Reviews You Can Rely On

How We Tested Bike Cargo Trailers

Tuesday August 24, 2021

To produce the best review of bike cargo trailers that we could, we coupled our inherent love of cycling, camping, and the outdoors with every online resource we could find regarding cargo trailers. After rounding up the highest-rated trailers and purchasing them from online retailers, we hitched them up and took them to the limit. Think Rocky IV training montage where he's chopping wood, jumping rope, and carrying logs.

The Coho hitch system allows the trailer and bike to move...
The Coho hitch system allows the trailer and bike to move independently giving you greater mobility when trails get a bit technical or for when you want to show off publicly in a gear review situation.
Photo: Brian Martin

Capacity


Every trailer we tested was unique. While some of the two-wheel models could haul massive rounds of firewood, others were designed to easily load up groceries or a week's worth of camping supplies. We tested every trailer with its intended use in mind. We also pushed them beyond what they were made to do to figure out their real-world capacity.

From hauling your ski equipment to the hill or skipping over to a...
From hauling your ski equipment to the hill or skipping over to a backyard BBQ, the Flatbed can make it happen.
Photo: Brian Martin

Ease of Use


To determine the overall ease of use, we considered several aspects, from how easy or difficult it is to put the trailer together to how it performs in the real world. Trailers such as the Burley Coho XC are incredibly easy to use. It has features such as an ergonomic hitch release and a kickstand to prop up the trailer as you are loading it or preparing to hitch. We also broke down and assembled every trailer we tested to get an idea of how much time is needed when they finally show up on your doorstep!

By a long way, the Travoy was the easiest to pack up and took up the...
By a long way, the Travoy was the easiest to pack up and took up the least space when packed. This added to the trailer's versatility and greatly influenced how much we used it.
Photo: Brian Martin

Ease of Towing


We found the one-wheel trailers to be significantly easier to tow than two-wheel trailers, and one-wheel trailers with suspension are the easiest of all. That being said, if you're hauling significant weight, two-wheel trailers handle the weight much better than one. We loaded up each trailer and took off down dirt roads and trails to see how easy or difficult each was to tow over different terrain.

If you're looking for a high-quality trailer that can do a bit of it...
If you're looking for a high-quality trailer that can do a bit of it all, the Nomad is an excellent choice.
Photo: Brian Martin

Smoothness of Ride


We utilized a huge variety of trails and surfaces to understand how each trailer would perform in various environments. We slithered down single-track paths and cruised along city paths going out of our way to get into the rough stuff.

The Coho XC offers an easy solution to camping by bike allowing you...
The Coho XC offers an easy solution to camping by bike allowing you to pack enough cargo to be comfortable for days.
Photo: Brian Martin

Versatility


To test versatility, we went overnight camping, grocery shopping, and hauled our pets around with each trailer. While some situations — such as singletrack trail with a two-wheel trailer — didn't work well, some trailers offered a pleasantly versatile set of characteristics.

The two-wheel design excels when it comes to hauling weird loads...
The two-wheel design excels when it comes to hauling weird loads, coolers, and generally anything with a higher center of gravity.
Photo: Brian Martin