I bought the Yak Plus at the last minute after considering all kinds of other options (backpacks, panniers, racks, bungees, etc.) for hauling camping gear on a 200-mile trek on the C&O canal trail in MD. It turned out to be a life saver. I was able to carry 60 pounds of gear with relative ease and comfort compared to some of my traveling companions who struggled with various other contraptions and configurations. The low center of gravity and 2-point connection to the bike make the trailer easy to attach and control with minimal effort and practice. Once rolling, the trailer tracks nicely and requires almost no conscious effort or energy to balance, unlike some other trailer configurations that attach high on the seat post. One of my traveling companions struggled constantaly to balance the load of a seat post mounted trailer with cargo mounted high. As other reviewers have noted, the Yak does fishtail a bit when descending at speeds above 30 MPH, but not uncontrollably. It is probably prudent to exercise the brakes to avoid the risks of free falling on downhills anyway. The lack of a shock absorber did not seem to be an issue. With liberal and creative use of bungees and Rubbermaid tubs, one of my cohorts tailering an identical Yak was able to haul twice as much volume as I did. I found the included Dry Sak to be somewhat awkward to close and lacking in capacity. If the bag were a few inches deeper, it could be closed more easily and completely sealed. No matter how efficiently I tried to pack my limited essential gear, I was never able to close the bag completely, subjecting my gear to trail dust, mud and rain. One nice feature is the relative ease with which the trailer and its cargo can be disconnected to free up the bike from its load. That enabled me to stash and lock up the trailer before venturing into high traffic and congestion at the end of our trek in D.C., where trailering a long, heavy load would have been precarious and unwieldy. Overall, the Yak performed well and met my needs. I would heartily recommend it for long haul excursions on open roads and trails. For regular high traffic city use and gnarly switchbacks, one may want to consider other options.
I use this trailer on a daily basis for commuting. I have the dry bag that came with it, but switched to a rubbermaid tote a couple years ago; it's easier to access, and holds more. I carry in it my lunch, laptop computer, spare clothing, rain gear, tools, pump, tubes, etc. I've used it for carrying trail tools (chainsaw and gas, McLeod, Pulaski, machete, etc.) for work/maintenance. I've used it to carry "beverages" to trail work days for after work refreshments.
This trailer rides along behind me on single track trails with a cooler load of beer like it's hardly even there. I can just about turn as tight a turn with the trailer as I can without (while keeping the rear wheel on the ground of course).
As expected, I need to take more care to allow for longer stopping distances as the load increases. Also, as the load increases, the more susceptible the whole rig becomes to rocking and swaying input by the rider, and is most noticeable when pedaling out of the saddle.
In the rare event I get a flat tire, the wheel comes off and re-installs easily.
Maintenance is minimal. So far, the only parts that seem to wear out are the plastic pivot bearings where it articulates, and the skid pad where it sits down when parked. These parts are readily available from your BOB dealer and are easy to install.
A final word to bigger riders and those carrying heavier loads. I recommend you replace your hollow QR axle with a solid one and use BOB nutz instead of the BOB Quick Release Skewer.
Will pay for itself quickly!
Got divorced in 2003 and decided to sell my car for financial reasons. This May(2009) I will have been without a car for two years. I bicycle everywhere(I am in the Army) and had to figure a way to haul things around. I debated between the Yak and Ibex and went with the Yak. Honestly the shock on the Ibex looks cool but you really don't need one. I deflate/inflate the rear tire depending on my load. This trailer does have a tendency to fishtail when you are going fast(30 mph or above and going downhill with a load) but it is not uncontrollable. Just for fun I put approximately 80lbs on it one day and it pulls just fine. You can certainly tell when you begin braking but you can with a car, too! I discovered that when the trailer is attached to your bike it is possible to park your bike free-standing. I keep my bicycle in my room and can fold the hitch and lean the trailer in the corner behind my door.This trailer articulates amazingly well, also. Seriously, if you are looking to buy a trailer try this one out. You won't be disappointed! (One more caveat, buy a couple of extra skewer clips to carry in your saddle bag. Keep the shipping box as well; it looks like a cardboard wedge of cheese.)
Worth the money...
