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Evaluating if there are any Issues with Mounting a Two-Wheel Trailer Hitch to your Bicycle

by Josh Lipton

A common question we get here at the BikeShopHub.com is whether the bike trailer hitch for two-wheeled trailers can be attached to their style of bicycle.

Most, though not all, brands of two-wheel trailers offer a variety of options for mounting a hitch bracket to the bicycle. I will be breaking down my explanations into styles of hitches. Under each style of hitch, I will list each brand of bike trailer hitch, the styles of bicycles that these hitches work wit, and adapters designed for use with these hitches.

Axle/Quick Release Mounting Hitch Brackets:

Axle mounted hitches are compatible with most bikes that use a standard quick release or have a solid axle with nuts. The dropout on the bike needs to be flat so that the hitch can be secured against the frame. Some bikes have specialty dropouts that are not compatible with this type of hitch even though they use a standard quick release / nut.

Common compatability issues:

Frames that have “breezer” style cups around the dropout. This cup can keep the hitch from propperly sitting againt the frame. This problem is easily resolved with an accessory like the Burley Alt Hitch Adapter. Basically this adapter will replace the QR or axle nut and creates a new mounting point that is spaced out from the frame.

Some full suspension bikes, e.g. Trek Bikes, have a specialty dropout that is also a pivot point for the suspension. Technically some of these bikes use a standard QR but they have a collar that bumps out from the frame that has a recessed area for the QR to fit into. Unfortunately this collar prevents the axle mounted hitch from properly attaching to the bike. In this case the wheel would not be secured to the bike either.

Mountain bikes that use a “thru-axle” are also incompatible with axle mounted hitches. This type of axle is often too large to fit through the hole on the hitch. In most cases thru-axle dropouts have a collar that the axle slides into and would prevent a secure attachment.

breezer-text abpcollar

Quick Release Mounting Hitch Brackets:


Clamping Style Hitch Brackets:
Burley Trailer Classic Hitch , Chariot Bike Trailer Alternative Hitch, Croozer Bike Trailer Alternative Hitch

The basic premise of this type of hitch is that they attach to the bike by clamping onto the frame. The advantage of this style hitch is that it can work on bikes that simply cannot use an axle mounted hitch. Some bike frames may have obstructions near the dropout and have an axle size that is not covered by the Burley Alternative Hitch Adapter. Some e-bikes have wiring that goes into the axle on the non-drive side of the bike so an axle mounted hitch is not possible either. In this case the only option would be to clamp the hitch to the frame.

Another reason some people may prefer this style hitch is that you only need one for multiple bikes. The hitch is permanently attached to the trailer arm and not the bike.

This style of hitch does not work in certain cases. We cannot recommend clamping style hitches for bikes with Disc brakes. The main reason for this is that clamping hitches will have a bit of movement and could end up rubbing against the brake rotor. This is not a problem with bike that do not have disc brackes since these also have plenty of room for the hitch to have room for some movement.

Both the Chariot and Croozer versions use a single clamp that mounts to the chain stay (the lower tube going from the axle to the main triangle). Even if there is some apparent clearance between the hitch and the rotor; the clamp mechanism is not stiff enough to keep the hitch from wiggling when you apply force to it. The Burley hitch seemed to have to most potential since it wedges in between the chainstay and seatstay. Unfortunately it too suffered from enough movement that I would not be confident using it on my mountain bike.

Frame material should also be taken into account when considering clamping hitches. Carbon frames are not good candidtates for these hitches. The frequent rubbing caused by the slight wiggle will wear at the frame and cause it to weaken and potentialy break. Aluminum frames should be fine as long as they do not have extremely thin tubing. Thin tubing is strong enough to handle forces applied to the frame while riding. It is not strong enough or designed to handle the lateral forces from clamping or twisting and could result in the tubing denting. Steel frames are the best candidate. This is a very strong and forgiving material. Some high end steel frames use thin tubing and may potentially suffer the same problems as thin walled aluminum.


Via BikeTrailerShop.com Email:

I am interested in the Burley solo. However I am concerned about the width
of the nut for the cycling attachment as my bike frame is recessed. I have
attached a photo. What width is the nut, are there other options if it is
wider than the recess?

Also if I want to by a nut for my partner’s bike for easy transfer of the
trailer, what item is it that I need to purchase.

 

The Burley Forged hitch will have problems attaching to the frame on it’s own so you will need the Burley Alt Hitch adapter. The adapter is about 20mm wide and will bump the hitch out by about the same width. This should be enough space for the hitch to clear the frame. You will want an adapter and hitch for both bikes if the dropouts are like the one in the photo you included.

 


Just adding a note here. BikeTrailerShop.com is now stocking the solution for those looking for 12mm thru-axles for BOB, Burley, Chariot, Thule, Croozer and other trailers.

You can fit 142×12 thru-axle bikes to most trailers with our axles.

Just type “Axle” into the BikeTrailerShop.com search window. Scroll down to find the Robert Axle for your application.

 
BOB Trailer x 2

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