Bicycle cargo trailer?
August 5, 2020 4:52 PM   Subscribe

I may be in the market for a commercial grade bicycle cargo trailer, does anyone have experience with one?

I may need to be hauling heavier-than-average loads around the city. I’ve seen Amazon using Carla Cargo Trailers, they look amazing but pricey. Anyone know of/have practical experience with any others?

I’ve used consumer grade trailers a bunch, and haul my kid around in a Burley Bee- they’re great but I will need something a little heftier for this. Bonus points for made in the USA. Thanks!
posted by Admiral Viceroy to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The courier company I was working with for a while had trailers from surly that seemed pretty well made.
posted by clockwork at 5:27 PM on August 5, 2020

What's your cargo weight goal? Cycle tote may be consumer grade to your eye, but they do cost a bit less than your example, and are pretty rugged. Made and designed in Ft Collins CO.

I lucked in to a used one and find it incredibly smooth, it really makes a difference to have full-sized wheels on it and I also love the (less common) center mount hitch. I like Burley's too, but they feel a bit skittish and small/toylike in comparison, imo.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:27 PM on August 5, 2020

Best answer: Haulin' Colin makes amazing trailers, and since they're made in the USA they can be customized to your needs and your specific cargo (for example: arborist tools or dogs), up to and including features like electric assist or brakes on the trailer wheels for truly massive loads.
posted by lantius at 6:01 PM on August 5, 2020

Best answer: The popular work trailer around here is Bikes at Work.
posted by advicepig at 6:50 PM on August 5, 2020

Best answer: I have experience with both the Bikes at Work and Surly trailers mentioned above, as well as a bunch of custom options.

Surly's Bill and Ted trailers are very well designed and solidly-built from 4130 steel. They offer several unique (as far as I know...) features. They are the only heavy-duty, pro-quality trailers that are built in production quantities. (China, last time I checked, but I know that they've started to move some of their production to Vietnam.) This means they are significantly less expensive than the competition, which are typically made in much smaller quantities in either Europe or the USA. They also have a large dealer network, and warehouses on both coasts as well as in Minnesota and Colorado. The designs haven't changed much since being introduced in ~2011, so spare parts and extra mounting kits are easy to get a hold of.

The Bikes at Work trailers are made in the USA of mostly aluminum. This saves weight over steel, and doesn't require painting. The trailer I'm most familiar with is owned by a Los Angeles based bike coop I'm involved with. I can't tell from their website which model it is, but it is pretty large. It's been used several times for moving house, and can take quite a bit of weight. I've used it to move 2x 15.5 gallon beer kegs and a simple draft system with trashcans filled with ice. The total weight was probably pushing 450lbs. There were a few times I wished I had a dedicated drag brake on the trailer, but otherwise it was quite manageable.

Mike Flanigan (formerly?) of Alternative Needs Transportation teaches a class on building cargo bikes and trailers. Two of my L.A. based friends have taken the class and ended up making a bunch of work bikes and trailers out of used and scrap materials. It might be worth contacting Mike: as he's based in the Boston area, last I heard. I know he's worked with and mentored a bunch of NY frame builders, and he may be able to refer you to a local builder who can make you a custom trailer.
posted by Anoplura at 7:58 PM on August 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

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