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Old 03-12-05, 06:40 PM   #1
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RideLong
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Touring with a Trailer...Good or Bad?

From this post in this forum I asked whether my Specialized Allez Elite III road bike would be strong enough for touring. Probably not as it turns out given the load I was anticipating carrying. But several responders mentioned a trailer as an option. But I have no experience with riding with trailers. And I have my doubts as to their use because I'm not certain at all how my bike would handle with a fully loaded trailer, particularly on steep, twisting downhills, or in traffic environments where quick bike handling might be required.

For those of you who may have toured using a trailer, what was your experience with them? What kind of problems did you run into? What are the good and bad features of these bad boys?
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Old 03-12-05, 06:53 PM   #2
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I think it's up to the preference of the tourist. I could go with a trailer or panniers. The only thing I would say you should think about if using a trailer is riding with it so you can get used to the bouncy kind of feeling. Once you get used to it, it won't bother you so much. If you can get some experience with riding downhill at a higher speed with a full trailer, riding over train tracks, and other stuff like that, it would help too.

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Old 03-12-05, 07:36 PM   #3
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A BOB trailer will change your bike's handling. It will make the bike more sluggish. But this should not be a problem for normal road riding. I've ridden up to 40 MPH down a steep pass towing my BOB behind an MTB with knobby tires. No stability problems though I would not have wanted to go much faster!

I've also ridden the same setup on very rough jeep roads. After a couple miles, you get used to the trailer bouncing behind you. You do have to pick you line early because you can't easily weave around obstacles. After that, road cycling with a BOB is nothing.
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Old 03-12-05, 07:45 PM   #4
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I couldn't get a BOB Trailer so I got a BUBBA trailerinstead, This one worked pretty good for me! everything I needed except the satellite dish a mean dog and 3 junked Huffy's in the yard. It was a problem going uphill, It was a bigger problem going downhill. I got lots of thumbs up when I was riding through Kentucky and Missouri. I traded it for a set of nashbar panniers and a walmart sleeping bag, I never looked back

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Old 03-12-05, 07:48 PM   #5
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Hey Here's a recent discussion(last week).
Why a trailer instead of panniers?
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Old 03-12-05, 08:39 PM   #6
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hooweeodawgies, that is one sweeeeet trailer !!!

just like the one uncle dad useta have.
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Old 03-12-05, 08:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
hooweeodawgies, that is one sweeeeet trailer !!!

just like the one uncle dad useta have.
Good one Saddlesores!!

Keep gearing in mind as some have mentioned in your previous thread. Also keep brakes in mind. Not many riders talk about brakes, yet the size of the pads and the style of the brake (cantilever/side pull ect.) are different on tour bikes. Kinda like the brakes on yer Honda are a little different than on a Kenworth.
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Old 03-12-05, 10:31 PM   #8
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Good one Saddlesores!!

Keep gearing in mind as some have mentioned in your previous thread. Also keep brakes in mind. Not many riders talk about brakes, yet the size of the pads and the style of the brake (cantilever/side pull ect.) are different on tour bikes. Kinda like the brakes on yer Honda are a little different than on a Kenworth.
Rogerinchrist asks the right questions. Your road bike may or may not be "strong" enough, but most likely does not have low enough gears or the braking power for the weight of a loaded trailer. Also it probably can't fit fenders which are also pretty important.
As for using a trailer in general I think it is a great choice for many. I rode over 5000 miles last summer with a very loaded BOB trailer and had great success. (www.loa2004.crazyguyonabike.com)I did not experience any bouncy feel or down hill speed problems. I did however notice that compared to bikes with loaded panniers, the trailer was a little slower up big hills and faster all the rest of the time. I attribute this to wind resistance. At very slow speeds, as in going up big / steep hills the wind resistance is negligible, but as your speed increases so does wind resistance. A bike with four side mounted panniers must punch a bigger hole in the air than a trailer that follows in the hole your bike already made. Cross winds are also less of a problem. The main problem is transporting your bike and trailer to a ride start, from the finish or on a train or bus. This part is a pain. I prefer to start and finish most of my tours from either my home or a point that I can drive to. Flying with a bike is just so expensive.

I suggest either getting a "real" touring bike and using either panniers or a trailer. If you have an interest in off-road riding than get a hard tail mountain bike and pull a trailer, it will not be as fast as a touring bike, but the gearing and brakes will handle it and you can use it off road the remaining time.
For what it's worth, Greg
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Old 03-12-05, 10:57 PM   #9
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glad somebody started the kenworth/honda comparison....

basically what we have is "i have a miata, and i want to haul some gravel. i've read
the mazda isn't so good for heavy hauling, and i need 4WD and a heavy-duty
suspension. do you think i need a pickup?" and "what if i zip-tie a receiver under
the bumper and pull a horsetrailer. do you think handling will be affected, like on
mountain switchbacks and on the racetrack?"

your road bike is fine for any distance tour. the question is how much are you
gonna carry. go light (credit card or sag/supported tour) and enjoy it. but if
you're gonna haul camping gear and stuff, then use a suitable bike - specific
touring bike or an mtb. find something with a stronger wheelset, wider tires,
appropriate gearing, steel forks, and rack mounts.

you might manage pulling a trailer. or not.
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Old 03-13-05, 07:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saddlesores
your road bike is fine for any distance tour. the question is how much are you
gonna carry. go light (credit card or sag/supported tour) and enjoy it. but if
you're gonna haul camping gear and stuff, then use a suitable bike - specific
touring bike or an mtb. find something with a stronger wheelset, wider tires,
appropriate gearing, steel forks, and rack mounts.

you might manage pulling a trailer. or not.
I fully agree, 5am will have to make a choice:
roadbike+light or
touring bike+camping gear

in either case expenses will have to be made... so the question then is: will you make more tours like this in the future, or is it just a one-time tour? If it is a one-time event, go light!
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Old 03-13-05, 09:47 AM   #11
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RideLong
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saddlesores
glad somebody started the kenworth/honda comparison....

basically what we have is "i have a miata, and i want to haul some gravel. i've read
the mazda isn't so good for heavy hauling, and i need 4WD and a heavy-duty
suspension. do you think i need a pickup?" and "what if i zip-tie a receiver under
the bumper and pull a horsetrailer. do you think handling will be affected, like on
mountain switchbacks and on the racetrack?"

your road bike is fine for any distance tour. the question is how much are you
gonna carry. go light (credit card or sag/supported tour) and enjoy it. but if
you're gonna haul camping gear and stuff, then use a suitable bike - specific
touring bike or an mtb. find something with a stronger wheelset, wider tires,
appropriate gearing, steel forks, and rack mounts.

you might manage pulling a trailer. or not.
Agreed. Your Miata gravel hauling analogy had me laughing. Looks like a proper touring bike is the best way to go touring! My creditors will be most unhappy, however. "What do you mean you bought another bike?"
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Old 03-13-05, 09:48 AM   #12
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Droll. Very Droll, Velonomad.
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