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Can bicycle wheel bearings be converted for highway use?

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Can bicycle wheel bearings be converted for highway use?

Old 04-04-22, 03:33 PM
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Jcroom
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Can bicycle wheel bearings be converted for highway use?

I would really like to use one of the low cost and lightweight options available for bicycle cargo trailers for every day motorcycle use, food delivery and so on generally 45mph or lower.

Often the biggest concern is the bearings would heat up too quickly and fail. Has anyone around here tried this before or had bearings fail?

It would be really interesting is there was a technical solution to the overheating problem, is it even possible?
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Old 04-04-22, 03:56 PM
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Sounds like a recipe for trouble. Just not made for that kind of duty.
Personally I'd start out with a cheapy from Northern Tool or the like.

​​​​​​https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...0342_200660342

The steel frame is about $100 cheaper.

​​​​​​https://pbmotorcycletrailer.com/simple-plan-ideas/
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Old 04-04-22, 04:29 PM
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This is great, thank you. I tried very hard to look for this sort of thing before thinking about bicycle trailers again.
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Old 04-04-22, 05:00 PM
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Bearings you find in bicycles are just as high quality as what you find in cars and trucks and motorcycles. The only difference is the races they are contained in aren't likely designed for the loads you might be putting on a trailer you pull behind a motorcycle.
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Old 04-04-22, 05:42 PM
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Most all bicycle wheel bearings are chosen because they handle the mostly vertical loads, bikes lean during cornering. Two track vehicles typically don't lean so their wheel bearings need to better handle the side forces that result.

There's a famous and "revered" now out of business bike parts company that had all kinds of problems with their early hub development partly because their field testing was a wheel run off the back of a car. Andy
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Old 04-05-22, 09:14 AM
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I love these mechanical explanations, it's fascinating.

Usually people take a "because I said so" approach with things like this and either can't or won't explain it.

If anything, talking about stuff in practice or theory is is great and I enjoy it.

Kind of makes me sad that bicycle wheels have limited safe use as cart wheels, they are so light weight and efficient, behind a motorcycle it would be like nothing was even there.
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Old 04-05-22, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Jcroom View Post
I love these mechanical explanations, it's fascinating.

Usually people take a "because I said so" approach with things like this and either can't or won't explain it.

If anything, talking about stuff in practice or theory is is great and I enjoy it.

Kind of makes me sad that bicycle wheels have limited safe use as cart wheels, they are so light weight and efficient, behind a motorcycle it would be like nothing was even there.
I agree with all the above explanations, you might also consider whether using such hubs/wheels would be illegal (Darn the DOT) for use behind a motor vehicle of any kind on any public road, thus playing hell with the insurance/liability issues if worst comes to worst. I think an E bike is something to consider though.
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Old 04-05-22, 09:52 AM
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I would also recommend one of these tiny 40" to 48" trailers from Northerntools or Harbor Freight over a bicycle trailer. Harbor Freight discontinued their regular coupons but still have some occasionally where you can save an additional 10% or so.
These bike trailers are not made for that kind of abuse. Although you will find videos on Youtube where people are using these bike trailers behind mopeds or scooters.
Or check the local classifieds for small used utility trailers.
And finally you probably need to have lights on it and get it registered. Not sure you could do that with a bicycle trailer.
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Old 04-05-22, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Harhir View Post
And finally you probably need to have lights on it and get it registered. Not sure you could do that with a bicycle trailer.
Depends on where you live. Here smaller trailers (<3K #) do not need title or tags.
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Old 04-05-22, 09:01 PM
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Are we talking about a motorcycle, or a scooter ( >50 CC) ?

I actually think that bike wheels and tires could be OK, if you used a heavy duty 20” or even 26”rim, like a 36h MTB, and cargo/ ebike rated tires. Tread pattern wouldn’t be ideal for stability, and tire life would be short, especially at anything above ‘city’ speeds.

A repurposed bike trailer would be unsuitable behind anything but the smallest classes of scooters and moped, though; they’re just too small, particularly too short. A short, light trailer, coupled too close to a longer heavier tow vehicle tends to yaw a lot as the tow vehicle moves side to side. If the trailer has insufficient suspension, to short, or too stiff for the weight; it’ll start to dance or hop back and forth.
I’ve had that happen with small towables behind a 1-ton truck, I’d definitely not want that on my motorcycle.

That said, I’ve seen a lot of guys towing their beach fishing rigs on bike trailer/ carts behind scooters/mopeds, but that’s usually only a couple miles of low speed conditions; I wouldn’t be driving DoorDash all over town like that
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Old 04-06-22, 03:28 PM
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Bearings may or may not hold, but bike tires are not built for sustained 45 mph speeds, especially with any sort of load.....What type of max weight were you thinking of?
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