Fans of Burley are going to seriously dig the Burley D’Lite single and double bike trailers. They’re gorgeous. They’re rugged. They’re sooo easy to use! Basically, the D’Lite checks all the boxes on your wish list, and then some. Read our review below for all the details!
Burley D’Lite Review
BEST FOR: Families who want the best of jogging, strolling, and biking; kids ages 12 months to 4 years
CAPACITY: Single or DoubleCOMES WITH: Tow arm, single stroller wheel
UPGRADES AVAILABLE: 2-wheel stroller, jogger, hike, ski
What We Love About the Burley D’Lite
- Exceptionally smooth ride for biking and strolling
- The overall durability and ruggedness of Burley trailers can’t be beat
- Premium 20″ air tires are 1/2″ wider than other trailers and have more aggressive tread
- Super easy to swap between trailer/stroller/jogger functions
- Fast and easy to fold and unfold for loading up the car and driving to the trails
- Single stroller wheel in front folds up and down on tow arm for instant access
- Bowed out sides provide additional shoulder space for older kids to move around inside
- Reclining, bench-style seats offer more support and comfort for kids
- Adjustable suspension depending on weight load and terrain
- Loads of storage space – more than any other trailer brand
What You Should Know Before You Buy
- The primary reason to upgrade to the D’Lite from the Encore X is the reclining seats
- The D’Lite X model has a few extra perks, like seats that reline independently of each other
- Burley trailers have seats that are more upright than Thule Chariot trailers, making reclining seats more necessary
- If you want to bring books or toys for kids, be aware that the bottom of the trailer doesn’t seal completely and they can throw them out of the trailer
Burley D’Lite Review – Results of our Test Rides
Biking in the time of coronavirus. It’s been a way our family has stayed sane. And with a precocious 2 year old who runs in every direction any chance she gets, our beloved Burley D’Lite has allowed us to get out as a family without worrying that she’ll violate every social distancing rule on the books. I’ll always look back on the Burley D’Lite as our beloved corona trailer. 🙂
When it comes to high-end bike trailers, Burley has several trail-ready options for families. The Burley D’Lite is the brand’s most affordable high-end option, but also has all the comfort and ease-of-use features most families really need. And to boot, it comes in double or single capacity so you only have to buy as much trailer as you’ll actually use.
The Burley D’Lite was upgraded in 2019 and comes standard with a super smooth-rolling single stroller wheel and is also compatible with the double-wheel stroller, jogger, ski, and hiking conversion kits.
In 2019 Burley also introduced the Burley D’Lite X double trailer which has just a few extra features than the D’Lite. The biggest difference (and the real reason you would upgrade to the X) is that its seats independently recline, while the standard D’Lite double’s seats recline in unison.
The remainder of this review covers the 2019 D’Lite. If you’re interested in the D’Lite X, check out our full review here.
Overall Performance – Trailer
I’m a self-proclaimed bike trailer geek. The Burley D’Lite is the fourteenth trailer I’ve used and tested in just over a year. And within that pool of stiff competition, the Burley D’Lite easily makes my top three favorites. Then when you consider the “well under $1,000” price point, I’d certainly call it a high-end trailer worthy of your investment.
With beefy tires and adjustable suspension, the D’Lite is such a smooth ride. On paved trails I’m often looking over my shoulder to make sure the trailer is still attached! A few pounds lighter than other high-end trailers I’ve used, the ease of climbing hills was very noticeable.
On rugged terrain the suspension really shone. I’m pretty sure my toddler’s ride was more cushioned than my own hybrid bike with its mediocre front shock. On trails criss-crossed with raised roots, I felt confident in the D’Lite’s ability to keep my toddler comfortable and safe.
Compared to other high-end trailers like the Thule Chariot Cross, the Burley D’Lite sits several inches higher off the ground. There are trails we frequent with large rocks and small tree stumps in the middle of the path. While speeding over these obstacles in the lower Thule Chariot always makes me nervous, the raised body of the D’Lite trailer offered additional clearance for situations just like these.
Overall, I was incredibly impressed with the D’Lite’s ability to gracefully glide over any terrain we attempted – often uneven and less than well-maintained. I would confidently take this ruggedly gorgeous bike trailer just about anywhere.
**UPDATE – I upgraded my bike to a Santa Cruz Chameleon and took the D’Lite with us on our family MTB trip to Bentonville. We found several green trails wide enough for a trailer, and the D’Lite totally rocked the mountain bike amusement park of America!
