Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My First Product Review - Maya Cycle Bike Trailer

This week I finally got myself a Maya Cycle Bike Trailer.  Ever since seeing it first hand at this year's Vancouver Bike Show back in March, I have always wanted one.  I have been looking at some bike trailers for quite some time now and when I saw this bike trailer from Maya Cycle (http://www.mayacycle.com) for the first time, I was blown away by it's ingenuity and well thought out design.  It became a 'must have' for me.

Maya Cycle Bike Trailer after assembly
Assembly was an absolute breeze!  I can't even remember assembling it, it seemed to have come out of the box fully assembled!  So, I give it an A+ for ease of assembly.  It is a minor task at best.
Quality and finish proved to be very good.  All the welds look good and strong which they'll have to be as I will be putting this trailer through a lot of kilometers.  Some minor scratches on some of the stickers on the trailer, but I would guess that is due to shipping and transporting.  However, the powder coating is well done and that is really the important part over a few measly scratched stickers.  Visibly, in my eyes, it was perfect.
And now, onto the true test...
As it is/was Bike To Work Week (month for some of us), I had the opportunity to use the trailer to go to a client's site carrying 2 laptops and my briefcase. I also squeezed in misc. items like my toolkit, spare tube and bike lock.  This would have been impossible to fit into my panniers.  I would guesstimate each bag to be approximately 10lbs, so my total carrying weight is near or above 30lbs!  The trailer is rated up to 66lbs so I was well within it's limits.
These are full sized laptop carrying bags and full size leather briefcase!

The Bag is HUGE! I was able to fit all my stuff inside with room to spare!
As you can see in the following picture, the true ingenuity of the Maya Cycle trailer, a) The legs which act as a kickstand while connected to the bike, and b) the Handles which fold out and converts the trailer into a Wheelbarrow while disconnected from the bike! Genius!

The trailer comes with two bungee straps to strap down the bag into the trailer which should be adequate for most things that the trailer can carry.  But of course, I can't keep anything 'stock' from factory!  I had to add my own slight modification and creativity..  Out comes one of my cargo nets that I had picked up from the local surplus store for like $4 bucks or something..
Used my cargo net to keep the bag and contents tight to the trailer.
The ride was a 20Km ride consisting of mostly pavement with some gravel trails.  There are some parts with poorly maintained roads and with a lot of bumps.  And yes, of course, there were hills! I hate hills.  Some parts being over 10 degree incline.. ugh.  Unfortunately, I live up a valley and I simply can not avoid them.

Dawning my Canucks flag mounted on the trailer, I set off on my bike ride to work.  The first few pedals the added weight was clearly evident.  It was as if I was pulling something that weighed 30lbs..  well, I was!  But as soon as I got moving, I could not feel the trailer at all.  The momentum of the added weight actually felt like it was pushing me along. That was quite a weird feeling.  That was, however, on flat grounds.  As soon as I hit some descents, the ride became very different.  I was moving fast! The added weight was actually making me go faster down hills.  And as soon as I needed to stop, it was very clear that I was gonna be squeezing the brake levers really really hard.  You'd better be sure to have good functioning brakes if you plan on pulling anything over 20lbs!  This, however, applies to all bike trailers and not Maya specific..  gravity just seem to always want to play a part somehow.
Once I got used to all the first-time jitters of pulling my Maya trailer it became a very tame and subdued bike ride.  The trailer was barely noticeable for the most part.  Often times I would forget that I was pulling something.  I was constantly checking over my back to make sure that it was still there and nothing had fallen off. I took it through it's paces, I rode on bumpy roads, gravel paths, grass etc. I rode on a pretend slalom, and I even did figure 8's to see how well the handling would be.  The trailer passed with flying colours!  It was awesome.  However, keep in mind that your once extremely great handling road bike is now 3 feet longer with a lot more weight.  You must be aware at all times, you must take wider turns and make sure that you don't 'jackknife' your bike and trailer combo.  Being aware is the most important thing, this way you don't run into unsuspecting problems.
Now let's talk about the dreaded hills.  They suck.  Carrying an extra 30lbs of gear going up hills is an absolute killer.  I would like to think of myself as being in 'good shape'.  I have trained myself not to use my granny gear on any of my bikes for the past year going up hills, but on this day I was forced to use it.  This was one of the hardest workouts I've ever done on a bicycle...  and as much as it sucked it felt..  amazing!  I could use the Maya trailer for training to get in better shape simply by pulling heavy cargo going up and down hills!  All these guys with their lightweight carbon fibre road bikes need to strap on a trailer and start working out for real!


I understand that first impressions can easily be blinded by excitement and fascination.  So this will be my one and hopefully of many reviews of the Maya Cycle Bicycle Trailer.  The true test will really come out after the honeymoon is over.  Stay tuned as I take my trailer for more and longer trips.  I will update you on any pros and cons, damage or wear that may occur and a lot more stories of my ventures with the trailer.  For now, this is a truly wonderful product and I wish Maya Cycle all the very best that their product succeeds.

Maya Cycle Bike Trailer

*Dec. 5, 2011, Updated product review here at the bottom of the post..
The Born-Again Cyclist - My First Multi-Day Bike Trip, The Sunshine Coast

*Apr 7, 2013, Mayacycle on CBC's Dragon's Den!