Why should the Burley Travoy be any different than the rest of their products? It isn’t. Burley has always made high quality, well-thought-out products. And that’s what I find in the Burley ‘urban trailer’ called the Travoy. I’m no stranger to Burley products…I started pulling my kids around in a Burley trailer over 20 years ago.
|About 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.|
|Versatility||Bells and Whistles|
|Quality of materials||Customer Service/Reliability|
Burley Travoy Cheap-shots…Taking On The Naysayers
Before I get going on what I think of this trailer, I want to get some things off my chest.
I’ve spent hours scouring the web for reactions to the Burley Travoy…and I’ve come away realizing that I’m glad I don’t live in a crowded city next to the few little nit-pickers taking cheap shots at this quality product.
I can just see them flapping their hands in glee and piddling in their self-righteous pants after pointing out that…
- there’s been another product similar to this one offered in England called the ‘Bikehod’ (it costs over $500, while the Burley Travoy costs about $289.00), or that…
- someone did a Master’s thesis on a primitive concept similar to this one, long before Burley came out with the Travoy. They don’t bother to discuss the difference between a skeleton concept and a ‘full-figured’ final product (and the Travoy’s got curves, baby!), or that…
- Stinky Pete went to the dump, pulled a rusty golf cart out of the pile, hosed off the rotting apples and bananas, hose-clamped it to his two wheeled
tankbike, and called it a bike trailer. All it cost him was a rabies shot at the clinic, or that…
- in order to keep the costs manageable, Burley has the Travoy put together in the Philippines (are people who gripe about overseas manufacturing willing to pay three times as much for their bike trailer?…just asking).
Have at it, bike snobs…as for me, I appreciate this excellent product.
It’s The Little Things That Count
This thing rivals ‘Transformers’ in its ability to change shapes and functions (try that with a used golf cart).
The Burley Travoy rides along behind the bike as a trailer, or it can be used as a hand cart, or it can simulate a piece of ‘pull along’ baggage, or it can fold up into a suitcase-sized carry item.
There are handles that twist to allow the trailer to fold up, there are little cables to be pulled to get the bottom shelf to fold, and there are buttons to be pushed to release the quick-release wheels. The Burley Travoy is a gear-head’s dream come true.
And A Bag Lady’s Dream
The Burley Travoy comes with two bags. The top bag is the size of what used to be called a ‘briefcase’, but is now called a ‘messenger’ bag.
This in spite of the fact that there’s usually no message to be delivered.
There’s a laptop protector/carrier in the bag which is secured with Velcro, there are a series of pockets for pens and pencils (remember those?), and there’s a pocket to hold the handbook, Why I’m Superior To Every One Else Because I Don’t Own A Car.
Update: This upper bag is an accessory costing $79.00. Thanks to reader ‘Joe’ for pointing this out.
The Burley Travoy lower bag is humbler in status. Like the upper bag, it attaches to the frame using the tie-down buttons. It’s 20 inches tall, 8 inches deep, and 13 inches wide. That’s 2080 cubic inches of carrying-capacity marvelousness. This is the bag that the Burley Travoy folds down into when it’s not in use.
For those who’re going to use the trailer for ‘hauling freight’, the tie-down buttons work well to secure the load. Where I live that load would be chainsaws and pickup truck bumpers. In Portland, the load consists of narrow solar panels and boxes full of filleted wild salmon (with a spritz of lemon).
Stability While Under Way
Because this trailer isn’t as wide as your aunt Enorma’s sitting apparatus, stability is a concern. I’ve read some of what the product testers at Burley did in developing the Travoy in order to minimize any tipping-over tendencies. They went to great lengths.
Amusingly, it’s the very factors that make this a stable trailer (for it’s width) that the nit-pickers are critical of…the low clearance (12 inch wheels) and the attachment bracket.
I just measured the clearance from the pavement to the axle at 5 inches, and the width from outside of one tire to the outside of the other to be 22 inches. That gives a ratio of .2272. This ratio is entirely meaningless, but demonstrates my ability to use the calculator in Windows 7.
But you know what? The Burley Travoy product testers didn’t just pull the ‘center of gravity to width ratio’ out of their butt (like I would); they were purposeful in their decision. I loaded the trailer up with 50 pounds of weight and never felt any inclination of the trailer tipping.
The attachment bracket clamps onto the seat post, after which the attaching and detaching of the trailer is accomplished in lightning speed using a flex connector. If your seat-post is larger in diameter 32 mm, you may have to head down to the hardware store and get some longer machined screws.
