DIY Bicycle Trailers - Tips and Questions!!!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    DIY Bicycle Trailers - Tips and Questions!!!

    Hey everyone. I'm pretty new here so I'm not sure of the rules for posting yet or if a thread about DIY Bicycle Trailers belongs in the commuting section or somewhere else. I've been looking into buying a cargo trailer for my bike for a while now but I've noticed most of them either A - Suck or B - Cost more than there are worth. I made this thread for people to exchange tips and and be able to ask questions about what you can do as far a DIY trailers. The best and most cost effective I've come up with is buying a Hitch Cargo Carrier for designed for a car or truck. They cost from $50 to $300+ for the really fancy ones but that isn't bad considering nice bicycle cargo trailers are at least that much. Most can carry 300 - 500+ lbs and only weigh 25 - 50 lbs which isn't bad. They usually are 4 to 5 feet long,20" to 3 feet wide and 3" to 2 feet tall. Hitch cargo carriers are perfect because they're usually made of steel, the hitch bar is always perfectly in the center and usually hollow and if it isn't you can make it so with a bit of welding to keep everything together when you remove the bolts that attach the tow bar and basket together on some of the cheaper models that aren't welded together. All you have to do after that is find bicycle trailer axles that you can buy online for $30+/- along with push button wheels, tubes and tires. Then run the axle though the hollow hitch bar, put your brackets in place to keep the axle perfect centered and solid and weld it all together and put the wheels on. Then you can either buy or make a bar to attach the whole set up to your bike like any other trailer. You can find spare hitch bars online for a resonable amount...I'd say starting at $200 for everything including parts if you do all of it yourself. If you're not handy you're local welder or auto shop could probably help you out...It shouldn't take them that long if they're an expericanced with welding. Well I hope my solution to the bicycle cargo trailer helps you or give you all some ideas. One last note I'm not sure what the rules are about putting up website addies and product names so if someone could tell me wheather or not it wouldn't be breaking any rules that would be great...I know of a few great sites and products. Take care everyone!
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  2. #2
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    That's definitely an interesting idea, but I think that they are way too beefy for a bicycle trailer application. I have a BOB that holds 70 lbs and I find that it is difficult to handle when it gets fully loaded. The weight of those will be several times what a specific bike trailer would be.

    While this item is far from ideal, you can't beat the price...
    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes//Produc...2_171080_-1___

    Chris

  3. #3

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    Except isn't the Bob trailer a single wheel trialer? That means you have to not only balance all that weight but more of the weight is transfered right to your bike. With a two wheel trailer if you distibute the load correctly it should be easier to handle...

  4. #4
    ...a wiggle theres a way
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    when i was looking at trailers i initially thought of building my own as i know i can build one for cheaper - HOWEVER - i was limited on time didn't have access to the materials/tools i needed - so i went looking at local classifieds / craigslist and found one for almost a 1/4 the cost of purchasing a new one only catch was no flag for it (stopped at rei and they gave me an extra one for free)

    i've used my single wheel trailer for lots of grocery shopping mostly bringing home heavy stuff 100pounds of dog food, 5 gallons of gas for the lawn mower, 90-100 pounds of groceries from costco and its towed straight and inline all the time even when its not centered --

    when i bring home dog food i generally just set both bags closest to the rear triangle of the bike bungee cord them and ride home with most people shocked/amazed that you can do that on a bike.

    I really like the idea of a single wheeled trailer much easier to handle pull and doesn't have nearly the drag as a two wheeled setup, as an added bonus also has mounts for water bottles / accessories

    i'd be curious to see what your single trailer design looks like we have a guy locally (utah) that makes some check out his work here http://www.wix.com/erikdye/DLUX/Bike-Trailers

    take care and best of luck to you

    joe

  5. #5
    bike the planet!
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    I've built a number of trailers. Below I've posted some pictures and details about a few of the purpose-built traielrs I've made over the years. If you have questions or want more info about any of them to help with your design I'm happy to help.

    First- i would not use one of those hitch mounted racks as a base for a trailer. you'd be "buying an airplane to get free peanuts" as far as utility is concerned. (Yeah, it'll work but there are more efficient ways to reach the same end.)

    For a premade option- I am quite happy with my WIKE large cargo trailer. At just a hair over $200 including a hitch attachment for a second bike it's a great value. Below is a pic of my WIKE helping with a move-by-bike in DC.


    If you want to build- What skills/tools do you have access to?

    I've welded a super-heavy duty axle and frame using some square tubing and some bolts with their heads cut off.





