Store Is Closed
The Nomad is one of the most spacious storage methods for cycle touring, able to hold about 8000 cu. in. of cargo. The storage space, per cubic inch, is cheaper than many panniers, as well as the “BOB” cargo trailer.
With the Burley Nomad, possessions can be stored in one container, allowing the cyclist to detach the trailer and store it in a safe spot. Because it has two wheels, it is relatively balanced to pull with one hand. Also, the two-wheel construction rests the weight of the trailer on its own axles, less so on the bicycle.
Inherent in the benefits are obvious drawbacks. For example, the two-wheel design. More wheels on the road means more potential for flats. Avoiding obstacles such as broken glass is difficult because the wheels don’t follow the same path as the bike’s tires. Three separate tracks must be taken into account when avoiding sharp objects. Patches are consumed more rapidly; Extra tubes should be carried for the trailer, even an extra tire.
Curb jumping is nearly impossible—the trailer tips over on variable terrain. If a deep rut is accidentally hit, as in the side of a poorly maintained road, the trailer may land on its side. This can cause considerable damage to the trailer hitch, as well as a injury to the cyclist.
Sometimes the damage may not be apparent at first. Along a poorly maintained road, I once tipped the Burley Nomad. Although there was no clear damage, the securing mechanism for a pin fell off during my ride, disabling an important safety feature while I was on the move.
The width of the trailer is prohibitive to rolling through doorways, without having the quick release scrape against the door frame. I have damaged a few narrow passages in this manner.
Likewise, the trailer juts out in the road, exposing the cyclist to motorists. Also, squeezing through tight spaces such as construction areas or other confined paths may be impossible.
In addition, it is poorly designed for pulling by hand. When pulling by hand, two tubes at the end of the trailer have a tendency to drag on the ground. Also, the weight of the cargo shifts to the minimally secured fabric panels in back, leaving it prone to spillage.
The alternative to making the trailer more hand toting friendly would be to make it safer to lock up. There is no real way to secure the contents of the trailer, everything is surrounded in fabric. Anyone could lift the fabric and steal anything in less than thirty seconds. There is no secure way of locking the trailer to an immobile object. The only way to make the trailer safe for locking would be to sell a metal mesh net that can fit over everything and to offer a secure point on the trailer to lock up to; such a thing is not in production.
In effect, the trailer is hard to pull inside a building and it’s unsafe to lock up anywhere. Going to a grocery store or a bathroom is an awkward and time-consuming project.
Because of the storage capacity, one would assume that it would be ideal for the camping cyclist. Perhaps if the path to the campground or campsite was even without stones jutting out, this would be so. If the terrain is less friendly, there is the aforementioned tendency to tip. Of even greater concern, however, is the weakness of the underbelly of the trailer.
There is a reinforced panel at the front of the trailer strong enough to take scrapes from stones. The back of the trailer, lower to the ground and thus more prone to scrapes from stones, has no such fabric and is prone to tearing. If the fabric is torn, the integrity of the bottom of the trailer is completely compromised—the trailer is rendered useless. The bottom of the trailer is in great need of stronger fabric. I would suggest a minimalist structure of steel mesh or aluminum tubing, like on the BOB trailer.
Another detriment that showed up was a manufacturing defect. The fabric of the right side panel was not pulled taught around the aluminum tubing. As a result, the fabric scraped against the wheel as things shifted in the trailer. This caused fabric to wear away.
Also, the back fabric panel is buckled to the side panels in a taciturn, insecure fashion. The straps have a tendency to slip out of place, exposing the contents of the trailer
While on my first and only cycle tour with the Nomad, I called Burley to return my trailer for repairs. Unfortunately, Burley doesn’t deal directly with consumers. I had to find from them a dealer in Manhattan. Unfortunately, the number I was given connected me with people who had no idea what I was talking about. Instead of getting another number from Burley, I decided to wait until I reached Washington DC to deal with the problem.
Along the way to Manhattan, the securing mechanism for the pin that attached the hitch fell off while I was riding. I was able to use a length of cord to secure the pin in place.
Along the way to Washington DC, the fabric on the bottom panel tore to open. I was forced to wait for repairs in DC.
To eliminate the possibility of miscommunication with Burley, I searched for an authorized dealer on my own. I found City Bikes in Washington DC. They, in turn, contacted Burley. I was informed through the employee that I would have to take pictures of the trailer and send them to City Bikes via e-mail, with a description of how the problem occurred. Fortunately, I brought a camera on my bicycle tour. And a computer to upload the photos to.
After waiting a day from the point I contacted City Bikes, I asked City Bikes for a contact number so I could ascertain the status of my request. At which point, the employee informed me that I was her only contact. Her judgment on the matter was that one day wasn’t enough. She promised to contact me with news.
Apparently, it is an indefinite process to look at four photographs, read a description of the damages, and come up with an estimate for repairs if not under warranty. I have yet to hear from anyone. Had I pressed for it, I might have received an update. There comes a point, however, when a person recognizes the inefficiencies of a company and its products—a point when a person decides to cut their losses and move on.
The whole process of attaining repairs for a trailer that can’t be locked, is not able to withstand rough trails, and is too wide to fit easily into many establishments, was too time-consuming to be worth the effort. In essence, I feel the Burley Nomad is inadequate for loaded touring.