Overall Performance – Stroller
As often as we bike as a family, my trailers get used daily as my walking and running companions. I’m probably more picky about a stroller than I am a bike trailer, and I will boldly say that the Burley D’Lite as a stroller is about as good as it gets.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Burley D’Lite pushes so effortlessly and seems to float like on a cloud. It may sound cheesy, but it’s the best way I can describe it. It is so stinking effortless to push a Burley stroller.
Double capacity or single capacity? That is the question. Clearly if you have two kids, you’ll need the double. Many families with just one child also choose a double trailer for extra storage, or the option to bring along a friend.
Single trailers offer more room for a single passenger, so if you’re really only ever going to carry one child, we highly recommend the single. In a double trailer, a single passenger must be loaded on the right side, not in the middle. As a result, they’re a little more cramped than they really need to be.
Also take into consideration that double trailers are heavier and wider. Both of those factors affect your experience as the rider pulling the trailer!
Single vs. Double Burley D’Lite
The Burley D’Lite line of trailers come with bowed out sides, which is unique to any other bike trailer we know of. While unlikely to be necessary in the single trailer, it can come in very handy in the double trailer. As you can see in the image on the right above, our tall 5 year old tester benefits from the added shoulder space that allows her to lean her body away from the other passenger.
Seats and Padding
The Burley D’Lite features a bench-style seat. This style of seat supports a child’s weight, while hammock seats (found on the Burley Bee and Honey Bee) lack support and sag in the center.
While bench seats are more expensive, they are typically much more comfortable for a child, especially in a double trailer. With two kids in a hammock-style seat, the weight of those little bodies converges in the center. A bench-style seat keeps each passenger on their side of the trailer, giving each child more space.
From the adult’s perspective, it’s easier to load and unload kids in a trailer with a bench seat. Because it keeps a child’s bum supported, you’re not fighting against a child’s weight as you try to locate and secure the buckle.
Bench style seats are one of the primary reasons we would recommend upgrading to a more expensive trailer.
The seats of the D’Lite are padded with a thick bottom, back, and headrests. The headrest slides up and down a rear track system, allowing kids of varying heights to get the padding they need.
All of the pads are removable, with the exception of the shoulder strap pads which cannot be removed. The pads can shift around a bit while you’re loading up the kids, but overall they stay in place pretty well.
Depending on your child’s helmet, you may want to remove the headrest when in trailer mode. We’ve found that removing the headrest creates a bit more space for the back of our toddler’s helmet, allowing her to keep her head upright more naturally.
The height of the shoulder straps on the Burley D’Lite trailers can be adjusted up or down to accommodate the height of your child. The locks slide up and down a black strap and can be set anywhere along the back mesh area.
The 5-point harness is easy to use and clicks cleanly in place to let you know the buckle is secure. Each of the five harness straps attaches to the buckle separately and is thus adjusted separately as well.
The buckle is relatively easy to unbuckle for older toddlers. While we certainly haven’t had this issue with every child we’ve used to test a Burley trailer, it has been an issue with one kid in particular. (The same kid that learned to unbuckle her car seat earlier than her siblings!) Just be aware as kids get older that you may need to give them a safety lecture about leaving the buckle alone!
The front cover of the D’Lite is high-quality, thick polyester that is one of the hallmarks of a trailer worth its salt. The fabric is made to take a beating and last the long haul. The front of the cover is breathable black mesh that also provides some protection from the sun.
This cover is secured in place by inserting a small metal hook into a plastic cylinder on either side of the trailer near the bottom. Velcro near the top of the trailer also helps keep it in place.
The top of the rear of the trailer is covered in this same blue polyester and features a large viewing window for strolling or jogging mode. The bottom edge of the window is open to allow for a bit of venting through the back. If you want even more venting, you could flip up the back of the cover entirely.
A zip down rain cover with waterproof zippers is easily rolled down and zipped into place when needed to protect from rain, wind, or cold temperatures. It can be rolled up and stored near the top, or you can actually tuck it under the top canvas cover if you prefer to have it entirely out of view.
SunShade and UV Windows
Protection from the sun is one of the major advantages of buying a more expensive trailer. While all of Burley’s trailers have UV windows, only the Encore models and above feature a sunshade. And while the sunshade is stationary on the Encore models, it adjusts up and down the front on the D’Lite using a thin rope pulley system.
Depending on what time of day you ride and what the angle of the sun is, an adjustable sunshade can be a huge benefit. Overall the sunshade is pretty short so it won’t provide a ton of skin protection from the sun, but it is great at keeping the sun of out kids’ eyes.
