Looking for advice on trailer design

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Esque, 6 May 2008.

  1. Esque

    Esque New Member

    Hi folks,

    I'm a bit new to these forums so apologies if this is in the wrong place.

    I'm about to move up to the Peak District and along with my fiancé, we intend to get back into cycling, both for extra exercise (I know, I know, I should possibly have gotten back into cycling BEFORE moving to the Peak District, but I've never been known to do things the easy way xx( ) and also to reduce the use of the car around town.

    One slight issue is that to haul stuff around town (And eventually possibly further afield) a trailer would be a good idea, allowing us for instance to do the shopping at the local Tescos just down the road. Having had a look around at trailers I am quite keen to build one myself and was wondering if anyone used trailers and what people thought about the different designs, twin wheel vs single wheel etc.

    Having read around the forums, I realise that there are people who both love and hate trailers in equal measure but for my requirements, a trailer definitely fits the bill, especially as there'll be no need to take it on public transport for example and it will be used for things like the shopping and trips to the garden centre. At the moment, I think my preference is for a single wheel design that allows a centre pull hitch, but I'm definitely open to advice from anyone more experienced in these things.
    Many thanks in advance
  2. Dayvo

    Dayvo Just passin' through

    I bought a BOB Yak single-wheel trailer for a long ride through Europe.
    Starting on Nordkapp, picking up speed (30-40 kmh) in the tunnel, I got a wobble which I wasn't able to control, got thrown and broke my collarbone!

    The trailer may not have been compatible with my bike, or the load (not excessive) may have been top-heavy - no weight on the bike, except for my good self.

    After four weeks R&R I continued the journey using panniers instead. Felt much safer and more stable.

    Others, though, like the Yak!
  3. ufkacbln

    ufkacbln Guest

    To be quite honest, with the price of trailers today, building one is an expensive option!

    £60 for one of these:


    Personally I tour with a trailer, either the Yak or a Radical Design Cyclone. We also use a BikeHod with the folders.

    Take care, realise that accelaration will be slower and braking compromised and you will not go far wrong with a trailer
  4. 1) Welcome to CC and the world of cycling.

    2) Keep the mounting point as low as poss its safer the lower it is.

    3) The Yak as posted before is a very good one but dont over load it till you know how to ride with it. It will be good for going off road as well if you wish.

    4) Ive found over the years that if you use a kids trailer cars give you so much more space it unreal.

    5) To make one your self? I have and I ended up taking a old kids trailer stripping down all the frame and building a box out of a PVC. Worked grate till my work stand fell over and cracked the side.
  5. OP

    Esque New Member

    Dayvo - Unfortunately you can't get a gro-bag into panniers :biggrin:

    Cunobelin - I had looked at some cheap options but most of them seem to be the high connection to the seat post and I don't fancy the idea of that too much. I may have come up with an idea for a centre pull mount that would also enable a double wheel trailer which has definite advantages over a single wheel trailer, especially for loading it with the shopping etc. This is going to be a relatively long term project and hopefully I'll be able to scavenge the majority of the components which will keep the price down.

    On top of that I enjoy a challenge or else I wouldn't be going back to cycling AFTER moving to the Peak District :blush:
  6. ufkacbln

    ufkacbln Guest

    Most two wheel trailers which have a low mount attach to one side of the rear triangle, commonly on a hitch that attaches to the axle, although some have a frame fitting.

    My first trailer in the early 80's was an "action packer" which had a "u" shaped bracket attached to the rear frame. This then involved a second hitch allowing the rotation necessary to turn corners.

    Try looking at a site such as Bikes and Trailers to see the variety available.

    Joking aside though - it may still be worth betting a cheap trailer to cannibalize for parts!
  7. Night Train

    Night Train Maker of Things

    Greater Manchester
    If you do a search for homemade trailers on Google you do get a lot of examples like this one.

    To get a hitch right behind the centre line of the bike and low down involves a lot more fabrication then a side hitch on the frame. You would need to have a hitch that pivots up and down on the rear axle and side to side behind the wheel like the BOB. However, that is fine for a monowheel but if you wanted two wheels then you will need another pivot that will allow your bike to lean relative to the trailer.

