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Burley Coho XC Review by Thumbelena

As a brand, Burley is committed to making it easier for people to get outside and do more by bike. Whether that’s getting some fresh air with your little one around the neighborhood, or touring for days, they have designed equipment for it all. 

There are so many different cycling disciplines and I cannot wait to explore more of them, but the more I do the more this rings true. Dirt is where it’s at! 

From the roads of Portland to the riverwalk in San Antonio to the switchbacks of Spain nothing makes me feel quite the same way as I do when I’m deep in the woods wondering what’s around that next corner as the wind rustles through the trees surrounding me. So naturally, a trailer designed to excel in rough terrain had me very intrigued!  

Technical Bits

  • Weight: 21.5 lbs (with 2.215” tire)
  • Towing Capacity: 70 lbs 
  • Cargo Area Volume: ~70 liters 
  • Dimensions: 66.5” x 17” x 21.25” overall, 31.75” x 17.5” x 13.75” stowed, 24” x 15 x 11.5” cargo area
  • Height: 21.25”
  • Ground Clearance: 8.25”
  • Hub Compatibility: 126mm – 197mm
  • Suspension Travel: 2.375” 
  • Tire Options: 3”, 2.215”, 1.75”
  • Price: $489.95 USD + Burley Balls dual ball hitch (not included but required ($25.99 – $59.99))
  • Accessories: Pannier Rack ($69.95), Pannier Set ($89.99), Dry Bag ($89.99), Coho 16+ Wheel ($89.99)

Field Testing

Like many, when the pandemic hit I started dabbling in bikepacking. While the coho xc has many applications I could definitely see it being great for it is the ultimate bike packing trailer! 

 

While packing up the trailer I was amazed at just how much can fit into the cargo area. The sleeping system (tent, pad, sleeping bag, pillow) took up about half of it but I’ve found that is what takes up the most space out of all the gear, and I also had systems for 2 people. 

The trailer has accessory mounts all along the side panels for you to attach things (Revelate anything cage works great for easy access to your cooking system or water), and if you need to haul something long or oversized the frame and fender are level to easily accommodate. 

Included with the trailer is a cargo net that is strong yet stretchy so you can tie down all your belongings and not have to worry. To also help with stabilizing your gear, the Coho has coil-spring suspension. It reduces stress on the structure of the trailer itself and creates a much smoother ride when you’re going over rough terrain. 

I found the rougher the terrain the better this trailer does! Going through twisty singletrack or washed out, muddy ATV trails the trailer is much less “lively” compared to riding along open gravel roads or pavement. On the latter, I could really feel the weight of the trailer and it trying to steer my bike every time I wasn’t perfectly perpendicular to the ground. No matter the terrain I never crashed or lost control though. It just took some time to get used to. For reference, the trailer and gear (not including the bike) weighed half of my body weight.  Someone larger (hey boys!!) may not even experience the liveliness I experienced. 

 

It’s more than just additional weight and working a little harder. Towing the trailer changes your riding style. Once I did adjust I realized the way the trailer is designed (long, low, and relatively narrow) makes the maneuverability amazing. The added wheelbase length plus the weight of your items keeping it grounded, and the fact that there’s only one wheel in the rear allows you to take corners at full speed and not have to worry about sliding out or tipping over. 

As someone who is “working on” using their brakes less and is relatively small, this was a game-changer. Initially, I wasn’t sure if I could pull this thing for hours multiple days in a row. Every punchy incline I had to muster everything I had just to crawl over the top. Until I figured out how to make the trailer work with me rather than against me. 

 

Not included but well worth the extra cost is the dry bag. Weighing in at a measly 2.6 lbs you won’t even notice the addition. Okay, that isn’t measly, but that should speak to the quality. It is an extremely durable bag. And I wasn’t lying when I said you won’t notice the difference. PS: You’re towing a trailer. This isn’t about weight.

 

The first time I used the trailer the sun was shining, there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky, and not even a slight chance of rain was in the forecast so I thought: No need for the drybag. The cargo net will keep everything secure… While everything did stay dry and secure, it also got a nice coating of dust. Everywhere! Not the end of the world, but I personally like at least my sleeping gear to stay as clean as possible. There’s something about getting into a cozy (dust-free) sleeping bag after a long day in the saddle that just feels right. Ya feel me?

The bag is also great for storing things overnight that you don’t want to totally pack away, but you also don’t want it to be exposed to the dreaded morning dew. Just set it in the dry bag, close that sucker up (key step here) and in the morning it will be conveniently waiting for you, dew free. As long as you remember to close the darn bag (I’m definitely not reinforcing this because I left it open lol)!

Of course, it also did a wonderful job keeping my gear dry on the trips where I wasn’t so lucky and found myself beneath some rain clouds.

The kickstand Is a great feature, but I will admit it was a bit finicky with my 29+ fat-bike setup. It worked but you had to find the perfect spot and lean it just so to avoid it from all toppling over 5 seconds later. I’m assuming any other setup this feature would be great. The 29+ is just a smidge taller. Below you can see where the stand is basically straight up and down wherein all the pictures with it disconnected it is more at a 45ish degree angle.

  

With that being said I did find that the one-handed release handle works exceptionally well. So well that it made up for the kickstand height issue. If I needed to get off my bike I could very easily balance my bike with one hand, disconnect the trailer with the other, kick out the kickstand to steady the trailer (now that it isn’t attached to my bike), and finally lean my bike against the trailer. In writing it sounds somewhat long-winded and complicated but once I did it a couple of times I’d say I could do it in less than 10 seconds, maybe even 5 if I was really in a hurry. 

One concern I had with the kickstand was will it sporadically go down if I hit something a little too hard or go through a rough section with some speed?? I am happy to report this was never an issue! 

The last feature I want to mention is the flag holder. It is great for making yourself visible, but more importantly, without the flag, it’s a perfectly angled bottle opener. Nice touch Burley.

Yayy!! Or Nayy…

Yayy!! I’d say I put this trailer through plenty of trials and it performed at or above expectations in all of them!  If you’re looking to embrace your inner explorer and need a trailer to make that happen, this is the one for you. It is somewhat of an investment but it is made very well and I’m sure will last for years and years.

Great job Burley 5/5 Danger Gnomes!

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