Tail Waggin’ With The Burley Tail Wagon
Cycling and the company of my two dogs have always been mutually exclusive to each other. But with the Burley Tail Wagon, I am able to combine them in a practical and useful way. The Tail Wagon is a two wheel trailer made for your canine companion, and can double as a cargo trailer due to its flat floor.
Burley’s Tail Wagon exudes their excellent workmanship and attention to detail. It folds for easy transport and storage, has quick release wheels which also help with storage and transportation, and does not require any tools to fold. The frame members of the Tail Wagon form a complete roll cage around your companion, and it’s put through some of the same ASTMF1975-09 safety standards testing* as their trailers designed to carry children. This is important because in the unfortunate chance of a collision, I want to make sure my precious cargo is as safe as possible. Both wheels are shrouded to prevent injury and there are plenty of reflective accents and on all four sides of the heavy-duty 600D cloth exterior, and reflectors on the front, rear and wheels. The exterior includes a weather cover for the front and rear as well as mesh side windows for ventilation.
In order to make the Tail Wagon user friendly for you and your four-legged friends, Burley has designed a rear tailgate that folds down to allow easy entrance and egress for your passenger, as well as plastic D rings inside to allow restraints to be anchored. Burley included a VERY useful tidbit of advice in the Tail Wagon’s user manual. Burley suggests that if you have an animal that may try to slip out of the Tail Wagon, to fasten the tailgate OVER the rear cover (the tailgate secures with quick-release buckles). This is VERY important as I found that during initial set-up, one of my dogs would routinely try to escape (I had not installed a restraint yet) and she was almost successful until I secured the tailgate over the rear cover. Once I did this, she was only able to get her nose and part of her snout out of the Tail Wagon. The Tail Wagon also has a hard bottom that is easily cleaned in the event of muddy paws or other messes. It also comes with a handle for a stroller attachment. I left the stroller handle so I could attach a rear facing red light for visibility, in addition to the flag that Burley includes with the Tail Wagon.
An aluminum tow arm attaches the Tail Wagon to your bicycle and secures using a quick-release pin and push-button for a secondary form of security. The Tail Wagon comes with Burley’s quick-release hitch. Attaching the hitch on your bike is as simple as removing your quick release, placing the quick release through the hitch and simply re-installing the quick release. Burley does offer several other options for bicycles that may not be able to use the standard hitch. For bikes that may have shrouded or recessed drop outs, racks mounted, or fenders installed, Burley recommends using their Hitch Alt Adapter-quick release. This acts as a spacer for the hitch and replaces the cap end of your quick release. Installing does require you to place your skewer’s cam end on your drive (chain) side. The tow arm simply slides in to the hitch; you insert a quick release pin and attach a safety strap as a secondary means of attachment security. One thing to note, if you are using a bike with a smaller rear wheel (20 inches), such as a recumbent bike or trike, Burley offers the option of part #250228 which is a tow arm that will keep the Tail Wagon level. I tried the tow arm that is included for larger rear wheels as well as the option tow arm, and found it to makes a minimal difference. This is a product that works with recumbents and upright bikes right out of the box.
Once attached and moving, the Burley Tail Wagon tracks straight behind you without any negative impact on handling. I was initially concerned that the 16 inch wheels would create a lot of bouncing over rough pavement, but my concern was not warranted, as the Tail Wagon was able to be pulled without any problem. I did add a carabiner to the interior D-ring and from there attached a dual lead to secure my two dogs in their harnesses, and added a padded dog bed to the interior for their comfort (a 29” crate pad fits perfectly).
I ride a recumbent trike due to a stroke that happened on February 27, 2013, and have seizures since the stroke. My two dogs can detect when I am going to have a seizure, and I have seized while riding before. The Burley Tail Wagon allows me to bring my dogs with me when I am out riding which helps me receive some warning that a seizure is going to start. One of my dogs, Comet will give a few short, sharp barks and my other dog, Holly will begin to whine before also letting out a long howl. When we are out on the trike and Tail Wagon, Comet and Holly lie down and enjoy the scenery. On one of my evaluation rides, I didn’t feel too well and Comet gave his short, sharp barks and Holly began to whine. Sure enough, I had the smell of burning in my nose and I was able to pull off to the side of the road prior to having a partial-complex seizure. I am convinced that by having Comet and Holly with me on that ride, I was able to get myself to a safe place, something that would not be possible without the Burley Tail Wagon.
This review for the Burley Tail Wagon has been one of my favorite reviews to write. Not only is the Burley Tail Wagon built extremely well and easy-to-use, it allows me to have more confidence when out riding as well as allows me to enjoy the company of my dogs. While my use of the Burley Tail Wagon is written from the perspective of a stroke survivor with epilepsy, I believe any cyclist from the year-round commuter to the weekend casual cyclist will find the Burley Tail Wagon to be a great asset for you and your four legged friends.
For more information, please visit www.burley.com to see the Tail Wagon and other Burley products.
– Alex (Dos)
*This is a standard required for child trailers. Burley engineers still test the Tail Wagon against some of those standards, but since it requires testing things like a seat restraint, the Tail Wagon can neither pass nor fail.
Great review! I have the exact same wagon purchased in December 2014 and I love it! It’s so sturdy. However… my terriers escape too often so I need to try to get hold of a restraint as I’m not sure that even putting the tailgate over the top of the cover will help!
I understand your concern, what I did was use a leash/lead coupler, it is two short leashes attached to a metal ring. This allow you to walk two dogs off of one lead. I attach the coupler to a D-ring and the D-ring to one of the plastic rings on the floor of the trailer. With them Comet and Holly secured that way, ad then the tailgate over the top, they are very secure in there.
Hi Alex, Thank you for this review. There aren’t many recumbent trike w/ pet-trailer riders sharing their experience out there. My wife and I both ride recumbent trikes (TerraTrike Tour 2 w/ 26″ rear wheels). We’ve recently adopted a wonderful 12 lbs dog that will be joining us on our rides and after some serious online research I was leaning toward purchasing the Tail Wagon. I had some concerns about attaching the trailer as we too are set up much like you with fenders and a rear rack… so thanks for addressing that aspect also.
I’d like to ask what your experience has been regarding road spray and dust/dirt being kicked up on the trailer and your dogs? Much of our riding is on packed gravel canal towpaths which can get very dusty in the arid summer months. Would you share a little follow up on this, and perhaps anything else that comes to mind after your initial review? The insight from your experience would be very much appreciated.