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Thread: Towing a bike

  1. #1
    BIKE!!
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    Towing a bike

    Anybody come up with any good ideas for towing a bike with you while on a bike. I know I could get an xtracycle or even a bob trailer, but I was just looking for a cheap original idea before I spend the cash. I tried mounting a fork mount on a seat post rear rack. It would work but I cannot get the quick release tight enough on the seatpost to sustain the torque when you turn. If I go straight it works good. A regular rack might do it but I do not have rack mounts on my commuter. Anyone out there have any other ideas??

  2. #2
    Birdman aka JMJ
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    Funny, I was thinking about this idea as well (towing my MTB to the trailhead using my road bike). If you mounted the fork mount to a vertical pivot (like the hitch used for an Xtracycle or something similar) and that was then mounted to the seatpost, you would keep the towed bike upright and still turn okay.

    You could also try making the fork mount pivot on your rear rack (again, pivoting on a vertical pin or something), and then just hang the front wheel off to one side or strap it to the main triangle of the towed bike.

    I've seen someone make an elcheapo tandem bike by attaching the fork dropouts of the trailing bike to the rear axle of the lead bike... really scary and, again, very tough to turn.

    JMJ

  3. #3
    Birdman aka JMJ
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    Like this?

    Something like this?

    Whipped this up in Solidworks in about 5 minutes. A PITA to machine in this form, but you get the idea.

    JMJ
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
    BIKE!!
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    Lucky me, my father works in a machine shop! I will see what he could do with the idea!

  5. #5
    One wheeled
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  6. #6
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    I do it all the time. You can't put it up around the seatpost. The weight of the bike will cause it to rotate. You need a fairly secure mount. I do not own a digital camera so I cannot take pictures.
    The first thing you need is an old front hub. You want to set this behind the bike at approximately the same height as where the hub would be on the complete wheel. The bicycle's geometry is somewhat important. Mount it up high and it will fall over when you turn. The frame will rotate away and the fork drops. This is still a problem, but much less so when mounted at a lower height. Now figure out some way to mount the hub back there. I have a Surly Nice Rack. I took two ~15in pieces of steel and cable clamps. Drilled four holes in each and used the clamps to mount them to four bars along the rack. Then I drilled two holes at the end, a few inches apart, and ran full thread bolts through. For additional support and tension I added two turnbuckles that go from the back of the rack down to one of the cross bolts. A piece of threaded rod and a coupler was required to get the length correct. A hooked end was used at the rack and an eye at the bolt. Then just use two U-bolts around the hub and the cross bolts to hold it in place. A bungie cord is still required to go through the towing bike's frame and around the handlebars of the towed bike to help prevent it from falling over in the sharpest of turns, but still allows enough movement to turn and not skid.

    Another idea I had for use without a rear rack would be to find a way to mount two seatpost QR's on both seat stays. Set them to clamp 100mm apart and you can put the fork over the rear tire.

  7. #7
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    I once saw a photo of a guy who'd taken a trike and mounted a car bike rack on the back to carry his low-rider bike to shows. The trike was also customized to match the low-rider.

  8. #8
    I Ride for Donuts
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    I don't get the physics behind why the towed bike would fall over in corners...

    If the fork is mounted securely, the back wheel can go wherever it wants and it's not going to be able to fall over. Can someone explain how the fork magically separates from the rest of the towed bike and allows the frame to fall over when you're turning? Maybe I'm dense...
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    I don't get the physics behind why the towed bike would fall over in corners...

    If the fork is mounted securely, the back wheel can go wherever it wants and it's not going to be able to fall over. Can someone explain how the fork magically separates from the rest of the towed bike and allows the frame to fall over when you're turning? Maybe I'm dense...
    Ok. You need to have up and down movement of the bike behind you as well as left to right. That's why trailers are ball hitches. The headset gives you the left and right movement, but what about up and down? Using a front hub to mount it allows you the up and down so the bike can follow you over the terrain. Grab your bike by the fork legs with the rear wheel straight behind. Now rotate the rear wheel around to the side and try to hold the bike up. The fork wants to fall backwards because the rear wheel is no longer in the path to support it. This will happen in turns. The bungie cord acts as a limiter to this. If I take a very sharp corner the rear tire on the towed bike will skip a little.

  10. #10
    Birdman aka JMJ
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    Quick route

    WolfmansBrother8 - this might be a shortcut.

    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?category=&subcategory=&brand=&sku=16992&storetype=estore&estoreid=1431&pagename=Estore%3A%20Fall%20Preview%20Sale!

