Take the 2-minute tour ×
Bicycles Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am considering making or buying a bike trailer.

It seems to me that the most important desision I need to make is whether to have a one wheeled bike trailer like the Bob or a two wheeled bike trailer. It seems to me that both have their advantages. Does anyone have any reason why one is preferable to the other?

One wheeled bike trailer (Bob trailer):

alt text

Two wheeled bike trailer:

alt text

share|improve this question
    
There's also the consideration, for casual, around-town use, that you must lash stuff into the 1-wheel trailer a bit better, whereas with the 2-wheel trailer (especially the kiddie style) you can plop a couple of bags of groceries in there and not worry about spilling stuff out if you fall or must lay the bike down. –  Daniel R Hicks Aug 16 '11 at 11:49
    
I find it interesting that the other answers recommend two wheel trailers for heavier loads, but it looks like they have no accommodation for a trailer brake. I have pulled loads too heavy to stop without a trailer brake with a single wheel trailer (and broke my shoulder) Single wheel trailers pull just fine with a heavy load, but whatever you do, get brakes!!! –  hildred Nov 16 '13 at 2:20
add comment

7 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

One-wheeled trailers are more agile and don't increase the width of your bike. They lean with the bike. If you're going to go really narrow places, you need one-wheel.

Two-wheeled trailers can generally carry more weight and are less prone to making the bike fall over when you stop.

So, what are you going to do with the trailer? Going up and down mountains with narrow trails: get a one-wheeled trailer. Carrying 50kg of equipment from the hardware store home using streets and wide paths: get a two-wheeled trailer.

share|improve this answer
1  
Switching this to the accepted answer but wanted to add one note. After having tried both kinds of trailers I might add that dodging pot holes is almost impossible with a two wheeled trailer but is simple with a single wheel trailer. Single wheel trailers follow your bike wheels so if you miss a bump then so does the trailer. With a two wheeled bike trailer, you have to miss the bump with 3 wheels at different widths. –  sixtyfootersdude Jan 24 at 15:17
add comment

Advantages of a one wheel bike trailer

  • Easier to add suspension
  • Less wide (less likely to be hit by a motorist)

Advantages of a two wheel bike trailer

  • More stable at low speeds
  • Climbs better (since it does not need momentum to remain up right)
  • Probably has more cargo capacity
  • Easier to make
share|improve this answer
add comment

I just built a trailer based on the Wike DIY kit.

I decided to make it after seeing this great looking trailer.

I don't have experience with single wheel trailers. I am happy so far, but my experience has been very limited. The intent was to use it for local cargo runs - not long-hauling/touring

I'll report more here as the months go by

Here is a shot of mine with its first load alt text

share|improve this answer
    
Wow, that looks like a great trailer! Thanks for the link. –  sixtyfootersdude Aug 30 '10 at 22:42
add comment

My personal experience is go with the one-wheel trailer... you won't even know its behind you if you pack it balanced. My trailer is just like the first picture and while I was training for a 100+ mile ride - I loaded it down with gallon water jugs... and if I got really tired pulling it I just poured the water out(usually some on me - it gets really hot in SC). Once I got use to it behind me - taking corners and such was really easy. Friends of mine with two wheel trailers always have to take corners wider (increasing their turning distance) and the trailer would just tip over to one wheel when they had to take a tight corner risking stuff falling out.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I have used both styles. I would recommend a single-wheeled trailer for touring or fast riding, because they corner with you, and fewer wheels should mean less rolling resistance, and less wheels to get flat tires.

For around-town hauling, I recommend buying a Bikes-At-Work trailer. They have a modular system that allows the trailer to be about 3', 6' or 8', and you can vary where the axle is.

For example, if you need to haul a 32' extension ladder, you can set it up like this.

But if you fit your goods in a some large bins, you might choose the 3 foot length.

The photo linked above is of my own Bikes-at-Work trailer. I have lots more on Flickr.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I only have a one-wheel trailer (Bob Yak), but after cycling over 4000km with the heavy loaded trailer on serveral tandem tours I would not change. We even had no problems at low speed (climbing up hills).

I realy like a narrow trailer which is following the bike on the same trace. With a two-wheel trailer you have to pay much more attention, especially when the road surface is bad and covered with pot-holes.

But if you have a heavy load with a high balance point and a light bicycle, you probably better use a two-wheel trailer.

share|improve this answer
add comment

If you ever consider having a more than two-wheeled bicycle, e.g. a recumbent trike, you can no longer use one-wheeled, a.k.a. inline trailers because they will add a lot of lateral torque while cornering, making the whole train fall over to the outside of the corner far easier.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.