Road bikes are starting to become increasingly popular now that people are trying to find newer, more eco-friendly ways to travel. A road bike can be a great way to get exercise, have fresh air, and also get from Point A to Point B in major cities. Some even use them like cars.
Would a road bike pull a trailer? It depends on the bike, the topography, and the type of trailer you want to use. Most road bikes obviously won’t work with car trailers, but there are specialty trailers out there that can transport children and small quantities of items.
Before you try to get a road bike to pull your trailer, it’s a good idea to know what your bike can do and what your trailer can do. This quick guide will help you get started and make sure your time biking is well-spent.
Would a Road Bike Pull a Trailer?
For the most part, road bikes can pull trailers. How well they pull the trailers depends on the strength of the cyclist, where they’re biking, the trailer itself, and the terrain that the cyclist is in.
What’s a Good Bike for Trailers?
Not all road bikes are really trailer-appropriate. Some just don’t have the sturdiness that is required of trailer pulling, especially when they are a lightweight model. When choosing your trailer bike, make sure they have the following qualities:
- A Triple Crankset. Low gears are a must if you want to tow a trailer on hilly terrain, and triple cranksets give you access to them.
- Overall High-Quality Parts. Most people who use trailers on their road bikes tend to do so with bikes that have brand name parts that are known for quality. Life’s too short for a bad bike, anyway.
- 32-Spoke Wheels. Flimsy wheels are a no-go for trailers.
- A Warrantied Steel or Aluminum Frame. Strong metals are a must for your bike, especially if you’re going to be hauling kids around. If your bike has carbon fiber, you should also be good to go.
- A Good Fit. If you’re already mildly uncomfortable on your bike, a trailer will only exacerbate it. For your own sake, choose a comfy bike that’s easy to adjust.
Most bike enthusiasts already have bicycles that fit the bill for a good trailer hitch. That being said, it’s always a good idea to double-check your bike’s stats. When in doubt, consider upgrading your bike before you ride.
What Trailers Will Work Well With Road Bikes?
The trailer you choose will make all the difference between having a great time toting around your stuff and having a pretty miserable time trying to get a refund. Here’s what every bicyclist should know about trailer purchases.
Buying A Road Bike-Ready Trailer
The one thing you have to know about pulling a trailer with your bike is that you can’t use a truck trailer, and while it’s obvious, it’s worth saying. Truck trailers are far too heavy and cumbersome to be used with a bicycle!
In order to tow anything using a non-motorized bicycle, you’re going to have to buy a trailer that’s designed for them. These are trailers that typically attach to the bicycle’s back wheel or to the bicycle’s seat.
What Types Of Bicycle Trailers Can You Buy?
For the most part, bicycle trailers are categorized by purpose. There are three main types of trailers that work with road bikes:
- Small Child Trailers. These are trailers that are designed to comfortably house babies and toddlers who may need to tag along while a parent goes for a ride.
- Child Trailers. Most trailers for older children can fit a child up to five years comfortably.
- Cargo. If you live in the city and want to have your bike hold your groceries, then a cargo trailer might be the best option for you. These are meant for items, not people!
How Much Does A Bike Trailer Cost?
This all depends on what kind of trailer you’re buying, the company you’re buying from, and how large the trailer is. It’s possible to find bicycle hitches for as little as $70 online, however, most will be around $100 to $300 in price.
If you want to get a luxury bicycle trailer for your child, you might expect to pay more. Some child hitches can cost as much as $1000 a pop. That being said, you don’t need to splurge on a bicycle trailer if you don’t want to.
How to Hitch a Trailer to Your Bike (And Ride!)
Now that you have both the bike and the trailer, it’s time to actually start toting your stuff around town. This process is actually fairly simple and can be done within minutes. Here’s the scoop!
How to Hook Your Bike to Your Hitch
This is often the hardest part of using a road bike with a trailer. Thankfully, it’s fairly easy to make sure that you do it right. Here’s a step-by-step guide that will give you the details you need to know.
1. Examine your hitch. Hitches tend to go in three places: the bicycle seat, the rear fork, or on the actual bike frame. Take a look at your hitch to find out which works best for your setup.
2. Open the hitch and clasp it around your bike’s preferred part. Each hitch is a little different, but almost all of them will require the biker to use screws or other locking mechanisms to attach the trailer to your bike. Your trailer’s instructions will give you more details on how this is done.
3. Secure the trailer onto the bike. Once you have placed your trailer in its appropriate place, use the screws or locks on your trailer to secure it in place.
4. Give the trailer a hard pull to make sure it’s locked into place. It’s always a good idea to test out your equipment before you hit the roads.
5. Load up your trailer. Now is the time to load up the trailer with the kids (or goods) you’re looking to tow. If you are using your hitch for children, make sure they’re locked in safely and are comfortable.
6. Give one more tug. It’s never a bad idea to double-check.
7. Start biking! It’s just that easy.
Tips for Using a Road Bike With a Trailer
Biking with a trailer is not always easy, especially when you compare it to regular biking. It’s going to be a little tougher on your legs, and you will need to put in a little more effort. These quick tips below will make things easier on you:
- Keep gears low. High gears are great for speed, but when it comes to sheer power, a lower gear will help you keep your legs from spraining.
- Avoid bumpy roads, and secure everything you’re towing. Your trailer won’t fare well on too many bumps, nor will the items you’re trying to tote!
- Work your way up to hilly regions. Since riding with a trailer is a little more difficult, it’s a good idea to train yourself with flat roads before you bike up hills. Your legs will thank you.
- Expect to make wide turns. Your road bike might be able to pull sharper corners without a trailer, but with one, it’ll be different. You may need to practice wide turns before you start riding on busier streets, simply because it’s a new sensation.
- Always wear a helmet. Trailer or not, safety always comes first no matter what you’re doing. Happy riding!