In my effort to carry more things with my bike I decided to build a cargo trailer. It wasn't going to be a typical trailer though, I wanted something that was Heavy Duty, maybe something that could handle most household appliances. So I got started just like every other good home made bike trailer, with a pair of garbage picked wheels and a set of tires that were given to me for free.
Here is a quick run down of the main features of the trailer:
- Large 28"x41" deck
- Mounts with a quick release ball joint to any bike rack
- 1" square steel tube frame can accommodate up to 700c/29" wheels and tires
- 100mm drop out spacing to allow for most bicycle front wheels
- Space for tool box with tools, straps, and bungee cords
- Adjustable pulling arm to allow mounting to any bike
There is also a great post on the Utility Cycling blog about this bike move, Bike Move!
If you just watched the video your probably wondering, How much can I really tow with a bike? Well the company www.bikesatwork.com sells cargo bike trailers and has some great references on hauling large items on bikes. Check out the How much can I haul? page for a calculator on towing weight. They state that "...most people can comfortably pull 300 lbs (137 kg) with a typical mountain bike and cargo trailer..." Also check out these links for bike gearing and moving advice, Hauling Cargo by bike I have not purchased anything from this company but from the info they give and the pictures of their trailers in action I believe they sell a good product, but its just a little pricey.
So now that you see the potential behind a simple bike trailer, lets go build one!
NOTE: In order to use this bike trailer you must have a bike rack
Step 1: Tools, Materials, and Plans
- 4.5" Angle Grinder with cutoff, grinding, and sanding discs
- Drill Press with vice or C-clamp (not absolutely needed but makes drilling steel MUCH easier)
- Drill Bits size 1/4", 5/16" and 3/8"
- 3/8"-16 Tap
- Center Punch
- Welder ( I am currently using the 90amp flux core welder from Harbor Freight ~$100)
- Welding gloves and helmet
- Tape Measure
- 1" Square tube steel ( I got most of the steel for this trailer from an old BBQ grill and a bench press stand)
- 2" x 3/16" steel flat bar ~1ft long
- 1" x 3/16" steel flat bar ~1ft long
- 3/8"-24 threaded rod ~1.5" long (This is a fine thread size, and could come from an old bike axle, many of which are this thread size, or just cut off the head of a bolt of this size)
- QTY 2 - 3/8"-24 nuts (might also be able to use bike axle nuts)
- QTY 4 - 1/4"-20 x 2" long bolts with nuts and washers
- QTY 2 - 3/8"-16 x 1.5" long bolts with nuts and washers
- QTY 4 - 5/16"-18 Eye bolts with nuts and washers
- ~ 28"x41" piece of 3/4" MDF (This is for the deck of the trailer and you can use what ever you want for this)
- Quick Disconnect Ball Linkage (McMaster part #6058K34)
- QTY 2 - Bike wheels and tires ( I used 20" wheels, but the frame design allows for larger 700c wheels)
If your lacking some of the tools I mentioned, find a way to get them. Borrow them from your uncle, check out yard sales or search craigslist. These tools are pretty common and should be easy to find for cheap. For the welder, a MIG is going to be best for this project. It is completely doable with a stick or even a tig welder so just use what ever you have. If you have not welded before the 90amp flux core welder I'm using will be easy enough to learn with and at roughly $100 its by far the best bang for your buck. If you don't know how to weld check the Welding Guide and Learning to Weld from Phil B.
The attached pdf has detail drawings for the frame and the pulling arm, both parts are explained in the next few steps.