I salvaged an old bicycle trailer. I have one concern though. The bar that goes from the trailer to the bike, I believe it's called the tow hitch, ends with a small rubber coupling, to allow for movement in all directions. The rubber has gotten brittle, and I don't trust it. Is it possible to either buy a new one or in any other way fix this issue?

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  • 1
    Knowing the brand of the trailer might be a good starting point. Or was this custom built?
    – renesis
    May 26, 2015 at 19:47
  • I found it in a scrap container. There is only the frame and the wheels left. No box. And no name or model or nothing. I think I remember seeing this kind of coupling before, on other bikes, I thought it was sort of generic. May 26, 2015 at 21:22
  • Give us a report on this when you've tried something. I'm wondering if the rubber fitting is covering some other connector.
    – andy256
    Jun 1, 2015 at 9:06
  • I certainly will give a report, but I'm afraid I wont get to it anytime soon. Jun 1, 2015 at 12:06
  • Take the part out and take it to an auto parts place, or maybe a place that sells parts for tractors. See if they have something similar. Jul 27, 2015 at 11:34

5 Answers 5


I suggest undoing the bolts that hold the rubber piece in place.

Obtain an old car tire, and with heavy shears, cut a couple of pieces the same size and shape. The idea is to put them back to back to make up the width.

You'll need to make holes on each end for the bolts. A large drill could be used for this; I suggest a drill press, rather than a hand-held drill, for safety reasons (the drill bit may bind in the rubber).

You may need to have a few tries to get it all to work right.

Good luck :-)

  • Andy an old tire is not gong to be better than what he has now.
    – paparazzo
    May 28, 2015 at 3:42
  • 1
    @Blam My main purpose in suggesting a solution was to get the ball rolling. While I think it's workable, do you have another suggestion?
    – andy256
    May 28, 2015 at 3:56
  • 1
    Its a good idea using a car tyre. I got it myself after posting ;) I googled a bit and apparently its quite easy to cut the "side" of the tyre with a sharp knife, and I think 2-4 layered together would be strong enough. The part of the tyre facing the road surface is cast with a steel mesh inside. This makes it super strong and ideal for the purpose. But its quite difficult to cut, and with my tools probably not viable. May 28, 2015 at 7:27
  • 1
    Modern car tires are mostly "radials" meaning that they have radial threads in the side wall. So if possible cut your sections in that direction for strength. Maybe someone at your local garage or tire vendor can also offer advice.
    – andy256
    May 28, 2015 at 8:08
  • 1
    I think this is actually a fairly good suggestion. Most tires wear out long before the rubber begins to dry out and crack. Not sure of the best way to cut a tire with steel belts, but I'm thinking the sidewalls would not be steel, and should cut relatively easily. Jul 27, 2015 at 13:19

A piece of reinforced hose should be an easy to use option. For example a heater tube from an auto parts store. On the inside of the tube you can run a chain, rope or webbing to give it some extra strength. Either as a safety back up in case i breaks, or so tight that it is taking some of the load off the tube.

Adding a smaller hose inside the larger one could be stronger too.

Short pieces of tubing inside the ends of the hose, by the holes, might make it hold up better.

"I'm afraid I wont get to it anytime soon" Maybe now six years later is the time?

  • Welcome to the site - excellent first answer, keep it up!
    – Criggie
    Oct 6, 2021 at 21:54

Yes, you can replace it. Although you might have to goto another brands system, and a little hacking.

Personally, every trailer I have I use the Burley Flex Connector system (http://www.amazon.com/Burley-Design-Connector-Round-Black/dp/B001GSQXUG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438004399&sr=8-1&keywords=burley+flex+connector). What ever you go with though you may have to get a few other parts for it to all work. In the Burley case, the hitch for your bike (http://www.amazon.com/Burley-Design-Forged-Standard-Trailer/dp/B00VSOQN8K/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1438004399&sr=8-3&keywords=burley+flex+connector).

Here is the similar piece for the Burley flex connector system, and how it works on my bike:

flex connector Flex connector at work


What is your basis for not trusting it? That bolt has rust do you not trust it? Really how do you know that surface cracking is a structural integrity problem? Stand on it and see if it breaks.

If it breaks try a tire and frame dealer.

  • 1
    Good question. I believe its not reliable because when I twist it the cracks seem deep and it is simply too flexible. I believe I can break it off in a few seconds with my hands if I want to. May 28, 2015 at 7:20

You could use a steel spring like the ones in old bedframes or around trampolins; it should be possible to get one from the nearest scrapyard or recycling centre. My trailer has such a spring by design and it works just fine.

In my experience the forces on the coupling are not enormous. The largest forces happen when you brake, but these are compression forces and shouldn't tear it apart. The pulling forces are normally not that large.

I would also add a safety rope from the trailer to the bike. Fix it to the bolt on the right side of your photo, and tie the other end to the bike frame, with just enough slack so that it doesn't stretch when the trailer moves in all directions and doesn't get caught in the wheel. If the coupling fails for whatever reason, then your trailer doesn't get out of control.

  • Yeah, a safety rope/chain/cable is a good idea. (I'd use a cable.) Jul 27, 2015 at 11:35
  • I find the spring systems to be rather unpleasant riding. They tend to do a lot of tugging, jaring, and jerking that it was rather tiring.
    – BPugh
    Jul 27, 2015 at 13:48

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