The Burley hitch came with the following warning:
So, purely because of that warning, I cannot recommend these hitches, even though the example I've fitted is IMO excellent and I would thoroughly recommend it were the warning not present. If you fit one of these hitches to a non-Burley trailer, you do so entirely at your own risk.IMPORTANT; THIS PART IS DESIGNED FOR USE ONLY ON BURLEY TRAILERS. USE ON ANY OTHER TRAILER CAN RESULT IN SERIOUS INJURY. DO NOT INSTALL OR USE THIS HITCH ON ANYTHING OTHER THAN A BURLEY TRAILER.
My trailer (an unbranded cheapie I got from eBay) came with an "Avenir" type hitch (I'm calling it that because it's the type fitted to every Avenir/Raleigh Mule I've seen). The "Avenir" hitch clamps onto the left chainstay.
This had an overlap problem with my left heel and even caused me to fall over once. So I searched for a replacement hitch and initially went for Carry Freedom's own hitch. However, that had issues:
- It moved the trailer nearly two inches to the left so that it no longer properly tracked the bike;
- The Carry Freedom hitch is a universal joint formed from two plates that are held together with a single bolt. This slackened off in use and although I used "loctite" on that bolt, I didn't feel confident with it;
- The Carry Freedom hitch seemed to transmit most bumps and jars from the trailer to the bike.
The Burley Hitch
Burley "New Standard" Hitch
This hitch consists of two items:
- The hitch, Burley part No. 960000 (Fisher Outdoor part No. TRBS23/E)
- Flex connector for round tongue, Burley Part No. 4016045 (Fisher Outdoor part No. TRBS011B)
The hitch consists of an aluminium extrusion bike plate that's secured by the QR skewer, a retaining pin and spring clip, and a safety strap. The picture on the Burely site also shows a D-ring. This wasn't present on the example I received and I'm not sure whether that was an omission or if the D-ring is no longer included. This wasn't an issue for me because I used the D-ring that came with the original "Avenir" hitch.
The flex connector for round tongue is suitable for 7/8" inside diameter (22.2mm) round drawbars. It's made from urethane elastomer that seems far too rigid until fitted, but does allow the trailer to articulate properly.
The instructions given only cover replacing existing Burley items and so I had to use my own judgement. The following is what I did. It seems to work - but that's no guarantee that I did it right!
- I fitted the bike plate to my bike, ensured it was vertical, and tightened up the QR skewer fully.
- Using a batten held in the same plane as the trailer chassis as a guide, I marked a line at the top and bottom of the drawbar.
- I marked the position of bolt holes along these lines so that the shank of the flex connector would protrude about 3/8" from the drawbar when bolted
- I then drilled the bolt holes a slight clearance for the supplied bolt, removed the swarf and cleaned up the jagged edges.
- I then fitted the flex connector, safety strap, and D-ring as per Burley's instructions.
With the Burley hitch in place, the trailer tracks perfectly behind by bike. There is a slight rattle, which proved to be from the clip of the safety strap on the D-ring, but it's much quieter than the Carry Freedom. The hitch gives a respectable amount of isolation from the road bumps. With the Carry Freedom hitch, the jar from almost every pothole that the trailer went over was transmitted back to my bike; with the Burley hitch this is damped to just a little "surging". I've used the trailer for just under a hundred miles since fitting the Burley hitch, and I'm very pleased with it.
Because this hitch can be used as a direct replacement for the Burley Classic hitch, I suspect that the Classic hitch can also be used as an almost direct replacement for an "Avenir" hitch. I also suspect that one could use an "Avenir" hitch on a Burley trailer.
Although this seems an excellent hitch, it does have a few disadvantages that might affect its suitability for particular scenarios.
- The "New Standard" hitch has specific bike plates for different axle types and for some applications (e.g. tandems) the more expensive "alternative" hitch will be needed. However, in all cases the same flex connector is retained. So if you have two cyclists to share the towing, you'll probably need to buy two hitches.
- I wouldn't want to use this hitch on a bike that has horizontal drop-outs unless that bike had a nutted axle, even in which case the Classic hitch might be a better bet.