Unpackaging a brand new Burley trailer is akin to opening a gift from your best friend. With every stitch and buckle, to the pages of the instruction manual (with clear diagrams!), the love and dedication that Burley has towards theirs trailer and their users, is truly one-of-a-kind. A small company, with a big heart and an even larger passion for biking, you’re in good hands with a Burley. Having reviewed their D’lite, we were excited for the opportunity to test out their top-selling model, the Encore. Lightweight with supportive seats, an adjustable handlebar, UV tinted windows, a sunshade and compatible with all of Burley’s conversion kits, the Encore is the perfect middle child you never saw coming.
Encore as a Trailer
Coming standard with a trailer arm, the Encore quickly and easily mounts to any adult bike with a sturdy rear axel. The hitch simply slides through the rear axel while the rubber connector attaches with a U-pin. A safety strap also wraps around the bike’s frame and clips onto the trailer arm. The rubber connector is flexible, which allows the trailer to remain upright even when the bike is not.
While in use, the Encore pulls very smooth, even with 65 lbs. of weight in the trailer (max weight 100 lb.). On flat paths, minimal additional pull is felt on the bike, but like all trailers, the weight is felt when going uphill. When transitioning from down hill to flat surfaces, the trailer does give you a slight push, but it is minimal as compared to other brands. Burley’s also pull very differently from other brands as the trailer is centered on the bike hitch rather than the bike itself (see picture on bottom right). As a result, when riding a Burley, it is important for the rider to ensure there is more clearance on their left side for the trailer, than on their right.
The current Encore’s also come standard with the safety latch, which was part of the recent voluntary recall by Burley. The safety latch provides a third point of attachment between the trailer arm to the trailer. The recall was issued due to an understandable user error. When the securing the U-pin through the trailer arm and the trailer mounts, if the end of the U-pin is not placed through the circle at the end of the latch, the U-pin can slip out of place (some mistakenly put the latch to the side of the end of the pin). With the new safety latch, even with user error, the trailer will still have two points of connection (the spring-tension button and the safety latch).
Ease of Use
Unlike many other trailers we have tried out, it is quite clear that Burley tests their products out with REAL kids! From side pockets that kids can’t reach, to lap belts that are way too small, faulty designs are common amongst other brands. With a Burley, the opposite it true as they add features you didn’t know you needed, like a drop down front panel to allow kids to easily get in and out of the trailer without tripping.
Riding on a sunny day? The Encore has a sunshade as well as UV tinted, UPF 30 windows. If your kids grow to tall for the sunshade (so that it blocks their view), no problem, just tuck it under.
Pads on the straps always coming off? Not with a Burley (the newer models). The top and sides of the buckles are connected for ease of buckling and to keep the pads in place. In the new D’lite, Burley takes it a step farther with their new S.I.T spring-loaded buckles that pop out to allow for easier buckling and unbucklings. Trailer getting damages when folded? On a Burley you’ll find a nose guard to protect the fabric from parking lots and garage floors.
Need to run some errands on your bike? The Encore quickly converts to a cargo trailer but unbuckling the seats from the roll cage.
Other Features of the Encore
The Encore also has several great features just for parents. The rear of the trailer has a large and easily accessible storage compartment that velcro’s down, for easy one-handed access while in stroller mode. A small pocket for a phone, keys, or wallet is also easily within reach just inside the rear compartment. With a simply swipe of your foot, Encore’s brake lever easily engageswithout the need to bend over. The Encore is also compatible with all of Burley’s conversion kits, which includes three types of strollers and a ski kit. New for current models, Burley’s also come with a light mount that easily attaches to the top of the trailer (lights not included).
The wheel guards on the Encore have also been updated. Made of sturdy plastic (they are a lot stronger then they look!) the guards easily snap into place to help protect the wheels from branches and other obstacles on the trail. The guards also has a lever to assist in pushing down the spring-loaded button when removing the trailer arm.
Folding up the Encore is also quick and easy. To fold the trailer, simply pull up on the two red levers inside the cabin and the roll cage will collapse and the wheels release by simply pushing a button and pulling them off. To unfold the trailer, simply pull up the roll cage bar and snap it back into place as shown at the end of this video (an older Encore model is shown, but it folds the same way as the current model). If you have smaller hands, unfolding the trailer can be a challenge, especially the first couple times. Snapping one side in at a time can help, but not always. With time, it does get easier.
Encore vs. D’lite
The D’lite’s suspension system and bowed-out sides are the main two differences between the two trailer. The suspension certainly adds to the comfort of the passengers and is recommended for those riding on uneven, bumpy surfaces, but it does add to the additional ten pounds the D’lite has on the Encore. For those who are anticipating moving the trailer in and out of a car or up and down stairs, the extra 10 pounds is significant and unless you ride on rougher terrain regularly, the Encore is probably a better option. The D’lite’s bowed-out sides, increases the interior shoulder width from 22″ in the Encore to 25.5″. When riding with older or taller kids, the extra 3.5″ can make the difference between happy camper and revolting passengers. As shown below, with a three-year-old and a five-year-old, there is clearly more room for their shoulders in the D’lite than in the Encore.
Optional 3-Wheeled Stroller Mode
The Encore only comes with a trailer arm, but several conversion kits are available, including the clever 3-wheeled stroller kit. Previously only available on the Honey Bee, the kit allows you to quickly convert the trailer to a stroller while on the go (see additional pictures above in the bike trailer section). Attaching the wheel, however, was a little tricky as it does require removing the mounting strap at the end of the trailer arm, but the included instructions are very clear and well written, so be sure to take the time to read them!
As an added bonus, Burley has a great sense of humor as well 🙂
For the average user, who doesn’t need all the bells and whistles (like suspension) offered by the D’lite, but still wants a high-quality multi-use trailer, the Encore is the cream-of-the-crop.
Where to Purchase:
The Encore is available on Amazon and directly through Burley and MRSP’s for $479.
FTC Disclosure: All opinions given are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC. No monetary compensation was provided for this review, but a trailer was supplied by Burley to facilitate this review. Two Wheeling Tots is not an affiliate of Burley, but is an affiliate of Amazon.