The best of what might be considered “budget” trailer/stroller, the lightweight Burley Honey Bee is no frills, but fantastic quality. Read the review below to see why we love it!
Burley Honey Bee Trailer
RATING: Highly Recommended
BEST FOR: Parents who want a smooth-riding trailer for occasional use as a stroller.
TRAILER CAPACITY: Double
TRAILER ARM: Included
JOGGER KIT: Not available
STROLLER KIT: Included
- Rugged, durable, and overall fantastic quality
- Exceptionally smooth ride for passenger and adult rider
- Easily converts from a trailer to stroller without the need of any tools or conversion kits
- Mesh pocket allows toddler’s helmet to be recessed into seat (prevents pushing the helmet forward)
- 5-point harness is easy to use and secure
- Huge rear cargo area
- Rain cover stored on trailer for fast access
- Adjustable-height handlebar for stroller mode
- No sunshade
Burley Honey Bee Review – Results of our Test Rides
The Burley Honey Bee is one of Burley’s most popular bike trailers – and for good reason! For a very affordable price tag, the Honey Bee offers the performance and durability of the Burley name, but keeps things basic to keep costs down. Far superior to other “budget” trailers like InStep and Schwinn, the Honey Bee is your best option if you’re on a budget but want a trailer/stroller that can roll with the best of them.
Burley Honey Bee vs. Other Burley Models
The Burley Honey Bee is one of three trailers in Burley’s basic “recreation” level tier. It’s almost identical to the very popular Bee, except that it comes standard with a single stroller wheel to convert the trailer to a stroller. (The Bee is only a trailer.) While the Honey Bee rocks that single stroller wheel, it’s not compatible with any of Burley’s conversion kits, like double stroller wheels, jogger, ski, and hiking.
Burley, like all trailer companies, offers added comfort and more features as you upgrade to a more expensive model. Upgrades like supportive and padded seating, more interior space, suspension, a sunshade, and reclinability are found in models like the Encore or D’Lite, which both come standard as a stroller like the Honey Bee.
In a nutshell, if you want the performance and ease-of-use of a Burley trailer/stroller but don’t want to shell out over $400, the Honey Bee is a solid bang for your buck. You get the functionality of a Burley trailer/stroller without paying for extra bells, whistles, and conversion kits you don’t want or need.
Overall Quality and Performance
There’s a local park we use as our official bike trailer testing ground. By riding just a few miles, we can conquer smooth paved trails, pot-hole filled asphalt roads, packed sand, gravel, root-strewn dirt paths, and rocky trails. And like every Burley trailer we’ve tested before it, the Burley Honey Bee rocked every terrain we threw at it.
Burley trailers are unique because every model is built with the same rugged durability. It instills a ton of confidence in parents that no matter what terrain you may encounter, your little nugget will be safe.
On particularly rough parts of the ride, I did get a couple quiet “Ow!”s from the back. Without suspension, the Burley Honey Bee isn’t as smooth over rough terrain, but if you’ll generally be sticking to smooth terrain, the Honey Bee can definitely handle the occasional off-road adventure. If you feel like suspension would be beneficial, you’ll need to buy a Burley Encore X or above.
At just 25.2 lbs., the Honey Bee is at a sweet spot weight between the 20 lb. Bee and the 30 lb. D’Lite X. As a comparison, the similar Thule Coaster XT is 26 lbs. The Thule Coaster XT has very comparable features to the Honey Bee.
As a Stroller
I use a trailer/stroller pretty much every day, so when I say that the Burley Honey Bee rocks as a stroller, you know it’s the truth. From the adult’s perspective, it’s as smooth and easy to use as the much more expensive Burley Encore or D’Lite X.
All of Burley’s strollers have a unique “floating” quality about them – they are sooo smooth and easy to push. I run with them regularly and feel no need to have a jogging wheel – the single stroller wheel works that well, in my humble opinion. 🙂
There are two features we particularly love about the Honey Bee stroller wheel (which are the same features on the more expensive Burley Encore and D’Lite). First, to store the wheel for trailer use, you simply pull the wheel down and then collapse it to the side. It stores right on the end of the trailer arm. It’s fast, simple, and genius. And WE. LOVE. IT.
The second feature we particularly love is the continuously adjustable handlebar. By simply pulling the yellow lever on the side of the handlebar, the height of the bar can be adjusted to wherever is most comfortable for you.
While all Burley trailers that convert to strollers have this customizable handlebar, that’s not the case for other brands. For example, only Thule’s two most expensive models (over $800) have handlebars like this. Their other trailer/strollers (Coaster XT and Cheetah XT) have just two handlebar height settings.
Interior Space and Weight Capacity
With a 100 lb. weight capacity (80 lbs. of child and 20 lbs. of cargo), the Honey Bee can haul pretty much all the stuff you’ll want to carry.
In the left image below, we have our 2-year-old tester using the Honey Bee as a single passenger. Plenty of space without another child, and lots of room to bring blankets, books, and stuffed animals to keep that little nugget entertained. Due to stroller regulations, double trailer/strollers do not have a centered seat, so even if you have only one passenger, the child has to sit to one side.
In the image on the right, we have our 2-year-old who weighs 33 lbs., and a 2.5-year-old who weighs 38 lbs. With a combined weight of 71 lbs., they were plenty comfortable, but still a little snug in the Honey Bee. The Honey Bee features 22″ of interior shoulder width, which is pretty standard for both budget and mid-range trailers.
