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MrYummieandMe 09-14-16 09:35 PM

Salsa Marrakesh with Burley Trailer Hooked Up
4 Attachment(s)

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!

MrYummieandMe 09-14-16 09:39 PM

1 Attachment(s)
May The Schwartz Be With You!

kellichou 11-13-16 08:30 AM

I love it! Now we need some pics of your Russell Terrier, Mr. Yummie!

MrYummieandMe 02-25-17 11:28 AM

Well, no one is much interested in the Marrakesh with a trailer option, apparently! Still no picks of ol' Mr Yummie on the trailer though! He absolutely detests going down the road in his kennel in the back of that thing. LOL! He's a great yak buddy, but not so into bikes.

I wanted to update this thread, however, with some observations after a few thousand miles on the Salsa Marrakesh, several hundred with my trailer hitch and trailer.

First: the bike is really a solid thing. In fact, it's absurdly heavy. I can do the 30 miles to Portland a few times a week, and have done the 60-mile round trip a few times, now. The stock tires are crap on HWY 30 ("dirty thirty"), and well ready to be replaced. Honestly, even with Mr Tuffies installed, I have had more flats than I've ever had on this bike. Fault of the vicious debris on 30, I'm sure.

Towing the trailer, however, is a nightmare. I can't make it more than 15 miles before mylegs start cramping. Admittedly, when trailering, I'm pulling weight, ie. 30-50 pounds additional. My conclusion is that the very low position of the rear axle is not an ideal spot, from an engineering POV, to afix a trailer. I am now, after much scoffing, intrigued by the Travoy style set up. I feel weight on the seat post pulling DOWN will be better than weight on the low, low axle pulling BACK and DOWN.

With a lot of back weight the Salsa becomes less sure tracking up front. I imagine this could be balanced with front bags for touring, but I don't like 'em, preferring Back Ortliebs and super light camp gear. If I need something, there's always a Walmart out there!

Finally, my next adventure bike (this one is just a sexy tool for going along trails and the road with a little weight) is going to be a Brompton folder with trailer/case AND a Sea Eagle Expedition (the 10 footer) IK. My plan is to yak along waterways, portaging by Brompton, then yakking along. The bike case should fit nicely aft of the seat in the boat.

After scanning the forums, there are a couple about bike-yak adventures, which surprises me. I would've thought many many folks had done this. The more informative posts date back a decade, and there are the same two folks pushing the alpaca kayak, which ALWAYS links to a dead link, LOL. Honestly, the Sea Eagles for the money are the best IK floating. 28 pounds for a rather rigid when inflated kayak capable of handling surf, heavy water, and whitewater is a no-brainer if you want to combine these two things. The boat becomes an unobtrusive afterthought if you've chosen the right light camp gear, IMHO.

My goal is to tour Oregon, first (i have Alpine mountains, thundering coast, mighty rivers, Crater Lake and deserts ALL within a few days of each other. By bike!), then head across other states. But my ultimate goal is to explore the pilgrim routes and waterways of Europe (especially the Mediterranean region of S France).

Has anyone done this who would care to comment? I'd appreciate any and all thoughts, just please: no dead links to alpaka rafts, good lord! LOL!

mstateglfr 02-25-17 12:53 PM

Brompton plus inflatable kayak.

Thats certainly original.

fietsbob 02-25-17 01:13 PM

Discontinued , the Burly worker owned CoOp had them, was an alternative hitch QR skewer.

the elastomer connecting fork rotated up & down on that axis. [my bike sliding dropout to tension IGH Chain]

Now that connection is fixed, but the hitch piece is simpler.

A lighter thing is the extrawheel. it tows directly behind you, and uses a second front wheel like your bike.

and you put your rear panniers on it, Instead of or in addition to your rear rack set.

BoB trailer is popular , dry duffle bag + bring a spare 16" tube since its a different wheel .. more to it so it weigh more.

But for gear not Fido.

Burly now has a dog trailer, smaller than the kid trailer so less wind resistance and maybe weighs less..

[have a Chariot hitch on the trailer I hook up to my brompton, the Ball end Elastomer lets the Rear Fold, still work..

as a kickstand.]


