Looking for a convertible multi-sport trailer that doesn’t cost a fortune? The Burley Encore X is a great introductory multi-sport trailer.
It hits a sweet spot between “budget” bike trailers and the incredibly expensive higher-end multi-sport trailers. It offers many of the features offered on those top-shelf trailers (like suspension), but keeps the price digestible.
Review In A Nutshell
- Stroller to trailer conversion is incredibly easy
- Comfortable padded seats/5-point harnesses
- Easy to fold down for storage/transportation
- Storage space in rear of trailer including a small mesh pocket
- Can convert to a jogging stroller (with additional kit)
- Can convert to a cargo trailer
- Construction isn’t as durable as higher-end trailers
- Suspension isn’t adjustable
- Seats don’t recline
Stroller To Trailer Conversion Is Easy-Peasy
The Encore X (along with other Burley trailers like the Burley Honey Bee) have the easiest conversion from bike trailer to stroller that I’ve seen. This makes it ideal if you want to use the Encore X as both a trailer and stroller in the same outing. Bike to the farmer’s market, for instance, and then walk around in stroller mode without ever having to unbuckle the littles.
Both the trailer attachment and the stroller wheel are attached to the same arm. When in trailer mode, you flip the stroller wheel up. When you detach the arm from the bike, simply flip the wheel down again.
It’s really that easy. The conversion takes seconds and is way more convenient that other trailers we’ve tested.
Also Converts To A Jogger
The Encore X also converts to a jogging stroller, though this does require a bit more work. The trailer arm removes from the trailer body and you replace it with two jogger arms and a single wheel in between. This isn’t crazy difficult to do but it does take a few minutes.
You should also be aware that the jogging kit does cost extra ($150), so factor that into the purchase price if you plan to use the trailer as a jogger as well.
As far as performance jogging goes, the Burley Encore X is on par with other convertible trailers. It’s more challenging to run with than a purpose-built jogging stroller, but if you only want to buy one piece of sporting equipment rather than two, buying a convertible trailer makes a lot of sense.
The handle can rotate to different positions so works well for runners of different heights, and allows you to play with it to find the position that feels best. This is quick and easy to do.
You should also be aware that the Burley jogging kit does NOT have a hand brake, so if you live in a particularly hilly area this might be an issue. For most people running on reasonably flat terrain, a hand brake is more effort than it’s worth to install every time you want to go for a jog.
Padded Seats Are Comfortable And The 5 Point Harnesses Keep Kids Safe
Unlike cheaper bike trailers, the Burley Encore X has comfortable padded seats. If you plan to ride longer distances or ride frequently, the padded seats really do make a huge difference in kids comfort on the bike.
The Encore X does, not however, come with the Burley premium pads that have a head/neck support as well. You can always add them after the fact, however, if you feel like your child needs additional support.
The two 5-point harnesses are also a step up from cheaper bike trailers that only offer a lap belt. The 5-point harness keeps kids safe and secure and is easy to operate.
Suspension Makes For A More Comfortable Ride
The Burley Encore X might just be the most affordable trailer with suspension. Suspension can add a lot of extra comfort for kids when riding over potholes, over speed bumps, and off-road.
That said, the suspension on the Burley Encore X is on the cheaper end of trailer suspension offerings and is not adjustable. This is not a big deal if you are riding the occasional dirt rail trail, but if you are planning on a bunch of off-road gravel riding, then you might want to consider a trailer with higher-end adjustable suspension instead.
Aluminum Frame Acts As A Roll Cage
Speaking of safety, we appreciate that the frame of the Burley Encore X acts as a roll cage. It surrounds your children on all sides. Additionally, when using the Encore X in trailer mode, you can fold the handle forward to add additional protection on top of the trailer. (This does however interfere with head space for taller kiddos).
This means that if the trailer tips or rolls (which is sometimes known to happen with trailers), chances are that your child will remain totally safe–especially if buckled in properly.
Other Safety Features
Burley as a brand prides themselves on safety. That’s why we’re not surprised to see other safety features such a flag, reflectors, and reflective accents included in the design.
Foot Brake Keeps Burley Trailer From Rolling When Stationary
The “foot brake” on the Burley Encore X is different than most that we’ve seen. It is activated (or deactivated) by pushing this big red lever from side to side. I thought it was the most functional brake I’ve seen, and was super easy to use. It did a good job of keeping the trailer in place, even when loaded and on a hill.
Plenty Of Storage Space
The Burley Encore X has a significant amount of space for storage behind the seat. There is plenty of room in there for library books, a backpack, or a bag or two of groceries. Because the space opens from the top rather than the back, it’s also possible to drop in a balance bike.
Inside the rear storage space there is also a small mesh pocket that you can use to store your keys and phone, for instance. Inside the seat area, there are two mesh pockets (one on either side) for your child to stash some small toys, a water bottle, or a pacifier.
