The Burley Nomad is Burley's cargo trailer design. I traded in my BOB COZ for it because I was getting frustrated with some limitations in the BOB design. I think that the BOB is a great trailer for light loads (ie, touring), but most of my trailer use is for shopping and hauling bulky or heavy items around the city. I found single wheel trailers to be unstable when loaded with more than about 25-30lbs.
A lot of this review is going to be comparing the Burley Nomad to the BOB COZ, since I have owned both of them. BOB also makes a more popular trailer called the BOB YAK. It has a little bit more capacity, but doesn't have the rainproof and locking box that comes with the COZ.
Two wheels vs One Wheel
The Burley Nomad has a totally different design than the BOB trailers. The most significant change is that there are two wheels instead of one wheel. Two wheels have advantages and drawbacks to a single wheel. The main drawback is that the two wheeled design is wider, and the trailer's wheels don't track behind the bicycle's wheel. For this reason I wouldn't suggest using a two wheel trailer on singletrack mountain bike trails. In general two wheeled trailers handle better because they put much less stress onto the rear wheel and frame of the bicycle. On a single wheel trailer the trailers weight is split about 50/50 between the trailer's wheel and the bicycles rear wheel. The bicycle also keeps the trailer balanced, so there are twisting forces around the bicycle's rear axle where the trailer connects. A two wheeled trailer puts the majority of the cargo weight onto the trailer's wheels. The tongue weight of the Burley cargo is about 15% of the total cargo weight (vs the 50% of a BOB trailer). The trailer doesn't lean with the bicycle, so it doesn't exert any twisting forces around the bicycle's rear axle. It is also easier to load two-wheel trailers because they remain upright even if your bicycle is laying on it's side.
The Burley's cargo area is very nicely designed. It has two compartments which are seperated by a fabric wall with two pockets. The wall can be folded against the floor if you are carrying bulky objects. There are also front and rear walls which also fold down. In this configuration the trailer just has a floor and two sides. I have carried a boxed bicycle frame in the trailer using this setup. The interior walls also have a couple of D-rings that can be used with tie down straps. To fold the trailer up you simply lift up the side walls and fold them into the body of the trailer. The cover for the cargo area simply snaps into place.
The interior is not as weatherproof as the box used by the BOB COZ. There are small openings at each of the corners that allow the rain to come in. There is also a small drain hole at the lowest point of the trailer.
I think that the flexibility of the Burley's cargo area is well worth losing some weather protection. If I were using this trailer for touring I would probably put my clothing, sleeping bag, and other essential items into a dry bag.
The trailer uses two 16" (305mm) wheels with Cheng Shin tires which are 47mm wide. The stock tires are nothing fancy, but seem like they will work pretty well. The wheels have 20 generic 14g stainless steel spokes with brass nipples in a one cross configuration. The spoke tension wasn't very even but this was pretty simple to fix. I also stress relieved the spokes at the same time. The hubs are non-standard but have a very simple and effective quick release design that works well. They use standard sealed bearing cartridges.
One major shortcoming of the trailer is that it has no fenders or provisions for mounting them. I have an idea of how to make some fenders for the trailer and will put details of the project here once I make them. It is surprising that Burley ignores this feature, as they are located in the rainy town of Eugene, OR.
I would prefer if Burley had used 16 or 18 spokes instead of 20. It is hard to find 305mm, 349mm, or 406mm rims with 20 spoke holes, but 32 or 36 spoke versions of these are easy to find. 32 hole rims would work with 16 spokes if you used every other hole, and 36 hole rims would work with 18 spokes using every other hole. The stock rims should last a long time though, since there are no brakes wearing them down.
The hitch is my major complaint about the Burley. It clamps around the chainstay and seatstay of the bicycle. It sets up quickly, but the design doesn't work on many recumbents, tandems with drum brakes, folding bicycles, or other non-standard bicycles. Even on my road bike (which has long 44cm chainstays) my size 10 foot sometimes hits the hitch while I'm pedalling. Burley makes an expensive alternative hitch which I have on order and I hope it solves most of these problems. The standard BOB hitch is a lot cheaper ($20 vs $60 for the Burley hitch) and works with many more bicycle designs.
My other concern about the hitch is that it uses a thick rubber section to allow for bicycle lean or pivoting up and down. Burley has been making trailers for a long time, so this rubber hitch connection is probably just fine. I would be more comfortable if they used hinges of some sort instead. Burley does warn against using the trailer at below freezing temperatures because the rubber portion of the hitch might break.
There is one nice feature to the hitch. When the trailer is detached nothing remains on the bicycle, and the hitch allows you to attach the trailer to most bicycles very quickly.
The trailer handles really well. When standing it doesn't feel like the trailer is fighting you the way that it does with a BOB trailer. It feels stable even when heavily loaded. The trailer is very quiet too, which is a very nice change from the BOB COZ which tends to rattle around when empty. The trailer is about 5lbs lighter than the BOB COZ which is nice when climbing hills.
The Burley Nomad is a very nice cargo trailer which is larger than the BOB designs and handles better when heavily loaded. The BOB has a nicer hitch design and tracks better behind the bike (an issue when riding on singletrack). It is easier to load than BOB trailers because it remains upright even if the bike is laying down. It also holds more (in weight and capacity) than BOB trailers while being lighter than either of them.