Introduction: Simple No-Weld Bike Trailer
As with all good instructables, this one was born out of necessity. I needed to get a bunch of stuff from point A to point B.
I am a scavenger so I needed a bike and trailer to get me around to garage sales, curb alerts, landfills, dumpsters, etc. Growing up, I was taught to never let anything go to waste. It's kind of my life's ambition to reclaim, re-purpose, and reuse. We live in a culture of waste, where all goods have become disposable. If you take anything from this instructable, I hope it's an inspiration to think twice before you throw something useful away. I built this entire bike trailer, beautiful and functional as it is, at zero cost entirely from other peoples' trash!
Since Instructables is already inundated with bike trailer tuts, I wouldn't have created this one if I didn't think it was simply better than all the others. In addition to being free, eco-friendly, strong, sturdy, and nimble it was exceedingly simple and quick to make. It required no welding, grinding, sawing, or drilling and took a total of 4 hours of planning and construction! Let me show you how I did it...
Step 1: Gather Materials
This bike trailer was built primarily from two things:
1. A steel framed "Big Wheel" type tricycle
2. An old 10 speed mountain bike
The tools you'll need are very common:
1. Socket or wrench set
2. Allen Key set
3. Pipe wrench
The specific make and model of the trike is a "Micro, Spinmove." Though I don't think its necessary that you track down this exact trike for your own bike trailer, I have to say this one worked out perfectly.
Because the old 10 speed was a junker, it took some extra elbow grease to crack through the layers of rust a grime. However, I'd rather take more time and effort parting out a nonfunctioning bike than dismantle a perfectly good bike. Which leads me to our next step...disassembly.
Step 2: Disassembly
From the bike, we need the front fork and both wheels. Again, see the image above for directions or check out this video:
Step 3: Wheel Assembly
After much consideration, I determined the best way to fix 26 inch mountain bike wheels to the trike frame. Your trike design may differ, but the Micro Spinmove has caps at each end of the perpendicular frame tube. It originally had a rod that extended through its length which was the axle that the plastic tires spun on.
First remove and discard the axle.
Then removed each end cap from the frame.
Connect the caps to the length of threaded bolt extending from the hub of each wheel using a washer and nut.
Just fit the caps back in to the perpendicular tube of the frame and you're rolling!
You may be asking what keeps the end caps from flying off during use. Friction alone is not good enough. What I did was have my local hardware store cut and thread a rod that extends from one wheel to the other and replaces the bolts that ran through the center of each wheel hub. When I screwed a nut to each end, the wheel hubs stay firmly in place, allowing the tires to spin freely.
Step 4: Fork Assembly
To attach the mountain bike fork to the trike frame, you simply reverse the steps you took removing the fork from the bike:
Make sure the ball bearings are in place at the crown of the fork, then slide the fork in to the frame.
Now, lay in the second set of ball bearings, followed by the nut from the mountain bike. I had to use some spacers left over from another bike project to account for the extra length of the steer tube.
Tighten everything down with the fork nut.
All the parts fit like they were made for each other! The fork now turns freely inside the frame. To help smooth the turning action, you may want to add some axle grease to the bearings before you tighten everything down.
Step 5: Mounting Trailer
A bike fork is designed to straddle a bike wheel. A front fork, however, is not designed to straddle a rear wheel. The difference between the wheels is their hub. The rear hub is longer to accommodate the rear gear set. In order to make the trailer's front fork fit the rear wheel of a mountain bike, you'll have to widen it.
Widen the fork to the point where it will just fits outside of your bike's rear fork (I prefer the stomp and yank method).
Look closely on your bike's rear fork and you're likely to find a conveniently placed threaded hole on either side.
Line up this holes with the small holes on your fork tines and screw them in with the appropriate screw.
You're almost ready to haul...
Step 6: Outfitting
You could do a lot of different things with this trailer but for my purposes, nothing beats a large plastic storage bin. The frame has a platform where the child's seat had been mounted. Simply use the same allen bolts and holes that once held the seat on to affix the storage bin or whatever your situation requires.
If you are using a storage bin, I like the idea of strengthening it with a 2x4 lengthwise across the top as another instructable recommends. I also like the idea of a small tool box filled with tools and tie downs also suggested on another instructable.
This really is a beautiful website; where creators share, borrow, and improve upon each others ideas. I know it's unlikely you'll find a "Micro Spinmove" tricycle atop your local scrap heap but by showing you my unique approach to the concept of bike trailer, I hope to have given you a few more ideas for your bike trailer project. Without the inspiration of others, this project would not have been possible.
Thanks for reading!