Tester: Stephen Haynes
As a parent with kids whose interest in cycling ranges from lukewarm to ice cold, it’s often difficult to get the littlest of riders excited about going for a ride longer than a few blocks. There are many options for parents or caretakers wishing to tow their little bundles of joy over yon hill but many, if not most, suffer from what amounts to the same fundamental flaw; namely the herky-jerky nature of the trailer on the tow vehicle.
Enter the Burley Kazoo and its most outstanding feature, the company’s patented Trailercycle Hitch. Coupled with its proprietary rear rack the hitch almost completely alleviates the side-to-side violence associated with other trailer bikes. While it’s true that you have to install the purpose built rear rack (included) and you lose the ability to (quickly) move the trailer from one bike to another, you gain ease of use and a much more pleasurable ride quality for yourself and ultimately your little one.
The Trailercycle Hitch is connected to two rails of the rear rack of the tow vehicle and is locked in place by a by a screw clamp from the top. A two-way, ball bearing pivot point sits perpendicular to the ground and offers a smooth, wide range of movement for the trailer. Since the pivot point is actuated by ball bearings and isn’t in direct contact with the tow bicycle (being attached, instead to the rear rack), the the force of the child leaning either left or right and then leaning the opposite direction is absorbed by the rack itself and not the tow bicycle’s seat tube, minimizing the aforementioned violence generally associated with trailer bikes.
The single speed Kazoo features adjustable handlebars and seatpost, and a mud flap to avoid spray from the tow vehicle and will accommodate riders up to 85 pounds. This is by far the smoothest trailer bike I’ve ever used. I think it would be a worthy investment for parents who are devoted to taking their child with them and want a super smooth ride for themselves and their little ones. Also available is a 7-speed model called the Piccolo which also has a rider weight limit of 85 pounds.
Price: $160 (currently on sale from Burley for $75)
The Burley Plus allows users to extend the lifespan and usage of their Kazoo or Piccolo trailers by turning the trailers into fully functional bikes for riders up to 85 pounds. Simply remove the front end of the trailer and replace it with the Burley plus, which is essentially the front wheel, fork, stem and down tube of the bike(s), along with both front and rear rim brakes.
Once the transition is made, six bolts need to be tightened (front brake lever, stem and down tube) and your little ripper is ready to roll. Reverse the process to transform it back into trailer form. While it is relatively easy to make this transition, it certainly requires at least a little bit of pre-meditation. On the fly, trailside transformations might turn off all but the most die-hard bikepacker/parents among us.
It’s great having the option of trailer bike or regular bike whether your mini me has outgrown the trailer, or because you want the flexibility of having both. Either way, the Burley Plus is a welcome addition in this parent’s arsenal.