Burley Encore X Review: A Fun however Flawed Bike Trailer

“There’s no cause to be afraid,” my partner scolded, as my 1-year-old and 4-year-old shrieked on the high of their lungs. You would’ve thought they had been being roasted alive, as a substitute of merely strapped into the Burley Encore X as their mother and father gingerly hauled it down a small, steep hill to the seaside.

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For a minute, the stroller was poised over a three-foot drop. I held the roll bar from the highest and lowered it to my partner as I braced my toes on a tree root and thought “Hey, I’d begin shrieking, too.” You can’t blame toddlers for tantrums when freaking out makes good sense.

Our youngsters are used to this. We’ve been hauling them round within the energetic mother and father’ bike trailer of alternative, a Thule Chariot. The Chariot has totally different iterations at totally different value factors, however every iteration could be modified for jogging, biking, or cross-country snowboarding.

This yr, Burley launched a sequence of recent, rugged little one bike trailers. While the the Eugene, Oregon-based firm is thought for super-safe designs, it is hoping that the brand new Cub X, D’Lite X, and Encore X will get extra Burley trailers off the streets and onto the sand, snow, and grime.

I opted to check the Encore X efficiency sport stroller-trailer. It has suspension, compared to the extra reasonably priced Encore, however fewer of the luxurious options of the D’Lite mannequin. After a number of weeks of testing, I nonetheless want our Chariot. But Burley’s many followers will discover loads of causes to like the Encore X.

And it was all yellow


The Encore X is simple to assemble and use. Like Burley’s jogging stroller, the Solstice, the manipulable elements are set off in brilliant yellow plastic, so you understand precisely which elements you’re purported to wrestle with and which of them you must go away alone.

At 31 inches throughout, it’s slim sufficient to suit by way of our entrance door—simply barely—and at 24.7 kilos, it’s lighter than our Chariot Cheetah, which weighs 26.5 kilos. It comfortably matches my two youngsters, nevertheless it’s value noting that its complete capability is barely 100 kilos. I’m in all probability solely going to have the ability to carry each kids in it for an additional yr or so.

I’d be capable of use it for a bit longer if I can resist packing it stuffed with stuff. The Encore X has an awe-inspiring cargo capability. It’s onerous to not begin tossing random issues into the 60-liter cargo bin, like picnic blankets, tennis rackets, or pet food. You can even take away the seats to transform it to a cargo trailer.

It additionally comes with a one-wheel stroller conversion equipment. To use it, screw the Burley hitch in your rear axle. When you wish to bike, hook up the trailer hitch with by sliding within the pin and locking it; flip the small entrance wheel up and also you’re able to go. When you wish to convert it to a stroller, unhook the pin and flip the entrance wheel down. The transition is fast and straightforward, and in contrast to the Chariot, you do not have to fret about discovering a option to carry or retailer the hitch bar. Some convertible strollers, just like the Thule Chariot, do have a sturdier ball and socket attachment along with a pin.

Finally, the Encore X comes with all the usual options that assist make the corporate’s trailers so beloved amongst biking baby-havers: it comes with a skid guard to guard the underside of the trailer, and the wheels have guards and are straightforward to modify out with the pop of a giant, yellow button.

And the suspension works! I biked two youngsters and all their stuff on all the pieces from grime trails to sand and gravel paths, and nobody protested or cried (apart from that one time).

Not so burly


As a motorcycle trailer, the Encore X is sort of good. For two weeks, I towed my kids to and from faculty. A sunshade and UV-protective panels protected my progeny from the solar, and the large storage container meant that I did not have to connect panniers to my bike rack to hold all their backpacks and jackets. I might throw in a pal’s skateboard within the again when he wished to stroll with us, or a basketball to play on the park.

When I took it on extra adventurous excursions, cracks started to indicate. The Encore X meets ASTM F1975-09 security requirements and survived intensive drop and crush testing because of its heat-treated aluminum roll body, however I’ve some considerations about sturdiness.

The first flaw is that the trailer’s handlebar does not lock into place. When I picked up the bike trailer an inch or two to drag it round a gate or over a curb, the handlebar popped out, rotated, and plonked my kids on the bottom. When we needed to raise the trailer over a go surfing the path, my partner and I picked the stroller up by its body and ignored the handlebar altogether; it was simply simpler.

Burley assured me that you may tighten the clamp to lock the handlebar in place. However, to take action it is advisable to come out the barrel nut that holds the handlebar in place. And in case you tighten it an excessive amount of, you would possibly snap the handlebar’s cinch lever. As I contemplated this conundrum, I could not assist however assume {that a} sport trailer needs to be a bit hardier than this.

I additionally marvel how lengthy the Encore X will maintain collectively. The material is produced from robust 600-dernier polyester, however after a mere two weeks of being folded up and shoved behind my automobile, it has already began to put on by way of. The injury is not coated by the three-year guarantee. Burley suggests a bit Tenacious Tape would possibly do the trick, however I’ve owned the Thule Chariot for 3 years and put it by way of comparable paces, and its solely indicators of damage are fading from the solar.

The Thule Chariot’s equipment additionally simply make extra sense. For instance, the Chariot’s two-wheel stroller equipment is included within the base value, whereas with the Burley, the two-wheel stroller equipment is an add-on. The one-wheel stroller conversion equipment is likely to be extra handy in some methods, however I missed having two wheels. They make the stroller smaller and simpler to maneuver, and I wouldn’t wish to pay further for them.

I used to be excited to check Burley’s sand and gravel using equipment, however I discovered that the large, fats, 16-inch tires had been pointless. If you wish to bike to the seaside and push the stroller by way of sand, you must purchase the $149 jogger equipment on high of the $199 fats tires. Without the jogger equipment, the puny entrance tire sunk into the sand, tipping the stroller ahead.

If you choose the Encore X, my recommendation is to skip the sand equipment and follow the ski equipment for snow. Opt for the jogger equipment if you wish to go on sand or trails, or the two-wheel equipment in case you stay in a metropolis.

Encore Ready

If you need a one-and-done bike trailer that you may additionally hoist over a tree root with out your kids screaming, my vote would nonetheless be for one of many Thule Chariots just like the one I really helpful in our Best Strollers information. Still, I discovered it to be a surprisingly troublesome resolution.

The Encore X has many admirable qualities, particularly in case you do not go off-roading very a lot. It’s lighter and narrower, with a lot better storage choices. With a number of refinements to enhance its sturdiness, and a bit Tenacious Tape, I’d see much more of those on the roads and trails this summer season.

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