By attaching a trailer to your bike, you can make your bike a multi-purpose vehicle to carry out your groceries, food, and home supplies. It can also be utilized as a wagon for riding with your little one.
This article gives you a comprehensive yet easy-to-follow guide to show you how to attach a bike trailer.
- How Trailers Attach To Bikes – The Different Types of Trailer Attachments
- The Different Bike Axle Types
- What Type Of Bicycles Are Suited To Bike Trailers?
- How to Attach Axle-Mounted Bike Trailers To A Bike
- How to Attach a Seatpost-Mounted Trailer to a Bike
How Trailers Attach To Bikes – The Different Types of Trailer Attachments
When it comes to bike trailers, there are multiple ways to attach a trailer to a bike:
Seat Post Attachment
Bike trailers that attach to the seat post have a hitch that curves upwards. So, if you are not sure where you are supposed to attach the seat, you can just look at the hitch to determine it.
To annex a seat post attachment, you will need to attach a hitch receiver to your seat tube. Make sure you put in the right size of shim or bushing so that it can sit nice and snug.
One thing you will need to keep in mind is that you cannot attach the hitch to a carbon seatpost. This is because the clamps can cause it to get damaged.
If you have a trailer with a hitch at a low angle, chances are it connects to the rear wheel axle of the bike. There are 3 kinds of axle attachments, and you will need to make sure that you buy a trailer that matches the axle type.
Attach the hitch to the bike by making sure the hitch is aligned with the hitch point. Use included hardware to secure the hitch in place.
Chainstay trailers connect to the chainstay of the bike frame, and there is only a small percentage of these trailers.
The Different Bike Axle Types
Before you get to know the step-by-step installation process of how to connect a bike trailer to the bike, it is crucial for you to know what type of axle your bike has and whether a trailer is compatible with your bike after all.
Your bike will have one of the three bike axle types:
- Quick-release axle
- Bolt-on Axle
If the bike is designed with a thru-axle, they are often found to be incompatible, and attaching a trailer to them becomes a struggle. In that case, for a thru-axle of standard size, you would need the additional adaptor. These adaptors vary in size, similar to the variation in axe diameter, thread pitch, and axle length.
Quick Release Axle
Of the three, a quick-release bike is a no-hassle case when it comes to attaching bike trailers. You can easily pop your trailer off and on without any tools.
However, if your quick-release bike comprises of hooded dropout, you would require an additional spacer to create clearance before you mount the trailer.
If your bike is old, it likely has a bolt-on axle. This means it has a steel rod threaded to the bike by two nuts. This type makes it difficult to attach a trailer as well. However, you can still attach your trailer to them using a socket wrench or adjustable wrench to loosen the nuts.
What Type Of Bicycles Are Suited To Bike Trailers?
You will be glad to know that all types of bikes are suited for bike trailers! Let’s take a look at them:
You might think that trailers are not meant for road bikes since they go fast on bumpy roads, and the cargo in the trailer might get damaged. However, that is not the case. In fact, road bikes are great for transporting things from place to place. They are aerodynamic and can easily pull a trailer.
Mountain bikes are great for pulling trailers as well. This is because they are strong and have a wide gear range. The only drawback they have is that they are slower than road bikes.
Hybrid cars give you the versatility you need while bridging the gap between road and mountain bikes. You can use them to transport cargo in a trailer, especially if you are going off-road and the road is not too rough.
You can attach your trailer to your cruiser as well if you are going on flat terrain. However, remember that they are going to be significantly slower with the added weight.
Gravel Bikes & CX Bikes
Gravel bikes and Cyclocross (CX) bikes can both pull trailers easily since they have wider tires. Just mentally prepare yourself for the complicated installation process!
Even though all of them are suited, there are a few exceptions that present practical difficulties. These include unicycles, tricycles, recumbent bikes, and e-bikes with small 250W hub-based motors.
How to Attach Axle-Mounted Bike Trailers To A Bike
Attaching an axle-mounted bike trailer to your bike is easy and can be done in just a couple of steps. Follow the guide on how to hook up a bike trailer thoroughly so you can attach the bike axle-mounted trailer without bother.
Remove the Rear Seat from the Bike
On some bikes, there is a rear seat which is installed on the rear wheel. These seats are attached to the axle of the rear wheel where you’ll be installing the bike trailer. So, to start, you need to detach the nuts for making sure you can affix the trailer securely to the back of your bike.
For that, simply take a wrench and open the axle nuts which hold the back seat in place. You need to do this for both sides of the bike to where the seat is attached.
After removing both sides of the nuts, you’ll also have to remove the washers placed in. The metal guards holding the seat can be pulled back, while you can remove the seat from the back.
