" x 30" x 36"||46" x 33" x 37.5"||22" x 21" x 21"||31.5" x 32" x 31"|
|Size Folded- wheels removed LxWxH (inches)||37" x 31.3" x 14.3"||35.5" x 29.25" x 28.6"||46" x 31" x 13.5"||31" x 25" x 6.5"||31.5" x 26" x 7"|
|Wheel Size (inches)||20"||20"||20"||16"||16"|
|Access into trailer||Front and back||Front and back||Front and back||Front and back||Front and back|
|Cover Protection||2-in-1 mesh and rain shield, adjustabe sun shade||2-in-1 mesh and rain shield||Sun shade, bug screen, rain cover||2-in-1 mesh and rain shield||2-in-1 mesh and rain shield|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Hands-On Review of the D'Lite X
Passengers love its plush, reclining seats and extra elbow room while haulers enjoy its versatility, ease of connection, and lack of feedback. Improvements over the previous year's model include an integrated 1-Wheel Stroller Kit, redesigned wheel guards, additional reflective surfaces, and more aggressive tire treads.
The D'Lite X performed extremely well in this category, narrowly beating out the Thule Chariots. Like the Thule models, the incorporated stroller handlebar doubles as a second overhead roll bar, complementing the full aluminum roll cage. Unlike the Thule trailers, the safety flag consists of a single, short pole. Still, the D'lite X flag rises just as high and is as visible as comparable two-piece systems without having to worry about losing the second piece.
Burley's commitment to safety is clear in every aspect of the D'Lite X's design. Passengers are held securely but comfortably in a plushly padded, five-point harness that is simple for adults to use yet requires enough strength that most children who fit in the trailer will not be able to unbuckle themselves. The integrated suspension system performed well on- and off-road, reducing energy transfer from the wheels to the trailer body.
The trailer protects passengers and cargo from sun with UPF 30 rated side windows and mesh screens that cover the front and rear hatches. If kids want to snooze during the ride, a retractable sun shade can be adjusted to block direct rays. However, just as with the Thule models, practical use of the sunshade may be limited, particularly for young children. When lowered to block the sun, the shade also tends to block the child's view of the person hauling the trailer, and the biker's view of the child.
Burley seems to have made a conscious decision not to completely protect its trailers from foul weather, as all of the models it produces come with covers that are water-resistant rather than waterproof. The downside to this is that in heavy rain the trailer will get wet inside, though during rain tests water incursions were contained to the footwell and rear cargo area. The positive result is increased ventilation, which is particularly crucial. Passengers in the D'Lite X never complained of feeling hot or stuffy, though they did so when taking prolonged rides during humid weather in both Thule Chariot models, despite the upgraded ventilation features in those trailers. While the Thule Chariots maintained dry interiors during rain tests and are the better choice for riding in consistently cold, wet weather, the D'Lite X is still the best bet for most weather you'll encounter that you'd be likely to want to ride around in.
The D'Lite X performed surprisingly poorly in our rain test, doing worse than the Thule Chariots, the Thule Cadence, and the Burley Bee. After five minutes under a blasting sprinkler, we discovered water in the footwell of the D'Lite X, as well as a few drips in the cargo area. The seats remained dry, so we would still recommend this as a good trailer for kids in inclement weather, but the Thule Chariot Cross remained totally watertight under the same test.
Ventilation is a concern for many parents pulling little ones in trailers, especially on long or hot rides, and the D'Lite X performs well in this area. Even with the rain guard down, it's design allows air into the front of the trailer, and an extra back window with mesh underneath encourages air to flow through. The D'Lite X's closest competitor, the Thule Chariot Cross seems slightly less well-ventilated when its super-efficient rain guard is in place.
The Burley D'Lite X is barely edged out of the top spot in this category by the Thule Chariot Cross, our Top Pick for Athletes.
