Bike Cargo Trailer: A Complete Guide

Bike Cargo Trailer

Hey guys, I’m Michael.

I’ve spent hundreds of hours testing & researching bike trailers. During this time I’ve discovered a lot of amazing insights on this topic.

Keep reading to see the best of what I’ve learned…

Bike Cargo Trailer

Bikes come with one major drawback — lack of storage space. Fortunately, you can make up for this by using a bike cargo trailer!

What is a bike cargo trailer?

Before we go any further, let us first break down the topic of bike trailers.

Bike cargo trailers are designed as a way to haul and tow extra luggage, pets, or kids along as you ride. They make it easy to carry cargo on your next cycling adventure.

These trailers would make the best option for carrying or bringing a load heavier than a pannier, frame bag, or backpack.

They are accessories that can keep the weight off your back and bike for a more comfortable ride during your cycling day venture!

As you may have guessed, you can use bike cargo trailers to carry various things. Whether it’s for camping in the woods or picking up groceries, a bike cargo trailer can be an invaluable accessory!

That is the general gist of bike trailers. Let us move on to the kinds of cargo trailers you can find in the market!

Heavy Duty Bike Cargo Trailer

As the name implies, a heavy duty bike cargo trailer is built for heavier weight capacity and more stable tracking.

These cargo bike trailers can typically carry up to 125 pounds or more without causing any damage to the trailer while riding.

Heavy duty bike trailers are able to distribute the weight more evenly and provide more support for the cargo.

This type of trailer is often used for hauling items such as furniture, lumber, hunting trophies, and camping gear.

Expect heavy-duty cargo trailers to be heavier than other trailers due to their extra thick and substantial frames.

Burley offers some of the best and most well-known heavy-duty bike cargo trailers on the market.

Particularly the Burley Flatbed Trailer.

Burley Flatbed Trailer

Burley Flatbed Trailer

The Burley flatbed trailer is a game changer for riders who need to haul loads. The simple design of this two-wheel utility trailer makes it versatile and easy to pack, allowing for longer loads and items that standard bike trailers won’t fit.

Key benefits of the Burley Flatbed

Lightweight and Versatile: Built with a lightweight aluminum frame, the Burley Flatbed lets you carry more without adding extra weight. Its open-air design provides ultimate flexibility for hauling a wide range of cargo, making it an ideal choice for daily errands or backyard adventures.

Superior Stability and Capacity: The Flatbed’s chassis and hitch system provide superior tracking and stability, ensuring a smooth ride even when pulling loads up to 100 lbs.

Compact and Ready-to-Use: One of the main benefits of the Burley Flatbed is its compact folding feature. With push-button wheels, the trailer can lay flat for easy storage and transportation. Plus, it’s bike-ready with an included hitch and tow arm.

Flex Connector for Added Convenience: The Flex connector allows the trailer to stay straight, even if the bike is flat. This feature adds to the convenience and ease of use of the Burley Flatbed, making it a popular choice among cyclists.

What Are Heavy Duty Bike Cargo Trailers Made Of?

Most heavy duty bike trailers are made from a combination of high-strength aluminum, nylon, and plastic.

Some trailers may use steel in their construction, but this is less common.

As with other bike cargo trailers, the materials used will affect the capacity, weight, durability, and price of the trailer.

Mountain Bike Cargo Trailer

Mountain Bike Cargo Trailer

Mountain bike cargo trailers are specifically made for going off-road, hauling cargo on rough terrain, and hauling gear on steep roads.

The suspensions and wheels on these trailers are designed for durability, making them ideal for carrying gear to the campsite or base camp.

These cargo trailers typically have fat wheels that make them great for traveling off-road and even off single-track trails.

Because mountain bike trailers are built for rough & rugged use, they are typically built with stronger than normal trailer frames.

Because mountain bike trailers are often used in off-road areas where it’s not easy to get assistance, you should definitely look for trailers that have a reputation for great build quality and weight capacity.

What Size Mountain Bike Cargo Trailer Do I Need?

There isn’t one right answer to this question as it depends on the type and size of mountain bike you have, the terrain you’ll be riding on, and how much gear you plan on bringing with you.

However, a good rule of thumb is to choose a trailer that can support more than you plan on carrying. That way you’ll have a built-in safety factor.

