Author Topic: trailers vs panniers  (Read 8667 times)

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Offline fastrog

trailers vs panniers
« on: November 02, 2016, 03:56:51 am »
I've heard various opinions on trailer versus  panniers. At 200 pounds and over 6 feet, the bike, tires and wheels, etc., already have a substantial load. A trailer seems a good solution. I realize it adds weight and rolling resistance. So, is there consensus or an "absolute," or is it all personal preference? Has anyone done any science on the topic? I'm talking about long, self-contained tours on pavement. Thanks

Offline DaveB

Re: trailers vs panniers
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2016, 07:52:58 am »
There is no "absolute" answer.  This topic comes up often and is highly contentious with both sides making good arguments for their choice.  A search here and on the AC web site should come up with plenty of information.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: trailers vs panniers
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2016, 12:51:01 pm »
6'2" and around 210 lbs. here. Racks and panniers work fine for me.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: trailers vs panniers
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2016, 02:17:04 pm »
I think the bike that you are going to use factors into the equation.  I could see a situation in which putting panniers on the bike is not a good idea, but it could tow a trailer.  It would help to know what trailer you were going to use.

In general, people have made a trailer or panniers work.  As for your specific situation, I don't know enough to comment.
Danno

Offline johnsondasw

Re: trailers vs panniers
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2016, 08:44:21 pm »
I've done both and they both work fine.  Now, because I like to ride a carbon fiber bike, I use a trailer--Burley Nomad. It pulls off the rear axle and works great.  I sometimes use it for the weekly grocery run and can put over 50 pounds in it.  Even with that weight, it has no problem. 
May the wind be at your back!

Offline driftlessregion

Re: trailers vs panniers
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2016, 09:25:34 pm »
Agree that it is the bike that matters. I am 6'2", not quite 200#. Used a trailer happily for a decade but then bought a real touring bike (Gunnar) and I won't go back to the trailer. If I had only one bike it wouldn't be a touring bike and thus would still be happily using the BOB.

Offline staehpj1

Re: trailers vs panniers
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2016, 06:56:30 am »
There are a number of factors including what bike you ride, how much you pack, your personal preference to name a few.

That said if you either pack light or have a reasonable bike with fairly high spoke count wheels I'd go with panniers, but some of that is personal preference as either can work fine.  If I was going to pack really heavy (like over 60 pounds) I'd start thinking trailer.

Offline RonK

Re: trailers vs panniers
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2016, 08:21:58 am »
Some people like trailers but I don't think much of them. Nonetheless they do have their place when extra carrying capacity is required - for example if you want to tour the outback and need to carry large quantities of food and water. Otherwise, they are simply an inconvenience and a temptation to overload.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Offline canalligators

Re: trailers vs panniers
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2016, 10:08:20 am »
When considering trailers, you need to decide on type; single- or double-wheeled.  Each has its pros and cons.  You'll need to search the web.  If you look at single wheeled trailers, don't overlook the Extrawheel.  I leave the research up to you.

Offline fastrog

Re: trailers vs panniers
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2016, 03:11:32 am »
Thanks, everybody, for trying, but not not much help. I've done tons of research, but was hoping my fellow ACA folks could be more specific/aggressive in their advice.
So, sigh, I'll go to trial and error.

Offline DaveB

Re: trailers vs panniers
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2016, 08:59:46 am »
Thanks, everybody, for trying, but not not much help. I've done tons of research, but was hoping my fellow ACA folks could be more specific/aggressive in their advice.
So, sigh, I'll go to trial and error.
As I noted in my posting above, this is a contentious issue and there is absolutely no universal consensus.  If you expect a definitive answer you are going to be disappointed.  The best you will find is the pros and cons of each method.

Offline staehpj1

Re: trailers vs panniers
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2016, 12:14:05 pm »
Thanks, everybody, for trying, but not not much help. I've done tons of research, but was hoping my fellow ACA folks could be more specific/aggressive in their advice.
So, sigh, I'll go to trial and error.
OK then, so here is my "more specific/aggressive advice"...  Unless you have specific requirements or preferences for using one forget the trailer.  Far more people tour with panniers many are heavier than you and carry fairly heavy loads.

There is nothing about your weight that makes a trailer an especially good option unless there are particular reasons that you prefer a trailer.  People tour on tandem bikes and there are not many tandem teams that don't weigh more than you.  So I advise packing reasonably light and using panniers.  If you are a  minimalist ultralight packer, then even the panniers could possibly be overkill.

Consider the need to ship or fly with your trailer to and from your tour start or finish.  For me that is a fiarly significant reason not to use one.

OTOH, there actually are a few special reasons why you might go to a trailer...  Travelling with a lot of heavy and or bulky gear.  Riding a very lightly built bike with more load than you want to carry on it.  Riding a mountain bike and wanting to be able to unhook the load quickly to go trail riding unladen.

Bottom line most folks use panniers and are better off for it.

Offline canalligators

Re: trailers vs panniers
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2016, 01:08:19 pm »
staehpj1 summarizes it well.

Another factor is the terrain.  We use the trailer (BOB) in flat land for longer tours, when tandem/motel touring.  For shorter tours and mountainous terrain, we use panniers to reduce weight.  For solo touring, I might use the BOB even for mountain riding; it worked well for me in the Adirondacks.

I made a canvas bag for packing the trailer on Amtrak.

Offline John Nelson

Re: trailers vs panniers
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2016, 03:59:48 pm »
Here's my specific/aggressive advice: Use panniers.

Offline aggie

Re: trailers vs panniers
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2016, 06:30:10 pm »
As you can see there are various opinions on the topic.  I've tried both and I prefer a trailer for a longer tour.  I don't like the way my bike handles with loaded panniers and I've never had a problem packing the trailer.  By the time you add the racks and the panniers they aren't that much lighter than a trailer unless you count ounces like a racer.  You will have to just try them both and see what works for you.