Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review

Kick me, scratch me, call me a fool.  I’ve had a Burley Bee trailer sitting in my garage for months and months and I should have gotten it out of the box for review. Because now that I have…I like it a lot.

Not too long ago, many months ago, the folks at Burley sent a Burley Bee my way for a review. Seems they liked my Burley Travoy review and wanted to see what I had to say about the Burley Bee.

Well, autumn became winter and I started using the excuse of ‘it’s too cold outside to load kids in the Burley Bee for a ride.  Excuses, excuses…like the wise Proctologist once said, ‘We all have one and they all stink”!

(I actually had two excuses…I was also reluctant to assemble the trailer; filled with fears of trying to decipher instructions translated from Hindi or Punjabi.  However, even going slowly, the assembly took less than ten minutes!  It looked to me like the instructions were written by a native born English speaker…no outsourcing here.)

‘Butt’…once I scheduled the Burley Bee test ride, everything went well. Except for the part where my little riders were grumpy after getting up from their nap prematurely. So as their mother snapped away on the Nikon, they whimpered and cried at the top of their lungs.  The part of the test ride wherein I towed 50 pounds worth of free weights in the Burley Bee was a lot quieter!

RonAPRIL2012Burley 19 e1335303441932 Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review

Hey, little fellers, what's with all the racket? Better watch out, or I'll replace you with some dumbbells!

Burley’s Been Around For 30 years

This company’s no newcomer to the bike trailer world…in fact, when I was tearing around the roads of Mount Shasta almost 20 years ago with my kids behind me, I was pulling a predecessor to the Burley Bee.

Bear with me for a short ‘Burley history’ lesson.  You may find it as amusing as I did.

RonAPRIL2012Burley 27a Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review

"Keep it down back there...at least I didn't take your swing set apart!"

Burley started in 1978 when a cyclist named Alan Scholz determined to live a car-free lifestyle (now there’s a guy who was ahead of his time).  He was making and selling bike bags at a weekly bazaar near Eugene, Oregon.  The trailer part of the whole operation emerged in answer to his dilemma of how to get his bike bags back and forth to market.

Willing to sacrifice his kid’s happiness for a greener earth, he disassembled their swing set and fabricated a primitive bike trailer for the Saturday excursions. Thus began the Burley Bike Trailer company.

Recent reports have it that Alan’s grown children now begrudgingly acknowledge that the loss of a swing set years ago may have been made up for by a sizable inheritance from what has now become the number-one-selling bike trailer company.  icon wink Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review

===>Buy Burley Bee Trailer at Amazon<===

 Why No ‘Five Stars’ For Child Comfort?

There isn’t anything inherently uncomfortable about the ride in a Burley Bee (not that you could tell from the reaction of my grumpy little sleep-deprived riders); it’s just that there are other trailers on the market that do better…and of course they cost more, too.  The Honey Bee doesn’t have a suspension setup. In exchange for no suspension, the Burley Bee is the lightest trailer on the market…weighing in at 18.5 pounds.

Trailers like the Burley D’lite and the Burley Solo have an elastomer plastic (which serves as a suspension) between the axle and the frame.

Now this doesn’t mean that you’re going to jar your kid’s teeth out of her head when you hit a bump…after all, there is some ‘give’ in the air filled rubber tires and in the hammock-styled seat.

But, with a 18.5 inch wide hammock-styled seat (which is by far the most prevalent of any bike trailer), it does mean that you’d better not load up two kids who start bickering and whining every time their shoulders are touching each other.  There just isn’t enough room in any bike trailer for two kids to have any excess of personal space.  But if you have a couple of easy-going kids, the close quarters won’t be an issue.

RonAPRIL2012Burley 28 copya Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review

The world can be a very small place when shoulder to shoulder with your screaming brother.

 

What’s A Helmet Pocket?…If you look at the next picture, you’ll see that the seat back  doesn’t extend all the way up to the top of the trailer.  That’s so that when Junior sits in the trailer with a helmet on, there’ll be a place for the protruding back of the helmet to fit.

