Burley "New Standard" trailer hitch

Please be fair and thoughtful in your opinions. No rants please.
GeoffL
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Burley "New Standard" trailer hitch

Postby GeoffL » 22 Oct 2007, 8:41am

Caveat
The Burley hitch came with the following warning:
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.
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.

Background
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.

Image
"Avenir" Hitch

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.
So another replacement was needed and, after some research, I decided to give the Burely "New Standard" hitch a try.

The Burley Hitch
Image
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)
Fisher Outdoor are the UK distributor and if you order these bits from your LBS you might need to supply Fisher's part numbers. Both items together cost under twenty quid from my LBS - which compares well with the £20 I paid for the Carry Freedom hitch.

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.

Fitting
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!
  1. I fitted the bike plate to my bike, ensured it was vertical, and tightened up the QR skewer fully.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. I then drilled the bolt holes a slight clearance for the supplied bolt, removed the swarf and cleaned up the jagged edges.
  5. I then fitted the flex connector, safety strap, and D-ring as per Burley's instructions.
I felt it important to ensure that the head of the flex connector would be vertical and so line up with bike plate and have the least stress under normal operation - but that's just my best guess!

In Use
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.

Observations
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.

Disadvantages
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.

HTH,

Geoff

Starfire
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Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 10:50pm
Location: Haverigg, Cumbria.

Postby Starfire » 22 Oct 2007, 10:23pm

I cured my Carry Freedom Hitch from slackening off by drilling a hole in the nut and securing with a split pin, never had any trouble with it since.

cyclistjohn
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Joined: 30 Apr 2007, 9:34pm

Re: Burley "New Standard" trailer hitch

Postby cyclistjohn » 23 Oct 2007, 9:00pm

GeoffL wrote:Caveat
.... 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.


HTH,

Geoff


Indeed it does help, thanks for the details.

banjokat
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Joined: 17 Aug 2007, 3:10pm

Postby banjokat » 1 Nov 2007, 12:16am

Yes indeed.
I've just bought a used no name trailer with the raleigh style hitch and am thinking of fitting a better quality one so this is a big help. Thanks.

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 1 Nov 2007, 7:06am

I've never had a problem with any of the screws on my CF hitch. Thousands of miles done.
Mick F. Cornwall

Tim Major

Trailer Hitches

Postby Tim Major » 6 Nov 2007, 11:57am

New to CTC Fourm but been riding in and around Sheffield for years (not as much over last few years due to work and children, but now thery're getting bigger and able to ride a bit themselves).

Like Banjokat i've bought a cheaper trailer a couple of years ago for occasional use and straight away realised the limitations of the "Avenir" clamp. Not ideal for actually tightening it sufficiently (need strong hands) and damage(?) on the rear swing arm. I had also seen the potential for the Burley hitch system (I'd previously hired a Burley trailer and found it to be fantastic, but couldn't justify the expense to buy one against the amount of use I'd get out of it). Speaking with one of my LBS a while ago they too came out with the Burley caveat... so to find this thread from such an illustrious organisation as CTC I thought WOW! sensible reasoned advice.

Taking on board any risk and disclaimer from Burley or CF, come to that, using an alternative hitch on my cheapy will I am sure enhance safety and ride quality for both me and my Bairn.

I go this very lunchtime to another LBS to discuss further...

Picked up another thread (poss from CTC Forum) regarding the wisdom or otherwise of helmets for trailer occupants... does anyone have any thoughts.

many thanks and hope to hear people's views...

Tim

melw1

Postby melw1 » 6 Nov 2007, 2:37pm

Helmets for trailer occupants.... in my case they don't work. A 3 yo and a 18 month old's heads are different heights. With helmets on the 3yo gets it in the neck! Plus they bang their heads together too much.... I've got "cut outs" in the back of the trailer for the helmets but again, the 18month old is too low so no use. Helmet goes over face, one miserable little boy.

Tim Major

Postby Tim Major » 6 Nov 2007, 3:18pm

Hmmm... that sounds like a very familiar story... heads banging together or helmets slipping over face; same result - unhappy, miserable passengers makes riding about more painful than the actual pedalling.

I had seen on the other thread (mentioned earlier) that some of the Photos on either the Burley or CF website the passengers were 'sans' helmets. I can see the benefits both ways; possibly biased away from helmet wear, but how could you rationalise if they weren't wearing a helment and you got hit or trailer went over? It's that old chestnut of fear of an occurrance actually outweighing the actual likelihood - Oh the joys of risk assessment!

Thanks for your thoughts...

