When we moved to Sydney 3 years ago, my wife and I decided to leave the car behind and see how we could manage without it. Not long after this I found a hobby in Sydney that wasn’t the easiest to get to, and after one trip taking a train, connecting to a bus with a few bags of gear I realised that I may need to reconsider my car philosophy. After discussing this with my cousin - also an addicted peddler - he introduced me to “Bob”. BOB (Beast of Burden) is the company that makes the trailer called a Yak, but we just call the trailer Bob.
Designed as an off-road bike trailer, Bob’s big advantage is that it has a single rear wheel so it tracks your bike wheels and so you don’t have to consider what else you might hit or run over while towing, so the trailer can pretty much go anywhere you already do. As an off road trailer it’s probably the best of the bunch, but length is a struggle on tight corners or switchbacks. Yet in its attempt to be an off road trailer it is absolutely ideal in the suburban environment by being stable at speed and able to climb or drop off curbs, all things you find travelling from the city to suburbia.
Bob is designed to clip on a standard MTB rear hub and comes with a custom rear skewer to replace your existing one. The skewer comes with extensions for the trailer hitching system, which is really simple and takes around 10-20 seconds to hitch or unhitch. When you are not using the trailer you leave the trailer skewer on the bike, it functions as a normal skewer.
How does it ride? Hills are definitely slower, but once you are up to speed on the flat it’s very easy to maintain, and if you’re a lightweight like me then you notice and increase in speed on the downhill, depending on what you’re carrying.
Packing is important - place the heaviest items at the back of the trailer and as low as possible. Because the Bob pivots from behind your rear wheel it means the more weight you put at the front of the trailer the more it reduces high speed stability. I have found that paying attention to how I pack the trailer means it doesn’t impact on the bike balance and rides fine.
I started riding with Bob with an old MTB and since then have changed to a more dedicated commuter bike with a Nexus internal transmission. Because the Nexus does not use a quick release skewer this posed a problem that I could no longer used the special Bob skewer. So after a trip to the hardware store to get a couple of bolts and a bit of alloy I made a couple of brackets that bolted to existing bike carrier holes so the trailer hooks up just like it did with the Bob skewer, and two years later the mod is still going strong.
I further modified the trailer with a plastic storage container from Bunnings as you can see in the picture. This gives me a handy storage compartment protected from the weather, and can hold two full shopping bags nicely.
So if you need capacity and you want to cycle then Bob fits the bill! For small loads I stick with the panniers, but for anything larger or heavier out comes Bob. The great benefit of these options is you never have to wear a bag on your back again - which for me takes the burden out of wanting to carry something more.