    If you wanted to have something more akin to a tow hitch on a car then you will have weight distribution problems. Front load on the trailer will press down behind your rear axle line and cause your front wheel to lift.

    I think you need to decide what shape your load will need to be.
    If it is long and thin then go for a monowheel design like the BOB and its hitch design.
    If your load is going to be more boxy then find a box or plastic crate that suits your needs and build a trailer around it. You can then use a side hitch.

    On a double buggy child carrier I've used it had a bracket clamped to the rear axle of the bike on to which a short stiff coil spring was used as the coupling to the trailer goose neck. The spring allowed for shock loading and flexibility.
    Three box trailer
    Bamboo trailer
    More here
  8. We have an enormous pile of dead kiddy trailers that we don't know what to do with. You ever near York Esque?
  9. OP

    Esque New Member

    Not at the moment unfortunately Mickle, I'm in Bournemouth for now but I'm moving up to my fiancé in Glossop in about three and a half weeks which will be quite a bit closer. Are these liable to still be around then at all?? I'd definitely be interested if they are and we can arrange a pick up or something.
  10. OP

    Esque New Member

    Thanks for the tips NT, I think it will probably be built to carry a standard gro-bag from the garden centre. My idea is basically a frame with twin wheels that will fit a grow bag attached to the bike by something similar to the BoB setup. I'm thinking about using a high pressure air hose couple in between the trailer and bike though. This will accomplish two things, A) allow for a quick disconnect of the trailer and for the fitting of a trolley bar if required and :angry: it will also allow for the leaning action of the bike relative to the trailer. I will of course also be including a safety strap should it accidently become disconnected.

    I must admit, I hadn't considered the up and down pivoting action. I wonder if a small universal joint might be more simple and come up with a different quick connect idea, possibly something that involves not leaving anything attached to the bike apart from a couple of brackets.......hmm....a germ of another idea may well be forming......time to stop thinking about it too hard and see what pops into my head :becool:
  11. They'll still be around, attending to a pile of dead trailers will be at the bottom of our list of priorities for at least six months.

    At least six of them are entirely roadworthy, it's just that we've bought some Burleys for the general fleet and these have been retired. Then there are the trailers with parts missing and/or broken, one of which has a pressed steel floor so would be ideal as a luggage carrier.

    Come over one weekend, we'll give you the guided tour of the warehouse and you can build yourself a trailer in our workshop.

  12. OP

    Esque New Member

    That's a fantastic offer Mickle, and one I'll definitely take you up on :biggrin:
  13. Righto.
  14. numbnuts

    numbnuts Legendary Member

    North Baddesley
    I have a Bob Yak ibex and with 28LB it tows great behind my MTB
  15. Night Train

    Night Train Maker of Things

    Greater Manchester
    I might be interested in an old trailer or two Mickle, if you don't mind.

    Esque, a grow bag could fit nicely in an exended BOB but I think a two wheel trailer would be easier to build.
    If you are thinking of two wheels then your joint will need movement in all three axis. The air coupling is an interesting option. You could fix one to a small (or large, depending on your reference point) ball joint that is fixed to the bike. The ball joint will allow much of the movement and the swivel in the air joint will allow axial rotation between bike and trialer as well as the quick release. I'm thinking of something along the lines of the M10 pneumatic actuator ball joint that I have in my hand right now. A U joint would work and you could use one from a socket set. Find one where the cross pins are close together to reduce the bending loads on the joint

    Alternatively, leave a short bit of air hose (allow an inch or two of free movement ) attached to one end of the joint and fix the hose to your bike and that will allow a lot of flex. You could fix the hose to the rear fork of your frame, along the horizontal part of the left side rear triangle using two or three jubilee clips so that the hose coupling clears the axle dropout slot. The hose could run either on the side or under the frame tube depending on clearance. You could split the tube and slip it over the frame tube first to make it more descrete leaving just an inch or two intact before the coupling. This sounds the easiest and simplest

    The safety strap needs only be a bit of decent 25mm webbing with a buckle that can be used to bridge the coupling straight from the trailer hitch to the bike frame.

    Good luck with the build.
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