Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Gear Talk => Topic started by: CWBurcar on October 02, 2020, 01:57:43 pm

Title: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
Post by: CWBurcar on October 02, 2020, 01:57:43 pm
I recently was gifted a very nice 2 wheeled trailer for my birthday. My wife was trying to show support for my cycling while having no prior knowledge about cycling trailers. Although the trailer is awesome I do worry it’s too wide. Does anyone have experience with a two wheeled trailer vs a single wheeled one? I’m not worried about overpacking, mainly worried about hanging in or off the road. I understand single wheeled trailers follow the bicycles path while a two wheeled ones are on either side. My next tour isn’t for a while so I do have time to exchange it before then. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Edit: not sure if it matters but over winter I plan on buying a recumbent bike. Once I do that the trailer will be used with that.
Title: Re: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
Post by: aggie on October 03, 2020, 09:43:05 pm
I have both kinds of trailers and have used both on tours.  My Burley nomad is a two wheel trailer.  It does have a little bit of overhang but it is only an issue when I am on a road with a narrow shoulder with a rumble strip.  I don’t use it on dirt/gravel and I put a pool noodle on top.  Drivers seem to give me plenty of clearance with this trailer.  It is also very stable so it is less likely to tip over or pull you over if the load is a little off balanced.  Great for going to the store and it is rated to carry more than a single wheel.  If I will be riding dirt/gravel trails I use the single wheel.  A single wheel also puts some of it load on the rear wheel and I kept breaking spokes on a poorly made wheel.  The single wheel take a bit of riding to get used to its handling whereas there is no learning curve with the two wheel.

I like both depending on where I plan to ride.
Title: Re: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
Post by: CWBurcar on October 03, 2020, 09:58:45 pm
Thank you very much for your reply Aggie. I did a short test ride around town an had to keep looking back to ensure I still had it on my bike. It is rated to carry 88 pounds but I have no intention of carrying anything remotely close to that. Thank you for your input.
Title: Re: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
Post by: canalligators on October 05, 2020, 11:21:50 pm
Single wheeled trailers also have a recommended top speed, with good reason.  The BOB Yak was rated at 25 mph max.  It does, in fact, get a little instable above that speed using my single bike.  With the tandem, I'll go up to 30, but no faster.

Between the max speed and a trailer being a little heavier than rack and panniers, I don't use it on hilly trips, only on flatland tours.
Title: Re: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
Post by: HobbesOnTour on October 06, 2020, 12:19:29 am
I use an (older model) ExtraWheel trailer. Available in different sizes it matches the wheel size of your bike (giving a spare front wheel or rim for the rear wheel in emergency). This also means spare tubes and or tyres are good for it too.
It uses panniers so is no wider than your bike with panniers. Tracks perfectly and is attached to a special QR (or through axle) on your rear wheel using spring tension. In this way it is designed to decouple in the event of a collision.
It's especially suitable for off road use. I've hit speeds in excess of 55 kph with no issue, but it does need to be evenly loaded.
Title: Re: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
Post by: CWBurcar on October 06, 2020, 11:14:18 am
 Thank you canalligators & HobbesOnTour for your insight. I'm not very worried about speed just yet because my first upcoming tour will be on relatively flat ground 99% of it. I am mainly worried about hanging over an rear wheel integrity(being that aggie brought it up) if I switched to a single wheel.
Title: Re: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
Post by: canalligators on October 10, 2020, 09:57:00 am
FWIW, if I were starting over with the trailer, I'd probably go for the ExtraWheel too.  From what I've heard, they do better at higher speeds and are a little lighter.  I bought the BOB before the Xtra was offered, and it was available from a merchant participating in a retirement gift program (REI). 

One of my keenest memories of my Northern Tier was coming down passes in the Cascades at 40+ mi/hr.  I wouldn't want to sacrifice that part of the experience.  Even near home in the Finger Lakes and Adirondacks, those opportunities present themselves.
Title: Re: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
Post by: staehpj1 on October 10, 2020, 10:44:11 am
I haven't toured with either, but have owned both types.  I never found either to be a problem at speed.  I have heard stories of one wheeled trailers wagging the dog, but never felt any trace of that.  Maybe it only happens with lighter riders or with poorly distributed loads?  I barely notice mine is there other than the weight when accelerating or climbing. 

I have ridden in places where I'd have preferred the one wheel over the two wheel because the ability to ride closer to the edge, or to rumble strips, or between a rumble strip and the edge of the road, but either one or two wheel could have been dealt with.

