How to Attach a Bike Trailer

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If you like to bike wherever you can, you might become frustrated with your inability to bring along or carry everything you need. A bike trailer can be an excellent solution to this problem!  Read on to learn How to attach a bike trailer.

Similar to car trailers, a bike trailer attaches to the back of your bike. It is on wheels, and you pull it along behind you as you ride. Lots of people also love to use bike trailers to bring along kids or pets.

But how do you attach a bike trailer? It’s easier than you may think. 

How to Attach a Bike Trailer

Step One: Buy the Right Trailer

To make the job a little bit simpler, it’s best to buy the correct type of trailer for your bike. While any trailer can technically attach to almost any bike, it’s easier if you buy one compatible with your bike’s axle type.

Inspect your bike to see if it has a quick release or thru-axle. Most bikes have quick release axles, and these are the easiest to attach to a trailer. Thru-axles thread into the bike’s frame, have a thicker diameter, and pass directly through the wheel’s hub.

If you have a thru-axle bike, make sure whichever trailer you choose states specifically that it is compatible with that type. If you have a quick release bike, you don’t need to worry since just about every trailer is already compatible with them. Or, buy a thru-axle adapter.

It also isn’t important what type of bike you have (road, mountain, e-bike, or others), so no need to worry about that! 

Make sure you know your bike size and that your trailer is compatible.

Step Two: Get Ready

It won’t take you long to attach your trailer, but you should still assemble all the necessary tools before you begin. You’ll need a wrench, and you may also need a screwdriver and gloves (to prevent your hands from getting dirty). 

It also helps to have an assistant to hold the bike steady while you work. 

Step Three: Trailer Attachment

To attach your trailer, you’ll need to use your wrench to loosen (but not remove) the rear tire. Just remove the nut that holds it in place and remove the axle from the tire.

Next, attach the receiver part of your trailer (refer to the owner’s manual if you have trouble identifying it) and slide the axle through.

Then, reattach the axle and tire. You’re going to do the same thing you did before, but this time in reverse. Make sure to tighten the nut back in place securely.

Now that you’ve connected the receiver and the bike, it’s time to attach the receiver to the trailer. It’s better to do this after the fact, as attaching the receiver with the trailer on it is cumbersome. The trailer hitch should fit securely and intuitively into the receiver. Most attach with a pin and clip.

The last step is to attach the safety strap. It should wrap around the bike frame and then clip or snap onto the arm of the trailer. The safety strap is there in the unlikely event that your hitch fails. It prevents your trailer from flying into the street or off a trail.

Step Four: Take it for a Test Drive

It’s imperative to test drive your trailer before you ride with anything in it. The first time, we recommend riding about a mile with an empty trailer to look for problems. Do so in a neighborhood without a lot of traffic. Work up to the fastest speed that you’re likely to reach while riding with actual cargo.

If you plan to detach and reattach your trailer periodically, we recommend testing it each time you reattach it. You don’t need to ride as far, just a block or two to ensure everything is still in place.

Other Types of Trailers and Bikes

There are a few other types of trailers and bikes that affect the assembly process. Some bike trailers attach to the bike seat. If this is the case, you’ll need to remove the seat instead of the tire and attach the arm or the receiver underneath the seat.

For thru-axle bikes, measure the diameter of your thru-axle and try to find a compatible trailer. If you can’t find one, or if you have your heart set on an incompatible model, just find an adapter that will fit. Attach the adapter, then follow the same steps to attach the trailer to it. Alternatively, try a bike seat trailer.

Finally, some trailers have hooded dropouts that can interfere with the rear tire. If this is the case, you’ll need spacers.

Now that you know how to attach a bike trailer, you’re ready to ride with all your cargo in tow!

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