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Old 05-07-13, 07:37 AM   #1
jowilson
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1 vs. 2 wheel trailer

I am making a 2 wheel trailer for touring and I was reading this how-to guide and somewhere on that page it says that 1 wheel trailers can't carry as much weight but have better high speed stability. Then it states that 2 wheel trailers can carry more weight but have lower stability at high speeds. Why is this? I can't understand why and I have spent a whopping minutes self debating this but I can't come to a conclusion why... I'm also curious how one accomplishes right turns with a trailer hitch like this one.

TIA

Josh
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Old 05-07-13, 08:12 AM   #2
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If you want to build but are lacking enough engineering skills to do your own design, probably best to just copy some successful examples. Lots of "Bob" trailers on Amazon with good pictures of the details. Bob's generally have two smaller wheels in-line. Also can find good pix of early Jack Taylor trailers common in the 60's and 70's. Same for box trailers which generally have two larger wheels, one per side. If you have a choice, recommend a design that connects to the seat post instead of to the real axle as have had issues with slippage on those.

Don't remember seeing a one wheeled cargo trailer...

/K
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Old 05-07-13, 08:24 AM   #3
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Please take this with a little skepticism since I haven't used a trailer a lot but, when I did try them, I didn't care for the two wheel design because often when riding on a narrow single track like on a path or even near the edge of the road, the wheels of the trailer would occasionally get into things that I was trying to avoid with my bike wheels since they didn't track in the same line. I also liked the one wheel Bobs better when heading downhill as it seemed again like it tracked better and didn't affect my steering as much. YMMV
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Old 05-07-13, 08:56 AM   #4
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Whoops, sorry. I forgot to add in the links. I will add them in later but you can find the links on the same thread but in the Utility Cycling forum.

Josh
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Old 05-07-13, 09:34 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ksisler View Post
Bob's generally have two smaller wheels in-line.

/K
Are you sure about that? By far I have seen 1 wheel Bobs.
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Old 05-07-13, 09:46 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by jowilson View Post
...it says that 1 wheel trailers can't carry as much weight but have better high speed stability....

...Then it states that 2 wheel trailers can carry more weight but have lower stability at high speeds...
i am now confused, too.
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Old 05-07-13, 09:48 AM   #7
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Costco trips with a BoB, the trailer twisted as I rode.

no Xtrawheels seen out here, so far.. (2nd front wheel, like, of bike, 2 bags) so IDK .

Got a Burly Flat bed for utility, its better just Tow center is the left dropout , where the mount is..

Elastomer interface bends , as well as pivots around the fixing pin. I also more recently,
bought a Carry Freedom City .. the elastomer has a ball end, that rotates and flexes.

More solid would be a multiple axis universal joint, made of metal .. but that is a more expensive thing..

another consideration is brakes, above a minimal size trailers have brakes..
boat trailers dont, because the wheels get immersed, boats are lost with occasional whiplashing at speed.

the weight in a trailer can push the towing Vehicle, then you drag the tow with the trailer brakes..

building, there are hub brakes for tadpole recumbents, single side axle..
and using 2 front hubs on other solutions..

and surge braking can be accomplished, without a 3rd brake lever.. the push itself applies the brakes.
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Old 05-07-13, 09:50 AM   #8
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How much do you plan on carrying? A trailer can be overkill if you are a light packer, but may be a plus if you pack heavy especially with a light bike.

I too found that I didn't like a two wheeled trailer because one wheel or the other always seemed to be dropping off the edge of the pavement or rolling over rumble strips unless I made allowances for that. Also dodging road debris was harder to manage. I only rode one briefly but it was enough to put me off of them.

I like the way one wheeled trailers handled, but sold mine for two main reasons. First it was a lot heavier than the racks and panniers that I would have otherwise chosen. And second, I thought it would be a major hassle to deal with shipping or flying with a trailer. Some folks may find that neither of those are an issue for them so YMMV.

Lately I have taken to packing lighter and lighter using ultralight backpacking gear and a generally very minimal packing style. As I went lighter the trailer made less and less sense. Going that route my racks, clothing, gear, and bags can weigh less than the empty trailer did.

