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Two wheeled trailers usually have the wheels in the middle as far as I know. I understand this minimizes additional weight on the back wheel of the towing bike. But wouldn't moving the wheels back on the trailer and thus moving weight onto the rear wheel of the towing bike make braking easier and the trailer more stable?

Some trailers would be too heavy, so let's keep this to trailers and loads of up to 60kg.

So: What are the reasons for this position of the wheels?

  • I regularly pull a 45kg (~100lb) trailer that has it's two wheels at the rear of the trailer, so I am not sure what you are talking about. All the trailers I have seen, with regularity, are designed this way. – Deleted User Jul 25 '16 at 22:03
  • Then my sample of trailers is maybe not representative. – Nobody Jul 25 '16 at 22:05
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    Mine may not be either :). 90% of the trailers I have seen are child carriers. Many are designed with rear wheels simply so they can double as another style carrier (jogger, stroller, etc.). – Deleted User Jul 25 '16 at 22:07
  • Imagine the path traced by the rear wheels if they were at the back of the trailer. It would follow the shortest line and would make the trailer trim the most off the corner possible. So the rider has to take the corner wider to allow room for the trailer. Likewise a trailer that has wheels as close to the front as possible will kick the back end out on a corner, possibly dangerously. Mid-wheels balance the two effects. – Criggie Jul 25 '16 at 23:55
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    More weight on the bike wheel also means more force, and thus more likelihood of damage. Less from the direct downforce, more from the extra sideways force that enables. – Móż Jul 26 '16 at 3:27
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Increasing the 'tongue' weight of the trailer (by moving the wheels to the rear, or only loading forward of the trailer wheels) does not increase the stability of the trailer or towing bike (or vehicle).

Up to a point, it doesn't matter. This is true for all trailers, bike or auto.

Trailers with extra tongue weight are more likely to cause the tire to 'wobble' on the rim about the contact patch. The problem is especially bad in the case of an under inflated or flat tire. (and if you ever have a flat while you are moving... you are riding a flat tire until you stop)

During braking operations, a properly designed trailer will push slightly down as it pushes forwards to increase the rear tire's down-force. e.g. the hitch should allow for some small rotation in the Z axis and the hitch, ideally, should be slightly below the trailer's center of gravity (CG). (think of it as pitching down as you stop) Which is much better than trying to lift it off the ground, which would be the case with a negative tongue weight or hitch significantly above the trailer's CG.

If the trailer was designed for (or loaded for) a neutral or light tongue weight, it is safer. If the trailer is heavy enough that it could skid the rear wheel during a turn, it should have a braking system or speed should be reduced.

  • The weight effect while braking is exceptionally bad for seatpost hitch trailers, and is one reason they're generally made with the wheel(s) at the very back.. – Móż Jul 29 '16 at 1:04
  • I would expect a seatpost hitch to perform badly with all but the lightest loads. They are worth mentioning separately as most trail-a-bike devices use them. The effects are exaggerated when thrust is applied by the TaB rider... things are even worse with the 2-rider/tandem versions. – david1024 Jul 30 '16 at 1:57

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