We’d like to introduce our newest blog author and Bike Trailer Shop Sales Manager, Dave Herbold aka Gnome of OneSpeeder.com fame. Dave’s first post is kicking off our 4th of July Burley Child Trailer Sale with a review of the Burley Encore that he’s been testing out with his son. So here’s Dave:
I’m both the proud father of a 13 month old boy, and a new member to the Bike Trailer Shop company. Since fatherhood arrived along with the inevitable rise in the cost of fuel, bicycle trailers have become an essential tool for everyday day living. Since I’ve started working here, I’ve also had the opportunity to learn quite a bit about trailers, and more specifically, child trailers.
I’ve been using a Burley Encore Child Trailer almost everyday for the last 6 months to take the boy with me on errands around town and for the almost daily trip up to the baby sitter (three miles away). I’ve been learning for sure, and what I’ve found is that what I once I considered a chore in a car, I now find to be a great experience on the bike, with Nathan in tow. The Encore is Burley’s mid-level, one to two child trailer and comes with finer amenities such as quick-release alloy wheels, tinted UV protected windows and a two-in-one all weather cover among other things. It retails for $449. As well, it is compatible with the Stroller, Jogger and “We Ski” kits to provide extensibility in all seasons.
The trailer is high quality and that’s apparent from the construction of the fabric & plastic capsule to the frame tubing & welds. The compartment is supported by a wide wheel base on top of 20 inch wheels that make for an incredibly stable platform. Couple that with a 5 point harness system and the Encore is indeed extremely safe. The surprising thing that happened the first time we took the boy out in the trailer, was how he was instantly comfortable. From the hammock mesh seat, to the security of the harness system & sound of wind and the hum of the tires on pavement, he was into it. If he wasn’t gazing out the window, he’d be out cold, napping the ride away.
Yes, you can feel the additional weight of the trailer and its rider, but with two 20 inch wheels, the trailer gets up to speed fast and maintaining said speed, is not impossible, but it is a trailer. Over rougher terrain, the trailer jerks at the hitch a bit, but it’s not too bothersome. Essentially, the trailer is just letting you know it’s back there as I understand is par for the course with two wheeled trailers. My previous experience to date was with a single wheeled BOB Ibex Trailer. The recommended speed range Burley suggests is between 5 & 15 mph for the child trailers and those are pretty realistic speeds. This means that when the baby is on board, slowing down over really rough terrain is a good idea, even with the hammock seating, it’s worth it to take it easy on the bumps. But, without the boy riding, I’ve cruised in top gear back down the hill from the babysitters at around 21mph and it handles predictably and is very stable. lowering the tire pressure on the trailer adds a bit of cushion for the rider too.
- Ease of entrance: Putting the boy in, and taking him out of the trailer is no problem with the wide, ample opening.
- The hitch: Burley’s stong presence in the trailer world wouldn’t be possible without a very well designed, simple hitch system that takes little effort to take on and off.
- Ventilation: on warm days, roll the plastic front window up and let the breeze flow through the secondary mesh netting. On the cold days, with the plastic window rolled down, the inside of the trailer stays surprisingly cozy.
- Cargo Storage: There’s plenty of storage in addtion to the two seat area of the trailer which makes grocery runs a great option.
- Trailer Storage: Burley has developed a super-easy collapsing design into the trailer that’s a snap to use. The whole trailer compresses within seconds.
- There’s not much to dislike about the Burley Encore. However, the one thing that does come to mind is the width. Although the width of the trailer is part of a sound & safe design, it’s a bit too wide for some situation like narrow pathway entrances or congested store-fronts. Of course, I’m a one-child parent. If I had two kids, I don’t even think I’d mention anything about the width since it is an aspect of design necessity. Burley offers the “Solo” in relation to this consideration.
There are a lot of options out there these days as far as child-trailers go and one of the more obvious choices is a Burley. In fact, I don’t have any legitimate complaints about this trailer and find it perfect for much of our utilitarian needs. If there was a choice to be made, it would be based on comparing the feature packed Burley, to the savings that can be found with other trailers such as the Croozer 535 or 737. The Croozer Trailer is similar in design and saftey fearures, with out quite the same flair as a Burley.
Beyond how well the Burley Encore simply works, I’m constantly impressed how it allows for freedom on the bike and opportunity for exercise all while accommodating much of what life is about these days, making owning one a easy choice. For the cost of a few tanks of gas, you may be amazed at the improvements for daily living a bike child trailer will provide.