The Thule Chariot Cheetah XT offers quality, performance, and convertibility in a lightweight frame. The only mid-range single trailer by Burley or Thule. Read why it’s a great family trailer in the review below.
Thule Chariot Cheetah XT Overview
RATING: Highly Recommended
MSRP: $599 (No longer available)
BEST FOR: City-riding families who need a lightweight, high-performing trailer that easily converts to a stroller or jogger.
TRAILER CAPACITY: Single or Double
TRAILER ARM: Included
JOGGER KIT: Upgrade available
STROLLER KIT: 2-wheel included
WEIGHT: 19.4 lb.
UV WINDOWS: Yes
INSIDE HEIGHT: 27″
INSIDE WIDTH: 23″
- Exceptionally smooth ride for biking, jogging, and strolling
- Very lightweight
- Padded seats and harness for extra comfort
- Bench-style seats don’t sag
- Stroller wheels store on the body of the trailer
- Sunshade and rain cover come standard
- Handlebar only has two height settings
- Narrow body not great for husky kids
- Minimal storage space
Thule Chariot Cheetah XT Review – Results of our Test Rides
The Thule Chariot Cheetah XT is Thule’s multi-sport, mid-range trailer. Coming standard with a trailer tow arm and two stroller wheels, the Cheetah XT can also be upgraded to a jogger or ski attachment.
Thule has five different levels of trailers, starting at the most basic with the Cadence. From there you upgrade in quality and features at each level to the Coaster XT, Chariot Cheetah XT, Chariot Lite, and the very high-end Chariot Cross.
As a mid-range trailer, the Cheetah XT stands out from the basic Coaster XT because it’s a true multi-sport. The Lite and the Cross are Thule’s sleekest, easiest-to-use, highest-performing trailers. The Chariot Lite is the first trailer in Thule’s line to feature suspension, while the Cross doubles down with adjustable suspension and reclining seats.
The Cheetah XT stands out in its price range because it’s available as a single or double trailer. While we absolutely love the Burley Encore X, it’s only available in double capacity. If you don’t have to pull a trailer that wide or heavy, a lighter-weight, low-profile single trailer is a godsend.
In this review we’ll be comparing the Cheetah XT primarily to Burley’s mid-range trailer, the Encore X, as well as with Thule’s high-end Chariot Cross.
Performance as a Trailer
As you’d expect from anything with the name Thule attached, the Chariot Cheetah XT pulls smooth and easy. And weighing in at just 19 lbs., towing the Cheetah XT was one of the most effortless bike trailer experiences I’ve had.
At this point, we’ve tested so many bike trailers that it’s hard to truly impress us. And while the Cheetah XT’s performance doesn’t stand out from any other Thule or Burley trailer, it performs right on par with the best bike trailers on the market.
We rode long distances on both paved and dirt trails to test the Cheetah’s abilities. With slightly thinner tires than Burley and without suspension, the Cheetah XT excels on paved surfaces, and is a bit of a bumpy ride if you go off-road. But despite those bumps, the Cheetah XT still handled our all-terrain adventures like a champ!
If you know that you’ll be a regular dirt trail rider, the Cheetah XT isn’t your best option. But if you think dirt trails might be an occasional adventure, the Cheetah XT can definitely handle it, even without the suspension. If you don’t truly need suspension, you save so much on weight – the Thule Chariot Cross single (with adjustable suspension) is almost 12 lbs. heavier than the Cheetah XT. This weight can make an exceptional difference if you ride in hilly areas.
While the Cross’ suspension will do wonders for the comfort of your kids on all-terrain, or bumpy roads, suspension doesn’t really make a significant difference if you’re sticking to well-maintained paved roads. So if you’re a city rider that doesn’t need suspension, the Cheetah XT is a lightweight, killer option.
Cheetah XT vs. Cross: With no suspension, the Cheetah XT is best for city riders, while the Cross’ adjustable suspension excels on any terrain you choose.
Cheetah XT vs. Burley Encore X : The Burley’s suspension, slightly wider tires, and higher ground clearance make it a fantastic option for families who will be doing mild off-roading regularly.
All Thule bike trailers have the same hitch set-up. It’s smooth and simple and only takes about a minute to install.
Thule trailers have the easiest to use hitch system out there. Unique from any other trailer brand, the hitch and tow arm are secured using a ball joint that’s easy to get in and out of the socket regardless of the angle of the adult bike. Every other hitch system requires the adult bike to be fairly upright to align holes in the hitch and tow arm, which can take several tries and a bunch of re-jiggering.
