Extra-Wheel trailer advice

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Manx Cat
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Extra-Wheel trailer advice

Postby Manx Cat » 27 May 2012, 2:00pm


Tina and I have purchased an ExtraWheel trailer for our cycle tour of Northern Ireland in July. I have been impressed with it until I tried it out.

No problem getting it hitched to the road bike. I set off with 2 Orlieb bags on the trailer and 2 on my bike rack empty off to the supermarket, as I suppose a supermarket shop will equal approx the gear in weight we will be taking.

Didnt even notice the trailer was there on the way to the supermarket and I purposely rode up 2 steep hills to test it out.

At the supermarket I discovered that £80 worth of food = 2.5 fills of Orlieb bags.. Not bad, I had plenty of space left over.

Anyway, packed the trailer first, I wanted it to carry the weight. Each rack pannier was between a quarter and half full.

Set off. Boy, what a difference. Bike felt rather serpent like, snaking this way and that, I felt like the trailer was driving the front of my bike. Bike felt very front light, but she has no brazons on her forks for panniers to balance her out. Up hill, I felt the bike was quite heavy, and my ride home was rather slow, but it is up hill all the way back. I stopped for some road treasure (someone lost a bungie strap - good nick and handy). As I leaned over with both feet on the ground the entire bike + trailer dismounted onto the road. OK got back up. Off we went. Down a slight incline. Bike was snaking all over the place and I had to slow to just 12mph, any faster and it simply wasnt safe.

Couple of questions:

Bike was made as a racing bike not a touring bike, although she is steel framed. Could the pulling bike, simply not be up to the job, her frame felt it was made of rubber not steel today :)

Is this experience normal? I have never used a trailer before, is it just something to get used to?

Could I improve things?

ONce i got home I weighed the panniers cos I wondered if I had over loaded it. I hadnt. Load max is 35kgs.

Pannier one on trailer was 8kg
Pannier two on trailer was 10kg
Panner three on bike was 5 kg and
Pannier four on bike was 3 kg

Any advice gratefully received. I was thinking of taking this to the UK next weekend, not sure if I fancy it now.


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Re: Extra-Wheel trailer advice

Postby BeeKeeper » 27 May 2012, 3:01pm

You were carrying nearly twice the weight of what I would carry when touring plus it was on a racing bike. My guess is your bike is not up to the job and the whole thing and probably the rear wheel as well were flexing as you rode it. Also, going up hill the pull from the trailer - even though it attaches at hub hight, would tend to lift the front wheel. This may seem a bit counter-intuitive but if you imagine the bike is pivotting on the rear tyre contact point and then pull backwards at axle hight - the front wheel will lift.

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Re: Extra-Wheel trailer advice

Postby johnb » 27 May 2012, 3:28pm

Apart from anything else if your load is not balanced side to side your going to wobble anyway. How much was total left and right weight distribution?
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Re: Extra-Wheel trailer advice

Postby LollyKat » 27 May 2012, 3:58pm

I had exactly the same problem with the single-wheeled Bob Yak trailer, a load of shopping and a light-ish steel touring bike. It perhaps didn't help that I am light myself. The load was much more than I would take camping, though. It might have worked better with the tandem but rather to my relief it was stolen from a locked shed - house insurance paid up in full.

MickF swears by his Carry Freedom trailer - I think the wheels fold flat for transporting on trains.

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Re: Extra-Wheel trailer advice

Postby johnb » 27 May 2012, 6:11pm

Manx cat, just reread your post again and if you don't mind me asking, did you buy the trailer specifically for your Irish tour? If you did and your not happy with it sell it on and I can loan you either a carry freedom yframe large or an extrawheel trailer for your tour. U could meet you getting off the boat and set it up for you and again meet you when your leaving. All you need is a grip bag or two to carry your gear on the boat.
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Re: Extra-Wheel trailer advice

Postby ambodach » 27 May 2012, 9:02pm

I had similar problems with a road bike and bob yak trailer. Could not carry more that about 12 kilo without the tail wagging the dog feeling. Mountain bike ok and upped load to about 15 kilo with no problems. You expect too much I think. I like my trailer but recognise its limits.