Make no mistake, the D'Lite X is an extremely comfortable ride with plenty of padding, large, easily reachable pockets, and reclining seats. The new front wheel on the hitch tongue holds the trailer upright even if it is not attached to a bike, and that feature makes it easier for children to climb into this year's model than in past years. The bowed-out sides provide slightly more shoulder room than straight-sided trailers, and the seat area remains a full inch wider than that of the Chariot Cross without resulting in a wider trailer overall. This aspect makes the D'Lite X a better choice for hauling bigger children or two children at once.
While passengers enjoyed the low step-in height provided by the foldable flap on the footwell, the attachments securing it to the trailer when it's in riding position are thin and elastic, prompting concerns about durability in the long run. This is of particular concern as larger passengers tend to kick and push their feet against the footwell, putting stress on these elastic loops. Similarly, the connections between the front mesh panel and the trailer, though thicker than those on the footwell, also look like a potential point of failure after years of use.
While our test riders praised the Chariot Cross for its comfortable harness system, they did complain that the shoulder straps on the D'Lite X consistently fell down onto the chest, which on occasion were enough of a hassle that rides were put on pause to make adjustments.
Another drawback to the D'Lite X is that several times during testing small items from the cargo area slid under the seat and became accessible to the passengers. The Velcro fastening that separates the two areas in the trailer can easily come undone, and on multiple occasions during testing, the rider was surprised to find the passenger munching on an energy bar that had slid down into the front compartment.
After assembling, attaching, and hauling the D'Lite X it becomes clear where the name for the trailer comes from. The transfer of power from the bike to the trailer is silky smooth and devoid of lurching or feedback from the trailer. Throughout extensive testing, the D'Lite X never required any stops to adjust or reconfigure the trailer due to biker discomfort, and the only limit to how far the trailer would roll seemed to be the strength of the tester's legs. Previous models drew complaints about the parking brake making unwanted noise while riding, but testing with the current model did not result in any such noise.
On paved roads, bike paths, and dirt roads, trailing the D'Lite X is smooth, even when standing to ride up steep hills. The key connection on the hitch system involves a straight pin that penetrates through the components, rather than in front of a ball as is the case with the Thule hitches. Therefore, the Burley system allows practically no vertical movement in the hitch but does allow for a wide range of horizontal movement. This makes for a slightly smoother ride than when hauling the Chariot Cross or Chariot Lite, both of which could transfer movements to the bike when going over large bumps or up steep hills.
Weight-conscious buyers will note that this contender is slightly lighter than the Chariot Cross, though in practice the difference is only noticeable when hauling the trailers empty. Once you start adding in kids and other gear, you will almost certainly end up with more weight in the D'Lite X than in the Chariot Cross simply because you have much more space to fill. This may be a drawback for smaller bikers and ultra-lighters, but parents and adventurers who need to haul a lot of gear will appreciate that the ability to hold much more cargo in the D'Lite X significantly outweighs the effort of hauling extra weight.
A huge benefit to this model is its removable seat cushions. Haul children around long enough, and inevitably they will spill something that makes a huge mess, and being able to toss the seat cushions into the washing machine is a true blessing for busy parents.
It should also be noted that previous versions of the D'Lite did not offer reclining seats. While the 2019 D'Lite and D'Lite X both offer seats that recline (which is much appreciated by riders), when reclined the seats do somewhat reduce the usable cargo space in the rear hatch.
The D'Lite X (shown above) has individually reclining seats that require an additional bar in the rear compartment. This bar can get in the way when loading larger objects.
Ease of Use
The trailer is up and running in under 15 minutes out of the box and attaches easily to practically any bike, though it does take some elbow grease to successfully latch two of the aluminum frame bars together during initial assembly. Families or adults with more than one bike will want to purchase additional hitches ($25 each) so they can choose the best bike in their quiver for a given adventure, or transfer the trailer between multiple haulers on the same trip without worrying about moving hitches around. Breaking the trailer down for storage or to fit in a car trunk is straightforward, though slightly less intuitive than with the Thule Chariots. Unlike the Thule models which have clearly marked buttons and a safety cover so that you don't accidentally collapse the trailer on your child, the D'Lite X requires you to reach up and into the top of the trailer where you can't easily see.