So, a helmet pocket has nothing to do with a place to put the helmet when not in use.  It’s all about child comfort (not having to sit with the helmet pushing the little noggin too far forward) when the Burley Bee bike trailer operation is under steam.

RonAPRIL2012Burley 39a Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review

The 'helmet pocket' is the mesh part...and you can see the harness system very well in this picture.

A Few More Burley Bee Cockpit Items

RonAPRIL2012Burley 36a Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review

This little guy's not going anywhere, much to his chagrin :-)

Each of your riders’ll be secured by a five point safety harness.

They’ll also be protected from the sun by the UV protection of the tinted windows in the Burley Bee.

I can’t think of a faster way to get the cold shoulder at the local coffee house (where all cyclists end up after pretending to have been on a strenuous ride) than to show up with your kids not slathered in sun-block lotion, or at least hiding under UV protected plastic.  icon redface Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review

Should your little rider get too hot in the Burley Bee trailer, you can pull back the clear plastic front window and leave the ‘bug screen’ intact so that air can flow through the trailer.

 

RonAPRIL2012Burley 35a Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review

Wipe your eyes, and there's a great big window for looking out!

In the Burley Bee cockpit there’s an interior storage pocket with a water bottle slot. Because I’m sure you’re aware that in the world of parental sins, only UV exposure exceeds child dehydration in severity… and the need for penitence.

‘Hardware’ Items For The Parents

Let’s get the most basic of ‘hardware’ discussion taken care of first.

As are all Burley trailers, the Burley Bee exceeds the ASTM F1975-09 safety standards. The frame is made of aluminum tubes and hinges, which is why the trailer is the lightest on the market.  When you get into some of the cheap trailers, you’ll be dealing with steel tubing, which is best suited for crowbars, screwdrivers, and finishing nails.

The aluminum frame forms an internal roll cage, which is critical when it comes to exceeding the safety standards.

Nearly as important as how a bike trailer performs on the road is how it performs in the garage.

Burley Bee pancake1 Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review

It took less than a minute to reduce the trailer to a 'Burley Bee Frisbee'.

While road-performance actually is more important, there is a good case to be made for quick and easy storage. Bike trailers take up a lot of space in a crowded garage so being able to quickly remove the ‘push-button-removable’ 20″ composite wheels and fold the entire trailer into a 11.3″ by 24.6″ by 37.3″ ‘Burley Bee Frisbee’ can free up some space for other toys.

RonAPRIL2012Burley 48c10x20 copy Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review

Just push the button, and the wheels come off. So easy, even this ex-Canadian can do it!

Another wheel-related Burley Bee feature are the wheel guards. These do a heroic  job of preventing your wheels from being ripped off when you’re trying to get through a narrow opening that you should have known better than to attempt.

RonAPRIL2012Burley 5c10x20 copyb Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review

The triangular wheel guards cover over a multitude of 'driver error' incidents.

I guess we could call a safety flag a hardware item.  Regardless, I’m sitting here telling you that it comes standard with the Burley Bee…as do the reflectors on the front, the back, as well as on the wheels.RonAPRIL2012Burley 44a Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review

If you’ll be using two different bikes to pull your trailer, it may be prudent to spring for an extra trailer hitch so that hooking up the trailer to either bike isn’t too much of an effort.  They’re sold for an extra $20.00 on Amazon here.

Speaking of the hitch…the hitch attached very easily under my quick-release skewer (it’d be almost as easy to attach it under a traditional axle/nut arrangement).  There is a pin that goes through a rubber elastomer bushing (it’s great to have a little bit of ‘give’ between you and the trailer).  There’s also a safety strap to wrap around the frame of your bike in case you’ve made a mistake, and inadvertently put your little rider’s health in jeopardy due to sloppy ‘bike trailer attachment’ skills.

RonAPRIL2012Burley 15 copya Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review

If I'd gotten my finger out of the way in time, you'd have a better view. But I just HAD to point out the elastomer bushing!

Burley Bee Carrying Capacities

Two kids and one bag of groceries, three bags of groceries with no kids, 100 lbs of any combination of the two.  That’s what the Burley Bee can hold.

