Allen Sports T2 Trailer
The Allen T2 Trailer features 16" wheels on metal rims and is the best budget trailer at this price.
BEST FOR: Families looking for an inexpensive trailer to take small toddlers on bike rides around the neighborhood.
|Trailer Quality Level||
None (Trailer Only)
Pros & Cons
- Pulls surprisingly smooth for its price point!
- Easy-to-use 5-point harness system with continuously adjustable height settings
- Hammock-style seat is thick and padded, sagging less than other trailers
- Rain cover comes standard
- Easy-to-use, zip-up mesh cover
- Good storage space
- Less durable over time than higher-end trailers
- Tight fit for 2 large toddlers
- 16" wheels have lower MPH max (10 MPH)
In the bike trailer world, Allen Sports is known for affordable but quality trailers. With solid designs that are a step up from the very basic trailers you’ll often find at Walmart, Allen trailers are the best we’ve found at their price point.
While more expensive Burley or Thule trailers are better for true cycling families, Allen trailers are a great option for casual biking families who want to bring the little ones along for occasional neighborhood and paved trail rides.
With an updated trailer line for 2019, we took a look at Allen’s two new (and very similar) double trailers – the Allen S2 (S for added stroller functionality and 2 for capacity) and the Allen T2 (T for only trailer functionality and 2 for capacity). The S2 is mostly featured in the images below and is the yellow trailer. In both trailer and stroller mode, the Allen trailers perform impressively for their price point. For about $110 to $160, you’re not going to find better!
Allen T2 & S2 Trailers
Interior Space and Weight Capacity
The width of the Allen S2 and T2 is the same, and a pretty standard size for budget trailers. As you can see in the image below, two toddlers are pretty snug in these trailers. The toddler on the left is in 2T clothes and weighs 27 lbs. The toddler on the right is in 3T clothes and weighs 35 lbs.
With a combined weight of just about 60 pounds, you wouldn’t want to try to fit kids much bigger than this in these trailers. While there is a stated 100 lb. weight capacity, it would be very hard to cram 100 lbs. of kid into the trailer.
To be fair, many high-end trailers also state 100 lb. weight capacities and would never comfortably hold that much weight either. The uber-popular Burley Bee, which costs an additional $250, offers about 1.5″ in additional width. The extra width helps, but still isn’t going to make for a comfy ride for kids maxing out the 100 lb. weight limit. (If you read closely, some trailers, like the Bee, actually state that rider weight capacity is 80 lbs. and the additional 20 lbs. can be storage cargo.)
From a rider comfort standpoint, we recommend using the Allen trailers for about a 60 – 70 lb. total weight capacity.
The Allen S2 trailer & stroller has a few additional inches of headroom and legroom compared to the T2 trailer only. For the size of kids that are realistically going to fit in these trailers width-wise, there is a comfortable amount of headroom and legroom in both trailers.
Headroom in Allen S2 vs. T2 Trailers
Because the Allen S2 trailer & stroller is taller and deeper, we would recommend this over the T2 trailer if you have tall, lanky kids that may both fit in the trailer. From a longevity standpoint, the S2 is also a great option for just one child to ride as they grow older. Your growing child will have a bit more room to extend his legs and his head won’t hit the top quite as fast as he grows.
Legroom in Allen S2 vs. T2 Trailers
Seats and Trailer Bottom
The upper back portion of the seat on the S2 and T2 is loose mesh which serves two purposes. The first is ventilation. The second is that it has plenty of give to allow a child’s helmet to recess into the back of the seat so their head doesn’t get pushed forward by the bulk of the helmet.
The seat bottom is hammock-style which means that the seat is a sheet of thick fabric stretched between the sides of the trailer. Without a lot of support, hammock-style seats often sag in the middle, making them less comfortable than firmer (and much more expensive!) bench-style seats found in high-end trailers. For reference, even Burley’s $350 entry-level Bee trailer has a hammock-style seat.
However, Allen’s hammock-style seats are much better than many other hammock seats you’ll see in budget trailers. On some Schwinn and InStep trailers we’ve tested, the seat is actually attached directly to the bottom of the trailer. This creates a lot of sag and also doesn’t provide much protection between the road beneath the trailer and your little one’s bum.
