Bicycle Network: Bikes 'n' Bits
Kiddie carriers - trailers
Ride On magazine's Gear Guru Rene Bueman investigates child seats for front and back and child trailers. This page presents info on trailers
Children can be carried on a bike or in a trailer from the time they can sit up by themselves (approximately nine to 12 months) until they are between four and six years of age, depending on the child's weight and the carrying capacity of the seat of the trailer.
Child trailers don’t fall over, track really well, provide a smoother ride for the rider and the child, protect the child from the elements and have substantial rollover protection. They don’t compromise the handling of the towing bike. These trailers take most of the weight over the trailer wheels and put (roughly) 10% of the trailer weight on the towing hitch (towbar). Most child trailers can also handle up to 45kg (gross weight), so that's much more luggage carrying capacity.
Child trailers are great if you have two children (some only carry one child, but many carry one or two children). They also offer configuration options (usually optional extras) that convert them into three-wheel joggers or supermarket-style prams. They start to make more sense and justify the financial outlay when you can reconfigure them to widen their applications.
Child trailers are quite expensive and they are large objects. If you normally bring your bike in the front door at home the trailer is probably going to block the hallway for everybody else. The garage is the natural home for trailers. Most trailers can be disassembled and stored, but this negates their convenience and ability to ‘just pedal down to the shops’. It’s better to be able to just hitch-and-ride than to go through the assembly drama every time you want to go somewhere.
Some literature suggests that even though they come with visibility flags, child trailers could pose a safety problem in bad weather conditions including fog, low light, and even at night or twilight. You can maximise the visibility of a trailer by fitting reflectors (if they don't come as standard) and a rear light.
This means if you choose the trailer option you have to plan your route by scouting the way looking for low traffic, generous bike lanes and wide paths. If in doubt there's (almost) always the footpath, which you can use when you're towing a child trailer.
What about a child seat?
More about the options for babies on board
The Burley Solo wins the trailer category on the basis of its function and value for money. The Chariot is clearly the most innovative and clever design, but it’s just too expensive.
(in cycle format)
|Max weight inc. luggage||No. of children||Reccomended max speed||Converts to pram/jogger
extras or options
|Rating out of 5|
|$550||11kg; 45kg||2||16kph||Optional jogger kit||H - 900
W - 870
L - 1280
|Pacific alloy Trailer/Jogger by Bike Corp www.bicorp.com.au||$549||14.7kg; 45kg||2||15kph||Jogger
Brakes attached to jogger handle
|Chariot Cougar 1 by Morris Stanley tel (02) 9550 5814||$1220||10kg; 34kg||1||25kph–16kph around corners||Optional Pram or Jogger attachments
Can go off road and on snow
2-child carrier available
|Burley Solo by Greenspeed www.greenspeed.com.au||$850||10.7kg;
|1||24kph on smooth flat roads;
8kph or less on turns and uneven roads
2-child carrier available
|H - 920
W - 700
L - 1500