Instructables

Fast Handling Bike Trailer

Our family ride bikes regularly. We have an old 70's era Burley tandem that we added a tag-a-long bike to for outings. My two boys enjoy riding about anywhere. Their longest ride to date is about 27 miles. During the summer as gas prices spiked, we decided as a family to do some of our errands on our bikes. We added racks and baskets to all the bikes. However, for a grocery store run you need more holding power. So one day while puttering in the garage, I thought up a way to use the existing tag-a-long hardware to rig up a trailer. I looked at the assorted store bought trailers and the Instructables offerings and used the best of all the worlds. As with most builds like this, hind sight is 20/20 and I would do things a bit differently if I did it again. I am currently collecting parts for the next trailer that will allow me to carry even more.
 
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Step 1: Material List

Material list:

1 qty old bike fork
1 qty storage container of your choice. I used a 27 gal. Rubbermaid one from Costco
1 qty old bike wheel. The smaller the diameter the more it will tend to bounce over bumps
6-10 tech screws or any screw suitable for attaching your bin/container
1 qty child tag-a-long bike hitch. These are easy to make but so easily available why bother
? qty of wood for deck. What do you have laying around. I had a scrap of 3/8" plywood from another project
? qty of conduit, pipe, tubing or misc. metal. I used about 3 and 1/2 feet of 1/2" EMT electrical conduit and 3 and 1/2 feet of 3/4" EMT electrical conduit. I also used a small length of 1" square tubing because I had it and ran out of EMT. Use what you have.
4 qty pre-bent 90 degree elbows. You could weld straight 90's or use a tubing bender. I was going for maximum convenience in this step. They are pretty cheap from the hardware store.
4-6 qty bolts variety of lengths. I used some bolts to strengthen all the joints. I found misc ones that fit snug in the pipe, cut them to extend a couple inches into the joints and welded them all the way around. (probably over kill).
2-4 qty of plate steel. I used some scraps from my junk bin. They were brackets off some old equipment. The pieces I used were about 1/8" but you will need to use metal thickness based on the loads you intend to carry. There will be flexing at the joint if you go too thin.

Tools Needed:

Welder
Hack saw
File
Tape Measure
mykacanada4 years ago
 well i now have the way to move all my fishing gear with me instead of taking my car thanx 
bbrown864 years ago
Where did you get the tag along hitch? How much did it cost? Great build, thanks for the ideas!
couchchangeracing (author)  bbrown864 years ago
The hitch I am using actually came with the kids tag-a-long bike I use for my older son. It is pictured in one of the last steps, 3 I think. They are available from amazon, target and may favorite Bike Nashbar. As a matter of fact Nashbar has them for $19 right now. Here is a link. Good luck with your build. Sean

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_204249_-1_200308_200280_200395
dodo914 years ago
i was always trying to find a way to sell soda with having to carry it everywhere.
forrest1st5 years ago
thank you so much for this add i just built on almost exactly the same i just have to attach the wheel and connect to my bike
couchchangeracing (author)  forrest1st5 years ago
I would love to see your version of this trailer. I am in the process of building a more heavy duty version for larger loads. I have not had much time lately so it will not be posted soon. But I will eventually get an instructable on it.
Hightimber5 years ago
That's an interesting stoker pedal arrangement. Could you tell us a little about it? Thanks!
couchchangeracing (author)  Hightimber5 years ago
The child stoker set up is actually a factory Burley item. The frame is a mid 70's and I bought the stoker cranks on Ebay and cobbled the rest together. The stem is an adjustable stoker stem from Ebay. Burley no longer makes them but several other do, such as precisiontandem.com and santana.com. It would be pretty easy to make with a bottom bracket and some welding skills. If you want I can add some pictures to show the detail?
Thanks! That would be really cool to see some pictures.
BobS5 years ago
What is unclear to me is how the container/ flatbed stays horizontal. It seems there is only one straight tube running underneath, from the hitch to the fork. Can you explain what kind of construction to keep the flatbed at a straight angle from the wheel?
scafool BobS5 years ago
I think the fact it overlaps the fork is what prevents it from rotating on the straight tube to the fork. I don't see anything else that would prevent it from tipping over if it was just on the tube and not resting on the fork head and tubes too.. I think he should have bolted it to the tubes of the fork he is using to hold the trailer wheel and maybe added some sort of bracing to it from the top bend or vertical section of the main tube. You are right, he is not very clear about that part of it..
couchchangeracing (author)  scafool5 years ago
You are correct, the flatbed portion of plywood does overlap the crown on the fork. I noted in the dialog box but did not show a picture (my bad). There is actually a bolt through the fork crown. The bolt uses the brake caliper hole and has washers. As for bracing, the second tube of EMT on the bottom makes it very stable. As noted in my test drive and handling it works great. For heavy duty loads I have another trailer under construction now. Good insightful comments thanks.
couchchangeracing (author)  BobS5 years ago
The concept is the same as the U-joint on a car drive shaft, it has one pivot that allows up and down motion and one pivot that allows left to right motion. The result is a hitch that allows fluid motion but not twisting. Look closely at the pictures is shows both halves of the hitch. The part that bolts to the seat post has a pivot bolt vertically and the trailer has the quick release which is the horizontal pivot bolt. If you like I can take more pictures.
I think he was asking about how you attached the chipboard to a round tube and expect it not to twist the fasteners out when you load it. How the seat post mounted connector works is plain enough.
omnibot BobS5 years ago
That would be the hitch. I allows movement up/down and left/right but not to twist.
crankyjew5 years ago
cool. whats going on with those rear pedals? tall bike tandem monster in the making?
couchchangeracing (author)  crankyjew5 years ago
Those are the stoker pedals for my 4 year old. Nobody rides free in this family. Everybody pedals. They are bolt on kid pedals from Burley the company the built the bike. They are direct drive to mine.
oh alright, that's cool, i've never seen those before.
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