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  1. #1
    Banned. ModoVincere's Avatar
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    Any trailer recommendations?

    I'm thinking I might do a 3 to 4 day unsupported tour this year. I have a mtb I'm thinking of using for this tour that has disc brakes and a suspension fork up front. This kind of precludes the use of racks, or at least makes it more difficult.
    I'm thinking a nice trailer would do wonders....oh, and if I get a trailer, I'd really like to be able to put the dog in the trailer too....I could use it to take the dog to the daycare when commuting.

  2. #2
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    Use the advance search function. Search touring forum titles using the key word "trailer." You should find an exhaustive supply of opinions on a multitude of trailers.

  3. #3
    Because I thought I could ks1g's Avatar
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    Is your MTB a hard-tail or full suspension? It's easy to put a rear rack on a hard-tail (heel strike could be a problem, however) and carry what you might need for 3-4 days without the added complexity and weight of a trailer. I have no experience with disc brake systems, so that could be a problem - your LBS may be able to help there. A rack system for a full-suspension bike may be cheaper and lighter than a trailer (other than purchasing a used child trailer from a yard sale or Craigslist).

    In addition to searching the forums, what kind of roads and trails do you expect to ride? A single-wheel trailer may be your only option depending on trail conditions. For example, the C&O Canal Towpath - it is mostly very flat packed dirt & gravel double-track, so you'd expect it to be very trailer-friendly. There are sections where the tracks are separated by a wide grassy hump that would cause problems for a 2-wheel trailer. At the other extreme, my neighbor rode the TransAmerica route pulling a Burley Nomad (2-wheel cargo trailer); one of his travelling partners pulled a single wheel trailer. Both riders were pleased with their choices. As for transporting a dog, you may want an enclosed trailer (either designed for carrying an animal, or re-purpose a child trailer. Most of those are 2-wheelers (I've seen a few very pricey single wheel dog trailers).

  4. #4
    Banned. ModoVincere's Avatar
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    The disc brakes make a rack problematic. There are racks available that solve that issue, but they are a bit pricey.
    Additionally, I need something I can put the dog in and take her to the daycare once I start commuting again. Thus I'm thinking a trailer makes the most sense.

    The bike's a hardtail....but since I'm looking at a trailer, I don't think that matters much.
    I guess I'm looking for information on which one's have the easiest/best way of connecting to the bike. Which ones are the easiest to maintain. Storage issues. etc.

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I could use it to take the dog to the daycare when commuting.
    Look for someones used Kid Trailer, since you intend to tow the Dog .

    children out grow riding in them, so their parents sell them.

    or you have a trailer that supports a piece of plywood,
    and the normal pet carrier is bolted to that piece.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 02-15-12 at 04:38 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member djyak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Look for someones used Kid Trailer, since you intend to tow the Dog .

    children out grow riding in them, so their parents sell them.

    or you have a trailer that supports a piece of plywood,
    and the normal pet carrier is bolted to that piece.

    My friend did that, neighbor gave them their old child trailer, he took off all the old fabric, riveted some aluminum, and presto! Great trailer for the touring he does! Was cheap too.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    I was going to suggest an Extrawheel Voyager until you mentioned the dog. With the dog I would second the suggestions for a kiddie trailer or similar. Should be okay for what you have planned.

    Andrew

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    The "dog requirement" pretty much eliminates all the single-wheel trailer designs imo. That leaves things like a Burley Nomad, the aforementioned child trailers or a DIY/modify-n-assemble design like a Wike. There are a number of stories on on CGOAB about people taking pets-in-trailers along on long-distance trips.

  9. #9
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    I am not known to be a negative person in general but I would like to mention some shortcomings with trailers for bicycles since I have pulled lots of them for various reasons.

    First - good things about trailers!
    1. Like you, hooking up racks to certain bikes is difficult (but almost never impossible).
    2. For large riders, getting the weight of gear onto three or four wheels helps prevent breaking the bike.
    3. For back-country tours with tons of river crossings/portages, like the Continental Divide route, it is much easier to drop the trailer, carry the bike across, then carry the trailer across, than to jettison four panniers every time, the reattach again and again and again.
    4. When you get to camp, drop the trailer in two seconds and use your ATB as it was meant to be used for fun - no luggage or racks. Ride some trails, explore some rutted dirt roads, etc.
    5. With a trailer, one bike does it all.
    6. Obviously, you can carry bigger stuff, like art canvas and paint kit, easel and a lawn chair ( I met a fellow doing just that on the PCH ).
    7. Some trailers are actually lighter than racks and paniers combined.

