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Has anyone ever built a Tandem axle trailer

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Has anyone ever built a Tandem axle trailer

Old 09-05-08, 03:37 PM
  #1  
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Has anyone ever built a Tandem axle trailer

Has anyone here ever built a tandem axle trailer. I don't see any real advantage to it except for the fact that you could have no weight on the bicycle. Would there be consiserably more rolling resistance than a 2 wheeled trailer with about the same amount of weight on it. Once I rigged a wagon with a plastic cargo area with pneumatic tires to my Varsity and filled the wagon to the top with sand. The tires needed a bit of air, so all four of them were semi flat. This was on a dirt road with gravel filling in potholes. I couldn't get the rig to start for two reasons, 1st, the Varsity's lowest gear ratio is 37 gear inches. Second, There was no weight on the bike and it had skinny tires on a loose surface, so it couldn't move the rig. I finally got it to move but I couldn't keep the rig going because I couldn't keep my grip and the rig came to a grinding hault. How do you think it would handle loaded and unloaded, at speed?

I own a trailer, the thought just came to me. So I had to ask
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Old 09-06-08, 01:36 AM
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Did some thinking but did nothng about this. Also becouse I try to use my dog to pull stuff, and for him 4 wheels is better than 2 of course.

The main reason for not building is there is "garden carts" already on the market in all sizes and weight limitations, from childrens toys to the size you could pull behind a small tractor (gras cutter).

I think somebody in this forum posted about doing it.

Weight, tyre preassure width of tyres and type of bearrings are some of the things that would decide on rolling resistance, but for sure it would be heavyer. This is one of many reaons I use a longtail bike instead of a trailer most of the time. Also, with most of or all the weight on the bike you do not get the problems you describe

Not important really, since this is somethimg most peopel would not use as a only trailer. I am sure for some purposes it could be great, especially if you already own one.

Last edited by badmother; 09-06-08 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 09-06-08, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Chicagoan View Post
Has anyone here ever built a tandem axle trailer. I don't see any real advantage to it except for the fact that you could have no weight on the bicycle.
The main reason for more than one axle on any trailer is to increase the load capacity of the
trailer. That said, one axle is all any sane person would ever want due to steering changes
as well as a load to heavy to carry,but mostly steering changes. Every watch a tandem turn?
Then you know the rear axle drags a lot and resisit turning at all. Don't want that on a bike!
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Old 09-06-08, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Chicagoan View Post
Has anyone here ever built a tandem axle trailer. I don't see any real advantage to it except for the fact that you could have no weight on the bicycle. Would there be consiserably more rolling resistance than a 2 wheeled trailer with about the same amount of weight on it. Once I rigged a wagon with a plastic cargo area with pneumatic tires to my Varsity and filled the wagon to the top with sand. The tires needed a bit of air, so all four of them were semi flat. This was on a dirt road with gravel filling in potholes. I couldn't get the rig to start for two reasons, 1st, the Varsity's lowest gear ratio is 37 gear inches. Second, There was no weight on the bike and it had skinny tires on a loose surface, so it couldn't move the rig. I finally got it to move but I couldn't keep the rig going because I couldn't keep my grip and the rig came to a grinding hault. How do you think it would handle loaded and unloaded, at speed?

I own a trailer, the thought just came to me. So I had to ask
It could be done... if you had a need, but I can't think of circumstances that would need a tandem where a single wouldn't do the job. If you're talking about moving such a big load that you require at least 4 wheels then you'll probably need more than 1 person pedaling, and a pretty beefy prime mover. By that stage you could start to look at a side-by-side 2 seater quadracycle to get the job done. hmmmm, sounds like a fun project
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Old 09-07-08, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Chicagoan View Post
Has anyone here ever built a tandem axle trailer. I don't see any real advantage to it except for the fact that you could have no weight on the bicycle. Would there be considerably more rolling resistance than a 2 wheeled trailer with about the same amount of weight on it. Once I rigged a wagon with a plastic cargo area with pneumatic tires to my Varsity and filled the wagon to the top with sand. The tires needed a bit of air, so all four of them were semi flat. This was on a dirt road with gravel filling in potholes. I couldn't get the rig to start for two reasons, 1st, the Varsity's lowest gear ratio is 37 gear inches. Second, There was no weight on the bike and it had skinny tires on a loose surface, so it couldn't move the rig. I finally got it to move but I couldn't keep the rig going because I couldn't keep my grip and the rig came to a grinding halt. How do you think it would handle loaded and unloaded, at speed?

