If you follow our social media, you’ve probably seen a picture or two of the new Extrawheel Mate attached to my Fatback Corvus FLT that I call Tenbeers. The Mate is a single wheel cargo trailer that is quite a bit different than other single wheel bike trailers like the BoB or the Coho (both of which we’ve published reviews about). Those trailers carry their payload in a cargo basket that is situated in front of a small rear wheel. The Mate carries its payload in panniers that are centered over the axle of a full sized fat-bike wheel. This is our introduction to this unique piece of fat-bike trailerage.
Extrawheel is located in Harklowa, Poland and they make three models of their bicycle trailers called the Brave, Voyager Pro, and the model that we’re testing, the Mate. This style of trailer is not new. There’s a pretty famous Moots Titanium version of this sort of caravan that was Mike Curiak’s and made the rounds on the interwebs after a stint at one of the early NAHBS shows. While the trailer design is similar, between the Mate and the Moots, Extrawheel’s patented yoke sets it apart from that earlier version. Extrawheel also sets themselves apart by designing high-quality waterproof bags for their trailer that are an integral part of their cargo system.
I put in a few overnight camping trips with the Mate because when I first looked at how the trailer attaches to the bike, I had my doubts about how the trailer would remain attached through rocky singletrack or even hopping something like a small curb. So I tested the system out and I’ve never had the Mate detach from the bike.
Extrawheel provided a machined thru-axle and a 190mm QR with their proprietary axle-ends that fit within a round brass-lined cutout in the patented steel fork.
There are two tension adjustment Allen bolts that hold the fork onto the ends of the thru-axle. The trick is to get that tension setting set and then you’re golden.
The fork acts as a spring and that inner spring tension holds a similar round (brass grommeted) cutout over two vertical machined posts that are attached to the frame of the trailer. To detach the trailer from the fork, all you have to do is spread the vertical spring tension of the fork and the trailer frame pops right off.
The fork also provides a bit of of a shock absorber between the trailer and the rider. On the first few rides (with moderate loads) I had to keep turning around to see if the trailer was still attached. On singletrack with a full load you know the trailer is there, but the bumps are less jarring than pulling a BoB trailer. The taller wheel and the shorter wheelbase allow the mate to negotiate singletrack better than Roberto Gordo ever could.
The frame of the Mate is powder-coated thin-walled steel tubing. It doesn’t have the prettiest welds that we’ve ever seen but it seems solidly constructed and comes with a five-year warranty. The frame sports brackets that accept standard panniers as well as their own brand of drybags that are made specifically to fit perfectly onto the trailer. See the video at the top of the page for how the panniers fit onto the frame.
Our test trailer came with a Schwalbe Jumbo James for some smooth and easy rolling resistance. The wheel is a 26″ – 32 hole Star rim – front wheel laced to a Novatec hub, using stainless steel Sapim Leader spokes. The Mate frame will fit wheels up to size 29×3“ with a maximum size of 26×5”.
I’ll be getting to know the Mate over the next few months and report back with a full review sometime around the end of the year. All I can say right now is that it works dependably enough and seems to be an improvement compared to the Fat-BoB that we created a few years back. We’ll see just how she goes…somewhere down the dusty and then (hopefully) snowy trail amigos!
For more information about Extrawheel visit – https://extrawheel.com/products/bicycle-trailer-mate-nomad-premium-panniers-60l/
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