Pulling a burly with XC Full Suspension Bike- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Pulling a burly with XC Full Suspension Bike

    I already know that I can get an axle that would work through someone like Robert Axle Project but here is my dilemma.

    I have a for-the-cause family bike ride coming up in the spring and I am curious if I would be risking damaging anything on my 2018 Blur 3 X01 TR by swapping the rear axle and pulling a medium sized kid's trailer with my <30lb son in it and some toys for him.

    I've read mixed things online if it can actually cause any real damage to the bike. Some have indicated that it's a mountain bike so it's made to take much worse than some torque from a trailer, some have said that the parts that would get worn are easy to replace, and some have said that it would be risking some serious damage.

    I don't plan to ride on anything other than roads, sidewalks, and maybe crushed granite walking trails.

    (Also looking for a good trailer for under 500 new if anyone has any suggestions! Trying to find one that is good for summer heat but also doesn't let so much dirt fly in from my rear wheel)

  2. #2
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    I pulled one with my scalpel and it did not cause any issues. if you were towing for like 3000 miles maybe you would see something.

    As for trailers there are basically 2 options. Thule or Burley. then decide how much you want to spend. there are others but there are definitely quality differences when you get out of those two. Also the resale is crazy good on the Thule or Burley if you dont beat things to death. a 5 year old burley is worth 60+ % of retail price. i have the burley encore which is the top of their non-suspension 2 kid trailers. we love it, bought a second as dedicated stroller. they can also be used in the winter with ski attachment or plus tire kit. Thule has basically all the same options.

  3. #3
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    I have an old Trek 830 that I use as an around town bike to pull our trailer. I run it 1x7 with a 24t narrowide ring up front and it works great. Surly Extraterrestrial tires on the bike work great for all the types of terrain you list (26x2.5" up front if it fits, 26x46mm in back). Pretty much any mid-90s steel MTB works great for this type of use and usually has eyelet holes for mounting racks to bring gear / snacks along for the ride. As long as you've got the garage space, $60 for a thru axle vs $75-150 for a used bike seems like an easy choice to me.

    Also note from experience: when you load and unload kids you'll either be laying the bike on its side or leaning it up against something (with the bike occasionally falling over). Either way things are likely to get scratched up a little. Not a big deal on a 90s steel monster, but not abuse I'd want to subject a more expensive bike to.

    We've been fine with an Instep Rocket II that I got pretty much nothing. It was OK stock, but it made a night and day difference in rolling resistance moving up to 20x2.4" bmx tires. These are the ones we got:
    https://www.albes.com/mission-tracker-tire/

    The bigger tires give a little more cushion for the kids and the bright orange increases the visibility of the trailer. For $40 or so it's a great upgrade for any trailer that has enough clearance on the sides. A few places have Cult AK tires in bright green and bright orange on sale for $15-20 per tire (20x2.5, supposed to inflate to 2.6"), which would be a good option.

    As long as you're not riding in snow, the smooth tread should work better for towing than the more aggressive tread on something like the Burly 16x3.0 plus kit.

  4. #4
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    Good inquiry, DrDocta. We have been producing our Kid Trailer Axles for 5 years now. There are now thousands of our axles around the world. We have glowing testimonials from families that have traversed continents using our product with their family in tow. If there were widespread issues of premature wear or damage, this forum would be full of reports of such. Full suspension bikes today are so much better designed than they were in the 90's when they did fall apart on a regular basis.

  5. #5
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    Good points, didn't really consider the fact that I will be leaning the bike over and risking some possible fall damage (and even theft if my bike ends up unprotected during the event before or after) so may consider making room for another bike just for towing and commuting.

    Assuming that damage does end up occurring, would anyone be able to tell me what parts would even be at risk of damaging and how bad that would be? If it the parts that get worn or damaged are easy to repair or easy to replace then that would be a big deciding factor as well.

    I'd rather use the bike I have but at the same time an excuse to get another bike is always good too!

  6. #6
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    Lay your bike on its side and see what hits first. That is what could be damaged. I am guessing bars and pedals. I think you are looking into this a bit much though. Any crash on a trail will do infinitely more damage than a tip over while hooked to a trailer. Th ehitch rubber piece will also slow the fall as it gets farther in the tip over.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jefflinde View Post
    Lay your bike on its side and see what hits first. That is what could be damaged. I am guessing bars and pedals. I think you are looking into this a bit much though. Any crash on a trail will do infinitely more damage than a tip over while hooked to a trailer. Th ehitch rubber piece will also slow the fall as it gets farther in the tip over.
    Jeff is spot on.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jefflinde View Post
    Lay your bike on its side and see what hits first. That is what could be damaged. I am guessing bars and pedals. I think you are looking into this a bit much though. Any crash on a trail will do infinitely more damage than a tip over while hooked to a trailer. Th ehitch rubber piece will also slow the fall as it gets farther in the tip over.
    Sorry I wasn't clear there, I meant from the possible damage caused by the torque of riding with a 30-40lb weight fixed to one side of my rear axle as I accelerate, brake, and hit road / light trail chatter. I'm assuming that if it occurs it would be something with the pivots?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    Sorry I wasn't clear there, I meant from the possible damage caused by the torque of riding with a 30-40lb weight fixed to one side of my rear axle as I accelerate, brake, and hit road / light trail chatter. I'm assuming that if it occurs it would be something with the pivots?
    I'd imagine that the difference in torque there would be pretty small -- you already have a slight imbalance from the rotor being on one side and you'd probably have a similar difference in weighting on the pivots if you were to only ride trails that had all left-hand turns.

    From a damage perspective, I'd just look at it from the perspective that the maintenance cost per mile is just inherently a little higher on the FS than it would be on a rigid bike. If you're pulling the trailer for enough miles, a rigid bike might eventually be cheaper but probably not by a huge amount.

    If you think you'll have more fun getting another bike (or if you think you'll be too consumed by anxiety using your current bike), get yourself another bike.

    If you think you'll have more fun pulling it with the FS you have now, get the through axle and enjoy.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdocta View Post
    Sorry I wasn't clear there, I meant from the possible damage caused by the torque of riding with a 30-40lb weight fixed to one side of my rear axle as I accelerate, brake, and hit road / light trail chatter. I'm assuming that if it occurs it would be something with the pivots?
    I think you are reading way into this still. The torque from that is minimal when compared to you hitting larger bumps at speed by yourself. You have to remember that unless you are racing at the top levels the bikes are way over built for even weekend warrior use. Even after 10k miles of pulling a trailer I would bet lots of $$ that even with a micrometer you could not tell the difference between the pivots on a bike that pulled a trailer and one that didnít.

    If after all the above comments, you are still concerned, then you definitely need to have a dedicated rigid bike for towing a trailer.

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