    OK...now the bad news as I have discovered over time.
    1. You cannot bunny-hop a trailer. I was flying down HWY 1 in Cali at 50 mph with traffic inches away on my left, sheer drop to death on my right. I rounded a curve and there was a two foot chunk of tarmac MISSING from the edge of the road. On my loaded touring bike I managed to unweight the bike with a small bunny-hop to sail over the hole easily. Had I been hauling a trailer I would be dead. This is extreme, but there will be all sorts of less deadly road hazards that you can easily hop over on two wheels but your trailer will SLAM into them every time. Just riding up a curb can be a menace.
    2. Due to lower tire pressures on most trailers, they use more of your pedaling energy. So your days may have to be shorter too.
    3. Another tube size to carry with you. More tires to go flat.
    4. Two-wheeled trailers will always have their right wheel in the dirt/glass/thorns at the edge of the road. See #3.
    5. Two-wheeled trailers make you ride further into traffic.
    6. Two-wheeled trailers and highway rumble strips make you ride completely in the travel lane.

    Suggestions:
    Travel light, don't cook, don't camp, bring a credit card and a change of clothes.
    If you camp, goosedown bags, self-inflating pads, and 1-person tents are TINY and light.
    Use a rack that attaches to your seat post. Most will carry 20 lbs. Make sure you have a good seat post! Maybe a handlebar bag too. Racks exist for double-sprung ATBs with disk brakes. Try Old Man Mountain.
    A small "Camelbak" style backpack with a thin hip belt is not too bad during mild weather. The hip belt supports the weight, not your shoulders. A large fanny-pack with a proper hip belt (Mountainsmith) can carry as much as a small backpack. Again, weight on your hips seem to just disappear.
    Get a trailer for your dog. Leave it at home for your short tour.
    And the obvious: Get a bike suited for racks and panniers. No law against owning several bikes.

    I hope this helps...

    Cheers!
    Last edited by JoeyBike; 02-16-12 at 09:12 AM.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  10. #10
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Yer killin me here Joey. See the bold in the following.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    First - good things about trailers!
    1. Like you, hooking up racks to certain bikes is difficult (but almost never impossible).
    2. For large riders, getting the weight of gear onto three or four wheels helps prevent breaking the bike.
    3. For back-country tours with tons of river crossings/portages, like the Continental Divide route, it is much easier to drop the trailer, carry the bike across, then carry the trailer across, than to jettison four panniers every time, the reattach again and again and again.
    4. When you get to camp, drop the trailer in two seconds and use your ATB as it was meant to be used for fun - no luggage or racks. Ride some trails, explore some rutted dirt roads, etc.
    5. With a trailer, one bike does it all.
    6. Obviously, you can carry bigger stuff, like art canvas and paint kit, easel and a lawn chair ( I met a fellow doing just that on the PCH ).
    7. Some trailers are actually lighter than racks and paniers combined.
    8. Most importantly, a trailer (especially a two wheeled trailer) will allow your bike to handle almost as if unloaded. This is especially important to folks who stand while climbing and for the occasional break from the saddle.
    OK...now the bad news as I have discovered over time.
    1. You cannot bunny-hop a trailer. I was flying down HWY 1 in Cali at 50 mph with traffic inches away on my left, sheer drop to death on my right. I rounded a curve and there was a two foot chunk of tarmac MISSING from the edge of the road. On my loaded touring bike I managed to unweight the bike with a small bunny-hop to sail over the hole easily. Had I been hauling a trailer I would be dead. This is extreme, but there will be all sorts of less deadly road hazards that you can easily hop over on two wheels but your trailer will SLAM into them every time. Just riding up a curb can be a menace. Slow down speedy, you'll live longer. You probably shouldn't be going 50 MPH on a loaded touring bike with a sheer drop next to you when you can't see far enough ahead to anticipate road conditions.
    2. Due to lower tire pressures on most trailers, they use more of your pedaling energy. So your days may have to be shorter too. There are lots of higher pressure tires you can put on any trailer.
    3. Another tube size to carry with you. More tires to go flat. Maybe, but there's not much weight in a trailer and if you use half decent tires you're not likely to have any flats.
    4. Two-wheeled trailers will always have their right wheel in the dirt/glass/thorns at the edge of the road. See #3. Most two wheeled trailers are offset to the left, they don't track directly behind you.
    5. Two-wheeled trailers make you ride further into traffic. No they don't. See my response to number 4.
    6. Two-wheeled trailers and highway rumble strips make you ride completely in the travel lane. No, they don't, see my response to number 5.
    Last edited by Thulsadoom; 02-16-12 at 09:55 AM.