You’re advised to not clamp the Burley Travoy bracket to a carbon seat post (compressive forces are hard on carbon fiber). I did clamp mine onto my carbon seat-post for a short while because I wanted to use the power-meter on my racing bike to measure how much extra work was involved in pulling 50 pounds around in the Travoy. Bottom line is that my carbon seat-post emerged unscathed.
More on that experiment later…
The flex connector is interesting. There’s a bit of flex resulting from a polymer in the coupling connector. The resistance that the polymer has to a twisting motion results in less likelihood of your load of organic papayas hitting the pavement due to a surprise pothole.
There was some early grumbling about the limitation of having to attach the Burley Travoy to the seat-post, rather than having the option of attaching it to a rear rack. There are some urban cyclists who put their kids on the back of the bike, so the little tykes are in the way of the seat post attachment.
Well, gripe no more! Burley now has a Rack Mount for the Burley Travoy. Sells for only $28.00.
Speaking of connectors, here’s a bit of bike-gear-reviewer advice. It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea for Burley to put a safety strap on the connector in case the trailer comes loose and a Prius runs over this week’s groceries.
How About At The Grocery Store?
Here’s where some genius comes in. Just unhook the trailer and, because it has a little kickstand, it can be wheeled through the aisles of the grocery store, capable of carrying 2080 cubic inches of grocery goodness.
All you have to do is cozy up to the check-out stand, unload the groceries for the checker, and then have them loaded back into the cart for the trip back home.
Burly Travoy Weights And Measures
I almost forgot to state the obvious…the carrying capacity is 60 pounds and the weight of the trailer is 9.8 lbs. There has been some mention of the use of plastic on the Burley Travoy.
Here’s my perspective…life’s a trade-off. If you want an all metal trailer, you won’t have a trailer that’s light enough to be portable. Besides, when I had 50 lbs in the trailer there was a bit of ‘flex’ in the frame of the trailer with each of my pedal strokes…which is nice, since it acts like a bit of a shock absorber.
I haven’t perfected my pedaling stroke sufficiently to make circles; I pedal in squares with rounded corners, so pedaling against a trailer with no ‘give’ would be very uncomfortable.
This isn’t an off-road trailer, it’s more like a metrosexual…well-heeled, functioning perfectly in the city, but not suited for four wheeling.
And lest some of you metrosexuals begin whining your disapproval at my characterization, riding in a pick-up truck (with four wheels) doesn’t count as ‘four wheelin’.
Don’t put passengers on this trailer, that job’s relegated to a trailer like the Burley Honeybee.
The entire trailer folds down compactly (thus the quick release wheels and the handle twister/latches) so that you can carry it unobtrusively up to your apartment without your nosy neighbor knowing that you’re on the cutting edge of green technology.
Like I stated previously, I measured the outside dimensions at just over 22 inches, which means it gets through any door wider than those on Bilbo Baggins’ house.
When underway, you should pack the trailer in such a way that there is at least 2 lbs of downward ‘tongue pressure’ on the connector. This is very easy to do. Those of us who’ve towed a lot of trailers know that insufficient tongue weight can cause a trailer to start a swaying motion that is hard to get back under control.
How Much Does It Cost To Pull The Burley Travoy? Energy-wise.
Ever wonder how much extra energy it takes to pull a trailer? Well, by using the Powertap on my racing bike, I found out.
I loaded the Travoy with 50 lbs and rode on a stretch of road at 15 mph. Before doing so, I rode the same stretch with my bike unladen and at the same speed. There was an imperceptible incline on that stretch of pavement.
- at 15 mph, without a load, I was putting out 135 watts.
- at 15 mph, with a 50 lb load in the Travoy, I was putting out 190 watts.
Next I did the same experiment on a moderate incline.
- at 10 mph, without a load, I was putting out 170 watts.
- at 10 mph, with a 50 lb load in the Travoy, I was putting out 250 watts.
Bottom line? There is between a 40% to 45% increase in effort when pulling 50 lbs up a hill, as certifiably measured by this hillbilly.
What About Burley Travoy Accessories?
If you’d like to, you can ask for Burley Travoy accessories for many Christmases to come. There’s everything from rain covers, extra tie down straps, duffel bags designed to fit the Travoy, dry bags that rival those used by kayakers, and green colored market bags to make trips for groceries even more convenient.
That’s About It Folks!
Well, I’ve come to the end of the line…successfully ‘reviewed’ myself out. I made a few other notes on the Travoy, but they are inconsequential.
For those who are using the modern day bike for a good portion of their transportation needs, this little trailer is just the ticket. If you get satisfaction from owning well thought out products, you’ll drool over this one. If you get satisfaction from getting discards out of the landfill, the Burley Travoy is probably too ‘up-town’, and you’ll be left to drooling on yourself.
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