Are you looking for a trailer to tow your children on bike paths for fun, easy adventures OR maybe you want to do more bike commuting with kiddo in tow? In either case, you should take a look at the Burley Honey Bee.
For many parents, the idea of buying a good quality bike trailer is painful. They aren’t cheap and kids outgrow them in a few short years. But “cheap” trailers don’t tow as well and aren’t as functional as a higher quality trailer.
That’s why we like the Honey Bee. It is a budget-oriented trailer that won’t break the bank but offers high-quality construction, durability and the ability to convert it to a stroller for extra functionality.
Review In A Nutshell
- Lightweight aluminum frame/roll cage
- Easy use bicycle arm attachment/stroller wheel
- Water resistant polyester cover and fabric
- Easy to fold down for storage and transportation
- Ample cargo space
- No Floor Mat or Hard Plastic Bottom
- No suspension and no seat pads
Quality Construction At A Palatable Price Point
Many bike trailers are designed for a single rider and cost upwards towards a thousand dollars. That is a pretty big pill to swallow for a trailer that will be used for a few short years.
Burley has kept this in mind when designing the Honey Bee and they have provided a trailer that not only holds two children and gear, but costs less than half of that of other high-end trailers on the market. Granted some of the unique little features that mark up costs on those other trailers are not included here, but the Honey Bee is a high-quality, durable, and functional bike trailer (and stroller)!
Aluminum Frame Acts As A Roll Cage…And Folds Down Easily
The aluminum frame is a simple, yet safe, design that offers enough room in the interior for kids to sit and rest comfortably while still providing cargo space behind the seats for all the toys and gear that you need. The adjustable handlebar can be moved into a forward position when in trailer mode to act as an additional roll bar in the event of a crash. Tip-overs aren’t that uncommon with bike trailers, and if your child isn’t buckled in, they will be well protected.
The frame is also easy to fold down for storage and transport. It is easy to release the latch system that holds the top bar in place and either fold down (or set it back up). The wheels pop on and off with the touch of a center button.
You can do all this in a matter of minutes, and I found it much easier to collapse than many other bike trailers on the market.
Lightweight And Easy To Tow
The frame material contributes to an overall light weight design coming in at 25.2 pounds. This isn’t THE lightest trailer on the market, but it’s perfectly respectable and is easy to tow.
The wheels also contribute to the smooth tow. Many “budget” trailers have smaller 16 inch wheels that are slower rolling, and many even have plastic rims. The Burley Honey Bee has high-quality fast-rolling 20 inch wheels.
Converts Easily From Bike Trailer To Stroller (And Back Again)
In trailer mode, the Burley Honey Bee attaches to your bike with an included arm that mounts to a hitch and is fastened to the rear axle. Once the hitch is installed on the axle this attachment takes seconds.
We should mention that the hitch fits on bikes with a quick-release skewer. (This is most bikes). If you have a higher-end mountain bike (or some higher-end road bikes), then you may have a thru-axle. In this case, you will need a thru-axle converter. You can buy one from Burley*, or for an even wider selection, from The Robert Axle Project.
This attachment method is pretty standard across bike trailers. Where the Burley Honey Bee is unique, however, is the conversion to a stroller. Unlike many other trailers, the stroller wheel is suspended via mount and pivot that allows it to be moved up and out of the way during bike mode, but when it comes time for stroller mode the wheel is easily pivoted down.
This means that there is no need to carry additional attachments on urban adventures and you can easily lock up your bike while still carrying kiddos and everything else in stroller mode then returning to the bike. This has been my favorite feature of the Burley trailers by far.
As a stroller, the trailer is easy to push and the adjustable handle can be maneuvered into several positions for optimal comfort and ease of use. Kids can remain seated in the trailer during the removal from bike to stroller mode and back again.
While in bike mode, the trailer is easy to pull and remains in line with the bike. The arm is sturdy and doesn’t make the trailer feel like it is going to tip or wobble.
The turning radius is perfect and makes for easy maneuvering. That said, because this is a double trailer it is a bit wider than other single trailers, and can be harder to get through tight spaces than a more narrow trailer.
No Suspension And No Padded Seats Can Make For An Uncomfortable Ride
The only complaint we have with the Burley Honey Bee is that it’s lack of suspension and padded seating can make for a less than comfortable ride. Some kids may not notice at all, but if you are using the trailer for longer rides, some kids may start to whine.
The lack of these features keeps the price down, but the lack of padded seating in particular, is a deal breaker for me. The good news is that you can always add padded seats from Burley*, and the price is still lower than other higher-end Burley trailers.
Though there is no suspension to soak up bumps and rough impacts, this trailer handles well enough to be taken on dirt roads and light gravel duty. If you’re frequently going to be riding on bumpy surfaces, however, I’d recommend upgrading to the Burley Encore X which offers suspension.