Thule trailers are also unique because the quick release pin in the hitch is locked in place by a piece of rubber that is pulled over and under the hitch and then secured over the end of the pin. (All other trailers use a metal pin cover.) Overall, we prefer the Thule hitch system over any other trailer we’ve tested because the process of attaching the trailer to the bike is so effortless and streamlined.
While the Thule hitch attachment is universal for all Thule trailers, the tow arms are not. While the arms are the same shape, the way they connect into the trailer body is different. The tow arm for the Cheetah XT has two buttons that can be depressed on the end of the arm. To insert the tow arm into the body of the trailer, you push the small button, which in turn pushes down the large button. You then slide the tow arm into the body of the trailer until the large button clicks into place.
Once the large button has clicked into place, it’s possible to push the small button again and push the tow arm further into the trailer. Do not do this! We made this mistake, but caught it and didn’t have any issues. The trailer arm actually locks into place that way, but we can’t guarantee that it is a secure and safe lock.
Performance as a Stroller
On a daily basis, I take my toddler out for extended walks in our Thule Chariot Cross single trailer, so I was especially interested to see how the Cheetah XT (which is $450 cheaper) would measure up.
I wasn’t expecting the Cheetah XT to push as smoothly as the Cross, but it did! And being sooo lightweight, it was pretty effortless. The minimal rear storage also gave my long legs plenty of room to move back and forth without ever coming close to contacting the trailer. (At 5’10, sometimes my feet end up kicking the rear storage of the Cross.)
My only complaint about the Cheetah XT compared to the Cross in stroller mode is that there are only two handlebar height settings. Eventually, I got used to the lower setting, but I prefer the ability on the Cross to choose the exact handlebar height that’s perfect for me.
All Thule Chariot trailers that convert to strollers come standard with two stroller wheels. They do not have the option for a single stroller wheel like the Burleys. While Thule Chariot trailer/strollers have incredible performance and also the convenience of storing the wheels on the trailer itself, Burley’s single stroller wheel attached to the end of the tow arm is a pretty killer system.
Burley trailer/strollers come standard with a single swivel stroller wheel and have the option of upgrading to a 2-wheel stroller conversion. The Burley and Thule stroller systems each have their own benefits.
With Burley’s standard stroller system, you just pull the stroller wheel down, unhitch your bike, and away you go. It’s so easy it’s stupid. If you want to upgrade to the double wheels, it costs extra and the wheels easily slide into the front of the trailer.
Burley Encore X Stroller
With Thule’s system, the double stroller wheels attach from underneath the trailer. From lots of experience, it really is a sleek, modern design, but having to lift the trailer up slightly to slip the wheels underneath can be a bit clumsy at times.
Thule Chariot Cheetah XT Stroller
Where Thule’s system shines is that the stroller wheels are stored right on the trailer itself, so you don’t have to use any storage space to bring them along!
I personally use the double stroller wheels on my Thule Cross more often than I use it as a trailer. For this reason, the stroller design doesn’t bother me because I’m usually in stroller mode anyways.
If you are someone who is going to be switching regularly from trailer to stroller mode, the Burley is a bit easier to convert. In no way should this be the determining factor in your purchase, though. It’s just nice to know.
Cheetah XT vs. Cross: Stroller option is functionally the same, but the Cross has a continuously adjustable handlebar.
Cheetah XT vs. Burley Encore X: The Cheetah comes standard with two stroller wheels and does not offer a single stroller wheel option. The Burley Encore X comes standard with one stroller wheel and the option to upgrade two a two-wheel stroller kit. It also has a continuously adjustable handlebar.
Performance as a Ski Stroller
Oh yessssss… the Cheetah XT really can do it all. If you’re interested in converting your trailer to a baby ski stroller, check out our full blog post all about the Thule Chariot Ski Kit!.
The Cheetah XT’s handlebar can be installed right side up or upside down, giving you the option of two handlebar heights (high or low). Both the Cross and the Encore X’s handlebars are continuously adjustable, which is a super nice feature to have.
After taking the Cheetah XT out for many hours of walking, I do wish there was a middle setting, which would have been most comfortable for me and my body proportions. However, realistically, two heights are sufficient for most people to find a comfortable fit.
Low and High Handlebar Heights
Interior Space & Weight Capacity
The Chariot Cheetah XT single can accommodate a child up to 49 lbs., with a maximum weight capacity (including cargo) of 75 lbs. The Cheetah XT double can accommodate two kids, each weighing 49 lbs., but maxing out at 100 lbs., including cargo.
One of the big surprises we found when placing our toddler in the Cheetah XT for the first time was how narrow it is. While our daily-use Thule Cross has 16″ of seated width, the Cheetah XT only has 12.5″! The Burley Minnow‘s seat width is also 16″, while the high-end Burley D’Lite single is 18.5″.
