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During the summer of 2017 I embarked on a cross-country bicycle trek on the Northern Tier with my dog, Dobby. At 8 months old, he was in no shape to run the 50 miles we would average per day over the next three months.
Faced with the dilemma of how to bring him with me on this adventure, we turned to Burley Trailers. I heard of Burley from a couple who bicycled for two years around the world with their dog and thought what worked for them would surely work for me.
D’Lite or Tail Wagon
Size: The D’Lite is bigger in size and has a larger carrying capacity. Dobby was growing rapidly and at 40 lbs. I anticipated his height would be a major factor by the end of the trip.
Adjustable Suspension: The Tail Wagon does not have a suspension system like the D’Lite to smooth the ride and knowing Dobby could be in the trailer for hours at a time meant he needed better comfort on some of those bumpy gravel roads.
Front-face loading: Being able to load Dobby in and out of the trailer or even just offer him water while still being able to hold up my bike was invaluable. The Tail Wagon loads and unloads in the rear.
Sun-shade: The D’Lite has an adjustable sunshade which proved extremely useful in open prairie states with little to no shade and temperatures hovering around 100F.
The Burley D’Lite is a 2-seater child carrier that attaches to the back of a bicycle with a simple hitch. Once the two seats are removed, the trailer becomes a 100lb. capacity cargo trailer.
Pockets in the interior to keep small items organized
A rain cover and water resistant zippers to keep everything dry
Bowed-out sides and deep footwell maximize interior space
Tinted windows and adjustable sunshade
Flex connector enables bike to lay down on side while trailer remains upright
What I Love
Hand brake: to keep trailer in place on inclines
Flex connector: allows the bike to lay flat while the trailer remains upright (because apparently bike stands aren’t cool anymore)
Ease of cleaning: because no one likes cleaning. no one.
Rain cover: kept Dobby and our gear reasonably dry in multiple downpours. Not downright waterproof but about as close as it can get.
Tire Removal: The tires remove with a simple push of a button making repairs extremely easy.
What I Didn’t
The break did end up bending pretty significantly which reduced its efficacy.
Rain did sometimes find its way into the trailer in severe weather.
Part of the inner frame base came loose but did not affect use
This product is pricey.
At 65 lbs. Dobby is now too tall to stand up in the trailer.
Though I can’t attest to the performance of the Burley D’Lite with children, I can say that the dependability, durability and quality of the D’Lite Trailer enabled Dobby and me to successfully bicycle 3200 miles from Bar Harbor, ME to Anacortes, WA over four mountain ranges and across 11 states.
We picked up speeds of almost 40 miles per hour down mountains in Washington, traversed gravel and dirt roads in North Dakota, and crossed seas of broken shells in Maine.
The only issues we had were two flat tires after more than 2,000 miles, easily fixed with new tubes, and another flat tire after a piece of glass got stuck inside the tire. I used the factory tires from Burley for the entire 3200 miles.
I was very happy with this trailer. Though a significant investment, the quality and durability of the product meant I had one less thing to worry about on a borderline ill-conceived adventure that I honestly wasn’t prepared for. This trailer was an invaluable addition to my gear that I wouldn’t trade for any other option. We traveled 3200 miles in this trailer with very few issues. Dobby and my gear were kept dry and safe in all sorts of weather conditions across the United States. The adjustable handle became the drying rack for my clothes and a place to clip my solar charger during the day. The interior pockets kept small items organized that I needed to access easily. The tinted windows and sunshade kept Dobby cool in the Great Plains where there was no other shade to be found on hot summer afternoons.
Though I have no experience with the trailer hauling children, I trusted it to carry my furbaby and was not disappointed. Were I to have children in the future, I would trust them in a Burley D’Lite on a cross-country trek or an afternoon around town.
Interior Seated Height (in/cm): 25.5 / 64.7
Cargo Space (in³/liters): 2900/47.5
Size Open L x W x H (in): 33.25 x 31.25 x 38.25
Size Folded L x W x H (in): 37 x 31.25 x 14.25
Capacity (lb/kg): 100 / 45
Weight Including Towbar, Hitch, Flag (lb/kg): 28.4 / 12.9
Wheel Size (in/cm): 20 / 51
Handlebar Height (in/cm): 30-46 / 76.2-116.8