Author Topic: Gross maximum trailer weight  (Read 2209 times)

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Offline Dave801

Gross maximum trailer weight
« on: August 11, 2012, 08:10:53 am »
I am a middle-aged man who, although not über-athletic, is in good shape and has surprising leg strength and endurance. I have biked most of my life, but have not done long-distance touring. So my pulling power is not a limitation for this project.

I am considering building a tiny, expandable, sleep-in trailer (think of a cot on wheels with a durable shell) for casual, long-distance, mostly stealth touring without panniers. I'm thinking why pull a trailer during the day and then not use its structure at night, but instead haul a tent all day that lacks real protection (ie, bears, dogs, storms, etc) at night.

I'm looking for people's ideas/suggestions/experiences for reasonable/maximum/ridiculous gross weight in pounds, as easy as typing: 70/100/150 lbs.

Thanks.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2012, 08:29:40 am by Dave801 »

Offline DaveB

Re: Gross maximum trailer weight
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2012, 08:41:00 am »
Well,  I've read many reports of people touring with loads of over 100 pounds ON their bikes so pulling that much should be equally possible.

Offline mcparsons

Re: Gross maximum trailer weight
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2012, 11:48:06 am »
Well this one claims to weigh on at 45 lbs:
  http://www.cyclelicio.us/2012/pop-up-camper-bike-trailer/

I have pulled over 60 lbs before with distances of 30 to 40 miles per day.  You do need some really low gears though or you may find hills you can't climb even with all of your weight on the crank.  I have a 19 inch gear on mine.

Offline geegee

Re: Gross maximum trailer weight
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2012, 09:01:07 am »
I've towed about 100 lbs of canoe/kayak and gear over fair distances and it is not so bad especially if the trailer spreads the weight between two decent sized (18-20 inch) wheels. On the flats, you have inertia on your side so if you work up to a speed it is not hard to maintain it. On the downhills, you'll wear out your brakes a lot faster so bring spare pads, and you need to brake gradually or in quick rapid pulses to prevent jack-knifing. Of course, it's the uphills that are a lot more work!

Offline valygrl

Re: Gross maximum trailer weight
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2012, 06:39:36 pm »
Ok, I'm going to go ahead and be the one to say it - really bad idea.

Nothing you can pull will keep you any safer from bears dogs and rain than a tent.  If a bear wants your food, it will get your food.   Dogs aren't a problem at night.  Tents are waterproof if you get a half-decent one.

But, while you are riding, you will be miserable with the extra weight.  Sure you can pull 60 pounds of trailer but don't you need all that other stuff too - like a sleeping bag, cooking gear, clothes, toiletries, etc?  SO, then it's what, 100 pounds?   More?  Remember, it has to be durable enough to take miles and miles of rough road.

And then what, it's like, at least 6 feet long, where are you going to park it?  What if you have to take a car ride, or take it upstairs in a hotel?  Can you carry it up stairs?  Fit it in an elevator?  take it on a train or plane?

OK, and then, you are building it yourself, right?  How does it attach to your bike?  How does it affect your bike's handling?  Is it safe to tow down hill, or does it want to come around and pass you , remember it weighs 60-100 pounds, does it need it's own brakes?   How willl you know these things without finding out the hard way?

When it's parked, is it on it's wheels and then with braces in front/back?  Does it have to be parked on a level surface?  how do you get in/out of it, and is that door water proof?  bug proof?  Does it collect condensation overnight and then retain that moisture all day?  Is it broiling hot at night?  Does it need a window?  Is your other stuff packed inside it during the day and then you get to put it where at night?

What problem are you trying to solve, and what new problems do you introduce.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Gross maximum trailer weight
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2012, 09:53:22 pm »
That, Valygrl, was a great response and covered many of my thoughts as well.  I don't see the upside either.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline indyfabz

Re: Gross maximum trailer weight
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2012, 09:28:12 am »
but instead haul a tent all day that lacks real protection (ie, bears, dogs, storms, etc) at night.

Heh. Even black bears routinely force open car doors to get the goodies inside. (Glacier N.P. recently "put down" a bear after it broke into a couple of cars.) Same with garage doors. Ever seen a bear box? They are made of heavy steel for a reason.

Offline dkoloko

Re: Gross maximum trailer weight
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2012, 12:12:16 pm »
I use a bicycle trailer to haul firewood out of the woods. I have weighed loads up to 125 lb. Since weighing a load I have switched to a larger trailer, so weight I have hauled is more. Weight of trailer is additional.