Buying a bike trailer to pull your baby or child behind you is a big decision – you want to make sure that they’ll be safe, secure, and comfortable during their ride. Thankfully there are a number of brands who have spent years working on these aspects of child bike trailer design.
In this article we’ll look at the best kids bike trailer makes and models, and help you choose the correct one for your family.
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UPDATE ON BUYING A KIDS TRAILER
As with everything at the moment stock levels of kids bike trailers are really fluctuating as suppliers struggle to get hold of stock and what is available tends to sell fast. At the time of writing the following places had bike trailers in stock:
Please understand that not all the models featured in this article will be available. Hopefully, things will return to normal soon.
If you’re just getting into cycling with your child be sure to sign up to get our regular updates about family cycling to help you through the years to come.
The best kids bike trailers
In this article we’ll be looking at the standard features of a number of different brands of trailer. When it comes to the details we’ll be featuring the best single seat bike trailers for pulling one child or baby behind you in order to maintain consistency between measurements and weights. If you’re looking for a double trailer with two seats all the advice is the same, and all the manufacturers do a double version. Obviously, the trailer will be heavier and the dimensions wider.
What to look for when buying a bike trailer
Safety is every parent’s prime concern, especially when cycling in traffic. There are four main brands available in the UK who make single seat child trailers that come with integrated roll cages. These trailers are robust enough to carry children and luggage. The frames are very rigid and designed to provide a reasonable level of protection for your child in case of impact. This photo shows what a roll cage looks like and you can see your child is sat well within the protective struts.
These trailers also come with reflective materials, 5 point harnesses and have additional accessories available to allow babies and younger children to travel in comfort and safety. They are also easy to fold down and compact for storing and transporting.
These brands usually have several different single seat trailers in their range, with varying levels of comfort and ease of use, but all have the same safety features. The brands making quality single seat bike trailers readily available new in the UK are as follows:
Each brand has two versions of their single speed trailer – a premium and budget trailer – but the differences are in the cost, the comfort of the ride, and usability rather than safety features. We’ll take a look at each trailer range in more detail in a minute.
WeeRide used to make a single seat trailer but that is currently difficult to buy new in the UK. However, it is occasionally available secondhand.
These children’s single seat trailers with a roll-bar do come at a price (£400 to £900) but give you peace of mind that they are built to last many years of regular use. These trailers also come with many features to make life easier for you to use and more comfortable for your child, including suspension, anti-roll mechanisms, reclining seats, easy fold and storage compartments. Many also convert to strollers or joggers which make them ideal for active families. Many parents will invest in these trailers if they want to incorporate cycling into their daily lives or are planning long distance cycling adventures.
At the other end of the price spectrum, cheaper bike trailers cost between £150 to £250. These provide families with a budget way to cycle with their child and are popular for gentle bikes rides on smooth traffic free surfaces. Other families (ours included) commute successfully on a daily basis with a cheap trailer. Just don’t expect them to last as long, have a high resale value, or be quite as easy to use.
As cheaper trailers don’t have the roll cage, they don’t provide the same level of protection to your child if they overturn or are involved in an impact, which is something you need to make your own risk based decision on.
Why not rent a trailer before you buy?
If you’re not 100% certain a trailer is right for you and your child, or you’re struggling to choose between models, then renting can be a great idea.
There are two main ways to rent a kids bike trailer:
- Lease from Kids Bike Trailers for between 2 and 12 weeks and benefit from their “try before you buy” service – if it’s not for you then you arrange to send the trailer back at the end of the rental period. They have a wide range of Burley trailers available and deliver nationwide in the UK so you can try out the trailer on your daily routes.
- Rent at a bike rental location and use the trailer for a day. Many bike hire locations offer a bike trailer option so you can give it a go. Unless you live local the downside is you won’t be able to ride on your daily routes if you’re planning to commute and they’re only likely to have one make/model to choose from, but this can be a great way to check whether a trailer is something you’re going to enjoy using before you make your purchase.
