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"Bicycle Times", January 1, 2013

Allen Sports Explorer Cargo Trailer

By Eric McKeegan

PHOTO: JUSTIN STEINER

Outfitting your bike to carry stuff, be it a week’s worth of supplies for camping or a big trip to the grocery store, can be expensive. This trailer from Allen Sports is available right at the magic $100 price point, making it pretty attractive as a low-cost option for hauling.

The Explorer is a basic two-wheeled trailer with a steel frame, water-resistant fabric cargo bag, and quick-release 16” wheels. The whole trailer comes apart quickly without tools, and the trailer arm and wheels fit inside the cargo bag for storage or transport. An unexpected bonus of this easy-to-disassemble design was the ability to check it as suitcase, with room inside for most of my camping gear and the wheels.

The hitch is a simple affair that slips over a rear axle or under a quick-release. I had issues with the hitch on a few lugged frames, but most standard flat dropouts seem to work fine. The hitch arm can be pivoted around to convert the trailer to a pull cart, making it easy to wheel around a campsite or inside a store.

On short shopping trips, the trailer was an easygoing companion, with enough ground clearance to carefully hop curbs, but low enough to be very stable. It even managed to right itself after I dropped one wheel off a high curb. I also took it on a short tour in California, loaded with camping gear and a week’s worth of clothes. The trailer handled multi-mile hills, speeds over 40 miles an hour, and miles of gravel roads with no complaints.

After quite a bit of use, the stitching around the main zipper is starting to look a bit loose; I’ve started to be careful about overloading. Inside the bag are grommets that could be used to tie down loads and take some of the pressure off the zipper. The rest of the trailer is holding up fine.

Even with some shortcomings, this may be the best $100 you can spend to make your bike more versatile — this trailer is a solid bargain. Those with a penchant for rough stuff and heavy loads are better off looking at more heavy-duty (and expensive) trailers. www.allensportsusa.com

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