I have a rhode gear trailer with a 100 lb capacity, similar to the burley and other brands, that attaches to the left chainstay (see image of hitch below). I currently have it attached to my heavy-duty commuter, and I am not concerned with any adverse effects that it might have. However, I am having so much fun with it that I would also like to attach it to my road bike, which has a steel frame built for racing.

I accept that this can affect the paint, but I don't want to cause structural damage (e.g. bend or break) the frame. Should I be concerned?

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  • Does this attach to the chainstay directly? Many of the Burley trailers attach to a hitch held onto the rear skewer on the non-drivetrain side. Commented Nov 29, 2010 at 3:32
  • 1
    @neifein, it clamps directly onto the chainstay. I have included a picture Commented Nov 29, 2010 at 4:32
  • Thanks, that's helpful. I agree with Jay's answer, nothing new to add. Commented Nov 30, 2010 at 1:25

4 Answers 4


A trailer with a 100# capacity fully loaded over the axle is unlikely to cause significant damage to your bicycle frame--even using the attachment device shown for the Rhode Gear trailer, above. The "tongue weight" of such a trailer would probably be in the twenty-to-thirty pound range.

Just don't load this trailer--or any trailer--with all of the weight forward of the axle. Minimize your tongue weight.

Remember we're talking about tubular steel on your bike which is some pretty strong stuff. I wouldn't hang an automobile trailer on it or anything, but it can handle this little trailer.

Also. How many times can you load a Rhode Gear trailer up with 100# and still have a trailer? I think the trailer is the weak link in this equation.

Most often, you will use this trailer with maybe 40-50# max, right? Even pulling it every day--not likely to cause much problem. If you start a bicycle-based concrete business, go back to the commuter bike.

I ride a Sakae Ringyo Litage. Thin aluminum tubing--road racing geometry--from the early 90's. I pull a trailer with it from time to time--sometimes a Burley flatbed with a lawnmower onboard. (Ususally, if I'm smart, I pull it with my Schwinn Tempo). Someday that aluminum frame is going to break on me. It isn't going to be the trailer's fault--it's going to be the 200# rider that causes it to break!

Your steel frame is going to be fine pulling that trailer for the trailer's entire natural life.

Ride on!


These hitches don't work very well. They don't grab tightly enough, so they can twist around the bar and bump in to the wheel. As they twist they will take off the paint. They also require a lot of turns to attach and remove.

I had two trailers with this kind of hitch, and 3 bikes to pull with. I bought this Burley flex connector for each trailer:

Burley flex connector

I used this kind of hitch:

Burley Trailer forged hitch

It works pretty well, but on one bike it's slippery, so the quick release lever can turn a little even when tight. But not enough that it's going to make the wheel fall out. Also, on one bike it bumps in to the QR, so I have to put it in just the right spot.

  • I second Jay's advice. I used a trailer hitch like the Rhode Gear one pictured. It moved around some and scraped my paint. I wasn't happy. The alternative that Jay proposes looks like a solid alternative. Commented Aug 21, 2011 at 1:54
  • I had a cheap trailer that used that hitch type too, and I hated it. After a bit (okay, a lot) of wear, it wouldn't stay on very well at all. After that trailer, I just went and got a Chariot Cougar off Craigslist and found their hitch system 100x better. Find a Chariot dealer near you and ask for their hitch upgrade kit. they're usually around $50, and you can easily make them work for any trailer.
    – Ernie
    Commented Dec 14, 2012 at 19:13
  • To fix the slipperiness of the one bike, try a axle washer between the hitch and the frame. One of the standard ones that have teeth/grooves to give it more bite.
    – BPugh
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 13:45

I have that exact hitch, and it is terrible.

My chainstay gets smaller further back, so the only way this clamps on right is when butted up against the seat stay. There's only grip at one end, and the clamp rotates downwards over 10-20 km. At that point its close to clipping the rear spokes, and only takes one good bump to fall right off.

As the clamp moved it scraped all the topcoat off the clamp area (admittedly my bike's paint job is sub-par too.)

I now stop and check it every 5-10 km, and I'm not putting kids in it until I change to a ball and hitch arrangement.



Fitting a hitch mount onto your seat stay, chain stay or a rack which is attached to the stays are good solutions. The frame is weaker at the connections to the rear drop out. There are instances of the frame breaking at this point when a trailer is connected to the rear hub.

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