When not in use, it is stored underneath the top of the trailer.
Transporting the D’Lite to the local (or not so local!) trails is a no-brainer because folding and unfolding it is a breeze. The trailer collapses in on itself by unhooking the yellow latches you see below. The wheels are removed by simply pushing the yellow button in the center.
This ease-of-transport is another huge reason we advocate for paying more for a trailer like Burley. When there are less obstacles to getting out for a ride, you’re much more likely to actually get out and ride!
One of our favorite features of all Burley trailers is the rear storage area. It’s GIGANTIC. We’ve actually put our 2 year old in the back and she fits comfortably. (To prove a point, not to ride of course!)
If you are a family that wants the flexibility of bringing a lot of stuff along for your adventures, any Burley trailer wins hands down over any other brand.
We also love the interior snack/sippy cut pockets in Burley trailers. They are placed smartly for easy access, even for young toddlers. And with the center of the pocket sewn to create two separate sections, a sippy cup can’t fall on its side and out of reach. This may seem like a silly thing to mention, but after testing out those fourteen trailers in the last year, I can vouch for the awesomeness of this small but important detail in Burley trailers!
One of our favorite features of the Burley D’Lite models are the wheels. Most bike trailers, from basic to high-end, feature very the same style 20″ tires/wheels on metal rims. The tire tread is pretty basic, although they do a great job overall.
All of the D’Lite trailers are upgraded with 20″ premium wheels with a reflective strip on the sides for added visibility. The wheels are 1/2″ wider than most other trailer tires (including the tires on less-expensive Burley models) and have a more aggressive tread.
For families who plan on riding only paved trails, this won’t make much of a difference. But if you have any plans for dirt trail riding (which we do frequently, even with the trailer in tow!), those premium tires do make a difference.
Because the D’Lite’s wider tires can hold more air and have a slightly larger footprint, they are able to dampen more bumps along the way. While the shocks dampen larger bumps, wider tires will absorb and cushion smaller bumps.
Burley is the only brand to offer 16″ fat tires as an upgrade for families that will be riding in sand, gravel, and snow.
Only Burley’s D’Lite and Cub trailers have reclining seats, which is a huge selling point for the D’Lite trailer. Overall, Burley trailers are much more upright than Thule trailers, so the ability to recline has a big effect on comfort factor. We actually keep our seats permanently reclined in the D’Lite because the upright position is just too upright to be comfortable for long.
The seats recline from the rear by accessing the cargo area and engaging a yellow lever on the back of the seat. There are two recline settings.
For those passionate about reclining seats, you may want to consider the Burley D’Lite X. While the double D’Lite’s seats recline in unison, the D’Lite X’s seat recline independently so you can set the recline to each rider’s preference.
For many families, suspension is one of those things you never knew you needed. Once you’ve pulled a trailer or pushed a stroller with suspension, it’s hard to go back. When the entire point of the journey is the ride, it sure is nice when it’s just that much smoother.
Suspension is designed to soften the big bumps – like pot holes, rocky trails, curbs, or speed bumps. Depending on your adventure as well as the weight of your cargo, the D’Lite’s suspension can be adjusted for that weight. As a comparison, the Encore’s suspension is not adjustable.
To be honest, adjustable suspension is a nice-to-have for most families, but if you’ll regularly be adventuring as your child grows and adds weight to the load, adjustable suspension can be a real bonus.
The hub-engaged parking brake is set by swiping the red lever from left to right with your foot.
Burley D’Lite X as a Trailer
The D’Lite 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 additional safety, you wrap the nylon strap around the frame of your bike and secure it to the tow arm by attaching it to the D-ring.
The process looks a lot more complicated than it actually is. Once you get the hang of it, it’s incredibly easy and only takes about a minute. One thing to note is that because you have to align the holes of the hitch and the cylindrical joint, you need to make sure your bike is as upright as possible. Otherwise, it’s going to be very hard to get those holes aligned!
All three Burley D’Lite models and the Burley Cub X feature new “quick receivers” that make attaching the trailer arm (as well as the stroller wheels and other conversion kits) even easier than Burley’s less-expensive trailers.
To insert the tow arm, you pull the large yellow lever on the side of the quick receiver as you push the arm into place. It will click when it’s locked. The back-up yellow safety pin is then inserted from the top.
As shown below, there are two different holes the quick receiver can lock into. One hole is for biking, and the other is for strolling. The tow arm is marked with images to indicate bike or stroll. You really can’t mess it up unless you’re not paying attention.
