Extra Wheel Trailer
From: www.cyclesense.co.uk (01937 530303) www.extrawheel.com
Tested: To Scotland and back.
Reviewed: Singletrack Magazine – Issue 38
If you want to load up a bike there are going to be compromises and handling will be affected. I’ve carried camping gear in a 35L rucksack on previous off-road trips. It was hard on my shoulders, made my bike top-heavy and when descending sometimes hit the back of my helmet. The Extra Wheel was an appealing alternative and for this test I did a 60-mile off-road epic through the Scottish Highlands, my destination being the Single Speed World Championships. Rather than just going by train to party and race, I wanted to make the journey into an adventure and I wanted riding my bike to be fun even with camping gear.
The Extra Wheel is basically one wheel hitched to the rear axle by a clever steel sprung bracket (you get both an adapted QR and 10mm axle nuts which will fit mountain and road bikes). Your kit is carried in two dry bags in cargo nets on either side of the wheel like saddle bags. Each side will hold a whopping 60 litres and a maximum weight is listed as 30kg. I can’t imagine wanting to pull that weight or manoeuvre such volume though. My solo camping gear was fine and it was a joy to ride with nothing on my back. The construction is light and keeps the wheelbase of the whole rig as short as can be. There is a choice of 26in (tested) or 700c wheel. You don’t forget that it’s there because it does affect steering but with a bit of practice you learn to keep the bars weighted. With this technique you can easily hustle the trailer along. Sometimes, especially at high speed, it can get a bit of a wag on, but I was impressed with the overall handling. It did fulfill my need for the ride to be fun. On rough ground the trailer can skip about but I managed to keep the whole thing heading where I wanted it. For the record it didn’t throw me off and I didn’t throw it in a river with frustration.
Climbing is fine both seated and standing, you can lean over, turn in as tight a circle as you would without the trailer and even bunny hop and do endos! Technical terrain can be tackled and it will follow you down sketchy trails surprisingly well. The lightweight materials don’t come out on top when bashed into rocks though.
Even though I made it to my destination I’m afraid I did test the trailer close to destruction. Abrasion against rock caused the cargo netting to sever in a couple of places and the dry bags had some small holes in. I also managed to break a fibre glass pole on one side which is the fixing point for the net. I have spoken to the UK distributor and he was clear that this is a camping trailer designed for use on rough tracks rather than the full-on techno route that I took. It also turns out that changes are being made to this model with stronger nets and metal rods. In addition a new model will be released in the next few months using hard panniers instead of dry bags. This is a modification that would be perfect for the riding I’d like to do. As an expedition trailer on dirt tracks and more open trails it is excellent as it is. Use it to get to base camp, un-hitch and then hit the harder trails. It’s easy to store when not in use, only taking up the space of a pair of wheels and at £150 it’s cheap for a trailer.
Overall: Hitch, ride, camp. Enjoy!