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I see you are looking at bike trailers…

If you have child (or two) or use your bike around town a lot when going to the store, then you have probably considered purchasing one of the many bike trailers on the market. When we first had Ellie, I found myself firmly in the camp of not having a bike trailer, not sure why but I thought it wasn’t for me. It didn’t take more than a few months before I knew I needed one and having the freedom to bike around with the little one changed my opinion quickly. Of course now we had to choose which one we wanted. We ended up with the Burley Bee, hopefully this breakdown of our experience can help you make your decisions more easily.

I will be honest, we looked at a lot of different models but the Burley Bee is definitely a looker and caught our attention early on. I am a sucker for clean design and quality materials, both of which the Bee have. I was still young in my parenting and had yet to lose all of my sense of shame so I still felt a bit squeamish about buying a kid trailer, because lets be honest…they can be a little nerdy. Having a sweet looking nerdy trailer seems to even out in the end so it was enough to keep me interested.

Things that leaned me towards the Burley Bee initially:

  1. Again, this thing looks great on the road.
  2. Real tires, not soft plastic.
  3. Rear storage separate from passenger.
  4. Passenger comfort.
  5. Easy of assembly. The unit simply folds up into position and the wheels snap in, it took less than 5 minutes to assemble right out of the box.

If my writing so far has been just so amazing and you want to buy the Burley Bee now, you can do so at Here at Amazon. My guess is you want to hear and see more though, keep reading to get the full review of the Burley Bee systems.

Below, I have isolated some of the Burley Bee features. I try to focus on what was important to me when we first purchased this specific trailer.

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Connection System:
1.  The connection attachment attaches to the rear wheel and can remain there. There is no need to take it on and off when you are not using the trailer. This makes it incredibly easy to go from solo bike mode to trailer mode.

2. The flexible connector twists and allows you to take turns on uneven terrain. This makes navigation easy on uneven roads, side walks and trails. This feature will also allow you to lay your bike flat on the ground while allowing the trailer to remain in a normal upright position.

3 and 4. A double secure connection allows me to keep the image of a rogue baby rocket careening down the street with me chasing after it hidden from my mind. The rod system locks the trailer to the bike quickly, easily and securely. A second nylon strap wraps around your bike frame and clips to the trailer frame to add a second layer of attachment security.

You can purchase an additional bike connection if you have multiple bikes you would want to use the trailer with. This is great way to use different bikes at your house without having to take apart your wheel each time. Don’t forget to add it to your purchase if you pick one of these up. The extra connections are available at Amazon as well.

I was concerned before I took off on my first ride as I had never ridden a bike with a trailer attached. Groceries are one thing but I had my child in the back, I was really concerned about taking to the road and crashing due to my inability to navigate. I will say that this trailer and its attachment system allows for a easy transition on the road. The learning curve was not steep and I was able to navigate sidewalks (where it is legal) and roads quite easily. This easy navigation had me comfortable and riding to my destinations faster than I thought.

External Profile:
Lets take a look at this thing. As I stated before, I really took to the looks of this trailer. It was of beautiful design, all aluminum frame and burly (excuse the pun) external fabric.

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8. It rains, whether it looked clear when you left or not. The easy to engage rain fly helps to weather the unforeseen storm (whatever… you probably just drove straight into the storm because you are awesome). This front seal also helps to keep the cabin warmer, especially on those colder days and nights. With the rain fly active, the inside temperature is much more comfortable. I may or may not have ridden in the trailer on a cold night to test this feature. While you may want a jacket or blanket for you little one on the coldest of nights, it can get quite cozy inside with everything closed up.

9. The rain cover rolls up and is quickly secured with Velcro straps at the top of the trailer. It is simple and quick to get the rain cover on/off. Even if it isn’t raining, it is nice to have the rain cover down to prevent your back tire from spraying water from the road all over your baby.

10. The Bee has a well placed attachment point for a rear light. A rear light is paramount to ensure extra safety on the road (more on this in the safety section below).

As you can see in the picture above, the tires on either side of the trailer are protected on the front by two guards. While this specific trailer is easy to navigate, it only takes a moment of spacing out to clip a pole or sign. These guards help to prevent catastrophe but if you really get wrapped around something while you are riding…you WILL get launched.

 

A word on safety:
My wife and I were both concerned with safety when using a bike trailer. Even riding a bike without a trailer can be dangerous, adding a trailer with your kid inside just amplifies some of that risk. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be vigilant and defensive on the road, always assume a driver cannot see you. There are many effective ways to improve your visibility to other drivers.

  • Flag: this comes with your trailer, it attaches to the trailer and is about 4 feet long. This helps to make your vertical profile better when on the road, especially in the day time when lights are less effective. Totally not glamorous, but as parents we are willing to sacrifice being cool for the safety of our little ones.
  • Helmet: Everyone on a bike should be wearing a helmet, child passengers included. While the frame does offer some roll protection, the opportunity for head injury during a crash is still there. Purchase a bike helmet for your child before you load them up into any bike trailer (or bike for that matter).
  • Front Light: If you are riding at early morning, early evening or night, visibility can be lower. You stand out less and you can see less. I personally prefer headlamps because it allows me to move my light around me more effectively but I know many people prefer to use the handle bar mounted lights. This is a personal preference and I have included our favorites below.

