This Review was written by WorldPedal Member Gary Rose.
The B.O.B YAK is a single wheel trailer that’s fork attaches to the bike at the rear axel using either a special quick release (included in purchase) or with special nuts for bolt on axels. The fork is held on to the bike with 2 small pins. The BOB’s low center of gravity and one-wheel (16 x 1.75) allows it to track the bicycle very well and there is no concern about where the right wheel (in the USA) is like on two wheeled trailers. The cargo area is about 25″ x 16″ x 18″ (64cm x 41cm x 46cm), making its width smaller or the same width as your bike. The BOB’s carrying capacity is 70 lbs (32 kgs). The optional “Dry Sak” with its strong handles keeps things dry when closed properly. When empty, (13.5 lbs, 6.1 kgs) the BOB has a tendency to bounce and is noticeable only because of the noise. The double pivot fork allows the trailer to follow the terrain as well as turn.
The tubular Chromoly framework of the BOB is open and is highest at the front. Even though the height of the cargo area is stated as 18 inches the front rail is about 11 inches above the floor. The flat floor of the BOB is made of a metal mesh. The open framework has its advantages by keeping the empty trailer light and providing many locations to attach tie downs or bungee cords or small bags. The open framework has its disadvantages also. Small items can fall out when not using the Dry Sak or one of the after market liners or bags.
There are many types of optional equipment made for the BOB including bags, liners, cargo nets and racks. I have purchased a cloth liner and cargo net that I use when running errands around town, this keeps small items in the trailer. Furthermore I have added a rack to ours. On the rack I use a trunk when on tours that the side pockets open to become a small set of panniers (the pockets are big enough to hold two bottles of wine each when open). I have also attached two water bottle cages to the trailer near the wheel and use them to hold our fuel bottles.
I purchased our BOB in 2003 to carry camping equipment while touring on a tandem (it is hard to carry everything for 2 on one bike). Since then I have used it with 2 tandems and a single. Handling of the bike is changed slightly due to the extra length, causing a wider turning radius, and the weight of the loaded trailer pushing when going down hill. As with any added weight it is noticeable on climbs.
I have never filled the BOB to full weight capacity, but have had about 50 lbs (22.7 kgs) at one time, but normally run near 35 lbs (16 kgs). With the 50 lb load, the trailer preformed flawlessly. A top-heavy load will produce some erratic behavior, resulting in an unsettling feeling that the trailer is trying to roll over and taking you with it. I have attached small handle bar bags to the outside of the rails to store small items while touring.
Since I purchased our YAK the B.O.B Company has introduced the IBEX (with an adjustable suspension) and has made some minor changes to overall design of the basic trailer. Furthermore because of different rear hub widths they now have 3 different quick releases along with 5 forks based on wheel, hub size, and trailer model. I have 2 different forks because of hub widths. One is for our Santana Tandem, before B.O.B came out with a fork for Santana’s I carefully reshaped the fork to work. I felt that if I had to reshape it when changing bikes it would soon fail so I purchased a second one to use with the single bikes. Changing the fork takes less the 5 minutes using simple hand tools.
With all that said, I am very pleased with the BOB and I would purchase another one (YAK) if I had to replace it. There are other single wheel cargo trailers on the market that are less expensive, but as the old saying goes, “You get what you pay for.”
Towing a trailer is not for everyone, but if you are thinking about it, take a look at the B.O.B line of trailers at bobgear.com.