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Q&A – Surly Big Dummy

In the mailbag this week :
Phil is wondering if the Surly Big Dummy is worth the money, owners of the Big Dummy give him input?

Surly big Dummy

Hello there! I was just checking out your website and I wonder if maybe you ever checked out Riding The Spine .com. Three hardy souls modified these bike somewhat and rode them from the tip of Alaska to the tip of South America in something like three and a half years.

I WANT A BIG DUMMY!!!

I went to the bike shop, where I got my Surly Long Haul Trucker, today to check out the price and to say the least, STEEP and not cheap. In your opinion, is it worth the money to get one? I would think anything that would take you from Alaska to South America mostly off road would be well worth the money.

Thanks for reading my Big Dummy lust letter. Later Phil

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A Final Review of the Burley Travoy

Burley Travoy

To be honest, I’ve never walked into a review for a product so excited, yet so worried about the outcome. Normally, I have a pretty good idea of how I’ll feel about a product – sometimes my decision or opinion will be swayed one way or another based on product durability or features. The Burley Travoy is a unique trailer system, that would either completely sell me on trailers for daily use or leave me hoping for more.

Initial Reactions

When I pulled the Travoy out of the shipping box I was pleasantly surprised in the weight and how small the trailer could pack down into. (Folded size: 21″ x 18″ x 8″. The details of the design are pure Burley – from how easy the handles turned within each tier of the folding system, to how the wheels popped off and even to how the bags or rain fly installed. To see these in action, view the video below.

The plastic wheels and height worried me. Would the system be easy to use on all my bikes, and would I break the plastic wheels on my short off road and gravel excursions??

Riding with the Travoy

The Travoy was tested, maybe too hard at times, on all of my bikes and on many different surfaces.. Everything shy of mountain biking this little Travoy saw, and it seemed to do well on all of them. The small 12″ wheels tracked well and the Travoy never seemed to want to pitch over, even on shaky gravel hills. The wheels are even still straight and the tires show only a slight bit of wear.

Every bike I tried the Travoy on, worked well.

  • Burley TravoyThe Trek Madone seen in the video we used a rubber sleeve between the clamp and the carbon as not to scuff or scratch the carbon.
  • The closest encounter I had with compatibility issues was with my Salsa Casseroll and rear rack. The arm of the Travoy was very close to touching the rack, and if the bike/trailer ever were on different levels of terrain I’m sure it would of hit.

Accessories for the Travoy

The Burley Travoy comes as a naked system seen here. It comes with two straps, and a carrying bag that doubles as a large bag that goes on the bottom tier.. If you want to purchase the Grocery or Transit bags they are additional, but are dual use for in the grocery store (Travoy Grocery Bag), or as a messenger bag for your laptop (Travoy Transit Bag.)

Overall Impressions of the Travoy

The Burley Travoy is a great commuter or urban cargo system. The upright position of the trailer makes it more viewable for cars and other cyclist. The thought out bag system allows you to commute to work with your laptop, or go grocery shopping with ease.

This system is by far my favorite grocery hauler that I’ve tried. The fact I can take the Travoy in as my shopping cart and dual use the bag system in the grocery store, ring up my groceries and have everything already put in place when I leave the store is AMAZING. Simply hook the trailer on and you are riding off into the sunset.

The trailer due to the 12″ wheels and low clearance isn’t for anyone going off road, and the wheels would even limit me personally for using this for a loaded tour, but for a short stint would work fine.

Pros and Cons of the Burley Travoy

Pro. :

  • Easy to use
  • Upright position for viewing and carrying
  • Two wheels for stability
  • Weight of system
  • Small collapsible system

Cons :

  • Small wheels
  • Needed additional accessories
  • Low clearance

The Burley Travoy will be continued to be tested through the fall. I plan on a short overnight tour (S24O) utilizing it, and other little test. You should see this revisited so keep your eye on BikeShopGirl.com.

If you are interested in purchasing a Burley Travoy visit our friends and sponsors at Bike Trailer Shop.

This product was given to us from Burley at no charge for reviewing. I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.
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The Wandertec BONGO Bike Trailer has arrived!

