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Sven7 05-26-2013 11:17 PM

Adventures with Bike Trailers...
This thread is dedicated to DIY bike trailer stuff...

I've long been into bicycles and in high school put together a 2'x3' trailer out of copper pipes. The hitch arm could be extended a couple feet by screwing in an extra pipe. Used 20" wheels from Northern Hydraulics.
Bike Trailer, top by Tyler Linner - now on Ipternity, on Flickr

The top was covered in very versatile (but dangerously sharp) expanded metal. It was fantastic for bungeeing stuff down. I had removable uprights on the four corners which helped the cargo from getting into the wheels.
Bike trailer rear by Tyler Linner - now on Ipternity, on Flickr

With the extension in, I occasionally towed a 10' kayak to the nearby lake. With the extra torque it wobbled a bit with each pedal stroke, but ultimately worked fine.

So, recently I got my first "big boy job" very close to everything I need. Naturally, I got out the bikes and started doing errands on two wheels. This necessitated a bike trailer. I hopped on Craigslist and found this listed for $20. I got there and the lady only wanted $10. Score!

Hooked up to the Trek and took out the recycling, about a five mile ride total.

So, that's fun and all but for cargo use it is horribly balanced. I went back home and looked at the stillborn project I'd been working on. The challenge was to build a trailer for $30 total. I hit $25 and had no hitch; that's what led me to CL.

Looking at them side by side, I decided to use parts from both and make one trailer to suit my needs.

It's made from wooden pallet boards, a small amount of plywood, two $5-each wheels from Harbor Freight and a threaded rod axle. Once the hitch arm goes on, I'll be able to get a scrap sheet of thick-ish plastic for the top and try the thing out. The thing will have a completely flat top so I can hang stuff off the sides if need be, without worrying about hitting the wheels.

Until then, it's time to find a power screwdriver. When this thing's done it should be quite durable. The low load height means it will be able to hold a lot of stuff- anything from boxes of recycling to bags of groceries or Salvation Army furniture. Some eye hooks on the edges will help with tie-downs. I'm going to put a couple casters on the rear end so I can tip the thing upright and roll it through doorways.

Anyway, I will try to update this as the trailer progresses. I've been working on it on and off for a few weeks but would like to get it on the road sooner than later. Probably have about $40 into it now (not counting tool purchases which will last me many years).

Cheers! -Tyler

mikeyjd 05-27-2013 12:13 AM


Piwoslaw 05-27-2013 01:47 AM

Good job!

More threads on bicycle trailers:
How my home-built bicycle trailer lowers my MPG
I thought I needed the car to pull a boat...

sendler 05-27-2013 08:46 AM

How will the bike lean with the wooden trailer on?

MetroMPG 05-27-2013 11:06 AM

I love my DIY bike trailer! (Piwoslaw linked to it, above.)

I've done the kayak thing with this one as well.

Just yesterday I was thinking about making another bike trailer that would let me pull a ~140 lbs catamaran down to the river, instead of driving it down:

If I take one hull off, lash it to the other, tip everything to stand upright on its side, it would only be about 2.5 ft wide, with most of the mass down low - appropriate for pulling behind a bike.

Probably won't do it this year though - too many projects.

Sven7 05-27-2013 02:56 PM

Nice, guys! Someone mentioned a "throttle joint". It's also called a "heim joint" or "rod end". I wanted to use one of those but couldn't find one. You'd think Ace Hardware would sell them.


Originally Posted by sendler (Post 373278)
How will the bike lean with the wooden trailer on?

It will lean the same as any other one leans. I'm re-using the kiddie trailer's hitch, which just has a section of bendy rubber. It's not as sophisticated as my copper trailer's hitch, but it's cheaper and it works.

EDIT I think I see what you mean. The U shaped metal piece is just part of the kiddie trailer's hitch arm. It's designed so you can put a third wheel on it and push it while jogging. Obviously I'm not going to be doing much of that.

Darin, please post pics when you get that catamaran behind a bike! I would love to see that. :D

Sven7 05-27-2013 06:18 PM

Super bored today so I screwed it together by hand. Not fun, but more fun than sitting on the computer. Got it "done" and hooked up as it started raining. Still needs a top surface and some sealer/paint.

More images: ipernity: Bike Cargo Trailer by Tyler Linner

I should mention that the only power tool I've used on this is a hand-held electric drill. The only new parts are 4 sq ft of plywood, two wheels/tires, an axle and four nuts. The rest is recycled!

Up to this point if you did it smartly you could probably do it for $15-20 if you used the old wheels.

Holds at least 150 lbs.

Grant-53 06-01-2013 12:01 AM

Throttle joints for carb linkages are available at auto parts stores and came in sizes up to 1/2" diameter threads. I recommend at least 3/8" for light trailers: if you are hauling something more than 100lbs I suggest a steering tie rod end. A heim joint is slightly different in that it has a through hole rather than a male threaded stub.
The next level of sophistication would involve added brakes and suspension to the wheels. The axles can be truss supported for improved strength to weight ratio. Don't forget the aerodynamics especially when touring.

Sven7 06-01-2013 08:17 PM

Not much touring happening here! Just bought a new bookshelf... how to get it home? :D

MetroMPG 06-03-2013 02:54 PM

Nice. I like hauling by bike.

Last few days, I moved on my trailer: half a dozen loads of mulch, plus a wheelbarrow.

No pics though, so I might just be making this up.

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