bunk vs roller trailer

Old 09-29-2009, 05:22 PM
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Default bunk vs roller trailer

what are the pros and cons of bunk vs roller trailer? Which is better? or do they each have their own purposes.
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Old 09-29-2009, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by snarl2004 View Post
Which is better? .

I have had several and properly set up work flawlessly.

Around here bunk trailers out number roller trailers 1000 to 1
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Old 09-30-2009, 06:23 AM
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Bunk. Better support.
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Old 09-30-2009, 06:34 AM
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Had roller trailers for over 30 years, finally went to bunks. No more rollers, ever... If you think you need rollers, add slicks to your bunks
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:39 AM
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It depends on the ramps you will be using and tide changes. I have seen boats unable to get back on bunk trailers due to low tide and/or shallow ramps and ramps with drop offs that don't allow the bunk trailer to be submerged enough to get the boat on the bunks. If the area you will be launching has good ramps at low tide the bunks would be fine.
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Old 09-30-2009, 07:41 AM
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I have a bunk trailer with slick bunks with my current boat and a roller with my previous boat. It is easier to load/unload at a nice ramp with a bunk but roller trailers give you access to more ramps. (ie. very short ramps, very shallow ramps, etc)

I dont think support should be much of an issue if you have enough rollers. I would base it on where you will be lauching. If you are comfortable with the niceness of the ramps you use then go with a bunk as they are less money and maintenance too. However, if you like to travel to different places and may run into some ramps that could be short or very long and shallow, you may want to go with a roller.
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Old 09-30-2009, 08:09 AM
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Your post reminds me of what I posted here a few months ago. I have done LOTS of research, so I'll give you my honest, unbiased opinion.
Both types have their advantages and disadvantages. People that live further South have less of a tidal change (in vertical feet) than people on the Northeast do, so I have found the further South you go, the more people seem to like bunks over roller. That is not to say that there aren't people that are happy with their bunk trailers from Maine to NJ.

Bunk trailer pros:
if bunks are CORRECTLY set up, there is more support on the hull. I've heard this is most important on foam core boats, as the rollers could leave "dimples" in the hull.

I found bunk trailers of the same catagory, as compared to rollers (ie: brand, size, materials, etc.) were 10 to 20% less $ than the equivilant roller model.

Less maint. By far over the long term for bunk trailer

Bunk trailer cons:
if you are trying to launch or retrieve your boat during low tide or on a bad ramp, you will have problems, as you truly have to float the boat on for the most part.

Roller trailer pros:
easier to launch, retrieve boat during low tide or a bad ramp.
Hence the term ez-loader.

Roller trailer cons:
cost more than bunk

more maint.on rollers, arms.... More moving parts

Now, that is by no means a complete comparison, but it's a start. Much of it depends on you, your boat and the type of boating your doing. Are you launching only in the Spring and Fall, or will you be using the trailer every week
end? Will you be trailering for 5miles or hundreds? Hull shape, size? I think these things should factor in.

Other things you'll have to take into account are leaf or tortion axle/suspention system? Disc or drum brakes (on all axles?) I think the unanimous answer would be disc, but they are more $ (everyone seems to say good things about Kodiak brakes).
With a boat trailer, I think surge or electric actuated surge are the two choices you have.
LED lights have a longevity advantage over incandesents (sp?)

Also, make a TRUE estimate of weight. Boat, motor, gas, water, gear, tools, etc. Everything. Even better, get your rig weighed when loaded up. My research tells me that there are many boats out there being towed around on underrated trailers.

If your buying used, you may be limited in the above options, but of ordering new, get what you want (within your budget of course).

As for me, for my 05 Albemarle 248xf, I bought a new, Tidewater 7,400 lb capacity, galvenized, 64 roller tandem trailer with Kodiak disc brakes on all wheels. I intend to buy a 1,000tongue/10,000lb Equalizer weight distributing/anti sway set-up in the near future.

I know this is probably more than you wanted to read, but I hope it helps. I can't wait to pick up my trailer in a week, I'll post some picks of my truck, boat trailer combo in a few weeks.

If your buying used
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Old 09-30-2009, 09:29 AM
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Sorry, in my previous post, I meant to type: electric actuated hydrolic, not electric actuated surge. -GD
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Old 09-30-2009, 09:41 AM
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Some builders don't recommend roller trailers. I think Whaler is one of them.