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    ...actually 2 wheel trailers are centered where the hitch is,
    that typically is the left dropout/ axle end.

    so the left trailer wheel is further off towards the edge,
    more, in drive left, pass on the right, countries.
    Japan , Australia, NZ, and the British Isles..
    than the rest of the world ..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 02-16-12 at 09:50 AM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    so the left trailer wheel is further off towards the edge,
    more, in drive left, pass on the right, countries.
    Japan , Australia, NZ, and the British Isles..
    than the rest of the world ..
    Well, there is that. I wonder if there are different tow arms for drive-on-left countries?

  13. #13
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
    Yer killin me here Joey.
    Are you selling trailers?

    In the first photo below, on a bike without a trailer, I can keep two wheels on or just inside the fog line when two tractor trailers are drag racing behind me, while my right panniers are actually overhanging the rumble strips. No matter where that right bike trailer wheel is positioned, more of some part of my load will be in the travel lane. I am aware of some pretty skinny two wheeled trailers, one by Burly that are not much wider than my shoulders or a bike with panniers. In the second photo, won't some extra part of the rider, or the two-wheeled trailer, will be in the travel lane to avoid shaking the trailer to pieces on the strips?

    Also, trailers come equipped with fat, low pressure tires for a reason - shock absorption - since a rider can unweight either bike wheel while the trailer can only slam into every obstacle. Adding high pressure tires will serve to scramble the trailer's load and likely transfer stresses to the frame/bearings/hubs/axles that were not engineered into the unit. The smaller the wheel diameter (shorter the spokes) the more energy would be transferred to the rest of the unit. 26 inch wheels would help, as many trailers have those, but still...a 1" high pressure tire would probably demand a rim/wheel to match it. And the poor dog would need a mouthguard to keep his teeth from clacking togther.



    Last edited by JoeyBike; 02-16-12 at 12:11 PM.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  14. #14
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    Are you selling trailers?

    In the first photo below, on a bike without a trailer, I can keep two wheels on or just inside the fog line when two tractor trailers are drag racing behind me, while my right panniers are actually overhanging the rumble strips. No matter where that right bike trailer wheel is positioned, more of some part of my load will be in the travel lane. I am aware of some pretty skinny two wheeled trailers, one by Burly that are not much wider than my shoulders or a bike with panniers. In the second photo, won't some extra part of the rider, or the two-wheeled trailer, will be in the travel lane to avoid shaking the trailer to pieces on the strips?

    Also, trailers come equipped with fat, low pressure tires for a reason - shock absorption - since a rider can unweight either bike wheel while the trailer can only slam into every obstacle. Adding high pressure tires will serve to scramble the trailer's load and likely transfer stresses to the frame/bearings/hubs/axles that were not engineered into the unit. The smaller the wheel diameter (shorter the spokes) the more energy would be transferred to the rest of the unit. 26 inch wheels would help, as many trailers have those, but still...a 1" high pressure tire would probably demand a rim/wheel to match it. And the poor dog would need a mouthguard to keep his teeth from clacking togther.

    I don't sell trailers, but I tour with one. A plain old tried-and-true Burley Nomad.

    You have a flair for the dramatic, my friend. I get the feeling that between riding 50 MPH down a curvy road next to a sheer drop-off and riding rumble strip shoulders with drag racing eighteen wheelers behind you, you are using relatively uncommon circumstances to attempt to prove a point.

