I recently sold my BOB Ibex Trailer and replaced it with a 2011 Extrawheel Voyager, a different style of trailer for sure but one that I hope will prove to be more suitable for my forthcoming Dreaming Tour and for my mix of on and off-road touring in general. Also I am expecting the Voyager to be easier to fly with; and add bonus for sure.
This post is about documenting my receipt of the Voyager and its build. Once I have had a chance to play with it some more I will write-up a full owners’ review.
It was nice to be able to purchase the Extrawheel Voyager in Australia for a competitive price. I got my Voyager from the Australian distributor, Buff Australia for a delivered price of $330. This is the version of the Voyager without a wheel. Not a big issue for me with the Surly Long Haul Trucker as I had just replaced the front wheel with a dynamo wheel build anyway. However, to use the trailer with my Giant XTC 2 I will need to build a 26″ wheel. So this is one aspect to keep in mind when considering the Voyager. On the other side of the coin, you do get a spare wheel for touring and you could build it as a single speed wheel which means you have in effect a spare front or rear wheel.
The Voyager arrived wrapped up in a bit of cardboard and packed into a plastic bag. Not quite the way I expected a $330 trailer to come. Thankfully nothing was damaged or missing. In fact I got a bonus, a second quick release skewer.
As you can see there are a few parts to the Voyager but nothing to complicated to put together. A set of “instructions” do come with the trailer but I found the videos available at the Extrawheel website helpful for a couple of parts of the assembly process.
The trailer frame itself comes already built with no additional assembly required other than adding the accessories and of course a wheel. The accessories are the flag and mudguard.
I have included a few photos of the trailer’s fork as I think this is an interesting aspect of the trailer’s design and there is little out on the WWW about it. Whilst I pulled the fork apart for the photos this was not necessary. Depending on your bike you may need to adjust the spread of the fork and this is very easy to do. Again Extrawheel have a video explaining how to do this.
The last part of the trailer puzzle is the quick release. The quick release simply replaces the existing quick release on the bike. It functions as a normal quick release as well as acting as the trailer connection point.
So basically at this point, all that is required is to set the spread of the fork to suit your bike and attach it to the frame by spreading open the connection arms. Add a wheel and your Voyager is ready to roll in its naked form.
The Voyager comes with two accessories so to speak, one is a flag and the other is chromoplastic mudguard. The flag is a single pole (not a two part one like BoBs) and simply slots into a hole at the back of the frame. The flag is not that long so it shouldn’t be an issue flying with for example. There is a spring hook on the flag pole to help secure the flag but at the same time allowing for some movement should it get caught in a tree or the like.
The Voyager mudguard is a fairly wide chromoplastic style; something like a SKS Chromoplastic mudguard, except that the one that comes with the Voyager has a better connection method to connect the stays to the guard. I guess as the size/fit is pre-determined there is no need to allow for adjustments. I found the mudguard a snap to install. My only negative with the mudguard is that it is not drilled to take a light or a reflector. Should be easy to fix but.
That is it in terms of the build.
Riding with the Extrawheel Voyager
I haven’t done any riding with the trailer as yet in anger but I did take it for a quick spin around Herdsman Lake on some sandy track and bitumen bike paths as part of getting out to take a few photos. It was not loaded up but the trailer did pull nicely. One aspect I discovered was that my Deuter Rack Pack panniers (2007 model) would not fit the trailer. The top mount adjustment range on the panniers is insufficient to allow for the small frame of the trailer. Looking at the Extrawheel website they do claim that the “trailer frame can support all pannier models, including those from other manufacturers” which I guess does not include mine; maybe too old? If you want to check yours, the gap between the two hooks on the trailer is approximately 160 mm. BTW the hooks are there for the mounting of Crosso panniers * and I guess other panniers of a similar design. As my Deuter panniers did not fit, I just switched them to the bike and fitted my Ortlieb Bike-Packer Plus rear panniers instead. These fit the trailer just fine.
The Voyager fits behind my Surly Long Haul Trucker nicely as you can see from the photos. The first quick ride suggests that it tracks along behind nicely. Still need to test it out loaded and down a steep hill on a gravel road but!
