Extrawheel Voyager Single-wheel Bike Trailer Review

Extrawheel’s original Classic model, with its cargo nets and canoeists’ drybags, is no longer in production. Why? Because Extrawheel, after a lot of prototype-testing and feedback by myself and other intrepid riders, have hit upon something that’s even simpler, lighter and more practical: the Voyager.

Weather turns

The Voyager was launched last year and I’ve been able to put it through its paces in some of the toughest conditions I’ve ridden. Carrying a pair of big, waterproof panniers, the Voyager excels when taken off-road, and mine has now been through a couple of thousand miles of dirt roads, singletracks, jeep trails, river-beds and no-track-at-all cross-country riding.

Construction

The improvements over the original Classic trailer are immediately obvious. The plastic-and-fabric hood has now gone, replaced by an optional lightweight fender (which I removed for weight-saving and simplicity). The amount of metal in the frame has been halved. It’s so simple it seems ridiculous that nobody thought of it before! The whole thing fits into a standard bike box — along with the bike itself! Extrawheel’s claim to have produced the world’s lightest single-wheel trailer seems to be well-founded.

Gladed downhill trail

Coupling with the bike is done using the original sprung-steel fork, which I have found to be 100% reliable. The bearing surfaces have been redesigned so that the ball and socket can each be replaced, rather than having to replace the whole frame or fork if the bearing surfaces wore through (as happened to me in Ethiopia in 2009). From a durability point-of-view in the long term, this is a big plus point.

The reduced-size frame now features narrow-gauge steel tubing and retainer tabs for mounting panniers, instead of the previous net-and-sack arrangement. This means that packing and quick access is far more practical, the load is more stable as a result, although the bike can no longer be jack-knifed to stand up if rear panniers are used as well. The supplied Crosso Expert panniers, fully-waterproof and constructed of durable laminated canvas, are easily big enough to carry everything I desired to put on the trailer — in Mongolia, that was everything except food, tent and tripod.

Camping under the stormclouds in Mongolia

Handling

As with the Classic, the handling of the bike benefits greatly off-road from the fact that front panniers are no longer needed — now you can carry luggage and steer it as well! I found the greatest stability with about a 70:30 ratio of weight on the trailer and in the rear panniers respectively. This balance was ideal in terms of manoeuvrability and capacity; the two main factors when heading off the beaten track for long periods of time.

Riding singletrack demonstrated the trailer’s limits. I found that on particularly technical sections, where I was still able to ride the bike itself, the panniers sometimes bounced off obstacles which were bigger than the panniers’ ground clearance allowed for. I encountered similar problems when the track became really narrow — but these were hiking trails after all. I can’t blame the trailer for my route choices!

Crossing the River near Orhan

If there’s anything that could be improved, it would be to add ‘off-road’ tubing, in addition to the standard tubes, to allow the panniers to be mounted a few inches higher, or even allow for extra ‘rack-top’ luggage to be strapped on. This would considerably extend the trailer’s range into mountain-biking territory, and allow the load to be repositioned lower for more stability when appropriate. Perhaps this would work well in a hypothetical 29-er setup (i.e. a bike and trailer with 29-inch wheels).

The original trailer’s other plus-points still apply. Wear and tear on the bike itself is massively reduced. You get a spare front wheel — also meaning spare spokes, bearings and a rim for the back wheel, of course. It’s compact enough to cause no additional fuss on public transport. It’s affordable in comparison to the competition, customer service is excellent, and it’s an great source of amusement and interest to everyone you encounter on the road!

Another epic valley

Conclusion

It’s probably not optimal for slimline road-touring, but I won’t hesitate to take my Extrawheel Voyager with me on off-road expeditions and to parts of the world where conditions are likely to be tough. Adventurous bikers: Ditch the front panniers, take the strain off your back wheel and ride a bike which makes tough terrain a source of enjoyment, rather than suffering.

Extrawheel have taken a big risk venturing into the specialist trailer market, which was previously dominated by BOB, but their adaptability and ingenuity has paid off in the form of the Voyager, which is the most refined off-road-friendly luggage solution I’ve used to date.

Further Reading & Dealers

19 Responses to “Extrawheel Voyager Single-wheel Bike Trailer Review”

  1. Single Wheeled Hiking Trailers | All Wheels Blog

    […] single wheeled hiking trailers tomsbiketrip.com […]

    Reply
  2. Steven

    Hi,
    so you have used both the BOB (ibex with suspension?) & the new Extrawheel … way out there where the design really matters!

    My fellow riders have just brought Bobs … both models … we are aiming for a trans-Alps … I am trying to decide what trailer would be best for me off-road 26″ : weight, handling (stability, clearance, jack knife downhill) etc.

    Have you also tried the Bob and/or other makes of single wheel trailers? If so, which is best & why?

    Thank you in advance for your response.

    Steven

    Reply
    • Tom

      Sorry I didn’t get to this before — just noticed it. Bad blog writer!