So there you have it…you can get two kids in the trailer with storage behind them; secured by a cargo net. When you’re strictly on a shopping trip you can load the Burley Bee trailer with any combination of turkeys, stuffing, cranberries, and pumpkin pies…not to exceed 100 lbs.

RonAPRIL2012Burley 46c10x20 copyb Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review

Here's where the groceries ride...

The Good
  1. The Burley Bee’s a solid, no-nonsense bike trailer made by a rock solid company (around since 1978)
  2. The Burley Bee weighs in at a mere 18.5 pounds.
  3. As low as one-half the cost of other ‘Cadillac’ trailers.
  4. Burley Bees have very good resale value.
  5. An extra trailer hitch makes switching the Burley Bee trailer between bikes easy.
  6. Hammock-style seating adds shock absorption.
  7. Riders are protected from UV radiation with tinted windows.
  8. The Burley Bee helmet pocket allows riders to keep heads upright when wearing a helmet.
  9. Easy folding and push-button-removable wheels for storage.
  10. Cargo space and cargo net behind riders in the Burley Bee make carrying extras easy.
The Bad
  1. No suspension on the axle of the Burley Bee…trailers with a suspension are in a higher price class. Often twice the price.
  2. The Burley Bee doesn’t include a sound system to override the sound of cranky riders icon lol Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review .

So what are the Burley Bee features?

  • The Burley Bee fits either one or two kids.
  • Exceeds ASTM F1975-09 safety standards.
  • Full roll cage made of anodized aluminum.
  • The Burley Bee 20 inch composite rims/tires that can be easily removed with a ‘push bottom’.
  • The Burley Bee includes a ‘helmet pocket’ so the little rider’s head can go completely back and they can sit upright.
  • Clear plastic windows are treated to inhibit UV light.
  • There’s storage in the Burley Bee behind the rider, complete with a cargo net to secure the load.
  • The Burley Bee can carry up to three bags of groceries…if you leave the little riders at home.
  • A safety flag is included and a lot of reflective accoutrements (had to squeeze that word in) are plastered all over the Burley Bee .
  • The Burley Bee includes two five point safety harnesses.
  • The Burley Bee features a suspended seat that absorbs road shock like a hammock would.
  • A ‘bug screen’ covers the front for protection from small flying objects.
  • The Burley Bee includes an interior storage pocket with a water bottle slot.

And the Specs?

  • Maximum weight carrying capacity of 100 lbs.
  • The Burley Bee is the lightest of the bike trailers.  It weighs only 18.5 pounds!
  • When put away for storage, the Burley Bee folds down to 11.3″ by 24.6″ by 37.3″.

Child comfort four and a half stars e1291132859260 Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review Bells and Whistles four stars e1291132785450 Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review
Quality of materials five stars e1291132917436 Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review Customer Service/Reliability five stars e1291132917436 Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review

What Others Are Saying About The Burley Bee…

I did a lot of research before buying this trailer. I looked at it at the REI store and read lots of reviews. I even watched the video review from someone who really hated it. My conclusion is that for the money, there isn’t a better trailer on the market. Sure there are better trailers, but they cost 2 to 3 times as much…and many are heavier…

iGanja {Review re-written for uniqueness and brevity. read the original review here}

Our Burley Bee is now 3 years old and we love it. We just took a ride with the kids and it’s wonderful to see them so content in the trailer. We wondered if there’d be enough room for both my three year old son and my 14 month old daughter, but they’re happy in the trailer…even on long rides.

We got it for a great price, and Amazon’s free shipping

Mom of Two {Burley Honey Bee Review re-written for uniqueness and brevity. read the original review here}

RonAPRIL2012Burley 3c10x20 copya Burley Bee Bike Trailer Review

Coming or going, I really like the Burley Bee Trailer!

===>Buy Burley Bee Trailer at Amazon. They Have The Best Deal.<===
websiteportrait3 e1335281174996 Burley Bee Bike Trailer ReviewAbout the reviewer: Ron Fritzke is a cycling product reviewer with a passion for ‘all things cycling’. A former 2:17 marathoner, he now directs his competitive efforts toward racing his bike…and looking for good cycling products.
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Burley Bee Bike Trailer

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