Remove the Nuts from the Rear Axle
On most mountain and street bikes, you will find that on the rear wheels of the bike, there are bolts and washers attached to keep the tires in place. You would first need to disconnect the nuts to install the bike trailer to the bike.
First, take a wrench and align the flat side of the nut with the wrench. Then tighten the wrench so that it grabs the nuts tightly. After that, put some pressure on the nuts and rotate them until they open.
After you open the nuts, you’ll notice a washer behind the nuts. You need to pull that out too. You have to do this for both sides of your bike if the trailer you bought requires two-sided support for its installment.
At this time, if you’ve removed both sides of the nuts, you need to make sure your bike is in a steady place where it cannot move because the rear wheels are now detached from the bike. You don’t have to take out the rear wheels; they can be in their place because it won’t interfere with the installment of the bike trailer.
Attach Coupler Plate
On the bike trailer kit, you will find a coupler plate. This plate will be attached to the axle of your rear bikes. This is also the part that attaches the trailer to your bike. Knowing how to install bike trailers has become much easier now and can be done with just a few steps.
After you’ve taken out the coupler plate, you will have to attach it to the rear axle of the bike. To do this, you’ll use the washers and the nuts that you previously opened from the rear wheels.
Now, take the coupler plate and insert it into the rear axle. Also, make sure the tires are aligned perfectly, as removing the nuts from the axle will lead you to detach the whole tire from the back panel.
After aligning everything perfectly, take the washers and insert them after you’ve inserted the couplers. Now, if you have a rear seat and want to keep it there, then you can put the metal support for the rear set after you’ve inserted the coupler plates.
Finally, you can put in the washer and the nuts. Follow it up by tightening up the nuts in place for both sides, and you’re good to go.
Attach the Metal Support
The next step is to attach the metal bar that comes with the bike trailer for attaching it to the coupler and the trailer itself. If you’re learning how to hook up a bike trailer, you may want to know that this is the core part that holds the trailer in place. So, you need to be extra cautious while attaching it, as this is what supports the whole trailer with the back of your bike.
To attach it, first, get the nuts and bolts which are provided with the trailer for installation. You will see holes in the coupler. In those holes, you’ll be able to insert the metal support and tighten it with a bolt or a nut which are included.
Make sure you also use a washer if it is using a nut to further improve the stability and so that the metal support doesn’t wiggle around.
For more safety measures of the support, on some trailers, you’ll find a detachable clip with the trailer. You can then attach the metal support to the main body of the bike so that just in case if anything goes wrong with the support, it can still hold up using that clip.
This is just a safety measurement to further secure the trailer to the bike and to ensure proper safety.
Attach the Metal Support with the Trailer
After you’ve ensured that the metal support is strongly in place and is attached to the bike, you can now attach the main trailer with it.
To attach the metal support, you will find a bracket or a slot underneath the trailer in which you’ll be able to attach it.
If you’re having trouble finding the bracket, then look at the manual for further guidance. After you’ve located the slot, you simply just need to put it inside the slot and fixate it with the nuts and bolts provided. You need to make sure you’re attaching everything as tightly as you can.
If you see any wiggle and fixation issues with the trailer, you need to detach them again and try to attach them again. This is because; sometimes the nuts don’t go in straight hindering the strong fit of the attachment. Also, make sure to put washers before any nuts you screw in because that ensures a proper fit on the attachment.
How to Attach a Seatpost-Mounted Trailer to a Bike
If you want to attach a trailer to your seatpost-mounted bike, you can do so in simpler steps:
Remove the seatpost from the bike
To get your seatpost out of the frame of your bike, you will need to use some lubrication. Put some oil between the bike and the seat tube and allow it to sit for a while so that it is easy to take out.
You can use a twisting action to distribute the oil easily and pull it apart.
Install the Hitch Receiver
Next, you will need to install the hitch receiver at the end of your seatpost. To do so, line your receiver with the shim or bushing that fits right- it needs to be the perfect fit so that the receiver does not move around while you go on bumpy rides.
Once you have the receiver on snugly, reinstall the seatpost to your bike frame.
Attach the Seatpost-Mounted Trailers to the Bike
Once the receiver is on, you can go ahead and attach the trailer to the bike for convenient transportation. As long as you make sure your receiver is the right size, it will not hinder your rides.
Attaching a trailer to a bike is not rocket science. You just need to follow a few steps to accomplish it. The steps can be different depending on the type of bike and the trailer you prefer.
But the overall idea is quite similar. With the necessary tools at hand, you can attach a bike trailer to your bike in no time.
We hope this guide about how to attach a bike trailer was helpful and you can apply what you learned here without much hassle.