Introduction: Bicycle Trailer.

Picture of Bicycle Trailer.

this is the finished bicycle trailer. I built it principally because i had all the components lying around and needed a bicycle trailer. many substitutions for the different parts are available, so this is more of an overview and general conceptual how-to on building bicycle trailers.

Step 1: Plastic Bin and Crossbeam

Picture of Plastic Bin and Crossbeam

I had this large plastic bin that comes with it's own top so the trailer could be enclosed and waterproof. The wooden beam accross the top was because the sides of the plastic weren't strong enough to really hold their shape. conveniently I was able to put rope cleats tapped through the side of the box into this wooden beam so I also end up with a convenient point for tying things on top of the lid of the trailer as well as securing the lid.

Step 2: Chassis Underbelly

Picture of Chassis Underbelly

the dirty underbelly. this is a good detail shot of the chassis of the trailer. the chassis is made from 8020 extrusions of aluminum. this stuff is robust and re-useable, kind of adult lego, but it is expensive. you could similarly make the same chassis with pieces of timber, or even an old aluminum ladder might work well. nuts inside the extrusion are used to affix things. you can see the cross member plate is affixed in this manner, as are the axles at either side. The axles are 1/2in steel that fit to cheap wheels also bought from mcmaster. they were originally for a front loading tricycle I was building, but i got distracted...

Step 3: Detail of the Axle Wheel Attachment.

Picture of Detail of the Axle Wheel Attachment.

this is the hardest bit of a trailer. you need really strong axles if they are going to be cantilevered like this. hardened steel axles greater than 10mm in diameter are best. you can potentially use two old front wheels from bicycles, the difficulty with this option is making the axles work in such a way that you can fasten them either side of your bike. In Guyana i saw a lot that used two old front forks welded to the sides of a shopping cart, and similar such ideas. Anyway, in this one I used the half inch steel pipe through the centre of a half inch bearing 24inch wheel, and merely put shaft collars with locking allen key thingies either side of the hub. the axle was then convenient and easy to stick to the 8020.

Step 4: Chassis to Axle Attachment

Picture of Chassis to Axle Attachment

here is the detail of the axle to the 8020 attachment. two drilled holes through the axle were simple enough to do a friction fit to the 8020. nice thing about the 8020 is that the extrusion has the slot in it which makes the axles aligned on both sides.

Step 5: Chassis to Bike Connection.

Picture of Chassis to Bike Connection.

this is how i built the trailer handle. So that the trailer wouldn't sit at a funny angle I needed an s-bend type thingy to raise the height of where it would attach to the bike. I had some funny pieces of wooden hand-railing that i drilled, screwed together, and then bound with waxed string. later this was to prove the weak point. the actual attachment to the bicycle is a pair of old crutches, these can be found anywhere.

Step 6: Handle to Seatpost Connection.

Picture of Handle to Seatpost Connection.

one of the critical points of a bike trailer is a sufficiently flexible attachment to the bicycle. I have always found a bicycle inner tube lashing works well, but here is another technique. I had this old rubber tubing. It fits neatly over the crutches on both sides. there are drilled holes in the crutches so i can remove the tube from one side, wrap around seatpost, then put tube back over crutches. tightening and tying the line that passes through the rubber tube makes a very fast, and very flexible connection that works well accelerating or braking and coreners well with rotational freedom in all axes. the line takes the high tensile loads when starting the bike.

Step 7: Attaching to Seatpost

Picture of Attaching to Seatpost

this is a good detail of how the trailer attaches at the seatpost.


fullclip765 (author)2016-04-24


ima make a wood box though this would be great fr groceries

survival of the extreme (author)2015-03-19

What do you haul with it

JensonBut (author)2013-01-25

Great one!

JamieV (author)2010-01-31

This is a great idea.  Seems like I find old bike trailers at yard sales pretty often, but the hitch is always missing.  This could come in handy

Yard Sale Dale (author)JamieV2012-07-25

You can buy replacement hitches and brackets on Amazon, easily for about $10 to $20. If you get the trailer for free because of a lost/old hitch system, you basically get a working trailer for the price of the hitch.

nickjohnson (author)2007-01-23

Where did you get these wheels? Are these just wheelbarrow wheels?

they are just bike wheels

wheel chair wheels

I thought they were wheelchair wheels. They look like the wheels on a cheap wheelchair I have. I think I might have to use them for a bike trailer. :D