Allen’s hammock seat is thickly padded and is sewn into the frame separately from, and above, the bottom of the trailer. While the seat sags more than a bench seat, it doesn’t sag much. There’s also an extra layer between the ground and those little bums.
My personal trailer is a bench-style seat and so when I attempted to load my toddler into the Allen trailers for the first time, I certainly noticed a difference in the loading process. It was more cumbersome to shift her weight around as I adjusted the straps for the first time. After that initial process, buckling her in each time does take a bit more effort, but is certainly manageable for the price point!
The bottom of the trailer is a piece of thick canvas, which is standard for even higher-end bike trailers.
Both the S2 and T2 feature quality, 5-point harness systems that are quite easy to use. If you’ve used an Allen trailer in the past, this system is a huge upgrade from their old, pretty rudimentary clip system. This is the style of buckle you see in Burley trailers.
The straps are padded for comfort, but the pads come off easily and can be a bit of a nuisance. The crotch pad especially came off quite frequently and really isn’t necessary if your child is wearing clothes. 🙂 You might just want to remove it.
The height of the harness straps is easily adjusted for a precise fit based on the height of your riders. The adjustment buckles simply slide up or down – it’s hard enough to do that an adult can adjust them with decent effort, but not loose enough that they are going to fall down during the ride.
This is a much nicer height adjustment system than you’ll find in other popular InStep and Schwinn budget trailers. Those trailers require you to remove the straps and re-thread them through distinct strap height holes, rather than being continuously adjustable like the Allen trailers.
The front cover of the Allen S2 and T2 consists of a mesh “door” with canvas sides that stay in place via velcro. The mesh cover is simply zipped up and down to get kids in and out of the trailer. The bottom portion of the mesh cover is then secured in place with a a long layer of velcro. The system is easy to use and gives the trailer a taut, sleek look.
Because this is a “budget” trailer, the cover’s material is thin and likely to wear or tear faster over time than a more expensive trailer, such as the Burley Bee ($350). This is one very common feature of inexpensive trailers and is pretty unavoidable unless you want to spend a few extra hundred bucks.
The rain cover of the Allen trailers is a permanent fixture on the trailer. When not in use, it’s rolled up and secured at the top of the trailer with an elastic loop. When needed, you unroll the cover and secure it in place with two D-ring hooks at the bottom corners.
To allow for ventilation as well as prevent fogging up during rainy rides, the sides of the trailer windows have small oval openings near the top of the trailer. Rain could definitely get in through those holes, so while the rain cover is awesome and easy to use if you accidentally get caught in the rain, we wouldn’t advise riding in the rain on purpose.
Windows and Shade
The Allen S2 and T2 feature large side windows for maximum viewing enjoyment for your little riders. Like all trailers we know of under $300, the windows are not tinted and don’t offer UV protection. This is one of the key differentiators between budget and higher-end trailers. The Allen trailers also don’t offer a sunshade for the front cover. (Also standard for budget trailers.)
Depending on where you ride, how long you ride, and at what time of day, this may or may not make a difference to you. I live in Texas and the sun can be brutal most of the year. Since I’m usually out for about an hour in the mornings, during the summer I would need to put sunscreen on the baby.
While the Burley Bee ($350) does have UV windows, even that trailer doesn’t have a sunshade for the front cover. If you want really great sun protection, you have to spend quite a bit of money (for Burley, that would be the $800 D’Lite trailer!)
The rear portion of the Allen A2 and S2 trailers doesn’t have a window like some trailers. This is actually great from a sun protection perspective, but if want to use the S2 trailer in stroller mode, you can’t see your kids unless you tip the trailer waaaay back towards you.
Wheels and Storage Compartments
The wheel size of the Allen T2 (trailer only) is 16″, while the S2 (trailer and stroller) is 20″. Both wheels feature metal rims and metals spokes which is a HUGE upgrade from most other trailers in their price range which feature plastic rims.
