If your idea of a great time – once you become a parent – includes introducing your child to the wonders of cycling, there’s no better way to do that than by investing in a bike trailer, so your youngster gets his ride on early in life.
This nifty invention was introduced to a public eager for a way to bring youngsters along on their journeys in the 1930s when the Rann’s trailer first appeared on the market.
Unfortunately, Mr. Rann and his minions didn’t bother to copyright their idea, so it was left to languish until a Canadian guy named Delbert Adams patented his version of the bike trailer in the early 1990s.
His first products sold well, and later versions sold even better. It wasn’t long before other manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon.
If you’re just starting to shop for one of these carriers, you will be asked to choose between models offering upright, bike-like seating and seating that emulates that found on a recumbent bike. That’s not the end of it.
Select either a single-seat or tandem configuration, and while these trailers seldom have brakes, the one you pick may come with one or more gears. Who knew? It’s a brave new world out there, and your kids are the beneficiaries of this bright idea.
Thule Chariot Cross Sport – OUR PICK!
Getting your heart set on this particular bike trailer could leave you with a broken heart because, despite its somewhat reasonable price tag, this product sells out fast, which means if you see it and want it, don’t hesitate.
Available in two sporty colors (red and blue), you can acquire this model with or without the jogging kit that will add to the cost of this versatile vehicle. Designed to accompany you at whatever pace you set, the Chariot Cross Sport is designed to keep up with you whether you jog, bike, stroll, or ski.
The reclining seat is controlled by a single lever, so it doesn’t take long to get baby into a comfy riding position.
Thule’s proprietary VersaWing system is the secret behind this trailer’s success: you won’t waste buckets of time converting the in-between unit activities, and the fold-down feature gives you storage and transport options that are the essence of convenience.
Your child need not suffer an uncomfortable ride thanks to this product’s adjustable leaf-spring suspension and every time you hit the road, your youngster cradled within removable, padded seats that are a breeze to clean.
Turn your trailer into a beast of burden, too. Get plenty of storage space if you two are out running errands, also.
Burley D’Lite 1 and 2 Seat Kids Bike Trailer – ALSO GREAT!
Got twins or Irish twins, two kids born in close proximity? This bike trailer is your solution and it comes in a price range that won’t keep you up at night. Depending upon customization, spend about 2/3rds of the cost of the aforementioned Thule Chariot if you select the one seater.
Your offspring ride in the lap of luxury: a 3-position recline feature, fast install or removal of the tow bar, easy-to-attach conversion kits and if you get the single unit, expect “quick transition from biking to strolling out of the box.”
The suspension dials on this Old School Blue trailer allow you to adjust the trailer for a smooth ride even if you ride through a variety of surfaces.
Premium, wide 20-inch wheels feature “aggressive” tread, reflective taping and the seat pads are removable for cleaning. The D’Lite’s Skid Guard is fitted with reflectors to add to this product’s safety features.
Prefer to keep your precious child under wraps?
You’ll applaud the full-length tinted side windows offering UV protection, yet Junior gets a panoramic view from any position, and the height-adjustable ergonomic handlebar is kind to your hands while serving as an additional roll bar when the unit is folded forward.
The zippered water-resistant cover means even a surprise rain shower won’t disturb baby. You, however, will have to fend for yourself!
Hamax Outback Multi-Sport Child Bike Trailer
The Hamax Outback is the quintessential, multi-sport trailer you seek if there’s not a physical activity that isn’t on your favorites list. It’s a trailer, stroller, and jogger.
This versatile carrier features a double-lock with safety indicator, bike kit, stroller kit, and flag, but the jogger kit isn’t included, so you’re going to have to add it at an extra cost. EN/ASTM certified after earning a 2016 Reddot Design award for safety.
The Outback is fabricated of lightweight aluminum that’s heavy enough to prevent roll-overs, but light enough to move along effortlessly. Included on the list of features that attest to this bike trailer’s thoughtful design are the 5-point safety harness, parking brake, and added reflectors for increased visibility.
This multi-sport trailer not only folds down flat for storage and transport, but so do the quick-release rear wheels. Your kids ride comfortably atop the adjustable shock suspension system. Interior seating features include adjustable, padded head rests and critical neck support.
