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Your Bicycle's Trunk - Two-Wheel Bicycle Trailers

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Getting Started:

Two-wheeled bike trailers are good for carrying weight that you would rather not lean and tilt with the rest of the bike. A two-wheeled trailer is less likely to affect your balance.

With two wheels instead of one, these trailers are very stable, essentially bearing the weight of your load almost entirely on its own. In other words, very little trailer weight is transferred to your bike, thus effecting your bike's handling -- in contrast to single-wheel trailers which suspend their loads between your bike and the trailer's wheel and the entire load leans with the bike.

Flated Bike Trailers

Flatbed trailers are the workhorses of bike trailers, with typical capacities nearing or exceeding 100 pounds. If you are looking to replace your car with something a bit more practical, this is the genre of trailer for you.

Radical Design Cyclone IV Cargo TrailerThey are available with a solid bed or a fabric bed.

Flatbed trailers are very simple, by design, but there are some crucial differences to consider when choosing between models, the most obvious being what material the load bed is made of. Most use a wooden platform, usually incorporating either rails or holes for securing your load. Others utilize a very strong, fiber-reinforced fabric base. This makes for a lighter trailer, but generally isn't as versatile as those with a solid base, because you have to be somewhat selective about the cargo you put on a fabric base. For instance, you would want to carry a metal toolbox with sharp edges on a trailer with a solid platform.

Quick-release wheels are another popular feature of flatbed trailers, often incorporating wheelchair-style, push-button hubs that greatly enhance trailer storage.

Because you generally need to secure cargo onto the flatbed's platform, how the trailer accommodates tie-downs is important. Most models incorporate holes, hooks, or rails for you to secure bungees or straps. Versatile flatbed trailers will have a platform large enough to let you tie down a storage bin, increasing your carrying capacity and protecting your cargo. The most flexible even allow you to replace the cargo platform with a bin of your choosing.

Though most flatbed trailers are two-wheeled, there are a few single-wheeled exceptions. The Weber Monoporter, for example, is a very solid, adaptable, single-wheeled trailer. Though its total capacity is less than its two-wheeled counterparts, because of the adverse effects single-wheeled trailers can have on bike handling, it is every bit as flexible, employing a proprietary clip system for attaching a dry bag, straps, or cargo rail. This multipurpose design brings flatbed flexibility to a trailer that is ready for singletrack.

No-Bed Trailers -- Chassis Only

Sometimes your two-wheeled vision can't be accommodated by the load beds that come with flatbed trailers. That's when you need one of the trailers that come as just a solidly-built chassis, and you build upon that platform.

Surly Bill Bike Cargo TrailerThe advantage to this -- as opposed to just building an entire DIY trailer from scratch, is that the trailer parts are easy to get wrong: The chassis, hitch, hitch-arm, etc. Starting with a well-designed chassis, you benefit from the trailer design experience of others, and often quality materials that can be hard to source on your own.

The Surly Bill and Ted are examples of a high-strength design that can carry up to 300 pounds. Wandertec trailers are also available without a loadbed.

Internal Frame Enclosed Trailers

Enclosed bike trailers offer easy access to gear that is just as easily concealed and protected from the elements as it is from prying eyes -- like the trunk of a car.

The enclosed cargo compartment also provides easy organization for small items that would otherwise need to be tied down or placed in a secured container. Being able to merely toss your bike gear, tent, or sleeping bag, into the trailer makes for easy bike touring.

The first thing to consider when comparing enclosed trailers is whether or not your intended cargo will fit inside. Most enclosed trailers can be used occasionally with the cover removed or open, but knowing that your load can be covered is the whole point.

Burley Nomad Bike Cargo TrailerThe covers themselves come in several flavors; some are waterproof, others water resistant. Specialty enclosed trailers have slightly different feature sets, like the Radical Designs Cyclone II, which is essentially a large duffel bag on wheels.

Because enclosed trailer typically feature a frame, to provide structure, they tend to be somewhat less collapsible than comparable flatbed-style trailers. If you are tight on storage space and need your trailer to fit into a tiny space, collapsibility is something to consider.

Some enclosed trailers have additional organizational features that enhance their versatility.

The Nomad, Burley's hard-working enclosed trailer, has an optional cargo rack that mounts above the trailer frame, increasing capacity and freeing up space inside the trailer for items that may need protection by moving out items that may not. The Optima Quik-Pak also features external cords for additional storage outside the trailer compartment.

Whether your enclosed trailer is completely waterproof or not will be a major factor in how you pack it up. Generally, enclosed trailers offer some level of protection from the elements, but most are not completely waterproof.

Water can eventually penetrate saturated fabric panels and seep in through seams and gaps. If you need your cargo to be completely dry, items like sleeping bags, clothes, electronics, and food should be placed in drybags or likewise protected inside the trailer.

*For further information on two-wheel bike trailers, please review our Bike Cargo Trailers FAQ's and our Bike Trailer Comparison Chart.

Our Brands:

Burley : You may think of Burley as a maker of Bike Child Trailers, but they make trailers strong and safe enough for the children of cyclists, so you can feel good about putting your precious cargo in Burly cargo trailers.

Croozer : Croozer makes one versatile and economical cargo trailer: the Croozer Cargo Bike Trailer - 2013 Model.

PaddleBoy : Experts in hauling watercraft by bike, PaddleBoy also have designed a trailer that can be used as a hand-cart to carry up to 300 pounds when it's not hauling a kayak, canoe, or surfboard behind a bike: the Paddleboy Go Cart Kayak and Canoe Bike Trailer.

Radical Design : The Cyclone series from Radical Design has something for any commuter, tourist, utilitarian, and/or build-it-yourselfer.

Surly : The heavy-haulers of two-wheeled trailer platforms are the Surly Bill and Ted, with the quality you expect from Surly bikes.

Wandertec : Wandertec has distilled a decade of bike trailer expertise into their flatbed trailers, designed as an open platform for people who want to do more with their bikes.

Ridekick : An enclosed trailer with a difference: an electric-powered push.

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