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Re: Extra-Wheel trailer advice

Postby roadvader » 27 May 2012, 10:26pm

ambodach wrote:I had similar problems with a road bike and bob yak trailer. Could not carry more that about 12 kilo without the tail wagging the dog feeling. Mountain bike ok and upped load to about 15 kilo with no problems. You expect too much I think. I like my trailer but recognise its limits.

agree,had my bob/yak for a while now and with my giant road bike its fine with a light load,been camping locally a few times,you just alter the way you ride,you have to!!,had silly weight on it to the local dump recycling to,just take it easy vs doing it hard!!

but with my dawes tourer its a different game....
sorry love not tonight im shaving my legs...

Manx Cat
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Re: Extra-Wheel trailer advice

Postby Manx Cat » 28 May 2012, 4:53am

Thanks everyone for this.

It was my first intro into the world of trailers. Learnt a valuable lesson, and yes, I know now I have over estimated its abilities and that perhaps of my pulling bike.

Are two wheeled trailers more stable then?

Will give it another go with lighter load, infact I think Ill pack the gear we intend to pull and see how that goes. The idea was we carried our own gear in panniers on the bikes, and I towed the camping stuff - tents and the like.

John... I am seriously considering yoru offer of the two wheeled freedom.

Gotta speed off right now, as its a bank holiday on the IOM and the sun is out and I intend to cycle all day long today. Will pm you as soon as I recover later this evening. Thank you so much for this offer.

Just booking our nights in N Ireland has been a great experience. No one wanted money up front bar one very popular camp site, and everyone has been so generous and kind to us before we have even arrived! Not only that but B&B prices in N Ireland are still very affordable like what I was paying in 2007 :D not the unaffordable prices I can no longer afford in England.

Got some fantastic touring ahead.

Speak later

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Re: Extra-Wheel trailer advice

Postby Deckie » 28 May 2012, 8:46am

Don't give up on it!!!

We have an Extra Wheel and used it on our JoGLE behind the tandem carrying all our kit - not lightweight! I wouldn't be surprised if it came to nearly 40kg. I've also used it behind my solo bike with no problems.

When loading the trailer you need to be careful of the front back balance as well as side to side. If the load is too far back you will be trying to lift the back wheel, thus inducing some snaking sensations. The balance needs to be slightly forward so if the trailer is not attached to the bike the connecting fork will rest on the ground, if it wants to lift you've got it wrong.

We've found this trailer so good, useful and simple, we wouldn't be without it!
Richard & Joules JoGLE for Marie Curie - 14 to 28 May 2010

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Re: Extra-Wheel trailer advice

Postby meic » 28 May 2012, 8:57am

Speaking for two wheel trailers, it is the relative weights that make a difference.

My rear trailer weighs from 30kg up. However the bike and myself weigh from 100kg up.

If I put more weight on than that I prefer it to be in rear panniers to keep the rear wheel firmly on the ground when my body weight isnt on it. Also that rear wheel becomes the CofG for the whole set up so it gets the heavier items and the trailer gets the bulky items.

So I have absolutely no worries or problems with an all up weight of 40kg for the trailer, unless I get off the bike!
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Re: Extra-Wheel trailer advice

Postby fatboy » 28 May 2012, 10:56am

Couple of thoughts about this for the mix.

1. Are the trailer panniers centred on the wheel axis? From their website it looks like this is not the case. If the weight is ahead of the trailer axis it will push down some of its weight onto the bike's axle
2. Can the weight be got any lower? The higher up the weight the more toppling affect that the trailer will have
3. How does the bike handle with weight on its rack without the trailer? I have had issues with my tourer with camping loads and I think that wobbly rear racks have been my issue - my bike has at times felt like a wobbly spring - not nice!

Maybe a photo of the rig would be helpful. I have to confess that I'm unsure about the Extrawheel as an option. If you really need to do a trailer both the bob-yak style (nice low centre of gravity) and the carry Freedon (nice low centre of gravity and all weight supported by the trailer axle with little on the nose of the towing bike).

Another idea, if the Extrawheel is no good for you and the main bike can take some load on the rear rack is to use the rear rack and a Carradice Saddlebag with an SQR uplift. This is what I plan to use the next time I go camping. Seat posts are strong (the SQR uplift can cope with 10kg) so I plan to mount tent on the lid of a saddlebag and put cooking stuff etc in the saddlebag. Then use the panniers for sleeping stuff and clothes.

