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Need a heavy-duty cargo trailer. $500-ish (CAD) budget. What are my options?

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Need a heavy-duty cargo trailer. $500-ish (CAD) budget. What are my options?

Old 06-05-19, 01:12 PM
  #1  
mackwell
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Need a heavy-duty cargo trailer. $500-ish (CAD) budget. What are my options?

Hey utility cyclists,

I seek your input. I need a heavy-duty bike cargo trailer, but am on a budget. There exist a few commercially available/ready-made models (from Bikes at Work, Tony's Trailers, Haulin' Colin, Surly, etc.) that meet all or most of my needs, but sadly, are out of my price range -- and being in Canada, the exchange rate and cost of shipping makes it even harder. (Tony's Trailers is out in BC, but I can't afford their stuff.)

I'm after a trailer that:
  • Is 5-6+ feet long
  • Is 2-3 feet wide
  • Can haul at least 300 lbs. -- though more is better.
  • Has an axle- or seatpost-mounted hitch
  • Has quick-release wheels
  • Has or can accommodate removable plywood sidewalls
  • Can accommodate bungee cords/tie-downs
  • Can be built for about or less than $500 Canadian (plus my time)
My building skills (and tools) are limited to drilling holes, driving screws, putting in bolts, and doing basic cuts in wood and some metal. I wish I could weld, but can't.

I was excited to see that Wike (in Ontario, where I live) offers a DIY cargo trailer kit. It seems it can be built to almost any size (within reason) but its load capacity is only 150 lbs. One idea I had was to get the DIY kit and beef it up... though that's where the advice of someone more experienced would come in. I wouldn't know where to add what, or if simply using steel instead of aluminum square tubing would suffice.

I think someone suggested in another thread here that a trailer frame built with the Wike DIY kit should be able to accommodate more that 150 lbs. -- that the only part that might suffer under a heavier weight is the hitch itself -- and that the Bikes at Work hitch should easily be able to handle a heavier load.

That said, the Wike kit uses ABS corner connectors. I know ABS is tough plastic, but how heavy a load can it manage?

Beyond building a frame with the Wike kit and using steel tubing, and possibly pairing it with the stronger Bikes at Work axle-mounted hitch (if it fits), I wouldn't know how to proceed. I'd happily put in the time making something from scratch, if parts and materials are easily accessible, and my limited construction and design skills would be sufficient.

Anyway -- that's a long enough first post. Any suggestions, links, instructions and anecdotes are very much appreciated. Thanks tons!
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Old 06-05-19, 02:43 PM
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fietsbob 
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Bikes at work trailers
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Old 06-05-19, 02:51 PM
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mackwell
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Bikes at work trailers
They look great -- but for the size I need, plus international shipping and the USD->CAD exchange rate, Bikes at Work trailers are way outside my budget. If money were no object, I'd likely get one.
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Old 06-05-19, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by mackwell View Post
They look great -- but for the size I need, plus international shipping and the USD->CAD exchange rate, Bikes at Work trailers are way outside my budget. If money were no object, I'd likely get one.
Yeah, it's a tough pill to swallow. My Bikes at Work trailer is now about 20 years old. Dollar cost averaging makes it seem CHEAP now. The thing will last forever. Longer than you unless it gets stolen.

Not to get too far off course here but when i am short on cash I have a second credit card (I generally keep a ZERO balance on both) that I keep squirreled away for "necessary" purchases that I really can't afford. Yeah, I pay a little interest but I generally get what I want when I need it. Normally I pay off $1000 in 3-4 months if I don't need a root canal in the meantime!

Just a suggestion. The trailer you want, as you described it, is a Bikes at Work. It exists. You just have to adjust your spending thermostat or waste dollars on something you likely will not be happy with.

Cheers.
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Old 06-05-19, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
Yeah, it's a tough pill to swallow. My Bikes at Work trailer is now about 20 years old. Dollar cost averaging makes it seem CHEAP now. The thing will last forever. Longer than you unless it gets stolen.

Not to get too far off course here but when i am short on cash I have a second credit card (I generally keep a ZERO balance on both) that I keep squirreled away for "necessary" purchases that I really can't afford. Yeah, I pay a little interest but I generally get what I want when I need it. Normally I pay off $1000 in 3-4 months if I don't need a root canal in the meantime!

Just a suggestion. The trailer you want, as you described it, is a Bikes at Work. It exists. You just have to adjust your spending thermostat or waste dollars on something you likely will not be happy with.

Cheers.
Oh, for sure -- over the course of years, such a trailer would more than pay for itself in utility. When money's tight, though, it really is a bitter pill to swallow. I don't want to spend less on something unsuitable. Hmm. And, argh.

I did come across this blog post -- Edit: oops, my post count doesn't let me post URLs, but the page is called 'How To Build A 1000$ Bicycle Trailer For $450' -- in which someone details how they built a trailer similar to a Bikes at Work model (though at 4-ish feet, it's a bit shorter than what I may be after) for less, using a hitch-mounted aluminum cargo carrier. 500-lb. capacity ain't bad.
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Old 06-06-19, 03:13 PM
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Earlier version from the same company made side rail trusses with 3 pieces of aluminum tubing...

2 straight and 1 zigzag bent , in between , with holes drilled in them for a lot of bolts & nuts..
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Old 06-06-19, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Earlier version from the same company made side rail trusses with 3 pieces of aluminum tubing...

2 straight and 1 zigzag bent , in between , with holes drilled in them for a lot of bolts & nuts..
That is mine. Old school Bikes at Work.



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Old 07-05-19, 01:26 AM
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hii do you have an idea which trailer is best for car towing? We have to use that for Rite way towing.
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Old 07-05-19, 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by martinbrown322 View Post
hii do you have an idea which trailer is best for car towing? We have to use that for Rite way towing.
Towing a car with your bike?

Or towing a bike trailer with a car?

Either way, the two may be different enough to be a problem.

As far as "cheap" trailers, they do periodically pop up in the used ads. Nothing close to here, but this one caught my attention.

Surly Bill Bicycle Trailer - $790 (sunset / parkside)



I think I've seen similar trailers for cheaper.

My personal heavy trailer took a fair amount of welding, but is a beast.
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