“Do you like panniers or a trailer when touring by bike?”
That’s a query I’ve been requested time and time once more over the previous few years. Sadly, as a result of my earlier experiences with lengthy distance bicycle touring have all concerned the usage of panniers, I’ve been greater than a bit bias when answering this query prior to now.
However then, not too way back, I obtained my palms on a BOB Ibex bicycle trailer and put it to the check. For the previous month-and-a-half I’ve been biking each single day, pulling this unbelievable piece of kit behind me on my bike. I’ve ridden with trailers for a single day or two prior to now, however this has been my first expertise pulling a trailer for such an prolonged time period.
The next are my ideas and impressions of the BOB Ibex bicycle trailer:
The trailer featured on this article is the BOB Ibex Plus
(The “Plus” signifies that the trailer comes with the dry SAK)
When my BOB Ibex bicycle trailer first arrived by way of FedEx, I picked it up and carried it into my front room. “Wow, this factor is heavy,” I believed to myself. I proceeded to chop open the field and take away the trailer from its packaging. “Hmm, it’s very well made,” I continued.
At first look I used to be impressed by the facility and energy of the trailer. The BOB Ibex weighs about 20 kilos (9 kg) and includes a single rear suspension wheel designed to tackle the roughest street/path circumstances. Contained in the trailer sits a vibrant yellow, waterproof dry SAK, used to retailer your items and kit whereas the trailer is in movement. “Spectacular” I believed to myself.
As I labored to assemble the trailer, two small duties needed to be achieved. The primary of which was to connect the trailer fork to the pivot tube utilizing the 6mm pivot bolt and lock nut. “Hmm, this bolt doesn’t look very sturdy,” I keep in mind pondering. “I hope the nut doesn’t come unfastened whereas I’m using.” (It by no means did.)
Then I encountered my first little bug. With a purpose to set up the pivot bolt, you want two 10mm wrenches. Now, fortunately I used to be at residence and occurred to have entry to 2 wrenches of that dimension, however after I’m out on the street and touring by bike, I don’t need to be carrying two of something. If that bolt had been to return unfastened and wanted tightening, I must be carrying two 10mm wrenches with me… and when weight is a priority (because it all the time is when touring by bike), two of something is lower than perfect.
As soon as the fork had been connected, I went to work on connecting the rear wheel and shock axle to the principle physique of the trailer. You accomplish that by inserting the pivot axle’s left brushing by the left aspect of the shock tower opening after which aligning the precise brushing with the precise shock tower opening (It sounds sophisticated, nevertheless it was actually fairly simple). As soon as that’s in place, you insert the pivot bolt and tighten it down with a washer and nut. Right here once more you want two 10mm wrenches.
As soon as the underside portion of the axle is connected to the shock tower, it’s essential to connect the higher portion of the suspension system to the tower. That is finished with a brief axle bolt and Allen screw mixture. Right here, you might be required to make use of two 4mm Allen wrenches to tighten the bolt into place. As soon as once more, the necessity to have two Allen wrenches of the identical dimension is of some concern to me as a touring bicycle owner. That additional Allen wrench is only one thing more I must pack and carry round with me.
After that’s finished, the trailer is just about assembled. Add the wheel reflectors, stick within the flag, drop the dry SAK into place… and also you’re all set to go! Whole arrange time: About quarter-hour. Now all you must do is connect the trailer to your bike.
With a purpose to connect the trailer to your bicycle, it’s essential to substitute the rear fast launch in your bike with the particular BOB fast launch supplied with the acquisition of your trailer.
This particular fast launch is wider than the usual fast launch in your bicycle as a result of it comprises bobbins on which the trailer hooks will finally connect and lock into place.
As soon as the BOB fast launch is in place merely raise the fork of the trailer and align the slots of the bobbins with the slots within the fork hooks. Then (and that is vital), insert the locking pins into the opening on the entrance fringe of the hook, rotate the pin upward, and lock the pin into place utilizing the button head put up positioned on the again aspect of the hook. The pin ought to lock into place, thereby guaranteeing that the trailer is certainly connected to your bicycle. With out these pins in place, your trailer may detach out of your bicycle and trigger a extreme accident! The BOB guide insists that you just “examine pins for correct set up each time you trip.”
