Chariot Chinook 2 ReviewAugust 28, 2013
- Reclining seat
- Shock absorbers
- Adjustable handlebar
- Front wheel locks out of the way when not in use
- Large and heavy
- Small storage space behind seat
- Small front wheel in jogger mode make for bumpier ride
If you’re willing to invest in a top-of-the-line model you’ll use for a while—or if price is no object—the Chinook’s quality construction and thoughtful design make it very hard to beat.
After a few weeks of use, I started thinking of the Chinook as the Land Rover of bike trailers. It’s tough, cushy and has almost all the features the other models do, plus a few more—and the price shows. Everything just works, and works well, from the ball-and-socket bike axle hitch to front wheel, which swivels, locks or locks out of the way depending on what you’re using it for. Overall, the only real drawbacks are its size—it’s a big and heavy piece of gear—and the lack of storage room behind the reclining seat.
As the largest model tested, the Chinook never lets you forget you’re towing (or pushing) something. It’s not something for a quick jog around the park, especially with the small front wheel, which can make for a bumpy ride. On the plus side, it’s well-balanced as a bike trailer, and there’s no spring in the attachment arm, so you don’t get the annoying bounciness you do with other models.
Inside, the Chinook is roomy and plush, the only model with both an adjustable suspension system and comfortably padded seats that recline. The integrated mesh windows and sunshade in front and on the sides can be zipped and rolled into just about any configuration. There are even adjustable (and removable) pads to stabilize smaller kids’ heads. (A “bunting bag” for infants is available separately.)
Many of the Chinook’s features score high in convenience: the handlebar adjusts to three different heights (and since it doesn’t come off, it makes a good locking point), and the accessory attachments click on and off quickly but securely. The whole thing folds and unfolds easily, too. It is a little awkward to carry and store, especially if you have to haul it up and down a flight of stairs (trust me).
Excellent all around—probably the best of the bunch.
The Chinook comes ready to go as a stroller, but a rain cover (for anything more than a sprinkle) is another $50, and the bike trailer kit is $75, to say nothing of the conversion kits for hiking or skiing (think rickshaw). So the big question: is the Chinook worth twice as much as the next model? I’d say yes, barely. Its size is both a plus and minus, but it’s the best designed and built model I tested—the one I’d haul my kiddos in, given the choice.