You may well laugh that this little fella has even been included here, but don’t scoff. We use one of these as a distribution runaround and they’re very strong and reliable. Bought principally because of the price (around £70-£75 delivered via Ebay (Oct 2009 price), they’re an all in one trailer with rain hood. The trailer body is steel with steel rims and non-stainless spokes. The hitch is basic – essentially a spring attached to your bike via a steel connector which you can leave attached to your wheel without it being a major pain. The sides of the trailer are a 420 Denier PU fabric. Payload is advertised as 100lbs, so around 45kg. The weight of the trailer is 9.4kg. Incidentally, Avenir do a trailer called the Mule which is very similar to the Bumper, which you’ll probably also come across on the web.
The big one is price – you’d pay more than double the price of this trailer for a large Y frame Carry Freedom or Pashley flatbed, to which you’d then need to add some sort of container, be it a box, bag.., whatever. The Bumper comes complete with sides and rain cover, so you’ve got a complete trailer at a very good price. The trailer folds flat when not in use and the wheels are removable, so storage is easy. The trailer itself, being steel, is robust and reliable, roomy enough to carry boxes, bits, batz and whatever else you might need to transport. The wheel rims are also steel and equally strong.
There are a couple of things which can be annoying with the Bumper. Firstly, the fabric sides, though light, inevitably sag when you’ve got a load in the trailer pushing against them. This can cause the fabric to catch on the wheels and, within a short period, it will tear. There’s an easy way round this, which is to put your stuff in a plastic box and load the box. I’ve found boxes at hardware shops which fit this trailer perfectly – with two of them in the back it’s very secure indeed and the lip of the box sits against the steel rails of the Bumper, so there’s no issue with the fabric sagging. (If anyone wants the dimensions of the boxes, or pics, post a comment and I’ll add them).
Another niggle with the Bumper is the raincover which is water resistant, but not waterproof. However, the boxes I mention above also have a lid option which will keep your contents nice and dry. Problem solved.
Next is the hitch which, though functional, can rust, causing an annoying squeak. I’ve covered mine with old innertube attached with cable ties and it helps keep the whole thing watertight.
And finally, those steel (chrome plated) rims will inevitably rust. To avoid this, I tend to keep the trailer indoors when not in use, so that it’s not constantly exposed to the elements.
I haven’t mentioned the wheels. The bearings are not sealed and will suffer over time. That said, we’ve used ours a fair amount without any apparent problems, but logic dictates that unsealed bearings won’t last as long as the better quality options.
I’m seeing an increasing number of these trailers around Brighton and it’s understandable why. For the money, they really are hard to beat. If you’re looking for a budget option, perhaps for the shopping, the allotment or just for everyday jobs, the Bumper is a great choice in my opinion. The components may not be brilliant, but for local load carrying, do they really need to be? We had no hassle with ours, using it once or twice per month for distribution runs. The niggles outlined above have been solved with the solutions I’ve offered and with those in place, the Bumper is a reliable and trustworthy little load-carrier.