Skip to Content

Product Review: Burley D Lite

Product Review: Burley D Lite

Carlito the Carrito (little Carl the little Cart in Español), as Sora fondly refers to her Burley D Lite, has certainly proved its value during the 15 months we cycled from Patagonia to Medellín, Colombia (here is a Google Map of our route). We traveled over every surface imaginable: rocks, washboard roads, bumpy dirt, gravel, sand, rooted dirt roads, forest roads, squishy muddy trails, mountain biking trails, clay, and even goat paths. The trailer has seen it all.

During our European tour, we used the Burley Tail Wagon. While we loved our Tail Wagon, South America called for something with a bit more gusto. The rough roads required something with suspension and more space. We knew the D Lite, unlike the Tail Wagon, offered shocks that could absorb the rugged conditions.

Still unsure if the suspension would get us through the rigorous terrain, we placed a quick email to Burley support and they confirmed the trailer could handle the mountains, beach, and jungles of South America. The Burley D Lite is actually designed as a double stroller child trailer that has a point harness for kids to sit.

You can see our review of the Burley Tail Wagon here to help you decide which trailer is right for you. Or check out our Best Dog Bike Trailer article

We downright abused Carlito in South America, yet the the trailer proved its durability and performed admirably given the tests it endured. The tow arm, roll bar, and roll cage all took heavy abuse from the variety of situations like hitchhiking, huge rocks, and general conditions.

Burley D Lite Trailer Review Picture in Bolivia

In this review, we tell you what we love about our Burley D Lite and changes or amendments we would love to see in the future.

What We Love About the Burley D Lite

Suspension

The Burley D Lite offers a spring-based adjustable suspension for a smooth and easy ride. You can make the suspension more or less firm depending on the terrain you’re riding on. Because Sora and her gear added a bit of weight, we always set the suspension as maximum bounce (Sora weighs 45lbs/18kg).

Often, we would get hit with some nasty wrist pain after riding on a washboard road, thanks to the shocks Sora happily chilled in Carlito taking in the views.

The extra spring integrated technology adds more weight to the overall setup, but we think it’s well worth it. Plus, if you’re putting anything in the trailer, like food, you’re less likely to have it wind up looking like mashed potatoes.

Burley D Lite Trailer Review Top Down View

So.Much.Space

The interior space of the D Lite accommodates Sora more than sufficiently. Her bed fits perfectly, providing a cushy pad for her to rest, plus she has enough shoulder room to sprawl out on her side if she wants. Thanks to the bowed-out sides, there is considerable space at just over 47.5L.

Like the Tail Wagon, Sora can comfortably stand up and turn around mid-ride. She tends to rest her head on the gear stored in the foot area like a pillow. There’s almost too much room in the trailer for a single dog like Sora, so be forewarned that you may stuff extra gear back there and then later suffer on the hills. Sometimes if you see space, then you’re going to fill it, especially the mesh pockets.

We even managed to carry two dogs in the Burley D Lite after helping a friend rescue a street dog from a village in the Peruvian mountains.

Read more about the adoption on our blog in Street Tails: Flavia and Tupac Amaru.

Burley D Lite Trailer Review Article Inside View

Built-in Sunshade / Tinted Side and Rear Windows

One of our favorite features of the Burley D Lite is the built in uv protection and weather front cover. South America has everything when it comes to weather, including nasty storms and intense sun. We are always conscious of how the moisture and heat will affect Sora and we want to ensure she’s having as much fun as we are.

Burley has included a sliding sunshade on the front of the trailer that can be used to block the direct sun. This was especially important for us as we constantly always worry about Sora overheating, especially in when the temps are hot and humid. The sides and rear windows are also made of a plastic film that is tinted and protects Sora from the sun.

The plastic film sides also doubles as rain guards. One concern we had with the Tail Wagon was the mesh sides. They are great for breathability, but Sora is left rather wet if we ride in rain or over wet roads. Not so with the D Lite.

Easy to Break Down

With a lift of the canvas cover and a tug at the bright red clamps, the Burley D Lite easily breaks down into a small size. We have taken plenty of rides with vehicles and this feature allows us to stuff it inside small spaces. With South American’s tiny door frames, we sometimes needed to remove one wheel in order to squeeze by, but in general our trailer easily fits nearly anywhere, and almost always perfectly through regular door frames.

Lightweight

Weighing at 28.4lb / 12.9kg the Burley D Lite is still relatively lightweight. Adding the suspension, larger wheels (more on that below), and a bigger cargo space meant an extra 5lb / 2.26kg, compared to the Tail Wagon. I noticed the extra weight while toting Sora, but it’s well worth the extra few pounds considering the more rugged features and suspension.

