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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 11-02-12, 08:47 PM   #1
jbrow1
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Dual or single wheel trailers preferred?

Hello, hoping to get more commuting type riding into my life. I have an old kid's pull behind trailer I plan on repurposing for this. It is currently setup to clamp on the chainstay, and has two wheels like every other kids trailer I've seen. I have the tools/abilities to weld whatever type of frame I want and use parts off this trailer. But what's the benefit of the single wheeled trailers compared to a two wheeled trailer? I also plan on making a mount so I can clamp my mountain bike to it and tow it with my roadie to the trails and eliminate having to drive to ride the dirt.. see if that really happens..

Another question, is it much better to attach the trailer to the seat post rather than the chainstay as my trailers currnet configuration is? Is it worth the effort to change it so it does mount to the seat post? I think I'd rather it mount there, but if it's not really a benefit not sure if I will do it.

Thanks for any input
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Old 11-02-12, 09:10 PM   #2
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Single wheel trailers have a clear advantage on rough terrain since the trailer's wheel will follow almost the same line as the wheels of the bike. With a two wheel trailer the trailer wheels are likely to hit far more obstacles. I was towing my two wheel trailer through the streets of Detroit in the wee hours of the morning today on my way to the airport to catch an early flight home and certainly noticed that the trailer hit quite a few potholes that I hadn't seen or had avoided with the bike wheels. But being on reasonable pavement it wasn't an issue since none of the holes were bad enough to pose a threat to the tires - the situation would have been different in an off-road trip.

My trailer attaches to the chainstay near the dropout and I don't see any problems with that attachment point. It also lets me carry anything I may want on top of the rear rack in addition to towing the trailer which would be a problem with a seatpost trailer mount.
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Old 11-03-12, 04:02 AM   #3
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Although I personally prefer a chain-stay mount to a seat-post mount the best mount of all in my mind is either an axle mount so that there is zero additional stress on the bicycle frame and the force of towing is directly transferred at the axle end or a custom frame that extends behind the rear tire with a cross-bar behind the rear tire with a lawn tractor type plate and bolt hitch assembly built into the frame. Nutty axles work best for an axle mount towing set-up; basically the hitch point is attached to a metal plate with a hole in it that you slip over the left axle end and the tighten the left side axle nut down onto it. Obviously a dedicated towing frame with built in hitch is a full custom frame job.

As to single wheel or double wheel. Single wheel advantage is it is much better for rougher terrain, disadvantage is that the load in the trailer is added to your balancing load and must be balanced as well. Two wheel trailer doesn't require you to balance the load so you can haul a lot more weight comfortably especially at lower speeds but is not good on rough terrain is pretty much limited to on-roadway or wide path use in practical terms.
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Old 11-03-12, 09:59 AM   #4
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I think the two folks above covered it pretty well, so I'll merely add that i is not an either/or choice. I have both types because for certain jobs, one type is preferred over another.

For most of my regular activities, such as a quick run for groceries, or dropping off the drycleaning, I love the compact, easy-handling, lightweight monowheel, but when I've got to move heavy stuff or lots of stuff, I go for the dualie.

The mono is the best for threading through downtown congestion, while the dualie shines when it's time to haul the cooler, a blanket, wine, the soccer ball, and lacrosse sticks down for a day ar the park.
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Old 11-03-12, 09:59 AM   #5
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I use two wheeled trailers for the balance of things. When I'm hauling groceries or other things, I mostly only worry about front/rear load balance on the axle of the trailer as to not put too much load on the bike. I have a dual kickstand setup on my bike and often a kid, so not having my trailer being a tip over liability is also great.

I also have a lot of bikes I like to ride, so I prefer the clamp on style trailer hitch-up around the chainstays. This way I don't have to unbolt anything to put the trailer on another bike and the lower center of gravity helps keep the balance of the bike. If you've ever hauled a 5 year old on a trailer bike, you really notice if they shift around. Here is a nice load to the bottle club for me...there are also a bag of tomatoes for a niece under there and a customer's kid bike on there, you can see a hint of the rear wheel...might as well trip save.

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Old 11-04-12, 08:54 PM   #6
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Thanks for the posts folks. You know I hadn't actually thought of the clamp on the chainstay deal as being nice for switching bikes. I have one of those, and two other trailers that have hitches that mount to the axle, and I DO find it annoying switching it between bikes or having to take it off a bike b/c I'm going to race it. Funny that never hit me till I just read it. So I suppose the trailer I reconfigure will be much less work than I figured.. leave it two wheeled (suits my purposes) and leave the clamp to chainstay hitch.
Thanks again
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Old 11-06-12, 12:31 PM   #7
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Utility loads I favor 2 wheel trailers.. you get weird handling loading a single wheel
Trailer high and bulky. like the average trip to Costco.
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Old 11-08-12, 02:05 PM   #8
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I find my two-wheeled "croozer cargo" great for street and MUP use but a single wheel would be lighter and more applicable to our rail trails. Mine uses an axle hitch which works well. It gets used for groceries, inflatable kayak, yard sales etc.

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Old 11-08-12, 04:18 PM   #9
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Only thing about 2 wheel trailers.
is they tow centered where they are attached to the Bike.

So will be to the left of the center line of the Bike.

Quote:
what's the benefit of the single wheeled trailers compared to a two wheeled trailer?
they tow on the same centerline as the bike ,
so off road single track BikePacking it's an advantage.
but are requiring Low centered packing and tight load.

Xtrawheel is now Pannier carrying, not, so Utility friendly..

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-08-12 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 11-27-12, 12:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Only thing about 2 wheel trailers.
is they tow centered where they are attached to the Bike.

So will be to the left of the center line of the Bike.

Are there any with two "arms" attaching to either side of the bike? Or would this not work for turning, etc. ?

M.
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Old 11-27-12, 01:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Only thing about 2 wheel trailers.
is they tow centered where they are attached to the Bike.

So will be to the left of the center line of the Bike.
Kinda, depends on how the tongue is bent. On ice, I would agree, however between the tongue and the tires, it can pretty much have it ride anywhere behind your bike.
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Old 11-28-12, 12:08 PM   #12
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I prefer my two wheeled trailers as I tend to use them for larger loads that a single wheel trailer is just not as suitable for due to load limits and the stress they can put on the bike and rear wheel... parking is also easier as the two wheeled trailer is balanced and you can just stop and lock up.

My converted MEC trailer (a double wide) has an axle mount that is quick and easy and I have extra mounts as I use several bikes as tow vehicles.



My single wide Chariot is wonderful as it is narrower and has an excellent suspension that really makes it stable and besides groceries and other bits I also use this to take my wee little dog out and she deserves a smooth and non bumpy ride.

In the winter I don't like pulling a trailer in the snow or on ice so use my Extrabike which now has awd... it also excels when it comes to towing duties although I rarely need to carry that much stuff but have towed an 8 foot BAW trailer for events which makes for an impressive sight.

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Old 03-23-13, 08:22 PM   #13
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I may need both.
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