Plastic rims are just cheap, and more likely to warp and to provide a less smooth experience over time. We dislike plastic rims so much that we won’t recommend any trailer that has them. Especially when these Allen trailers have much higher quality metal rims at the same price point.
While 16″ wheels on metal rims are fine, the 20″ wheels will make quite a bit of difference at higher speeds. The maximum suggested MPH for 16″ wheels is just 10 MPH, while the 20″ wheels have a recommended max MPH of 15. (15 MPH is standard for even the most high-end 20″-wheeled trailers.)
On easy neighborhood rides, I didn’t notice a difference in feel between the two wheel sizes. However, if you’re planning on going on long paved rides where you’re more likely to ride fast, you should upgrade to the 20″ wheels from a safety perspective.
You’d be surprised how very easy it is to exceed 10 MPH. Additionally, larger wheels are going to make for a more comfortable ride for the child rider if you encounter any bumps or obstacles in the road.
The Allen trailers have an easily accessible storage area behind the seats. It’s decently spacious with a flat bottom, giving you enough space to carry a backpack or diaper bag, and some jackets.
There’s also two small nylon pockets on the outside of the storage area. Big enough for a small water bottle, wallet, or keys, but they are a bit flimsy. While I used them in stroller mode because I would quickly notice if something fell out, they aren’t secure enough that I would use them for anything of value while in trailer mode.
Mesh Cup Holders and Parking Brake
It’s funny how a small thing like a mesh cup holder can be soooo hard for some trailer companies to figure out! Even high-end trailers sometimes have poorly designed cup holders. The Allen trailers have a perfectly sized mesh pocket in just the right spot for easy access. Thank you, Allen!
There is a parking brake located in front of each wheel of the S2 Trailer & Stroller, but not on the T2 Trailer. Simply pull the lever and a metal tab engages and comes into contact with the tire, preventing its movement. Not the most convenient system, but for the price point, it’s better than others we’ve seen and we’re not going to complain!
Folding the trailer is certainly possible, but isn’t something you’ll want to do that often. Not that it takes that much time… honestly for the price it’s a pretty simple process, but you basically have to un-assemble the trailer each time. As someone who hates assembling anything, this would be a pain point for me. But you may not care because it really only takes about 5 to 10 minutes.
If you know that you will be frequently transporting the trailer via car to another location, be realistic about how much this convenience matters to you. Higher-end trailers are typically much easier to fold, but of course are significantly much more expensive.
Allen S2 & T2 as a Trailer
Having just finished reviewing a $900 trailer, I wasn’t expecting much out of the Allen trailers. And honestly, I was expecting not to like them. Welp, I sure was surprised because these little trailers are pretty good, and considering the price point, they were kinda great.
Both trailers are really lightweight because they’re basic and have no bells and whistles. While this obviously results in sacrifices in overall quality and rider comfort, it also makes them easier to pull. But beyond being lightweight, they both pulled smoothly and tracked straight behind my bike. They made a little bit of noise compared to my high-end trailer, but these aren’t $900 trailers.
While obviously not as effortless or smooth as a $900 trailer, I was seriously impressed with the adult rider experience for the incredibly low price of the Allen trailers.
I honestly didn’t notice much of a difference between the S2 with 20″ wheels and the T2 with 16″ wheels in trailer mode. The 20″ wheels do allow the S2 to sit higher off the ground however, so if you’re concerned about clearance between the road and the bottom of the trailer, the S2 would be the way to go.
As mentioned above, the 20″ wheels do have a higher maximum MPH recommendation so if you’re planning on riding anywhere beyond the neighborhood, 20″ wheels would be the better bet.
The Allen trailer tow arm hitches into a socket that attaches to the rear axle of the adult bike. It has a cylindrical joint with a pin that goes through it and is then secured with a retaining pin at the bottom of the socket. For added security (and as is standard in any safe trailer), there’s a nylon strap you wrap around the frame of your bike for back-up in the event the retaining pin came loose.
The socket system is very similar to Burley’s hitch system, except that it’s a little more rudimentary and not as smooth to use. But it works well!
