InStep Sync Single Bicycle Trailer
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- 16” pneumatic tires with molded rims provide performance and style
- Folding frame design with quick release wheel
- 2-in-1 canopy includes a bug screen and weather shield
- Versatile bicycle coupler attaches to most bicycles. Material: Rubber, Steel
- Maximum weight limit is 40 pounds
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From the manufacturer
In Step Sync Singleton Bike Trailer
The Sync will get the whole family back outside for bike riding fun. Includes a coupler/hitch that allows for easy attach and reattachment of the trailer to any adult bike.
Includes 16 inch air-filled tires, 2-n-1 canopy with bug screen and weather shield, internal harness for child safety.
Folder Sync Trailer for Travel or Storage
Folding frame and tool free quick release wheels collapse easily for storage and transport.
Trust InStep for family fitness
Now nothing is holding you back from getting out there and enjoying the ride or the run. In Step is with you every step of the way.
Instep Sync Bicycle Trailer-Single: 16” pneumatic tires with molded rims provide performance and style and the 2-in-1 canopy includes a bug screen and weather shield.
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♦I purchased this at full price on Amazon about three years ago.
♦Meet Wrigley, the 4-year old Maltese who has us wrapped around his fluffy paws.
♦WHAT’S IN THE VIDEO? (1) ride with GoPro mounted to back of seat post, facing trailer: going over bumps; riding at 10 mph (max recommended speed) and 15 mph (not recommended); transitioning from street to sidewalk to street; riding up switchbacks; (2) ride with GoPro mounted to bicycle handlebars following trailer; (3) ride with GoPro mounted to car windshield following trailer; (4) assembly + tour of trailer and storage tips; (5) changing the tube on a tire; (6) installing coupler (piece that attaches to bicycle)
•SAVE: As long as you’re aware of the drawbacks (listed below), I think you’d like this trailer if: (1) budget is a primary consideration; (2) it will only be used for one child and then re-homed; (3) it’s important to have a narrow footprint (to fit easily through interior doors and stay completely on the sidewalk or bike lane); (4) you ride at a leisurely pace (max 10mph).
•SPLURGE: I think the premium double trailers are worth it if: (1) you’re willing to spend three to twelve hundred plus; (2) you like to ride at a faster pace (> 10mph); (3) it’s anticipated that the trailer will be used for many years; (4) it will be used for multiple children or grandchildren; (5) you’re looking for a stroller conversion option (Pacific Cycle no longer makes a stroller conversion kit for the InStep); (6) you’d like the option to use as a cargo trailer as well (with seats that fold down)
This trailer is at the bottom of the price range; when I purchased, I couldn’t even find used trailed for much less. I thus decided to take a chance on this, knowing that if little bipeds are in our future, I could upgrade to a premium double trailer.
♦THEN I SPLURGED
In the midst of crafting this review, I stumbled upon Burley Design Tail Wagon Bike Trailer, Yellow/Black (get it?) (TW), a trailer made specifically for fur babies. The alloy wheels capable of going 15 mph, the solid platform, the stroller conversion kit, the mesh sides, and the option to use as a cargo trailer with a 75lb max capacity appealed to me. Seeing a good deal on it, I ordered somewhat impulsively about 5 months ago. Although I do feel that the quality is worth the price tag (four times the InStep), I still have the InStep and have no regrets in purchasing it.
The trailer is easy to pull: my husband towed it for the first time when filming and he was expecting it to be much more difficult.
•ASSEMBLY & DIS-ASSEMBLY: I remember the InStep being quick and intuitive to put together. Setup/collapse should take no more than 5 minutes. The coupler is simple to install as well. I found it worth it to purchase an additional [inexpensive] coupler Coupler Attachment - InStep & Schwinn Bike Trailers for each bicycle that will tow the trailer, instead of switching back and forth.
•WRIGLEY RIDE: Initially, Wrigley would ride in one of these strapped into the InStep’s seat American Kennel Club Pet Booster Seat. We since upgraded to K&H Manufacturing Mod Safety Seat Gray 15-Inch by 15-Inch by 15-Inch, which Wrigley uses in the TW and his new Burley Solstice Jogging Stroller. Wrigley’s harness is connected to the built-in child harness using a seat belt loop and webbing. When riding in the summer, Wrigley wears his Ruffwear Cooling Vest. He also brings a bowl of water and a cooling towel. We’ve taken rides up to 40 miles with the InStep.