I own a trailer, the thought just came to me. So I had to ask
IF, you're really thinking about building one - there are a few things you need to know about how tandems act (this coming from a truck driver's experience):

First, if you are thinking about a true 'tandem' where one axle is only a few inches in front of the other, you will definitely increase the load capacity of the trailer. But, you will set yourself up for some serious difficulty in cornering. In order for the trailer to turn, the axles act against each other creating sideways friction on the ground (tire scuffing). The farther apart the axles are - the more friction (sideways) you will get as the actual pivot point is centered BETWEEN the two axles. You will also most likely have too much on there to get it moving. You'll need some SERIOUS granny gears

Second, using tandem axle does NOT remove the weight from the tractor/truck (or bike). It increases the amount of weight that you can carry. You do 'balance it out' but not in the way you may be thinking. We use sliding tandems to balance the weights to get the loads legal - moving weight on and off the tractor/trailer axles by shifting the balance point. On a truck you can go only 12k pounds on the steer axle, 34k pounds on the tandem drive and 34k pounds on the trailer tandems - for a max of 80k max weight (Fed laws, I ain't getting in to state laws ). Without a trailer (or load) my tractor weighs in at 19.5k, An empty trailer is 8-20k depending entirely on the manufacture/type/materials/etc.

Second, if you really, really want to build one, look at tractor-trailers. The majority of the ones that you'll see have the tandems only a few inches apart. You'll see some out there that are called "spread axle" trailers. For the simple (and visible) reason that the axles are several feet apart. This is to spread the load more (and some can even slide those tandems up and back). But, and more important for you, it greatly increases the ground friction in any type of turn/curve. Their tires wear out much faster that the regular kind of tandems.

Third, if you really need an additional axle due to weight, I'd go with either a front axle that pivots (like a kids wagon) or create a "dually". Side-by-side tires. That will also increase the weight capacity (and increase the trailer width), but will not interfere as much with turning and ground friction - although there will still be ground friction.

And, finally, considering everything else - the alignment of the axles is critical! If you are off just the tinniest bit, your tires will be working against you. One will always be 'scuffing' the ground. You think it is bad when your car is out of alignment? Try it with a trailer out of alignment. You've probably seen them out there and not realized it. Where it looks like the trailer is following a different line than the tractor? It is - the trailer is out of alignment. And it doesn't take much.

What might be a better solution for you, at least where hauling more weight is concerned, is to get/build/buy a trailer with the axle in the center of the trailer. Then you can load it with the weight balanced between the trailer and bike. Or, (and if you do it I'd love to see a pic) create a trailer with a sliding axle so you can adjust it as needed.

Good luck
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Old 09-07-08, 08:48 AM
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There isn't much weight on the bike with a trailer that is properly and safely loaded. Most of the weight should be distributed so the trailer axle carries most of the load with only 10% more of the weight on the hitch side of the axle for handling purposes.
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Old 09-07-08, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
The main reason for more than one axle on any trailer is to increase the load capacity of the
trailer. That said, one axle is all any sane person would ever want due to steering changes
as well as a load to heavy to carry,but mostly steering changes. Every watch a tandem turn?
Then you know the rear axle drags a lot and resisit turning at all. Don't want that on a bike!
True, my dad's boat is on a tandem axle trailer, but I was thinking more along the lines of a wagon.
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Old 06-04-16, 10:01 AM
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To make things a little easier, I researched the advantages of single vs. tandem regarding trailers towed by motors, and this is what I came up with.

If you use your trailer frequently and/or haul heavy loads, a tandem axle might serve you better. Though, in the case with bike trailers, even the heaviest-duty ones on the market seem to function with just one axle.

Maneuverability is more restricted, but it is generally more stable, especially at high speeds. Besides downhills, when would anyone ever reach such speeds with a bike trailer?

Weight capacity is much higher than a single axle trailer of the same size.

A tandem axle could potentially be longer, meaning more cargo capacity as well.

Fixing a tire is somewhat easier on a tandem, especially if the trailer is loaded down.