Most Bike Cargo Trailers are used on flat paved roads and trails, but since mountain bike trailers must traverse rough and rugged terrain, expect the unexpected and be sure the trailer you pick is up for whatever the trail might throw at you.

Bike Cargo Trailer DIY

If you’re the handy type, you can make a DIY Bike Cargo Trailer with your own two hands!

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You can build a simple and inexpensive cargo trailer using only bicycle wheels, a few pieces of lumber, and some other easy-to-acquire parts.

Of course, these are just some examples of the materials that can be used to construct your own DIY Bike Cargo Trailer.

Using your own creativity and imagination you could come up with any number of possible designs and configurations using other materials like steel, aluminum, PVC, etc.

To make DIY Bike Trailer, you should sketch out a plan for the trailer using the proper measurements and dimensions you need for the load size you want to carry.

The main components of a DIY Bike Trailer are:

  • Wheels
  • Axle
  • Drawbar
  • Coupler

Here’s a cool instructional video on how to make a DIY trailer:

Create the frame according to the measurements you have in mind. You can make the frame using either wood or steel tubing.

For wood, you can attach the frame pieces using 90-degree metal screws and brackets. For steel, you will have to weld it, or use fasteners like rivets or screws & brackets.

Once the frame is finished, you’ll need to focus on the trailer platform next.

Thick, treated plywood is an excellent choice for the platform. Cut it according to the size of the frame and make cutouts on each side big enough to fit wheels. Attach the wheels to the trailer next.

You can purchase a trailer hitch and arm by visiting local bike shops or browsing online stores.

You can also choose to fabricate your own type of trailer hitch, just be sure it can stand up to the weight and stresses of hauling cargo and the movement of your bike.

Attach your DIY bike cargo trailer hitch to the rear wheel hub of the bike. Screw the trailer arm on the outer piece frame of the trailer.

Then, couple the hitch and arm together by inserting the end of the trailer into the hitch.

The last to do is test it out! Make sure it can carry a load without any wobbling! Keep in mind that a low center of gravity is essential with any good bike trailer.

If the load sits to high on the bike trailer it will be very unlikely that it will stay stable as your ride.

The lower the load to the ground, the better, as long as you have acceptable ground clearance while riding and taking turns.

Making a DIY cargo trailer will require effort, skill, and patience, but it will be worth it when you’re getting use out of it.

Not to mention the pride of building it yourself!

Bike Cargo Trailer Usage Ideas

Bike cargo trailers offer a versatile and convenient way to transport various items while cycling. Whether you’re a daily commuter, an avid cyclist, or someone who enjoys outdoor adventures, here are some creative and practical usage ideas for bike cargo trailers that will make your cycling experience even more enjoyable and efficient.

Grocery Runs Made Easy

Tackle your grocery shopping by attaching a bike cargo trailer. Load it up with bags of groceries and enjoy a convenient, eco-friendly alternative to driving.

Camping Gear Transport

Heading for a camping trip? You can use your bike cargo trailer to carry tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, and other camping essentials. It’s a great way to combine cycling and outdoor adventures.

Picnic on Wheels

Pack a picnic basket, blanket, and favorite snacks into the bike cargo trailer. Find a scenic spot, and you’re ready for a delightful picnic while enjoying the ride.

Pet Transport

Take your pet for the ride! Attach a pet carrier to the bike cargo trailer and bring your pet on cycling adventures. Ensure they are securely fastened and comfortable during the ride.

Beach Day Essentials

Heading to the beach? Load your bike cargo trailer with beach chairs, umbrellas, towels, and coolers filled with refreshments. Enjoy a hassle-free ride to the seaside.

Gardening Supplies

Use your bike cargo trailer to transport gardening tools, pots, plants, and soil. It’s an efficient way to tend to your garden or visit a local plant nursery.

Commuting with Luggage

Traveling for work or a short trip? Attach a luggage bag or suitcase to your bike cargo trailer and commute effortlessly without needing a car or public transportation.

Moving Heavy Items

Need to move large items within your neighborhood? A bike cargo trailer can be a handy alternative to a car or truck for short-distance transportation of furniture, boxes, or equipment.