As soon as that’s full, you’re able to hit the road!
On The Street:
I used to be impressed as how simple the BOB Ibex was to arrange and fasten to my bike. I used to be much more impressed by the standard of the trailer and completely happy to see that attaching and detaching the trailer from the bicycle was a reasonably simple activity. Now I needed to hit the streets and see how the trailer dealt with.
My first mile with the Ibex in tow was fairly shocking. I anticipated there to be some odd sensations as my physique and my bicycle adjusted to the usage of the lagging trailer. However to my shock, the dealing with of my bike was not a lot completely different than the dealing with of the bike when the trailer was not connected. I barely observed it was there!
Studying different on-line opinions of the BOB trailers, I had been warned that as a result of the trailer solely had one wheel, there is likely to be some rocking forwards and backwards as the burden of the trailer shifted back and forth. But it surely turned rapidly obvious to me that the folks writing these opinions didn’t know that they had been speaking about! I doubt that they had ever even used the trailer for themselves. I’m guessing their opinions had been based mostly extra on hypotheses than on precise expertise. There was no shifting of weight back and forth. There have been no occasions when the trailer induced me to lose my steadiness. As a substitute, the trailer adopted in a straight line behind my bike, completely balanced the entire time by.
As I turned extra comfy with the trailer I stepped it up a notch. To check the trailer’s rear suspension, I hopped a six-inch curb. No downside. The trailer adopted the bike and leapt up onto the concrete sidewalk with out a glitch.
Then I hit the paths. There’s a slim, rocky, single-track path not removed from my residence and it was my subsequent testing floor for the Ibex. As I pedaled off-road and traversed a mile or two on this winding rocky path, I used to be immediately impressed by the trailer’s suspension. On steep uphills I may inform I used to be pulling one thing behind me, however the resistance wasn’t almost as sturdy as I imagined it could be. As a substitute of bouncing over rocks like a bull within the rodeo, the trailer flowed extra like a skier by thick powder, bouncing and gliding over the obstacles it got here into contact with. The trailer’s rear suspension did an distinctive job at absorbing the blows of steep drops and massive rocks. On flat twisting trails, the bike carried out as if the trailer weren’t even there. On sharp curves, I used to be capable of navigate fairly usually on most events, however did must put my ft down on a pair particularly sharp hooks within the path.
Again out on the paved streets, I went for pace. The BOB proprietor’s guide warns that you just shouldn’t exceed 25 miles per hour (40 kph), so I needed to push the trailer to its restrict and see what occurred. On a steep downhill on the opposite aspect of city, I exceeded 30 miles an hour and the trailer adopted obediently. There was no wobble or lack of management, however after a couple of seconds I slowed down and resumed a standard charge of pace. I believed to myself, “It’s good to know which you could journey greater than 25 mph with the trailer in tow, however actually, I wouldn’t need to do it for an prolonged size of time. And admittedly, I don’t assume I’d exceed that pace very many occasions on a motorbike tour anyway.”
Returning residence a couple of minutes later, I added extra weight to the trailer. The proprietor’s guide warns that the trailer is designed to hold not more than 70 kilos (32 kilograms), so I weighed out the trailer to precisely that… and hit the street once more!
It took a bit extra muscle to get rolling this time, however as soon as I used to be within the saddle and out on the road, I nearly forgot how a lot weight I used to be carrying. Once more, over tough terrain and rocks, the trailer carried out fairly nicely. Easy and quiet. However then I hit a protracted uphill street. Immediately I felt the trailer pulling me backwards. I used to be capable of attain the highest of the hill, however the weight of the trailer had been working in opposition to me your complete time. As I reached the highest of the hill I attempted to assume again to what it felt wish to climb step hills with a full set of panniers. “A hill of this dimension could be a battle it doesn’t matter what,” I believed. “When you find yourself carrying that a lot weight, whether or not it’s in a set of panniers or in a trailer, it’s going to be a battle. However for steep hills akin to this, I believe panniers are the clear winner.”