XCracer (author)purplemutant2011-02-27

why not just make an adapter for the wheelchair, would be quite fun..

purplemutant (author)XCracer2011-02-28

Yea I was thinking of just turning the wheelchair into a bike trailer. Since the wheelchair folds, I could have a folding bike trailer.

saul (author)proffesor cuddles2007-12-03

actually they are from the mcmaster carr catalog. i think they are for industrial trikes and big handcarts.

bo88y (author)saul2010-08-29

Another source: This is a nice design concept. Looking at it, I'm wondering if smaller wheels might be better (lower center of gravity). Also, if the tote were of heavier plastic, like a fish tote (, you could poke a solid axle right through the box, just above the bottom, and attach the hitching hardware to the top edge, or near the top, and reduce the bends. Or a solid axle could be attached directly to the underside. Coastal people might find some fish totes abandoned by the roadside. I think electrical conduit would have made a better attachment. A 1/2-3/4" hand bender goew for about $30, a good investment for someone doing a lot of this kind of DIY work.

proffesor cuddles (author)saul2008-01-27

oooooooooooooooo sorry

CrazyHowiesBikes (author)2010-01-24

 This is a good idea!  Way to reuse items you already had lying around!  I know lots of people who just throw away old totes, but this is a great way to breathe new life into them.  Keep up the great work.

To *bicycletrailersonline*:  I agree that your manufactured ones would probably hold up better than *saul's*, but that kinda defeats the purpose of this site.  I would love to be able to afford a manufactured trailer with some type of warranty, but with things as they are these days, I also had to look around and use what I had.  If a person was to go out and purchase all the items *saul* used, it probably would be very close in cost to your cargo trailers (I like the Quik-Pak, myself).  But, as he mentioned, he had these parts lying around.  No disrespect meant!  Swear!  I just notice that your comment seemed to be more of an ad.

Slippy_Bug (author)2010-01-17

they are made by a company called skyways, and they make the chassis for bikes, wheel chairs, and pretty much anything that need a hard wearing, plastic wheels.

guitarwizard94 (author)2009-08-03

Probably a lot easier thatn all the other ones....

Yerboogieman (author)2009-07-19

I would HATE that seat.

cheesemanlovesrobots (author)2009-04-03

nice and simple

alanwest (author)2009-02-24

Conduit - aluminum or EMT is easily bent - up to about one inch diameter. Some electrical shops will sell you a piece of scrap and bend it for you. Don't think I would go larger than two inch. 1-1/4 inch would probably be about right.

the commando bear 2 (author)2009-02-11

this is the best disign for a bike traler that i have seen so far on the internet and im going to try and make it this weekend. p.s wheal char wheals are a lot better for this type of disign as they are made to be side mounted.

Hycro (author)2009-01-29

I was thinking of making kind of like a 3-point hitch, pintel & eye, or even a ball hitch for mine, but don't have anything to make those sorts of things with.

Capt. Fat (author)2009-01-25

Any way you'd be able to rig it to a baja min dirt bike (the chopper like one)

dewexdewex (author)2008-12-06

Nice simple coupling.

dewexdewex (author)2008-12-06

I had the same stiffness problem but cured it with a length of aluminium exrusion fitted to the sides with pop rivets. See my Brompton front bin instructable. Nice job, btw.

z3ro_infinite (author)2008-06-30

first off how long did it take u to make this... second how much did u spend on materials i know the bin is probly like $10 new and the weels also probablu like 10 for both dependin on where i get them but yeah about how long cuz i saw an actual bike trailer for $100

ewilhelm (author)2005-08-19

The picture shows a single speed, not a fixed gear. However, I can imagine getting some serious titanium abs riding a fully loaded trailer/fixed gear.

StyleCore (author)ewilhelm2008-06-12

Is it really Your first comment?

buildingteen (author)2007-01-13

hwo about some pvc and two 45 degree angles?

PVC is not strong enough to be weight bearing. also- It breaks down in sunlight so even if it holds for a while it would break eventually (at the least opportune time).

The Lance Armstrong (author)2007-07-05

I would imagine it would be possible to drill holes on each end and lock the container shut?

What better place to store extra helpings of this instructable.

Have you considered attaching a trailer break system?

All that extra weight could cause you to jacknife going down a steep grade.

That reminds me of the 06 tour. Yes it does.

