Chariot Cabriolet - Cycle, Jog, Stroll, Hike - and Take the Kids!

Mar 8, 2005 (Updated Mar 9, 2005)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Best bike trailer, stable, safe, converts to jogging stroller, stroller, rickshaw, durable


The Bottom Line: The best bike trailer on the market. Slick, easy to pull, handles all terrain. Extend use by converting to other transport for your kids. Very good basic jogging stroller too!

After much research I purchased a CTS Cabriolet three years ago and it was one of the better child transport purchases I have made. My child was 1 years old at the time and is now almost 4. This product comes as a base model and then there are a myriad of add ons and options you can purchase to customize the product to your needs. Initially, we were looking for a sturdy child safe and comfortable bike trailer. We then purchased the jogging stroller attachment. This review covers both options and mentions the other features that are available although, I do not review them as I have not purchased them. I have been using this trailer/stroller for 3 years now in both summer and winter weather conditions. The Cabriolet comes assembled. The wheels are removable for storage and the bike trailer hitch can also be removed. The trailer can be collapsed by pushing on a metal 'lever' inside the cargo compartment. It is very easy to raise or collapse the trailer.

The base CTS Cabriolet, comes equipped as a bike trailer. There are two sizes of trailers, a single child model and a model equipped to seat two children. Although we only have one child we chose the two child model as it was a bit roomier and we thought it would give our child more room to play with toys while we were cycling.

Exterior: The trailer fabric is heavy duty canvas which is stretched tightly over a strong metal alloy frame. The canvas comes in different colours depending upon the model you choose. The Cabriolet colours are red and blue with black/silver trim. You cannot choose trailer canvas colours. The aluminium alloy frame provides additional protection for a child (similar to a roll bar on a car) and encircles the trailer and also goes over the top in several places forming a roomy interior. The added protection of a trailer is why we chose it over a bike seat carrier. The metal wheel axel goes across the middle of the chariot and attaches two large (20”) wheels that are slightly slanted inwards for additional stability. The wheels on my model have heavy plastic spokes but CTS has modified these in later models to be metal. The tires are inflatable with a good tread. The models differ in their ventilation and see through window options. On the Cabriolet, there are two see through windows on the side of the trailer. The windows are made of a heavy duty tinted vinyl.

The bike trailer hitch is an arm which fits into a slot in the front side of the trailer. This slot plus a slot on the other side of the trailer is where you fit all the optional Cabriolet attachments. The bike hitch clamps onto the bike frame and can be tightened and secured. There is also a safety strap for backup in case the trailer becomes unhitched (this has never happened).

Interior Spaces: The interior of the trailer is divided into two sections. The largest section is the passenger area. On our trailer this consists of a canvass seat which is suspended across the bottom of the trailer providing natural shock proofing. There is a backrest that divides the passenger section from the cargo section. The foot rest area is spacious. There are two handy mesh pouches on each side of the passenger section for storing toys, snacks or just about anything else. The passenger safety system consists of a five point harness. This harness is easily fitted and adjusted and consists of shoulder restraints and a lap belt. The harness is configured for a single child sitting in the middle of the trailer or two children sitting side by side. It is important to note that our model does NOT recline so it is not suitable for small children who cannot sit up by themselves. The height of the unit allows wearing of helmets without rubbing against the roof.

The cargo space is behind the passenger space and is separated from the passenger area by the backrest and a mesh bug screen which goes from the top of the backrest to the top of the interior space. It is roomy and you can stash a lot of things in there! We love to go on day outings with our trailer as we pack the usual baby bag plus we can pack picnic lunches and still have room to spare.

Dimensions: Our Chariot is the double width so we find that it is awkward to take into stores and we have to leave it outside. We often just collapse it and leave it inside the store rather than out on the sidewalk. The single Chariot is better if you are planning on using it to go shopping and are in an area where you want to wheel it inside. Folded up, the double chariot can fit on it’s side for storage in a closet but I wouldn’t call it ‘compact’.

The Double Chariot will hold up to 100lbs
Weight: 22.5lbs
Shoulder Width 23”
Sitting Height 25”
Hip to Knee 10”
Knee to Foot 13”
Ground to Handle (for jogging option) 38-43”
Open Dimensions 36”L x 33”W x 36”H
Closed Dimensions 34”LX33”Wx 11”H

Covers: The Cabriolet comes with 3 attachable covers. One solid cover attaches to the back of the trailer and provides protection for the cargo area. You can fasten it with Velcro for a tight fit. The other two covers fit over the open passenger area and snap to the bottom front of the carrier. You can use these covers together or separately. They are easy to put on and snap securely. One of the covers (and the one which we use a lot in the summer) is a dark mesh which provides plenty of ventilation but protects against bugs and sun. The other, is a rain cover which is a heavy clear vinyl cover and protects against wind and rain. You can roll these covers up when not in use, or stash them in the cargo area. Although there are elastic holders at the top back of the chariot I have not found a great way to roll these covers up and have them hold well.