The best single seat bike trailers
In this article, we take a look at those single seat bike trailers easily available in the UK, either new or second hand. The premium brands are often available used on re-sale sites like eBay, which is testament to the quality of their build and their durability. We’ve looked at each brand in turn, and given key statistics from the manufacturers where available to help you compare features. All these brands also have double seat trailer for two children – we’ve just not around to writing that post yet!!
Burley is an American company who have an extensive range of trailers for different purposes. All Burley trailers come with impressive safety and usability features, the most important of which are:
- a “flex connector” which allows your bike to lay flat while the trailer remains upright – very useful whilst sorting your child out;
- a full internal aluminum roll cage for protection in case of an accident – hopefully never needed, but designed to protect your child and means many parents choose not to have their child wear a helmet when inside a Burley trailer; and
- if you decide your child needs to wear a helmet, there’s a recessed helmet pocket for extra headroom.
If you are based in the UK it’s possible to rent a Burley trailer on a “Try before you buy” scheme – read more about this scheme here.
Burley have a support for young children, although their “Snuggler” is designed for ages 6 to 18 months of age, so not from birth (which is why the Thule is popular with parents of very young babies).
The Burley website has the following disclaimer on their website: “Snuggler may be used for towing your child behind your bicycle if your child may sit upright unattended while wearing a bicycle helmet”. It is therefore up to each family to make a risk based assessment as to when they wish to start cycling with their child.
Burley have several different trailers in their range:
The Burley Bee is their popular entry level trailer and is available in single and double options and is great for recreational cycling
The Burley Encore is their mid-range double trailer with additional features such as suspension as well as the option to upgrade with conversion kits to allow you to use for strolling and jogging
The Burley D’Lite X is their premium kids bike trailer which has the additional benefits of adjustable suspension and reclining seats which are worth considering if your child is going to be spending a lot of time in the trailer. This is available in both single and double sizes.
The Burley Cub X is their most expensive offering and is built for more challenging terrain or very frequent use. It’s often used for rental purposes and is only available as a double trailer. It’s heavier than the D’Lite due to having a solid base, but is otherwise similar.
If you’re buying secondhand then you may find the Burley Minnow, which was a budget trailer discontinued in 2019.
All Burley trailers come with the same safety features, it’s the functionality that varies. Here are the key specification details of their single trailers and we’ll take a closer look at each trailer in more detail.
|Burley D’Lite||Burley Bee|
|Trailer weight (inc towbar, hitch, flag)||12.5kg||9.9 kg|
|Max cargo weight||34kg||34kg|
|Interior Seated Height||60.9cm||69.9cm|
|Interior Seat Width||47cm||40.6cm|
|Interior Shoulder Width||55.8cm||45.7cm|
|Seated Leg Room||54.61cm||53.3cm|
|Cargo Space||40 litres||40 litres|
|Size Open L x W x H (cm):||84.5 x 69.9 x 97.2||81.9 x 66 x 91.4|
|Size Folded L x W x H (cm):||91.4 x 69.9 x 38.1||81.9 x 66 x 28.6|
|Stroller conversion kit||Yes||No|
|Buy now||Buy Now||Buy Now Rent Now|
The D’Lite Single is Burley’s top of the range single seat bike trailer which comes with a conversion kit that turns the trailer into a stroller for when you’re not on the bike. You can also buy extra conversion kits for use for hiking, jogging and skiing, making this a really good choice for adventurous families.
In bike trailer mode the Burley D’Lite Single has adjustable suspension meaning you can ride off road without your little one feeling uncomfortable. This being their premium model, Burley have fitted the D’Lite Single with other features to make your child’s ride extra comfortable including a padded seat back and headrest together with three reclining seat positions.
