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Review: Burley Trailer

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A big backpack is an option. Many people bet on rack-mounted panniers. But to really haul a lot of cargo while on two wheels, bike trailers rule.

A smart new offering in the product category, Burley Design of Eugene, Ore., debuted the Travoy trailer this spring. It is a two-wheel configuration that attaches to a bike’s seat post. The company (www.burley.com) touts a max cargo capacity of 60 pounds for the upright roller.

Burley Travoy Trailer

I tested the Travoy last month. In most situations, it rolled unnoticeably behind on roads and bike trails. Groceries and items from the hardware store were easy to stash in a Burley bag that clipped onto the Travoy’s frame.

Solid 12-inch wheels and a metal frame with an L-shape shelf create a design not unlike a workman’s dolly. A handle on top to pull the unit around when not attached to a bike furthers that image.

When not in use, the Travoy folds and stashes into an included briefcase-size bag for transport or storage. It weighs about 10 pounds.

For many bikers, the Travoy will be a slick option over panniers or driving a car to get a load. But it is not cheap. For $289, you get the trailer, hitch connector, a tote bag, and tie-down straps. Additional bags to hook on cost between $59 and $89 apiece.

Travoy Trailer with bags attached

Overall, despite some confused looks, I liked using the Travoy for errands in the city. One day, I stripped the Travoy bare of its bags and roped two large cardboard boxes to its frame. My destination was UPS, and the boxes, which weighed about 10 pounds apiece, ferried almost without incident behind.

But at a street crossing, one wheel came off a curb ahead of the other, and the trailer swung sideways too far. It stayed hitched to my bike but balanced sideways on one wheel, requiring me to stop and tip it back upright.

Another small issue: With my skinny road-bike seat, the seat-post-mounted trailer hitch comes in contact with my thighs slightly on each pedal stroke. This is not a problem on my mountain bike, which has a wider seat.

Burley has a neat new product with the Travoy. Watch those curbs when you have a heavy load — and maybe don’t use your skinny race saddle on errands — and the Travoy can be a perfect cargo solution.

—Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.

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