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We have a bike trailer with the hitch attached to the rear axle. The frame of my wife's bike frame is part carbon (right around the rear axle), which I understand is more brittle than other materials.

I would think most forces associated with accelerating and braking go through the wheel and would not affect the frame much. Do I need to be concerned anyways? Does anybody have experience with a carbon frame and a trailer?

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From a subjective viewpoint I'd be very wary of messing around with a carbon frame (which presumably was not designed for towing). But as a practical suggestion, frames will generally come with a warranty. Why not contact the frame manufacturer and ask them whether they think you'd be voiding the warranty by towing something? –  PeteH Mar 19 at 13:47
    
@PeteH Thanks for the suggestion. I will look into that. –  martin Mar 19 at 15:23
    
@PeteH Still no response from Felt. –  martin Apr 2 at 2:23
    
That's rubbish isn't it? I always considered Felt a top brand, too. I must admit I have a Giant and the one time I contacted (to replace a BB) them they were pretty helpful. –  PeteH Apr 2 at 9:04

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I'm not sure of the type of bicycle you have, the trailer you're using, or how much you plan to tow. However, I have a BOB Yak that I tow behind a 2007 Specialized Allez Expert (with carbon fiber seat stays, but not chain stays), and I have not had any problems carrying groceries, textbooks, and other paraphernalia.

If your wife's bike has a similar setup (carbon seat stays but aluminum/steel elsewhere) it should be okay as long as you are careful about weighting the trailer and try to reduce the rotational forces (my trailer is single-wheeled, so it leans with the bike) by not standing in the saddle and rocking from side to side for hill climbs.

You're also right about the wheel taking most of the acceleration and braking forces, as well as weight. On that note, you may want to consider how beefy her rear wheel is, if she has a lightly spoked rear-wheel, you may want to consider a heavier wheel to avoid destroying a 'lighter' racing tire.

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Thanks for the reply. The trailer is a Burley d'lite, which has two wheels. So the rotational forces won't be an issue. Weight might be an issue though since our son is already 26 pounds and counting :). It's a Cyclo-cross bike so it should withstand a bit more than a road bike. –  martin Mar 19 at 15:22
    
I carried groceries for me and my roommate with the BOB, which were probably ~50lbs. I was a bit unsure of it because I only have one wheel on the trailer, so I could feel the load shifting, but I think you would be fine with a 26lb child in a two-wheeled trailer so long as you have a strong rear bicycle wheel. –  apk Mar 19 at 17:34

You're fine. We haul a BoB behind carbon bikes all the time. The dropouts are metal and the quick release equally supports with no twisting moment.

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Please provide some evidence or explanation as to why it's fine rather than just stating it. –  DWGKNZ May 26 at 10:01

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