Love biking but need to bring gear with you? A bike cargo trailer might just be your new favorite sidekick. We researched over 40 models before buying 7 of the most intriguing options to test. Then we tested them back-to-back, gaining epic leg strength along the way. From silky smooth roads to washboard gravel and potholes, we pedaled. We hauled these trailers through rain and sleet and sweaty summer sun. We went on grocery runs, beer runs, hauled climbing gear, and even picked up some firewood along the way to test their capacity. Whatever you need a trailer for, this review's got an option for you. Unless it's a kid. If it's a kid, check out our kid bike trailer review, complete with seatbelts.
The Best Bike Cargo Trailer Review
We are committed to keeping an eye on product development in this gear category. Routinely scouring the bike trailer market, we have yet to come across a model that could knock our award winners from their pedestals. We did find the Burley Travoy intriguing, however, for its unique design and grocery bike commuting capabilities.
BOB Ibex Plus
The BOB Ibex Plus proved once again to the reigning champion among bike trailers. This versatile, lightweight, solidly designed trailer was excellent in myriad conditions and environments solidifying it as our Editors' Choice. The single wheel, in-line design made this trailer extremely maneuverable and the added suspension helps absorb bumps and road chatter making it pleasant to pull. The ride quality coupled with the generous capacity and ease of use (removing and reattaching) made the BOB Ibex Plus a trailer well suited for most any conditions.
While the BOB Ibex Plus is a fantastic trailer, it does have some drawbacks. You need a 10mm wrench to assemble the rear shock and to connect the fork to the main body. You also need patience: it took us about 20 minutes to put together and install on our testers bike. The single wheel also creates a very specific balance point favoring careful packing so as to keep the center of gravity low and evenly distributed. With these small drawbacks in mind, the BOB Ibex Plus is an excellent trailer with the capability to tackle whatever you throw its way.
Read review: BOB Ibex Plus
Best Bang for the Buck
The Aosom Wanderer not only has the highest weight carrying capacity of the trailers we tested, it is also uniquely inexpensive among the posh competition. Like Rudy (the football player), the Aosom Wanderer proves a rugged, durable, sturdy, and unrelenting design doesn't have to be expensive. We were also impressed by the versatility, ease of which it was set up, and how nicely such a simple trailer could pull.
On the flip side, there were a few niggles that have to be stated. Of all trailers tested, this was the rattliest trailer when it was empty. If you aren't bothered by the noise of a chattery trailer, then no worries but it is something to keep in mind when making firewood runs down a bumpy gravel road. The Aosom Wanderer is also quite heavy which is a necessary downside to having such a large carrying capacity. All these things considered, this is a fantastically capable trailer at the price point.
Read review: Aosom Wanderer
Top Pick for Grocery Shopping
The Burley Travoy is a specialist in the broad category of bike cargo trailers. Some trailers are designed for long-distance efficiency, some for massive loads, the Travoy is designed specifically for around town endeavors. We found this trailer best suited for grocery runs as it has an integrated tote bag and the option to unhitch the trailer and wheel it straight into the grocery store. All of these features are user-friendly. We especially liked how easily we could fold the trailer up and store it in the tote bag when we were finished.
Some of our frustrations with the Travoy included the inability for the trailer to clear the rear bike wheel when ascending a curb. At certain points while on our way to the grocery store, we had to go out of our way to avoid large bumps and drops for fear of breaking the trailer. In addition, we wished there was a bit more versatility but in the end found the Travoy to be extremely adept and maneuvering through the city and hauling a generous load of groceries without sustaining any damage to vulnerable items such as eggs and produce.
Read review: Burley Travoy
Top Pick for Versatility
Burley Design Flatbed
The Burley Design Flatbed offers unparalleled versatility in the cargo trailer category. While some of the trailers we reviewed are very specialized in what they can haul and how they should be loaded, we basically threw everything in sight into the Burley Design Flatbed and it could perform. Not only did it perform, but it was notably easy to load and the weight didn't necessarily have to be evenly distributed. The lightweight design along with the flexible PVC tarp bedding made use, cleanup, and storage a snap.Unlike some of the trailers we reviewed, the Burley Design Flatbed doesn't come with any tie down straps or dry sacks/covers necessitating that you provide your own if you're hauling any equipment that must be kept dry/secured. While setup and mounting are quite easy, the trailer does weigh in at 14 lbs, adding some heft to your uphill commute, though if you're hauling the max capacity of 100 lbs. you will hardly notice another 14! All in all, the Burley Design Flatbed is incredibly versatile allowing you to haul anything from firewood to camping gear while offering durability and being extremely easy to use and store.
Read review: Burley Design Flatbed
Notable for Bike Touring
The Burley Nomad is a long distance touring beast. If you've liberated yourself from the gram counting madness and want to take all the comforts of home, the Nomad is your horse. Our testers found the Nomad to pull straight and true even when loaded down to the max. Notably, the assembly and breakdown of this trailer are extremely easy making storage a pleasant process.
While this wasn't the most versatile trailer we tested it performed quite well in all categories from bike touring to running errands around town. The Nomad wasn't completely waterproof with the weather cover and while it could haul a significant amount of weight, 15 lbs. is quite a lot as a base weight for a trailer.
