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trailers vs. panniers: what is your experience?

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WS Member WS Member's picture
trailers vs. panniers: what is your experience?


So far, we are travelling with panniers - 2 on the back-rack; each is about 5 kg. Plus a backpack for water and snacks. We do asphalt and xcountry 50-50

I do not like the way the bike behaves with this load: it is wobbly at low speed, it likes to rear in steep places.

Now I do consider to use a trailer instead.

what are your experiences? Do you prefer panniers or a trailer and why?


I am considering a topeak journey tx because it does seem to offer a good price/quality ratio for our shopping. Anybody else using that trailer? any optinions regarding this one?

I have thru-axles , 27.5" tyres and the trailer must cater to that without me fiddling too much.

All opinions welcome. 

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WS Member WS Member's picture

I've toured with both and I'm back to panniers.  My recommendation is to place a rack on the front and a couple more panniers.  This balances the weight and I have never had a wobble.  A trailer on a hill is like throwing out an anchor.

WS Member WS Member's picture
re: trailers vs panniers

what the other fellow said about panniers on the front -- I agree with completely.  

I have toured with a trailer on a tandem.  the entire rig was Very Long!  (we were called "the train" by other cyclists ;-)  it worked.  

WS Member WS Member's picture

Thanks for the insights! 'the train' make me laugh! Must have been quite a sight.

the issue with front-carrier is, that on a fully that is a bit complicated (and costly) to implement. (as is the trailer, I know)

WS Member WS Member's picture
If you plan to get a trailer

If you plan to get a trailer because the bags affect the handling of the bike, you should definitely go for a two wheeled one. We toured with a Bob Yak which is a very nice trailer and I still like it for out weekly shopping. Nevertheless, if you put a lot of load on a single wheeled trailer ( >20kg) it affects the handling of the bike a lot. Additionally it ads 5 - 10 kg to the total weight, so I'd definitely second what has been said about it being an anchor. That's why I went back to panniers after one tour. 


Unregistered anon_user's picture
In france trailer is forbiden

In france trailer is forbiden in train you have to desassemble it  so panniers is easier for me ... 


my tubus rack is  630 g (standard) + visserie 148 g and 2 ortielb panniers are  1680 g  and a seato summit hydrolic bag 437 g

less than 5kg and less than a bob yak 6.1 kg plus 1.20 bag for exemple 


WS Member WS Member's picture
Thru axle?

We really appreciate our Burley 2 kid trailer, a dog version also available, have not tried yet. B.o.b. yak trailer is great, except for a scary wobble that kept occurring nearing 45 m.p.h. ,cargo area enough for 2 days H2o and food. Can no longer go over red MTN. Pass, can only do that route safely w panniers.

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panniers vs trailers

 I use  trailer only to carry large ungainly items.  One factor not yet mentioned  is that racing style bikes with short chainstays tend to wobble at speed with heavily loaded panniers. You can minimize this by using smaller panniers mounted as close to the seat as possible as long as heel strike on the bags is not a problem.  A low rider stye front rack modestly loaded < 25lbs} makes the bike very stable, though steering feels ungainly until 5mph., but get a stiff rack.  The early Blackburns flexed too much.