Head Lamps: Petzl and Black Diamond have been industry leaders in headlamps for many years. I have always ended up with Petzl Headlamps. The Following are my favorite headlamps that do the job well and stay in a decent price range.

                        Petzl Tikka                                                                    Black Diamond Spot

                              

Handle Bar Lights: There are many that prefer to have a front light mounted on their handle bar. The technology on these can generally be better than hat of headlamps due to the fact that the design process doesn’t need to take your face into consideration. I have been currently using the combo from NiteRider (Lumina/Solas). This is great package which includes a front and back light that offer great light quality at a good price.

                   NiteRider Lumina                                                   NiteRider Lumina 750 and Solas 40

                       

  • Rear Light: You might be able to see perfectly at night with a good front light, but reflectors or not, drivers have a hard time seeing you from behind. A good (yes, a good…not the cheapest) rear light is one of the most effective ways to make yourself visible at night. This is what is mounted on the trailer (you can get an additional one for your body if you want as well). Take notice next time you are driving around town, you will quickly notice the riders who have invested in a higher quality rear light…because it lights up like the sun.

Rear light options: You can go with the light combo above or if you already have your front light choice sorted, you can take a look at some of the following recommendations.

                     NiteRider Solas 40                                             Portland Design Works Danger Zone

                    

 

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Rear Storage:
This is one feature that sets the Burley Bee apart from some of the competitors. The features shown below were powerful in helping me choose this model.

5. The storage capacity in the rear section is more than enough for pretty much all of my needs. It can hold two day packs and diaper gear or be stuffed with groceries.

6. The flap that locks over the storage area pulls back completely to provide wide access. This is something I really appreciate. Nothing can be more frustrating than trying to fit an object you know can fit into a storage area but keep getting blocked by poorly designed access.

7. The storage area is separate from the passenger area. There were many trailer options that didn’t have a separate storage at all. Being able to haul my child and my stuff while keeping them separate was a necessity for our daily routines.

 

Internal Profile:
The internal profile of the Bee was something that was hard to gauge from the resources I had found online. I didn’t fully get the grasp for it until I saw it in person. A lot of carriers seem to have an uncomfortable slouched position. Ellie loves riding in the Bee and quite frequently is falling asleep during our rides, its not a feather mattress, but it is definitely cozy.

11. You can fit two children in the Burley Bee (for a total of 100 lbs or 40 kg). We have only ever had one child in the carrier so I can’t comment on having two in there at once. Judging by how much space she has when riding alone, two would be no problem (unless they are arch enemies of course).

12.  There are three positions to buckle your child in; left, center, right. The buckle system is flexible and can allow multiple configurations. It can be confusing in the beginning with so many options trying to figure out which buckle goes where but it becomes routine soon enough. If there are two children, then they must be seated in the left/right positions. Ellie prefers to ride in the center but I have seen many kids buckled into either side.

13. With one child in the trailer, there is plenty of space inside for extra storage. Treats, kid bags, snacks, and blankets all fit easily and comfortably. There are also mesh compartments on both sides of the trailer to store bottles and other items.

If you look at the top of the seat, you can see that the material between the passenger side and the storage side is made out of a mesh material. This allows a child to wear a helmet and still be able to lay flat against the seat. The mesh allows the helmet to protrude into the storage area. This makes safe riding more comfortable as opposed to a solid material going all the way to the ceiling.

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Folding up and storing:
The Burley Bee assembles and disassembles without the need for any tools. The frame folds up with a simple latch process and the tires can be removed with just the press of a button to disengage them from the frame. If you don’t need to maximize for storage space, you can fold up the frame and leave the wheels attached to save time in the storing process. The easy breakdown is what makes this trailer so easy to assemble in the first place.

 

I hope that some of this information has helped answer any questions you may have had about the Burley Bee. If this trailer looks like the one that fits your needs the best, you can purchase the Burley Bee from the link below.

Burley Design Bee Bike Trailer – $299.00

Upgrades:
There are additional Burley models you may want to consider. The Bee had everything we needed but I wanted to include the features of the other models in case they were something you might find useful.

Burley Design Encore Child Bike Trailer – $449.00
The Encore was the one we almost ended up with, it has some features that put it a step above the Bee. Mainly, the interior is a definite upgrade. The straps and seats are padded, and overall, the trailer is more comfortable for the rider.  This trailer can also be converted into stroller mode. In the end we went with the Bee, but this was definitely our next choice.

Burley Design Cub Bike Trailer – $629.00:
The cub is in a different class than the Bee or Encore. This trailer has an adjustable wheel suspension and a durable molded bottom to provide the best durability and smooth riding. If you are going to find yourself on rough terrain, consider upgrading to the Cub. The Cub has the ability to fold down the passenger seat to switch into a larger capacity cargo trailer if you are not transporting and children.

Burley Design D’Lite Child Bike Trailer – $629.00
The D’Lite is a variation to the Cub. Similar in that it has a wheel suspension and durable molded bottom, the D’Lite has also been modified to provide extra shoulder room through the use of a curved frame. The D’Lite adds a parking brake for the wheels and has the ability to fold down the passenger seat to switch into a larger capacity cargo trailer if you are not transporting and children.