Thule Chariot CROSS Trailer Review
The Thule Chariot Cross is simply one of the latest and greatest of bicycle trailers available by today!
BEST FOR On/Off-road touring
FEATURES: Adjustable suspension, independently reclinable seats, XL-storage, neat and high-quality looks
Available color-schemes for Chariot Cross depending on your region.
Thule Chariot Cross is a versatile, nearly all-inclusive kids bike trailer and a stroller designed for active families. The high-end Cross offers the widest customization, and by far, the best features among other baby bike trailers available! As the trailer is equipped to be used on all kinds of terrains and activities, throughout the year – It’s suitable for everyone – from the adventurous athletes to Sunday urban explorers.
Sidenote: Although Thule is already considered a premium brand for maximalists, the Chariot Cross is a matter of fact Thule’s second-best high-end model after the model SPORT, so you’ll be hearing all the goodies you couldn’t even think of before!
It’s super throughout, high quality, compact, elegant, and easy to use.
Thule Chariot CROSS Field Of Use:
4 Activities On Mixed Terrain
As the model’s name reveals: It’s basically a cross-country bicycle trailer. On or off-road, the Chariot Cross blends into any environment. It’s sleek in the city, yet equipped with decent off-road capabilities. The suspension and adjustable & padded seats make it a perfect all-rounder for parents who’d like to introduce the great outdoors to their kids, all year round.
BICYCLE TRAILER: Chariot Cross is designed as kids and/or baby multisport trailer, and this is what it does best. On or off the road, it’s perfect on both terrains while maintaining a comfortable ride for kids and parents alike.
STROLLING: Perfect for everyday walking trips as the trailer is super light to push and it allows a ton of storage to take anything along. It’s very easy to maneuver in dense areas due to swivel wheels that allow a very small turning radius.
JOGGING: KIT not included. Due to the large and fully adjustable handlebar, stow-away storage pouch – there’s an excess of legroom for taller parents (6’2″+) when thinking of going jogging with the kid’s trailer. Unfortunately, the stock model doesn’t come with the jogging KIT, but it is the most-popular accessory ordered as an extra.
We’ve seen people roller-skating with the trailer, which is most likely the second-best thing to do after jogging.
SKIING: KIT not included. Snow doesn’t mean it’s the end of the season when wanting to go on those outdoor trips with the kids. The ski-kit includes a body harness and two skis that replace the wheels.
With the body harness only, you could simply go hiking with the trailer!
Wheels & Suspension & Brakes
Thule Chariot CROSS has pneumatic tires, 20″ spoked rear wheels, two stroller wheels on the front, and the trailer is supported with adjustable leaf springs.
WHEELS. The Cross is equipped with tube-type tires on 20” spoked wheels on the rear, and two swivel wheels on the front. The rims are matte black – sporty, lightweight, and elegant. There’s also a reflective line on the rear tires for safety precautions in the dark!
The rear wheels can be easily installed and removed by pushing the blue knobs on the center of the wheel. Removing the front wheel can be done by opening the large blue locking latch. Small swivel wheels for strolling are super convenient in tight areas as they allow to turn the carrier very easily.
The recommended pressure for the 20″ Chariot wheels (Also written on the sidewall of the tire)
- Minimum: 30psi / 2.0bar – Unpaved roads
- Maximum: 36psi / 2.5bar – Paved roads
NOTE: When changing from strolling to cycling, always remove the front wheels and place them on the wheel guards, upside down – by doing that you can simply continue strolling along not losing any storage room.
SUSPENSION is a must on any premium toddler bike carriage, especially if you are after a premium multisport trailer. The Cross is equipped with leaf springs that can be adjusted to a fair degree by simply pressing down the adjustable knob, and clipping it back up according to your needs. It makes a huge difference so I’d suggest getting acquainted with the ins and out’s of the adjustability as soon as possible! Also, each wheel can be adjusted separately when carrying only one child on one side of the trailer.
BRAKES: The “Park-brake“ is easily operated – there’s a red pedal on the right foot that could be either pushed to apply or pull to remove. It’s recommended to always “put in the park” when stopped, especially when lifting the kids in/out of the trailer. Thule carriers have very little drag for rolling, so when leaving it unnoticed on uneven terrains, the trailer, just like the kids, has a tendency to wander off unnoticed.
Seats & Storage
Padded seats, padded harness, and plenty of storage
Thule’s recommends the Cross to be suitable for kids up to 40″ / 110cm tall
27in / 68cm on both – double and single bike trailer
Single: 14.3 in / 36.5 cm
Double: 22.4 in / 57 cm
What makes the Cross better than most trailers out there is the feature that allows the seats to recline, separately, in a 7 inch/18cm range. That’s quite a bit of an angle! Reclining the seats is easy – simply press the blue button on the upper part of the seat and pull the seat out to a suitable degree. Once you’ve reclined the seat, a small plastic window appears where you can monitor the kid’s activity when strolling.
