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Trying out the ‘EcoShopper’ trailer

Posted by on August 6th, 2010 at 12:30 pm

EcoShopper bike trailer-10
The EcoShopper at work.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Eugene-based BicycleR Evolution knows a thing or two about trailers. The 15 year-old company is owned by Ian Scholz, brother of Alan and Hans Scholz, the guys who run Bike Friday (Alan also founded Burley Designs back in 1973). But, when the “EcoShopper” trailer showed up on my porch a few weeks ago, I had no idea of its esteemed heritage. It just seemed like a well designed and handy bike trailer. Now I know why.

EcoShopper bike trailer-7
Loading it up.

The EcoShopper is a basic trailer. Its got two wheels, a hitch arm and axle made from thick aluminum tubing and that holds up a plastic, 27 gallon (6237 cu. in.) cargo bin. The minimalistic hitch is great because I can use it simultaneously with my Burley trailer hitch and it attaches to the trailer arm with a pneumatic hose fitting. The wheels, frame, and hitch attachment method are all very similar to the Bike Friday trailers I’ve used when traveling with my folder. The reason? Ian Scholz designed those too.

EcoShopper bike trailer-6
It detaches very quickly and easily
so you can use it like a hand-cart.

I put the EcoShopper together very quickly. Just some washers and some bolts to tighten. My first trip was to the store with a bunch of beer bottles to recycle. It worked great: It tracked behind the bike and didn’t throw off the handling of my bike. Being mostly plastic and using small wheels, the whole thing is relatively light. That’s handy when rolling the trailer around like a shopping cart. Although for those of us over 6-feet tall, the handle is a bit short and you either have to hunch over a bit or tilt the trailer so much that your stuff falls over. A minor quibble.

EcoShopper bike trailer-2
EcoShopper bike trailer-1

The trailer is rated for 75 pounds. When not loaded, it flipped on me twice, but that’s more likely because I cut a few curb ramps and driveways too tight. Overall, I love this trailer. It’s affordable at $179 and a no-brainer to assemble and use. The hitches are simple too. I’d buy several of them to put on all my family’s bikes so we could all just hook it on and have an instant cargo bike.

Ian at BicycleR Evolution is still looking for a few beta testers. If you become one, you can get the trailer for $99 in exchange for staying in contact with him and offering your input. BTA members can get 10% off the trailer’s $179 standard price and free shipping within Oregon (free shipping and discount does not apply to beta program).

If the EcoShopper is interesting to you, you might also like to check out our review of the Burley Travoy. Check out a few more photos in our gallery and see the BicycleR Evolution site for more detailed images, videos, and more information.

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Comments
  • Nick August 6, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Beta testers? Have they changed it recently? This trailer has been around a long time. I bought a used one a few years ago sans plastic box, and put a wooden platform on it.

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  • Todd Boulanger August 6, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    I had their trailer 15 years ago with my Bike Friday. It is a well designed and thought out product and fabulous customer service (they replaced my coupler when it failed after a Maui tour – no questions asked).

    And flexible…I once added a pair of milk crates to a flat bed and hauled a sweet art deco steel dresser from a dumpster in Waikiki. Still using the dresser to this day.

    Just keep the compression hitch lubricated and keep an eye on it after any rough trails under load. ;-)

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  • Scott Mizée August 6, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    just curious Jonathan,

    How do you use the hitch “simultaneously with [your] Burley trailer hitch?”

    I’m always interested in hooking up trailers in tandem for increased capacity.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    you can sort of see my burley hitch in the photos above. the ecoshopper hitch is very thin so as long as you’ve got the length avail. in your skewer, you can attach it along with other stuff.

    i have the permanent burley hitch attachment and I can have both hitches attached at the same time… not both trailers, both hitches.

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  • Scott Mizée August 6, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    ah… I see. I was thinking of the standard Burley Hitch. I forgot that hey make a permanent hitch as well.

    so you are not actually using both hitches simultaneously. You just don’t have to remove one hitch from your bike in order to use the other.

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  • matt.picio August 7, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Scott – You can use a Bob with another skewer-mounted trailer, though I wouldn’t put too much weight in either trailer at that point. I set mine up like that in order to haul an extra trailer out to a bike move for someone else to use, and it worked pretty well with the Bob in front, and the 2-wheel trailer attached to the Bob’s rear wheel.

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  • spare_wheel August 7, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Jonathan,

    Thanks for the review!

    A few questions:
    Will a case of wine fit?
    Is there a way to secure the trailer?
    Are they available at any local shops?
    (I’d be reluctant to buy one without first looking at it in person.)

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  • tony August 8, 2010 at 7:20 am

    $179 is a bit steep for an oversized wagon…….I am sure I could fabricate one for $25, just saying

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  • Douglas August 8, 2010 at 8:09 am

    With the name ‘EcoShopper’ I’m wondering what type of plastic is used for the body and lid. Is it recycled? Recyclable? How about the wheels and tires? No information on their web site.

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  • Chris August 8, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Is that a air compressor quick connect used for attaching the bike, sure looks like it? Lots of points for misuse of hardware there! How is that supposed to take the load of a trailer?

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  • Jeff Bernards August 9, 2010 at 3:22 am

    I bought that trailer almost 20 years ago and use is for all my grocery shopping and hauling. Has never malfunctioned and the hose connection works awesome. If you don’t want to buy the trailer you can buy a kit with the wheels and the tow bar. I’ve put one of those together too, using that hitch system I have connectors on every bike. You can wheel your groceries right into your kitchen easily. It’s made in Oregon, that’s why it may seem expsnsive compared to “Made in China”, that’s the price of a local economy.

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  • Tall Steve August 9, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Yeah, I still have the “Shopper” trailer I bought from Jeff five years ago, and use it to buy all of my groceries. The most I every carried in it was 130 pounds carefully packed, and I could feel the strain. But with a normal load of groceries, it’s quiet and well-behaved.

    The “Eco-Shopper” looks like a cheaper version of the “Shopper” — simpler bin, no padded grip on the hitch, no lock loop.
    These differences are minor. Can the “Eco-Shopper” be wheeled into a closet and stood on its end, like the “Shopper”?

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  • Jym Dyer August 18, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    =v= I’m a longtime BicycleR Evolution trailer user and I recommend them heartily. Here are some photos of the various BicycleR Evolution trailers I’ve used, each with explanatory captions.

    @Chris – Aside from it being the easiest trailer hitch I’ve ever used, building it from a standard, off-the-shelf part is really smart design. His brother’s bikes benefit from the same decision. Nice to know that if something breaks a hundred miles from nowhere, I’m not stuck waiting for overnight delivery of some obscure part!

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