    This is a heavy but super durable option if you have access to welding equipment. This axle ended up as part of the frame for a traielr used on a Christmas ride.



    The trailer body was built of aged oak (recycled palates) with a bottom and sides made of an old desk pulled from a dumpster. Wheels were $3 from Harbor Freight. The "lid" was fiberglass composite with real coal glued to it to complete the look. For a cargo traielr I would suggest a lighter body be bolted to the frame. I did win best decorated bike though.

    The hitch attachment was also welded from some scrap steel, a castor wheel, and some high pressure airline fittings.

    and the trailer end...
    Last edited by HandsomeRyan; 01-06-2010 at 10:37 AM.

  6. #6
    bike the planet!
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    Another trailer I built as a custom stereo for group rides. It used a commercially produced trailer arm off a kiddie trailer that was bolted to a plywood trailer base. The axles were welded from sections of all-threaded rod that were fiber-glassed onto the bottom of the wooden frame. The skin is made of polyester resin impregnated fleece stretched over wooden forms.

    The frame of this traielr ended up being quite light and strong (it supported the weight of a 40lb car battery centered over the axles). Built with a different body, it would have made a very suitable cargo trailer.





    The wheels were $20ish each from Northern Tool.

    _________________________________________________

    My first stab at a homemade trailer was for the 2007 Tour de Lights ride in Knoxville, TN (The 2009 TdL was featured in the Dec issue of Bicycling Magazine).



    This trailer was again built as a novelty trailer for the ride but the mechanics of it are transferable to building a utility trailer.

    The sub-frame of this trailer was made of hand bent 3/4" electrical conduit. [cheap!] The pulling arm and frame were screwed to the plywood floor of the "sleigh" which added strength and rigidity. The wheels were take-offs from a childrens bicycle.


    I won Best Decorated bike.

    The hitch mechanism ended up being a snap hook attached to a u-bolt through the bicycles rear rack. Poor design; i would not recommend it.

    __________________________________________________ _

    another prototype trailer hitch attachment I built but never used is pictured below.


  7. #7
    Off the back...
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    I bought a barely-used kiddie trailer for $40 and removed all the kiddie carrier bits until it was just the hitch, arm, base frame and wheels. I used the existing bolts to mount two sets of angle aluminum rails to it, then bolted on a couple of plastic storage containers. Capacity is in excess of 100 pounds, the containers have lids to keep stuff from flying out, and the whole shebang cost me under $80. I have taken it off-road, and as long as you remember where the rear wheels are in relation to trees, it does quite well. It's absolutely fine for street use as well.

  8. #8
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by William9_17
    One last note I'm not sure what the rules are about putting up website addies and product names so if someone could tell me wheather or not it wouldn't be breaking any rules that would be great...I know of a few great sites and products. Take care everyone!
    No problems there as far as I`ve ever seen- if you know a good site, go ahead and share it.

    Yeah, BOBs and Nashbars are single wheeled and if you`re talking about huge loads (it sounds like you are) you`re probably right about two wheels being a lot more stable. For small loads in a single wheel trailer, stability isn`t an issue. When you start getting heavier, parking and loading become a bit of a pain, but not too bad to pull other than "motor" issues and high speeds- the heavier you get it, the more careful you have to be when you`re going down grades. I`ve never used a two wheel trailer, but I imagine the loading and parking problems pretty much solve themselves and they probably behave a bit better at 25+ MPH.

    For an inexpensive light duty trailer, that Nashbar seems to get pretty good reviews. Or check for a good deal on a kid hauler like Pinkrobe found- a lot of them turn up on my local Craigs List. Or go ahead and try a DIY. I don`t mean to sound like I`m trying to talk you out of that option. Personally, I love homebrew projects.

    A company called "Bikes At Work" builds some SERIOUS cargo trailers. You might get some ideas from their website:
    http://www.bikesatwork.com/
    I saw pics somewhere of a homebrew along those lines that used an aluminum stepladder as a frame- looked pretty sharp.
    Recalculating....

  9. #9
    weirdo
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    Groovin, Ryan! Looks like we know where to turn now for trailer fab ideas! I like your hitch setups, especially.
    Recalculating....

  10. #10
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    I just got a "Croozer Cargo" trailer from biketrailershop.com and have been using it for weekly grocery runs. First trip out I loaded it with about 30-40 lbs and it handled great. At $200 bucks I think it's a good deal.

  11. #11
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    I started to build one myself and then decided to get the quikpak here: http://www.bicycletrailersonline.com. Love it.

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