The D’Lite Single is wider than the cheaper Minnow, giving more room for your child to spread out inside, plus it has more cargo room. However, it does have slightly less headroom, which is worth knowing if you’re planning to use with a much older/taller child. Here’s a quick video Burley have made showing the features of the D’Lite trailer:
The Bee is Burley’s iconic ‘bike only’ trailer, aimed at families using a trailer for cycling on smooth surfaces (it lacks the suspension of the D’Lite). It’s just a bike trailer, so it doesn’t have the conversion kit to be a stroller or jogger. Here’s a quick video from Bur showcasing the product features of the Bee.
The Burley Bee is a great choice if you’re looking for a single seat trailer for riding on roads or flat cycle paths and would be ideal for those wanting to ditch the car and start doing the school run by bicycle. It’s got a high passenger area compared to many other trailers, meaning that your child has plenty of growing room upwards, but is quite narrow width wise. It folds down more compactly than the D’Lite which may be an important consideration for storage or transportation.
Thule child bike trailers
Thule are one of the most popular and readily available bike trailer manufacturers here in the UK. They originate from Sweden and aim to create quality products to get families active, whilst meeting the highest safety standards. Thule trailers come with a roll bar that provides structural protection for your child whilst they are inside, which is something missing from the much cheaper trailers available. This means some parents choose for their child not to wear a helmet inside these trailers, although this is entirely your choice.
The Thule Single Seat trailers are designed to be bike trailers and strollers and you can buy additional conversion kits for jogging and skiing. Thule also offer a wide range of additional accessories and spare parts you can adapt the trailer as your needs change.
One of the most popular accessories is the infant sling which attaches inside the trailer and is for use by babies who cannot sit unaided between the age 1 – 10 months old, weigh less than 10kg, and are shorter than 75cm. (Please note that the Thule safety disclaimer is to only use the sling for the strolling function, so each family must make their own decision on when/if they wish to start cycling with their baby).
For slightly older children (aged 6-18 months) there is the Thule Baby Supporter which has padded sides and head support to ensure your baby sits comfortably upright. The head support adjusts upwards as your baby grows, but can also be totally removed if you prefer to have your child wearing a helmet inside the trailer. Thule have three different models of single seat bike trailer available:
- Chariot Cross (their latest premium model)
- Chariot Cougar (older version, superseded by the Cross but often available secondhand)
- Chariot Lite (their budget trailer)
Here’s a summary of the key features of each for the single seater (obviously you need to factor up for the double version):
|Thule Chariot Cross 1||Thule Chariot Lite 1||Thule Chariot Cougar 1|
|Trailer weight (inc towbar, hitch, flag)||13.8kg||11.7 kg||11 kg|
|Max cargo weight||34kg||34kg||34kg|
|Interior Seated Height||68 cm||68 cm||67cm|
|Interior Shoulder Width||36.5 cm||36.5 cm||40cm|
|Size Folded L x W x H (cm):||87 x 65 x 37.5||87 x 65 x 37.5||107 x 61 x 26 cm|
|Stroller conversion kit||Yes||Yes|
|RRP||£850||£615||Was £625 new|
|Available||Buy Now||Buy now||Secondhand|
Thule Chariot Cross (RRP £850)
The Chariot Cross 1 is Thule’s premium child trailer and was upgraded in 2017 from the previous model, the Chariot Cougar. It’s designed for active families who want a trailer for cycling, walking, running and even skiing. Out of the box, the Chariot Cross trailer is suitable for cycling and strolling and you can buy additional attachment kits for jogging and skiing.
The trailer is fitted with adjustable suspension and a reclining seat for a comfortable ride. It is very easy to move from bike trailer to stroller making this a versatile trailer for daily use, as the non-required parts store away very cleverly. It has a fold away storage area which gives you more legroom when it’s not in use but provides capacity for carrying shopping or all your Sprog’s “stuff” when you need it.
