Burley Travoy- My Unadulterated Review

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.

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Cycling Hillbilly Takes Burley Travoy For A Ride!

websiteportrait3 e1335281174996 Burley Travoy  My Unadulterated Review 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 five stars e1291132917436 Burley Travoy  My Unadulterated Review Bells and Whistles five stars e1291132917436 Burley Travoy  My Unadulterated Review
Quality of materials five stars e1291132917436 Burley Travoy  My Unadulterated Review Customer Service/Reliability five stars e1291132917436 Burley Travoy  My Unadulterated Review
Cost four and a half stars e1291132859260 Burley Travoy  My Unadulterated Review

 

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.

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"Oohoo, the Bikehod came out first, it came out first, it came out first!"

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 tank bike, 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.

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This thing pulls much easier than the Apache travois of yesteryear.

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Bypass the Skycab guy at the airport.

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That's no suitcase, it's a Travoy!

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.

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Keep your laptop safe when delivering messages.

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.

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Some haul begonias and filagree, others chainsaws!

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.

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So easy even a Hillbilly can do it.

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…

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Burley Travoy Rack Mount

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?

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Fold this little kickstand down and your Travoy will remain upright in any grocery store aisle.

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.

metrosexual getting muddy e1313541447159 Burley Travoy  My Unadulterated Review

"4-wheelin Can Get So Muddy, Oh My!"

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.

The Good
  1. Very well thought out product, with the details in mind.
  2. Produced by a topnotch company.
  3. Versatility, versatility, versatility!
  4. Light and easy to get into an apartment when not in use.
  5. Take it into a store by quickly detaching it.  Stays secure and it even assists in the shopping experience.
  6. Well-made ‘messenger bag’ makes commuting to the office more convenient.
  7. Stability provided by low center of gravity and a connector which is resistant to twist.
  8. Has an extra clamp to pull trailer with multiple bikes.
  9. Kendra tires pumped up to 35 pounds of pressure make for easy rolling.
The Bad
  1. Ultra-minimalists may take exception to the $289 price tag.
  2. Not designed for off-road travel, but I doubt that matters much for the majority of users.

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.

One of the best places to get a Burley Travoy is at Amazon.  Their pricing is as low as anyone’s, they are a very trusted merchant, and they stand behind what they sell.  Give them a ‘look-see’ here.

If you think this review is thorough, please link to it, Facebook it, Google plus it, or bookmark it.  Much appreciated.

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19 Responses to Burley Travoy- My Unadulterated Review

  1. Pat Hamilton says:

    I take the travoy on the taco ride in Iowa and it pulls two coolers and the snacks and even though I always overload it I have not had a problem. People always approach me and ask where I got it and say they think its great.Keeping the tires aired up is crucial but they hold air a long time. I would take this trailer anywhere and have confidence it will last for years. One of the best buys I have made for my bike life.

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Pat, thanks for the good feedback. Sounds like the Travoy’s doing a great job!

  2. John M. Hammer says:

    How did you get Ben Stiller to pose for the first picture?

    Great review, thanks for sharing your experience with the Travoy.

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      He does look really, really ridiculously good looking, doesn’t he?

  3. Travelinggene says:

    I took the Travoy to Italy this past September; it did have some tipping problems but I fixed that with proper tire pressure. the times it did tip, a curb was involved and the trailer wheels did not clear the curb together causing one wheel to be higher or to bounce off the curb. Correct tire pressure reduced the bounce. I found it to be very good at tracking behind the bike, I think the mounting bracket gave plenty of room for my leg parts (no rubbing). I put bungee cords on to attach my small carry on sized convertible wheeled backpack suitcase. I did not have the top mounted bag so I bound a tent and my laundry bag on the top, it worked okay but when I got home I bought the grocery top bag. I did have one part fail while on my trip, the kickstand could not handle the constant use and eventually broke off. I got a replacement from Burleynand I will put a crutch sized rubber boot onto it to keep the end from being scraped off on future travels. I really liked having this type of trailer for travel, I had to load the Travoy onto some trains, I travel alone and the hand truck style allowed me to pull the trailer up the steps and onto the train without incident. There was also a lot of interest from the locals who seem to like the style and ease of putting it on and off the bike.

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Traveling Gene,

      What a great report. Thanks for the input regarding the Travoy…I’m envious about the Italy trip. Good on you!

      Ron

  4. Charles Russell says:

    I just found your website don’t know if you can help me I just came upon a Travois golof bag cart Model 600 was wondering if you can tell me anything about it;

    Thank You Charles Russell

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Charles, I looked up the vintage cart you’re speaking about and don’t know what to say about it. The Burley Travoy is a very well designed cart intended to pull items behind a bike. I suppose you could ‘re-purpose’ the Model 600 into something similar, but I don’t know how it’d turn out.

