We partnered with bikepacker, writer, father, and Burley Ambassador RJ Sauer to get his unique perspective on the new single passenger D’Lite X kid bike trailer. See how it fits into his family’s active lifestyle in this in-depth review.
Written By: RJ Sauer, rjsauer.com
We have now been the proud owners of the new Burley D’Lite X trailer in the single passenger model and the Nomad Trailer for about 6 months, perfect timing for all of the worst weather the West Coast of British Columbia can offer.
I have been known to ride a bit aggressively with the trailers, mainly due to the verbal goading from my two-and-a-half year old son Oliver who insists, ‘go fast daddy!’ Wait, does this qualify as peer pressure? Anyway, given all those rugged miles on gravel and “single-track”, I am proud to say I have yet to roll the trailer which speaks to the stability of the trailer. But, if I did, the D’Lite X trailer is designed with a full internal aluminum roll cage for protection in an accident as well as an adjustable five-point harness system to keep Ollie safe. These are key features. I don’t want to put Oliver at risk of getting hurt, but I also don’t want to be second guessing where we ride – within reason of course.
Logically, like most two-wheeled trailers, there are limitations to where we can go, mostly due to the width. It’s not realistic to weave through super narrow trails especially with tightly spaced trees or steep, off camber edges or cliffs. But this has more to do with physics than the trailer’s design and if I’m ever unsure I just get off the bike and push.
From the outset, we took advantage of the ability to swap out the standard road tires with the fat tires as we had experienced issues with blowing out trailer tires in the past with other brands. This was an essential feature for us as I spend a lot of time pulling the trailer over gravel and rocks and our year round family bikepacking trips take us over every possible terrain, including snow and sand. I just want the versatility to go anywhere.
We also took advantage of the swappable ski kit which adapted the D’Lite X trailer to cross-country skiing and converted into a sled when pulling behind fat bikes on soft, loose snow, which we did this Winter on a multi-day, family trip along the Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail.
The interior spacing of the D’Lite X offered plenty of room for Oliver to sit comfortably in the premium, reclinable seat (think First Class on an airplane minus the champagne) while still offering a large, versatile space behind the seat which is critical for shoving extra gear and clothing for errands, day-tripping or longer bikepacking trips where every nook and cranny is coveted. With that, we try to keep lighter items stored here such as sleeping kit or extra warm clothing as excessive weight out the back is not ideal for biking, especially with lots of elevation to climb.
Note that we have the single seat D’Lite X, but it is available in a double seat model as well.
Generally speaking, the D’Lite X is relatively “light” at 30.4 lbs, given its size and robust design, including adjustable suspension which is essential for long days or trips. The shocks absorbed a lot of the rough surfaces to ensure Ollie wasn’t tossed around.
On the outside, the Burley D’Lite X comes with two, permanently attached “layers” separated by two zippers. The inner layer is a tightly woven screen and the outer layer is a clear, waterproof plastic. Oliver was able to see out of the trailer regardless of what layer we used, especially with the side UPF 50+ tinted windows which protect from UV light. This is important as his observational skills have grown and as long as he can watch the world go by he doesn’t get too restless.
The D’Lite X trailer proved to be fully weather-resistant, enduring snow storms and multiple wet, muddy days with water attacking from all angles. Nothing penetrated the outer fabric despite pouring rain, snow storms, giant, swampy puddles and several river crossings. The seams on all access points had ample overlap and quality materials to ensure that was not an issue. My only recommendation was to have the ability to fully seal the section at the bottom of the lower flap so nothing could accidentally fall out.
The hand rail for pushing on walks or runs is adjustable to all heights. The varied height of the hand rail even allows Oliver to get in the action as he sometimes insists he get out and push, a great way to make him feel a part of the team and burn off some energy.
We use a lot of different models of bike so I ensured we had a Burley made thru-axle for each bike and some extra steel hitches just to be safe. All the thru-axles fit great (with varied lengths and thread count options available) and pretty much live on my bikes so I am not constantly swapping things out. Once the hitch is attached to the rear thru-axle, connecting the trailer to the bike is very simple and secure, with one peg that slips into place and a safety tether as an extreme precaution. I have connected the trailer to multiple wheel sizes including 29er wheels and fat bikes and haven’t had any spacing issues.
For transport, the wheels pop off easily and the collapsible trailer compresses down to a flat, compact size, fitting comfortably in the back of our modest sized, four door hatchback. It then all snaps back into place quickly.
All-in-all, the Burley D’Lite X is an excellent and versatile child carrier fit for any adventure, in any weather. We have had wonderful interaction with the Burley team and feeling connected to another community within the biking world is important to me so I don’t take that part lightly. We would recommend this trailer for any family looking for a robust and reliable child carrier who frequent the wilds of the great outdoors or urban jungle alike.