Single-wheeled trailers deftly negotiate singletrack trails and through tricky urban terrain. This maneuverability is a defining distinction from two-wheel trailers.
Singletrack and rutted two-tracks are the stuff of nightmares for owners for two-wheeled trailers, but it's where single-wheeled trailers shine. But the added agility comes at a cost in load capacity. Depending on how you load the trailer, excessive weight can adversely impact your bicycle's handling, limiting the amount of weight you should carry to around 70 pounds.
The weight you carry on a single-wheel trailer is shared with the rear wheel of your bike. This means improved traction. When you lean, the trailer leans. A single-wheel trailer never flips over--unless you do.
Most single-wheeled trailers use similar methods to attach to your bicycle. A fork on the front of the trailer attaches to the bicycle's rear axle which allows the trailer to pivot. These forks offer a very solid, reliable connection to the bike because they attach to both sides of the bike. And your riding becomes connected as well. When you are out your seat doing a standing climb, and your body English swings your bike from side to side for maximum power, you are also rocking your single-wheel trailer along with all your cargo from side to side. With the right packing strategy--heavy stuff down low--you may hardly notice. (See below for more information on Mounting Points.)
Features vary widely among single-wheel trailers, starting with how they carry a load. Some, like BOB Trailers, have a load bed suspended between the trailer fork and the wheel. These trailers are the most versatile, allowing you to easily switch between touring mode and grocery mode. Others, like the Extrawheel Voyager, are designed to carry a set of panniers like a rear rack would, but making them somewhat less versatile, because they're designed for a specific type of load. Using grocery bag-style panniers allows some additional flexibility, but not as much as a trailer with a load bed. What these trailers do offer, however, is virtually unlimited maneuverability, easily going where no two-wheeled trailer could go--and even out maneuvering some single-wheeled trailers.
- Trailers such as the BOB Ibex and the Weber Monoporter have shock-absorbing suspension, which means both that your cargo shakes around less, and that less of the vibration gets transferred from the trailer back to your bike's frame and to you.
- Suspension adds cost and/or weight. The BOB Yak (no suspension) weighs four pounds less than it's sibling, the BOB Ibex. If you need light weight and suspension in a single-wheel trailer, you'll pay a small premium for it in the Weber Monoporter.
- The Extrawheel Voyager has no suspension, but the cargo is cradled somewhat inside the panniers on either side of the wheel instead of on a rigid load bed.
Locking and Loading
- Trailers with flat load beds, such as the BOB and Weber trailers, can be loaded directly with the cargo--no bags required. However, unless you strap the cargo down somehow, using bungee cords or a cargo net, you'll start scattering your things down the road or trail. Your items will be more visible and vulnerable to opportunistic thieves as well.
- More sensible is to put your cargo in a large waterproof duffel bag, or dry bag. Rack Packs and Dry Bags will keep your cargo together as well as dry, plus will make it easier to remove the contents of the trailer in fewer loads. But, yes, you will still need to secure these bags to the trailer to keep them in the trailer.
- When leaving your trailer loaded and unattended, a locking security web will help protect your cargo from being too easily lifted from the trailer, and will deter snoops from looking inside the bags as well.
- Even if you remove the contents from the trailer, you will need a strategy for locking the trailer as well as the bike. The Weber Monoporter is designed to lock easily to the bike or to be transported wheelbarrow-style when not attached to the bike. A generously long cable lock will allow you to lock your bike and trailer together to the same bike rack or another secure locking point.
- Sometimes you just have a lot of stuff, and it's hard to keep it all packed low to the ground. BOB trailers can be adapted for panniers over the wheels using a Wandertec Rack Adapter Kit and a Greenspeed Rack.
Shipping and Storage
- Single-wheel trailers vary tremendously as to whether they break down easily for storage and shipping. A trailer like the Weber Monoporter fold up compactly without a lot of disassembly. A trailer like the BOB doesn't.
- Almost any bike trailer can easily be reduced in size by removing the hitch arm or fork and removing the wheel or wheels. Those parts can generally be tucked inside the body of the trailer. Or if you are traveling with a bicycle, often some of the parts of the trailer can fit inside your bicycle box.
- As noted above, most single-wheel trailers mount to the rear axle of the bike. This configuration makes the trailer an extension of the bike--"rotationally coupled" at the axle.
- A few single wheel trailers, such as the Farfarer, mount to the seat post which means that the trailer rotates less than the bike does in some riding situations, such as in tight turns. This configuration also means the load on the trailer is supported on at an angle, which affects the dynamics of the ride differently from other single-wheeled trailers.
*For further information on single-wheel bike trailers, please review our Bike Cargo Trailers FAQ's and our Bike Trailer Comparison Chart. Also read "One Wheel or Two" on Bike Shop Hub.
BOB Trailers: BOB Trailers are great for long bike tours or short trips to the store. We carry all of the parts and accessories for BOB trailers, plus a few things even BOB didn't think of.
Extrawheel Trailers: This trailer sits close to your rear wheel allowing for the most natural handling of any trailer. If needed, the full size trailer wheel can be used as a spare front wheel. We carry all the extras, such as water proof bags and cargo nets keep your cargo dry and in place.
Weber Trailers: The lightweight, suspended trailer, can fold away for travel and storage. Ideal for when your tour is going to involve multiple modes of transportation.