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Harbor Freight Mini Utility Trailer

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.

Harbor Freight Mini Utility Trailer

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Old 12-16-07, 01:13 AM
  #1  
JeffB502
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Harbor Freight Mini Utility Trailer

I may be way off base here, but I was entertaining the idea of using one of these trailers

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=42708



as a bike trailer. They're currently on sale for $139.99. I know it's pretty heavy at 130 lbs unloaded, but I'd like to be able to eventually move into my next residence without a motor vehicle. The largest/heaviest things I would be carrying would be a side by side refrigerator about 30x36x70" and approx. 300 lbs, and an old fashioned Mitsubishi built-in cabinet big screen tv about 33x52x52" and unknown weight (probably at least 300-400 lbs).

I'm amazed at how cheap this trailer is compared to the bikes at work trailers; just wondering why it weighs so much (I guess the weight/price/whatever the 3rd thing is rule applies to trailers too) .

I was considering purchasing a steel mtb and having a light duty (maybe custom) tow hitch permanently attached (probably welded) to the bike, and using the mtb as a dedicated tow vehicle. I'd probably use the trailer for grocery shopping and other chores as well (a bit of overkill but I think it would be fun and a good way to get some exercise).

In the immediate area the terrain is flat. If I was moving outside city limits, that would involve hills, which would obviously be out of the question with a 400+lb load.

Any thoughts? What kind of tongue weight would a quality (again maybe custom built) mtb wheel be able to handle? Like I said at the beginning I may be way off here; I've never even towed a trailer before. I just figured I'd go all out on the first attempt
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Old 12-16-07, 04:54 AM
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I agree, you can't beat the price -- but 130 lb. before you even get started means it's just not a reasonable thing to tow.

I've towed 100 lbs. It's pretty straightforward. 200 lbs. and one has to work at it. I tried 300 lbs. once briefly and it's, um, work.

Separately, that thing is *huge*. You're going to take up a full lane of traffic, while working as hard as you can to keep up 5-10 miles per hour.

My advice -- spend the extra $2-300 and get something you'll use more than once. If you're stuck on DIY solutions, why not this beastie here:

http://www.rcpworksmarter.com/rcp/pr...07_546_5662-61

It's half the weight, much smaller, and its capacity is more than sufficient.

Last edited by Kimmitt; 12-16-07 at 05:36 AM.
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Old 12-16-07, 06:21 AM
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I think for 50 bucks more and free shipping you can get a lot more bang for the buck with a trailer that is 1/10 the weight. In other words, a trailer that you'll use a lot more often.
http://www.bicycletrailers.com/Burley-Flatbed.pro

How often are you planning on hauling a refrigerator or cabinet TV? For gas money and a six-pack I'd hire a friend with a pickup.

That one is so heavy because it's built to be towed behind a motor vehicle. Which causes much more stress on a trailer and weight isn't much of a factor.

I have had the above model Burley for years and love it. Used to tow it every day until somebody gave me two rear racks and a pair of panniers. Still use it for large or bulky loads. I also use a Burley Solo when I want a covered trailer.

The best deals I've seen are some of our forum brethren and sisteren who have purchased used child trailers and converted them.
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Old 12-16-07, 06:35 AM
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Heh yeah the 130 lb weight surprised me. It doesn't look that heavy in the picture . The thought came to me when I saw a co-worker had one strapped to the roof rack of his SUV. He's planning on using it to tow behind a motorcycle with a setup for his dog. He had already had it cut down to a smaller size, but he said he was able to easily lift the trailer up onto the roof of his Dodge Durango by himself, so I figured it couldn't be that heavy...do you think they could be quoting it at a heavier weight than it actually is for some reason? I couldn't picture this co-worker lifting 100+lbs over his head onto the top of his vehicle with ease.
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Old 12-16-07, 06:44 AM
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I've seen the converted child trailers...I was thinking about doing that before I saw this thing. I also really like the bikes at work trailers, the only negative is they would be too narrow to move my big stuff (and the long wait, and the price). Maybe I'll try a child trailer first and feel what towing different amounts of weight feels like. Or maybe I could get somebody to custom make me a trailer for exactly what I'm looking for.

Since I don't have a car, I have an extra space in my garage to park a large trailer and I guess I'm just looking for something to fill that space

I really like the novelty of towing a full size trailer behind the bike though. I've also wondered at what point a trailer needs to be licensed as a vehicle, and thought it would be pretty funny to tow a trailer that requires DMV registration and has a license plate and all the DOT certified lights with a bicycle If I had a license plate on the trailer, I'd have a great response to anybody that yelled "get off the road!" lol
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Old 12-16-07, 08:05 AM
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It could be a matter of shipping weight vs. actual weight. Email harbor and see what's up.
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Old 12-16-07, 10:20 AM
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My dad actually has this same trailer. it is alot more weght then you would want to pull behind a bike. but I think for someone who is car-lite, this is a perfect trailer for them.
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Old 12-16-07, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by JeffB502 View Post
I may be way off base here, but I was entertaining the idea of using one of these trailers ...

as a bike trailer. ....
Since it is a street-legal trailer, you may need to title and register it to use it on public roads. Possibly insure it too. And the brake lights may need to work too.....
------
This goes back to the recent "Montreal pedal car" issue, as seen in the Alt Bike Culture forum and elsewhere.

I do not know about other states, but in Illinois, anything that has a VIN# must be properly titled, no exceptions. Also if it is a street-legal vehicle (trailers included) then it must meet all registration requirements if it is used on public roads. The only exception is if it is being hauled on another vehicle--that is, not touching the road at all.
,,,,
IL defines the requirements of a motor vehicle based on if it's got a VIN# or not, there are no exceptions. You cannot legally remove a VIN# from any vehicle, and in this case, pulling such a trailer with a bicycle would not disqualify it from all the usual motor vehicle requirements in Illinois.

First you need to e-mail your state's dept of vehicles and ask them if pulling a [street-legal] trailer like this with a bicycle will excuse it from all the usual title/registration/operational requirements.
~
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Old 12-16-07, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by JeffB502 View Post
I may be way off base here, but I was entertaining the idea of using one of these trailers

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=42708



as a bike trailer. They're currently on sale for $139.99. I know it's pretty heavy at 130 lbs unloaded,
Mate, this trailer is so "out of profile" for a bicycle it's not funny and as such is just to dangerous
to even think about pulling with a bike. Not to mention it's way,way,way to heavy for a bike.

Back up and start over here..........
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Old 12-16-07, 04:09 PM
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A bamboo ( or conduit or wooden) bike trailer with long tounge should be able to handle a fridge if built right (supposedly up to 500 lbs) and cost next to nothing if using a single cheap bike for wheels:
http://www.carryfreedom.com/bamboo.html

more links:
http://www.carryfreedom.com/bamboo.html#6




Note, you will have to load the fridge and tv very carefully (balancing and not dropping it onto the trailer)


I have one of those red utility trailers, and they are terrific for the price and size, but way too heavy for a bike. And given that it takes a while to assemble them, you might better spend the time making a bike trailer.
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Old 12-18-07, 08:03 PM
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While driving through deer country today, I noticed they make little trailers for ATV's...no idea what the weights or prices are, but that's another potential source of equipment.
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