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touring: panniers vs. trailer(12 posts)

touring: panniers vs. trailerlaffeaux
Jun 17, 2002 9:09 AM
Has anyone tried bike touring with a pull behind trailer (Bob Yak, Yakima, etc.)? How does it compare to fully loaded panniers? Any recommendations would be appreciated.
re: touring: panniers vs. trailerBecky
Jun 17, 2002 9:21 AM
My husband and I recently purchased a Bob trailer to use on vacation in Maine this summer. We've experimented a little with it using various bikes. Thus far (having towed it a couple of times), these are my observations:

I like it! A whole bunch! It tracks nicely behind the bike and, when empty or lightly loaded, is almost unnoticable.
When loaded (think case of beer) and in a strong crosswind, it's a little squirrly side-to-side. Not dangerously so (IMO), but something to be aware of... It feels different than loaded panniers in a crosswind, but I think I prefer having the weight lower.
It's much easier to transport cases of beer and bags of laundry in a trailer than in panniers. Groceries can go either way depending on how much I'm buying and if I'm shopping alone or not.

Obviously, we've used our Bob mostly for errands to date...all in practice for a short tour of the northern coast of Maine this August. I'll post more feedback after we return.
Hope this helps!
Parking bike while grocery shoppingnn23
Jun 17, 2002 11:40 AM
Where do you park the bike when you go grocery shopping. Dont you fear it getting stolen? Or do you just have a beat up bike for this purpose?

Parking bike while grocery shoppingBecky
Jun 17, 2002 12:27 PM
If I'm running errands where the bike is with me or in my sight at all times, I use the road bike. If I'm shopping, I use the beater and lock the trailer to the bike (to something stationary, if possible) with a cable and a U-lock. The only thing that concerns me a little is having the bag stolen as they're kinda pricey to replace.
How does a trailer attach to the bike?LC
Jun 17, 2002 10:51 AM
Could you attach it to a racing bike and would it be easy to switch it between a couple of bikes during a ride?
Special QRwonderdog
Jun 17, 2002 10:55 AM

I've been shopping for a bob trailer myself, and I've discerned this information from the website ( There is a special QR lever (or Bolt on axle for SS) made by BOB for trailer attachment. It seems to be extra wide and has holes for the safety pins and slots for the trailer dropouts. Pretty cool setup. I can't wait to get mine.

My explaination is pretty bad, but a quick glance at the site will clear up the description.

oops! Purchase extra QR levers for extra bikes. (nm)wonderdog
Jun 17, 2002 10:56 AM
bob vs. yakimalaffeaux
Jun 17, 2002 11:05 AM
In looking around, what made you guys pick the Bob trailer over the Yakima. They seem to be pretty similar.
cost and small company cool factorwonderdog
Jun 17, 2002 11:19 AM

Bob is the original and Yakima copied the design. I've read more reviews of the Bob trailer. Bob MSRP $270 with bright yellow (read visible) bag. Yakima MSRP $299 with black bag.

For me, I like to support the little guys when possible.

re: touring: panniers vs. trailerTschako
Jun 17, 2002 11:20 AM
I try to run most of my local errands on my bike and have used panniers and a BOB trailer for each depending on how much "stuff" had to be moved. Panniers are easier to work with if you have smaller errands to run and lighter loads to carry. You have to mount the racks to the bike. If this is a bike that does not have drilled mounting holes for racks you could get a seatpost mounted rack that has a side frame for hanging bags on the side. This limits the weight that can be carried.
What sold me on the BOB trailer was that once you reach a destination (campsite) you can take the BOB off and leave it. Your bike is not weighed down by the racks. Not that most racks are that heavy anyway! We can then ride our bike around without the extra emcumberence of bringing our "luggage" with us.
My wife and I are planning a trip where we are going to take turns pulling the BOB. We bought a spare mounting quick release. In order to switch the trailer from bike to bike all you need to do is unlatch it from one and latch it to the other.
The mounting system is similar to a front fork wheel-mount. It has the same type of quick release. The trailer is "secured" (yet to be tested in the real world) by a pin that slides through the trailer frame and clips to the side. This is supposed to keep the trailer from "jumping off".
I have ridden with an empty and almost fully loaded BOB. Empty, the only way you know the trailer is there is if you hit a bump and it rattle. The one thing that I noticed is the increased distance for stopping a fully loaded BOB. This is quite the eye-opening experience at the first stop sign! :)

Hope this helps!
Jun 17, 2002 2:31 PM
Always wanted to do the AIDS ride, but hate to ask people for money. $2000 is a lot to raise. Especially with cheap friends that I have.

I always see people training for it on the local bike path (WO&D). Many seem to be pretty novice riders. Don't look like they ride very much or are capable of 4 long days of riding. Is the SAG rate pretty high?

The weather always seems to suck for this ride. Usually blazing hot. I guess this year it was blazing hot with rain mixed in. Oh well, miserable vacations are always memorable. Like 4 weeks ago when I did a fly in fishing trip in northern Ontario. It snowed. I got bronchitus. Ugh.
re: touring: panniers vs. trailersupercorsa
Jun 17, 2002 11:16 PM

a few years ago my buddies and i did a mtb hut trip from telluride to moab, all of us used bob trailers. simply put, they are the bomb!!! fast descents on rutted dirt roads took a bit of getting used to, basically you've gotta be comfortable settling for being about 80% in control of the beast, and just letting it push you around a bit. no biggie once you get used to it. you can even ride pretty tight singletrack with a bob. on pavement you don't even notice it's there. you can park your rig so the trailer is more or less flat while your bike says upright, try doing that with panniers. in summary, use a bob trailer once and you'll never use panniers again! i know i won't. as far as bob (stands for beast of burden, cool) vs. yakima goes, same as the other guy said. bob invented it, yakima ripped it off. bob is small, yakima is way bigger. all thing being equal, i'll take the little guy every time.

hope this helps, eric