Below you can see how much room our 20-month-old (28 lbs.) has in the Cheetah XT compared to the Cross. While she fit very comfortable in the Cheetah XT and has plenty of room to grow taller, the Cross clearly has more room for overall body growth.
Thule Chariot Cheetah XT vs Cross – 20-Month-Old
For reference, we placed our petite 4-year-old 34 lb. tester in the Cheetah and Cross as well, giving you an idea of how much room for growth there really is. While the Cross was certainly roomier, she was still plenty comfy in the Cheetah XT. Her 6-year-old brother filled out the Cheetah XT, but had no complaints about comfort.
Thule Chariot Cheetah XT vs Cross – 4-Year-Old
Overall, the narrow build of the Cheetah XT will be sufficient room for average sized kids, even as they grow to 4 and 5-year-olds. For husky kids, their comfort may start to be affected as they move past their toddlers years.
Thule Chariot Cheetah XT vs. Cross: The Cross single offers significantly more room in the interior of the trailer. If your child is husky or likes to move around a lot, the Cross is a better choice.
Thule Chariot Cheetah XT vs. Burley Encore X: The Encore X only comes in a double. We did not have the Chariot Cheetah XT double to compare.
Seats and Trailer Bottom
The Thule Chariot Cheetah XT comes with a cushioned bench seat that offers good support for a child’s weight and makes it much easier to load and unload kids. The seats are not removable for washing. The trailer bottom is thick canvas, which is standard for Thule and other high-end trailers.
The back of the top of the seat is a flexible mesh that allows kids in helmets to sit up straight while their helmet recesses into that pocket. This mesh layer starts just 10″ above the seat bottom, making the trailer especially suitable for young riders.
Cheetah XT vs. Cross: The Cheetah XT’s system is a bit more basic than the Cross’, but still provides sufficient padding. The Cross’ pads can be removed and washed.
Cheetah XT vs. Burley Encore X: Burley’s seat pads are much thicker and are removable for washing. They do tend to get out of place when removing kids from the trailers, which can be a bit annoying.
The 5-point harness system on the Cheetah XT is high-quality and easy to use. Like the Cross, it has added padding for extra comfort on the shoulders and around the waist
Its buckle is slightly different from the Cross in that the two top buckle pieces have to be snapped together before they are inserted into the bottom of the buckle.
There are many areas where Thule reigns king in the world of trailers, but its exterior covers are the whipped cream and cherry on top for me.
Don’t get me wrong, the Burley exterior covers do a great job and work really well. But Thule’s covers are just more sleek and more refined, no matter what quality level of trailer you’re getting. The covers pull taut, roll up nicely, and just ooze an air of sophistication.
The primary canvas cover rolls over the sides of the trailer and attaches to the bottom with a velcro fixture.
The rain cover on the Thule Chariot Cheetah XT is a permanent fixture on the trailer. When not in use, it’s rolled up and secured at the top of the trailer front door with elastic loops. When needed, you unroll the cover and Velcro the bottom of the cover to the trailer front.
Cheetah XT vs. Cross: The Cross’ exterior cover system is the best of any trailer on the market. Its front cover zips down, and the rain cover is actually removable so you don’t have to look at it unless you need it.
Cheetah XT vs. Burley Encore X: The systems are mostly the same, but Burley’s front cover hooks on the bottom, instead of using Velcro.
Sunshades may seem like a minor detail, but living in Texas, it’s a feature that I could not live without! The sunshade on the Thule Chariot Cheetah XT rolls up and is secured to the top of the trailer when not in use.
The Cheetah XT has a mesh top, so we definitely love that the sunshade covers the entire top portion of the trailer, in addition to extending about 1/4 of the way down the front of the trailer to act as a visor.
Most trailers with sunshades have minimal coverage in the front, like the Cheetah XT. The Thule Cross is unique (and the best!) because it covers over half the front of the trailer and can be moved up and down the front rails to provide sun coverage exactly where you need it. It doesn’t, however, cover the mesh top of the trailer. I guess there’s no perfect sunshade?
Sunshades – Thule Chariot Cheetah XT vs Cross
One minor drawback of the Cheetah’s sunshade is that it’s under the front mesh cover of the trailer. So if you want to raise or lower the shade, you have to open up the front of the trailer to access it. Certainly not the end of the world, but not as easy to access as the Cross.
The Cross’ sunshade is snapped into place over the mesh front door. It can be raised, lowered, or removed at any time without opening the front cover.
Cheetah XT vs. Cross: See above.
