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InStep Sync Single Bike Trailer Review

Updated on May 13, 2014
Ladybug on her way to a Halloween party
Ladybug on her way to a Halloween party | Source

Backstory to the Bike Trailer Review

Soon after we moved to a small Florida beach town this past June, I knew I had to dig up my old bike out of Dad's shed.

And finding a way to tote Mini Me was also a matter of utmost importance, because life just isn't as adventurous without a two-year-old in tow.

I considered getting an iBert or a WeeRide, which are the front-loading child seats. I even thought that I might go with the old-school Bell Classic back seat.

But I wasn't very confident in my bike riding skills, and I didn't want to skid in some sand and take the munchkin down with me.

Reptile Hitchhiker

The other day, we were on our way to the store when a lizard (anyone who's been to Florida will know the lizards I'm talking about) stowed away by grasping onto the front window. We were at a light when I looked back and saw our new passenger holding on for dear life. Talk about a fascinated toddler!

Why I Chose the InStep Sync

There are several other reasons why I decided to go with the bike trailer.

I won't lie--my number one reason for choosing the InStep was because it was the least expensive option on Amazon.

But then I ran into a few people in town who had them, and everyone I spoke to really enjoyed it. The kids always seemed to be having a good time, and keeping the little one happy is really what matters.

After all, a happy and contented child keeps Mom sane.

It also gives my daughter her own space. She can bring her entourage--Ernie, Dirty Baby, and Blue Monkey--and she has plenty of room to play while we ride.

The InStep bike trailer is like a tent on wheels, so she has a comfortable place to relax and even doze off. Well, at least it's more comfortable than if she were seated up with me.


Like a Tent On Wheels

The front and the back flaps of the InStep Sync Single are like tent doors. Heavy-duty snaps and a strong strip of velcro keep them secure.

The flaps can actually be a bit of a struggle to unsnap, but I think that's a good thing. I would rather have to use some muscle than have them pop open easily.

The snaps are also reinforced with a woven material and a tab to grasp in order to pull them open. I'm not worried at all about those snaps tearing out of the fabric.

There is a small mesh "window" in the back. You can roll up its cover to allow more ventilation. The front has a large strong mesh window. A clear shade made of heavy plastic rolls down and attaches with velcro during cold or inclement weather.

To keep the windows open, roll the shades up and thin elastic loops keep them somewhat secure. It's kind of tricky to get them to stay. This design could have been executed better with a strip and a snap or velcro.

The parts of the InStep that aren't windows are made of a thick nylon material. The sides and the seat are all made of the same material.

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InStep Drawbacks?

You'll notice in this bike trailer review that I don't have many complaints about the InStep.

Although, when it first arrived in the mail and we took it out of the box, the off-gassing was incredible. To say that the chemical smell is strong is an understatement. I would suggest that you open your trailer up in the garage or outside, and let it air out for a day or so before using it.

It would be nice if the seat would recline a bit more so she wouldn't get the "drunk uncle" look with the head flopped sideways when dozing off, but this might be difficult to implement with the hammock-type seat. It may be possible to rig at home by putting towels or something underneath the seat so that it can lean back a little more.

All in all, I'm impressed with the quality of the InStep in spite of its low price. I can't imagine paying hundreds of dollars for a bike trailer, especially when this one works so well.

InStep Sync Single Driveway Demo


Tough Tires

We take the InStep bike trailer over all sorts of terrain. We travel over rocky trails, rough sidewalks, grass, asphalt, gravel, shells . . . you name it. The trailer has rubber tires that stay strong through it all.

You should also expect to fill up the tires before your maiden voyage. The tires have the inflation and size information on the walls. They should be inflated to 36 PSI.

She Ain't Heavy

Pulling the InStep bike trailer isn't too difficult. I weigh 110 pounds, and I don't have any trouble getting up to speed.

It's a bit tougher on the inclines, obviously, but over time your strength builds up. Go cruising with your little one on a regular basis to build up your legs for the light hills.

If you have steep hills on your route, you will have a tough time unless you're Hercules.

The InStep has a five-point harness. The top of the seat is mesh, allowing for more ventilation. It's also shaped so that the back of the head has some space, especially if they're wearing a helmet.
The InStep has a five-point harness. The top of the seat is mesh, allowing for more ventilation. It's also shaped so that the back of the head has some space, especially if they're wearing a helmet. | Source

Safety Features and Tips

It's a good idea to get a mirror for your bike. The temptation to turn around and look at the little bugger is pretty strong, and a glance in the rear-view will keep you from potential accidents.

We stay mainly on sidewalks and a paved trail that runs through town. When we do have to travel on a quiet backroad for a bit, there is a tall orange flag (standard equipment) that makes us much more visible.

The frame is made of a sturdy aluminum. Joints are welded together. The trailer can be removed from the tow bar, and it is held on securely with a pin and locking loop.

The tow bar has a heavy-duty spring where it attaches to the bike. This is a great feature because you can take turns as sharp as you want, and the trailer will take them along with you without locking up or causing a jack-knife accident.

