Bicycle Travel > Gear Talk

Saddle bags versus trailer in tow: Which is better for a cross country trip?

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staehpj1:
What bike you will be using and how much you will be carrying are fairly major factors in this decision.

I will add that if going light enough other options become possible like using a Carradice seat bag or using lightweight stuff sacks rather than pannier.  Those options only start to make sense with either a really light camping and cooking style or a credit card touring style.

SlowAndSlower:
I am more comfortable using panniers and knowing that when I have to move my gear up and down steps or where ever that I can manage the bike and panniers. A trailer brings up the issue of leaving some of your gear as you move around. If I want to put the rig in the back of a pickup I can do it easily.

None of this has to do with which is best when riding. It is about the things you have to do with the trailer when you are not riding IMHO.

gpshay:
I am going to do the Pacific Tier this May .. 2 yrs ago I started it with my daughter [pulling 2 Bob Ibex trailers] but unfortunetly she developed a knee problem and we had to stop the trip after only a 100 miles. I found that the  trailer pulled very nicely behind our Cannondale T-1000 touring bikes .. I didn't feel like it added much wind resistance .. on the steep declines I remained vigilant about how the trailer was reacting to speed so I limited it to a top speed of 30mph .. I probably could have gone faster .. the trailer never gave me any indication it was going to be a problem at any speed .. I was just leary ... I am using Panniers this time and I will be also watching my down hill speed .. I am abit concerned on the wind resistance the Panniers my cause .. what I did not like about the trailer was .. when you stop, get off the bike and try and put the 2-leg kickstand down it became clumbersome because you are lifting part of the weight in the trailer as you are getting the rear wheel off the ground .. once the bike was on the kickstand if the trailer falls to one side or the other it will pull the bike down with it .. a solution might be a Click Stand which leans the bike and trailer to one side or the other that could possibly work .. working out of the large bag was not optimum .. trying to sort through gear when the trailer was attached to the bike would enevitably make the bike unstable and cause it to fall ..  if you motel at any time getting the bike and trailer through the door is more challenging and if its upstairs that is another set of difficulties the trailer will cause... to remove & replace the trailer bag while attached to the bike I found to be a pain .. so I am going to use Panniers on this trip and see how I fair with those .. I found the trailer caused or a least increased my anxiety when the bike would tip over or I'd just catch the bike in time ect...I dont know .. I am hoping Panniers will smooth out some of this frustration for me ... we will see.....Glenn

BikeFreak:

--- Quote from: gpshay on March 16, 2013, 05:01:38 pm --- I found that the  trailer pulled very nicely behind our Cannondale T-1000 touring bikes .. I didn't feel like it added much wind resistance .. on the steep declines I remained vigilant about how the trailer was reacting to speed so I limited it to a top speed of 30mph .. I probably could have gone faster .. the trailer never gave me any indication it was going to be a problem at any speed

--- End quote ---

I have toured with a BOB Yak myself and I fully agree with your analysis. However there is something most trailer people never mention. Something which annoys me a lot and explains why I switched back to panniers again. When pulling a trailer, especially standing in the pedals going uphill, I feel a large dead mass behind me. A mass which tries to live its own life. I would describe it as inertia. The trailer gives me small sideways "counter forces" when pedaling and I don't like that. I guess these counter forces are a result of a non-perfect attachment system on the rear axle of the bike: There is a little play in that system. I believe that if the play could be fully removed, then the counter forces would be reduced. But not fully, because the entire trailer might flex along its longitudinal axis especially if you are hauling 60 pounds of gear.

Lucas

dkoloko:

--- Quote from: BikeFreak on March 17, 2013, 04:25:56 am ---
I have toured with a BOB Yak myself and I fully agree with your analysis. However there is something most trailer people never mention. Something which annoys me a lot and explains why I switched back to panniers again. When pulling a trailer, especially standing in the pedals going uphill, I feel a large dead mass behind me. A mass which tries to live its own life. I would describe it as inertia. The trailer gives me small sideways "counter forces" when pedaling and I don't like that.

--- End quote ---

I have a two wheeled trailer. Yours is one reason I tour with panniers, leaving the trailer at home for shopping, hauling. I call it pulsing; there is a lag between force applied at pedals and force transmitted to trailer, especially felt up hills.

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