I doubt I will ever tour with either because I tour light enough that either is overkill for my loads.  I can't see using a trailer that weighs as much or more than my base gear weight.  For other's who have different needs they may make better sense.  Who knows, I may find myself with a reason to use my trailer on tour at some point in the future.
Title: Re: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
Post by: aggie on October 10, 2020, 11:10:25 am
I've also never had a problem with speed and I have gone down hill at about 40 mph with no problems using a BOB.  (BOB cargo trailers are no longer being manufactured.)  I mentioned the breaking spokes on a POORLY made rear wheel.  After I had the wheel rebuilt I haven't broken another spoke.  On my last tour in October last year I used my two wheel trailer.  I used a bungee cord to secure a pool noodle on the top.  Cars gave me lots of room even when I had to ride further in the road than I like because of rumble strips.   
Title: Re: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
Post by: misterflask on December 29, 2020, 08:47:49 am
FWIW; I met a touring couple once who had one bike with a BOB and the other bagged.  They said they were evenly matched cyclists, but when they swapped setups, the rider with the panniers was always a hair faster.

I grocery-shop with a single-wheel trailer.  There have been a bunch of times I've forgotten it was back there and run close to a curb or obstacle.  A two-wheel trailer would have hit them, but you'll usually ease by with a single-wheel.  The trailer is nice to load with groceries because it can be packed so casually, but I'm not interested in taking it touring.
Title: Re: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 29, 2020, 12:35:55 pm
I have a Bob Ibex and have used it mostly off road on bike trails like the C&O (muddy twin-track in spots) and the GAP. I ran top speed about 30 on the GAP without any control issues. This was our first year bike camping as a couple and we had new mountain bikes, since our current road bikes had no accommodation for racks. It was my wife's first real bike trip so I thought it would be better if I carried the gear. I figured my load against her lighter load would help match our speed and strength.

The trip started out as a B&B tour but difficulty getting reservations caused us to turn it into a partial camping trip. My wife had a handle bar bag for day snacks, and her sleeping bag on her rack, I jammed everything else onto the trailer. Needless to say we have overpacked since there is always room for one more item in the trailer. My wife does not "love" camping, so I brought more comfort and convenience items than I would ever pack for myself. Having not ever having to carry all her own weight for an extended trip, my wife had yet to learn valuable lessons in packing light.

The BOB Ibex has a dry weight of 19 Lbs. and I am not sure if that includes the dry bag, so figure at least 20 lbs. base weight as you had the quick release axle adapter. No throw in camping and cooking gear for two, with 5 days of food and snacks, spare tubes, rain gear, personal items. You get the picture. As mentioned, it appears that BOB is no longer making trailers, but Burley makes a similar one.

My point is (finally), that is sounds like the two wheel trailer will let you get to you maximum weight quicker than you will run out of room. I tear up rear wheels as it is, since I weigh in north of 200 most of the time leading up to an adventure, and I jump on the pedals to power over short climbs. I was riding a Scott Scale 29 and popped a few spokes, and continued to pop spokes for the next year until I tore down the wheel and rebuilt it with beefier spokes. I build my own wheels now since I have ripped spokes through rims and broken spokes riding an empty bike.

Anyway, we have since stopped using the trailer and both travel with panniers and my wife now can pack lighter than I tend to pack.

As far as two versus one wheel, years ago (1970's) I had an early Cannondale trail to haul kids. It attached to the seat post and tracked pretty good but I remember it picking up a little whip saw action at higher speeds. The Bob has always tracked true for me. The other issue between two wheel and one might be wind resistance.

