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Child Trailers - wheelsize, safe over 15mph?(12 posts)

Child Trailers - wheelsize, safe over 15mph?BergMann
May 6, 2003 8:56 AM
I am currently shopping around for a child trailer, and most of the past posts on the board focused on Burley (D'Lite) or Yakima (CaddyYak). Does anyone out there have any experience with the CycleTote "Family" trailer, or the Wike "Moonlight"?

I am attracted to the CycleTote's 26" wheels and the seat-post hitch mount. The larger wheels would allow me to use better tires (e.g. Conti Town&Country), and the post-mount seems to make intuitive sense by not limiting my right-hand turning radius.
Has anyone out there had heel-clearance problems on chainstay mounted trailer hitches? Does a skewer-mount hitch (e.g. Wike) provide more clearance than a bracket-mounted model (e.g. Yakima, Burley)?

Another point of concern: I was looking at a Yakima manual, and they listed the top speed for their trailer at 15mph. Is this just boilerplate, or do the 20" wheels on most child trailers make them unstable at normal cycling speeds? I realize I won't be averaging 20 mph anymore, but there are a lot of rolling hills around here, and I'm not sure I can even coast down most of them under 15mph.

Thanks in advance for your feedback!
Answer about speed...biknben
May 6, 2003 9:37 AM
I think the speed limit is, as you mentioned, just boiler plate. Under most conditions they are just as stable as your bike. I wouldn't recommend bangin a hard right while doing 20mph though. You've got to compensate for extra weight and size when cornering and braking.
re: Child Trailerswilki5
May 6, 2003 9:41 AM
Here's another brand that my friends have had great success with. Especially if you run or even cross country ski. It switches between activities super easy and folds up in a sec. Here's the website.
May 6, 2003 10:18 AM
Limiting the speed to 15mph sounds really really conservative to me. I've used several Burley trailers, and currently own a two seat Schwinn trailer (I liked it better than the Burley models and it cost less) with 20" wheels and it's plenty stable at speeds much higher than 15mph.

I regulary (at least once or twice a week) hit speeds in excess of 30 mph with the trailer and have hit speeds of around 40mph before (yep the wife knew about it, she was on the back of our tandem). We use it on and off road. You would be amazed at how stable a trailer is (at least the wider two seat models, not so sure about the single seaters).

I looked at the manuals on both the Yakima and Burley website and they read pretty much the same. Never corner faster than 5mph, and never go over 15mph under any circumstances. Sounds like lawyer language to me.

I'm sure the reason for this limitation has far more to do with rider experience than trailer stability.

I don't have any experience with the Cycletote, but the 26" wheels won't make it any more stable in the turns. It really boils down to how low the center of gravity is and how wide the stance is. The cycletote doesn't appear to be any lower or wider than the 20" model trailers. Couldn't find any specs to verify this.

As far as tires go, I wouldn't be too concerned. The trailer tires don't need the same kind of grip that you do on the bike. The trailer doesn't need the traction for climbinb or braking since it's just along for the ride.

I do see a couple advantages to the 26" wheels though. First, it's much easier to find presta valve tubes for 26" wheels than it is for 20". Also, the larger wheels will help the trailer roll over obstacles. You are a lot more likely to flip the trailer from cutting a corner too sharp and hitting the curb than from cornering too fast. The larger wheels might help a little with this, but probably not that much. If you hit a curb at any speed you'll probably still flip it over.

The disadvantages I see to the 26" wheels is that they are going to be heavier and have a lot more rotating mass.

As for heel clearance, I've never had any problems with my trailer or the several different Burley trailers. All were chainstay mounts. The swewer mounts are nicer though, since you can use them with mountainbikes with discs, or tandems with drum brakes, and it won't trash the paint on your frame like a chainstay mount will.

Hope that helps with your decision.
Appreciate the insight! Best QR mounts for swapping?BergMann
May 6, 2003 11:15 AM
Thanks for your thoughtful and thorough response!
According to a review published in Bicycling, the Cycletote is about the same weight as the Yakima (28 vs. 27.5 lbs), so it looks like they make up for the added weight of larger wheels elsewhere in the design.