I hope this is helpful


P.S. Seatpost are strong - I tow a tandem tag-along and it is fine. Given how wobbly racks and rear triangles can be on bikes I think that I favour seatpost mounting rather than rack mounting for tag-alongs
"Marriage is a wonderful invention; but then again so is the bicycle puncture repair kit." - Billy Connolly

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Re: Extra-Wheel trailer advice

Postby peterbayliss » 28 May 2012, 11:17pm

Just a thought but did you increase the tyre pressures for the extra weight in particular the rear wheel tyre? I find with my single speed bike is more sensitive to tyre pressure than my other bike and if the pressure is too low its feels squirmy and that is without a trailer.

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Re: Extra-Wheel trailer advice

Postby Manx Cat » 30 May 2012, 10:05pm

Hello All.

Had a reply via message from supplier. It seems I have likely not adjusted the forks correctly on this. I will await his reply on how to rectify it. So I have not given up just yet. Especially as Deckie seems to love it, so Im certain Im doing summat wrong.

Pick of bike with trailer full of my shopping.


and no luggage:


Shedman wondered if I had the ratio wrong too. Like Meic suggested, Shedman thought I should put the heavy stuff on Hettie and pull the big stuff behind.

IF this helps. Changing Hettie to my winter commute bike instead. Cos she is a kilo heavier. Plus, I have steel forks for the winter commute so I can fit a front rack.

Do you think putting some weight in the front will help keep that front wheel from waving about?

Im off island from the weekend for the following week, so cant set about testing her out until the 11 June at the earliest.

To answer Fatboy
I am going to re try this, and this time instead of shopping, actually pack my camping gear. I did try wiht the shopping to put glass stuff, wine etc at the bottom and mushrooms and tomatoes at the top. The two combined bags were quite heavy, but no heavier than I toured Yorkshire with earlier this year with just 2 panniers.

Without the trailer there isnt a handling issue, I cycled Liverpool to Lowestoft with two panniers on a rear rack on this bike. She felt heavy behind, but it didnt stop me cycling 60+ miles a day. So the bike is ok when loaded at the back only.

On this next tour though, we are taking camping gear, and Tina's bike wont hold a lot of stuff, so I intend to carry most of it. Im fitter than she is, so this should equal out our trip somewhat.

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Re: Extra-Wheel trailer advice

Postby meic » 30 May 2012, 10:58pm

Your panniers on the bike are already a bit higher and further back than mine, this is then added to by the panniers of the extra wheel being quite forward so putting a fair bit of their weight on your bike.

If the arms attached to your bike are rigid (vertically) and the towing hook is capable of pushing the front of your bike up by pushing down on it then that will give you problems.
If it is free to rotate at the rear axle, then with your bike, I would actually be happy to have the weight in the trailer as it would be applying it on the rear axle, which I think would be more stable than high rear panniers behind the rear axle.

It does also look as if you have to take care to balance the weight either side of the extra wheel.

A two wheel trailer has a lot less (virtually none) influence on the handling of the bike. All the bike really has to do is provide motive force.
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Re: Extra-Wheel trailer advice

Postby Manx Cat » 31 May 2012, 8:30pm

I shall add everyone, that when I was looking for a trailer, the Extra Wheel one seemed to come with the best reviews regarding lightness and responsivness behind the bike.

Ahem... It seems I should have read the instructions when I put it 'to' the bike as well. Blimey Ive never done that before... Im a woman... What would I do with instructions.... :wink:

Anyway, I found a site better than the instructions in the box, which I did glance at, and once my eyes glazed over as usual, I simply put it 'to' Hettie and set off. Here is the link to photographic instructions...

http://www.aushiker.com/gear-note-extra ... pressions/

Scroll down, and there are very detailed photographs on how to set up the trailer.

Dont want to send out the wrong impression when its all down to the rubbish way I have set it all up. Im off touring on Saturday (Not taking trailer until Im happy with it). ONce I am home, I am setting up my winter commute to the trailer as it was sold to me as a touring/audax bike. Now I know where I went wrong...

Seems I was supposed to undo the little nut thingies... Then widen the forks out, by 3cm. It did say this in the instruct....on zzzzz booklet I wasnt sure which bits were the forks to be honest, ie was the bit that joined onto the hitch a fork? Cos they both ends looked the same to me... :oops: