My family was given the ultimate favor when we were offered the chance to try and review a top-of-the-range bicycle trailer and child seat from Hamax. When I arrived home with the trailer, all the three kids instantly jumped inside. We rode till dusk, and even then it proved difficult to get them out of the cozy carrier. Let’s take a closer look of these Hamax products!
Hamax Outback bicycle trailer
Hamax is a Norwegian brand specializing in bicycle accessories for families. Not long ago we published an article covering their extensive range, now it’s time to see how they actually perform.
The Outback is a well-equipped, sporty bicycle trailer designed to carry two children in full comfort and safety. This genuine troop-carrier is much larger than your average trailer, it provides two cozy seats with 5-point padded safety belt. Within the approximately one cubic meter of space we find is a myriad of innovative and practical features that make the cycling experience with children more enjoyable.
First of all the Outback is a multipurpose carrier, and you can switch between the bike trailer, the jogger and the stroller functions in the matter of seconds. When in trailer mode, the pulling arm has a special “Safe Connection Point” which secures a safe switch between bicycle arm, stroller wheel and jogger wheel. It’s impossible to overturn the trailer thanks to ingenious clutch mechanism. The wheels can be taken off in seconds, and the complete “tent” can be folded for storage or transport. On our model the seats have 4-position tip-back, on the more recent version it’s a more convenient micro-adjust arrangement. Behind the seats there is some storage space with rear mesh panels to keep kids cool and allow additional air to circulate through the trailer. The Outback comes with a standard mesh door as well as the plastic rain cover. Both zip up independently around the entire door frame. There is also a sunscreen attached with Velcro strap, and it can also be used in conjunction with the mesh door or the rain cover.
To further enhance comfort the trailer has suspension for the wheels, moreover it’s tunable for the load. The bottom of the trailer is nylon fabric, lined on the inside with a thick rubberized mat. The mat greatly increased the durability of the trailer, prevents kid’s feet from sagging and allows for easier clean-up. The wheels have a parking brake too, and the list features just goes on and on.
Attaching the trailer to the bike is a very simple affair. A special metal tab needs to be mounted under the quick release of the rear wheel, and bike is ready to pull the Outback. This is not the first trailer our family has used, so I was prepared for everything – including some mishaps and complaints. Actually we had nothing but smiles children and complete silence from the back, which is a testament of the Outback’s thought-out design. The children spent the ride looking out, the suspension and the padded seats smoothened the less than perfects roads we were riding on. Having independent, tunable suspension for each wheel is a bonus, something I wouldn’t forgo on a trailer. Hamax engineers have done an excellent job!
This photo is worth a thousand words!
After the hell of ride in the trailer, I knew it would be difficult to steal the show with any other kid transporter. Yet I chose to draw a card for a 19. The next day I arrived home with the Hamax Caress child seat. This model has a distinctive feature: it mounts to the rear rack, and offers active suspension under the seat. A true game changer considering the state of the asphalt roads in Hungary. Finally the passenger is not be shaken, jolted thrown around in the seat: the test pilot’s smile on the photo says is all!
It would be futile to analyze the domestic bicycle child seat market, discussing why most would never spend over HUF 20,000 for something that provides security and comfort for their kids. I’m sure that the mention of the retail price of the Caress (HUF 48,000) will shock most parents. But when we look at all the safety and comfort features of this seat, the budget offerings will appear simply crappy. Not to mention the practical aspects which make using this child seat much more enjoyable for the parent.
The greatest argument for buying the Hamax Caress is certainly the suspension system. Yet there is certainly more: I was amazed by the ease of placing the child into the seat or the way the back can be put in a reclined position. And we’re not talking about a few degree tilt, but a proper laid back position for a comfy and undisturbed nap. Furthermore there is a locking mechanism ensuring the seat doesn’t get nicked while the bike is parked on the street.
Securing the child in the seat is done with a proper seat belt, which moves with the reclining back. The foot straps are also easy to adjust. All fine-tuning is done without any tools, so when an older or younger sibling wants to take a ride, the Caress can be made to accommodate in no time. Installing the seat to the rack is also a breeze, requiring no tools or technical savvy. The Caress uses a double-wall structure instead of the usual single plastic sheet providing more stability while riding, and greater protections in case of a fall. When we add up all these features, it becomes evident where the addition 30,000 Forints go compared to a budget seat model. Finally, one should also consider that by riding with our children we’re showing then world through a different lens, setting an example how to lead a healthy life and move about.
For a dedicated cyclist looking for compromise-free accessories – and who belong to the minority willing to spend more to make bike riding with the family an enjoyable experience – these excellent child carriers are a great choice. Every cent spent on them will pay its dividends with smiles on the kids’ faces and unmatched practicality for the adults. I can wholeheartedly recommend both Hamax products. The test proved that they are well-engineered, carefully thought-out designs not often seen in segment of the market.
More information about these Hamax products can be found on the distributor’s website: for the Outack trailer click here, for Caress here.