Bike Touring with a BOB Trailer: Better Your BOB Ride

Check out these tips to maximize your BOB experience:

Bike touring with a BOB Trailer is something to carefully consider, and while we are big BOB fans, there are pros and cons as shown in our last blog post. If you choose to go the BOB route, there are a few things you can do to better your BOB ride.

1.  Inner tube dampening system. BOB is your friend, but as all friends do, sometimes he gets a little too close for comfort, bouncing and swinging around at you. Creating a slight dampening system can help your BOB track better behind you and reduce the swinging and bouncing that can occur when you are riding more bumpy or technical terrain. Take an old inner tube and cut it so it is one strip. Start with one end and wrap it even between the BOB yoke and the trailer, crossing over with even tension on each side. Tie it up and give it a test run. If your BOB doesn’t pivot well or track behind you on corners, you probably have it too tight. If it still swings around too much, you probably have it too loose. Adjust as needed.

BOB Trailer in mud

Inner tube dampening system in muddy action.

2.  Front rack and panniers. Depending on your bike, the BOB can add enough weight onto the rear wheel that the front wheel becomes a little lighter requiring different handling on your part. For a longer tour, especially one that you need to carry more stuff, using front panniers can really balance your bike. Attaching a good front rack and panniers can do wonders to your bike handling and give you more storage. We love Old Man Mountain racks. They are durable and now mount to front forks with thru-axles!

great divide mountain bike route montana

Front rack and panniers help balance the bike and give you more storage.

3.  Kickstand. Yes, it seems goofy and makes you feel like you are in second grade again, but the rear triangle kickstand is a necessity. It allows you to park your rig anywhere instead of having to find the perfect tree, building, even ground or whatever you need to park a bike and trailer. You can get a rear triangle attached kickstand at Bike Shop Hub.

BOB Trailer kickstand

A rear triangle kickstand allows you to park your rig anywhere.

4.  Yak, not Ibex. The Yak BOB is the older version with no suspension and the Ibex is the newer addition that is a full suspension trailer. We’ve tried both and decided that the Ibex, at an added five pounds is just not worth it. It still bounces around and is also more complicated so if/when something breaks, it’s harder to deal with, especially in the backcountry.

5.  Robert Axle. Don’t leave the BOB behind just because you bought a sweet new bike that has a rear thru-axle. Rear thru-axles add more rigidity, improving the responsiveness of the rear end of the bike. Virtually all new mountain bikes have 12mm rear thru-axles and The Robert Axle Project is currently the only solution to the compatibility gap. Now with Robert Axles, you can use your best bike for your best adventure. We fit over 30 brands of bikes found in both in the U.S. and Europe. Get one now!

Happy trails and trailers!

–Katy B.

7 Comments

  1. Jonathan Barrett on June 27, 2017 at 5:10 am

    Hi
    There are some good fixes.
    I’ll have to try the dampening with inner tube some time.
    I have an Ibex and have noticed the play on the swing arm.
    I have replaced the bushes with four scate board wheel bearings.
    Works a treat.

    • Katy Bryce on June 27, 2017 at 8:36 am

      Yeah, there’s a bit of a trick to get the tension just right with the inner tube. Once you get enough tension on it, it works quite well. I don’t care how high the trailer bounces, it’s when it starts going sideways that things get scary.
      Great idea to replace the bushings on the swingarm.

    • Deadwood on September 17, 2017 at 6:34 am

      Dear Jonathan — Please explain, your use of “scate board” bearings on the swing arm. This sounds like something in which I’d be interested.

    • Doug Tarter on April 16, 2020 at 4:11 am

      Jonathan,
      Can you be a little more specific on your mod to the swing arm? Sounds like a great idea!

  2. D on January 30, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    Regarding Yak vs. Ibex:
    “We’ve tried both and decided that the Ibex, at an added five pounds is just not worth it”
    Wondering if the trial was on pavement, dirt roads, singletrack?
    I’m looking to ride with my dog in the Bob trailer and poking around online, some folks use the Ibex with their odg, others use the Yak…
    Thanks!
    D

    • Anthony Davidson on January 31, 2021 at 2:54 am

      I started with Yak – possibly the first generation, prior to all the gussets being added, and also prior to me developing much mechanical sympathy. I bent the rear and snapped the front. Got it repaired of course, and still in service almost 20 years later with my brother. 15 or so years ago I got the Ibex, working on the rational that I can’t unweight the trailer so the suspension should enhance its durability. It’s still going strong (video search Tassie Gift 2020), and is now used to carry my 15kg dog in comfort on all terrain. The bushings are pretty floppy, so I might try the skateboard bearings trick.

  3. Beni on December 20, 2020 at 12:55 am

    I just came across this post by chance – I was in fact looking for a way to mount skis on my bob – when I noticed that we are not the only ones riding around with a Jolly Roger flag on our bob trailer! Nice to know. 😀

    Here is a current picture of our trailer with its flag: https://grindcore.ch/photos/navigium/image/923d3486-c41e-47fa-a5a5-4e82707edcb4

Leave a Comment