Our first family bike tour was a nine day outing in northern Ontario when Eden was 16 months old. At the time, we owned a garage-sale-quality bike trailer and didn’t think it was up for the task of transporting a child comfortably during the 700km ride from Sudbury to Hamilton in variable weather. We weren’t quite sure we wanted to purchase a trailer just yet (they all seemed so expensive), so we borrowed a Chariot Cougar 2 trailer from a friend for the trip. Eden loved the trailer and the quiet time it provided while we were riding – she kept busy napping, playing and singing and was perfectly content as we cruised along. However, after we got home from this tour, we had a few concerns about the trailer. The fabric floor wicked up and absorbed a lot of the moisture tossed up from the tires in rainy conditions, soaking Eden’s feet and toys and often leaving a pool of water inside. The rain cover also seemed a little insufficient and let more water in than we thought it should. We also didn’t see how it would hold two children comfortably as it already seemed a little small and cramped in there with just one. We held off on our new-trailer purchase until we began to gear up for our current adventure, and because of the misgivings of the Chariot, we were open to any bike trailer possibility that fit better with our style of loaded touring.
After countless hours of research into other Chariot models as well as Burly-brand trailers, it seemed the clear winner was a lesser-known brand that was quite literally in our backyard. Wike Bicycle Trailers is located in Guelph Ontario, just 50km from our home in Hamilton. Off the bat, we really liked the idea that Wike welds, sews and assembles each unit right in Guelph – in fact every bit of the trailer is made in Canada (save for the wheels, which are made in Taiwan). According to the specifications listed on Wike’s website, the Moonlite model is the lightest in it’s class at 23 pounds – a major plus when considering a trailer for touring. The trailer also has a unique fold that packs down smaller and into a more manageable ‘package’ than other models.
Our only reservation going in was less about the function of the trailer, and more about its ‘look’. It’s not as sleek as a Chariot or a Burley (the profile, we thought, looked a little like a hearse), and it came in overly bright ‘extra-visible’ colours which bordered on obnoxious. These were things we were willing to overlook if the trailer could out-perform other models.
We went out to Guelph to visit the factory and pick up our trailer in person. When we got home and pulled our Moonlite out of the box, we were impressed right away. Although the colours seemed even brighter in person than online (how was that even possible?), the kids quickly realized that there was even more space inside than we had thought. Most notable is the extra headroom and legroom compared to other brands of trailers. Four-year-old Eden could stretch her legs out completely inside and raise her hands all the way above her head. The high-quality bearings made it seem like the trailer was gliding on air as we pushed it around the house and took it out for it’s first ride.
After giving the Moonlite a good test ride over the last year (I’d say that 13,000 km is a pretty good test ride right?) we are more in love with this trailer than ever and it is the only one we could ever recommend to others looking for an inexpensive, quality children’s trailer that is still made on this side of the planet.
The kids love the room. Eden stretches right out as far as she can and has more room to grow. The headroom space makes the trailer feel roomier and less cramped. While we usually ride with one kid in the trailer at a time, they can both fit comfortably – even for longer periods.
While spacious inside, it folds down incredibly quickly and compactly. We’ve had to fold it numerous times to travel on buses and trains and boats. South of the border, where there are no standard door sizes, we took the wheels off and on nearly every day in seconds in order to sneak the trailer through small door openings or gates.
The amount of stuff the Moonlite holds is unbelievable. There’s room under the seat, in the side toy-pockets and a trunk in the back (24″x6″x12″). When we ride, all the kid’s toys are kept in the main part of the trailer and we use the trunk to carry extra gear and food.
In the rain, the trailer really shines. As the floor is re-enforced with a sheet of polyethene, it is able to take a lot of abuse and won’t soak up rain or moisture (and is much easier to clean than a cloth floor). This keeps the kids dry, as well as toys and books that are constantly bouncing around on the floor. The rain cover, which attaches with Velcro, keeps the interior perfectly dry even in downpours that last all day and night. We sprayed an extra layer of waterproofing silicone over the exterior fabrics before we left on our trip, and we have had no problems with saturation or water penetration.
And we are glad to report that after spending a year outdoors, the fabrics have faded to perhaps a more desirable hue.
The Moonlite definitely works best as a bike trailer, but it can be used as a stroller as well by flipping down a small front wheel and folding the hitch arm up into its ‘push’ position. We’ve noticed two problems with this configuration:
- The bolt that holds the front roller wheel in place will occasionally bend and distort when we hit small bumps in a sidewalk, rendering the unit difficult to use until we have time to fix it. Not sure if the bolt is weak or if we are just treating it too hard. Wike sent a replacement bolt when ours got bent out of shape.
- In stroller mode, the balance can be quite precarious when we are carrying weight in the ‘trunk.’ (and the trunk is rather large so we can usually fit a whole grocery run in there – perhaps we have it overloaded). Loading and unloading the kids can upset the balance and cause the trailer to roll onto it’s back when the kids hop out. We have gotten used to carrying some counter-weight in the far front of the trailer to avoid this issue.
The only other issue of note is that the front screen, which is sewed into the top of the trailer, ripped where it attaches to the Velcro. This happened after about 7000km of hard use. Again Wike sent a replacement screen which was more durable and easy to use after cutting away the original (the trailer is under warranty for the first year).
Check out Wike’s website for all the information you need about weight and dimensions plus additional photos and videos.
Wike doesn’t just make trailers for kids, they produce larger models for special-needs adults, they make trailers for kayaks, canoes, shopping and cargo, as well as pet trailers, touring trailers and golf trailers – even a trailer designed for landscaping. And there is also a cargo bike DIY option.
In order to keep their prices competitive, Wike only does sales from their website and they ship directly from their factory – it keeps out a middle man and extra shipping costs to distributors. The only problem for most people is that they have to rely on reviews and online comparisons in order to determine if they want to proceed with the purchase. Personally, I like to see a product like this before I commit to ordering. But if it was distributed through bike shops, the price would go up and I also value saving money.
Plus, right now, their child trailers are on sale for the summer!
Full disclosure: after deciding to ride with a Wike, we approached them for sponsorship and they generously provided us with the trailer we are using. We’ve tried to be as objective and honest as possible when reviewing our experience with their product and their customer service.