DanBell 02-25-17 02:13 PM

This is awesome. I've actually had the same dream of combining a sea eagle with a folding bike and trying to do a combined road/waterway tour. It's a far off dream though, as both the bike and the boat are big investments.

MrYummieandMe 02-26-17 07:32 PM

The best of two worlds, really! I think technology, while not cheap, allows us to do this. As far as trailering options, fietsbob, I wasn't too clear about your response. I have certainly put in my research on all those options you have mentioned. The Bob, unfortunately, is just too cumbersome and heavy an appendage. I prefer to carry less, than to require a half-bike to tow up hills. My old school trailer that I do have connected to my Salsa is proving too heavy for my interests, too. The dedicated dog trailers are generally flimsy, though I'd bet money anything made by Burley is good quality. I like the notion of multi-purposing anything I take on my adventures: cases for folding bikes can be trailers, too. That sort of thing. A Travoy folds pretty small for air travel, for example, then serves as a caddy for all your gear. But no dog hauling possible.

MrYummieandMe 02-26-17 07:42 PM

Originally Posted by DanBell (Post 19402563)
This is awesome. I've actually had the same dream of combining a sea eagle with a folding bike and trying to do a combined road/waterway tour. It's a far off dream though, as both the bike and the boat are big investments.

The yak is just a bizarre dream I've had for a while, a real Lewis and Clark sort of thing. I came to the idea of touring bikes expressly to haul a kayak for portaging a cross-country water voyage.

In researching this, like you must have if you've dreamed about it, I'm shocked at the absolute dearth of people who've tried this. I'm not sure if the above comment about originality of the idea was serious or not, but no one has really done this. There's a guy and a buddy on youtube a while back who took a Sea Eagle 330 (not very rugged, but a step up from a toy raft) in his bike trailer in Europe. A couple of neat kids from the UK are on youtube having ridden their Bromptons to the far north of Scotland then paddled their 6 foot inflatable dingys to a super remote lighthouse island just because it was there. Other than that, nada. Really?

The bike costs two grand, the boat 1k. How much does a family vacation to DisneyLand cost? To me the means to do a massive bike-yak adventure is not too much, so much as having the time free to pull it off. My plans have become modified extremely due to the education I've given myself on a variety of issues pertaining to such a voyage, and now I'm eyeballing combos like the RazorLite (33 pounds folded, 24"x16"x12") and the Brompton M6. My dream set-up would result in a carry-on and a check-in, on a flight. That's it. I pity the videos I see of people hauling so much **** with them on their adventures. I'm choosing to take less, spend more on what I do take to get light and excellent, and to not bother with things like schedules, time-lines, itineraries. My years traveling about, by air, car, and now, bike, and, hopefully, kayak, have taught me that over-prepping and -planning, adherence to schedules, and carrying too much just results in wasted money, missed opportunities for fun, and disappointed expectations. I never want to run into that 25 year-old version of me shlepping around his gear on buses and airports in Western Europe again! My subsequent trips have all been increasingly more minimalist. My last road trip (16,000 miles clockwise around the US, including Canada) in the Fall of 2015 had no itinerary, scheduled destinations, or time-frame. Three months, 28 States, and three Provinces later, I had one of the best trips ever.

DropBarFan 02-26-17 08:44 PM

RazorLite is impressively compact though unless the kayak can stow bike/trailer one will need return transport after the boat stages, no?

AdvXtrm 02-27-17 01:36 AM

Nice you found a solution. The only thing that would prevent me from buying a Salsa is the proprietary rack mount. Because of that, I'll never own one.

MrYummieandMe 03-05-17 09:22 PM

Originally Posted by DropBarFan (Post 19405032)
RazorLite is impressively compact though unless the kayak can stow bike/trailer one will need return transport after the boat stages, no?

Yeah, and the salsa isn't quite the bike to kayak with, LOL! In my long post, I probably failed to mention that I wanted to portage with the folding bike. The trailer the bike hauls with the folded yak in it is what holds the bike when you are kayaking. The bike itself folds down to airline carry-on size. In tandem, the yak doesn't way down the bike, and the bike doesn't way down the kayak! Google Bromptons, and Trailer cases for them. It's cool enough to keep me awake researching them.