Kids can peek out from wide UV-ray protected windows and there’s an optional sun roof. Do you live in an area that tends to get hot? Your child will appreciate built-in ventilation, the sunshade, bug screen and rain cover with storage pocket.
That’s a lot to love at a price that won’t clean out your kid’s college fund.
Thule Chariot Cheetah XT
If you love the brand, but the Thule above Chariot Cross Sport is beyond your means now that you’ve got kids to feed, the Cheetah XT could be the product that delivers on quality and price.
Choose from these four options, one of which is guaranteed to suit your passenger load: The affordable 1-child Cheetah, 1-child unit with jogging kit, 2-child Cheetah, or 2-child version that comes with a jogging kit.
Price differentials are not overwhelming, so even if you’re accommodating two kiddos, you won’t wind up broke.
Regardless of the unit you choose, get the Thule brand and lots of extras, including a lightweight trailer that’s easy to lift, yet it is both sturdy and resilient.
The Cheetah XT’s aerodynamic silhouette is ideal for any type of sporting activity you choose to undertake to tow your child. Because the HeightRight adjustable handlebar is designed for comfort, your hands won’t ache after you returned from an invigorating walk or ride.
This model isn’t the most tricked-out bike trailer of the bunch. Still, you’ll appreciate the extra touches that include a refreshed design with “blue touchpoints for intuitive operation,” plus the covered bicycle trailer and strolling kits.
Cheetahs are fast. You and your youngsters can be faster!
WIKE Premium Double Child Trailers
Don’t get your hopes up too high if this is the premium trailer you can’t live without. Getting your hands on one of these trailers may be harder than the process of giving birth.
This WIKE is just that popular. You’ll notice a stylistic difference from the get-go, which is why this double trailer gets good reviews from the people who have been lucky enough to buy one before the supply dried up.
WIKE advertises this vehicle as to the “lightest in weight among all other convertibles at 24-pounds,” so if weight is at the top of your criteria list, it’s easy to understand why you want one, too.
You can quickly convert this trailer into a stroller or a jogger in seconds thanks to a patented mechanism unique to this product, and the carrier folds flat enough to take up very little room when it is stored or transported.
Included in the design are two helmet-relief cushions that safeguard passenger’s necks should this unit come to a sudden stop or hit rugged terrain. Further, the brand’s two quick-lock bicycle hitches do easy work of converting the carrier to a jogger or bike trailer.
Affordable, sleek, and offering unique features not found on competitor models, is it any wonder this double child trailer sells out fast?
Burley Bee 2-Seat Bike Trailer
While the WIKE above trailer claims to be the lightest on the market, we are compelled to disclose that this Burley Bee weighs only 16 pounds, so it’s literally 8 pounds less than than the WIKE.
Marketed as the ideal trailer for bringing the little ones along when you take care of daily chores, this two-seater is described in race car terms: it’s got a roll cage that exceeds ASTM F1975-09 safety standards and three-way buckles to restrain kids, so they don’t budge from their plush polyester seats. Like the WIKE described above, the Burley Bee sells out fast!
Constructed of one of the most durable polyester textiles on the planet, the exterior of this bike trailer repels everything: soil, splashes, dirt, rocks, and rain, but from their seats inside the confines of this trailer, your kids will stay protected from behind UV-coated windows.
This Bee Trailer features two 20-inch push-button wheels, a pocket designed to stow a helmet, three internal pockets, exterior reflectors for added safety, and a rear cargo area that is meant to hold groceries.
The kids are going to love the safety flag you fly to stay visible in low light. You will be excited to learn that this model is cheaper than the products in this review that have been mentioned before. Now, if you can just figure out who’s got one of these gems in stock!
Allen Sports Deluxe Steel Child Trailer
When you see the price tag accompanying this Allen Sports trailer may be tempted to look twice. One of the least expensive bike trailers on the market, not only can you afford one of these, but you could even put it on your baby shower gift registry and be assured that a friend or family member will pick it up.
Despite the amazingly low price, this steel trailer is no shrinking violet in the rating department. Consumers love the sturdy, lightweight steel construction and quick-release 16-inch steel wheels.