  11. #11
    viva la v-brakes!
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    How far are you towing? I usually just ride the heavier of the two bikes and grab the other bike by the stem and roll.
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  12. #12
    I Ride for Donuts
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker
    Ok. You need to have up and down movement of the bike behind you as well as left to right. That's why trailers are ball hitches. The headset gives you the left and right movement, but what about up and down? Using a front hub to mount it allows you the up and down so the bike can follow you over the terrain. Grab your bike by the fork legs with the rear wheel straight behind. Now rotate the rear wheel around to the side and try to hold the bike up. The fork wants to fall backwards because the rear wheel is no longer in the path to support it. This will happen in turns. The bungie cord acts as a limiter to this. If I take a very sharp corner the rear tire on the towed bike will skip a little.

    AAHHHHH gotcha. I was thinking a rigid mount, not a pivoting one. I guess you wouldn't want that back tire floating off of the ground when you went over a speedbump.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  13. #13
    BIKE!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishMan473
    How far are you towing? I usually just ride the heavier of the two bikes and grab the other bike by the stem and roll.

    I will be riding a good 7 - 8 miles on traveled roadways, so that would not be fun. Thanks for all the ideas, I will let you know what I come up with!

  14. #14
    Known Mountainbiker
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    A pit trailer that was displayed at Oregon Manifest 08. There was room to spare for a canapy, gear bag, folding chair and tool box. Claimed to support 250lbs.

    Caz
    I am a Mountain Biker therefore I am late

  15. #15
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    How much is that trailer, where can I get it, and can it still be used with a rear rack and panniers?

  16. #16
    NDD
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    I'm reviving this super old thread, because I'm planning a way to do it. I'll post pictures once I figure something out.

    If anyone has pics of a setup is like to see some.

  17. #17
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    Are you thinking car dolly style, or direct attachment of towed bike to traction bike? Could be a fun project.

  18. #18
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    I like this thread. I love innovation.

    I have towed my bike in the past using my cargo bike. I basically strapped the front wheel of the bike to the rear and the bike followed me along. I know I have seen threads of this in the Cargo Bike section.

    However, I have often daydreamed this as I know there are times it'd be nice to do this.

    The issue as you found is the torque it puts on the seatpost. Probably not good to have something bolt/clamp on to the seatpost unless there's a way to "brace" it to the frame.

    You said you don't have fender mounts.

    I have used these kinds of things to fabricate "mounts" to my frames over the years:

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    By making a frame of which to bolt your fork mount to, you'd be able to mount the bike using the fork mount. Bonus points for making a wheel mount as well.

    Also, if you want to make this thing easier to mount and remove, you could use thumb or wing nuts. Even quicker on/off might be able to use toggle clamp or quick-release clamps.

    Sorry I don't have any available pictures now but hopefully this piques the imagination a bit.

  19. #19
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    I know this is an old thread, but I think I have just found the stupidest comment I have come across on mtbr, which is saying alot:
    Quote Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
    Funny, I was thinking about this idea as well (towing my MTB to the trailhead using my road bike). ...
    I am pretty sure outside of your weirdo brain, in the realm of actually physical reality, you or anyone is better off, GASP, pedaling the mountain bike to the trail head.

  20. #20
    NDD
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    The idea of towing to the trailhead, while kind of hare-brained, brings up the otherwise important topic of how tow a bike at all. I'd like to be able to tow one with the other to get it worked on if i need.

    I meant to get on this last week,but deadlines have stalled this project. Perhaps this week...

  21. #21
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    I have been thinking on this since you brought it up, I just haven't had time to build the prototype.

    Seems like I could get a spare quick release skewer/ axle/ bolt and nut that matches the front on my mtb and some slightly larger pvc or steel tubing to use as a spacer. The quick release or regular bolt and nut could be tightened on the fork, around the spacer, like mounting a wheel. The tube could be zip tied and duct taped, epoxied, or welded to my rear rack. If you don't have a rack, the tube could be lashed on at the rear fender mount.

    You would have to lash the trailer bike's front wheel to the bike somehow.

    Just a thought, maybe not a good one. Best of luck.

  22. #22
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    The easiest may be to use hose clamps to attach the body of a front hub to your rack. Pull the front wheel, strap it to the trailer bike's top tube and seat post, then attach the fork to hub.

    I have thought about doing this in the past, but I so rarely need to tow a bike that I just tow a trailer that I lash the front wheel into, which gives 3 dimensions of movement (two with the headset, one with the hub).

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