Read review: Burley Nomad
Analysis and Test Results
To help you find the right cargo trailer for your needs, we break down the most important metrics and rate each model side-by-side. If you're still feeling uncertain, you may want to take a look at our companion article, How to Choose a Cargo Trailer.
There are many important things to consider when purchasing a cargo trailer, and price is an omnipresent factor. The trailers we tested ranged from about $95 to $440 which is truly a massive spread of pricing. While we all know higher prices generally correlate to better quality, there can be exceptions to the rule. For example, the Aosom Wanderer a great trailer, capable of hauling 110 lbs and costs only $110. The chart below shows you the price of each model (Y-axis) relative to their score in our tests (X-axis). The models that lie towards the bottom right of the group represent a great value and include our Best Buy winner, the Aosom Wanderer.
We weighed capacity higher than any other metric tested. The entire point of using a bike trailer is to add cargo space to your bike after all. Two wheel trailers, in general, have more area for packing odd-shaped items, plastic tubs, or even firewood. Single wheel trailers demand careful packing and are better equipped for lightweight technical equipment than odd shaped large loads.
The highest weight capacity was the Aosom Wanderer at a whopping 110 lbs. The trailer itself weighs close to 30 lbs, giving a staggering max trailer weight of 140 lbs. While the trailer is capable of holding this much weight, make sure your bike brakes are in good working order and be ready to get some new brake pads! The Burley Design Flatbed and Nomad are nearly at the top of the weight capacity holding 100 lbs each. While both can carry a lot, it was much easier to fully load the Burley Flatbed than the Nomad. The Flatbed's open front and back design made it possible to fit larger and heavier objects in the trailer with ease.
Both the BOB Ibex Plus and the BOB Yak Plus are rated at a 70 lbs. The extra three inches of suspension on the back of the BOB Ibex Plus add one pound to its weight, but the suspension made for a much smoother ride. It was an added weight that we were happy to have.
The Aosom Solo single wheel cargo bike trailer is rated for a maximum 88 lb. capacity. The bright orange dry sac included was a little smaller than the ones included with the BOB trailers, which made it a bit more challenging to test its full weight capacity. Once we reached the 88 lb. capacity limit, the Solo got a little squirrelly, especially while trying to make sudden stops. While able to hold a lot, the Burley Travoy is only rated to 60 lbs.
Ease of Towing
To find the recipe for the perfect tow, we hitched up our seven bike cargo trailers and loaded them down. There is quite a difference in trailers equipped with one wheel versus two. At a standstill, like a stoplight, having two wheels makes the trailer and bike infinitely more stable. In contrast, a poorly loaded single wheeled version could easily tip over.
The trade-off for stability is maneuverability. Tight turns and high-speed handling are more challenging with a two-wheeled trailer's wider profile. Singletrack bike paths are a no go with two wheels. Single-wheeled trailers track better behind your bike and create less drag. They are slimmer and more easily maneuvered on a crowded street or narrow passage.
Throughout testing, we preferred the handling and maneuverability of the single wheel bike trailers over the stability and higher capacity of two-wheeled options. The one-wheeled trailers were great for longer excursions and overnights and handled a lot better on the dirt roads. That said, two-wheeled trailers are ideal for around town commuting and hauling larger loads.
True to form, the single-wheeled BOB Ibex Plus and Yak Plus were the easiest to tow. Both track so well you nearly forget that they're there. Their lower center of gravity allows for better maneuverability and handling with or without a cargo load. The single wheel design also makes this a great trailer for maneuvering through tight spaces or a crowded street. Unfortunately, it is easy to overload the Yak, which makes it a bit tricky to manage when you are traveling at higher speeds, especially on downhills.
The Ibex Plus is the best choice if you're planning to travel on bumpy dirt roads or singletrack. Its three inches of suspension almost eliminated the fishtailing we encountered when towing a heavy load in the Yak down dirt roads at higher speeds. We also encountered a lot of streams while towing the Ibex Plus and, when properly loaded and closed, the dry sack keeps your items safe and dry from the elements.
Of the two-wheeled trailers, the Burley Nomad followed our bikes around the best. The Nomad is equipped with a lightweight aluminum arm that attaches with a quick release pin to a forged aluminum hitch mount. This attachment allows the Nomad trailer to swivel horizontally and in yaw. Meaning the trailer itself doesn't tilt with the bike. As a result, it is much easier to come out of your seat and pedal on the uphills. Burley's golf-caddy-like Travoy is also a pleasant tow if you stick to smooth pavement. If the going gets bumpy, or you want to get up and over a curb, your back wheel and the trailer may collide.
How you load your trailer has a lot to do with how well it tows. For example, the dual-wheeled Aosom Wanderer made for an easier tow if there was a heavier load that was properly tied down and secured. It was a little squirrelly when empty or with a light load. Both the mono-wheeled BOB Ibex Plus and the BOB Yak Plus performed best with the heavier supplies (tent, stove, etc.) in the back of the trailer by the wheel. This method creates better traction with the trailer and the bike. The same goes for the Aosom Solo, but since the trailer has a few extra moving parts, it was a little harder to fully secure your load, which resulted in a low score.
