BOB Yak Cycle Touring Trailer


BOB Yak Cycle Trailer


I had no experience of towing a trailer behind a bicycle before I bought the BOB Yak. My decision was based on advise from several bike shops and reviews from the net. Since I have now covered around 2,000 miles with it fully loaded I feel I can give a good review.

This version is the BOB Yak 28 which will fit 29ers and fendered smaller wheels. I had tried the standard size one for fit which it did well but I bought this model in Santa Cruz and the bike shop said I needed a 28. Although I knew this wasn't the case I figured if I wanted to sell it again it would have a wider appeal. Buying a used BOB trailer is very difficult as they fetch a strong price and sell fast.

So putting the trailer together is easy, an average bike fiddler would have it together in under 30 minutes. A couple of spanners, allen keys, a screwdriver and a pump is all you need. The trailer fixes to a special rear wheel spindle which needs to be swapped for your standard one, various types are available if you have something different from the standard spacing.

Once together the trailer hooks on easily and is held in place with a spring clip on each side, the guys at BOB have even supplied a spare just in case you lose one but have also attached them to the trailer by rubber bands stop them getting lost.

Also in the box is a flag pole and flag, mudguard, reflector, bungee and most importantly the dry bag. So all you need to get you up and running whether popping to the shops or cycling off around the world.

So what is it like to use?

Mounting:
It is easy to fit to the bike while empty but once loaded it is more a two person job. If you are on your own it is a case of loading the dry bag into the trailer after you have fitted it to the bike.

Loading:
If you don't fill the bag to capacity it drops into the trailer easily and can be fastened in place with the bungee no problem. If however like me you have used every last bit of space it can be a bit of a wrestling match! I have tried several methods from loading the bag when it is in the trailer, then partially loading before putting it in the trailer and of course wrestling it in full. They all work but the best option is not to overfill the bag!

Dry Bag:
The dry bag is well made and shaped to fit the rounded front straight rear of the trailer. I am not sure about this design of trailer shape as it restricts the use of say a plastic box which would be very useful instead of the bag. The only thing I don't like is the way the bag fastens by a clip front and back once the top has been rolled. It means that you have to remove the bag to some degree to open and close it, a pain if you want to just grab something out on the side of the road or you find something you have left behind just before you leave! Those niggles aside it hasn't broken or leaked as yet.

Handling:
Whilst riding it's great! There is a little noise from the joint where it fits onto the rear axle but if it is empty you hardly know it is there. I like the way it tracks and if the bike fits through there is a good chance the trailer will. Loaded I found it to be easy enough to pull, climbing out of the saddle requires keeping the bike as upright as you can as too much lean soon puts you off balance but that might be down to the fact I have a box on top of the trailer as well. Keeping the heavy stuff down low as with your panniers is always the best bet. Normal cornering however is brilliant it is just the rapid side to side movement of climbing which causes the problem.

The wind resistance is less than a set of bags but I have both as you can see, it is difficult to say whether the rolling resistance vs wind resistance would make it a better choice than panniers. I think there are more important issues that would influence that decision.

Handling at speed can be interesting, at first above 50kph it wobbled, I tightened the steering joint on the trailer a little and since it has been good to just above 60kph. With the weight I am carrying that is fast enough!

Whilst pushing the bike the trailer is more of a pain especially when heavily loaded, it also makes resting the bike up against a post or similar more difficult. If the bike doesn't have panniers on as well it can work as a stand by turning the trailer 90 degrees to the bike and resting on the floor but with the bags it doesn't work.

Travelling:
By this I mean at the airport or whatever. This is where the BOB is let down as it's awkward shape makes it difficult to pack. I kept the original cardboard box and packed all of my clothes in it with the trailer but then what do you do with the box at the other end if eventually you need to fly home again? A design that folded flat would be much much better. Have a look at the monoporter for instance.

http://www.cyclorama.net/viewProduct.php?id=242

Conclusion:
Well like everything there are pros and cons! Personal preference in the end will no doubt play the biggest part in making your decision.

I Liked:
The handling whilst riding, cornering and the narrow width.
Strong but light build, it would be easy to get fixed if it broke due to the steel construction and simple design.
No need to buy bags, bungees or flags as they are all supplied.
Good dry bag.
You can fit it to full suspension bikes.
If you carry all of your gear in the trailer 2 clips and it is all off!

I Didn't Like:
Odd shape of loading area.
Loading a full bag.
Mounting when loaded.
Pushing around.
Transporting it.

If I could go back and make the decision of what trailer to buy again I would still buy the BOB Yak. It has done the job superbly and it's niggles are easily lived with, after all what is perfect??
The one thing to consider is if it will fit with your rear panniers if you are using them.  Our bags are not too big on tne back and finish well before the rear wheel spindle, some racks may also make mounting difficult.  Try before you buy would be the best bet.









3 comments:

  1. We travel with Bob's as well and find them fantastic. We carry a small dry bag on a rear carrier for things that we might need during the day or the left out items and only have a Bob and Handlebar Bag. At the airport we pack the bike in a box along with the Bob draw bar and wheel. The bag is tied on and we use a small piece of hose to make a carry handle, tape in a fork spreader and carry it up to the checkin as luggage - works really well and the bike goes as sports equipment. We love our Bob's.

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