Aevon KIT L80 review

The Japan Long Haul: My Bike and Trailer Setup

Through June and July, I will be on a bike and trailer tour in Japan!

The plan is to ride out of the most populous metropolitan area in the world, Tokyo, and north 1200km (750mi) along the Tohoku Route to Hokkaido, the second largest Japanese island. Once on Hokkaido, I will piece together a 1000km+ loop that incorporates lots of the Hokkaido Cycle Touring Routes, before flying out of Sapporo back to Australia.

This is actually my first bike tour with a trailer. With my road bike weighing under 10kg (22lbs), the bike and trailer combo is 2-3kg lighter than my touring bike with empty panniers. But I’m not doing this for weight reasons, I simply want to know if trailers are a better way to carry gear!

Let’s take a closer look at my bike and trailer setup for this 5-week trip.

bike and trailer
My beautiful Curve Belgie Spirit titanium road bike.

Curve Belgie Spirit Titanium Road Bike

I’ve opted for a titanium, disc brake, all-road bike to exhibit the true capabilities of my trailer.

There’s no beating around the bush here; the Curve Belgie Spirit is a flashy road bike. At 1590g (3.5lbs) for the titanium frame and 415g (0.9lbs) for the carbon fork, this bike is built for speed.

Despite being a competitive road bike, the frame is designed to handle 700×32 tyres comfortably, and it looks like 700x35c tyres will easily squeeze in too. I’ve fitted a monster-sized 11-40t cassette up the back via a Wolf Tooth RoadLink. This will allow me to tackle most hills in my way, and with a compact crankset, my smallest gear works out to be 23 gear inches – the same climbing gear as a stock Specialized AWOL touring bike. Not bad for a road bike! Having this climbing gear will be essential as I’m hauling enough gear to be self-sufficient everywhere I go, in fact, I still may find it’s not low enough for some of Japan’s mountain roads.

I’ve chosen to travel on this super-light, peloton-crushing bike to discover whether trailers will transform ANY bike into an 80-litre+ hauling machine. If it does, I want to know whether it’s actually practical, or whether the majority travel with touring bikes and panniers for a reason.

Curve Belgie Spirit Frameset
Curve G4 Carbon Wheelset
Shimano Ultegra Disc Groupset
Size is 61cm (the 64cm would probably fit better again)

bike and trailer
My Curve Belgie Spirit with Aevon KIT L80 trailer attached.

Aevon KIT L80 Trailer

The Aevon KIT L80 trailer piqued my interest for a number of reasons.

It is seatpost mounted. This means that the turning circle can be reduced by bringing the pivot closer to the centre of the bike. From my quick testing, it can perform an 180-degree turn on the spot without any drama. It’ll be interesting to find out how it goes ducking and weaving through Japan’s heavy traffic.
It folds. This was crucial for me because I’m packing the trailer for a flight and need it to be as compact as possible.
It has a rear shock. I’ll be testing the trailer both on-road and off-road so I’m keen to find out how much of a difference the rear shock makes for stabilising the load.
It can fit me inside. Ok, this isn’t essential, but it’s kinda cool that a 2-metre tall guy fits inside!

To see what I’m putting inside the trailer for the Japan Long Haul, click HERE.

bike and trailer
The Aevon KIT L80 trailer is so big it fits me inside!

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  1. In 2012 I did a tour through central america – Mexico – belize – Guatemala with a 20lb cyclocross bike and a weber monoporter trailer – worked great! There are a lot of advantages of having everything in one place – as well as being able to drop the trailer and go off and explore! have fun!

  2. 80 Litres is a lot. I’m sure you won’t be filling it but there might be temptation to bring that thing you may need and, you have space.
    Assuming air travel, will you be able to create one package? Also curious which airline you choose also.

  3. Did you explore the Burley Travoy? Wondering why you chose that trailer.

  4. My recent experience cycling Hiroshima to Kyoto through Shikoku highlighted a few things.

    1. Trains aren’t particularly bike friendly. Especially the shinkansen. If they’re busy, there mightn’t be space behind the seats at the end of the carriage. This is especially relevent while your bike is still in it’s box after flying in.

