Trailers-Anyone have any information or experiances

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Design Student
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Trailers-Anyone have any information or experiances

Postby Design Student » 30 Oct 2008, 11:40am

Hi Everyone, I am a 3D Design student at University. I am currently working on a project which promotes cycling and public transport. I have been researching into bicycle trailers. However I have very little experience using them. Does anyone own, use or commute with a trailer. What are the biggest pros/cons with the designs. What puts you off buying one is it the price, image or style? What is the best design one/two wheels? Do you use your trailer for shopping. Have you got any thoughts or opinions about evolving the design? Any information would be really useful thank you.

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 30 Oct 2008, 11:49am

Hi Design Student, and welcome to the forum!

The best/easiest thing is to check out these links to posts on these pages:
http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?t=14609
http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?t=3201
http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?t=14786
http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?t=9903

There are more!

Also study
http://www.carryfreedom.com/info.html

As you can gather, I'm a trailer fan. I went shopping yesterday.
I bought an aluminium box for mine.
http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?t=16398

Good luck with your project.

By the way, I've just deleted your other two posts elsewhere on the forum. Please don't post duplicates, it tends to annoy!

Regards,
Mick.

GeoffL
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Postby GeoffL » 30 Oct 2008, 12:08pm

This seems to have been posted to four forums, perhaps a mod would like to rationalise this?

To answer the OP's question:
I use a trailer mainly so that my wife and I can take our dog with us on rides of more than ten to fifteen miles or those that involve roads open to motor traffic. It also doubles as a cargo trailer that I occasionally use for shopping, carrying stuff to the recycle centre, etc.

I'm not put off by price or image. My only concerns are functionality and value for money. My current trailer is a "cheapie" but the next one will be something of better quality even though I'll have to pay considerably more than I did for the one I now have.

WRT which is best, it's horses for courses. Because of their lack of width at ground level, monowheel trailers are probably best for singletrack and similar. However, two wheel trailers are probably more stable and so better suited to roads. That said, both can be used in both environments. Also to be considered is how the trailer attaches to the bike. High (e.g. seat-post) hitches offer more manoeuvrability since the back wheel of the bike passes under the drawbar. However, the hitch being further from the ground gives the trailer more leverage - hence a higher upsetting moment - and so affects handling of the bike more. A low (axle or chainstay) hitch has less leverage and so affects the handling less. However, it does limit the articulation of the outfit on the drawbar side because the rear wheel of the bike fouls the drawbar at the limiting angle.

Also to be considered is the width of the trailer. For example, because it has a narrower track, a Carry Freedom Y-small will go places where a Y-large has difficulty. However, a Y-large can handle loads that won't fit on a Y-small.

In short, I don't think that there's a "one size fits all" solution. Some (e.g. Carry Freedom Y-frame) are designed with adaptability in mind. Others (e.g. Bike Hod) are designed for a specific purpose and can be a better solution for that purpose than more generalised trailers.

Take a look at what's already around. Carry Freedom, Bikes and Trailers, Extrawheel should give you some ideas. Also, Carry Freedom has a page on the pros and cons of the various trailer types (and other ways of carrying stuff by bike).

HTH,

Geoff

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 30 Oct 2008, 1:34pm

GeoffL wrote:This seems to have been posted to four forums, perhaps a mod would like to rationalise this?


Sorted.
Mick F. Cornwall

Khornight
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Re: Trailers-Anyone have any information or experiances

Postby Khornight » 30 Oct 2008, 2:25pm

I've used a couple of trailers, mainly for transporting kids around (my younger brother when younger and my ex's kid)

Of note: the first trailer had a plate which went on to the back hub and the trailer locked onto that (plus an emergancy conection should the main connection fail). the second one has to be connected and disconnected from the hub (ie you've got to remove the quick release) each time which is annoying... it's proably safer but never broke the first trailers connection and the emergancy backup would have stopped anything too bad from happening. I also beleive that there are some laws about connections for child trailers, I beleive different in UK, Europe and USA (in fact I think there are different laws in different states)...

Obviously with kids you need the stability of two wheels, but if I were to get one for tours I'd get a single wheel for the sake of manouvability.

My main reason for not having one is room... so it would be nice to have one that could be packed away...

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meic
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Postby meic » 30 Oct 2008, 2:43pm

I have a very old Burley D'Lite and it is just that, a delight.

The only complaint is that the baby goes in and out through the nylon material roof. If it is raining she gets soaked by the water from the sky, the water falling off me and the water coming off the roof itself as you open it. This then collects in a puddle/lake on the seat. Thank god she wears a "water"proof nappy cover.
Otherwise it is a brilliant compromise of manouverability, compactness, load carrying and handling with a lightweight.
Yma o Hyd

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essexman
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Postby essexman » 30 Oct 2008, 4:02pm

Hi i'm a brand new trailer owner, my first impressions are captured in my blog (obvious pros and cons) you might find those a contrast to the experienced hands on this forum.

Like many of the others here i'm using it primarily for shopping\load carrying.

I'm also a frequent train user. getting a bike onto a train can be hard. Getting a bike and trailer on the train is not something i'd dare attempt. I guess the carry freedom city and a folder would work for that tho...

Mick is the trailer expert, and if you read his threads you'll get a feel for the fact that most people buy a trailer, then take it into a workshop and get drilling\sewing\sticking. It shows that there is still a gap for a ready for use product. Lights\stands\brakes\locks\boxes etc seem to be the common mods.
I hate snow.

drossall
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Postby drossall » 30 Oct 2008, 8:12pm

I've had a Bike Hod for over 25 years. It's been very flexible - at various times I've carried two folding beds, paint pots, fluorescent light strips, another bike, and assorted other large items. The main issue is stability when empty - hit a bump with one wheel and it can go over.