My only concern was that I might have some difficulty to attach it to my bike...but that was not the case. I didn't realize that BOB provided the quick release hub (rod) I needed - I thought I should have ordered it separately.I ride a 2008 Raleigh Detour, an inexpensive hybrid with 700 tires. After opening the box, I had the Yak attached to my bike in maybe 20 minutes. Piece of cake!My rear rack and panniers also went on just fine - I just wanted my rack on, even if I really won't need it. The waterproof sack is bigger than it looks online...lots of room...could probably stuff my Osprey Aether 70 fully loaded inside.I had a two-wheeled trailer a million years ago when I lived in AZ...rode from Phoenix out to Salt River often on camping trips, but it rolled over on fast turns. Don't see that being an issue with the Yak.I knew it would ride quietly beyhind me, and it does...it's got plenty of room for a lot of stuff, and I'll surely pack it out this weekend on the C&O Canal. Also riding first week of June with http://bikepacking.us/ for 5 days and 4 nights on the Great Allegheny Passageway, starting in Cumberland, MD...get your gear, and join us!
Makes commutes more practical.
I'm an expat living in Africa, and I use my Bob Yak a couple times each week commuting to and from work. It's a durable, versatile piece of kit that really, really helps me live a car-light lifestyle. I use it to bring home tools and mail, bags of pet food, and it's been seen hauling cases of beer from time to time. And while it's not designed for passengers, my kids love riding in it to the softball field on weekends. It pulls well behind my road bike or mountain bike, on pavement or on dirt. I haven't noticed high speed wobbles, although stopping with weight in the trailer definitely requires more brake and distance. I've overloaded it with dog food, kids, beverages, and never had a problem pulling it.
PROS: Durable, easy to attach/detach, follows nicely, keeps center of gravity low.
CONS: Parking with the trailer is tricky. Riding in a headwind feels like you're pulling an anchor behind you.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: I love it. It does everything I need, it stands up to harsh weather, sand, and general abuse. I constantly find new ways to use it, and it really takes a lot of the excuses away from would-be bike commuters.
A friend and I each carried a BOB trailer 3,751 miles from Dallas Tx to Fairbanks Alaska over the summer of 2003. As we rode unsupported and camped along the way, we carried all our gear in our trailers. We didn't have a single problem. I personally found the BOB extremely convenient especially since there was no need to manage gear weight placement (as with panniers). It tracks like its on rails and was stable at all speeds; we reached 51 mph descending into Flaming Gorge Utah without any fear or hesitation. Bouncing over curbs and down bumpy rutted jeep roads was also a cinch. I later tried it on single track with a Mt Bike and am convinced that it would suffice (no shock necessary) for bikepacking. The only downside is a little added weight as compared to panniers.
follows like a well trained dog
My BOB and I went for a 2 week bike tour. It carried all my camping gear plus sundry other accoutrements. The trailer did very well. The contents of the bag remained dry through the rain.
Once you become accustomed to the weight, the trailer handles very well. its very comfortable making turns, though the radius is larger than I was use to.
The one large bag makes things annoying to access. The dry bag is hard to open. I found it much easier to store the items I need during the day in my handlebar bag and only open the dry bag once a day.
It is very important to balance the weight, otherwise the ride becomes less stable and energy will have to be spent balancing it.
Hard Working Trailer
I was looking into adding front panniers when I decided to go with the Yak because I wanted to be able to take weight off my bike frame and still be able to haul a lot of cargo. With the Yak, I can put all my heavy stuff in the trailer and carry lighter stuff in two rear panniers. I even have room to stow my 3/4 size guitar. I only have two complaints. One, I'd like to have a kick-stand on the trailer to help stablize things, and two, the pins that secure the Yak to the rear of the bike are hard to insert and remove. I've already ripped one of the pins off it's rubber "keeper" when trying to remove it.
Everything I was hoping for
This was my first self-supported, solo tour, and my first time with a trailer. After 800 miles and several mountain passes, I am very happy with my Yak trailer. Once you are moving, the added momentum seems to counter any sensation of pulling extra weight, except on the steepest grades. It always tracked as if it wasn't there, and when I needed to fix a flat, it was very quick and easy to unhitch the trailer and flip my bike over. It is very important to put the heaviest items back close to the wheel, and use caution stopping on a downgrade, because of course, you have a lot more inertia to counter.
I've had my bob trailer for about ten years and have used it for everything from grocery shopping to week long camping trips to toting the kids around when they were little, and it has never let me down. The fact that it has only one wheel helps to reduce added drag that othe trailers have. I've only had trouble when traveling downhill at high rates of speed with the thing loaded down substantially, started getting rear wheel wobbles but was able to come out ok by just reducing my speed. They recommend you don't load it past 80lbs which is a good rule of thumb.