During the past 5 years of testing bike cargo trailers, we've tried 8 models out side-by-side. This is a review of the 7 best trailers out there. From running errands around town to hauling firewood and climbing gear down washboard dirt roads, we've taken these trailers everywhere and have the calf muscles to prove it. Along the way, we paid attention to each model's hauling capacity and how smoothly each deals with heavy or awkward loads. We also attached and detached these trailers innumerable times to find out how easy they are to use. Our labor helps you make your bike-based gear towing dreams come true.Related: Best Bike Trailer of 2020
Best Bike Cargo Trailer
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 a myriad of 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 almost 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 particular balance point favoring careful packing 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, but 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. Of all trailers tested, this was the rattliest trailer when it was empty. 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
Best for Versatility
Burley Coho XC
The Burley Coho XC was an extremely versatile bike cargo trailer. The Coho was uniquely durable and able to haul large loads compared to other one-wheeled trailers and offered a wide range of customizable features for different terrain or touring styles. Anything from a quick grocery run or a week-long bike tour was made easier and more fun with the Coho in tow.
While the Coho sets the high mark for versatility in a bike cargo trailer, it does have a few drawbacks. The rugged design made for a pretty heavy product, several pounds heavier than any other one wheel trailer tested. It also has a large gap between the bikes rear wheel and the cargo bay of the trailer, making careful packing a must to avoid unwanted wag or sway. These easily mitigated negative features are far outweighed by the versatility and ease of use offered by the Coho
Read review: Burley Coho XC
Best 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.
The Travoy lacks the ability 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. We wish the Travoy wqas more versitile, but it is extraordinarily 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
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, 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
Why You Should Trust Us
This review is led by OutdoorGearLab Senior Review Editor Katherine Elliot. For the past four years, she has been a prolific gear testing expert at our home base in Tahoe. Kat enjoys a myriad of outdoor pursuits, many of which can be facilitated with a bit of extra bicycle carrying capacity. She is joined by former Yosemite Search and Rescue member and SAR technician Brian Martin. Brian is a mountain athlete for all seasons, and can be found on everything from alpine ridge climbs to ski tours to bikepacking ultra races. His responsibilities in Search and Rescue often involved maintenance and selection of equipment; an experience which has lent him a sharp eye for the finer points of many types of outdoor gear.
We initially considered over 40 models of bike trailer for purchase and test for this review. We did as much research as possible and purchased the 7 models that we found most promising. We carefully considered the function of a bike trailer, and designed tests around key performance areas. For ease of towing, we hitched each model up in succession, comparing performance side-by-side. The ride quality was tested over various surfaces from smooth pavement to washboard gravel to singletrack trails. While you might not intend to take your trailer on these surfaces, we intend to test things beyond their intended capabilities in order to know how well they will perform in unforeseen situations.
Related: How We Tested Bike Cargo Trailers
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.
There are many important things to consider when purchasing a cargo trailer, and the 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 costs less than you might expect. If you're looking for the highest performance and can pay for it, the BOB Ibex Plus was our favorite, earning our Editor's Choice award.
We placed a high value on the capacity each trailer could handle. After all, the entire point of purchasing a bike trailer is to have the ability to haul all of the equipment you will potentially need for an overnight camping trip or a week's worth of groceries. While two-wheel trailers generally have a much higher capacity they also have more rolling resistance. Single wheel models generally have a lower capacity but, when packed meticulously, offer lower rolling resistance and the ability to haul equipment a bit more gracefully.
The impressive Aosom Wanderer offers the highest stated weight-bearing capacity of all trailers we tested at 110 lbs! This is a significant amount of weight, and it is quite unlikely that you would want to haul that much weight for an extended period of time. Think hauling firewood down a dirt road or taking your oversize dog out on a camping trip. The Burley Design Flatbed and the Nomad also offer 100 lbs of carrying capacity. It's important to note the Flatbed was significantly easier to roll giant firewood rounds onto with the open front and back ends.
Both the BOB Ibex Plus and the BOB Yak Plus are rated to 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.
Ease of Towing
To first tackle the broad spectrum of trailers tested, it's essential to recognize the differences between one and two-wheeled trailers. As you might imagine, two-wheeled trailers are stable and require a bit less attention when packing. Just throw everything in, make sure it isn't heavily loaded at the back, and it will generally tow ok. Single wheel trailers, as a rule, require much more meticulous packing. Heavier items low down and on the centerline was critical. Overloading one side or the other, or even having a top-heavy load could make things interesting. Stopping at a red light, for example, an awkward load in a single wheel trailer would frustratingly pull the bike to whatever side was overloaded.
There is another important trade-off when going with two wheels. Two wheels, while offering stability, robs you of efficiency and maneuverability. If you have to pass through a short section of single track, a one-wheel trailer might pass right through, whereas the two-wheel models would have some trouble. One wheel also offers half the rolling resistance of two wheels.
Because of the rolling resistance and maneuverability advantages of the single wheel trailers, we tended to favor them over the two-wheel models. This isn't to say the two-wheelers don't have their place because they do. There are loads single wheel models simply can't haul, basically anything large and cumbersome.
True to form, the single-wheeled Coho XC and BOB Ibex Plus and 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 an excellent trailer for maneuvering through tight spaces or a crowded street. Unfortunately, it is easy to overload the single wheel trailers, which makes hike-and-bikes and technical trails a bit challenging.
Both he Coho and Ibex Plus are good choices if you're planning to travel on bumpy dirt roads or singletrack. When carefully loaded and balanced these trailers offered a smooth, drama-free ride.
Throughout our two-wheel trailer testing, it became apparent that the Burley Nomad had a significant advantage over its competition. The mounting design was especially nice as the hitch mount allowed the bike to pitch and yaw without moving the trailer off of level. While this doesn't sound that spectacular, when standing up to pump up a hill, the smooth pulling trailer is much appreciated.
Burley's Travoy also has some unique features such as a padded handle which would allow you to detach the trailer from its hitch, wheel it into a grocery store, and re-clip it to your bike. All with one hand.
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 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.
Smoothness of Ride
As you might imagine, having suspension goes a long way to improve ride quality for bike cargo trailers. The Burley Coho XC and Bob Ibex Plus both offered smooth and efficient suspended one wheel goodness. After using these trailers, it was difficult to tow anything else offroad as the rattle and perceived extra weight of a rigid wheel hitting a bump felt exhausting.
Two-wheel trailers, in general, were much less smooth. One wheel hitting a bump would inevitably disrupt both wheels. Washboard gravel at high speeds would cause something akin to the Jeep Wrangler "death wobble" (look it up). The Aosom Wanderer was among the least smooth on gravel and was also pretty noisy when unloaded which adds to perceived effort.
In short, the smoother the ride, the less energy it takes to pedal the trailer. Both the Coho and Ibex offered quiet and smooth rides when compared to the rest of the field.
The Burley Coho was among the most versatile we've tested. The rugged construction, stretchy cargo net, kickstand, and one-handed hitching made most applications easy. From grocery runs to overnight camping the Coho never seemed to run out of applications.
The Yak Plus and the Burley Nomad offer comparable versatility. The sizeable 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 stick 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 Burley Coho had the easiest assembly as it didn't require any tools. Everything detachable on the trailer has a quick release skewer allowing you to disassemble and package the Coho for international travel.
The two-wheel 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. 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.
Different Types of Bike Trailers
- Single Wheel Bicycle Cargo Trailers — the 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 Editors' choice is its suspension, relatively lightweight, and balanced feel. 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 piqued our interest for heavier and longer objects to transport. Lastly, the Aosom Wanderer offers a lightweight steel frame and easily collapsible sidewalls 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