Built-in and Adjustable Handlebar

The built-in handle bars are brilliantly designed. Because they’re integrated into the trailer, you don’t have to worry about carrying the extra bar like with the Tail Wagon. The angle of the bar is also adjustable so that you can make ergonomic changes depending on whom is pushing the trailer.

It also came in super handy when Sora had a cancerous tumor surgically removed and we used the jogging adapter to run or walk with her.

As a bonus, the handlebar doubles as the perfect Go-Pro mount. It gave us got some fantastic footage from a unique perspective during our trip. We call it the Burley Cam.

Burley D Lite Trailer Review Article Side View

20″ Wheels with Push Button Quick Releases/ Quick Receivers

The wheels on the Burley D Lite are definitely premium. They are 20″ compared to the 16″ on the Tail Wagon. The extra height is perfect for off road riding and when you know there are going to be obstacles.

The push button quick releases make taking the wheels off super easy. No more futzing with trying to get the right torque and tightness. You simply push the button and the wheels pop off.

Comfort

Whether it’s for dogs or kids, the D Lite is incredibly comfortable. The hammock style seat has an independent recline ensuring the riders are comfortable. The reclining seat easily adjusts depending on the size of your kids. If you’re riding with a dog or pet, then you can create even more space by removing the seats. 

You can reach out to Burley Customer Service and they’ll tell you how to remove the seats if you desire.

Other Features of the Burley D Lite

  • Safety Flag. The trailer comes with a collapsible orange flag that you can mount on the trailer.
  • Optional Ski Kit. The D Lite can be attached to a skier via the tow bar and harness system.

We We Would Love to See

Burley D Lite Trailer Review Article Salar Picture

Zipper for the Rear Window

While the trailer features a zippered rain cover in the front, the back doesn’t offer any other way to let fresh air flow other can lifting the entire back cover. We didn’t feel comfortable for Sora to have such easy access to jumping out of the trailer. Eventually, we used little straps to hold the back partially open to increase air flow. 

Better Zippers for the Front Window

After some use, the front zippers start to stick easily. We eventually had to replace the cover with a new one as the zippers were no longer working at all. Of course, all zippers can and will fail so this isn’t much of a surprise. We’d still like to see a little more durability out of them.

Option to Purchase without Child Equipment

Each Burley D Lite comes with two strapped in child seats. We always feel guilty removing these pieces and would love to have option to not include this equipment. Perhaps the price could be lowered if a customer opts to not have the child equipment.

Emergency Cable

The emergency cable that connects the trailer to the bike in case the trailers hitch detaches does not work well with disc brakes. The cable length is either too short or too long, which is supposed to prevent tangles with the wheel spokes. When I attach the cable to my Surly Long Haul Trucker, it rubs against his brake rotor, which can tear the fabric or cause an accident on account of the friction.

To mitigate this, I twist and wrap and weave the cord to the exact tightness that works for my bike. This is a common grip with all trailers and we are hopeful to see a better solution in the future.

Final Thoughts

Overall, we love our Burley D Lite and would recommend it to anyone looking for a top of the line trailer. Though designed specifically as a kids bike trailer and not dogs, it has more than served our needs during our tour and has proven its durability. The price is high at $600+ on Burley.com and we think if you’re going to buy one trailer, this is it.

The high quality, volume, size, suspension, built-in sun, water resistant, and rain protection, and larger wheels mean this trailer is the jack of all trades. Plus, you can easily convert the trailer to a stroller jogger with an optional jogger kit. We used the stroller kit to take Sora for walks and runs when she was recovering from cancer and her mobility was limited.

One recommendation would be to switch the inexpensive original tires for the indestructible Marathon Schwalbe (20” X 1.75”), which we had exactly 3 flats over the whole trip.

Burley Design provided the D Lite as part of a ambassador agreement that enabled us to embark on this adventure. The opinions expressed in this post are entirely our own and we were in no way compensated for this review. We love our Burley D Lite and would like to see more on the road, filled with dogs!

PIN FOR LATER!

Want to take your dog or kid with you in a trailer? The Burley D Lite is a fantastic option. Check out our gear review for more information.

Roderick

Saturday 30th of April 2022

Hi Jen, Dave,

I realize it’s been a while since you posted this entry but thankfully it’s still very relevant!

