Monday, September 13, 2010

The Burley Travoy Trailer: A Review





"Clever!" "Neat!" "I want one!" These are the kind of things people say when they first encounter the Burley Travoy. First off, let me get the disclaimer stuff out of the way. I get no kickback from Burley for this review and they didn't give me the trailer or anything. We have them for sale at the shop where I work, the Bicycle Center in Issaquah, and if we didn't think it was a good product we wouldn't bother having it in our store. And if you buy it from us, yep that does help keep me employed. Similarly, if you buy it from your local bike shop, you're helping keep those folks employed. And if you can't find one locally and buy it from Amazon using one of the links on this blog, a small percentage of your purchase price goes to me. We all clear on that? Good! On with the review.

When we got the Burley Travoy in the shop, I was one of those people saying "Clever, neat, I want one!" Burley describes the Travoy as a commuter trailer but I think it's better described as an errand trailer. While most bike commuters probably don't need to carry a trailer load of stuff on a daily basis, almost every cyclist encounters situations where the ability to carry large or awkward things would come in handy. While something like an XtraCycle, a Big Dummy or a Trek Transport can carry huge loads, many cyclists don't have the space or cash to devote to such large and lovely machines. If I was regularly hauling things like cylinders full of welding gas (hi Matt!) and didn't live in a second floor walk-up apartment, I'd totally be one of those cargo cult cyclists hauling hundreds of pounds of stuff on my big, long bike.

The Burley Travoy is designed to carry loads of up to 60 lbs (27 kg) and it's designed to carry stuff, not people. The Travoy is light (just under 10 lbs) and it folds up for storage. Folded, the Travoy fits in it's own cargo bag. Folding and unfolding is a very quick process -- the Travoy folds in thirds with a twist of the handle/latches and the wheels pop on and off with a push of a button. The Travoy can also function as a hand cart and it is narrow enough to roll through doorways.

The Travoy has many nice, clever touches. The small hitch mounts securely to the bike and a simple latch mechanism connects the trailer to the hitch. Spare hitches may be purchased for $30 so you can easily share the trailer between multiple bikes. Burley also makes a variety of bags that can be used with the Travoy and the trailer has many tie-down points. As a test, I strapped my folded Dahon D3 to the trailer as cargo and it worked fine. I also used the Dahon as the towing bike for the trailer. The stock hitch isn't sized for the large diameter seatpost of the Dahon but replacing the stock bolts with longer ones solved that problem. With a pair of folding bikes and this trailer you could, for example, meet a friend some place and then you both could ride off into the sunset. (Maybe I'm the only one who does things like that, but a trailer like this opens up interesting car-free possibilites. If I was younger and single that would totally be how I would date!)

The Travoy tows wonderfully. It tracks nicely behind the bike and handles well both empty and loaded. On the trip to the Trader Joe's a few miles from my house I get a mix of paved and gravel riding and if I'm in the mood I can get a bit of trail riding in as well. The Travoy handled the bumps and rough stuff well. 12" pneumatic tires and a flexy material near the hitch do a good job of damping vibration. What I think of as a big load of groceries fits easily into the Travoy bag.

There's a lot of plastic on the Travoy, but the trailer seems very solid. The latches all work smoothly and for it's intended use as an urban errand trailer, I can't really come up with anything I'd change about the design. If I was going to go on a cross country or round the world tour, I'd probably want something with beefier wheels, more metal and less plastic. Burley, if you're reading this and need a field tester for an adventure trailer with a design like the Travoy, let me know.

This isn't a long term test, we just got this trailer into the shop. So far, I'm very impressed. I've included some videos Burley made showing the Travoy in action and the link to Amazon includes some reviews there. If anybody out there has anything they wan't to add about the Burley, feel free to use the comment form here. If you're in Issaquah, stop by the Bicycle Center and check out the Travoy for yourself.

Keep 'em rolling,

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah, WA USA










14 comments:

Ken Harris said...

This trailer is like blog crack for me. I read everything I can about it and hope to sell my daughter's child trailer and buy one of these next spring....

fatbob29r said...

Kent, great review. I think Burley should put a little change in your pocket for the honest review. I love that you're so focused and dedicated to the cycling community.

Anonymous said...

It looks a lot like Burley have discovered the Bike-Hod, it has only been around for a couple of decades.
http://www.bikehod.com/bike-hod/index.html

Anonymous said...

We recently bought one. We loaded 66 lbs. of groceries, mostly into the lower bag. Other half was following me and said there was some visible flexing, but I didn't feel anything. We traveled over several miles of sidewalks, asphalt and gravel, some of it quite bumpy.