Also, roller trailers are more prone to "premature launch" .
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Old 09-30-2009, 10:22 AM
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Great summation Goin' Deep.

I have both a roller trailer for one boat and a bunk for another and I much prefer the bunk trailer.

Super easy/foolproof loading and unloading with the bunk and in all of the many ramps I have launched and retrieved here in MA where we get some good tidal swings, have never had a problem at any of them.

If I ever need another trailer it will be an aluminum bunk with torsion axles.
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Old 10-01-2009, 05:11 PM
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Rollers work anywhere, bunks are faster. I use rollers and a big elec winch because I'm partially disabled with a back injury and need a hands off, "push the button" system. One of my favorite ramps and another that I use sporadicly require a roller trailer at low tide for anything over 22ft. On good ramps bunks are faster and simpler. Two of my fishing buddies have 24's on bunks and they work great 99% of the time.
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Old 10-01-2009, 06:01 PM
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I used have a roller trailer and I was always fixing something on it. Broken rollers, lubing moving parts, the power winch screwing up, etc. If you get a roller trailer make sure you get one with non-marking rollers. I bought a bunk trailer with kodiak disc brakes, torsion axles and LED lights a year and a half ago. I absolutely love it. I'll never buy another roller trailer. my 2 cents
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Old 10-09-2009, 01:42 PM
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I currently have a roller trailer. I have to rope the boat off to unhook the winch strap. It's in the water before you know it. I drive back on, up to the bow roller, reach over and hook up.
I just ordered a new boat and went aluminum, torsion axel, dual axel, radial tires, brakes and bunks with target bunks up front. Hope this works out.
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Old 10-09-2009, 06:15 PM
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I'd say the bunk trailer is better for supporting the hull, and for less maintenance, rollers being better if its a short launch ramp, or too shallow to submerge the bunks, dry carpet doesnt slide very well,especially on a painted bottom, not a matter of either one being better, Just what works better for you boat,
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Old 01-31-2016, 07:24 AM
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Default Super Storm Sandy

Sandy Storm sent my 23' boat 3 blocks away on some ones lawn undamaged sitting like a baby. My Friend used a roller trailer and it cranked right on!
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Old 01-31-2016, 08:46 AM
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wow, bringing a 6 year old thread back to life
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Old 03-09-2017, 02:12 AM
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Default Never gets old

I've used this old thread a lot the last few days trying to make up my mind on a used roller trailer or a used bunk one. Everyone convinced me that the bunks are a better choice. Unfortunately the guy selling the bunk trailer on Craigslist isn't to eager to sell the bunk trailer. Everyday a new excuse. So I had to go with the roller trailer.

Thanks for all the info.
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jerzeedivr View Post
Sandy Storm sent my 23' boat 3 blocks away on some ones lawn undamaged sitting like a baby. My Friend used a roller trailer and it cranked right on!
This say it all. The one advantage that rollers have is huge if you need it. You can put a boat on the trailer in barely enough water to float it (or, in your case, no water at all).
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:53 AM
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A properly-sized roller trailer of good quality will support a hull as good as any bunk trailer. My 21 footer sits on 36 rollers and I can easily wiggle each one of them with my hand. I've had to retrieve at some of the NE ramps at low tide when I was limited as to how far I could back in w/out dropping the tires off the end. If I had bunks, I'd have needed to wait for hours to get out. As to "premature launch", I added a Sampson post to my winch stand. Back the boat in, take a couple of turns around it w/the bow line so I can unhook the winch cable, and let her go off at a controlled speed. Easy peezy.
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:27 PM
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I realize it's an old thread, but since it is still being used for reference...

There is a third type of trailer option. It's called a "keel-roller." These have a series of rollers right down the centerline of the trailer, directly under the keel of the boat. All the weight of the boat rests on the keel rollers. There is also one or two pairs of bunks farther out on each side of the hull, which are used only for balancing the boat upright (i.e., they don't bear weight.)

A keel-roller trailer has many of the benefits of both the bunk and the roller trailer. You can dunk it down in and launch/retrieve like a bunk trailer, or crank the boat off/on in shallow conditions. It's worth considering if you launch in a variety of situations.
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