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Picture of Simple No-Weld Bike Trailer
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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...
 
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Step 1: Gather Materials

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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
4.  Screwdriver
5.  Pliers

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

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The only part of the trike we need is the frame.  You'll have to remove the handlebars, front wheel and fork, seat, and both rear wheels.  See the image of the trike for directions.

From the bike, we need the front fork and both wheels.  Again, see the image above for directions or check out this video:



Now that you have separated what you need from what you don't, we're ready to move on to assembling the rear wheels.  Before we do, take a look at those left over parts you won't be using for this project.  The garbage may be their most likely destination, but ask yourself if these parts could still serve useful to you or someone else.

My spare parts were donated to a local charity that runs a bike shop assembling and repairing bikes for individuals who depend on them to get to and from work.

Just sayin' give it some thought.  On to assembly...

Step 3: Wheel Assembly

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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

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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

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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

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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!

DFDuran3 months ago

holy cow! I have a old bike and a metal bigwheel just sitting in a garage! I am looking all over for a bike cargo trailer at pawn stores , on line ect. I just have to hoof it over there to pick them up. thanks! ps your youtube video is gone.

gabcunha5 months ago

Marvelous inspiration...
Thank you

sickdog746 months ago

This is awesome! I'm totally going to build this!

mvillalpando10 months ago

Awesome! Good Instructable! For quite some time I have been looking in to building me one of these trailers for a beach cruiser that I have. I just had not found a good design or an already built bicycle trailer that I liked. Your design looks not only simple and feasible, but perhaps the most sturdiest of them all that I've viewed. May I ask, how is the handling of the trailer? How is it on turns, how is it for you when pedaling and towing it, etc.? Thank you once more!

crkrjak20012 years ago
I'm wanting to convert an adult trike into a trailer myself. I've considered attaching the front forks onto my rear forks of my 18 speed, but my concern is in the turn radius. When I'm cruising along, I lean my bike sometimes in the turns. How will this affect the trailer? The adult bike has no leaning ability, and I imagine your trailer doesn't lean neither. Perhaps if there was a pivot point at the housing of the front forks? I'll have to experiment. Nice instructable!
I would love to make this, but not a huge fan of the permanent look. wish that i had a welder, instead of the fork, I would have a flat surface with a couple of holes in it to attach to a bike rack that way you can pop in a couple of pins to hold it in place, but other than that, awesome build, looks pro :D
rocklocker2 years ago
Of all the bike trailer designs i have seen on this site yours is the best. Great job.
agreed
I've recently built one out of recycled steel box section. It doesn't look half as good as thism, probably the best looking trailer i have seen !
Awsome! I have been needing to make a bike trailer for some time, but I would rather not use a frame from a big wheel. Though after reading this I did get an idea on how to modify the design to suit my needs. Thanks!
The "Big Wheel" or Drift Trike Frame is worth like $50 over here in NZ
Very nice! I was especially interested in how you attached the bike wheels to the trailer, since I have been saving some salvaged wheels for the purpose of making a cart or trailer.
l8nite3 years ago
nice job !
testcase3 years ago
It looks to me that you miss one angle freedom. When you tilt your bicycle to 60 degrees (for example), doesn't one of trailer wheels go up?
When trailer is loaded this can cause problems with riding.
mr.mcninja (author)  testcase3 years ago
When I'm riding, my bike is generally between 80 and 90 degrees with the pavement in either direction. The pivot of the fork will allow for this.

You're right about tipping the bike at 60 degrees; a wheel will lift off the ground. However, if your bike is at 60 or 70 degrees with the ground you're already falling. If anything, the trailer makes you safer because it prevents this from happening.

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60 degrees was just an axample :)
I'm glad it's not a problem wnen riding.

Congratulations on great DIY!
rimar20003 years ago
I like everything, except the cleats. That little screw (forst photo in step 5) looks too weak for the work to be done. And the hole for it is located too near the edge of rear forks.

Fixig that, it is for me a good idea.
mr.mcninja (author)  rimar20003 years ago
I'll give you that. The original plan was to mount the trailer fork drop outs right onto the rear wheel hub, but the skewer was too short. If the screws ever became a problem, I'd find a longer skewer.
"forst" = "first" (here in Villa Elisa)