As mentioned above, the Burley hitch design is simply superior. It takes less time and less effort (and yields better results) than any other type of hitch tested. Luckily for those on a budget, all the Burley trailers, including the Best Buy award winner the Burley Bee, share identical hitch systems. As with all the trailers we tested, the D'Lite X's hitch adapter won't fit every bike (see our Buying Advice Guide for more information on this). However, we were able to use it on a range of bikes in our stable, and Burley sells a $12 hitch adapter that should allow you to get the trailer securely attached to almost any bike on the market.
As with all the trailers we tested, the D'Lite's hitch adaptor won't fit every bike (see our Buying Advice Guide for more information on this). However, we were able to use it on a range of bikes in our stable, and Burley sells a $12 hitch adaptor that should allow you to bypass tight breezer dropouts.
Though passengers lauded the spring-coil suspension, it is only practical to adjust it before a ride begins. This is because the adjustment dial is located immediately behind the wheel spokes, and even bikers with thin, agile fingers will struggle to twist the dial with the wheels on the frame. Though the wheels do pop off and reattach very easily when the trailer is empty, it is a real struggle to do so with a full load (particularly a load that consists of children and/or dogs that move around!). Therefore, it is difficult to readjust the suspension if the weight in the trailer changes because, for example, you stop and pick up groceries or additional passengers during your ride. It is also inconvenient to remove and reattach the wheels prior to every ride if you store the trailer with the wheels on.
Perhaps the greatest characteristic of the D'Lite X is its versatility. In this category, the trailer beat out all its competition. Not only can it be converted into a stroller with included parts, but it can also be turned into a four-wheel stroller, a hands-free walking/hiking trailer, a jogger and a cross-country ski sled with additional accessory kits. While the Thule Chariots can also be used as strollers out of the box, or upgraded with accessory kits, they offer far less cargo room, fewer kit add-ons, and do not have removable seat cushions and foldable seats to improve the capacity of the trailer to haul dogs or cargo in the front hatch.
Many parents who purchase a bike trailer to haul kids find that they have plenty of other things to haul as well. While the D'Lite X excels at trailing children, it truly stands out in the pack in its ability to move gear, dogs, and pretty anything you can fit in it.
During testing, we found it was equally capable of carrying all our gear for a day at the beach as it was taking two children to the grocery store to pick up a few days' worth of groceries. You can unbuckle and lie the seats entirely flat, which allows small and some medium-sized dogs enough room to comfortably lie down. The only other trailer in our lineup with seats that can lie flat is the Hamax Outback.
The excellent versatility of the D'Lite makes it worth considering even for the budget-conscious since it has the most potential to have a useful life — as a grocery hauler, a pup wagon, or a bikepacking companion — long after your kids are pedaling their own bikes.
The D'Lite X isn't cheap and is only slightly less expensive than its closest Thule competitors, all of which run to nearly $1000 or more. The premium model in the Burley line-up, the D'Lite X has extra bells and whistles that some families will appreciate, but the extra $100 you'll spend for them may not be worth it. The standard D'Lite model gives you almost the same experience and saves you some cash to put towards add-ons like a jogging kit.
Overall, the D'Lite X is a durable, safe, and extremely versatile trailer that will be a joy to use with and without your kids and will remain useful long after they're up and out of it. We think this trailer is priced fairly for what it offers and will easily hold its value over time.
The Burley D'Lite X offers top scores in almost all of our rating metrics. Unique features like a convertible interior, side framing for safety, and a rock solid hitch earned the Burley D'Lite X our Editors' Choice award for the best all-around trailer. If you're planning to get out with your kids while feeling safe, comfortable, and flexible the D'Lite X won't disappoint.
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