The maximum load this particular product accommodates is topped at 50 pounds, so as long as your kid’s weight stays below this number, you two can hit the road together any time you please.
Small touches make this trailer a stand out that goes beyond the affordable price: It comes with large front and side windows, a foot guard tube that’s strategically placed to protect feet, and the padded 5-point safety harness constrain even the most rambunctious toddler.
Fold this trailer up via the quick-release wheels that allow you to stow and go at the speed of light. There is something essential to know about this trailer. Unless you purchase yours directly from Allen, you won’t get the warranty offered by the company, so think about that before you make a final buying decision.
What to consider when choosing a bike trailer for your kids
It’s evident that Eric Awwy, writing for KiddingZone.com, has children of his own. His tutorial on choosing the best bike trailer for kids is comprehensive and filled with wise advice.
We borrow some of it to help you make a buying decision based on the questions you would ask Eric in person. What trailer type is your best bet?
This answer is best determined by the number of kids you intend to carry, so start your search by comparing double and single models.
Awwy’s research has led him to conclude that single trailers are the best and the surveys and tests he has performed all verify his preference. Single trailers are lighter and more aerodynamic because they are so narrow.
Another factor to consider is how you will use the trailer. The conversion mechanism that morphs a trailer into the perfect tow while riding a bike or jogging could be the factor that makes your decision. Maybe you only care about cycling.
Maybe you intend to ski or you want a model designed for a variety of activities. Of course, if you’ve got twins that single trailer is likely a decision that’s moot!
Is it hard to budget for a bike trailer?
Not really. This market is expansive. If you read all of our reviews and did a little research on your own, you know that the price range on these trailers can be heart-stopping, running from less than $200 to $1000.
In Awwy’s opinion, “premium trailers win when it comes to safety and comfort features,” and he also points out that there’s a relationship between price and a smoother ride.
His recommendation? Find the trailer that meets most of your personal criteria that falls within the mid-range of prices. Here’s his happy addendum: “budget buys can come in handy if your kids are likely to outgrow the trailers faster.”
His final word: go for the best warranty just in case the product you pick disappoints.
What about capacity, storage and cabin dimensions?
Will the trailer you choose act as the catch-all that encompasses the kid(s), the results of shopping trips and the add-ons that allow you to turn your trailer into a pseudo pack animal?
Manufacturers continue to add storage features in the form of pockets, dividers and compartments that do everything from hold a diaper bag to stowing camping equipment. Shape can often determine how much a bike trailer holds.
Says Awwy, don’t discount the shape of the unit you choose because it can impact your stride.
That stated, bring your tape measure along when you shop because interior cabin dimensions can make or break a ride. If you suffer from claustrophobia, you get it. Headroom should measure between 23- and 30-inches.
The ideal distance between shoulders is between 22- and 25.5-inches. As a rule, the pricier the product, the roomier it will be, which is why serious contenders accommodate kids weighing up to 100 pounds. If your kid weighs that much, you may want to consider teaching him to ride his own bike.
What’s best seat in the house…er, trailer?
Whether desire a one-seater or you’re transporting two little ones, it’s important to pick a bike trailer that’s comfortable for riders, especially if you’ve got a fussy kid and one of the methods you use to soothe her is to take her out for a spin.
Bike trailers offer three styles of seats: buckles and harness, hammock-type and bench configurations. Youngsters weren’t saying anything when Awwy consulted them, but the guy is a baby whisperer, so he concludes that a buckles and harness seat offers maximum comfort, which is why high-end trailers tend to come with this type of seat.
Hammock seats tend to be found in inexpensive trailers. They’re usually composed of nylon or plastic straps that support a non-padded sling. Warning: put your two kids in a hammock seat, says Awwy, and they will most likely “be squished together.”
High-end trailers are the domain of bench-type installs because they are the ultimate in comfort and give kids more leg room. Always check the straps to make sure your little dude doesn’t chew toxic strapping because he’s teething and everything within reach is fair game.
How important are external covers?
That depends upon how you feel about subjecting your child to all sorts of assaults! We’re not talking kidnappers. We’re referring to weather elements that can make taking your child out in weather that isn’t fit for man nor beast a very unpleasant experience.