Tim

melw1

Postby melw1 » 6 Nov 2007, 4:39pm

If the trailer went over I think they would be fine - have turned the trailer over by hand on purpose to test this - they just dangle in their harnesses with big grins on their faces. If this was to happen in anger I guess they could bang their heads together.... but at least the roll cage inside the trailer keeps their heads from hitting anything outside. (I've got a Chariot trailer and the harnesses are fab - really secure).

Heaven forbid the trailer gets squashed - well what use are the helmets going to be then anyway...? :cry:

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CJ
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Postby CJ » 22 Nov 2007, 4:11pm

I like the Weber coupling. I think Edinburgh Bicycle may sell them. I've even fitted one to a Burley trailer instead of its comparatively excellent hitch.
Image
As you can see it incorporates a stand, which is very handy for loading, especially since a trailer makes it more awkward to get your bike close enough to a wall etc. But I also appreciate having the stand right there under the load when I'm shopping with just panniers.

Edit: Another advantage is it doesn't interfere with rear wheel removal.
Chris Juden
One lady owner, never raced or jumped.

GeoffL
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Location: SE Cornwall

Postby GeoffL » 22 Nov 2007, 6:43pm

CJ wrote:I like the Weber coupling. ...

Edit: Another advantage is it doesn't interfere with rear wheel removal.

However, if you have large feet the Weber does have an overlap issue with one's left heel. FWIW, the Burley bike plate doesn't really interfere with rear wheel removal - it just comes away with the wheel and requires very little extra care when refitting the wheel.

Additionally, the Weber hitch is more expensive than the Burley hardware and cannot be as easily transferred from one bike to another as can the Burley. However, if you want something that can be quickly transfered between bikes and doesn't have the same overlap issue as the "Weber complete with stand", the Burley Classic hitch seems a good bet at about forty quid complete. I found the Weber hitch here for forty quid, but I suspect that's without the drawbar fitting.

Geoff

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Fonant
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Postby Fonant » 25 May 2008, 6:37pm

Have just taken delivery of second-hand trailer, with the "Avenir" hitch, and it won't clamp onto my dutch bikes fat alloy stays (especially with the rear hub brake bits getting in the way). We also have an old Burley D'Lite with the old classic hitch (big plastic moulding that hooks round the stays) and that also doesn't fit too well on the Dutch bikes. So it looks like a set of the new Burley standard hitches will be just the ticket.

For anyone else doing the same research, I've found the Burley Hitch Guide (PDF) to be useful to visualise what the various Burley hitches look like, and their respective limitations.
Anthony Cartmell (also known as "admin" when posting in a more official capacity on this Forum)
Kangaroo trike, Windcheetah recumbent, Batavus dutch bike, Dawes Galaxy Twin tandem, Pashley unicycle
http://www.fonant.com – Quality web sites.

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Fonant
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Postby Fonant » 3 Jul 2008, 1:41pm

We have now bought three new Burley hitches that mount on the read axle of the towing bike, one for each bike that might tow the trailers (about a tenner each). We also bought one rubber flex connector for the non-burley trailer. This needed one new hole drilled in the non-Burley trailer's arm to take the bolt that fixes the connector and safety strap, but otherwise it was just a spanner job to fit the new hitches.

The result is much neater, easier to connect/disconnect the trailers, and is unaffected by rear drum brakes and fat frame tubes.

Ordered via our LBS (MSG Bikes, Lancing) from Fisher Outdoor (they don't sell the flex connector on their website) quoting the part numbers. They arrived in less than a week.
Anthony Cartmell (also known as "admin" when posting in a more official capacity on this Forum)
Kangaroo trike, Windcheetah recumbent, Batavus dutch bike, Dawes Galaxy Twin tandem, Pashley unicycle
http://www.fonant.com – Quality web sites.

OldGreyBeard
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Postby OldGreyBeard » 21 Oct 2008, 5:34pm

Very interesting post.

I have a Philips Mule trailer with the truly dreadful hitch. On my old (1982) Dawes Galaxy it keeps threatening to rotate round into the spokes.

I've also got a Brompton and was considering this hitch upgrade. Has anyone tried the Burley hitch with a Brompton?

The masterplan is to get a hitch for the Galaxy my wife's Raleigh 3 speed and the Brompton so we can use any bike to tow the trailer to and from the allotment.

fatboy
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Postby fatboy » 22 Oct 2008, 8:44am

OldGreyBeard wrote:Very interesting post.

I have a Philips Mule trailer with the truly dreadful hitch. On my old (1982) Dawes Galaxy it keeps threatening to rotate round into the spokes.



I have a kiddie trailer with the same hitch and had all sorts of issues with it. But I've sorted it now by making sure that the chainstay is clear and so are the jaws. Now I don't have a problem.
"Marriage is a wonderful invention; but then again so is the bicycle puncture repair kit." - Billy Connolly