Burley Encore Bike Trailer and Jogger Review

Burley Encore Bike Trailer $479


About 9 years ago, I bought a bike trailer on clearance at Target for $38 and we’ve used it like crazy.  I thought I loved it.  I mean, it did the job, and the kids got around on our biking trips.

It wasn’t until we upgraded to the Burley Encore that I realized how much I had been missing out on by buying a cheap trailer.

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A Burley bike trailer and a discount trailer do not even compare – Burley blows them away!!  Sure they both tow behind a bike and hold kids, but that’s really where the similarities end.

Where we live, biking is king.  Probably less than 50% of families own a car and the rest just use a bike as their major form of transportation.  For us, we primarily bike from October-April when the temperatures are below 100 degrees (call me crazy, but biking + 120 degree weather = no fun).  So we’ve been putting it to the test and loving it these last couple months!

Immediately when I opened up the box, I could tell that the Burley has a well made piece of equipment.  From the aluminum roll cage frame to the tinted and upf protecting windows, I realized that Burley’s attention to detail is what made this trailer unique.  I could tell right away that Burley had made these trailers specifically for kids.  Currently I’m using this for a 2 and 4-year-old, but since we have another baby joining the family in the spring, I’ve definitely been looking into features that will make it work for the baby as well.

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Here’s what we LOVE about it:

  • Plenty of leg room for my 4 and 2-year-old boys.  The width is a little more cozy but by no means uncomfortable or squished.
  • Easy to climb in and out of.  There is a flap that comes up and down in the front, which makes it really easy for the kids to get in and out by themselves.
  • POCKETS!!!! Seriously, why don’t all products for kids come with more pockets?!?  The Encore not only has generous pockets next to each seat inside, but there is a pocket in the back for YOUR stuff.  You know, stuff like your wallet or phone that you don’t want your kid shoving through the crack and onto the trail while you’re riding.  LOVE THIS!!!
  • 5-point harness.  While the safety is a nice feature, my favorite part is that it’s really easy to buckle!  I just love things that make my life easier!
  • Comfortable for kids to ride in.  With mesh panels, a helmet pocket, and well anchored seats, my kids are always comfortable and not sliding around.  This means they’re not sweating a ton in there, and especially, that their little necks aren’t being pushed forward by their helmet (which is a HUGE deal for kids ages 1-2 since they are still strengthening their necks to get used to wearing helmet.)
  • Baby snuggler (optional accessory) lets this trailer be used as young as 3 months old in strolling mode.  I’m sure we’ll be getting one of these next summer!
  • It converts to a cargo trailer super fast.  While somewhere down the road, I hope that can mean we use this for family bike-packing trips, right now this means that it’s great for trips to the grocery store.  It’s even so easy to tow and hook up that I can put it behind my oldest sons (age 9) bike and send him to the grocery store to get a few things for me.  Seriously, being about to send your kid out to the store for some milk, bread, and eggs is a life-saver!
  • The cargo area in the back is really big.  While I wish there were a bigger opening to get into it, the actual cargo space itself is plenty big.  We almost always take this going to the pool which means I’m hauling 5 big beach towels, snacks, water, and swimming gear – all with no problem!

Like I just mentioned, the only thing that I don’t totally love about the bike trailer is that the cargo area in the back has a smaller opening.  It would be great to have it open up more to access the big space below more easily!

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Another great feature of the Encore is that it’s compatible with all of the Burley trailer attachments.  That means you can convert it into a stroller, a jogger, and even a sled.  We think that the jogger is the most practical conversion, so we tested this out for you too!

 

Burley Encore + Jogger Kit ($129)

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One of the big reasons that we feel that the Encore is a good purchase is that it is versatile.  There is no sense in spending a couple hundred dollars EACH on a trailer and a jogging stroller when you can get it all in one.

Now, let me put forth a little disclaimer here: We are not experts when it comes to jogging strollers.  In fact, we avoid them when we can, but consider them a necessary evil of raising small children.  For both myself and my husband who are almost always working on some major fitness goal, our workout time is “our time”.  But as much as we always want to be alone or with our workout buddies, there are just some days where in order to make everything happen, the kids have to go on a run with you.  We’re parents first and athletes second, so it just happens sometimes.

So with all that being said, running with the Encore is a breeze.  Truthfully.  It just makes the chore of adding kids to my workout time a little easier!

Here’s what we love about it:

  • Easily adjustable handlebar.  Not only is this convenient for people of different heights, but I’ve noticed that for different intensities of workouts, I like the handlebar higher or lower.
  • Simple foot activated brake to help the jogger hold still.
  • Stationary wheel helps you focus more on your running and less on stroller steering!
  • AND, pretty much everything we already love about the trailer already!
  • The one thing that I wish could be improved is that to convert the Encore from a bike trailer to a jogger, requires a completely different front end set up.  Meaning, the bike pull-bar comes off and two   different bars attach to the jogger wheel.  I wish that the jogger wheel could somehow attach to the bike pull-bar and just add another bar to the other side.  It’s not a major issue, but it would just simplify things with less pieces to keep track of and would save me a minute when converting between the two.

 

Overall, we have really enjoyed the Burley Encore and anticipate that it will keep providing years of great adventures to come.

Thanks to Burley for providing the gear for this review.

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