If you have a longish rear rack, hooking up can be an issue, since riding over bumps can cause the trailer hitch arm to bang into the rack. We contacted Burley about this, and they are creating a rack attachment for the hitch. I hope this attachment is easily removed, since I want to retain the use of my rack as much as possible.

An integrated light mount at the level of driver's headlights would be helpful in my opinion.

Glad your shop is carrying these, since I think this is a very useful design overall. It's not available locally here.

Mary said...

Thanks for the review. I found it shortly after buying the Travoy and noticing that it was going to be a bit of a problem with my Dahon. It was a comfort to find that someone had already dealt with the problem of the oversized seatpost by buying longer machine screws for the hitch. I went out and got some (nice black ones like the originals), and it's working fine. It was great to see that what I was planning to do -- putting one Dahon on the Travoy and pulling it with another -- was well within the realm of possibility. After a couple little errands with the Travoy, I'm very happy with it and am looking forward to many more rides. It joins a garage full of cargo monsters of various sorts, but it's nice to take out a little pink-flowered Dahon folder with such a light-weight trailer for a change.

Kate Ruffing said...

I just got one of the Travoy for all my errand running and I totally agree with your review of it. It is one of the most well thought out innovations I have seen. Only complaint I have is that everywhere I go, people are so impressed with it and want to ask me questions! :) But it is so easy to gush over this product, I don't really mind. Great review of a great product. If you are in the market for one of these don't hesitate to buy one!

Barb Chamberlain, Bike Style Spokane said...

I just shared this link with someone on FB who's going to look for a trailer for grocery runs. She saw my post on grocery shopping by bike: http://bikestylespokane.com/2011/11/05/grocery-run-impossible/ and I knew you had this. I saw one being pulled this summer in Spokane and it looks awesome.

Thanks for writing such down-to-earth, knowledgeable reviews!

Glenn said...

Nice review. I've had my eye on this one since it was introduced. Definitely inspired by the bike hod, but so much more to it with all the bag/no bag options. My vision of bike towing bike was hauling my Brompton to the bike shop, dropping off my regular bike and then towing the Travoy behind my Brompton and, of course, reverse sequence for the pick up. But since I do most of my own maintenance, that wouldn't happen very often. Still, I can envision the Brompton on the bottom, a top grocery bag, and wheeling it through the store. Too bad I'm within walking distance of Safeway. I'll justify one yet!

Anonymous said...

I bought a Travoy about a year ago; I agree it's well-thought-out and I really like it. However, my experience is that you have to take care to distribute the weight correctly or bike and load can become unstable. For instance, when I first got mine I found that my rear wheel tended to rise off the ground in certain situations. I'm not sure of the physics, but I think that if your load consists of heavy stuff at the bottom of the bag, the trailer can exert upward pressure on the rear of the bike and braking when going downhill can force the rear wheel into the air. This is disconcerting! This can be countered by weighing down the rear of the bike, for instance carrying a u-lock on the rear rack. It's true that Burley mentions a minimum weight on the upper part of the trailer, but the owner's manual doesn't mention the potential for dire consequences if you don't address this.

Dan de Angeli said...

This is my third bike trailer, which I use for schlepping laundry, farmer's market produce, kid gear etc. My interest is in maximizing bike and leaving my vehicle unused as much as possible. I am also a contractor, so tools and lumber will also go here. I think the more folks use these kind of vehicles, the less dependent we can become on using our cars. GO BIKES!

Rich Bailey said...

My wife and I just used our Travoy for a two-week bike/camping trip in Hokkaido, the big northern island of Japan. Worked like a charm with my 15 kg backpack strapped in place and trailer bag full of miscellaneous strapped on the top half.
Hokkaido is famous for bike touring in Japan, and people were constantly checking out the trailer and asking questions.

Nice review!

WonderMonkey said...

Thanks for the review. It helped me make the decision to purchase it. I mentioned your review here: http://www.280dude.com/2013/04/19/commuting-to-work-excuse-killer-burley-travoy/

Tom Kepler said...

I have a Montague Navigator folding bicycle and a Burley Travoy trailer. They both fit within Amtrak's carry-on parameters of size and weight, even with added stuff to the cloth bags. That creates interesting travel possibilities.

Cathy said...

Regarding Anonymous and the comment about the British made Bike Hod --- It sells for 399 pounds which is about $600+ -- it looks very well made but at that price ---- no thanks! I thought the travoy was expensive enough.