Jogging Stroller Option:
You can purchase a kit to convert the cabriolet to a jogging stroller. The kit consists of a rear manual break, a wrist safety strap, a stroller handle and a front wheel and wheel bracket. The front wheel is a 16” wheel with metal spokes. The stroller handle is metal with a spongy rubber grip. To switch the Cabriolet from a trailer to jogger is easy. At the front of the Cabriolet are two insert slots – one on either side near the front of the Cabriolet. Simply remove the bike trailer arm and then slide the two pronged jogging wheel arms into both of the slots. You have now converted your bike trailer into a jogging stroller! The conversion kit only cost $80 – a lot less expensive than purchasing a jogging stroller.

Safety Features: The chariot comes equipped with a safety flag and holder. The trim on the chariot is reflective. There is the 5 point safety harness and plenty of helmet space inside the cabin. The strong alloy frame also provides additional protection to passengers in the event of an accident. The wheels are slanted for stability and there are cotter pins which secure the wheels to the axle. There are also two cotter pins which ensure that the trailer cannot be collapsed. When used as a bike trailer, there are safety straps which attach to the bike in the event that the trailer becomes loose and detaches from the bike.

If you purchase the Jogging Stroller option it comes with a wrist strap which is attached to the rear of the chariot. You wear this around your wrist in case you let go of the chariot on a slope etc. It also comes with a manual rear break which, when activated, presses against the rear wheels and holds them firmly. There is also an optional rear handle break which can be purchased for use in jogging stroller mode.
All Chariot trailers meet or exceed ASTM Standards F1975-02

Handling & Usability:
Bike Trailer: The trailer/bike attachment is very strong and I have never had it detach from my bike when riding… even when going over rough terrain. I do find it a bit tricky to do as one must adjust the tension and then lock it by depressing a lever. My husband, however, seems to have no problem with doing this so I have just left it up to him… maybe I just need more practise. One would think that the trailer would be difficult to pull but it is amazingly light behind the bike and I have absolutely no problems cycling up moderate hills with the trailer. It does not put the bike off balance, does not create a lot of drag and handles turns and bumps very well. My son also loves to ride in the trailer and seems to have a smooth journey. Having looked at a lot of other trailers out there I really think that this one is the best on the market.

I would not recommend the base trailer for very young children (under 18m) or babies as the seat is non-reclining and there are no head rests. Chariot has, however, since we purchased this trailer, come out with several option which could compensate for these short falls such as a fleece baby supporter and infant sling. They also have a baby Bivy which is an infant bed/carrier which detaches from the chariot so you can take a sleeping baby out of the Chariot without having to wake her/him…. Similar to the stroller/car seat idea.

Jogging Stroller: We purchased the jogging stroller option so we could navigate through the snow and ice on our walks down main street or on the daily trip from home to daycare. The Cabriolet in jogging stroller mode is an all terrain vehicle and a dream to push. It has no trouble navigating through snow, slush or ice…. Even when loaded down with knapsacks and a 45lb child. The cover attachments protect against the winter elements. I have looked at other jogging strollers out there and I would put the Cabriolet as a basic jogging model. If I were an avid jogger I don’t think the Cabriolet would be my first choice. Even though the weight distribution is really good and it moves easily it does not have all the ‘bells and whistles’ such as key holders, handle brake (although you can now purchase an add on), cup holders or swivel/lockable front wheel.

Conversion Options:
You can convert the trailer into other transport vehicles and extend and expand the usefulness.
Stroller: This kit converts the trailer into a walking stroller. This comes with two small front wheels which fit under the front of the trailer. I have seen other families in my neighbourhood with this option, however, this type of conversion would only be useful in good weather. The wheels are too small and not positioned correctly to navigate rough terrain or snow. The wheel brackets which attach to the stroller are rear facing which means any forward pressure on the stroller places downward pressure on the wheels making for difficult navigation through slush, snow or muddy areas. This is one of the reasons I settled for the jogging stroller option instead.

Hiking Kit: Transforms the Chariot into a rickshaw. Consists of metal poles which attach to either side of the Chariot and a harness for the hiker.

Cargo Conversion Kit: This kit transforms the chariot into a heavy duty cargo carrier.

Add On: There are many other items you can purchase for the Chariot. For our purposes, we have not needed to purchase any of these but they are available.
Chariot Hydration Kit: Includes 2 water bottles and mounting kits, one for the rider, and one for the "engine.
Chariot BackPack Set: Matching backpacks… one for you and one for your child
Storage Cover – like the fancy car covers only for your Chariot!
Chariot Travel Bags
Chariot Bunting Bag for your baby
Chariot CTS Trailer Rain Cover
Extra Bike Hitch
Multi-functional Handlebar Bag
Chariot Jogging Brake Kit

Durability: I have used this transport system extensively over the past three years and it is as good as when I bought it. The fabric cover on the trailer is not even faded!!! I would recommend (even though it is tempting) that your child NOT use the jogging stroller attachment arms as a step when getting out of the trailer as excessive weight may cause them to bend.

Bottom Line: This is simply a top notch bike trailer which has the flexibility of converting for other uses and extending the life of your purchase. If you are an avid biker then this is definitely the trailer for you. If you also jog or need an excellent ATV type stroller then the Chariot Cabriolet may be your answer!!!

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