This last series of photos shows the connection between the trailer frame and the fork and the fork to the bike. I must admit I am curious as to the security of the connection to the bike as there is no locking pins or the like which is in contrast to the set-up of the BoB. The key here is to get the spread of the fork correct so that it ensures there is adequate tension to spring the fork to the bike whilst allowing for its easy removal and fitment. On the subject of fitment I quickly learnt that the trailer goes on first and then the rear panniers and trailer panniers. The reverse needs to occur before disconnecting the trailer. This is because the panniers on the bike just get in the way and having panniers on the trailer means the balance is not so good.
Also I have a Hebie Bipod kickstand on the Surly and the trailer, at least on this unloaded ride had no impact on its performance. Hopefully this will prove to be the case fully loaded as well.
So there you go, one built up Extrawheel Voyager single wheeled trailer ready for it is first loaded tour.
I have had a chance to put the trailer to the test. I loaded it up (along with the bike and myself) for a four day ride through the Darling Range east of Perth, Western Australia. This ride allowed to get a feel for the trailer on bitumen (roads and shared paths), pea-gravel roads and single track. Other than a little niggle with the mudguard fittings the trailer came through this test with flying colours. I am very impressed with the trailer.
My first test of the trailer early into the ride was how it would handle u-bars installed on shared paths to discourage scooters and the like. I was able to get the bike and trailer through, but it did take a little bit of wiggling. That really was the only time I had issues with a tight situation.
On the short sections of Munda Biddi single track I rode it tracked very well. In fact on the whole ride it tracked very well. This included a downhill section where I hit 60 km/h and on other sections where I was fighting to stay upright due to the pea gravel.
Even when having to push the bike such as I did on Whittakers Road (and lots of other times due to the pea gravel) I noticed the weight of the bike overall, but the trailer did not add to the burden in any noticeable way.
In respect to loading the trailer, I honestly didn’t give it much thought. I loaded the panniers in terms of what I wanted to carry, not with the trailer in mind. As it turns out, I had one pannier loaded with my camping gear etc and the other with food. So over the ride the pannier with food in it got lighter. I didn’t notice any impact on the pulling of the trailer. That said I did learn very quickly that it is best to attach the trailer and then load the panniers. That worked out well for me.
The only negative experience that I had was with the mudguard fasteners. Where the stays are attached to the mudguard, the bolt went missing in action and the where the guard is attached to the frame, that bolt kept working loose. So now need to either use some Loctite or remove the mudguard all together.
Other than that I am very happy with the trailer and look forward to use it more often.
- The Voyager will take 700c and 26″ wheels comfortably;
- The frame’s internal width ranges from approximately 65 mm at the front to 76 mm at the rear;
- The portion of the frame between the two hooks (where a pannier other than the Crosso panniers are mounted) is 160 mm;
- The frame length is approximately 480 mm and with the fork included, 870 mm;
- The flag is approximately 980 mm;
- The trailer fully assembled and with a Alex Adventurer 700C 36h rim with a Continental Travel Contacts 700C x 37 fitted weighs in at 4.10 kilograms
- The instructions for building/using the Voyager can be found here.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
- Easy to assemble;
- Simple to connect and disconnect;
- Tracks nicely behind my Surly Long Haul Trucker’
- All the welds look good and all the components fitted together as expected.
- No holes drilled in the mudguard to take a light or reflector;
- Wouldn’t take my 2007 Deuter Rack Pack panniers.
- Mudguard fasteners work loose.
- Nothing ugly.
Resources and other websites related to the Extrawheel Voyager
- Tom’s Bike Trip review of the Extrawheel Voyager
* As a footnote I did look into purchasing a set of Crosso panniers for the trailer because the trailer is in part designed to take them and they are also 40 l panniers. However Crosso has an Australian distributor which thinks it is smart to charge $AU260 for a set of panniers which can be brought from Crosso for approximately $AU115 + delivery and secondly whilst their webpages are in English, Crosso checkout pages are not and Google Translate wouldn’t pay nice. So I gave up on their panniers and instead will use Ortlieb panniers.