Can you remove the Chariot Cross seats for washing? There are very few exposed fasteners that go unnoticed by many, but I wouldn’t recommend removing the seats. It’s easier to wash the canvas on the trailer and let it air-dry.
The Chariot Sport can be used as a baby bicycle trailer as well since the frame construction is compatible with an Inflalt Sling. It is an extra that is designed for babies, aged 2-12months. Not to forget, that the infant sling is recommended ONLY IN JOGGER / STROLLER mode for safety reasons!
There’s plenty of padding on safety straps, and adjustable padding on the back of the seat which can be folded all the way up or down.
There’s great climate control throughout the trailer – two adjustable openings on each side the front, side windows, and mesh panel right behind the seat. Even when using the waterproof windows, there’s still plenty of air running through the trailer and it won’t get foggy inside.
Storage & Compartments
You’ll find plenty of different size storage divided throughout the whole trailer
- A large drop-down pouch on the rear end of the trailer that can be clipped on the upper frame when not in use
- Mesh covers: Behind the seat/s
- Small mesh-pockets inside the trailer
- Storage pouch under the roof for mesh-door
Trailer Arm Compartment
As the Cross comes as a 2 in 1 bike trailer and stroller, it’s got a perfect compromise between those two activities. It’s very convenient to store the gear that’s not being used.
When using the trailer as a stroller – the trailer arm can be stored away conveniently on the left side of the frame. It blends in nicely and won’t just drop down when attached correctly as it’s clipped in there. Not to forget, once you change back the trailer as a cycle trailer – always place the front stroller wheels upside down on the designated area – the VersaWing/wheel guard’s system.
Exterior & Covers
FABRIC MATERIAL: The exterior of the Cross is made of durable, UV-resistant rip-stop weatherproof canvas.
- A ventilated clear-screen Mesh door cover helps to prevent small rocks & bugs from entering the interior. It’s a fine mesh that still allows the kids to see outside no worries. The door zips all day down and clicks on the bottom rail latches. The whole construction is as solid as it can be!
When not in use – the mesh can be stored in its hideaway compartment right under the roof!
- Rain Cover – Installing the rain cover correctly takes some time go get used to as it’s got a six-point attachment. It might a bit confusing at first, but once you get it – it’s as good as it gets. The cover itself is made of high-quality materials and protects any water entering the interior. The rain cover won’t go over the ventilation holes which prevents the windows from fogging up and leaves plenty of oxygen for kids.
- Sun Guard – Another must-have feature when going on longer trips. The sun guard can be adjusted over the whole door-area accordingly to current needs. Whether the sun is down low, or the kids are sleeping inside of the trailer – you’ll be thankful for that gadget quite soon! The sun guard clips on the side-frames no worries and can be attached under the rain-cover.
- Side-windows. The Cross has large, tinted side windows.
Note: No need to worry about lack of oxygen inside the trailer as there are vent-holes in the front and a large mesh on the back of the seats! mesh door closes
It’s not just another handlebar!
The handlebar is one of the most underrated details about this trailer. It’s simply the best handlebar you’ll ever come across. That’s something you’ll notice right away! I like how Thule knows the importance of the small things that go unnoticed by many.
Besides the comfortable and warm feel, It’s large and rather ergonomic, while still blending in nicely with the whole trailer. The tube-tires and suspensions alone make the trailer smooth and stable, but the soft grip on the handlebar gives completely unique feel to it. There are no unwanted vibrations coming up the frame that would tire the hands when strolling or jogging! And, as it’s got a groovy shape, there are multiple positions to set it up to. Very easy to use, folds away smooth.
- The handlebar is also the only part you need to install when getting the trailer – the Allen-key is included.
- When using the Cross as a pull behind bike trailer for kids, always fold the handlebar over the roof so it wouldn’t catch anything unwanted when riding. The same goes for folding!
Folding / Hitching
Folded dimensions: L x W x H
Single 34 x 26 x 14.8 in (87 x 65 x 37.5 cm)
Double 34 x 31 x 14.8 in ( 87 x 80 x 37.5 cm)
Folding down the trailer is quick and easy. There are two large blue buttons on each side of the trailer, whereas one has a safety-cover over it. Easiest method folding the Chariot Sport:
1.) Fold-down the handlebar by moving it above the entrance
2.) Press down the two blue buttons on the side frame by standing on the back of the trailer (one of the buttons has a security plastic cover)
3.) Press down the trailer and push it from the rear, until it clips behind the locking latch on the left side. (Don’t forget to unlock it when opening the trailer, it’s easy to forget and smash it!)
4.) Remove the wheels and place them inside of the trailer. Make sure not to place the axles facing upwards since it may damage the mesh door!
1.) Install the wheels
2.) Undo the latch on the left side of the trailer! Don’t force-open the trailer.
3.) Pull up the trailer
4.) Wait for an audible click that is paired with a visible red indicator on the right-side button that toggles to green when opened.
When installing the trailer arm on a Chariot Cross, push in the trailer arm on the left side of the trailer, check if the blue latch is back in position (closed). Remove the two front wheels and. After you’ve pushed it in, make sure the two upside-down swivel wheels are locked in as well.