Cover And Fabric Are Superior To Most Budget Trailers
Compared to the cheap materials on most entry-level trailers, the construction of the Honey Bee is far superior. The material used to cover the frame is water resistant and has a mesh door that can cover your little ones leaving an open-air profile while still protecting them from the elements.
There is also a rain cover to enclose them in if needed as well. Put kids in a sleeping bag or blanket and they will stay warm and dry in nearly all weather conditions.
One thing to mention is that the Honey Bee does NOT have a sunshade. We’ve seen some parents make their own to add.
The polyester material is durable but maybe not as high of quality as high-end competitors. If you plan to use the trailer for HEAVY use, you may want to upgrade, but for the vast majority of parents, this will do.
Another area where the trailer is less durable than more expensive trailers is the floor. The floor is not reinforced, and though Burley offers more expensive models with more durable floor options, the polyester should be enough to keep out water and debris while providing a platform for little feet to rest. Moreover, Burley has built in a cool feature where the front and bottom of the material is attached with Velcro and can be released to allow an easy way for kids to step in and out of the trailer.
Plenty Of Cargo Space To Haul All Your Gear
Let’s face it: going anywhere with kids requires a ton of stuff. You might be taking balls and games to the park, or coats and boots to the sledding hill.
Fortunately, there is plentiful storage space in the Burley Honey Bee. There’s a big open space behind the seats that can hold quite a bit of stuff. There are also smaller mesh pockets inside the passenger area of the trailer to hold water bottles, small toys, or pacifiers. ‘
One thing to keep in mind, however, are that the seats of the Honeybee don’t have any padding so if the storage area is filled to capacity it might affect the comfort of the seats.
5 Point Harnesses Keep Kids Safe
Some budget bike trailers only have a lap belt. The Burley Honey Bee, however, has two 5-point harnesses to keep your kiddos safe.
The harnesses themselves are high-quality, but they lack the padding of the Burley Encore X, and some kiddos may complain about the straps rubbing. Again, I’d recommend upgrading seats.
Behind the head area is a soft mesh area that is a helmet recess. This allows your child’s head to lean backward, without pushing their helmet forward.
Other safety features include reflectors on the front, back and sides and a flag.
Can Be Used For One Or Two Kids
The Burley Honey Bee comes with two 5-point harnesses, but can easily be used for a single child as well. (More storage and shoulder room!).
If you do use it for two kids, keep in mind that they’ll be a little snug. The Burley Honey Bee is narrower than some double trailers, which is great in terms of maneuverability, but provides less shoulder room. Something to keep in mind if your kids are prone to fighting.
Foot Brake Is Simple To Use
The brake on the Burley Honey Bee is so easy to use. Flip the lever with your foot (or hand) and the trailer stays parked in place.
We have struggled with other brakes in the past and the Burley design is light and effective. Well done!
Compatible With 16 Inch Plus Sized Wheels
While the Burley Honey Bee isn’t compatible with many of the Burley accessories (like the jogging kit and ski kit), it is compatible with the 16 inch plus sized wheels. These beefy, high-volume tires are excellent if you want to continue to ride during the winter as they have offer superior traction and do well in the snow.
They also work well in sand and off-road environments. That said, the lack of suspension on the Burley Honey Bee will hold you back if you wander too far off paved roads. If you plan to do gravel riding, opt for a higher-end trailer.
How The Honey Bee Compares To Other Burley Trailers
The Burley Bee* is Burley’s entry-level offering. It is nearly identical to the Honey Bee but doesn’t offer the ability to use it as a stroller. If you want the stroller functionality on a budget, then you want the Honey Bee.
From here, the next step would be the Burley Encore X. It is an additional $200 but offers a lot of extras.
The Encore X offers suspension, the ability to use it with other multi-sport kits (jogger, ski, etc), padded seats, and a sunshade. In my opinion, it’s worth the extra money IF you plan to use the trailer alot as it adds extra comfort for your child.
Burley Honey Bee Vs The Competition
The closest competitor to the Burley Honey Bee is probably the Thule Coaster XT*. It’s slightly more expensive than the Honey Bee ($429 vs $399), but offers the same stuff–double seats, stroller conversion.
There’s not much to differentiate the two, though I’ll vie the slight edge to the Honey Bee. I think the functionality of the Honey Bee (folding, stoller conversion, foot brake) is a bit easier than the Thule.
Compared to other budget trailers like the Instep or Schwinn, the Burley Honey Bee is heads and shoulders above. What’s better? Metal (not plastic) wheels, smoother towing, durable construction, higher weight limits, better functionality. Yes, the Honey Bee may be a bit more expensive, but it’s worth every penny.
Bottom-Line: An Entry Level Bike Trailer That Isn’t “Cheap”
The Burley Honey bee is an entry-level bike trailer (and stroller!) that is actually durable and enjoyable to use. It doesn’t have all of the features of higher end trailers, but it does contain all of the necessary features to get out and rolling with your little ones safely.