In our first six years of bike touring, we took a fairly traditional approach to packing and setting up our touring bikes.
Our basic set-up consisted of 2-4 panniers on each bike, a handlebar bag up front and a dry bag over the back rack.
A baby changes everything, however, so when Luke came along in 2012 we had to re-think our packing strategy. As a baby, Luke could simply travel in his Chariot trailer (and we could still carry our panniers as we’d always done) but by the summer of 2014 we no longer had a baby. We had a toddler who was taking up increasingly more space.
Luke was now mostly sitting on the back of mum’s bike in a Yepp seat. This took up the space that Friedel would otherwise use for back panniers. Andrew, meanwhile, was loaded down with back bags and we still hadn’t gotten rid of the trailer (essential as Luke’s hideaway spot for naps and bad weather).
How could we pack everything we needed and still have enough room for a pint-sized passenger? We needed:
- A way to carry more gear, including bulky items such as tents (which wouldn’t fit easily in front panniers).
- A flexible solution that would be useful for biking around town as well as for touring.
- Something that we could also carry on public transport.
- The ability to easily use whatever we bought on a variety of bikes (we own 7 bikes in total).
We’d heard good things about this trailer from friends (see Stijn’s review) so in April 2014 we took the plunge and bought one. We hooked it up behind Friedel’s bike, filled it with camping gear and took it to Switzerland for a 3-week test drive.
In a word, it was GREAT!
We’re not really the gushing type but let us gush, just for a moment: we have fallen head-over-heels in love with this trailer. It’s solidly built, easy to use and versatile. Best of all, it tows so easily behind the bike that you hardly know it’s there.
Our friend Stijn described his Cyclone trailer like this:
Unloaded, it’s hard to even tell I’m pulling a trailer at all. It functions perfectly and it’s built to last. Even better, it’s as much a duffle bag as it is a trailer and it converts from one into the other in under a minute.
The trailer has now become a standard part of our touring setup, with over 1,000km of use so far.
We use it to carry everything we need for camping. The bag has a capacity of 100 litres and inside we are able to fit a tent (currently the Hilleberg Nallo 3GT), a tarp, three sleeping bags, three Thermarest NeoAir mats and two Helinox chairs. All of this packs in easily, while still leaving room for impressive quantities of food.
Big Storage Space
Most of the food that we purchase while cycling goes into the trailer. It’s so easy to just open the top flap and stick food on top of the other gear already inside. This is a bonus, but also one of the potential dangers of this trailer: it’s so big and so easy to tow, that you can be constantly tempted to carry more weight than you really need to.
A bottle of wine? Sure! An interesting rock that you found by the side of the road? Why not! We’re constantly reminding ourselves that just because we can carry something doesn’t mean we necessarily should.
Easy To Attach
Hooking up the trailer to the bike was a breeze. You simply pull back on a spring on the tow bar and clip it on to the hitch. This can be done with one hand and almost no effort.
The well-thought-out wheels are another plus. They’re 16″ wheels (the same size as many folding bikes) and can be removed from the trailer by simply pushing the button at the centre of the hub.
Once released, you can pack the wheels (and the trailer hitch) inside the main bag. This transforms your trailer into a duffle bag: perfect for plane, train or bus trips.
Alternatively, you can move the wheels to a second mounting point at the back of the trailer. This makes it a nifty trolley, which you can easily tow behind yourself while walking. We use it this way for our weekly grocery shopping.
In most reviews, we try to find some disadvantages to mention. It’s rare to find a ‘perfect’ product but in this case we’re really struggling to find anything we don’t like about the Cyclone trailer. It’s well built, well thought out and highly recommended.
One thing to be aware of is the price. The Cyclone sells for nearly €500. If you want a top-notch trailer for touring, then this one is worth every penny. If you want to save a little cash, you might consider the Burley Nomad trailer instead.