One reason to use a trailer is if you want to carry medium to heavy loads with a light road bike. I rode with a young guy on the ST who was carryiing a heavy load with a carbon fiber race bike, light wheels and all. I will say that he did have a bunch of mechanical breakdowns that he blamed on the trailer. I am not completely convinced the trailer was at fault though. The problems were bent derailleur hangers and bent derailleurs, as well as a wheel problem caused by the chain and derailleur getting into the spokes.
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Old 05-07-13, 09:50 AM   #9
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Don't remember seeing a one wheeled cargo trailer...
The BoB Yak trailer, probably the most popular bike trailer around, has a single wheel. The Burley Nomad, also popular with tourists, has 2 wheels.

The Nomad does have a higher load rating than the Yak, but it is a moot point for most users as few ever reach the lower load limit for the Yak.

There are more reports of handling issues with the Yak than the Nomad, however these are infrequent and uncommon.

Pulling the Nomad can occasionally result in the right tire dropping off the pavement, however the tow arm is fashioned so that the towed trailer position is biased to the your left, to help prevent right wheel drop, as well as offering a small safety advantage of forcing overtaking motorists to steer farther to the left.

More comments on Yak vs Nomad from earlier post:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post13478523

The Yak Sak is as a tough as any roll-top bag, and is waterproof when closed adequately. You need to roll the top at least twice to seal it well, and each additional roll diminishes the volume of the bag significantly. Bob claims a Yak Sak volume of 5600 cubic inches/92 liters (they evidently can't do unit conversions accurately), but every way I've ever measured it I get ~4500 ci with the top rolled only once (not a secure closure), and close to 4000ci with a proper double roll closure.

The Yak Sak weighs about 4.5 lbs (I've weighed it). BOB has never mentioned this in their specs all these years. They DO say the trailer weighs 13.5#, which is true, but when you add the bag (which most people use) it totals 18 lbs. This is a little trick they do to make their trailer sound comparable to their main competitor, the Burley Nomad. The Burley Nomad claims 105 liters space under the hood, with total weight of 14.8 lbs - it's lighter and holds more stuff. You can stack stuff on top of the Yak Sak for more capacity, but you can do the same with the Nomad if you add the accessory rack. Bob carries 70 lbs, Nomad carries 100 lbs (according to specs). Also worth noting Nomad isn't 100% waterproof under hood - you need to store electronics in another WP bag, but you'd probably do this also with the BOB Yak.

As an alternative to the Yak Sak, Ortlieb makes a bag that's larger, weighs less and and fits the BOB Yak very well - available in several colors, even the same yellow BOB Yak color. The Ortlieb Rack Pack XL weighs nearly 2 lbs less than the Yak Sak but costs $20 more, which may be a fair deal to many people. Plus it could color match your Ortlieb panniers. It's been discussed here before.

http://www.ortliebusa.com/CartGenie/prod-62.htm

http://www.ortlieb.com/_pdf_en/rackpack.pdf

http://www.bikebagshop.com/ortlieb-r...xl-p-1039.html

http://www.burley.com/home/bur/page_454/nomad.html

http://www.bobgear.com/yak

http://www.bobgear.com/trailers/drysak

Even more comments:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post14876836

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...=1#post8312265

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post13696674

Last edited by seeker333; 05-07-13 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 05-07-13, 10:10 AM   #10
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Out here, alternate use for BoBs is elk hunters, to haul out parts of their kill .
the mesh bottom drains well ..
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Old 05-07-13, 10:55 AM   #11
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Here is the link for the trailer: http://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Bicycle-Cargo-Trailer
and here is the link for the hitch: http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/3.../TrailerB3.jpg

I am going to be carrying about 25-60 pounds but I don't know for sure yet. But somewhere in that range.
I will be carrying a small 1 or 2 person tent, clothes, small stove, gas "things" (pulling a blank right now), a sleeping bag (maybe on the rear rack actually). And this is going to be about 70% canal trail, recently paved due to popularity, so I'm not too worried about the wheel (or wheels) hitting a rumble strip or falling off the side of the road.

PS: Has anyone added training wheels to keep the trailer from tipping over?
Josh
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Old 05-07-13, 11:10 AM   #12
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Kick stand on the bike should hold up both,
2 wheel trailer holds itself up , attached to the bike..

but I have seen owners of BoBs adding their own Kickstand..

Either to the tow fork , or through the mesh Deck.

Jack-knifing the trailer also holds it and bike up.


looking at the lumber and hardware store nature of the DIY one ,
I think they were thinking Utility use locally rather than long distance touring, ..

But once You Own the Conduit bender , you can use Aluminum tubing, for the frame too/..

