The Burley Travoy is a great bicycle trailer but there are definitely features of this trailer that will make it either your perfect trailer or your worst. A lot depends on how you use it and what kind of rider you are.
Some advice about the price of the Burley Travoy bicycle trailer
The first thing you need to know about the trailer is it’s not much good without the Burley Travoy bags. If you see the price (about $AUD550) and start getting excited then stop for a moment before you click buy. In theory you can strap anything to the Travoy. They even give you straps for that purpose. In practice, you’ll want the some Market Bags or Transit Bags. More on those later.
The bags don’t come cheap. I initially flinched at the cost of the bags and tired to get by with strapping a crate to my trailer. It wasn’t ideal. Inevitably, I purchased an upper bag and a lower bag. That set me back another $400. By that stage, I’d comitted nearly a thousand dollars to the trailer. That’s a lot more than I had planned. The lesson you need to learn from my experience is the cost of the trailer alone is not the full cost. You’ll need the bags to make this trailer fully functional. And those bags don’t come cheap.
Once you’re all set up you’re in for a pleasant surprise at just how easy it is to use this trailer. It attaches in seconds. Also, due to the way it attaches, you can attach it to almost any bike. The clamp sits on the seatpost and just about every bike has a seatpost. I even trailed it behind an enduro mountain bike. (When fully laden the trailer dragged a bit on the rear wheel when I hit a bump. Otherwise, it was pretty good.)
If you have a rear rack on your bike then you’ll need to get a rack attachment.
Riding With The Burley Travoy
The Burley Travoy is just a dream to ride with. It doesn’t tug you around like so many other trailers. Bike trailers generally attach to the axle and (once loaded) will pull at the axle. The Travoy attaches to the seatpost and tends to follow rather than lead. It’ll still be a presence behind the bike that has to be accommodated by riding smoothly (don’t jump out of the pedals and rock the bike back and forth) but it’s not nearly as noticeable as other trailers.
The trailer itself is very light and incredibly smooth rolling. Even with a load it’s still easy to tow though. We’ve done a week’s groceries with it and it rides home as smoothly as it rides empty.
In fact, riding empty can be its downfall. The tall trailer combined with skinny wheelbase means the trailer isn’t super stable when empty. Any decent sized ruts or bumps are potentially enough to throw the trailer off its wheels. I have a heavy Kryptonite Evolution I carry to lock my bike and I always made sure that was in the bottom of the bottom bag. That weight low down in the centre of gravity was (usually) enough to keep the trailer upright.
Usually. A lot depends on how I rode. A here was the greatest drawback of the trailer for me. You see, I’m not an especially careful person by nature. And I don’t particularly like riding carefully. The biggest drawback of the Burley Travoy bicycle trailer was therefore, for me, that I had to ride carefully. This harks back to my intro, where I mentioned this might be the perfect bike trailer but it depends on on what kind of rider you are. If you’re a bit reckless then this trailer will not suit you. You have to be a bit careful going around corners and over bumps. You also have to take care to load your heavy stuff down low. You can’t bump gutters. Depending on the way its packed, you can’t even go fast around corners. (I know, who is carving corners with a full load of groceries anyway? Yeah, well, me it turns out. And maybe you too. So decide what type of rider you are before you buy.)
If you’re not the careful type then this trailer will not suit you.
The clamp itself can also attach and detach in seconds. I didn’t want it on my seatpost when riding my mountain bike in the mountains (because it would prevent the dropper from dropping all the way). That was okay because I’d unclip it in a jiffy.
When detached, the trailer is a great shopping cart. If you use this trolley for shopping you don’t need to take other bags with you. Just load directly in the Travoy and clip it back onto the bike. This was perfect for shopping at the local farmers markets, where my wife and I tend to over-shop. Instead of us lugging around heavy bags and baskets (and by “us” I mean “me”) we would put it all into the Travoy and trail it around with us. That is a convenience you will not get with any other trailer.
Having a top and bottom bag was also great. It meant that you weren’t dropping your things into a bottomless pit. (Ever notice how the thing you want is at the bottom of your bag?) The top market bag we had has a few pockets where wallet and keys could be stashes. Whereas the bottom bag was more voluminous and could hold the bigger items.
Another great aspect of the Burley Travoy is how much it folds down. The wheels slide off and the trailer origamis down into a compact amd slim packable item. You could take this with you on holidays without taking up much car space.
The Burley Travoy trailer is so functional we even packed it on a holiday where no bikes were being packed. It was perfect for carrying heavy items to the beach or bringing groceries home to the holiday house.
Riding With Heavy Bulky Things
I am now using and loving a Burley Coho XC. I’ve hauled home some heavy loads with that thing, like 50kg worth of mulch from Bunnings. The thing is, when laden like this, the load really steers the bike. It’s something the less confident rider wouldn’t want to experience.
Then there is the Burley Travoy, which rides beautifully with heavy loads. The image below shows my wife’s bike hauling a 30kg bell tent from Homecamp. There’s no way she’d haul this in the Coho. For starters, it wouldn’t fit. But more importantly, she wouldn’t be able to ride the bike with the Coho laden like this. The Travoy, on the other hand, rode beautifully. She rode it about 5kms each way without any hassles.
Riding With Dogs
I have recently become the master of two small dogs. They love nothing better than the ride along in a basket surveying the world. They’ll (kind of) fit in one large front basket. They will not fit in this trailer. That was one of the reasons I ended up purchasing a Burley Coho XC (which I’ll review soon). They have mixed feelings about being in the trailer. They not sold on the idea of being behind the bike now that they’ve tasted the delights of being part of the action in the front basket. They’re getting used to it and happily jump in and our of it. They still prefer to be up front if possible.
Summary Of The Burley Travoy Trailer
For the way I ride the Coho XC is so much better. I haven’t used the Travoy since I bought the Coho. Which I think, in some ways, sums up my experience with the trailer. It’s a brilliant trailer that will suit many people but it’s not the trailer for me. If you just want to ride anywhere and everywhere without a thought, then the Travoy is not for you. If you’re a more careful or sedate rider, and you value the versatility of the Travoy, then you’ve got yourself an amazing trailer for your bike.