More/less axles will not increase/decrease the life of the tires and wheels, according to research.

I will admit that I find the idea of a tandem axle trailer very interesting, but I am struggling to come up with good justification for building one. The size of the wheels would be important too. You would have to be crazy to build a tandem axle with 26-inch wheels, but 16-inch wheels MIGHT be doable, or smaller if possible.

There is a pop-up camper trailer on the market, which I believe is younger than this thread, that has tandem axles. It features the folding tent and a storage trunk underneath. The wheels are tiny though, definitely smaller than 16-inches.

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Old 06-04-16, 02:00 PM
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Some trailer tow-bar weight is needed to make them Tow properly , and not pull You over and down.

Try tail loading your 2 wheel trailer and see how you like it..
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Old 06-04-16, 03:50 PM
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Someone else already stated that a tandem axle does not remove the tongue weight from the tow vehicle, all it does is increase the weight capacity of the trailer. A rear-heavy trailer is just an accident waiting to happen-- whether it be one or two axles.
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Old 06-05-16, 12:36 PM
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I was following a truck with a trailer owned by the USCG.. 2 axle , carrying a Zodiac Rubber Boat , saw it swing and sway

then the trailer pulled the truck around 180, and put it in the opposite ditch..

Being a small Town, eventually I talked to the driver of the truck, the cause was one tire on the trailer going flat..
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Old 07-09-16, 06:55 PM
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After some more pondering and researching, I have other questions. Whether or not the rider could handle towing a tandem axle trailer is one thing, but what about the trailer itself? Tandem axle trailer tires usually have specially designed tread and reinforced sidewalls to help it survive tire scrub while cornering. Regular car or truck tires would never last long in this position. How would bicycle tires fare on a (granted, much smaller scale) trailer? Would a tandem axle bicycle trailer require specialty tires that probably don't even exist? That's not even taking into account a heavily loaded trailer, which would increase tire scrub. Tandem axle trailers also have suspension systems that are specifically designed for cornering tandem axles that allows the tires to "pull" in opposite directions. Most bicycle trailers have no suspension at all.

Would a bicycle trailer with tandem axles need to be completely designed from the ground up to handle the abuse that a trailer typically goes through, or would any common bike trailer concept with a second axle do just fine? I'll repeat myself in saying that I think a tandem axle bike trailer would be cool, but the complications involved with tandem axles seems like an awful lot of trouble-- almost more than it would be worth.

I have a delta (two wheels in the back, one in the front) tricycle and a single axle trailer that I can pull with either the trike or my two wheeled bike. The tricycle is more limited to how much weight on the tongue it can handle (or else the front wheel will be in the air), unlike a two wheeled or a tadpole trike where the weight would be supported on the center of the rear wheel, and tongue weight would hardly be an issue.
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Old 07-09-16, 07:14 PM
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FWIW, there is a diversion of Hwy 30 splitting thru town into 2 one way streets,
and the heavy truck traffic was tearing up the asphalt pavement where they had to do a right angle corner
so the last repave was a black concrete ..



LBS did a modification of a 2 wheel trailer, added drum brake wheels and a 3rd brake lever
pulling one cable to a 1 to 2 splitter with a cable to each wheel brake. .
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Old 07-10-16, 04:05 AM
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Thread was started eight years ago.

I think for ease of pulling and minimal drag that a single axle trailer beats a tandem axle trailer hands down.

Cheers
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Old 03-27-20, 02:29 AM
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Reviving this old thread to share this astonishing find:


A European-based company named Hinterher/Munich produces enclosed aluminum cargo bike trailers among other things. Their largest model is the Hbox 880 L which features a tandem-axle setup for "self-balancing." The trailer utilizes 16-inch wheels and Schwalbe Big Apple tires.

Sadly, there is no video footage of this trailer in action, at least none that I was able to find. I'm rather curious to know how that thing handles while cornering or while the wheels are on uneven ground. Also, can the Schwalbes even achieve a notable lifespan with the extra abuse they'd be taking from tire scrub? I'm not actually familiar with that brand as I've simply never used them before.
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Old 03-27-20, 09:45 PM
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How about this for bicycle camping?

https://newatlas.com/midget-bushtrek...trailer/22167/







Cheers
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