This video explains the main features of the Chariot Cross and shows how to convert from one mode to another – the video shows the double trailer, but the same features apply to the single mode:
BUY NEW: Thule Chariot Cross 1
BUY SECOND HAND: The Chariot Cross 1 was only released in 2017 so there aren’t currently many available secondhand. Its predecessor, the Chariot Cougar 1 is often available on eBay (see two below for more details of this trailer).
Thule Chariot Lite (RRP £625)
The Thule Chariot Lite has all the same safety features as the Chariot Cross so you have the same peace of mind about your child’s safety, and it’s also a bike trailer/stroller with an option to upgrade for jogging and ski-ing. However, being a cheaper model means the Chariot Lite doesn’t have reclining seats, the suspension isn’t adjustable and there isn’t the same amount of storage space. This means it’s a great choice for shorter everyday trips, but you may want to consider the Chariot Cross if you’re planning longer adventures or if you know your child is going to be sleeping a lot whilst it’s in use. You can see the features of the Chariot Lite in the first part of this video – be aware that the jogger and ski conversions use the more expensive trailer to demonstrate:
Buy new: The Thule Chariot Lite 1
Buy second hand: Keep an eye out on eBay just in case one comes up when you need it!
Thule Chariot Cougar kids bike trailer
The Thule Chariot Cougar was their initial premium single seat bike trailer, and we’ve included it here as it quite frequently comes up for sale secondhand on eBay.
The main differences between the older and newer trailers are the folded size (the newer one is easier to fit into small car boots) plus the Cougar lacks removable/washable shoulder pads and the plastic step to help your child get up into the trailer. However, the Cougar remains a great trailer and should give you years of cycling fun with your Sprog.
Here’s a video of the features of the older Chariot Cougar so you can compare with the newer Chariot Cross:
Buy secondhand: The Thule Chariot Cougar often comes up for sale secondhand on eBay. Be aware that there are double and single versions available so check with the seller if the listing is not clear.
Croozer are a German company who have been making some of the best kids bike trailers for decades. From 2019 they included both the stroller AND the jogger adaptor kits in the box, which make them a great choice for parents who want to both run and cycle with their child. Of course, be aware older 2018 and second hand models won’t have the jogger kit. They also come with two universal adapter hitches, great if two different people are doing drop off / pick up duties.
As with the other trailers featured so far in this article, the Croozers come with an integrated roll bar, designed to keep your child protected if you were ever involved in an accident.
Croozer have two models of single seat bike trailer:
- Croozer Kid Plus for 1 – their premium trailer with suspension
- Croozer Kid for 1 – their budget trailer
|Croozer Kid Plus for 1||Croozer Kid for 1|
|Trailer weight||15.7 kg||14.2 kg|
|Max cargo weight||35kg||35kg|
|Interior Seated Height||62cm||62 cm|
|Suspension and integrated light||Yes||No|
|Size Open L x W x H (cm):||112 x 76 x 87||112 x 72 x 87|
|Size Folded L x W x H (cm):||106 x 72 x 28||106 x 72 x 28|
|Stroller/jogger conversion kit||Included||Included|
The Kid Plus for 1 is Croozer’s premium single seat bike trailer. The 2019 model is a jogger and stroller as well as a bike trailer.
The Croozer Kid Plus for 1 has suspension, so is ideal if you’re planning to ride on ‘non-tarmac’ surfaces, or want a more comfortable ride for your child over longer distances. It’s got the roll bar safety features of all the other trailers above, plus you also get two hitches, making this a good choice if you’re planning to share the pulling duties. Their premium model also comes with an integrated light, which you can just see in the handle in the picture above.
BUY NEW: From eBay
The Croozer Kid is the cheaper sibling of the Croozer Kids Plus and the main difference is that you don’t get suspension, so this trailer is great if you’re only planning to ride on roads. You also don’t get the built in light in the frame but virtually all the other features are the same as the Kid Plus.