The process of attaching/detaching the tow arm to the adult bike is relatively easy, but does require you to keep the adult bike very upright so that the holes in the tow arm and the hitch align properly. The T2’s hitch was actually easier to insert the pin than that S2’s, but they are technically the same so it must have been due to slight imprecision in manufacturing.
The tow arm of the Allen trailers folds underneath the trailer when not in use, and remains securely extended in trailer mode via a retaining pin. It’s an easy and convenient system, however it’s also the one point of true concern we had regarding the trailer.
If this pin were to come loose while pulling the trailer behind you, the hitch arm could technically bend up and potentially cause a crash. If the pin is functioning properly and secure, this is a non-issue. However, the pin on the S2 trailer we received was defective.
You can see in the image below how compared to the T2’s properly functioning pin, the end of the S2’s retaining pin is barely covered by the D-loop. It was easy to pop off, while the rest of the D-loops on the retaining pins are pretty difficult to remove (in a good way).
While I can’t say definitively what would happen if you used a pin like this, I was not comfortable carrying my baby in the trailer this way and requested that a new pin be sent. They are easily swapped out. I did contact Allen about this issue and they affirmed that thousands of these trailers have been sold and they’ve never heard of this issue. If you do see a pin that looks bad, just request a new one.
Allen S2 as a Stroller
I was also a bit surprised at how well the S2 performed as a stroller. My daily-use trailer/jogger/stroller is the Thule Cross which costs about $900 more that the Allen S2. While the S2 wasn’t as smooth or sporty-feeling as the Cross, it did a pretty bang up job for about $150!
The front wheel is a little noisy and the single-height handlebar is a bit too skinny and not as comfortable, but this stroller still got the job done for me in the mornings pushing these nuggets.
Most trailers that convert to strollers have the stroller wheel attach to the trailer arm. This can be a bit awkward because the stroller wheel sticks out pretty far in front and can be a hassle in crowded areas. The Allen S2’s stroller wheel, however, attaches to a short, dedicated stroller arm, allowing the wheel to be tucked in close to the stroller. We LOVE this from a stroller performance standpoint.
Unfortunately, there’s potentially an annoying problem with this design. Because the stroller wheel doesn’t attach to the trailer arm, the trailer arm has to be stowed away. The trailer arm is stored folded up, underneath the trailer. Folding up the trailer arm requires you to completely flip the trailer on its back.
What this also means is that if you want to switch between trailer and stroller modes while in a single trip, you have to remove the kids from the trailer to do so. Quite a pain, and depending on the age of the kids, perhaps not even possible if your toddlers are going to to run away the first chance they get.
I have never actually used the stroller function and trailer function during one outing. I’m either going biking or walking or running. So for me, this isn’t a problem. But if you’re planning on going for a bike ride and then pushing your kids in the stroller when you get to your destination, keep this in mind!
Assembly of the trailers isn’t very difficult, but the instruction manual’s pictures and instructions are confusing. When we assembled the S2 trailer and stroller, it took us about an hour. It wasn’t actually difficult, we just had trouble figuring out what we were supposed to do.
Once we figured that out, setting up the T2 trailer was a breeze! You only need tools to assemble the S2 due to the parking brake and handlebar attachments. The rest of the trailer connects together with quick release pins that are secured in place with locking pin loops.
Locking Pin Loops and Stitching on Allen T2
One piece of advice that will save you time with the S2 trailer & stroller model. Place the cover on the trailer before you attach the stroller handlebar attachments to the rear of the frame. A portion of the fabric actually needs to go under that small tube and we had to do some un-screwing to attach the fabric to the back of the trailer correctly.
Additionally, the cover is not the most durably constructed. When you pull the trailer cover taut on assembly, stitching in some places begins to pull. While nothing has torn for us yet, just be aware that when you’re only paying $100 – $150 for a trailer, there are limitations to its longevity.
The Allen S2 Stroller & Trailer and the Allen T2 Trailer are both solidly impressive performers for an incredibly low price point. For about $50 more, the S2 gives you the option of converting to a stroller, has a higher maximum MPH, and also offers more headroom and legroom for kids as they grow. Both trailers are a little tight for two toddlers, but for casual paved trail rides, the Allen trailers can’t be beat for the price.