Finally, I did have one crash due to pulling the trailer that began with rider error. We were tearing down the C&O trying to get to camp ahead of the weather. They lock the gates partially open and as I passed through one I thought I spotted the camp site on my right. As I glanced over the tip of my left handlebar clipped the gate. The momentum of the 70lbs of trailer pushing me from behind turned a minor screw up into a yard sale.
Title: Re: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
Post by: driftlessregion on December 30, 2020, 06:26:49 pm
I've ridden a BOB Yak at greater than 40 mph many times and always felt secure. I think it is more the bike and quality of the wheels than the BOB that is the limiting factor. I'd never put one on a recumbent and hopefully a friend of mine will weigh in on his experience with that.
Title: Re: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
Post by: dminden1 on December 30, 2020, 07:01:43 pm
I have experience with both. Many years using a Wike 2-wheeled trailer. Yes, the width can be an issue: I've flipped it hitting a curb cut a couple of times; no danger, it just drags upside down until you stop! The two-wheels seem to increase overall stability. Used a BOB on one tour only: it 'scorpioned' (tail whipping) on a 35mph downhill in Acadia, taking me down and breaking my Bacchetta in 3 places. User error with an unbalanced load was a likely factor as was a crooked trailer frame, but loading has never been an issue on the Wike.
Title: Re: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
Post by: BikePacker on December 31, 2020, 08:19:57 am
I’m not worried about overpacking,
not sure if it matters but over winter I plan on buying a recumbent bike. Once I do that the trailer will be used with that.
With your above comments in mind ....
I can not speak to if any of the following applies to a recumbent ... so you may not wish to read any further.
Also, nothing below is a comparison of 2 wheeled with single wheel ....
it is an account of a event I experienced with a single wheel for which I have no explanation.
I am taking time to offer it to you and any interested parties as a heads up/for whatever it is worth.
Here is my single wheel trailer event report:
I was using a well known proven brand single wheel (was not a B.O.B.).
Was traveling with it on a straight-away, level, smooth, dry, paved road at about 15 mph
and the trailer unexpectedly/inexplicably started wobbling.
The wobble continued to amplify fast enough that I could not bring the bike/trailer to a stop and we all went down thrown out into the street. 
Fortunately no vehicle traffic was within the vicinity on this 2 lane road.
While I have analysed and re-analysed the event a million times the only conclusion I have ever been able to guess at is that I either:
1. Over packed the trailer in total weight, and/or
2.  I did not evenly distribute the weight within the trailer.
I thought I had followed the manufacturer specs for loading but I must have erred.
Never being able to figure out the cause with adequate certainty, I had to no longer use the trailer.
Not knowing and not having the guts to ever risk going thru the above event again ....
I had to go back to panniers,
tho 'on paper' I think a single track trailer makes complete sense
and other than the issue of getting it to and from the tour start and stop points (i.e., shipping)
it makes touring easier than panniers.
Title: Re: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 31, 2020, 09:57:04 am
I will agree with the convenience of shopping with a trailer. We were camped in Confluence, PA while traveling with the trailer and I went shopping while my wife stayed at camp. Not only did I throw on some jugs of cold water I tossed on a bundle of firewood.

On the flipside, I think traveling with panniers is easier to pack and more organized than the one big bag on the trailer. Especially after a day of gravel riding - the heavier items have mostly found their way to the bottom of the bag (the IBEX also has a shock on it) and things are no longer where you packed them. With panniers, there seems to be less vibration and shifting of gear and you packing is divided among packs.
Title: Re: 2 wheeled trailer vs 1 wheel
Post by: dminden1 on December 31, 2020, 11:46:16 am
One additional convenience of a trailer is putting it on just about any bike. I used my Wike on my recumbent for years, and now on my Gunnar (Waterford) thin-walled road bike. My friend used his BOB on his carbon Trek Madone for years. These trailers attach to the rear axle, so no stress on the bike frame - the two-wheelers can actually be packed balanced front to back so also no weight on the axle! Agree with aforementioned shopping convenience with trailers: last summer I even bought a BOB bag for my Wike, increasing capacity. I can bungee shopping bags on top when near campgrounds and getting dinner groceries. Same experience as above with easy firewood packing at camp.
I also agree with the analysis of the BOB proneness to shaking which I've called tail whipping. I had no control at all, it's not even like a bike shimmy you can control with knee on the top tube, it's totally scary and you will go down. On the other hand, obviously BOBs and other single wheelers are used for millions of miles without issue, so it may be the flukes that take us down. I'm convinced the BOB that took me down had an un-parallel frame that made it inherently unstable, and paired with the poor loading there the wipe out was inevitable. Weirdly, the long story on my using the BOB involved lending my Wike to my friend and taking the BOB as he was unstable on his old but newly purchased Cannondale recumbent with the BOB. He also couldn't keep up with us. I took his BOB, then took more weight off the Wike onto the BOB to help him. Ironically, this was my downfall!
Lastly, the BOB does track right behind the bike better than the Wike, and one wheel is less friction than two. This convinced me to re-try the BOB on a recent tour with my Gunnar (upright bike, not recumbent), but the BOB took much more concentration to keep balanced, while the Wike is super-stable and forgettable. I won't go back to single-wheeled again.