The best external covers are versatile and allow for ventilation. Think about the ideal ones as you would “a cocoon” that protects your little passengers from anything that might assault them: mud, rain, snow, winds and UV-ray exposure.
Net screens make quick work of bugs and dust while thick plastics offer a view on the world. Says one expert: “Make sure [plastic] can be sealed like a fallout shelter if you intend to take your child out in cold and wet weather.”
External zippers–lots of them–will help you wrangle your youngster in and out of his cocoon while saving your back muscles and your sense of humor.
Should you take terrain into consideration?
If you throw caution to the wind, select a trailer that is bare bones and you intend to trek over uneven terrain, feeding your child before you take her out for a ride could be an invitation to disaster from the moment the trailer is subjected to uneven surfaces.
Double that if you picked a model with a dicey suspension system.
Built-in suspension systems can be priceless if your intention is to explore and your wheels should be at least 20-inches for bump absorption. Face it: kids love a smooth ride and if they don’t get one, you’re going to be equally miserable.
Consider adjustable, average and double suspension systems when you make your choice and make everyone happy.
Are there other things you should know when you shop?
Of course. Your ability to fold-down your bike trailer for storage and mobility will be critical if you intend to spend a lot of time adventuring off the beaten track or if you are short on storage space and wouldn’t be able to stow a fully-opened unit.
Another important thing to know is that if you tamper with a trailer to accommodate more weight, you could lower its ground clearance so dramatically, the vehicle could become useless. For parents who are a bit obsessive about safety features, find a model that comes with brakes.
You probably don’t need them often, but if knowing they exist makes you feel better and they come standard with the bike trailer you prefer, say yes.
Minimum Age of Baby
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, towing infants younger than 1 who aren’t properly secured—especially if the unit’s suspension system is iffy–could lead to brain development issues in children subjected to extremely shaky movements.
Err on the side of caution. The AAP recommends limiting a child’s riding age to between 1 and 6, because that is the standard to which trailer manufacturers are held.
Some governments restrict the ages of kids who ride in these trailers, which is why you may wish to do an internet search to learn if there are state, county or local laws.
For parents nervous about whether or not their kid is ready for this experience, neck strength is a good indicator, say experts at the International Bicycle Fund. According to IBF, if a baby can hold his head up unaided for 2 minutes, he is probably a good candidate for rides in a bike trailer.
20 Safety tips to adopt when your kid is a bike trailer passenger
1. Always make sure you’ve correctly secured the trailer to your bike each time you set off.
2. Double-check the strength of interior harness(es) if the trailer is old in the tooth.
3. Be sure removable sides are in their proper positions.
4. Ask yourself if you need to bring everything on board if you suspect it’s overloaded.
5. Hoist a safety flag that’s at least 3-feet tall for enhanced visibility on the road.
6. Consider putting up a barrier that keeps your child from inhaling car exhaust if traffic is dense.
7. Don’t diminish the impact a lost, favorite toy can have on a ride, even if your kid tossed it out for fun.
8. Don’t expect to communicate correctly. Conversations in traffic can be difficult due to your child’s distance.
9. Your bike won’t handle the same. Adding extra weight will require you to make adjustments in the way you ride.
10. Experts recommend bringing a first-aid kit every time you ride.
11. Maintain higher vigilance than usual to compensate for the decreased amount of vision the trailer imposes.
12. If your instinct tells you the weather is too dicey to venture out, listen to it.
13. Put a mirror on your bike handlebar to keep tabs on your child during rides.
14. Avoid sharp turns that could tip the trailer over.
15. Never leave the bike trailer unattended if the child is inside, even for a minute.
16. Take precautions so loose blankets, scarves and clothing don’t get caught in spokes and cause an accident.
17. Remove dangling drawstrings from the child’s clothing for the same reason.
18. Feeding a child during or just before a ride could result in choking.
19. Yes, it’s wise to put every child in a safety helmet.
20. Wheel guards can protect fingers from getting caught in wheel spokes.
Can there ever be too many safety rules to follow when taking a youngster out for a ride tucked into a bike trailer? You know the answer.
Share these tips with your friends and neighbors so their kids stay safe on the road, too.