  5. Tracey says:

    Many thanks for the reply! My main purpose for the Travoy will be back and forth to work, shopping, tours, etc. and camping is just an added bonus. Thanks again!! :)

  6. Tracey says:

    Hi,

    I am think of using this trailer for cyclo camping via paved path only with 100k max per day for 2-3 days with many hills going up, so going down on the return. Does this trailer travel well going downhill? I am not a speed freak, so keep my speed to 15-18 kph downhill. Any words of wisdom would be most appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Tracey

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      I think that it would work well for what you are describing. The other Burley trailers, like the Bee could carry a lot of camping gear as well. I suppose the decision would revolve around what you’d do with the trailer after the trip, since they’d both work for the type of Cyclo-camping you’re describing.

      • Tracey says:

        Hi Ron,

        I thought I would give you an update on the Burley Travoy, which I purchased in May from a store in Vancouver, BC. I rode in to get it (they thought I was crazy) and rode back with it (110km round trip) and haven’t taken it off my bike or looked back. It was costly (got the market bags too) and I love it. I have taken it on the Gulf Islands up here (extremely hilly and treacherous in many areas, so half the time the outer wheel of the trailer was on gravel on a steep downward slope, yet I had no problem with it. I managed to get 70# in it of gear for my 1st cyclo-camping trip and it did great (including 9.6# of trailer weight) and the next trip “pared” it down to 50# and again, it handled great. Even going down 16% grade hills, it was and is awesome.

        I used to get some funny stares from people, but lately, with the price of gas, bridge tolls, etc., people are very interested in the trailer and I have seen one other one now.

        I put a light on it at the top and added a side flag, so morons don’t get too close and it’s great. I also got the rain cover, which was well worth the price.

        I would say the cost of the trailer can be prohibitive, but after one month of using this trailer on my bike, I was able to get rid of my SUV and we are now a one vehicle family, only because we need a vehicle for hubby’s work. I, however, take the bus or my bike – with the bike and trailer preferred.

        I figured out that I now have close to 2,000 miles on the trailer and it’s holding up great and I’m not one who fusses over their equipment.

        Your review helped me a lot in making my decision, so I wanted to say thank you!

        • Ron Fritzke says:

          Tracy, what a great report to get back from you. It sounds like the trailer is holding up spectacularly, and that you’re really getting maximum use from it.

          Thanks for thinking of me and my readers to report of your invaluable hands-on experience.

  7. Joe Maki says:

    I’m definitely a Travoy fanboy, that doesn’t mean I can’t nit-pick :)

    The trailer is a marvel of modern design and engineering. The trailer hitch leaves a little to be desired. The seat post clamp is designed so your thighs will almost always hit it when pedaling. And, no, I don’t have bulging highs. I’d like to see a couple additional attachment points on the trailer for the bags. This could make load distribution more flexible. I’d also like to see them make the plastic attachment clips available separately for adding to bags we may already own. They are only available with the accessory straps.

    On a side note, my trailer only came with the storage bag and tie down straps, no upper bag is included in the $289 price.

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Hi Joe,

      Thanks for the input. Sounds like you’ve had some time to become aware of some of the wrinkles in design.

      I hope that the Burley company is cruising through the online reviews enough to see your experience with the Travoy, and to perhaps make some design improvements.

      I did some investigating, and sure enough, it looks like the ‘messenger bag’ is an accessory costing $79.00. I’m going to edit the review to reflect this error on my part. Thanks for pointing it out.

      Ron

  8. Ted Johnson says:

    Great review!

    I’m a fan of the Travoy as well, and my only complaint is that it didn’t exist when I lived in a major city.

    Amazon may be “one of the best places to get a Travoy,” but THE BEST place to get one is from Bike Trailer Shop: http://www.biketrailershop.com

    Thanks!

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Hi Ted,

      Thanks for the comment; what you were too humble to say is that you’re also the man behind the most viewed site on the subject of ‘commuting on a bike’…so you know of what you speak.
      http://www.commutebybike.com/

      Ron

  9. Ron Tveitmoe says:

    Hey Ron,

    Impressive…I almost made it to the end. I’m not into cycling yet but I looked at it more for it’s golf possiblities. Maybe we will be on bikes soon to speed play.

    I loved your intro…classic Fritzke!

    • Ron Fritzke says:

      Hi Ron,

      I guess it was just like most of our mundane hours in Chiropractic school…me smarting off, with you putting up with it.

      “Impressive…I almost made it to the end.” The review must have been riveting to have held your attention for so long! :-)

      Let me know when they open up a golf course to bikes, and I’ll caddy for you!

      Ron

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