Originally Posted by AdvXtrm (Post 19405406)
Nice you found a solution. The only thing that would prevent me from buying a Salsa is the proprietary rack mount. Because of that, I'll never own one.

The proprietary rack mount itself doesn't bother me: I've easily over-loaded the Ortliebs on that rack...think bags of soil from the hardware store heavy. I'm sure the stated 30 pounds or so (or whatever the stats sheet said) is way understating it. I rolled 30 miles with uncomfortably heavy weight on that rack, and it's fine for the duty. What got to me, after the excitement of the new bike had worn off, and the reality had dawned, is that the proprietary dropout which necessitated the proprietary rack made it hard to mount the trailer without some diy'ing ingenuity. As such, those two facts do limit the retro-fittability (?) of the Marrakesh...or rather, as a touring bike, the Salsa, by having proprietary considerations, has built-in limitations. Ideally, a touring bike should perhaps follow a KISS philosophy. Having an exclusive dropout fail on the road is potentially more catastrophic than a rack failure. In hind-sight, I would have restrained my impulsiveness, and been more patient for a LHT, or perhaps I shouldn't have shunned the idea of light-weight materials which probably would not have failed on the road. The Salsa, like the LHT, is pretty heavy. Even after a few thousand miles on it, my legs fatigue and actually cramp on that thing when pulling weight. Not a good portent for distance travelling. But, then again, I think the low mount position and the sheer weight with a loaded trailer works against it being a trailering type of bike. All this said, it's still a nice enough bike for the money, rugged, etc. Just not to be confused with a road bike, LOL!

Heavy Duty 03-06-17 07:50 PM

Originally Posted by AdvXtrm (Post 19405406)
Nice you found a solution. The only thing that would prevent me from buying a Salsa is the proprietary rack mount. Because of that, I'll never own one.

Actually many seem to think it's proprietary, but I own 3 salsa bicycles. All you need is a couple fender spacers and you are in buisness with any rack you can think of. The Alternator rack is nothing special IMHO. If my Alternator rack breaks on my marrakesh I will replace it with a real one some day.

fietsbob 03-07-17 10:46 AM

Bet that top bolt could be replaced aith a longer one and a Spacer Added then the bolt will take a rack strut.

Darth Lefty 04-06-18 10:56 PM

1 Attachment(s)
@MrYummieandMe I am looking at a bike with Alternator dropouts and I'm not understanding why the QR hitch won't work normally with the dropouts adjusted further back. Yours appear to be all the way forward. Or failing that, Burley sells a Hitch Adapter that replaces the QR nut, and you run the QR backward. Did you investigate either?

(photo found on Bike Shop Hub)

Darth Lefty 04-07-18 07:56 PM

Well, I tried it at The Bicycle Business today and the Chariot hitch went on the Alternators at their least extension with no issue whatsoever.

MrYummieandMe 04-08-18 02:02 PM

Hm, I wasn't able to make the chariot hitch work, and neither was the bike shop which ultimately just modded the conversion hitch. It works great. I've used it so long, I had to think what this thread was about, and what you guys were referring! The skewer with extension is not capable of hauling a lot of weight, which is the main reason I didn't want to use a hub/skewer based hitching method. Using spacers to be able to use other racks, is that what is being mentioned above? I've still never had a need to use something other than the rack it came with. It's held up well to a lot of weight, with only very minor deformation.

As for moving the dropout, I had never thought of it. I'm not sure that I wouldn't have to readjust chain length, re-dial-in gears, etc. I guess I was so lazy about it, I just made it harder, ha.

reppans 04-08-18 09:34 PM

Originally Posted by MrYummieandMe (Post 19402223)
...Has anyone done this who would care to comment? I'd appreciate any and all thoughts, just please: no dead links to alpaka rafts, good lord! LOL!

Haven't yet, but been meaning to do a peddle/paddle/camp run with my Brompton and Alpacka Packraft - already short tour out the single front T-bag so rear rack is free for the boat. I also have/had a Travoy and a couple Feathercraft folding/inflatable yaks, but the Razorlite looks better suited for this purpose.

I've always liked the idea of self-sufficient travel by land OR sea, but dang hauling around ~40lbs/100L of boat/trailer for the land portions would sort of kill what I enjoy about multi-modal touring with the ultra-compact Brompton rig.

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