Buy new: from eBay
Hamax child trailers
Hamax are a Norwegian company who are particularly renowned for their wide range of kids bike seats. They also have two single seat child trailer options available, both of which come with a very robust roll cage and various safety and utility features.
Hamax have two models of multifunctional bike trailers:
- Hamax Outback – their premium trailer with suspension and stroller/jogger conversion kit
- HAMAX Avenida – their budget trailer/stroller without suspension.
Both have the integrated roll cage as standard.
|Hamax Outback ONE||Hamax Avenida ONE|
|Trailer weight (excl tow bar)||15.5kg||13.5 kg|
|Max child weight||22kg||22 kg|
|Max total cargo weight||34kg||38 kg|
|Max child height||117cm||117cm|
|Suspension / reclining seats||Yes||No|
|Size Open L x W x H (cm):||109 x 33 x 95||102 x 28 x 100|
|Size Folded L x W x H (cm):||Not stated||Not stated|
|Stroller/jogger conversion kit||Yes||Just stroller|
The Outback is Hamax’s premium single seat, multi-functional trailer. As with most of the other top of the range trailers, it can be used for cycling, walking and jogging plus ski-ing if you purchase the conversion kit.
You can also get a special seat for babies up to 10kg, which Hamax say should only be used for strolling and not cycling.
When you’re attaching the trailer to your bike or swapping between different modes there’s a safety feature which shows green when you’ve connected it properly and red when you haven’t. A new feature in 2019 is the reclining seat functionality, which is great if you’ve got a little Sproglet who wants to sleep on the journey. You can see both of these in this video:
If you’re looking to buy secondhand, due to the durability of this trailer, it’s worth keeping an eye on eBay for any coming up for sale second hand. They do a single and double version, so check the listing carefully for which you’re getting, and also check features like suspension and reclining seats if these are important to you as older models can vary. You can also buy the Hamax Outback new online.
The Avenida ONE is Hamax’s budget cycle trailer. It has the same safety features as the Outback in terms of roll cage, reflective materials etc, but is less of a multi-use trailer. It converts to a stroller, but as it doesn’t have suspension doesn’t allow for jogging or skiing. It doesn’t have reclining seats either, which is worth considering if you’re planning longer rides for little ones.
BUY NEW: from eBay
All of the trailers featured above come with an integrated roll bar, which offers a reasonable degree of protection to your child should the trailer overturn or be involved in an impact. The Halfords single seat trailer doesn’t have this roll bar, meaning it’s much cheaper. This makes it a much more affordable option, especially if you’re only planning to use it a couple of times, say during a holiday. Other families, ours included, are happy to commute daily with such a trailer – a lot will depend on the nature of the route you’re taking and your attitude to risk. It’s worth pointing out that the advice is to ensure your child is wearing a helmet whilst sitting in this trailer, and it’s not suitable for children under the age of 12 months. Also, note that the hitch is not compatible with ‘Thru Axles’ but only standard bolted or QR axles.
There’s obviously no suspension, anti-roll mechanism, reclining seats or additional comfort and storage features that you get with the more expensive trailers but it does come with a high visibility flag.
BUY SECONDHAND: Due to the low price of these trailers, lots of families buy them and then only use them a few times. This means they often come up for sale on eBay. Do check the listing carefully if you want the stroller attachment as it’s not standard
WeeRide are very well known for making front bike seats and tagalongs, and in the past, they have had a single seat bike trailer called the WeeRide Classic, which has a full aluminium roll bar and 5 point harness.Buy Used
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Other articles you may find useful:
- How to start cycling with a small child in a bike seat, cargo bike or trailer
- The best front bike seats for toddlers and young children
- The best front mounted bike seats for older kids
- The best rear bike seats for toddlers and small children – 2020
- The best Tagalongs for pulling a child behind your bike
- Cycling with older kids who have a disability or special needs
- Choosing the best balance bike for your child
- The best 14″ starter bikes for children aged 3 and 4 years