That same test did some tip-tests by running the trailers (all two seaters) up and down curbs are various speeds up to 10mph, and the Yakima, Burley, Wike, and Chariot models stayed upright, while the Trek, Instep, Cycletote, and Kool-Stop trailers did not.

Looks like it's now time to hit the shops and look at how the trailers in that first group are made -- right now the Burley, Chariot & Wike models seem most appealing on paper because they have QR hitch-mounts.

Have you (or anyone else), used any the Burley or any of these other QR mounts? Would this option allow for quick and easy swaps between bikes?
Appreciate the insight! Best QR mounts for swapping?TWD
May 6, 2003 12:35 PM
I haven't used any of the quick release QR mounts, but I'm guessing swapping from bike to bike will be as quick as removing the QR from one bike and putting it on another.

I was looking into buying the Burley alternative hitch (their quick release mount)but they make one model for road/mtb dropout spacing and a separate model for tandem dropout spacing. I need both, and they only sell the entire hitch, and won't let you purchase a spare longer QR. That is the only issue I'm aware of for the QR mounts.

As for the chainstay mounts, you run into all kinds of compatability issues. For example, the chainstay mount on my Schwinn trailer doesn't fit well on the thin steel stays on my road bike, and doesn't fit well either on the really fat stays on my wife's Cannondale cross bike. It's sloppy loose on one, and you have to force it onto the other.

The other nice thing to have in a hitch is the type that have an elastomer connecting the hitch to the tongue of the trailer. It really helps soak up road vibration and small jolts. I'm not sure which models come with this now, but they are getting more common.

Test riding is a good idea. Take your kid(s)with and try out the seats, buckles etc...

Another thing to look at is cargo space. Whether you're dropping by the grocery or going on a longer trip, it's nice to have some extra space. I took my 2 year old son on a 3 day bike tour last weekend. I put him and all of our camping gear in there without a problem.

Good luck
high perfromance 16" and 20" tires, and 15mph...ohmk1
May 6, 2003 10:26 AM
High performance tires are available at those sizes from a bunch of companies (Continental, Schwalbe,Verdestein, Primo, etc...) I rarely take mine over 15 mph, don't foreget, its not just a safety issue, but a comfort one as well. The faster you go, the crazier it can get for your kid(s). Younger ones with weaker neck muscles can really get shaken up.
re: Child Trailers - wheelsize, safe over 15mph?MWM
May 6, 2003 10:42 AM
I've been pulling a Burley DeLite for around 7 years. I have size 12 feet and have never had any problems with my heels hitting the trailer mount except when executing a U-turn on a narrow bike trail. I like the chainstay mount as it adjusts to any bike within a minute or so. I also have a Trail-A-Bike which has a seatpost hitch mount. That particular seatpost hitch is a PIA if you want to switch from bike to bike. I can't speak for the trailer you mention. As far as speed goes, I limit my speed to around 20ish on downhills. With 2 kids in a trailer, it takes a bit more room to stop. I prefer to be safe with my kids.
May 6, 2003 11:42 AM
..are, by far, the best. I work at a shop and we've tried a lot of different trailers, none could top the Chariot. The QR mounts on the Chariots do not limit the turning radius of the bike. They also have some pretty cool child safety features, ask the salesman.
Chariot's suspension?BergMann
May 6, 2003 5:56 PM
How well does the suspension on the chariot really work?
I don't have any dealers in my area. Any ideas on where to get them on the web?
SideCarrier?Charlie Amerique
May 6, 2003 2:39 PM
I saw this thing at a bike show here in Montréal and it looked pretty good: Kid at your side and no eating wheel debris. Bad side is that it's wider rather than longer and it was only in the prototype stage a couple of months ago.

Still, looks good.

On the other had I saw a couple on a tandem and they had two dogs in the back of a Burley and they were hauling... well, they were moving a lot faster than 15mph.
In my experience...yesColnagoFE
May 7, 2003 8:45 AM
I know the lawyers make them say that you can only go that fast, but my Burley solo has been up to 30 or so for short periods of time and regularly cruised at 20+. You just have to watch the corners--and even then they are darn near impossible to tip. At least I've never done it. Msaybe the wider Burleys tip easier, but the solo seems rock solid.