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  1. #1
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    Burley trailer: excessive tire wear?

    What kind of tire life are you seeing with your Burley trailers?

    I have an Encore, one of the last of the old US-built design. Sort of a stripped-down D-lite. I've just worn the second set of tires down to the cords. I pull it fairly regularly, but I'm hardly a fanatical trailer user. I'm guessing I got less than 1000 miles from each set of tires.

    This trailer is designed (?) so that the wheels have a bit of inward camber,
    kinda like this: /--\. I'm guessing that's why they wear out so fast...?

    Anybody else?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    The negative camber is causing the excessive tire wear. Fixing the problem may be tough to do, as something is bent or the trailer is chronically overloaded.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    I'd suggest putting on a decent set of tires. I run Scwalbe Marathon Racers on my Nomad and have 5,000 miles on them and counting. They still look perfectly good, and I haul a pretty heavy load. The camber shouldn't be very severe (mine has the same thing) and I doubt that is your problem.

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    Senior Member Turbo231's Avatar
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    Yes...this is an alignment issue given they really shouldn't wear out at all. Like said earlier, not sure how to fix it, maybe a shim can be fabricated.

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    I wouldn't expect the camber to be that big an issue. It'll cause wear to the tread more to the inside than right in the center, but that shouldn't make the tire wear out so quick. Wonder if you might have an alignment problem with toe-in (or toe-out) which would cause some scrubbing action on the tire and also increase the rolling resistance. Measure the distance between the two wheels right at the front and again at the back to see if the two readings are different.

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    The trailer hasn't been overloaded. I thought negative camber was a design feature of the old Burleys to make them more stable or something..?
    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

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    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    The brand of trailer you're pulling probably doesn't have anything to do with tire wear. Doubtful that Burley's magically wear out tires faster than others.

    Trailer wheels, like sport wheelchairs, often have a camber in order to make it harder for them to flip over in corners. You are correct by assuming stability is the reason.

    Spend a buck or two and put on some quality tires and I'm thinking you'll see much better mileage.

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    Excessive tire wire is usually a result of under-inflation.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

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    If the problem is camber, you could swap sides with the wheels (if that's possible--I don't know that trailer) or remount the tires so they lean the other way. We have a lot of steeply cambered roads here, and road tires wear on the left side because they're effectively on a sidehill all the time. Some people say it's dangerous to rotate them, but I've done it for 30 years with no problems.

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    Senior Member chriskmurray's Avatar
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    I don't think a little camber would do much for tire wear. What I WOULD check though would be the amount of toe the wheels have. If there is excessive to you will just be scrubbing away the tires as you ride. It sounds like you are familiar with the different alignment angles but if not, measure how far apart the front of the tires are compared to the rear of the tires. Also make sure the hubs are in good shape because that could cause you to scrub the tires as you pull the trailer.

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    I will be shocked--shocked!-- if this has anything to do with camber or toe issues. I think the likelihood is extremely low, first because bike trailers don't have adjustments for those settings, and it's a Burley USA made, legendary for quality, so probably not a production flaw.

    Any hub failure to cause uneven wear would be obvious; you'd feel that right away. I doubt it's that.

    OP: what do you inflate to? Do you check periodically with a gauge? What type and brand of tire?
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  12. #12
    Senior Member Turbo231's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    , and it's a Burley USA made, legendary for quality, so probably not a production flaw.
    Yeah...um, in today's world or shifting factories and layoffs, you can never ASSUME quality...that's like saying a Cadillac is the king of cars...they once were, but that ship has sailed a long time ago. It all starts somewhere.

    As for wheel adjustments, no, there is no mechanical means to do it, but if things are bent, they need to be unbent. Toe would be the big issue, in or out, it's going to erase tread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo231 View Post
    Yeah...um, in today's world or shifting factories and layoffs, you can never ASSUME quality...that's like saying a Cadillac is the king of cars...they once were, but that ship has sailed a long time ago. It all starts somewhere.

    As for wheel adjustments, no, there is no mechanical means to do it, but if things are bent, they need to be unbent. Toe would be the big issue, in or out, it's going to erase tread.
    Like I said earlier, the Burley co-op in Eugene, OR, was famed, and appreciated, for it's quality products. They lost some lustre with the sellout to Asian manufacturing in '06.

    Regarding bent wheel mounts, knowing how the Burley's are built, I think that's an extremely unlikely scenario.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  14. #14
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    IDK I have a Burly Trailer The 2 406 wheels are dished, for wider track , But
    they are not cambered, something is Bent if they are not straight up&down .
    its a CoOp made Flat bed..

    I heard the CoOp was driven into the ditch by a hired Manager-CEO,
    who bought the company privately at the Bankruptcy.

    and is responsible for the Job Offshoring, making Them.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 11-09-12 at 04:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    IDK I have a Burly Trailer The 2 406 wheels are dished, for wider track , But
    they are not cambered, something is Bent if they are not straight up&down .
    its a CoOp made Flat bed..

    I heard the CoOp was driven into the ditch by a hired Manager-CEO,
    who bought the company privately at the Bankruptcy.

    and is responsible for the Job Offshoring, making Them.
    Both wheel mounts bent? At the same angle? And the OP not realize it? Really, that sounds extremely unlikely, for a variety of reasons. My Tanjor trailer has cambered wheels:

    tanjor camber.jpg
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  16. #16
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The scrub angle, An offset viewed vertically, (like toe in/out)

    not being at right angles to the centerline of the trailer.
    would have potential tire wear..

    Camber if axle is square to direction of travel. would only move the contact patch A Bit.

    have you analyzed the tire wear pattern..?

    Decent car mechanics have done that for a long time..

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