900 Miles: Long-Distance Test of Travoy Bike Trailer


The Burley Travoy is an excellent city bike trailer. But what happens when you take an urban-designed trailer for a tour on a full-suspension mountain bike in a faraway country? This year, I did just that, packing the Travoy along for a two-month bike tour of New Zealand’s South Island. I explored the country via Highway 6 and, since I was using my mountain bike, I even got to test the setup off-road, including on a trail from Queenstown to the gorgeous town of Te Anau.

burley travoy trailer.jpg

Burley Travoy

Burley Design of Eugene, Ore., debuted the Travoy trailer last year. It is meant mainly for city tasks, and my New Zealand trip was certainly a stretch. I carried about 60 pounds of food and supplies over 900 miles with all the weight crammed into a typical hiking backpack and strapped to the Travoy with bungee cords. Despite some issues with tipping and staying in control on difficult downhills on mountain trails, the Travoy performed great for the majority of the trip.

The three best things about bike touring with the Travoy are its lightweight, packability, and its multi-functionality. It weighs almost half of what a normal touring trailer can weigh (at about 10 pounds when empty). When I was going up steep mountain grades that weight loss was appreciated. During travel to the country, the trailer was so compact that I was able to fold it up and carry it onto my flights. It fit perfectly into the overhead compartment. At airports, I could then cart my oversized bike box around using the Travoy like a dolly.

waima with travoy.jpg

The author using the Travoy like a dolly to haul his bike box

On the bike, the trailer pulled smoothly on roads. It also performed better than expected in most off-road situations. When biking on flat or uphill rocky terrain the momentum of the bike would pull the trailer back on track and minimize the sway anytime I hit a rock or hole.

The only time the trailer let me down was when braking going downhill on trails. Then, with the weight and momentum of the trailer pushing against my bike, the sway of the trailer would be exaggerated. After it hit an obstacle it would easily tip even on the most mild terrain going downhill. I did not crash, but this did require me to stop, get off the bike, and reposition the trailer before I could pedal off again.

travoy on bike 2 copy.jpg

Disconnected from the bike, the pack and trailer sit upright and accessible

For many bike tourists, the Travoy, which retails for $289, could be a slick option over panniers or a heavier and more expensive trailer the likes of a BOB Ibex. However, off-road or mountain-bike tours are not the venue for the Travoy. It is far more functional on pavement.

Next year I am heading to South America on a bike tour similar to what I did in New Zealand. Despite some hesitance with the trailer off-road, the Travoy is coming with me.

—Waima Azizi is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Posted by G. Tyler - 07/12/2011 09:55 AM

Thank you for writing about using a Travoy on your adventure. I am just getting into bike camping/touring and already own a Travoy for commuting. By using the Travoy I won’t have to purchase racks and panniers! Did you have any trouble with the tires flatting and did you carry extra tubes/tires?

Posted by Peter Martin - 03/01/2012 02:59 AM

This is the best equipment to carry a quite bigger luggage than the cycle carrier from one place to another,and due to it’s suspension it helps to walk smoothly even in country sides also.
Classic Motorcycle

Posted by Nishant prasad - 05/30/2012 10:19 AM

I suppose I can make an informed post about the Travoy.

I have now biked somewhere in the range of 10,000 miles with the trailer in tow(Pacific coast, Southern Tier, Atlantic Coast).

My Blog
The good:
Trailer is compact and light weight.
Keeps the weight off the bike(less flats).
Bike rides normally.
Lots of looks and questions from tourers and non-tourers.
Folds up and easy to lock to the bike frame.
Built rather sturdily.
Takes a beating. I ride my products hard. After 1 year of constant use it has done really well!
You can transport 3 cases(12 packs) of beer in one run. Oh the envious looks you get.

The bad:
I have tipped mine over on bumps a hand full of times. This can be dangerous if you panic easily and can’t control the bike as it could take you down. But it is easy to slow down and readjust the trailer. Just have to remain composed and move to the side of the road.
The plastic arms are not the best. I broke both of them but can still open and close it manually(pushing in the knobs with my thumbs).
High speed concern. I have hit 48mph as my max speed going down a hill. Its a bit scary but there again you don’t have to go that fast.
Up hills are some what of a drag but not a biggie. I still haul past most tourers going up hills.
Replacement tubes are harder to pump as the valves don’t face outwards.

Other than that I am pretty happy with the travoy. I wouldn’t have stuck with it for so long if I did not like it.

Posted by R. Nicolas - 10/09/2012 05:58 AM

Thank you for this review (and Nishant’s as well) I’ve been eyeballing this trailer for some time now with the idea of using it for commuting, and the occasional short tour (up to 400 miles) but wasn’t sure if it would hold up to the latter—so thanks for keeping me from buying two trailers

Posted by Stef - 03/24/2013 11:49 PM

Nishant, thanks for posting that extremely useful and informative review. I just bought one of these yesterday and haven’t tried it yet but I plan to tiur with it so I can take my luxury item…a bigger tent!
Your info and experience gives me confidence
Since you toured with it so much I bet Burley would welcome your feedback for future product development. Just one thing…going down a hill at 48mph without a load. No problem.
With a trailer..no way! Slow down some and stay safe! Good point about not panicking if the trailer tips over. Just like breaking suddenly.You have to not over react.
I think the Travoy is a brilliant piece of design. Can’t wait to get on the road with it.
and…I seem to be out of beer.

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