For a while now I have been looking for a bike trailer hitch that would allow full movement by the trailer in both the vertical and side to side lateral directions. I wanted something that would allow for the trailer to hit bumps, without it affecting the bike, as well as take corners as a car/truck trailer would.
I browsed Instructables, Google Images and Pinterest looking for something that would work, and be reasonably simple/cheap to build, but could not find anything. I started combining ideas I had seen, and came up with this. It took approx. 30 minutes to build, and less than $40 to complete.
Here are the materials I used:
- 2 1/2" swivel castor wheel (needs to be the kind where you can remove the wheel) $8 at Lowes
- 1 1/4" 2 Hole EMT Straps (for electrical conduit, came in a four pack, I only used 2) $2 at Lowes
- 2 1/2" x 5/8" Stanley Corner Braces $4 at Lowes
- 10-24 Nuts and 3/4" bolts (8 bolts, 6 nuts) $4 at Lowes
- (16) #10 washers and (8) 3/8" washers and (4) 5/16" fender washers $5 (the 3/8" do not specifically have to be that size, that is just what I had on hand).
- (2) 10-24 wing nuts $2 at Lowes
- (2) 2 1/2" x 5" U bolts $8 total at Lowes
- 1" Electrical conduit $3 at Lowes
- Pipe insulation $3
**Please note: sizing was important as that parts have to all line up. It is possible there is a better combination, but this worked well for me**
Here are the tools I used:
- Drill with 5/16 drill bit
- Screw driver
- Adjustable wrench
Step 1: Castor to Trailer Connection
1. Remove dowel from wheel castor
2. Match drill bit size to dowel. Mine was 5/16".
3. Using a piece of the conduit, mark where the dowel will go through the conduit, leaving room for the conduit to spin inside of the castor.
4. Drill the whole all the way through the conduit
5. Place the dowel back through the castor, and conduit. I added a few (4 to be exact) fender washers (5/16") to fill the gaps on either side.
Step 2: Castor to Seat Post Connection
1. Place one of the corner braces on top of the castor wheel, and use the bolts (washer on either side of the castor) and nuts to secure it in place. I left it loose for the moment, but will tighten it all down later once everything is in place
2. Repeat with the other corner brace
3. Remove the plates from the U bolts
4. Attached one side of these plates, and the conduit strap to the other end of the corner brace, with nuts and bolts again, washers on both sides. I threw a 3/8" washer on too since the hole in the plates were just about #10 sized. Leave the other side unattached for the time being
5. Repeat with the other plate and conduit strap
Step 3: Hitch to Bike Connection
1. Swinging the loose plate/strap, place on the seat post (make sure to have the conduit facing up, so it will avoid the bike wheel)
2. I found it was really loose on the post, which is ideal, since it could be adjustable for other things
3. I removed the hitch and added some pipe insulation to the seat post, then repositioned the hitch back on
4. Using the remaining bolts, washers and wing nuts, attach the other side of the plate/strap to the corner brace
5. Tighten down as much as possible.
There you have it! The conduit can swing in the up/down direction and side to side allowing full movement of the trailer without affecting the bike.
I have not built the trailer yet, but can upload that when I do.