      I’ve had limited experience with the Bob, but the feeling was of a much higher centre of gravity and a more burdensome effect on the handling. The Bob is also more rigid, whereas the Extrawheel’s sprung steel fork adds some much-needed give to proceedings, especially useful on technical terrain. The Extrawheel is also lighter, cheaper, easier to pack, etc… ;)

      Reply
  3. jennifer coville

    We cycled round NZ a few years ago with a BOB, the one that has one wheel but is a trailer. I though it meant back of bike but apparently means beast of burden. Once lost our flag, my husband cycled miles back to find it, it was also bitten in half by a cow, but once again repaired. Great travelling through the montains off road in NZ, we will go again, did 3000 km’s over 2 1/2 months. My husband, towing the BOB did have a couple of broken spokes and it did snake if he went too fast down hill, he couldn’t break the speed limit like I could. I managed 69kms once but could not break that 70 Km barrier. Hell over the Rainbow track, bad weather and siezed gears but all OK in the end, a little organic extra virgin olive oil cleared the gears and a mountain hut with a woodburner rescued us and dried us out. We have also cycled in the foothills of the Himalayas but on a charity thing. Last year I did the coast to coast, 150 miles in 2 days ove the Lake Disstrict, the hardest thing I have ever done but I’m not a quitter. Big 60 birthday next year so probably off to cycle NZ again, may warm up round Prince Edward Island. Any info about that appreciated. Jennifer

    Reply
    • Tom

      I’ve never been, but I’d love to do an off-road trip in NZ — thanks for re-igniting that idea! And thanks for the report on your experiences with the BOB.

      Reply
  4. Bicycle Trailer Revi

    Hello Guys,

    Can you tell me more about this BOB, I really appreciate your help.

    Thanks

    Reply
  5. Big Wheel Travel: dirt road touring with an Extrawheel « while out riding

    […] can read a long term review of touring with an Extrawheel here. Share this:EmailFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Posted by While Out […]

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  6. steven schmidt

    please expound further on your statement about “slimeline road touring” not being within the Extraweels possible plus’s. The reason I ask is that this is why I am considering buying one even though I own a BoB trailer currently.

    Thanks
    Steven S.

    Reply
    • Tom

      Happy to expound. I prefer to keep things simple wherever possible. On a slimline road tour, I wouldn’t need big luggage capacity, nor would I need good off-road handling. So, since rear panniers would equally serve my needs, and are simpler than a trailer (whatever the brand), I’d go with them.

      Reply
  7. Andrew Priest (Aushiker)

    Another happy Extrawheel Voyager owner here. Whilst I have not used mine in such adventurous tours as yours I have done over 3,000 km with it and I am very happy with its performance.

    I also have the Upper Rack installed on mine which survived my last significant tour okay, but I haven’t found it as ideal as I hoped. In hindsight I should have left the mudguard on the trailer to protect a layer of protection between whatever I had on the rack and the tyre. I ended up putting a hole in my tent from it rubbing on the tyre.

    Anyway thanks for the review. Always good to see reviews on bicycle touring gear.

    Reply
  8. steven schmidt

    Hello again! Would anyone who knows, tell me if the Extrawheel is aluminium or steel? They seem to have left this important fact out of the specs. I would love to know more about how others have faired with the EWV. in tems of construction and reliability. I plan to modify my EWV. to accomodate an “extra” rear wheel. Certain situations touring have left me in need of a rear wheel repair, where as I have to grind my memory for a time when the front wheel left me in the lurch. But truly, it is the lower center of gravity, and lighter weight that are calling me to ditch my BoB for the EWV..

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      I’m sure it would be possible to do that by modifying the dropout clearance to take a rear hub. All mine have been steel, so no problem with a welding torch!

      Reply
  9. Extrawheel Voyager Trailer (2011) Owner Review | Aushiker

    […] Tom’s Bike Trip review of the Extrawheel Voyager […]

    Reply
  10. AlinoZ

    I am very sorry to write negative comment on extrawheel voyager, briefly : I had speed approximately 15 km/hour, I went along the road , cca 2–3 % climbing, the surface — flawless tarmac, negligible side wind, I have got two rack systems plus mudgard, the wheel 700c, therefore my extrawheel voyager has 5.6 kg plus its both bags 2.8 kg = 8.4 kg altogether. I was laden by foodstuffs from Tesco. Netto weight of my shopping was 23.0 kg, equally and right spread. Entire weight of trailer and shopping was cca 31.5 kg. Trailer got oscillation and broke away itself, simply disconected and fall an the road. Strongly I do not recommend extrawheel, it is very hazardous trailer, It has outstanding, open its connecting system. Needs solve this problem.

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      It sounds like you’ve had an unfortunate experience with fishtailing. I also encountered this phenomenon when I first began to use the trailer. I then learned how to pack the panniers properly and how to handle the bike with the trailer attached, and the fishtailing never happened again. My suggestion would be to use the trailer for a little longer before passing judgement!

      Reply
  11. stewart

    I was considering the Extra Wheel to tow behing my full suspension mtb. I have since read that it is not recommended as it will cause premature failure of the pivot pionts on bike’s rear triangle due the stress caused by the sideways movement of the trailer. This in fact goes for any trailer that is connected to the bike’s rear axle. Any thoughts on this.

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      It sounds logical in the long-term. For short trips I’d personally be inclined to throw caution to the wind. There are plenty of full-sus bikes with Bob trailers on the Great Divide MTB Route, for example…

      Reply
  12. Mike Cope

    Because I found solar power inadequate for my needs (especially on extended wild camping trips) i built a Shimano hub Dynamo into my Extrawheel and its brilliant. charges up all my gadgets i pod etc. There must be a slight increase in drag but I havn’t noticed it yet. Its good to be self sufficient though.

    Reply

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