•WHAT I LEARNED THE HARD WAY: The trailer *will* tip over if too many items are loaded in the back or bumps/corners are taken too fast. Ever since a too-close encounter with a car, I make sure to unclip my cleats well in advance of each intersection so I can prepare to stop. No matter how hard that hill seems, DO NOT run the chain from the big front chain ring to the biggest rear cassette cogs, or from the small front chain ring to the smallest rear cassette cogs. This is called “cross chaining” and may cause the rear cassette and deraileur to break off your bike. [Note: this could happen when pulling any trailer or none at all]
•STORAGE: When I collapse the InStep and store it under a bed, I put a pool noodle around the tow bar so it doesn’t scrape the floor. Bungee cords keep everything in place.
•PLASTIC WHEELS: Many other reviews mention this. I really haven’t had a problem with this and don’t think it should be a deal-breaker. I did notice that it’s easy to over-inflate the tires (i.e. the tire bulges and one side of the tire wall comes out of the rim). To avoid this, I hold the top and sides of the tire in place while filling it.
•DURABILITY: My major concern is that the webbing that serves to tether the trailer and bicycle is tearing where it screws onto the tow bar. After re-reading the instructions while writing this review, I realized that I may not have been wrapping the tether as recommended. Thus it’s possible that I caused excess wear and tear. Although this is a safety concern, I consider it maintenance, akin to replacing tires or brakes on a car. It would be nice if InStep sold these as replacement items. My plan is to buy a piece of webbing and either screw it down or wrap it around the D-ring by the screw. I don’t think there’s an inherent flaw on the instep, but the design and strap quality on the TW seem far superior.
When unfolding the side walls, be sure not to let fabric get stuck in the “pinch points” as this will cause stress and weaken the material. The trailer has developed three holes about the size of thumbtacks in the fabric in the bottom towards the back. I think they were caused by the frame rubbing against the fabric while collapsed. I plan on ironing on patches in hopes that the holes do not increase in side.
The webbing around the trailer doesn’t seem particularly weak, but if I had to guess what would wear out or fail first, that would be it, particularly where it goes around the side of the frame to support the seat. If I had to replace this webbing myself, I’d consider it more work than the tether, although still a reasonable do it yourself project.
•NOT FOR CARGO: Cargo trailers have solid bottoms. Unless you can MacGyver a platform to sit on top of the frame, the sling type bottom and seat are not well suited for hauling inanimate objects. There are many cargo trailers available, some of which are in the same price range.
•OTHER OBSERVATIONS: There are gaps where the fabric meets at each of the corners of the frame. Put small objects in larger containers or bags to prevent them from falling out. [Note: this isn’t unique to the InStep] The sides of the trailer are clear vinyl. Since we live in a hot climate, I’d prefer that they were mesh like the front, with weather covers that can be rolled up or down as needed.
♦INSTEP vs. OTHER TRAILERS: I’ve had the TW for about five months now (as well as the two-wheel stroller conversion kit ordered separately). Although most shoppers aren’t choosing between an economy Single Trailer for Children and a high-end Dog Trailer, here are some first impressions of the differences:
•+INSTEP: The InStep is significantly narrower than the TW, which makes it easier to maneuver both indoors and out (going slowly and carefully, the TW fits through our exterior door, but it is too wide to get through our interior doors without removing a wheel). I prefer the fool-proof way the InStep’s wheels click into the frame. Once, I must not have inserted the TW’s wheel axle fully into the trailer’s axle. Just as I was approaching a bike shop, the wheel came off, bending the axle. Luckily, the mechanic was able to straighten it out, or we would have been in trouble. Fortunately, my two other Burleys (Solstice & Travoy) don’t have the same design. Although the InStep doesn’t have a brake, the footbrake on the TW is less than ideal. It has scraped curbs on more than one occasion.
•+TW: The TW comes a removable handlebar. Even before I ordered the stroller wheels, this made it convenient to move the trailer without dragging it by the tow bar. It’s easy to pinch fabric when opening/closing the frame of the InStep; the design of the TW prevents this from happening. The sides of the TW are mesh vs. the InStep’s vinyl. The tow bar on the TW is detchable, which is preferable for storage; the InStep’s folds under and locks into place. The TW has alloyed wheels vs. the InStep’s plastic ones. Both are 16”, but most premium child trailers come with 20” wheels.
Two-Wheeling Tots is an excellent resource comparing different bicycle trailers. If/when I purchase a double trailer, I’ll definitely look there first.
