As I opened up the box of the InStep Rocket II Bicycle Trailer I immediately felt overwhelmed, primarily because of its size. I read through the manual and began to put the bike trailer together as a stroller to begin. This took about 45 minutes and you will need a Phillips head screw driver and a wrench. The directions for the main seating unit were very clear, mostly pop and click. But when I put on the parking break, things slowed way down. It was difficult to determine the angle of the pictures in the manual, and the pictures were close ups, so I had to search for the part of the parking break in which they were referring. It took about 20 minutes for me to just install the parking break. Then I installed the rubber back wheels which were supposed to “click” in place, but there was no “clicking” sound. I pulled and pulled and could not remove them, but it made me uneasy to not hear the “click.” The front plastic wheels and handlebar were also easy to install, although I could not get the handlebar secured tight enough so that there wasn’t any wobble to it. When fully put together as a stroller, it is huge! I assembled it in my basement and I was worried that it wouldn’t fit out the garage door, but it did.
I buckled in my twin 23 month old girls. The first thing I noticed is that the seat, from the center lap buckle to the back, is very narrow. My girls were practically sitting on the lap buckle. They didn’t complain, but it didn’t appear to be comfortable. There was plenty of room for the two of them and their six stuffed animal friends that came along for the ride. There was even a little pocket on each side to hold snacks or toys. The straps were easy to adjust, and we were off for a walk around the block. Over all it was a smooth ride. The parking break worked well on the steep hills in the neighborhood. I felt like I was in control of the stroller. The only problem I encountered is that when we went over the large speed bumps in the neighborhood, the bike trailer tow bar that is housed under the trailer would get scraped. There is not much clearance between the trailer and the ground. When we returned home, I collapsed the stroller which took about 5 minutes. Not too long, but it requires you to take off the wheels and fold everything up. The trailer folds up quite flat, but it is still large and boxy.
The next weekend I decided to try out bike attachment. It was easy to remove the handle bar. Extending the tow bar and replacing the back wheels was simple. Then things got rough. You need to take off the washer and hub nut from your back bicycle wheel. Mine have been on my bike for years and did not want to come off. I had to summon my husband for help. Good thing he was home, because attaching the trailer is definitely a two person job. You need one person to hold the bike upright and keep it steady as the other person attaches the coupler plate to it. Once the coupler plate is secure and tightly in place, attaching the trailer is easy and quick. Overall, this took my husband and I together 30 minutes.
I strapped my girls in again and we went for another ride around the neighborhood. As a bike trailer, it was not as low to the ground as it was when it was a stroller. It made it over the speed bumps without any difficulty. I was probably overly cautious and slowed way down to go around corners in fear of the trailer flipping over. But it held up well and stayed on both wheels the entire time. I don’t feel as if my girls were getting tossed around or shaken up while on our ride. They loved going for a fast ride behind the bike! When we returned home I realized that I had the daunting task ahead of me of taking the bike trailer off of the bike. But as I read through the directions, I realized that you can remove the tow bar and leave the coupler plate on your bike for future use. Yes! (Except I should have installed it on my husband’s bike.)
Overall, I feel that this bicycle trailer and stroller are safe, sturdy and fun for my girls. It was time consuming to put together and a very large item to store, even when folded. But I would definitely recommend this versatile piece of equipment.
To buy: instep.net