Some Random Cool Facts About the InStep

  • It has storage space in the back of the seat. I stuff groceries and gear in there without too much trouble. There are two heavy-duty snaps and a strong strip of velcro that easily keeps belongings secure.
  • The inside has two pockets that can hold your keys or sippy cups. This is a super-convenient feature.
  • The sides are large heavy plastic windows, which is nice because not only are they able to look around at the passing scenery, but they don't feel closed in at all.
  • We'll be able to use the InStep Sync Single for quite a while. My little one is about 25 pounds and has plenty of room left to grow. There is still room to make the harness bigger, as well as space inside.
  • The adjustable five-point harness keeps the child secure.
  • Adjustable straps under the seat give you some control over support.

A Review of InStep Complaints

There are several complaints and one-star reviews on Amazon. Most of the customer complaints are based on the wheels.

I'm not sure, but I think that InStep may have made changes in the wheels since these reviews were written. We have put miles and miles on these tires and they hold up just fine. I've filled them only once, and they are still hard-as-a-rock full.

Also in the Amazon reviews are a couple of complaints that the InStep is too small, even for small children. My daughter is 25 pounds and has plenty of room to grow in this model. These particular reviews are over two years old, so it's possible that the company tweaked the design to fit larger kids.

All in all, there are few complaints. But some of them were made by people who seem to think that a bike trailer costing less than a hundred bucks should have all of the convenience features of a new car.

Not to mention the person who didn't notice that there was a flag holder on the side, so they poked a hole in the top to stick it in.

Quick Overview of All the InStep Models

InStep Model
Single (1) or Double (2 children)
Special Features
Sync Single
Basic-holds one child
Take 2 Double
Steel frame
Quick N EZ
Converts into a stroller
Sierra Double
Stroller & padded harness
Rocket Aluminum
Converts into jogger
Journey Double
Basic-holds two children

How To Attach the Bike Trailer

The coupler plate and reinforcement strap
The coupler plate and reinforcement strap | Source

Easy Assembly

After you take the bike trailer out of the box, it literally unfolds. A bar that is attached to one side of the roof slides into the other side. Snap on the wheels, stick the flag into the holder, and you're ready to hitch and go! It's really that easy.

Easy Attachment

The InStep is simple to attach to your bike. I don't have a handy bone in my body, but I was able to figure it out easily. The only setback is if the hub nut on your bike is difficult to remove. Make sure you have an enclosed wrench to take it off. A regular wrench will likely strip the nut.

There is a piece called a coupler plate that attaches to your bike. The InStep comes with one, and you can purchase another one separately if you have two bikes. This way if you want to switch the trailer to your other bike, you won't have to take the hub nut off again. There's a pin with a safety loop that fits through the coupler, so you can just pull the pin out of the coupler on one bike and insert it into the other.

There's also an added strap for extra protection in case the coupler were to dislodge somehow. You strap it around the frame of your bike and clip it back onto a metal loop on the trailer rod. It's nice to have that added peace of mind.

Lock it Up

When we go to the store, I have two chain locks: one locks the trailer to the bike and the other locks the bike to the rack. I don't park anywhere where there is a high risk of theft, but it's a deterrent anyway.

5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of InStep Bike Trailer

Fun That Lasts and Memories to Share

A few weeks ago, I saw a well-worn trailer that was the same model as ours. The girl inside looked like she was about four years old.

I imagine that will be us a couple of years down the road!

My girl and I have so much fun on our adventures around town. Spending quality time together while getting some outdoor exercise is easy with our bike trailer. Review the information and see if the InStep Sync Single is right for you!

Some Detailed Photos of the InStep Sync Single

Storage in the back of the seat
Storage in the back of the seat | Source
Strong snaps and adjustable straps
Strong snaps and adjustable straps | Source
Back window open (note: the back is unsnapped in this photo)
Back window open (note: the back is unsnapped in this photo) | Source
Rear window with the flap closed
Rear window with the flap closed | Source
Plastic shade closed to keep warm
Plastic shade closed to keep warm | Source

© Liz Davis 2012 Bike Trailer Review

Do you enjoy bike trips with your family?

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    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Denise! That's great that your daughters used a bike trailer, too. They're such a great way to spend time together.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Very cool hub-important information. Both my daughters used one for their kids until they were old enough to ride alone. :) Congratulations on your win.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thanks, theclevercat! We actually just got back from a bike trip to the park :) I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thanks Carly! I appreciate your kind words. I'm glad you left a comment because your hubs look really interesting. I'm excited to read them!

    • theclevercat profile image

      Rachel Vega 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hey, nice review! The trailer takes turns extremely well and the photos are terrific. Great job and congrats!

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Congratulations on your win! This is an impressive hub! I used the chariot for my kids which was twice or three times the price. If I read this I probably would of bought the In Step. Parents are always researching to find the best product for their money. It is good that you did all this work and will help out many mom and dads for sure. Voted up ++++

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      LOL Aw, c'mon shiningirisheyes, you're just a kid yourself :)

      I have to admit, I get a little envious myself (especially while pedaling uphill)!

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Mini Me is so adorable and hug worthy! I only wish these types of products were around when I was a kid, but I don't even think the wheel was invented yet! The tent concept is very cool.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Yes, my friend, that was the little booger and me in the videos. Are you sure your wife wouldn't enjoy being pulled around in a bike trailer? She could enjoy the scenery while you do all the work. :D Anyway, thanks for your support and keep warm!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Was that you in the video, Liz? Very cool! I don't see myself using this product, but I'll support you any old time, and it was wonderful seeing you "almost live. " :)

      Have a great weekend in sunny Florid, while we freeze our tushes here in Washington.