    To answer your question, yes. On that particular road, part of the trailer would probably be further out into the traffic lane than with regular pans. Hopefully the race is won before the trucks get to you and the one on the right yields you some space.

    I've run Schwalbe Marathon Racer 16x1.5" tires on my trailer for many thousands of miles. Pumped up to about 85 pounds. I've had no problems at all. My sleeping bag, tent, cook-kit, stove, clothes, etc. don't seem to be any more scrambled since I started running higher pressure tires. Most dogs are pretty hardy.

    Sometimes what might sound, in theory anyways, to be a bad idea, is really no big deal in practice.

  15. #15
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
    ...you are using relatively uncommon circumstances to attempt to prove a point.
    It is uncommon circumstances that somehow get us injured in life. Or at least contribute to our discomfort, mentally or physically.

    My 50mph descent was not strictly my idea. The road was otherwise misleadingly perfect and my rim brakes had begun to emit smoke while trying to maintain a reasonable speed. Without the ability to "Use Lower Gears" to slow my descent on a freewheeling bicycle, and no place to pull off the road, my best option was to let-er-rip and allow for some high speed rim cooling physics. Uncommon circumstance - for sure. Would a trailer have made that unavoidable (other than just staying home) uncommon circumstance even worse? You bet.

    The fact that you and countless others LOVE touring with a trailer, and folks like me tried to love it and discovered much different emotions instead, is what makes Web forums great sources of REAL information and will certainly enrich the life of the Original Poster to this thread if not several others visiting here. Neither of us are trying to sell anything, just relate our experiences the best we can.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
    Sometimes what might sound, in theory anyways, to be a bad idea, is really no big deal in practice.
    Until those uncommon circumstances rear up and punch us in the throat. Then in hindsight it all seems crystal clear. Between the two of us, and others here, valuable experience has been made available to the OP. That's what it's all about after all.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  16. #16
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Personally, I think that the OP should get a dog that can pull HIM in a trailer. Now that would be traveling in style.

  17. #17
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  18. #18
    Banned. ModoVincere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
    Personally, I think that the OP should get a dog that can pull HIM in a trailer. Now that would be traveling in style.
    Now there's an idea. I think the wife would kill me if I traded the shiz tzu though.

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Well, there is that. I wonder if there are different tow arms for drive-on-left countries?
    But the Derailleurs are on the right side ..

    alternative is a seat post hitch, then it tows down the center line.

  20. #20
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drmweaver2 View Post
    The "dog requirement" pretty much eliminates all the single-wheel trailer designs imo. That leaves things like a Burley Nomad, the aforementioned child trailers or a DIY/modify-n-assemble design like a Wike. There are a number of stories on on CGOAB about people taking pets-in-trailers along on long-distance trips.
    +1 On the other hand, a 2 wheel trailer makes riding off-road...if it's important...much more difficult. I've done rides off-road with a 2 wheel trailer and it's a whole lot tougher. A single wheel trailer tracks the bike while a two wheel trailer follows a different route which makes picking lines much more difficult.
    Stuart Black
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    http://flic.kr/p/bu7yzg

    Wike trailer kit build the size you need
    Last edited by Icetime; 02-18-12 at 04:13 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Icetime View Post
    http://flic.kr/p/bu7yzg

    Wike trailer kit build the size you need
    That is a very serious looking set up. Nice indeed.

    Andrew

  23. #23
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    I use a Bike Friday trailer that a friend gave me for hauling groceries and odd jobs. Pulling 50 pound of groceries up the hill on the way back from the store, just reinforces my preference for panniers.


  24. #24
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    I use a Bike Friday trailer that a friend gave me for hauling groceries and odd jobs. Pulling 50 pound of groceries up the hill on the way back from the store, just reinforces my preference for panniers.
    Sure, it would be a lot easier getting up that hill if the 50 pounds were loaded in panniers.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Thulsadoom
    Sure, it would be a lot easier getting up that hill if the 50 pounds were loaded in panniers.
    I know-- 50 lbs is 50 lbs, and I probably have never had 50 lbs in my panniers. It may be just psychological, but it feels like I'm dragging the trailer up the hill. With panniers it feel like I'm riding it up the hill. It probably does not make any real difference. And to be fair, it is a really steep, but short pitch which is not fun even on a bare bike.

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