This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
A bike trailer is handy for carrying an extra load, but it is a risky purchase if you don't know whether your bike can carry it in the first place.
There are plenty of powerful bikes like e-bikes and ones with a sturdier build like mountain bikes. If you have an average road bike, you might wonder if it has what it takes to pull a bike trailer or if you're confined to a bike basket only.
You can use a bike trailer with a road bike because such bicycles have a light frame that allows you to pull the added load more easily. In fact, road bikes are the best type of bike to pull a trailer, followed by e-bikes.
In this article, you will learn what you can expect after adding the trailer to your road bike. You will also find out the best practices for using a bike trailer and what you should avoid. Finally, we will go over the various uses of the trailer.
And if you don't know which bike trailer is ideal for you, we have some recommendations in this post as well. But before we get into the specifics of bike trailer use, let's go over their compatibility with road bikes.
Road Bike and Bike Trailers: A Brief Overview
If you assume that "tough" bicycles like mountain bikes are ideal for pulling a trailer, you might wonder if the road bike might rise to the occasion if you attach a trailer to it. But in reality, road bikes are better than most mountain bikes at pulling an extra load.
A road bike is the best type of bike for bike trailers because of its inherent light frame, which reduces the overall cycling burden on you. Bikes with heavy frames are already weighted, and adding a trailer can put an unmanageable load on the cyclist.
So if you already have a road bike, simply get a trailer that will offset its limitations and if you have the trailer and are searching for a bike, then decide between an e-bike or a road bike. You should leave mountain bikes out of this equation. If compelled to get a trail bike, avoid a heavy carbon frame and go for a relatively lighter aluminum body.
What to Expect After Attaching a Bike Trailer to a Road Bike?
Your initial plan was to attach a bike trailer to a road bike, and you don't need to deviate from it. But before you go ahead with it, you should manage expectations. Below are some ground realities of hauling a bike trailer with your road bike.
It Will Be Difficult Initially
The first thing to remember is that pulling the bike trailer will seem surprisingly difficult in the beginning. It is not just the added 20 lbs but the maneuvering limitations that can be jarring. You need to get used to being responsible for wheels beyond the read tire of the bike.
Each turn is slightly longer, and you have to prioritize cycling straight while avoiding sharp bends and turns. The best way to get used to the trailer is to ride your road bike with an empty trailer until it feels natural.
You Will Get Used to It in a Week
The extra weight of the trailer, as well as the artificial elongation of the vehicle, will seem difficult to manage for at least one week. On average, it takes 6 to 9 days to get used to the bike trailer and be unconsciously competent at cycling while hauling it. During this period, anything placed in the trailer can be at risk.
The Do’s and Don’Ts of Cycling With a Bike Trailer
Whether you attach the bike trailer to a road bike or a sports bike, the fundamental best practices and precautions remain the same. Here are some of the things you should aim for or avoid when using a bike trailer.
- Don't speed - The bike trailer doesn't have brakes but gets its momentum from your cycling speed. Sudden stops can result in shock, which trailers are not as good at absorbing as full-suspension bikes.
- Do increase load gradually - After cycling for a week with a nearly empty trailer, you can start gradually adding more items to the trailer until you're comfortable hauling a larger load.
- Don't go uphill - Bike trailers have been pulled up various trails, but the practice is not for steep hills. More importantly, it is best to avoid going uphill because the return is harder to manage.
- To avoid bumpy paths - As mentioned earlier, bike trailers usually do not feature full suspension. If you pull a trailer across a bumpy path while it carries a child or a pet, the passenger will not have a good time.
Different Uses of Bike Trailers
Once you have bought your bike trailer, the possibilities of your bike's use get expanded by an average of 20 lbs carrying capacity. There is more room and an added ability to haul weight. Here are some common ways to make use of these possibilities.
- Carry clean clothes - If you ride between two locations as a form of exercise, having a fresh change of clothes at hand can be good.
- Carry sports equipment - You can carry sports equipment or other professional use items when riding to a specific spot.
- Carry a child or a pet - A bike trailer can be used for an extra passenger.
- Carry picnic items - The items you carry don't have to be confined to professional use only. You might just want to haul a cooler full of picnic beverages.
Best Bike Trailers for a Road Bike
Using an e-bike can make it easy to use virtually any bike trailer and add a significant load to it. Despite being the default bicycles for such trailers, road bikes have a limit to what they can practically pull. In this section, we cover three of the best bike trailers for road bikes.
For Cargo: Aosom Bike Wagon Trailer
If the primary purpose of attaching a trailer to your bike is to haul sports, professional, or personal items, then the Aosom Bike Wagon Trailer is an excellent choice as it is built with a strong base and a secure rectangular cage to prevent items from falling out easily.
It has an 88 lbs upper limit, but the practical weight capacity might be lower depending on how much you can pull. But regardless of your physical fitness, the average positive score of 4.4 out of 5 stars is promising as a majority of over 831 Amazon customers have found this trailer useful.
For Pets: PetSafe Happy Ride
This bike trailer is designed specifically to be accommodating for pets, including but not limited to medium-sized dogs, puppies, and cats. Cargo without sharp edges can also be loaded into this trailer.
And while it seems somewhat inappropriate, PetSafe Happy Ride is also capable of carrying a child. But it remains best capable of giving a fun ride to your pets. And that's what over 900 reviewers have used it for, giving it a collective average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
For Kids: Schwinn Joyrider Bike Trailer
If the primary purpose of your bike trailer is to be a passenger seat for your kids, then the Schwinn Joyrider is the perfect trailer. It is built like a stroller yet has large wheels to take a maximum load off your rear tire. It also comes in one and two-seat varieties.
Over 199 parents have reviewed this product, and its global average rating on Amazon stands at 4.6 out of 5 stars, the highest of all the trailers covered in this post.
Bike trailers and road bikes are generally compatible. You just need to make sure that you practice gradually increasing the load on your trailer and hauling it without any luggage or passengers for a while until you get used to the extra wheels.