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Old 05-07-13, 11:18 AM   #13
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PS: Has anyone added training wheels to keep the trailer from tipping over?
Josh
A single wheel trailer like a B.O.B. will not tip over if properly attached. That's because the yoke attaches to a speacial QR skewer. If the tailer has tipped over, that means the bike has tipped over. If my 5', 105 lb. GF can handle a B.O.B. over hilly, bumpy, unpaved terrian, you likely can, too.

Query: The instructions and photo picture a bike with bolt-on wheels. Do you have bolt-on wheels? If not, do you think you eill be able to get the QR skewer tight enough to secure the plate?
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Old 05-07-13, 02:59 PM   #14
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I am not to sure about the original question. The single wheel BOB's have caused bad crashes due to weight and speed on hills. They need a drag brake on the rear wheel beyond a certain point, and that is not an option as far as I know, outside of custom. At some point you are probably going to end up on a back road with a soft shoulder, some of these paved roads have unconsolidated tar into the road. with a double wheel you will be forced way into the road. I would only consider a single wheel for touring, for regular camping and riding of the type you are describing.

I would not use a trailer at all. You could easily get an untralight outfit going for what making a trailer will cost. Actually you don't need an ultralight outfit, just a backpacking weight one.

I would look into the Nashbar trailer if you want a trailer.

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...2_171082_-1___

Not perfect, but few of them are, and you could apply your skill to getting it up to grade rather than making a kludgey 2 wheeler.

What a lot of folks do is run panniers and a single wheel rear trailer, that allows them to carry massive loads where that is required, but not to do it all on a trailer design that will limit them. I have been conventional places where even fairly standard bike options, let alone trailers, made it impossible to get through. Bridges, overpasses, and borders.
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Old 05-07-13, 03:44 PM   #15
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Single wheel trailers work better on rough roads and trails.
2-wheel trailers can flip. Most of the tourist trailers I see are single wheel.
On decent roads, 2 wheel trailers make better cargo carriers, they can cope with long and unusual loads. I'm about to pull the trigger on a Carry Freedom trailer for transporting stuff around town.
You only need touring trailers if you are touring with a family or need to carry something big like a few days supply of water. Solo tourists are probably better off with rack and panniers.
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Old 05-07-13, 04:17 PM   #16
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The reason why I'm deciding to make this trailer is because if only used panniers, I would have to buy a new stove smaller than the camping one I have now. I would also have to buy a smaller sleeping bag, smaller tent, and lots of other stuff. I'd rather have to go through the learning curve of balancing weight on a single wheeled trailer than the learning curve of stuffing 2 days of clothing and other supplies in panniers and a backpack. I'm going to get some panniers, but I'm going to keep the big stuff on the trailer.

Josh
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Old 05-07-13, 05:44 PM   #17
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I have a Wike touring trailer built up here in Ontario Canada. It works very well as a two wheel trailer and is very stable. The trailer itself is not centered on the centerline of the bike but is biased to the left of centre. That means that the right trailer wheel tracks slightly right of the bike wheels. In other words, if you can keep the edge of the right handlebar from passing over an obstacle (say the edge of the road) then the trailer will miss it as well.

Loadwise, I pack my trailer exactly the same way I load my backpack. I take what I need and nothing else. Weight does matter!

I trailer mostly on paved roads and very rarely on gravel. Two wheels just works better for me. I've had no handling issues up to around 40 -45 KMH going downhill. I only wish I could do 40 uphill. Al
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Old 05-07-13, 06:38 PM   #18
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One wheel trailer for many reasons. Having a 2 wheel trailer actually gives you 3 tracks you have to worry about (your bicycle plus the two from the trailer). Riding a road without a shoulder but has rumble strips will be really difficult with vehicle traffic, and those roads are rapidly getting popular in areas. It's nearly impossible to ride the C&O canal with a two wheel trailer. Having a 2 wheel trailer will also increase your odds of a getting a flat.


Reason not to use a two wheel trailer

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Old 05-08-13, 06:59 AM   #19
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One wheel trailer for many reasons. Having a 2 wheel trailer actually gives you 3 tracks you have to worry about (your bicycle plus the two from the trailer). Riding a road without a shoulder but has rumble strips will be really difficult with vehicle traffic, and those roads are rapidly getting popular in areas. It's nearly impossible to ride the C&O canal with a two wheel trailer. Having a 2 wheel trailer will also increase your odds of a getting a flat.


Reason not to use a two wheel trailer
I haven't found the three tracks thing to be an issue in the riding I've done and I've been on some very rough roads.