Cheetah XT vs. Burley Encore X: The Encore’s shade is on top of the exterior cover so it can be raised or lowered without opening the front cover. Like the Cheetah XT, it only covers about the top 1/4 of the front of the trailer, acting more like a visor.
Folding and Parking Brake
The Cheetah XT folds down very compactly and is done quickly and easily by pushing in on the blue knobs you see below, and then pushing down to fold the frame. The wheels are removed simply by pushing in on the center button of the axle.
At just 42″ x 24″ x 11″ and 19 lbs. folded, it’s easy to move in and out of the car for transport. Keep in mind that it is much longer than other trailers – for example the single Cross trailer is 34.2″ x 25.6″ x 15″. Depending on how big your trunk is, it may be a bit of a challenge to fit. It was a perfect fit in the rear portion of our 2017 Honda Pilot.
The parking brake is used primarily in stroller and jogger mode, and engages by pushing down on the red lever, while pulling up with your foot to disengage.
UV Windows and Wheels
Along with the sunshade, UV windows are a lifesaver from the hot summer sun! We love not having to worry about slathering on sunblock before we take the baby out for a ride.
The wheels are standard 20″ with metal rims. The tires are slightly thinner than Burley tires, and a fat tire upgrade is not available for Thule trailers. If you need wider, thicker tires for regular all-terrain riding, Burley trailers are more known for their off-roading capabilities.
Storage & Rear Venting
In general, Thule trailers are not known for their large storage spaces. If you need a ton of storage, you probably need a Burley trailer. But if you want to bring just a few things along for the ride, Thule’s storage is definitely sufficient, and also allows the trailer itself to be less bulky.
The Cheetah XT’s primary storage space is a very large mesh pocket on the back of the trailer. It’s great for storing soft items like sweatshirts or stuffed animals. Because your child’s back will be resting on whatever you put in that pocket, avoid hard items. I brought along my large camera on one occasion and had to position it deep inside the pocket so it didn’t hit my toddler in the back.
While we love that this mesh storage pocket also serves as an opening for airflow, if you stuff it full, you block the air flow.
On the inside of the trailer, there are two small mesh pockets for holding snacks and water bottles. Thule trailers have incredible designs, but in every trailer we’ve ever had from them, their snack holders are placed way too far forward in the trailer.
In the image above you can see our 20-month-old tester leaning forward and pulling on the pocket with one hand to try to get her sippy cup closer to her. She was able to grab it eventually but was unable to put it back. The Cheetah XT also places the child in a pretty leaned back position, which makes the struggle for a sippy cup even more difficult!
Cheetah XT vs. Cross: The Cross has a medium sized storage “box” on the rear of the trailer. It juts out from the back so whatever you put in there won’t bother the child rider.
Cheetah XT vs. Burley Encore X: The Encore X has a ton of storage space in the back of the trailer. This makes the trailer more bulky, but also allows you to bring along backpacks, scooters, basketballs, a picnic lunch, helmets… whatever you need!
Comparison: Thule Chariot Cheetah XT vs. Chariot Cross vs. Burley Encore X
So will the Thule Chariot Cheetah XT be the perfect trailer for you? Below you’ll find a quick summary of reasons why the Thule Chariot Cheetah XT, the Thule Chariot Cross, and the Burley Encore X shine.
Reasons to consider the Cheetah XT over the Burley Encore X:
- Super lightweight
- Narrow frame makes it especially easy to handle and maneuver in stroller mode
- Front bottom lip of trailer is reinforced to prevent cover from tearing when trailer is set on the ground
- Only mid-range trailer by Burley or Thule that is available in single capacity
Reasons to consider the Thule Chariot Cross over the Cheetah XT:
- Wider interior for larger/older kids
- Adjustable suspension if you’re going off-road or on bumpy roads frequently
- Sunshade offers more protection from the sun
- Continuously adjustable handlebar in stroller mode
Reasons to consider the Burley Encore X over the Cheetah XT:
- Suspension for uneven terrain
- Continuously adjustable handlebar in stroller mode
- More storage space in the rear
- Double capacity for the option to take two kids along for the ride
The Thule Chariot Cheetah XT is a precision-designed, lightweight trailer that will also serve you well as a stroller or jogger. With mild tire tread and without suspension, the Cheetah XT is an ideal choice for city-riding families. But true to the Thule name, this trailer is no sissy. A workhorse that can handle rough terrain in a pinch, we love the Cheetah XT! Additionally, the Cheetah XT is also the only mid-range single trailer by Burley or Thule.
Our Favorite Accessories
Click here for a full list of Thule accessories.
Burley vs. Thule Bike Trailer Comparison