- Install the ball-point adapter on the bicycle. Insert trailer arm
- Close the pin, add the rubber-pad protection
- Add the safety strap around the bicycle’s frame
When using the trailer as a stroller, the trailer arm can be placed away on its designated click-on spot on the left side of the frame!
Does The Chariot Cross Fit To My Bicycle?
If your bicycle does not come with a quick-release system, Thule also offers Thru-Axle adapters on most types out there.
There are two safety straps on the trailer arm that have to be hooped for safety:
- A small red loop on the front left side of the trailer
- Safety strap on the bike’s side of the trailer arm that goes around the bicycle’s frame for safety
- Make sure to always use park-brake when stopping and going to leave the carrier unattended
- When carrying only one child on a double stroller, always place the kid on the right side of the carrier for the best balance!
- Fold in the handlebar (over the roof) when cycling as it could get trapped behind branches or any unwanted objects
- Use the safety flag! The attachment point is on the top-left side of the trailer
- Always use the 5-point safety harnesses
- Always keep the flynet/mesh door closed when cycling, this prevents any unwanted objects from entering the inside of the trailer
- Kids should wear a proper helmet!
Recommendations For Upgrade
If you really want to use the Cross to the max, a jogging kit is something many Thule Chariot users prefer.
Out of the box, Chariot Sport is a bicycle/trailer and stroller, but the jogging kit allows you to change the two small front wheels to a large single wheel and easily use it as an everyday sport stroller.
Unlike using the trailer as a bike stroller with one arm the jogging kit comes with two. Another great feature with an extra is that you can place the rear wheel on the back of the rear-end storage compartment with two straps (included). There are designated hooks to attach the straps!
The large single front wheel gives the trailer more clearance and stability on uneven trails! And, let’s be honest, that’s usually where the fun starts! A single fixed large front wheel really improves going through sandy, snowy or rocky terrains where the two swivel wheels would struggle to lead the way.
Note: Two arms lock in the same way as the bicycle arm, but there are also adjustable screw-knobs on the trailer-part of the hitch!
The locking kit allows locking the trailer arm on both sides preventing anyone from just grabbing the trailer/or the bike and bugger off. Although it takes really two lock’s to lock the whole system, the add-on extra has only one lock and two keys, but it is something!
One major difference between the Thule’s #1 trailer is the absence of disc brakes. If you are planning to take the Cross on some really awesome hikes or fast-speed journeys – disc brakes are probably something you should be looking at.
Infant Sling (0-10 months)
A hammock-style sling allows taking the little ones with the Cross trailer. There’s a safe and special way to attach the sling. The Infant sling lies right over one of the seats, so the same 5-point safety harness can be used.
REI – $100
Baby Supporter (6-18 months)
The baby supporter is a great safety feature that allows extra comfort for the little one to feel comfortable. Especially when going on off-road terrains or the kid tends to fall asleep when riding in the trailer.
REI – $70
Footmuff / Footmuff Sport
Insulated sleeping-bag-alike cocoon for cold-weather activities. Both models are compatible with the 5-point harness system.
REI – $99
Ski Kit & Body Harness
Awesome opportunity to use the trailer on all four seasons. The body harness can be used with wheels on hikes as well!
REI – $325
Full Spec & Features
- Type: Single/double bike trailer stroller
- Trailer Dry Weight (Single/Double): 31 lbs/35 lbs & 14/16 kg
- Seating Capacity: 75/100 lbs / 34/45kg
- Inside height: 27″ / 68 cm
- Inside width: 14.3″/22.4″ / 36.5/57cm
- Maximum body height of passenger: 40″ / 111cm
IN THE BOX:
- Front swivel wheels & 20″ rear wheels
- Trailer arm
- Quick-release attachment, bicycle trailer adapter
- Handlebar (2 x screws and an Allen key for installation)
- 3 covers – Sun, Rain, integrated fly mesh door
- Adjustable ventilation
- XL Storage pouch
- Owner’s manual
PROs, CONs &
- Good-quality accessories included
- Front swivel stroller wheels included
- Supreme quality inside out
- Adjustable ventilation
- Top-view window
- Compact when folded
- Compatibility with loads of premium accessories & upgrades
- The stock model should come with a lock
Sure, not everyone is willing to pay over $1,000 for a bike trailer, and if they do, they want to be assured that’s it’s a worthy investment. The Thule Cross is simply one of the best bike trailers out there after the Chariot Sport. All Thule products hold great second-hand value, and their latest and greatest Cross is definitely no exception. It looks ageless and is equipped with all the high-end features and availability to upgrade to great extras. One key point for Thule’s longevity is the wide array of spare parts and their whole trailers are designed to be “changed out” overtime if needed.
Thule offers a “Limited lifetime warranty” on their bike trailers, and expects anyone to register their product online.
Ordering spare parts online is easy. Look up “Chariot Cross replacement parts” on eBay or from Thule.com’s specific page for the Chariot Cross.
- Thule Coaster XT – Entry-level, basic kids carrier
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