The road shoulder shown would not be an issue whether I was pulling a trailer or riding my road bike. I'd be riding slightly left of the white line.

I haven't had an issue with flats on my touring bike while pulling my two wheeled trailer. You will get a flat if you run over something that can puncture the tire and that can happen quite easily whether you have 2, 3 or four wheels.

Deciding between one or two wheeled trailers is really just a matter of preference unless you are planning to do most of your riding on narrow and rough tracks. Al
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Old 05-08-13, 10:34 PM   #20
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I agree it's preference and the topic asked 1 wheel vs 2 wheel. But it's simple math... 2 wheel trailer means 4 wheels instead of 3, thus your odds of a flat increase, that's the law of physics. And not trying to pick a fight, but you won't be riding slightly left of the white line in the picture I showed with a 2 wheel trailer unless you want your right rear trailer wheel to be on the rumble strip all the time. You will be way out in the road. But with a one wheel trailer, I could ride at times to the RIGHT of the rumble strips if I had to (say when I sense a large tractor trailer coming) , something that would be impossible (or miserable) on a 2 wheel trailer.

Also riding something like this is miserable with a two wheel trailer, this is the C&O canal from bikewashington

With a one wheel trailer, this presents no problem.
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Old 05-09-13, 07:30 AM   #21
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I agree it's preference and the topic asked 1 wheel vs 2 wheel. But it's simple math... 2 wheel trailer means 4 wheels instead of 3, thus your odds of a flat increase, that's the law of physics. And not trying to pick a fight, but you won't be riding slightly left of the white line in the picture I showed with a 2 wheel trailer unless you want your right rear trailer wheel to be on the rumble strip all the time. You will be way out in the road. But with a one wheel trailer, I could ride at times to the RIGHT of the rumble strips if I had to (say when I sense a large tractor trailer coming) , something that would be impossible (or miserable) on a 2 wheel trailer.

Also riding something like this is miserable with a two wheel trailer, this is the C&O canal from bikewashington

With a one wheel trailer, this presents no problem.
Do you own a touring trailer? I do and it has two wheels.

A couple of points. The likelihood of having a flat based on the number of wheels has little if nothing to do with physics and more to do with probability. As mentioned before, the right wheel on my trailer tracks just slightly to the right of the bicycle so the rumble strip would not be a factor with my Wike trailer.

I would never ride to the right of the rumble strip. The idea is to take your proper position on the road and maintain your line. I expect the other users of the road to give me room. It's worked so far and I'm 58.

There are some practical advantages to using a two wheel trailer that are worth mentioning. You can use a modest kickstand with your bike that makes stopping very convenient. Load balance is less critical with the two wheel trailer. It's much easier to connect and disconnect the trailer from the bike even when it is loaded. I like to disconnect the trailer from the bike when stopping for the night and pull it up alongside the bike so I can cover both with a tarp.

Having said that, I think a single wheel trailer is a very viable option particularly when travelling on single or double track. I would have no problems doing the road in your picture above with my trailer but wouldn't want to do it for long. If that was the kind of road I was going to tour on then I'd pull a single with my Kona Lava Dome.
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Old 05-09-13, 10:16 AM   #22
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The BoB Yak was designed and originally intended for use on singletrack. It is used mainly by pavement tourists, though. The off-road roots of the Yak are more evident on the suspended version (Ibex).
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Old 05-09-13, 01:04 PM   #23
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I have a single wheel Jack Taylor trailer that I have used since my kids were infants. The wheel is suspended, but the hitch is different from the BOB. I used it with a tandem to carry my kids, one in the trailer, one in a kids seat, until they got too heavy to carry (kids plus trailer plus kid seat = 120 lbs). I then transitioned to a triple to let the kids pedal. The trailer worked fine. I liked the way the single wheel tracked pretty well with the bike wheels. My experience with flat bed two wheeled trailers is they make better cargo trailers than touring trailers, but it is entirely your choice.
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Old 05-09-13, 01:06 PM   #24
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I use a single wheel rip off of a bob trailer, love it, it tracks way better then any 2 wheel trailer I've used as well as being able to maneuver it without even thinking.
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Old 05-09-13, 05:13 PM   #25
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Thanks all for the comments! I'm going to start making a single wheel trailer next week. Does anyone have blueprint type papers for a single wheel trailer they made? And where can I get a U joint hitch like this one?

TIA, Josh
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