Single Wheeled Trailers: The BOB Trailer Imitators

Imitation, the Greatest Form of Flattery

The BOB Trailer has first defined and then dominated the bike cargo trailer scene since it became available in the early 90’s. As evidence of its success there has been a significant train of imitators to follow. Some of these have brought added innovations while others are simply a lower quality knock off.

I have divided the trailers to follow between the imitators and those that improve on the art. The imitators are those trailers which have the same basic design as the BOB trailer without improvement to the overall design and function and generally lower quality construction.

I will focus in on the imitators for this post.

The Original:

BOB Trailer Yak


Nashbar Bike Cargo TrailerThis bike cargo trailer sold through Nashbar is quite the discount option at only $199.99. That thin walled tubing and odd angular design make me wonder about its durability.

TW-Bents Bike TrailerThe TW-Bents trailer is mostly an imitation of the BOB. They do however have an innovative way that the trailer folds up. This folding aspect seems handy though looks much less rigid then the BOBs welded and trussed design. They also have an interesting two wheeled version.

BOB Trailer ImitatorMy friend sent me this picture of a BOB imitation. I have no idea where it comes from. Perhaps a frame builder just wanted to make their own trailer.

The Yakima Big Tow Bike TrailerThe Yakima Big Tow was Yakima’s attempt to join in on the party. Their quick release design infringed on BOB’s patent and they had to pay royalties to BOB for its use. The Big Tow did offer an interesting fender design as well as a nice fairing for the cargo area. The Big Tow was discontinued by Yakima a few years ago.

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0 thoughts on “Single Wheeled Trailers: The BOB Trailer Imitators”

  1. […] RSS ← Single Wheeled Trailers: The BOB Trailer Imitators […]

  2. Pedda Pedal says:

    Lost of bold statements on this blog, I must say.
    The BOB is far from the original one-wheel trailer!
    Long before that the French had the Goeland:
    Was later copied by Jack Taylor and produced until 1980!:
    No doubt in my mind where the folks behind The BOB got their “inspiration”!

  3. Josh Lipton says:

    Pedda Pedal,

    Thanks for the links to all those interesting single-wheeled-trailers. You are certainly correct that the BOB Trailer is not the original single-wheeled-trailer. I am sure that we can find other examples of single-wheeled-trailers as well, that were introduced prior to the BOB.

    Thanks also for the opportunity to clarify what was meant with my bold statements.

    BOB Trailers introduced the first single-wheeled-trailer to be sold in significant enough quantities to establish the niche of bike cargo trailers. Their success was due to good timing for the market, excellent marketing and an excellent functioning, simple, sturdy design.

    A key to the BOBs excellent design was their patented Quick-Release attachment system. The BOB Quick Release to Fork Attachment operates smoothly, is easy to attach to a bicycle, allows for easy attachment and detachment of trailer from the bike, and is a simple design for manufacturing.

    The Goeland and Jack Taylor trailers utilize a different type of attachment system. The hitch system for these trailers is similar to a traditional rear rack in its attachment to the bicycles seatstays. The vertical pivot for the trailer is located right behind the bicycles rear wheel. Compare it to the BOB, where the vertical pivot is located at the bicycle wheels hub on the BOB Quick-Release. I am uncertain of the effects of moving the pivot to this location. However the function of attaching and detaching the hitch system to the bicycle is much simpler with the BOB Trailer, only requiring the installation of the BOB Quick-Release. When the BOB Trailer is not in use, there is also not anything other than the BOB Quick-Release left on the bike. The BOB attachment system also appears to be a much simpler design from a manufacturing viewpoint. With this said, there are some interesting aspects to the Goeland/Jack Taylor hitch design which could offer some inspiration for new cargo trailer designs.

    All of the trailers that I denoted in my post as imitators have utilized an attachment system very similar to BOBs patented Quick-Release. Their basic design and function is very similar to the BOB design without adding any significant changes in design or function.

    The success of the BOB Trailer has done a lot to open up the market for other bike cargo trailers to follow, including single wheeled trailers that either imitates the BOB, single-wheelers that move forward from BOB design, two-wheeled trailers, and cargo bike designs such as the Xtracycle. In my next post I will be discussing single-wheeled trailers that have lineage in the BOB Trailer but have moved forward with their design in new directions.

    Again thanks for the interesting links. I think that you have brought up an excellent idea for a future post at the I will begin doing some research of the lineage of single wheeled trailers that lead up to and likely helped inspire the BOB trailer.

  4. johnny_mango says:

    I have a Yakima Big Tow and have pulled it from Mexico to Jasper, Alberta plus another thousand miles or so on other trips. My original pin system used a sort of spring trigger which always gave me a lot of trouble. I called Yakima and they sent me a new yoke and spindle which was much, much better. It uses the same spindle that their child trailer uses.

    Anyway, I think my bearings are going…at least the wheel is hard to spin. I know the bearings are sealed. Do these things ever wear out? Will a BOB wheel fit on my trailer? Any ideas? Thanks.

  5. Josh Lipton says:

    Hello Johnny Mango,

    The BOB Trailer wheel does fit onto the Yakima Big Tow. This sounds like a good solution if your wheel is wearing out.

    You can find BOB Trailer wheels here

  6. HC Ahlmann says:


    the unknown red&black is a Mammut Single Wheel from the german factory Hartje:>.

    Other copies of the Yak are Profex Nepal and Hgeldbel. TW-Bents Convenience 1 is resold with lots of names.

  7. […] Classic (No Longer Available) Yakima: Big Tow (No Longer […]

  8. John says:

    Hello, Great stuff! I really enjoyed all the great info here.

    Let me ask, it appears that there are many one wheel “look alikes” that “copy the yak. How is it that just the Yakima one was a patent violation and not the others? Was it only because the BOBs patented Quick-Release? What I guess I am trying to ask is , if the Yakima version was built built almost idential MINUS the BOBs patented Quick-Release, would there be a problem?

    Is the BOBs Quick-Release, the only patented part of the unit?

    Thanks again, and keep up the great blog, I love it! 🙂


    P.S. This is my first time posting a response, I hope that I will get emailed if a reply is left to this thread??? Thanks again! 🙂

  9. […] have been a lot of bicycle cargo trailer knock offs of BOB, many coming out of Taiwan, not a big surprise as much of the manufacturing in the cycling industry […]

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