Bike Trailer Buying Guide
What is a Bike Trailer?
A bike trailer is a trailer that 1 or 2 children can ride in. They are towed behind the parent’s bike and have a lot of features that make riding in them a lot of fun for the children. There are several things that you need to look for when you are looking to buy a bike trailer.
- Maximum Capacity – single passenger bike trailers are going to be lighter than the models that can carry two children. They can also be used to carry groceries, picnic supplies, pets and other things. The two seaters allow you to carry a child and gear and supplies too.
- Foldability – Every bike trailer can be folded up and packed into the trunk of the car. Some models fold very easily and others are a bit more cumbersome and require more effort as well as more room.
Types of Bike Trailers
There are several types of bike trailers that take care of many different tasks. We have outlined the different types below so you will be able to tell the difference.
- Child Bike Trailers – Child bike trailers are for carrying children and have many features that make them very safe and enjoyable to use. Bike trailers usually have a maximum weight capacity of 75 pounds for a single bike trailer and 100 pounds for a double bike trailer. On average bike trailers weigh anywhere from 20-30 pounds for singles and 20-40 pounds for doubles.
The suspension that bike trailers have offers children a smoother ride, especially over uneven and rough terrain. Other features include: storage space, weather covers, padded seating and folding assembly that makes them easy to store and travel with.
Safety additions that you can get with your bike trailer include an orange safety flag, 5 point harness, parking brake and reflective material with wheel reflectors.
- Bike Cargo Trailers – If you take long distance bike rides, having a bike cargo trailer can make those trips a lot easier. There are two types of bike cargo trailers available: single wheel and double wheel.
The one wheel bike trailers handle turns better and are easier to maneuver. A two wheel bike cargo trailer has a higher weight capacity for cargo which is beneficial if you have a lot of gear to travel with. Other features that bike cargo trailers have include: wheel guards weather-resistant materials, and a convenient folding assembly.
Some of the common safety gear that comes with a bike cargo trailer include: fender reflectors, a safety flag and a low center of gravity to prevent tip overs.
- Dog and Pet Bike Trailers – Children and cargo are not the only things that ride in bike trailers. There are special bike trailers that are designed for dogs and other pets. These pet bike trailers come in all different sizes to accommodate small and large pets.
The mini trailers are designed to carry pets up to 45 pounds. Regular pet trailers can hold pets up to 120 pounds. Dog and pet bike trailers are designed especially for pets and children should not ride in them.
Pet bike trailers have several features that make them very convenient for pets including removable flooring or liners that make clean up easy. Some pet bike trailers can convert to a stroller for pets as well. Additional features include all-weather covers, sun-roofs, inside pockets for your pets treats and toys and water bottle holders so your pet will have water along the journey and when you reach your destination.
Safety features include an interior attachment for pet leashes or harnesses, parking brakes, safety flag and reflective material.
Safety Tips for Using a Bike Trailer
- Children should always wear a helmet when riding in a bike trailer
- Use a safety flag to help draw attention to the trailer to other drivers so they see it.
- Use hand signals before turning left or right
- Adhere to the bicycle trailer weight limit specified in the owner’s manual.
- Attach lights to the front of the bike and reflectors to the rear of the trailer.
- Follow all the posted road signs and adhere to the rules of the road
- Practice riding in a safe area before you take the bike trailer out onto the road. Pay attention to how long it takes to safely brake. A bike increases braking distance so be careful.
Choosing the right bike trailer does not have to be confusing and difficult. With all of the choices available, you have many different types and styles to choose from. This means that you will be able to choose one that will work for your specific needs. When you have the right information it is much easier to sort through those choices and figure out exactly which types and models fulfill your needs the best.
Bike trailers make taking the children along on bike rides much more convenient but nowadays they are more versatile than ever with pet and dog trailers and cargo trailers as well. Not only can you take your children with you, you can also bring your pets and carry the groceries and gear you need to.
When you start researching bike trailers, be sure to know exactly what you need them for and what you will be doing. Also be sure to know how often you will be using your bike trailer. What you will be doing, what you will be hauling (children, pets, groceries, etc) and how often you will be using the trailer determines the kind of bike trailer you need.