Maintenance and Care of a Bike Cargo Trailer

Proper maintenance ensures your bike cargo trailer’s longevity and optimal performance. These simple tips can keep your trailer in shape and avoid unexpected issues during your rides.

Regular Cleaning

To remove dirt, debris, and grime, regularly clean your bike cargo trailer with mild soap and water. Always use a soft brush to scrub the surfaces gently. Rinse your trailer and allow it to dry completely before storage.

Inspection and Lubrication

Periodically inspect the trailer’s wheels, tires, bearings, and hitch system. They should maintain good condition and function smoothly. The manufacturer recommends applying lubrication to moving parts to prevent rust and maintain proper operation.

Tire Maintenance

Regularly check the tire pressure and inflate them to the required PSI. Inspect the tires for wear or damage, such as cracks or bulges. Replace worn-out tires promptly to maintain safety.


Store your bike cargo trailer in a dry and secure location, preferably indoors or in a covered area. Protect it from extreme temperatures, sunlight, and moisture to prevent the degradation of materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much weight can a bike trailer hold?

How much weight can a bike trailer hold

Pulling a bike trailer along without it toppling over is only possible with the right weight capacity.

Every bike trailer will come with instructions that will clearly tell you its weight limit. I strongly recommend that you do not exceed a bike trailer’s recommended weight.

These have been tested at these weights for safety.

That being said, cheaper trailers can hold 40 pounds, while some higher-end heavy duty bike trailers can handle well over 200 pounds, maybe even more.

If you plan to carry multiple kids or have lots of gear, then you need to pay careful attention to the weight capacity of the bike trailer, as well as the placement and balance of your cargo load.  

2. Are bike trailers heavy?

An average bike trailer weighs about 20-40 lbs. Factoring the weight of the kids, pets, or items, the total weight you are pulling while riding the bike can range from 40-100 lbs. If you plan to go on long rides with hills and steep roads, then you need to consider the weight of the trailer.

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3. How many wheels do bike trailers have?

Bike trailers can come with anywhere from one to four wheels.

Single-wheel bike cargo trailers are the best if you plan to bike on a hilly area or terrain while hauling smaller loads and gear. The single wheel helps navigate through a narrow trail and terrain.

Two-wheel bike trailers are more suitable for urban settings like sidewalks and bike lanes. You can use these to help pick up your groceries or ride to school.

Four-wheel cargo trailers are appropriate for those who need larger weight and storage capacities.

4. What are the types of cargo trailers for bikes?

Some of the most notable types of cargo bike trailers are:

There are types of bike cargo trailers that are fit to carry kids or a pet.

A bike trailer for kids offers a comfortable space for a child to rest on during a family bike ride or a grocery run.

Dog trailers are obviously made for dogs and other pets. These are usually enclosed, with no seats and a few other features like an interior leash attachment.

Flatbed bicycle trailers are lightweight and can carry up to 100 pounds of weight and gear.

With its open back, top, and front, a flatbed can carry almost any size and is one of the best at tracking and stability.

5. How Much is a Bike Cargo Trailer?

The price of a bike cargo trailer varies greatly depending on the type, features, brand, and weight capacity. You can find some pretty decent bike trailers at around the $100 price point.

Bike trailers in this price range are usually lightweight and can carry lighter weight and storage.

Most bike trailers fall around the $100-$200 price range. They are often made of sturdy materials like aluminum and steel with a higher weight capacity.

Cargo trailers in the $200-$300 price bracket have unique features and are often from reputable brands like Burley.

6 . What should you consider when buying a bike cargo Trailer?

Here are a couple of things to take note of before buying your own bike trailer:

Bike Trailer Suspension

When buying a cargo trailer, make sure to check the suspension carefully. Suspension can influence the trailer’s carrying capacity and ability to withstand shock.

Bike trailer suspension is vital if you use your bike cargo trailer on rugged terrain.

Trailers with lower suspensions can help trailers handle shock and keep things from falling off.

Bike Trailer Design

When choosing a design, consider the trailer’s ease of use. If it’s foldable it will be easier to store.

Also, check the hitch since it determines the stability of a trailer when taking corners.

You will also need to decide on the style of the trailer — whether you want a flatbed, cargo, a travoy, a tow, or an enclosed trailer.