Smoothness of Ride
The Bob Ibex Plus had the smoothest ride as its suspension includes a three-inch coil spring shock absorber. The Yak Plus has a similar build and rolls well, but it's not able to match the smooth ride of its brother. The Burley Design Flatbed and the Nomad both offer the same movable hitch mount that allows the bike move independently of the trailer itself, allowing for a quiet ride. The Travoy is similarly smooth as long as the road is as well.
As far as the Aosom Wanderer goes, the empty trailer makes a lot of noise and tends to jump around when you are in motion. It does settle down a bit with some weight in the trailer but still received the lowest rating metric for ride smoothness.
The Aosom Solo single wheel bike cargo trailer also scored rather low in that category. It has a lot of play in the main body frame, which allows for extra movement when in use. There are also a lot of moving parts, especially around the front fork mount, that tend to rattle and bounce when accelerating or decelerating.
The Burley Flatbed is among the most versatile we've tested, due to its folding sides and large and open cargo space. This makes it easy to load and unload a variety of objects. You can even add your own personal cargo bin and secure it with bungee cords for loose or smaller items, such as grocery bags. The Ibex Plus came in close behind the Flatbed in scores for versatility. The extra suspension on the back is ideal for switching between pavement and dirt roads, and it tracks very evenly behind you.
The Yak Plus and the Burley Nomad offer comparable versatility. The large dry sack on the Yak Plus makes it easy to load up and tie down. Similarly, the Burley Nomad has cargo cover that helps secure your load. The cover is easy to attach and detach from the main trailer body. So if you are hauling large or uneven cargo you just need to unclip the cover from the trailer, load, secure your items, and you're ready to roll. You still have plenty of room for larger or longer items to fit out of the back of the trailer.
Ease of Use
Both the BOB Yak Plus and Ibex Plus had a quick and easy initial set up process. The only thing that slowed us down was finding two 10 mm wrenches to assemble the front fork and the back shock for the Ibex Plus. Attaching the trailer to the bike is also easy with two quick release pins that insert into the provided skewer.
The two Burley designs have an easy to use trailer attachment as well. It's a forged steel hitch that mounts directly to your bike frame by the back wheel. It also has a quick release pin that holds the trailer in place and allows the trailer to move freely from the bike. The Nomad and the Flatbed also come with button activated, quick release wheels, so taking them on and off for storage or travel is quick and easy.
The Aosom Wanderer's wheels are mounted with bolts onto the trailer, so it takes more time to adjust the wheel if needed. The Aosom Solo single wheel bicycle cargo trailer arrived speedily but with a very bent back wheel connector.
With a pair of pliers, we managed to straighten out the back connector and get it attached to the quick release skewer and the bike. The initial setup and connection took around 15 minutes altogether, and besides the bent back connector, it was a rather easy setup. Still, the overall design of the Solo allows for a lot of play and extra unnecessary movement in the main body of the trailer.
- The Burley Design Flatbed is great for hauling large or odd shaped items.
- The Burley Design Nomad, the BOB Yak Plus and the Aosom Solo all come with carrying cases. These products made it better for cargo that needs to stay dry and safe from the elements.
- The Aosom Wanderer rated at a maximum 110 lb carrying capacity, making this the best for heavy loads. But, it's a close contender with both the Burly Design Flatbed and Nomad.
- The Bob Ibex Plus advertises that it will, "Follow you to the ends of the earth." This couldn't have been a more valid statement. The Ibex Plus was a great off-road cargo hauler.
- The Burley Travoy, while not the most versatile, is by far the best suited for around town grocery shopping. The detachable shopping bag and tie down straps allow for large and efficient grocery runs.
Different Types of Bike Trailers
- Single Wheel Bicycle Cargo Trailers — the Aosom Solo, Bob Ibex Plus and the Bob Yak.
- Two Wheel Bicycle Cargo Trailers — the Burley Design Nomad, Burley Design Flatbed and the Aosom Wanderer.
- Child bicycle trailers like all of the products in The Best Bike Trailer Review.
- Pedal Trailers & Trail-a-Bikes like the Weehoo iGo Turbo and the WeeRide Co-Pilot neither of which are enclosed and the Weeride is more like riding a bike.
- Dog & Pet Bicycle Trailers like the Aosom Elite II which has rear suspension dampers that absorb shock.
Our main motivation for choosing the BOB Ibex Plus as our Editor's choice was its suspension, allowing it to handle a large capacity load and still handle well on the singletrack and dirt roads around our neighborhoods. We love the Burley Nomad for its large carrying capacity and balance point designed to reduce torque on the frame. The Burley Design Flatbed cargo trailer offers an open front and back design and its accredited 100 lb weight capacity peaked our interest for heavier and longer objects to transport. Lastly, the Aosom Wanderer offers a lightweight steel frame and easily collapsible side walls for storage which made it a must on the testing list. The Burley Travoy is great for around town commuting and grocery shopping.
— Katherine Elliott and Brian Martin
Still not sure? Take a look at our buying advice article for tips.