Nov 6, 2010
Each year we see more and more trailers roll through the office, and of the trailers we see, it seems as though the BOB Yak is a very popular option, and for good reason.
The Yak frame and swingarms are constructed of steel, making it incredibly durable. Just don't let the steel build fool you into thinking that will be too heavy to drag behind. The trailer weighs in around 13.5 pounds, which is accomplished by using a single wheel, and a simple mounting system that does not require a lot of hardware.
Initial assembly of the trailer does not require any special knowledge, and tools consist of a some hex wrenches, two adjustable wrenches, Phillips head, and flat head screwdrivers. For the most part, you are only attaching the swingarm, fender, and rear wheel to the frame. The instructions are detailed and provide a few illustrations to help you through the process.
To attach the trailer to the bike, you need to have BOB's specialty attachment skewer in your rear wheel axle (included). This has a couple of tabs on it, to which the trailer hooks and locks. I'm a big fan of this method, as it means you don't have to clamp anything to your frame. I found that it was easiest to attach the trailer to the bike when it was unloaded, with the bike propped up.
If you're not used to riding with trailers, I would suggest giving it a test ride in an open space to get a feel for the handling. The trailer has a good turning radius, around 90 degrees, which is great for in town riding, and with one wheel and a low center of gravity, it corners smoothly, inspiring a lot of confidence on descents. The single wheel also gives the trailer a narrow profile, so unless you have tiny handlebars, if you can fit through a gap, so can the trailer.
If you do decide on a BOB Yak trailer, there are a few specifics to consider. First and foremost, you want to make sure you get the correct size for your bike. The standard Yak will fit 26" mountain bikes, while the Yak 28 has a longer swingarm for 29er mountain bikes, and 700c road bikes ($299 for the Yak, $309 for the Yak 28). Either style includes a 'PLUS' option, which includes a BOB Dry Sak for an extra $30.
Photo by Josh Tack.
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.