Because a double trailer can only be so wide and still be manageable and safe for the adult rider, any double stroller is going to be a bit tight with two passengers past the age of 2. If you do plan on using the trailer for many years ahead with two kids, you might want to consider the Burley D’Lite, which has bowed out sides to increase shoulder room.
The Honey Bee has hammock-style seats which provide passive suspension for riders. Hammock seats consist of a thick piece of canvas pulled across the width of the trailer and secured on the sides. This style of seat is standard in all basic trailers and helps keep costs significantly down.
Burley’s hammock seats are high quality and as good as they get. However, hammock-style seats do have their disadvantages. Loading kids in the trailer is more difficult, and with two kids in the trailer, they end up converging to the middle together.
In Burley’s higher-end trailers, like the Burley Encore X below, the seat is a supportive bench. Bench seats are just more comfortable all around and are much easier for adults to manage the buckling process. That said, bench seats are significantly more expensive and a feature that many parents decide to forgo due to cost.
Burley Bee Hammock Seat vs. Higher-End Bench Seat
The 5-point harness system on the Burley Honey Bee is one of our favorites. High-quality and easy to use, the shoulder straps, side straps, and crotch strap can be loosened or tightened to account for height and weight. The height of the shoulder straps is continuously adjustable along the back of the seat so that you can set them exactly where they need to be for your child, and easily adjust them as they grow.
One difference between the Honey Bee and Burley’s more expensive trailers is that the harness doesn’t have any pads. This honestly is not a big deal and should not be a real factor in your decision.
While a child can safely ride in a trailer when they are 12 months old (and in stroller mode when they are younger), the shoulder straps in the Honey Bee are better designed to accommodate older toddlers rather than young ones.
Mesh Helmet Pocket
The top of the seat back of the Honey Bee is a loose mesh layer that allows the back of a helmet to recess into the back of the seat. Kids can sit up straight without having their head pushed uncomfortably forward. Most trailers have this feature, but on many budget trailers, they are placed too high to really be helpful. Do NOT buy a trailer that doesn’t have a mesh helmet pocket!
The cover of the Honey Bee trailer is thick, high-quality, water-resistant 600D polyester. Compared to cheaper trailers, it’s playing in a totally different league as far as durability goes.
As seen below:
- (1) the front cover is pulled tight and secures on the bottom with a yellow plastic ring over a metal tab.
- (2) The rain cover attaches to the front with well-stitched and strong velcro at the bottom of the cover.
- (3) and (4) When not in use, the rain cover is rolled up and secured to the top of the trailer with velcro.
That rain cover comes in handy more often than you’d think. While we’ve certainly used our fair share of rain covers for actual rain, we more often use it for wind or simply to protect from cold temperatures.
On this particular test ride, it was a beautiful, sunny 50 degrees, but the wind was bothering my toddler. So I simply rolled the rain cover down and we were back on our way in no time.
We also appreciate the side UV windows which offer great shade and sun protection, especially in the summers.
The Honey Bee folds down in just seconds, making loading it into the car for epic rides very easy. By unhooking the frame tube from the pair of yellow release latches and simply pushing in from the front, the trailer collapses in on itself. The wheels are easily removed by pushing in on the center button in the middle of the axle.
The Honey Bee has an incredibly spacious cargo area in the rear. If you’re a family that needs to haul ALL THE THINGS, a Burley trailer is a definite must.
The Burley Honey Bee features high-quality 1.75 x 20″ wheels that have metal rims and quick release center buttons for easy removal. Their mild tread shines on paved surfaces, but can definitely handle some off-roading. If you’re going to encounter snow, sand, or gravel on the regular, you may want to check out Burley’s 16″ fat tires.
The Burley hitch system is the same for all of its child bike trailers. The trailer 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. A back-up strap is wrapped around the bike’s frame for an added layer of safety.
The trailer arm is attached to the body of the trailer with a similar pin and back-up strap system.
I’ve assembled four different models of Burley trailers and they are all soooo incredibly easy. The Honey Bee comes 99% assembled right out of the box. After opening the trailer for the first time, you just attach wheel guards and the wheels.
Be aware that the first time you open the trailer and insert the upper frame tube into the yellow latches, it’s really hard. You might think you’re going to break something, but keep pushing! Every time after that, it’s very easy to fold and unfold the trailer.
Comparison: Burley Honey Bee vs. Thule Coaster XT
Burley or Thule bike trailer? It’s a question we hear a lot, and it honestly depends on what price level you’re looking at and what features are important to you. The Thule trailer that is most similar to the Burley Honey Bee is the Thule Coaster XT.
While we love Thule, when it comes to the question of Burley Honey Bee vs. Thule Coaster XT, we prefer the Honey Bee. There are just a few features that Burley does better at this price level:
- The Honey Bee’s stroller handlebar is continuously adjustable, while the Coaster XT’s handlebar has just two positions.
- The Honey Bee’s single stroller wheel is easier to use and is stored on the trailer arm. The Coaster XT’s wheel has to be removed when not in stroller mode.
- The Coaster XT is really hard to fold, making transporting it more difficult.
- The Honey Bee can be upgraded to 16″ fat tires for more rugged terrain.
The Burley Honey Bee is the best “basic” trailer/stroller on the market. With an incredibly smooth ride as a trailer and stroller, you and your little nugget can both enjoy the ride. The Honey Bee’s durable build will last for years and through several children, and is worth every penny of its $400 price tag.
Click here for a full list of Burley accessories.