Old 09-14-16, 09:35 PM
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Location: P-Town, Oregon (Native-born, thank you, very much!)
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Bikes: Salsa Marrakesh, 1972 Schwinn Suburban

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Salsa Marrakesh with Burley Trailer Hooked Up


I haven't seen anyone posting about this, so I thought I'd put this up in case any other Marrakesh owners are struggling with hooking a trailer up to their Salsa dropout.

The proprietary dropout on the Marrakesh is one of the possible detractors to getting this touring bike. In fact, it results in one not only being limited to using the Alternator Rack exclusively (unless you want to have your rack ride an inch or so higher than seems appropriate), but there are no obvious ways to mount a Burley trailer. I imagine my solutions to this will be of some interest to some folks, and may apply to more than the Burley trailers!

First, let me say that after 3 months and a thousand or so miles, I have a realistic affection for my bike. I commute regularly from St Helens, Oregon along HWY 30 to Portland, which is about 30 miles. I also ride it about Portland as a regular city commuter. I've done this with loaded Ortliebs. I've put it through what I think are real-world touring conditions, without actually going on a long-distance tour, yet. My next upgrade was to figure out how to hook up the trailer so I could tow along my Russel Terrier, Mr Yummie!

My 1997 Delite Trailer had the old-school "Y" hitch. This clearly won't fit in the oversized rear triangle area. The convenient solution is to get the Burley Steel Hitch and the Flex-Connector. But, after acquiring these goodies, I realized I couldn't reliably mount the hitch to the rear skewer. My LBS, Joe Bike in Portland, said I needed to rebuild the rear wheel to have a slightly longer axle if I wanted to be sure that the trailer weight wouldn't pull my wheel out of the dropouts.

After consulting with one of the mechs there, we realized that the bolt mounting the removable brake assembly may serve as a spot to mount the hitch to. This feature of the bike seems very unusual to me, and looks unlike any other I've seen. Nervously, we set out to install the hitch using a slightly longer Allen bolt than was in the bike already. The mechanic, in order to clear some of the flanges on the rear stay as well as the quick release lever, ground a bit of the hitch down. The end result was a nice fit, though I still want to replace the quick release with either an anti-theft skewer, or a fixed bolt, as it is rather in the way when I mount the trailer's Flex Connector.

After removing the "Y" hitch from the trailer, and installing the Flex Connector, I hooked the trailer to the steel hitch on the bike. I needed to haul my 45 pound mini fridge from my old address to my son's workplace, so we could load it into his truck and make the drive to St Helens. I wasn't quite prepared to drive along hwy 30 for this first outing with the trailer on an experimental hitch hookup. However, after pulling the trailer successfully nearly 9 miles across Portland, I can report these observations, which may benefit both the Marrakesh owners/shoppers and the Trailer owners:

1) the Marrakesh had no issues pulling the nearly 80 pounds of fridge, trailer and extra stuff I threw into the trailer along with the fridge. Going up hills I would normally shift to the second ring up front, I went to the one furthest West, and the weight made it feel like I was on the second ring. Overall the ride was smooth. The Marrakesh handled the trailer weight and the 15 additional pounds in my Ortlieb Back Roller just fine. Obviously I didn't go off curbs, but it was a varied city route.

2) Burley trailers can take some weight. It jerked a little on the hitch, as is common with trailers, but I was surprised at how the combined weight didn't fight me.

3) The hitch adapter (ie the conversion from the "Y" hitch to the Steel Hitch) worked flawlessly on the rear dropout. This is not the assigned application for that bolt on the Marrakesh dropout. It was really a last resort adaptation, and it worked great. It didn't come loose. The brake caliper stayed put, and didn't cause any issues with the disc, as I feared it might. The wheel stayed put. After reaching my destination, and loading all the goods into my son's truck, I checked the Marrakesh: the wheels spun free, no brake binding, or rubbing. The hitch stayed in it's position.

So: if you own the Marrakesh, this is how you can adapt that weird rear dropout to accept a trailer. If you use a trailer for touring, mount the hitch to the removable dropout mounting assembly allen bolt, and really reef it on. It'll take the weight!

And for the record, as there has been discussion about the need to use the proprietary Alternator rack due to the uniqueness of the rear dropout on the Marrakesh, and no one has posted a verified answer, here's my personal experience, and not just from one or two outings: The rear rack, while aluminum, easily handled both of my Back Rollers stuffed with about 20 pounds each to the point I could not close them at all. I rode 30 miles, occasionally hitting rough patches of road, and the rack was fine. The bike was stable and smooth, but swayed a bit when the wind hit. I'm assuming any bike would wiggle a bit as the Ortliebs were a pretty large obstacle to the wind. Although initially nervous, I was soon reassured that the heavy weight I was carrying on the Salsa's rear rack was not an issue in the least. Happy riding!
Attached Images
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Alternator_Dropouts.jpg (72.9 KB, 293 views)
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Steel-Hitch.jpg (59.2 KB, 294 views)
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flex connector.jpg (5.4 KB, 292 views)
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IMG_2352.jpg (94.9 KB, 297 views)
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