Author Topic: When is buying something fancy the right thing to do? -Looking at bike trailers  (Read 4076 times)


  • Bristles
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I'm married, have a 2.5yr old, and another kid is expected this summer.  I'm mainly a pleasure bike rider, but I've been trying to do more and more.  My wife isn't really up to much biking right now, as she is 6 months pregnant.  Even when she isn't pregnant, she tires out after 4-5 miles or so.  Currently, we've got a cheap inStep double trailer that we were given by my sister for free.  It's served it's purpose, and certainly carries kid behind me safely.  My dilemma with it is that I'd like to be able to bike somewhere, detach the trailer, and convert it to a stroller.  For example, there are tons of places that I can take my son on day trips via bike, but when I get there, I want to 1) Have the option of pushing him around instead of walking with him.  2) Not leave things in the trailer unattended (helmets) while we are off galavanting in the zoo or whatever.  3) Use it as a stroller when going on vacation with our bikes.  (I know the stroller function isn't as good as a regular stroller, but when cargo space in the car is an issue, I'd rather bring a multi-tasker than have to bring a trailer and a stroller).

So I've been looking at Craigslist for a used bike trailer that has the stroller conversion kit.  Most of the ones I'm seeing are garbage.  The inStep trailers are cheap, and some do have stroller kits, but it's a pretty cheap trailer.  I could probably pick a used one up for $50-75 fairly easily.  I could see some benefit to getting a stroller that is a little easier to pull, and/or more durable.  I keep stumbling upon people selling used Chariot or Burley trailers for $3-450.  Part of me wants to just buy the more expensive used trailer, since the odds are good that I'll be using this thing for 5-7+ years, and the nicer it is, the more likely I'll be to use it.  Plus, the expensive trailers don't seem to take much of a hit with depreciation.  In other words, I should be able to sell the trailer for most of what I paid for it when I'm done with it (assuming we keep it in decent shape).  It's just that whenever I think about spending several hundred dollars on a device that does little more than what I already have, I want to punch myself in the face.

Any thoughts/recommendations?  I'm certainly up for other options.


  • Handlebar Stache
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  • Location: Dallas TX
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I highly recommend getting a new Instep and taking care of it.
We have 2: one 9yrs old, one 4. They are cheaply made and will not take abuse without the fabric ripping, etc. But I take care of them (just be gentle) and they have held up well. I put around 1,000miles a year on each.



  • Handlebar Stache
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    • Life is Good - Aceyou's Journal
Buy the nice one and enjoy it.

1.  Is it a quality device?
2.  Are you taking good care of it?
3.  Are you buying it at a fair price?

If you answer yes for all three, then you aren't really spending 3-450 on the trailer, because you can sell it a few years down the road for nearly the same price, and sometimes even more.  That's the beauty of craigslist...if you are doing it right, just go for quality, because it'll end up being about free anyway. 

Over the winter, my garage door opener broke.  I needed a socket wrench to open it up and fix it that I didn't have.  I bought a whole set on craigslist that I thought was underpriced, fixed the garage door, then resold the set for $10 more than I bought it for.  A year ago I'd have called a repair man and would've been out $100, but with my new mindset I got paid $10 for the repair.  I love craigslist. 

yoga mama

  • Stubble
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  • Posts: 111
We have two Chariots that we bought used on craigslist (single and double).  It actually took a while for us to find each one because they all got snapped up so fast, which is very reassuring for resale.  They are both easy to detach and use as a stroller although we don't do that very much.  Bought them before our mustachian journey began.  I feel better about having spent so much $ on them because I think we will be able to get most of that back when we put them back on CL in a few years. 

How seriously are you getting into biking?  We recently bought a Yuba Mundo on craigslist and now have it outfitted with two child seats on the back (Yepp mini) and hubby almost always takes it to get groceries etc these days with side hanging bags.  We have a front seat for the fork (Bobike) that we hope to use for #3 when she hits 9-10 mos, I'm 4 mos pregnant right now.  Look into the cargo bikes if you are leaning toward replacing a car with a bike.  I don't know how long it will take us to recoup the costs for what we've put into the Yuba and we are several years away from going down to one car (if ever)... but we LOVE the Yuba and it really gets my husband more enthusiastic about bike riding for almost every errand. 

Keep in mind that there is no rush to either make a decision or a purchase.  Prices might be better in fall when the weather cools and the non-badass pack up the cycles for the season?  Recommended age for infants in bike trailers is 1 year.  We've pushed that a little with our kids but it still made me uncomfortable for longer trips.  I have friends who strapped their infant car seat into the trailer starting around 4 months, we can't fit ours into the single chariot but we might do that in the double. 

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

  • Walrus Stache
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You might be able to get a good deal on a used Burley and then buy the conversion kit separately.

I wish I'd had a conversion kit. The moment has passed--kids are now 4 and almost 3--but in retrospect, it would have been worthwhile. Especially when Little Brother broke his leg.


  • Magnum Stache
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We had an oooooooold burley and upgraded to a chariot pre-MMM.

That thing was awesome. I loved it so much and used it so so much more than our old crappy burley. And the resale was excellent.

Really I think it just depends how much you'll use it. I found the old crappy trailer was fine with one kid but awful for two.


  • Bristles
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Had a friend create a "false bottom" from the very beginning in his new economical trailer (Schwinn I think). He used old-fashioned chair webbing, washers, and rivets. His kids outgrew the trailer without destroying the bottom fabric--usually the first part to get ruined. Afterward, he pulled out the harnesses and used it for almost four years as a grocery getter until his uncle fell on it in the garage and broke the axle.

Buy what you'll use. If it costs more, fine. If you're the creative DIY sort, fine. Just don't justify buying a new Mercedes trailer that you would sell at a loss in six months after a half dozen uses if you found out you just didn't like the conversion apparatus or trailer hauling in general--unless you feel generous toward random strangers. I scored my near-mint condition grocery hauler off a couple who didn't factor in hills, a trailer, heavy kids, and out-of-shape parents when they bought theirs.


  • Bristles
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  • Posts: 346
I've gone on several 11-12 mile trips with my son in our inStep trailer.  I'm doing my best to build up my endurance.  It's certainly a workout going that far, especially with him.  I'm certainly not afraid of the distances.