I don't think any of the issues you mention are obstacles - mostly it's that people just don't think of putting trailers on bikes, even though they (and sidecars) have been around since at least the 30s.

By the way, don't forget to think about where lights will go - as with a car trailer, you need to put lights on because your normal rear lights will be hidden. These days, bike lights are designed to go on seat stays, racks or seat posts, so you need a pole-shaped object near the back of your design, or else to provide a custom mount point.

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UrbanManc
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Postby UrbanManc » 31 Oct 2008, 12:02am

GeoffL wrote:This seems to have been posted to four forums, perhaps a mod would like to rationalise this?



It's also been posted on other websites (inc. Bikeradar) and someone sent them here from their forum :)

Design Student
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Trailers

Postby Design Student » 3 Nov 2008, 9:49am

HI, A big thanks to everyone who has replyed so far all this information is really useful!!

Thanks mat

mading
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Postby mading » 3 Nov 2008, 1:31pm

Another happy Burley D'Lite owner here. Styling not important, though of course design IS - price bought new would have been prohibitive. Bought secondhand from a gentleman of this parish.

We have been doing the nursery run daily since April. About 7 miles round trip on carefully planned route. So far so good. Have also used it for shopping (including bulky nappies and heavy beer, the latter only when not in the service to the Young Master!) and trips to recycling centre etc (televisions, timber bed frame, retired bike frame etc).

I like its stability (even in moderately windy conditions) and its light weight. The Young Master likes its waterproofness! But I agree with meic's point above --- sometimes we look for cover before loading.

I have modified it by adding lights - relatively simple given tubular frame - only problem is that fixing them at a sensible position on the rear means stretching the cover slightly - fine in good weather - not ideal in the rain as it causes water to collect in creases and also opens a small gap between cover and frame. It would be preferable if mounts had be designed in from the start.

Another minor problem with an unmodified Burley on UK roads is that the flag is positioned on the left hand corner. It's better on the right. Again, this is easily fixed!

The only other problem is the propensity for the canvas cover to grow mildew, despite careful drying --- if we come home in the rain, the trailer comes into the kitchen to dry off --- rather than going in our slightly dank cellar.

Perhaps more of an issue is the provision of infrastructure but trailer-pulling cyclists are not alone in this! Narrowness of marked `cycle lanes' and a desire not to sink the left wheel in every drain grate means I have to position myself well in with the traffic to the undoubted consternation of some of those with whom we share the roads. Bollards and other obstacles design to permit cycles but prevent access to cars and motorcycles can be tricky but are mostly negotiable. Where Sheffield stands are provided outside work, supermarkets etc there is rarely sufficient width/length to secure bike and trailer together --- and there is not always a car park bay vacant next to some static object against which to lock up.

What a long post - hope it's helpful!

Cheers,
m

dewi1
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Trailers

Postby dewi1 » 3 Nov 2008, 1:42pm

Some thoughts from someone using Argos traielrs, the bottom end of the market ....

I did have an Avenir trailer from Argos that costs about £80 which I used for carrying one child until he was nine. Had it about 3 years and found it brilliant. The only downside was that it was an axle hitch and although really easy to hitch unhitch I could only really use it with the one bike. But all in all a super trailer.

I also have a cargo trailer from Argos that I bought recently. This fits on teh chainstay which seems an improvement - really easy to hitch unhitch and can easily be swapped from bike to bike. But I haven't used it much so I can't say for sure how good thsi is yet. However, the sides are fabric and once I fill it with shopping the sides rub on the wheels which is rubbish - I will have to add some bits of plywood or similar to deal with this. On the plus side it is narrower than the Avenir and I feel less likely to get run over in it. Overall I think once I have dealt with the problem with the wheels rubbing I feel I will have a good trailer.

cheers

Taffy

GeoffL
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Postby GeoffL » 3 Nov 2008, 2:30pm

It just proves that one size does not fit all since I went the other way. My trailer started off with an Avenir spring hitch (the one that clamps onto the left chainstay) but I had serious problems with it and so swapped the hitch initially for a Carry Freedom hitch and more recently for a Burley hitch, finding the Burley hitch considerably superior to the others for my purposes. However, other trailer users swear by other hitch types so it really is a matter of personal preference. This thread describes the hitch change on my trailer. With some axle hitches, the bike plates are available as spare parts at reasonable cost, so having more than one tow-bike need not be a "killer" if you prefer axle hitches.

That said, most of the axle/chainstay hitch types are interchangeable. At least, Burley, Avenir, and Chariot "round tongue" hitches are and I suspect that Montare and Weber are also. Also I suspect that Burley "square tongue" hitches can be retrofitted to Carry Freedom Y-frame and bArk. I guess that it would be a good idea for axle or chainstay hitch designs to use the most common (7/8" ID round) drawbar (aka tongue) to enable people to use their preferred hitch and to be able to set up all their trailers with the same arrangement.

mading wrote:Where Sheffield stands are provided outside work, supermarkets etc there is rarely sufficient width/length to secure bike and trailer together --- and there is not always a car park bay vacant next to some static object against which to lock up.

With Burley hitches, you can usually "fold" the combination with the left side of the bike leaning against the left side of the trailer and then cable-lock the ensemble together - preferably with a lamp-post, tree, etc. between them and with the cables passing through both frames, one bike wheel and one trailer wheel. The result is an awkward lump that is almost impossible to pick up cleanly.

Geoff

Edwards
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Postby Edwards » 3 Nov 2008, 5:38pm

T W Bents make the trailer for Edingburgh Bike Co Op.
Their web site is a little short on info but does show their 4 designs.
I have their single wheel folding one and use it for camping with a lighter road bike
Keith Edwards
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