    2. They put a lot of bollards around to stop motorcycles and cars driving along some bicycle routes. This may cause issues when you can’t ride the trailer through. I struggled with my roadie – even with just panniers on. There was quite a few places i needed to lift over these.

    3. You’ll get a big mix of terrain – from amazingly good roads to rough stuff – ramp over angles for your trailer might become an issue.

    4. The hills are everywhere! It’s beautiful, but there is a lot of up. Especially at the end of the day when a lot of more appropriate “camping” areas are uphill from town.

    5. Fortunately you’ll have plenty of space for cooking gear – which will make finding a campsite easier to do earlier in the evening if you don’t want to take advantage of the restaurants.

    6. Onsens are everywhere. We bathed every day. It was great!

    7. Tunnels can be a bit precarious. We often took the footpath in tunnels because of how long they were and how dark it got. But the footpaths were often sketchy with ruts and plenty of moisture mixed in with darkness. Be really careful – and hopefully this doesn’t become an issue with the trailer being caught off centre in a rut!

    8. Carry lots of cash. They are a cash based society.

    9. There is vending machines everywhere – drinks won’t be so much an issue. But food can be – especially in the more remote/rural areas if you’re planning to eat at restaurants.

    10. There people there are super friendly and will go out of their way to try and help. I found the Google Translate app a real help as well.

    Have a wicked time! I want to go back and ride Hokkaido at some point!

  5. I picked the Aevon KIT L80 because we were riding a lot of gravel roads. The rear shock was invaluable on the rough stuff, the foldability was great for air travel and the seatpost-mount made it really maneuverable.

  6. Thanks for the Japan advice. I agree with all of your sentiments. I didn’t have any issues squeezing between bollards because my trailer was actually narrower than my friend’s panniers! And it wasn’t too much of a problem lifting the trailer over things, I developed a pretty good lifting technique early on. 🙂

  7. So, what is your take on the trailer setup?
    How did it work?
    Is it basically equal, just different?
    Does it hold back more than putting 4 panniers, and handlebar bag on a bike?

    I guess it also depends a lot on which trailer, one or two wheels, and how well it is made…
    so I would be really interested to read your experience!

    And how was it to ride a derailleur bike?
    After reading so many articles from you about Rohloffs, Pinions, Gates Belt Drives, I was surprised to see a derailleur drivetrain! How was it?

  8. In short, the trailer was perfect for my use (a 9kg road race bike) but will also suit many other non-touring bikes (MTB, flat bar road bike, hybrid etc). I barely ever noticed it was there and it was only ever annoying in heavy traffic (not as common on a bike tour as you may think). It really excelled off-road, far better than if I was on my touring bike using panniers. I’ll cover this in better detail in a few resources I have planned.

    Derailleur bikes are great, in fact the majority of my personal bikes have derailleurs! In 2500km, I didn’t touch the gears to tune them once and the only maintenance was lubing of the chain. Do I prefer my Rohloff hubs for long-distance touring? Sure, but derailleurs work fine too.

  9. Good to read! A week ago, we went with my wife and child to a bike friendly trip to the Netherlands, ie we brought the bikes with us on the train, in a touring setup. What I noticed, how much time we spend on packing 10 bags, putting them on the bikes up and down, especially when we transferred between trains.

    I would be interested to see, what is your estimate the time one spends on a tour packing bags, looking for staff, mounting on and off bikes with panniers compared with a single trailer?

    I’d be also interested if you could put a semi-objective (ex. on a scale of 1-10) for things like you said annoyance in traffic, off-road performance, and so on.

    We have an Andersen Shopper, and since we have it, I do the shopping exclusively on bikes. We just take it into the store, dump things in, and roll home. Now we started to use also in the city for other trips, it is so convenient. I took it to our tour, too, it was workable, but it’s not intended for long tours.

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