♦SAFETY FIRST: check the Consumer Product Safety Commission for recalls of whichever trailer you choose
•INSTEP GUIDELINES: (1) do not exceed 10 mph; (2) always ride with the included safety flag; (3) child maximum weight: 50lbs; (4) total weight (child + cargo) cannot exceed 65lbs; (5) never put more than one child in the trailer at a time
•AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS RECOMMENDATIONS: (1) infants younger than 12 months should not be carried on a bicycle by any means; (2) bicycle trailers are the preferred method of carrying children; (3) children should wear helmets 100% of the time.
•LIGHT UP THE NIGHT: I use this reflective vest Nathan Cycling Vest, Hi-Viz Yellow, designed specifically for cycling with a long tail in the back. This blinking tail light Planet Bike Blinky Super Flash 1/2-Watt Blaze LED Plus 2 eXtreme LED Rear Bicycle Light gets clipped onto the back of the cyclist or bicycle trailer. The NiteRider MiNewt 600 lumen USB-rechargeable light (discontinued) is one of my favorite items ever.
•MEASUREMENTS I TOOK: (1) width (wheel to wheel): 25.5”; (2) height (assembled with wheels): 31” (flag is an additional 38.5”); (3) frame: 19” (w) x 31.375” (l); tow bar adds additional 18”; (4) wheels: approx 15.25” diameter; tires: 1.625” wide; (5) approx 22lbs incl. 6lb wheels
•MISCELLANEOUS: (1) the tires can be filled to 36 PSI and use 16 x 1.75” tubes (Schrader valve); (2) made in China; (3) seat has three vertical slots so shoulder straps can be adjusted; (4) each side of the seat has a small elastic pouch that can be used for a drink, snack, small toy, phone, or something similar in size
♦PACIFIC CYCLE (MANUFACTURER): Excellent customer service. I’ve contacted them several times (not due to any problems) and have always received quick, courteous, and knowledgeable responses. They even sent me a complimentary safety flag when my original went missing.
♦MAINTENANCE TIPS: Prior to owning a road bike, my dad or husband would always take care of pumping my tires. If I got a flat, I’d bring the bike in to the shop. If this describes you, please let me encourage you. Learning basic bike maintenance (cleaning & lubrication, safety checks, fixing a flat, and minor adjustments) has been empowering for me and not too difficult, especially in the internet age. It saves time, money, and stress. Read Sheldon Brown to learn all you ever wanted to know and more about bicycles.
•PUMP ‘EM UP: A floor pump makes it easy keep tires properly inflated. I check mine before each ride. The Trek Bontrager Turbo Charged HP is fantastic for adult-sized wheels. However, the chuck (part that attaches to the valve) is large, making it more difficult to use on little wheels.
•BE PREPARED: These items are kept in BV Bicycle Strap-On Saddle/Seat Bag, Medium, Black: (1) patch kit (glue kind is best); (2) spare tube (tip: coat it in cornstarch, fold it up tight, wrap it in cling wrap and a Velcro cable tie); (3) tire levers (Pedros are best); (4) multi-tool with wrenches, screwdrivers, and a chain tool; (5) master chain link; (6) spoke wrench; (7) tire boot; (8) CO2 kit (adapter head and cartridges). A compact air pump is mounted to the side of a water bottle cage.
•FIX-A-FLAT (YOURSELF): Once you get the hang of it, repairing flats and changing tubes, is, well, like riding a bike. Instructional videos abound and I recommend practicing at home first. 16” tires (like on the InStep) are particularly easy to change. Whenever there’s a flat, it’s important to figure out what caused it. For example, it took several flats on my then-new road bike to realize that the spokes were poking holes in the tubes. Once tape was added between the tube and the wheel, the problem stopped. *If you can’t find a hole in the tube, submerge it in water and look for bubbles.
•FIGHT THEM BEFORE THEY HAPPEN: Living in the thorn capital of the universe, I am forced to take defensive, proactive measures. There are several options to fight back, each with advantages and disadvantages. I use all four in different combinations on my various “things with wheels” (as husband calls them). (1) Puncture-resistant tires (e.g. Continental Gatorskins, Serfas with FPS, Specialized Armadillo); (2) Tire liners (e.g. StopFlats, Mr. Tuffy); (3) Thorn-resistant tubes; (4) Sealant (Slime is the best-known, but I strongly prefer FlatAttack). From what I’ve read, (2) and (3) increase rolling resistance the most (a negative).