Total, the dealing with of the BOB Ibex whereas on the bike is the most effective I’ve ever seen in a bicycle trailer. Having ridden with quite a few two wheel trailers prior to now, I now see the advantages of BOB’s single wheel design. It’s clean, much less resistant than two wheel trailers, and is the one kind of trailer that’s going to have the ability to face up to heavy use on slim single-track trails.
Off The Bike:
On the best way again residence I ended by the native bike store to get their impressions of the trailer I had in tow. As I pulled up in entrance of the store, I hopped the curb and appeared for a spot to park my rig.
Now often, when visiting the native bike store, I merely lean my bike up in opposition to a small clean wall outdoors the store doorways. However with a trailer including a further 4.5 ft (140 cm) to the size of my bike, there was nowhere to park!
The BOB proprietor’s guide suggests a parking place, by which you angle the trailer and handlebars at 90 levels to the bike, however after I did this, the bike and trailer took up your complete sidewalk and people passing by on foot had been aggravated once they needed to step out into the road so as to get previous.
I lastly discovered a wall about 60 ft away that was lengthy sufficient to lean your complete bike and trailer up in opposition to. There was nothing to lock the bike or trailer to, so I ran contained in the bike store as rapidly as attainable after which returned to the rig a couple of seconds later.
“Hmm…” I believed to myself. “Parking this factor may actually be an issue.”
When touring with panniers, the size of your bike is rarely actually a difficulty. In reality, that’s one of many main advantages of touring with panniers. It’s simple to park nearly wherever! However right here I used to be, attempting to park this one-wheeled trailer for the primary time and I used to be actually having some issues.
“What do you do if there isn’t any wall, fence, or picnic desk close by onto which you’ll lean your bike?”
If house is a significant consideration (because it was on this case the place my bike within the beneficial parking place took up your complete sidewalk), you’ll be able to all the time detach the trailer from the bicycle – thus fixing the parking/house concern, nevertheless it’s another factor to do and another activity to take you away from the enjoyment of your trip.
After 45 days of utilizing the Ibex, parking and packing the trailer has turn into a bit simpler. I’ve realized what sort of angle the bike must relaxation at and what kind of circumstances there should be to ensure that me to detach the trailer from the bike if mandatory. Ultimately, the parking of the BOB bicycle trailer is simply a type of issues you must observe and get higher at as time progresses.
If I Have been To Change Something About The BOB Ibex:
– I’d do away with the necessity for 2 10mm wrenches and two 4mm Allen wrenches when assembling the trailer. As a touring bicycle owner, I’d favor to make use of solely a single Allen wrench for any restore I would must make to my gear.
– I’d additionally make it simpler to park the bike when there isn’t any wall, fence, or picnic desk within the space. That is the place the one wheel design hurts the general efficiency of the trailer. Two wheel trailers get up on their very own, however with out one thing to lean the trailer in opposition to (or an open house massive sufficient to assist the bike and trailer in its “parking place,” there are some small issues.) I’m not precisely certain how one can appropriate this example, however when touring by bicycle, packing and unpacking your bike is a continuing a part of your day. If getting out and in of your gear is a nuisance, your entire day turns into aggravating and the probability of you finishing your tour drastically decreases.
– Lastly, I wish to see the dry SAK obtainable in different colours. I perceive that the brilliant yellow shade is designed for the security of the rider when using in site visitors, however for somebody like myself who would use the trailer off-road greater than on it, I’d favor to see a dry sack obtainable in black, inexperienced, or grey (a shade extra fitted to stealth tenting and life outdoors the neon yellow stereotype related to most hardcore bicyclists).
Over the previous 45 days I’ve been utilizing my BOB Ibex bicycle trailer whereas using to work, operating errands, choosing up groceries, traversing the native single tracks and all the pieces in between. Total, I’m terribly impressed by the standard and design of the trailer. It’s constructed robust, has a superb design for on street and off-road using, and is by far the most effective bicycle trailer I’ve ever used. With its single wheel design, inflexible development, and suspension system designed for the roughest of street circumstances, the BOB Ibex is the perfect touring trailer.
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Pictures By: Jayman