Author Topic: Bike selection for use with trailer  (Read 6005 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Todd

Bike selection for use with trailer
« on: May 10, 2011, 04:44:32 pm »
Hi,

I'm gearing up for a coast to coast trip later this summer.  I have a bob trailer that I'll be using for the trip.  I'm planning to buy a new bike for the trip. 

My question is, if I'm planning to tour with a trailer rather than panniers, would getting a touring frame still be a good idea (something like LHT or Trek 520), or would a lighter road frame work fine?  I'd make sure that whatever I get has enough clearance for touring tires and appropriate components/gearing for touring--I have most of the parts lying around to build it up appropriately.  Absent panniers, what advantages would a touring frame give?

Offline Tandem4Rider

Re: Bike selection for use with trailer
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2011, 06:40:01 am »
Not sure what advantages you are looking for?  Fit, feel, strength, weight, cost, something else?  Depending upon the criteria you are seeking an advantage the answer may vary.  A little more to go on, please.  Thank you.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Bike selection for use with trailer
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2011, 12:26:27 pm »
I started with a Bob trailer, and then migrated to panniers.  I would go with a longer wheel base bike to twowyour trailer.  I only used my short wheel base racing road bike one time with a Bob trailer, it was that scary.  The trailer will subject the bike frame to some stress, so a super light weight bike is not going to work out.

And since you are touring, you might was well get something with a relaxed geometry for a comfortable ride.
Danno

Offline whittierider

Re: Bike selection for use with trailer
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2011, 12:49:21 pm »
Quote
I started with a Bob trailer, and then migrated to panniers.  I would go with a longer wheel base bike to tow your trailer.  I only used my short wheel base racing road bike one time with a Bob trailer, it was that scary.  The trailer will subject the bike frame to some stress, so a super light weight bike is not going to work out.

I would be interested to know what was scary about it.  I suspect it had more to do with the geometry which was not oriented toward stability under load.  The stiffest frames are carbon fiber and are used by professional racers who leg press over a thousand pounds in the weight room, and I've read of quite a few 350-pounders on the forums on carbon-fiber bikes with no frame problems, just wheel problems; so these frames are anything but weak.  I believe they've gotten even stiffer since the linked report, although most of us don't have any need for that kind of stiffness.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2011, 12:52:48 pm by whittierider »

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Bike selection for use with trailer
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2011, 12:56:50 pm »
I know a kid who used a Trek 5200 mid 2000s frame to pull a BOB trailer.  Short tour.  But it worked fine pulling the trailer.  Only problem with the bike was the 30x27 low gear.  The Dura Ace triple crank only allows a 30 tooth inner chainring.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Bike selection for use with trailer
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2011, 01:04:34 am »
I toured once with a Burley trailer using my CF Specialized Roubaix.  No problems at all.  And when we got to our layover day, I had a great road bike to take on a 55 mile ride while the trailer sat back at camp. 
May the wind be at your back!

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Bike selection for use with trailer
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2011, 01:07:06 pm »
Quote
I started with a Bob trailer, and then migrated to panniers.  I would go with a longer wheel base bike to tow your trailer.  I only used my short wheel base racing road bike one time with a Bob trailer, it was that scary.  The trailer will subject the bike frame to some stress, so a super light weight bike is not going to work out.

I would be interested to know what was scary about it.  I suspect it had more to do with the geometry which was not oriented toward stability under load.  The stiffest frames are carbon fiber and are used by professional racers who leg press over a thousand pounds in the weight room, and I've read of quite a few 350-pounders on the forums on carbon-fiber bikes with no frame problems, just wheel problems; so these frames are anything but weak.  I believe they've gotten even stiffer since the linked report, although most of us don't have any need for that kind of stiffness.

By its nature, the handling of a short wheel base road bike is going to be twitchy, so it is not going to be very good at steadying an external stimulus.  My experience with a Bob trailer is that they have a tendency to bounce.  Many people will disagree with that position.  Yes the tires were properly inflated, and the load was balanced.  Other Bob users I know, have the same complaint.  A short wheel base twitchy road bike is no good at bringing a bouncing Bob trailer into control.  It is not just the frame stiffness, but the wheel stiffnes as well.  A trailer will flex them around.

I don't hate Bob trailers, and it is still my tool of choice for off road touring.
Danno

Offline Smile

Re: Bike selection for use with trailer
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2011, 10:05:10 pm »
Good choice with the trailer, I've found it's a personal choice between trailer or panniers. I've been a trailer fan/user as when I set up camp I have my bike to cruise around on as a bike. Mostly used full suspension mtb's to tow the trailers and stability and movement has been good. 80% of it's use is on dirt roads or single track trails. Follow tourers who I've met have preferred using a MTB with semi-slick tyres. Narrowness of the tire comes down to the rider weight and road conditions.
Also comes down to you, if you want to finish the ride as quick as possible or take your time.

Test ride as many bikes as possible.

Offline tonupgilly

Re: Bike selection for use with trailer
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2011, 06:46:45 am »
Don't get a Trek Fuel Ex 8 - it won't take any sort of trailer or panniers.  (ref:  What trailer? June 2010).  Brilliant bike for trails, but no good for carrying luggage.