Which bike trailer is best?
Bike trailers are made for people who want to take kids along on their rides and people who want to haul cargo without having to wear a backpack or buy cumbersome saddlebags. Trailers hook up to your bicycle with an arm and coupler and are even safer when you use a safety strap that keeps the trailer connected if the hitch fails.
If you’re looking for a trailer that carries two kids safely and also converts to a jogger and stroller, take a look at the Schwinn Joyrider Kids 2-Seat Bike Trailer and Stroller.
What to know before you buy a bike trailer
What is a bike trailer?
It’s a wheeled, unpowered vehicle that hooks up to a bike and is used to carry things that won’t fit on a bike. Most bike trailers have two wheels for stability, and many fold up so they take up less storage space when not in use.
The most common bike trailers are made either for hauling cargo or for taking young kids along on your ride. Because you have the total weight of you, your bike, your trailer and its contents distributed across four wheels instead of two, there is less strain on your bike’s wheels and tires.
What are you towing?
- Kids need to be protected when riding in a passenger trailer. Dual-passenger models are wider and heavier than single-seaters, and all seats need to have built-in safety harnesses.
- Open compartments are good for towing weatherproof gear such as tents and other camping and outdoor items.
- Closed compartments are best for keeping non-weatherproof items out of the elements.
What to look for in a quality bike trailer
- Harnesses: For bike trailers that carry kids, look for three-point and five-point safety harnesses. The straps should be comfortably padded and the buckles should be quick and easy to connect and disconnect.
- Rotating arms: If your bike tips over, a trailer with a ball and socket apparatus on the attachment arm keeps the trailer upright, and its occupants and cargo safe.
- Reflectors: Better bicycle trailers have high-visibility reflectors on all sides so drivers can see them in low-light conditions. Even so, it’s a good idea to add bike lights to your trailer if you’re going to ride at night.
- Safety flags: Bike trailers are low to the ground, rarely standing more than 2 feet high. A safety flag attached to a long pole alerts drivers of cars and trucks that you’re towing a vehicle behind you.
- Wheels and tires: Bigger wheels and tires deliver smoother rides, less likely to jostle kids and cargo.
- Padded seats make every ride more comfortable.
- Padded safety harnesses are easier for kids to wear over long rides.
- Shock absorbers smooth out the bumps on better bike trailers.
If you also like to bring little kids along when you walk and jog, you’ll want a kid trailer that converts quickly and easily to a jogger and stroller.
How much you can expect to spend on a bike trailer
Most passenger trailers cost from $75-$300, with a few costing over $1,000. Trailers for hauling cargo typically cost $100-$300.
Bike trailer FAQ
Can I carry my pet in a bike trailer?
A. You can if your pet can be trusted to not leap out, because trailer seats and safety harnesses are not made for animals. You might want to consider using a cargo trailer with a non-skid floor and D-rings you can attach your animal’s harness and leash to for added security.
Are shock absorbers worth the extra expense?
A. Passengers think so, because shock absorbers cushion their ride. Shock absorbers also make trailers easier to tow. Those without suspensions are prone to what is called lugging, the erratic tugging effect caused by trailers when they bounce.
Are single-wheel trailers safe?
A. Off-road cyclists sometimes prefer single-wheel cargo trailers, but they’re not as safe as two-wheelers that are more stable because of their wide stances. You’ll find a few cargo trailers with only one wheel, but not passenger trailers.
What’s the best bike trailer to buy?
Top bike trailer
What you need to know: This two-seater kid trailer converts to a stroller and jogger in less than 30 seconds.
What you’ll love: Kids up to 40 pounds ride side-by-side in this aluminum and steel trailer that has room for a bit of extra gear. It’s got 20-inch air-filled tires, two five-point safety harnesses, bug and weather screens and a pivoting front wheel for stroller and jogger mode.
What you should consider: You need to remove the stroller handle for compact storage.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top bike trailer for the money
What you need to know: This trailer is solidly constructed, easy to assemble and safely transports a 50-pound child.
What you’ll love: The design folds up quickly and the quick-release 15-inch steel wheels ride on pneumatic tires. The shock absorbers deliver a smooth ride, the padded five-point safety harness comfortably holds children in place and the large front and side windows lets kids see the world as they ride.
What you should consider: The legroom is insufficient for children with longer legs.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: No more need for bulky backpacks and saddlebags with this steel-framed trailer that holds up to 80 pounds of cargo.
What you’ll love: This trailer is compatible with bikes having wheels from 20 to 29 inches. The weather-resistant fabric keeps your cargo out of the elements and the internal D-rings let you strap your cargo in for added safety and security. When not in use, it collapses for easy storage.
What you should consider: A small kickstand would make it easier to hook it up to your bike.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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