Can Convert To A Cargo Trailer As Well
One of my favorite things about the Burley Encore X is that it can convert to a cargo trailer. This is awesome because eventually your child will outgrow a trailer and won’t need to be towed anymore.
At this point, you can remove the seats and use the trailer to tow groceries or camping gear instead. Even though our son has outgrown a trailer, we still often use our trailers to haul all kinds of stuff on bike outings.
Interior Space And Weight Limit
The Burley Encore X is designed to seat two children, though you can remove one harness and use it for just one child as well. If you’re using it for just one child, they’ll have extra shoulder space and you’ll have extra space for hauling stuff along.
Assuming you’re choosing the trailer for use for two kids, it is definitely a best fit for two younger kids (1 and 3 for instance) or else they will be cozy. Still, I was able to squeeze my 7 year old in with my 18 month old nephew, and they had a fun time together.
The Burley Encore X has a 100 pound weight limit. That includes pasenger weight and cargo weight.
The trailer itself (when empty) weighs a hair under 25 pounds. This is a pretty respectable, and while not THE lightest trailer around, it’s nowhere close to the heaviest.
Construction Isn’t Quite As Durable As More Expensive Trailers
Don’t get me wrong: the Burley Encore X is a good-quality, well-made bike trailer. That said, compared to the highest end trailers the Encore X doesn’t feel quite as durable.
Side by side with the Thule Chariot Cross, for example, the material is a little thinner and the floor of the Encore X isn’t reinforced. For most, the construction of the Burley Encore X will be more than adequate. But for the most abusive and hard-core of our readers, those who use a trailer day in and day out or who go on big bike touring, I’d suggest considering choosing a trailer with the MOST durable construction.
The floor on the Burley Encore X (left) is not as substantial as the reinforced, rubberized floor on the Hamax Outback (right).
Waterproof Door and Sunshade Protect Kids From The Elements
The door on the Burley Encore X has a mesh window, as well as a roll-down plastic cover for rain or colder weather. With a blanket inside, kids can stay quite warm and cozy.
In sunnier weather, you’ll also appreciate the sunshade. It covers just the top of the door to help shade your children’s faces and eyes.
Folds Down For Easy Transportation And Storage
It only takes a couple of minutes to tear down the Burley Encore X (or build it back up). You take off the wheels (via a button), release the top bar, remove the trailer/stroller arm, and fold in the stroller arm. Once it’s torn down the Burley is easy to store in the garage or stick in the back of the minivan.
With 16 Inch Plus Sized Wheels
One of our favorite accessories that Burley offers are the 16-inch plus sized wheels. These are smaller rims than the 20 inch wheels that come standard on the Encore X, but have fatter plus-sized tires.
These tires are ideal for riding offroad in gravel, sand, and a bit of snow. (If you’re going to do true fat biking, I’d recommend using the skis from the ski kit in conjunction with the bike tow arm).
I took the Burley Encore X for a mellow mountain bike ride on the very sandy Boise foothill trails and the 16 inch plus size tires rolled right thru the sand!
Encore X Vs Other Burley Offerings
The Encore X is a mid-range trailer and in the Burley line-up is sandwiched in between the Honey Bee and the Delite X.
Compared to the cheaper Honey Bee ($399), the Encore X offers suspension, padded seats, the option to use the jogging and ski kits, and the ability to convert to a cargo trailer.
I would HIGHLY recommend the padded seats, though you can always add premium seat pads to the Honey Bee for $50 each, which still comes in cheaper than buying the Encore X.
What you really get with the Encore X is the addition of suspension. This can make the ride a lot more comfortable for kids especially if you plan to ride rail trails or roads with lots of pot holes. If you are sticking to smooth suburban roads or bike paths, it’s probably not worth the extra investment.
The next step up from the Encore X is the Burley D’Lite. The biggest upgrades you get with the D’Lite are adjustable suspension and reclining seats. Adjustable suspension is probably worth the extra money if you plan on riding lots of gravel roads, and reclining seats are nice-to-have (but not necessary to have) for napping kids. Reclining seats help to prevent the dreaded saggy sleepy toddler head.
The Burley D’LIte is also a little wider and provides more elbow room. If you know you have kids who are going to fight in the trailer, you might want to go with the wider trailer. That said, the wider a trailer, the more difficult it is to maneuver and fit through tight spaces, so keep that in mind.
Encore X Vs Competition
The Encore X actually hits a sweet spot between cheaper-quality budget trailers and more expensive premium multi-sport trailers where there’s not a lot of competition. The closest competitor might be the Wike Premium Double trailer ($550), but it lacks suspension–making the Burley Encore X the better buy, in my opinion.
Bottom-Line: A Great Budget-Conscious Multi-Sport Trailer
The Burley Encore X isn’t a “budget” trailer but it is a budget “multi-sport” trailer. If you want a trailer that can convert to a jogger, ski trailer, etc AND has suspension, but don’t want to spend $1,000, this is a good option.