Maia Media | BOB Yak Bike Trailer Review
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BOB Yak Bike Trailer Review

  |   Adventure, Bikes, Travel   |   2 Comments

Bike trailers come in many shape and sizes and depending on your requirements you may go down very different paths. If you need to take the shopping from the supermarket or haul your kids around a two wheeled version is ideal.  They’re stable and can be packed in a fairl haphazard way and will drag pretty much any weight you can handle. If on the other hand you’re looking for a lightweight trailer to allow you to bicycle tour in more remote rugged environments or you want a trailer that will allow you to snake through sublime tight singletrack without catching on rocks and branches then a single wheeled follow behind is going to be better.
The BOB YAK trailer is one of the single wheeled breed of trailers designed to allow it to follow on much tighter more technical terrain.  The single wheel does mean it’s important to pack your weight evenly otherwise you may end up getting pulled sideways all day.  The simple but effective construction means there’s little to go wrong.  The floor of the BOB is corrugated split aluminum and there’s little plastic skids on the bottom where the trailer would naturally scrape or rest when not attached to a bike.  These save the frame from getting destroyed.  The one element that worried me, but is also easily remedied, is the clips that keep the trailer onto the rear QR.  This is easily fixed by firstly carrying spares and secondly, in a push I can imagine almost any tough wire would create a workable fix i.e. coat hangers/fencing wire etc etc.

First impressions

We picked up the Bob Trailer second hand. It shows signs of rust at the joints and the attachment bungees for the clips are knackered but other than that is was in good order.  The trailer seems solid and well made if not overly technical.  The attachment QR mechanism is simple yet effective and it’s easy to set up.  The steering/pivot system is also simple, effective and seems robust.  The metal base is a good solution and the single wheel is small enough that only serious abuse is going to cause trouble.

Riding with the trailer

bob yak trailer
As we only had one trailer it was a job to get it packed.  I carried the tent/stove/sleepingsystems/clothes/food/repair stuff for two people and the trailer was not light!  Saying that I was very pleased to discover it was still a pleasure to ride with.  Once up to speed it felt little extra effort to keep it going.
Being steered!  What the first time rider with trailer will quickly discover is there is some feedback from the trailer to the bike.  This is most notable on quick descents where you’ll feel the bike being nudged and pushed by the trailer as it bumps it’s way down rougher terrain.  Thankfully it wasn’t too unpleasant but it certainly made you keep your wits about you.  On tighter trails the trailer was very nimble and didn’t get hooked up or caught which was a real pleasure. You can see more images of the trailer in action by watching our ‘Bike & Bothy’ video.

Packing and the BAG

The bag is huge, probably bigger than my expedition rucksack!  The temptation is to fill it, but really, don’t!  You’ll thank yourself to travel as light as possible even with the extra capacity.  Where the extra space will come in handy will be situations where you have no choice but to carry the extra water/food/gear.  The bag’s made out of a tough PVC coated nylon, much like expedition duffels you’ll see in most outdoor stores these days.  It’s a good job as it gets fairly muddy from the back tire of your bike.  The roll top closure seems effective and is well proven  We were very fortunate on our first trip with the trailer, the weather was glorious so didn’t test the waterproof characteristics but I’m sure it would be fine especially if the bags’s not stuffed you’ll get multiple rolls of the seal.  The carry handles are robust with a comfy handgrip and made getting the bag around very easy!  Getting the bag in and out of the trailer is a doddle as it’s been designed to fit perfectly and when fully loaded you can still get it wedged in satisfactorily.

Overall ratings

Whilst I haven’t done any very long trips with the trailer the 4 days I spent with it were remarkably easy going.  Steep hills and tight trails were a comparatively easy and being able to detach the trailer quickly was a real godsend on numerous occasions as we had to climb over locked gates on bridleways.  All in all I think for more adventurous terrain the BOB Yak excels.  I do wonder how much more comfortable or quiet the BOB Ibex (suspension version) would be.


Rating 8/10

What would I change – I don’t know how it could be done but if it could be 2kg lighter I’d probably give it a 10/10

  • Jon Gammage | Nov 30, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Interesting review, what are your thoughts on using a trailer for the Great Divide Trail? Was it reliable?

    I saw your film and Q&A session at Kendal Mountain Festival – very inspirational thanks.

    • Hannah | Nov 30, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      Hi Jon, Thanks for your kind words about our film Megamoon. We were really pleased with the trailers and if we were to ride it again we would make the same choice. There’s the obvious tendancy and ability to carry too much but if you can be diligent all the better. We never planned to ride the trail particularly fast so it allowed us to carry a few luxuries on the Great Divide.

      As we were heading South to North we did get to meet all sorts of riders with different setups coming the other way. Many had really light bike-packing style which was never going to be a good option for us but they certainly moved fast. You could easily do it with panniers but I think with a trailer you are a little more stable and secure on a few of the rougher decents but most aren’t too bad anyway. There aren’t styles and fences to cross over as there are in the UK where a trailer becomes a problematic. I also imagine if you get stuck in that new Mexico mud with panniers it could be more of an arse.

      On about week 8 my trailer wheel literally spat out all it’s ball bearings but had been fine the day before. We bodged it together (hence the railway track shot in the film where the wheel pops off as I had swapped with Patrick). But we had a bike shop repair it a couple of days further on. We bought both trailers second hand too so no idea how much it had been previously used.

      So in summary we give trailers a big thumbs up for the Great Divide.