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I am building a bicycle trailer that i would like to have its own braking system due to its weight. I'm wondering what the best way to accomplish that would be.

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  • With out more details I am just going to suggest you research automotive trailer surge or inertia brake systems. I can imagine adapting a bicycle hydraulic brake system into a hitch mounted surge brake.
    – mikes
    Aug 15 '17 at 22:52
  • How heavy is it?
    – Chris H
    Aug 16 '17 at 8:15
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People have come up with their own inertial/surge trailer hacks. Google is your friend here. On stackexchange is a related question: How to build surge brakes on bike trailer?

As far as I know, there's no commercial solutions. Part of this is the technical difficulty of braking both trailer wheels equally and in proportion to the main braking force. It's conceivably easier with BoB style single wheel trailers but most trailers are dual wheel with single-sided hubs, which adds further complexity.

Then there's the liability issue. Any time you add new technology, the manufacturer has to assume some liability on its use. Trailers in the USA are most often used to carry children and no manufacturer is going to go near there on that at a price point consumers are going to swallow (i.e., the only way you could upsell a $200 feature like trailer braking is to say it's safer but your lawyers won't allow you to say that).

The DIY solutions are quite ingenious so I'd suggest exploring them. The increase in the number of tandem hubs with disk brake mounts is making it easier to do this. See related question above.

As far as electronic solutions using ehubs. This is non-trivial. Cars can do this as the motor controller can read both steering input, brake input, wheel ABS sensors, and gyro sensors to apply the right amount of deceleration torque to each wheel for maximum stability. Doing this on an ebike or e-trailer isn't impossible but hard to do reliably at a reasonable price point. If using an ebike, note each hub motor alone is $150+.

Many of us who pull trailers use ebikes and as long as your ebike motor is sufficient and you have good brakes on the ebike, and you follow reasonable speed and load precautions, motors and brakes on the trailer seem like just another point of failure (and place we have to recharge).

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  • There are also nondisc rim hydraulic brakes
    – mikes
    Aug 15 '17 at 23:54
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    Rim brakes are harder to fit on two wheel trailers unless you already have wheelguards.
    – RoboKaren
    Aug 16 '17 at 0:29
  • @mikes I looked at fitting rim brakes as parking brakes on my child trailer, which doubles as a buggy. It would have meant quite a lot of fabrication. Not a solution here but I fitted wheelchair brakes
    – Chris H
    Aug 16 '17 at 8:15
  • I have this vision of a trailer with two electric hub motors which brake and accelerate in order to make the trailer completely unnoticeable to the rider (i.e. keep the forces at the hitch at 0).
    – Michael
    Aug 16 '17 at 15:37
  • Good luck designing the controller for that. Detecting appropriate braking when descending down a hill with many curves is just one of the outer boundary scenarios. Fine if it's your skin in the game (literally) but a challenge for a retail product.
    – RoboKaren
    Aug 16 '17 at 15:47

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