Burley D’Lite as a Stroller
The Burley D’Lite comes standard with a single stroller wheel on the tow arm, and an optional upgrade to a 4-wheel stroller. Both are equally smooth and easy in my opinion, but there are different reasons you’d use one or the other.
Single Stroller Wheel (Standard)
The single stroller wheel is another one of the “AHHH THIS IS SO FREAKING COOL” features of Burley strollers. It’s so easy to use because it’s permanently attached to the tow arm. The wheel folds up while in trailer mode and folds down for use in stroller mode. No swapping out or removing of parts. Just pull the wheel down and go!
In 3-wheel stroller mode, the D’Lite has a pretty sweet upgrade from the Burley Encore and Honey Bee. Its tow arm can be adjusted so that it tucks in closer to the body of the trailer. As a result, the single swivel wheel doesn’t hang out so far in front. It feels less bulky and you feel more in control. It’s also less likely to get in the way in a crowd. This is the ONLY trailer we know of (Burley or otherwise) to offer this!
2-wheel Stroller Kit (Optional Upgrade)
The optional 2-wheel stroller kit for the D’Lite connects directly to the quick receivers on the body of the trailer. This allows the D’Lite stroller to take up less space than when it is in 3-wheel mode. The wheels are inserted into the quick receivers from the front, in the same way the tow arm is inserted.
The advantage of this style is that if you’re pushing your stroller in a crowded mall or amusement park, you’re not going to get your stroller wheel caught on something in front of you, or accidentally trip someone!
Height & Handlebar
The handlebar of the D’Lite can be shifted up or down to find a comfortable spot for you, regardless of your height. It also rolls all the way forward in trailer mode to double as a “roll bar”. The trailer already has a roll cage, the roll bar is just an added safety feature in the rare event of a crash.
All Burley trailers sit a bit higher off the ground than other trailers. As a result, in stroller or jogger mode, they also sit higher in comparison to your body. My daughter in the pictures below is just shy of 5’0. If you are a shorter adult, you may want to look at a trailer/stroller that sits lower to the ground like the Thule Chariot Cross.
An optional handlebar console is a must have if you’ll frequently be using the D’Lite as a stroller or jogger. Easy storage for your phone, keys, and water bottle – it just makes the journey that much more convenient.
There’s a top storage pocket perfect for a phone, or if you want to have your non-wireless ear buds attached, you can just throw it in the larger main storage section. The top flap is magnetic, which makes for super fast access to the contents inside. While Burley’s site doesn’t state if the top pocket is waterproof, I would definitely put my phone in there and zip it up if it started raining!
These gorgeous machines basically come assembled out of the box. You really just unfold the trailer, put on the wheels, and attach the quick receivers. It should only take about 10 minutes, depending on how good you are at reading instruction manuals. 🙂
The 100 lb. weight capacity of the Burley D’Lite double is for 80 lbs. of humans and 20 lbs. of cargo. The single has a 75 lb. weight capacity, but only 40 lbs. of that is for a human.
With a double trailer, always have the heavier child on the right when in trailer mode. (Or if you only have one child in the trailer, put them on the right.) Putting more weight on the side opposite of the tow arm helps to maintain the trailer’s balance and prevents it from tipping over at high speeds.
The Burley D’Lite has an added bonus that the seats can be folded down to use as a cargo trailer.
Fans of Burley are going to seriously dig the Burley D’Lite single and double trailers. They’re gorgeous. They’re rugged. They’re sooo easy to use! Basically, the D’Lite checks all the boxes on your wish list, and then some.
When it comes to spending this much money on a trailer, we always tell parents DO IT IF YOU CAN! The added features and comfort of a more expensive trailer will certainly pay its dividends over the years.
That said, it’s also nice to know why you’re spending more, because every family’s situation is different. See below for why you would want to upgrade from the less expensive Encore X, or spring for a bit more money and get the more premium D’Lite X.
Comparison: Burley D’Lite vs. Encore X
- Available as single or double capacity
- Reclining seats
- Suspension is adjustable
- Beefier tires with more aggressive tread
- Sunshade can be moved up and down the front cover
- Bowed sides for extra room for older riders
Comparison: Burley D’Lite vs. D’Lite X
Reasons to upgrade from the standard Burley D’Lite to the more premium Burley D’Lite X
- Seats recline independently of one another
- Rubber floor mat comes standard (although it can be purchased separately for the D’Lite)
- Rear window rolls up for increased air flow through the rear
Click here for a full list of Burley accessories.