Well done.

fitzhugh (author)2007-06-03

I looked all over for plans that fit my needs: a trailer that can carry my giant Irish Wolfhound to the dog park... Had to be robust, easy and cheap to build, and, as said, not require welding. Finally found the following:

bamboo trailer - weld-free

They make bike trailers for a living, but saw a need for a design that could be used by people in the 3rd world with requirements similar to mine and were nice enough to share it. The design is very elegant - simple yet clever as hell, and I've yet to find one that would be as easy or as appropriate to my needs. They thought it through well and there are some clever tricks used in the design, all made out of what you have around.

I had trouble finding bamboo (even contacted Am. Bamboo Soc.) but found some being tossed out from a theater, I pick up my wheels on Monday and will have it together on Tuesday. Out of courtesy I'm linking to their site rather than posting their plans, though they ask nothing and say share, I take it that means individually.

While you do need to email them for the plans you can see the basics from the site. The plans include lots of little details that are helpful.

I have not built this yet, as I said, but the design speaks for itself and what would be cooler than a giant dog on a bamboo trailer? I think it is cool they provide the plans for free. You might also get ideas from the models they sell - some would be moderately easy to reproduce if you are handy with tools and bending and/or welding.

engrmurad (author)2007-04-08
nadj (author)engrmurad2007-05-26

Nice design: I am interested in creating a smaller version of a teardrop design trailer for my bicycle. Can anyone give me any suggestion of where to go to maybe get some design schematics, or even some design schematics of a larger teardrop trailer. I can always change the size and dimensions. I thank you in advance for any help in this department. Shawn

engrmurad (author)2007-04-08

mechanicalthis should be more tight.....i mean the should mechanical bonding

engrmurad (author)2007-04-08

nice design,easily one can use it as a bycle & also when added rest part,it will be a trailer......however this is very old mechanical technique.....I have seen it in india at calcutta & also in bangladesh at dhaka......where it is locally called rickshaw......

!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-02-05

wow...... lol fill it up with icecream and be the ghetto icecream man :-D Or,stow your pc in it when you go to a friends house to have a !!!!LANPARTY!!!! :-)

buildingteen (author)2007-01-13

does this sway back and forth all the times i tried to make one it sways back and forth like 10 feet.

fietskar (author)2006-12-25

take a look at this bicycle trailer site

spolding (author)2006-12-04

This design, with the wheels under the carriage would surely mean the trailer was prone to tipping over? I would have thought the 'kit' ones would be the same. Wouldn't the way Aaron's design is set up, with the wheels positioned higher than the bottom of the carriage ward off unexpected and annoying tips?

Made0Meat (author)2006-10-20

Pure genius for the use of materials at hand. Adding a notched 8020 extr. strut parallell to the axle, at the front and rear corners of the box could help with load distortion to the box. Jus' da tang, when yo' Mama send you to make groc'ry. P'raux

SpaceRat (author)2006-07-28

I love this site! I am going to build this trailer, but instead of a storage bin, I will use an ice chest... Man, dis will make one biatchin' Mardi Gras Beer Wagon! Laissez le bon temp roulez!

Covo (author)2006-06-22

GREAT use of cleats!!! Personaly I would use a cooler..a bit heaver, but more usefull fo my type of cargo ;) !!!

Cool concept - I love the scavenging of parts for new purposes.

Prometheus (author)2006-05-21

Nice trailer, I like the design. I built one using a discarded handtruck with tubed tires, 10-guage bedspring steel wire, and box-tubing from a discarded baby stroller. Could hold 600 lbs safely on the bike and I had made a remote dolly-wheel so that you could get off the bike without getting nailed by the top tube in the happy place. The best part was that no modification was done to the bike at all, and I still have the whole "kit", including the generator to power taillights and side markers for it. If I can draw it up (no camera) I might submit it.

sangoma (author)2006-05-19

This would be great as a 'warcycling' trailer to hold my laptop, gps, antenna, sandwiches etc. On that idea it would also be cool to add a generator as well!

M626AN (author)2006-03-22

Anyone got plans for a bike trailer

neuralstatic (author)2006-01-03

how is this part working out? it seems like it wold be the most ornery part when leaning the bike, and when the back jostles up and down.

aaron (author)2005-12-23

i've worked on a similar low-cost diy trailer design. this one is welded or brazed for increased strength, and uses regular 20 to 27" bicycle wheels and EMT conduit. it holds 200 lbs safely, 400 if you're carefull... full plans at

i'll post them here soon

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