We’ve been experimenting with taking our little boy Luc (Manchester Terrier, 12kgs) along for rides. Bought a secondhand simple trailer to see if he’d be game at all. Turns out he very much is - and logically we’ve already run into trouble with potholes and bumps that he’s not very fond of.

We do a lot of XC/Gravel without Luc, so whatever I decide to buy would ideally be suited for XC/Gravel so we can take him along with us. I’ve narrowed it down to two options, both with exactly opposite up and downsides and was hoping to borrow from your experience.

Option 1: relatively “current” model D’Lite. Downside being that if feels large? I’m worried it’s rather excessive for our boy Luc with his 12kgs and the weight of the D’Lite at 14kgs is heavier than the other option. At $450 for a used but great condition it’s doable for sure.

Option 2: New Tail Wagon. Downside being the lack of suspension, but suspension from “Dogycomponents.com” seems to work for many, costs $175. In terms of dimensions, the Tail Wagon with suspension added would be the same width as the D’Lite but the weight would still only be 11.7kgs versus the 14kgs for the D’Lite. Total price $550 for a new combination.

If you had to choose between the D’Lite that you took across South America or the hypothetical Trail Wagon with suspension, would you have a solid preference? I’m thinking the sunscreen is a nice feature, but trades off to the ventilation options. I’m looking for the overall feel between the two if you had to make a gut decision on them… thank you so much for sharing your adventures with us!

Jen Sotolongo

Thursday 12th of May 2022

Hi Roderick! I'm so sorry that I missed this comment until now! I had no idea that Dogy Components existed and that it was possible to add suspension to the Tail Wagon, that's pretty cool! I really don't think that you can go wrong with either option. I guess you just need to decide if you are willing to spend the time to add the suspension, or want to save $100 and get the D'Lite with it already installed. The D'Lite is a really nice trailer and we were glad to have it in South America. I guess I would personally save the $100 and time to install the suspension and get the used D'Lite. Two kg isn't a huge difference to me.

James

Sunday 14th of February 2021

Hi Dave, do you remember the brand, model and size of the dog bed you used? Thanks for the article.

Jen Sotolongo

Tuesday 16th of February 2021

Hey James! We used a Kurgo Wander Loft Bed. I think medium, but that all depends on the size of your dog!

Harold Ray Cook

Saturday 3rd of October 2020

Dave, we are needing a trailer for our Bouvier Puppy. She will end up being 75 plus pounds. We have read both of your reviews on the Burley Tail Wagon and the Burley D’Lite. You said you took the whole seat contraption out on the Burley D’Lite for your much smaller Sora, but we are concerned about the fabric floor. And then the angle that it is at to boot may or may not be an issue for us. We are looking at the Encore X because it does not have the plush seats since we don’t need them anyway and I think, from what I have read without seeing the the trailers at all, that the Encore X is essentially the D’Lite X without the plush seating and it does have smaller windows. But we still have the fabric bottom to be concerned about if that is an issue at all. Burley had a new model named the Cub X that has a hard plastic bottom on it instead a fabric floor. Do you have any thoughts or recommendations on which Burley Trailer you would get in our situation? Do you even feel like the fabric floor is a concern at all in our situation? The Encore X is a cheaper option but I am open to what would work the best.

Jen Sotolongo

Saturday 3rd of October 2020

Hi Harold, Jen here. Looking at both trailers, I think you're right about the D'Lite having a bit more plush seats and I think also the suspension is adjustable. Otherwise, they're very similar. Regarding the fabric bottom, just line it with a travel dog bed, like we did. We never had a problem with it tearing or anything. Are you concerned with nails? I think the hard plastic bottom of the Cub would be uncomfortable for long periods of time. All that said, I think you'd do well to save a few hundred bucks and get the Encore!

Chloe

Saturday 2nd of November 2019

Thanks so much for this comprehensive review! My girl lost a front leg this year, so has limited mobility - but so much energy to explore still so this looks like the perfect option to keep having adventures!

Just one question, any thoughts on how this compares to the D’Lite X?

Dave Hoch

Sunday 3rd of November 2019

Thanks. I have no used the D Lite X, but after looking at it, I think it's just a more "extreme" version of the D Lite. Honestly, you can't go wrong with any Burley trailers.

Callie

Sunday 9th of June 2019

Thanks for the review! When you removed the child seats, did you just remove the harnesses (super simple, no tools required), or did you detach the entire seat contraption from the frame of the trailer (4 attachment points)?

Thanks!

Dave Hoch

Monday 10th of June 2019

Hi Callie. Good question! We removed the entire seat contraption from the frame with an allen wrench. It took about 5 minutes.

-dave