Bike Trailer Carrying and Load Capacity

Amongst your top priority should be the loading capacity. If you plan on carrying heavy items, get a trailer with a large weight and gear capacity.

If you plan to use it for a normal ride for groceries a single-wheel trailer might be the best option. Two-wheeled cargo and flatbed trailers are better for heavier items.

Bicycle Trailer Cover

Decide whether you want an enclosed case or an open frame cover type.

Open trailers can carry larger size loads and often come with a strap, bag, or other types of wagon attachment that you can connect to your bike’s seat post or axle.

An enclosed cover cargo trailer usually features a removable top cover that protects your belongings and gear from external elements like rain and moisture.

7. What are the usual bike trailer accessories?

What are the usual bike trailer accessories

Bike trailers can be fitted with a number of useful accessories that make them more functional, including:

  • Rain Cover – Rain covers keep your belongings safe and dry during rainstorms and other wet weather.
  • Sunshade – Sunshades protect against the sun’s harmful rays.
  • Storage Bags – Cargo trailers have a wide assortment of compatible gear storage bags to keep your gear dry, clean, and organized.
  • Safety Flag – a safety flag increases visibility on the road.
  • Tail Lights – Tail lights are an easy choice to add to any bike trailer as they make you and your trailer stand out to others when after the sun goes down
  • Bungee Cords – Bungee cords are indispensable when you have to tie down and secure a load to your bike cargo trailer. These become even handier if you are backpacking or going off-road and hitting the trails.

Some trailers also have swappable attachment systems to make them more compatible with wheel sizes, rear axles, and brake configurations.

Burley and Schwinn are notable brands you can look into if you are searching for the best quality accessories.

8. What are the top-selling bike cargo brands in the market?

Various reputable brands in the world sell trailers for bikes. Some of the notable ones are:

  • Burley Design Bike Trailer
  • Bob Trailer
  • Bakcou Bike Trailer
  • Aosom Bike Trailer
  • QuietKat Bike Trailer

Burley Flatbed, Nomad, and Travoy are very popular bike trailers right now. These bike trailers have earned positive written reviews and high-star reviews.

9. How do you mount a cargo trailer to your bike?

The two main methods for attaching a cargo bike trailer to your bike:

  • Rear wheel axle attachment
  • Seat post attachment

It depends on the bike type, whether it is a quick-release or thru-axle. Most bike trailers are designed for standard quick-release bicycles.

You won’t have any issues attaching bike trailers on a quick-release bike.

However, you might struggle in finding a suitable bike trailer if you own a thru-axle bike.

If you have a Burley, Thule, or Hamax trailer, you can purchase a thru-axle adapter to fit the coupler attachment of your bicycle.

Others add the trailer to their bike’s seat post or on the eyelets on the frame’s rear triangle.

You may want to search for a spare hitch kit if you plan on using the trailer on multiple bikes.

10. Are single-wheel trailers better than double-wheel trailers?

The answer depends on several factors. On single-wheel trailers, the wheel will roll behind your bike’s rear wheel. On two-wheel trailers, the wheels are mounted on either side.

Single-wheel trailers are lighter, with less rolling resistance and better aerodynamics.

Single-wheel trailers also usually track really well behind your bike and it can even sometimes feel like they’re not there at all. That’s how natural they can feel to haul.

Two-wheeled bike trailers are more stable on flat surfaces, with a larger load capacity.

Though two-wheel trailers can sometimes have stability issues on rugged or uneven surfaces like offroad and singletrack trails.

Some trailers are not meant to be used on these types of surfaces and can tip over easily.

Make sure you choose a trailer that is designed for offroad use if you plan on using it on trails or other rough terrain.


If you have extra things to bring when you bike, it’s worth investing in a bike cargo trailer. Just choose wisely by considering all these factors.

What’s Next…

Did you enjoy this article? Go check out my post on Bike Trailer Ultimate Guide for an overview of all kinds of bike trailers and the best types of each kind!

Happy Cycling!

About Informed Cyclist
Michael Rogers
I’m Michael, a cycling fanatic and the founder of Informed Cyclist. I started this site to give back to the sport I love! My mission is to bring the very best cycling advice & know-how to my readers. I hope you enjoy this site as much as I love working on it. I put a lot of heart & effort into it!

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