Wandertec and the BikeTrailerShop.com are proud to introduce a new trailer for 2010, the Wandertec BONGO Bike Trailer. The BONGO is our answer to the call for the ultimate utility bicycle trailer. Here at Wandertec we see many different types of bicycle trailers and receive a lot of feedback from customers. We felt there was a need in the bicycle trailer market that wasnt being satisfied, so we threw some ideas in the oven and the BONGO is what popped out, in two sizes!

With eco-friendly mindsets spreading and the ever-rising price of gas, more and more people are turning to bicycles as their mode of transportation. But its hard to make grocery runs, gets parts from the hardware store, transport plants from the nursery, or tour around the world with simply a bike. This is where the BONGO comes in to save the day.
Continue reading The Wandertec BONGO Bike Trailer has arrived!

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PCH Tour: There

The complete blog series on this tour:
Bike Tour Preperation: Part 1 Destination, Part 2 Training, Part 3 Pack Up!
PCH Tour: There, Biking Back with Burley, The Good, The Bad and The Burley

After months of training, buying gear, and preparation; the day finally came when James and I were ready to embark on a jaunt up the Pacific Coast.

The trip started out very rocky, or sloshy to be exact. We arrived at the train station in L.A. at 9 a.m. on December 17, 2008. We wheeled our Burley Nomad around like luggage and went into a secret back room (with voice activation and a pin pad) to pick up our bikes. It was drizzling, but nothing of a deterrent really; we were ready to ride. Now, we had to get from the LAX train station to Route 1. The light rain had turned into heavy rain accompanied by strong winds. Headed north in 40 mph winds and vertical rain pelting you in the face like small pebbles, this was definitely a first day to remember. We were lucky enough to eventually find the Malibu RV/campsite, and were crossing our fingers that the Nomad stood up better than we did being tethered for hours on end with hurricane-like, elemental fury. To our surprise, most everything was dry. Some things got wet from the water that splashed up from underneath the trailer, but the washer/dryer set up at the RV park was nothing short of a miracle, and ultimately saved my toes from frostbite, and both of us from hypothermia.
Continue reading PCH Tour: There

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Review of the Carry Freedom City Trailer

My girlfriend and I went on a bike tour through Northern England and Scotland last month. We had the opportunity to test out an Orbit touring tandem from JD Cycles. With somewhat complicated travel plans, we decided that the Carry Freedom City trailer would make for the easiest overall travel experience.

Our Plans:
1: Fly into London for a day
2: Take a train to Northern England
3: Take our tandem tour from there to Glasgow
4: Ship the bike back to Northern England
5: Fly back from Glasgow to London for a few days
6: Fly back home

For our flight from Las Vegas to London, we packed the City trailer inside of an Ortlieb Big Zip. We first packed in the contents of the City bag (sleeping bags, pads and tent) as well as the City bag itself as padding around the bottom and sides of the bag. Then I folded the trailer up, handle in and wheels in, and slid it inside the bag. We were carrying the remainder of our gear, clothes, maps, toiletries, etc. in an Ortlieb RackPack XL. Additionally, we had a handlebar bag for valuables, tools, snacks and the like.

Continue reading Review of the Carry Freedom City Trailer

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Bicycle Trailer hitches and couplers

Probably the most common question here at the shop begins with, “so, I bought a used trailer on eBay.” Our follow up question is always, “what brand is the trailer?” The answer will invariably come from this list: Kidarooz, Rhode Gear, Bell, Kool-Stop, Winchester Original, JD Razor, Cannondale, Tanjor, Yakima, Norco USA, or Trek, those trailers abandoned, orphaned, and kicked to the side of the bike path in the name of progress. Did they deserve this sort of treatment. Some, yes, but all old trailers have some usefulness. But can they be revived without looking too hillbilly?

To get started, have a look at this video put up by our friends over at BikeHacks.com.

Continue reading Bicycle Trailer hitches and couplers

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One Wheel or Two?

Bicycle trailers are fast becoming a viable transportation option in the face of the changing energy scheme. With that, many calls are received at the Bike Trailer Shop headquarters about the basics of trailer design. One of the more frequent considerations when selecting a trailer is the wheel count. Are you better off with a one wheel bike trailer or two wheel bike trailers? The choice is dependent on the use. If you intend to have children in-tow, two wheels is the only option. If you need more utility & versatility, your options open to a wide variety of designs. Continue reading One Wheel or Two?

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Burley Encore Trailer Review

Nathan in a Burley EncoreWe’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. Continue reading Burley Encore Trailer Review