Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Bicycle trailers transport our loads such as our luggage, children or shopping by bicycle. The trailers aim to further extend the transport capability of bicycles besides child seats, luggage racks or baskets. There are a large number of bicycle trailer models designed for different both as well as special purposes.

In addition to industrially manufactured bicycle trailers, there are often also self-built trailers. In our bicycle trailer test 2022 we want to help you find the right bicycle trailer for you. We have compared different types of bicycle trailers with each other and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages. This should help you to make your purchase decision as pleasantly and informatively as possible.




Summary

  • Bicycle trailers expand our bicycle's transport capabilities and are designed to make our everyday cycling life as easy as possible.
  • Bicycle trailer models for toddlers, babies and dogs make cycling with a trailer flexible and fast and are a good alternative to the normal pram, baby car seat or dog leash.
  • In addition to the normal mass-produced bicycle trailers in a wide variety of models and designs, there are many homemade models of bicycle trailers.

The Best Bicycle Trailer: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for bicycle trailers

Bicycle trailers are available in many designs and models. Each model has its own advantages, disadvantages and benefits. To help you choose the right bicycle trailer for you, we have compiled the most important criteria. The criteria that you can use to compare the bicycle trailers with each other include:

You should pay close attention to the following criteria when buying a new bicycle trailer.

Weight and material

The weight of a bicycle trailer depends greatly on its stability and robustness. Since most bicycle trailer models transport loads or children and dogs, they must be very stable. Most manufacturers use steel for the frame of the trailer, which is further refined with plastic or wood.

Steel frames ensure high stability and safety.

Often you can also find trailers made of aluminium on the market. This is a little lighter than the steel model. Although children and dogs have only little weight, comfort and safety should be the main focus of trailer models for children and dogs. Therefore, in bicycle trailer models for children, babies or dogs, steel or aluminium is usually covered with fabric and thus serves as a stable basic framework for a trailer model for children or dogs.

For loads such as shopping or boards, a load trailer made of wood can also be purchased. However, you have to keep an eye on the wood so that it does not become rotten, attacked by woodworm or destroyed by the weather. Therefore, it is most worthwhile to buy a trailer made of steel or aluminium right from the start.

Size and interior equipment

To ensure that your bicycle trailer is well secured in any weather and in any traffic, you should always place a lot of value on good quality accessories when buying your bicycle trailer.

You can determine the size of your trailer yourself; larger models are good for two children, one child, a large baby seat or a large load. Smaller models are suitable for smaller loads or a dog.

The interior design is especially important for bicycle trailers for children, babies or dogs. For children, there should be a stable interior with seat belts and a good backrest. There are also models that provide a reclining position. For babies, the interior must be large enough to accommodate a baby car seat.

There is enough space to secure the baby well and to lie down comfortably. No matter which model of bicycle trailer you have, you must always store it when you are not using it. The materials can be damaged by the weather.

Drawbar load and coupling

The most important thing when buying a bicycle trailer, apart from the bicycle trailer itself, is the bicycle trailer hitch. If the trailer comes loose due to a bad hitch, this can have dire consequences for everyone involved.

When buying a bicycle trailer hitch, you should choose one that has a deep coupling point and is equipped with a multiple-secured stab connection. The best coupling systems for this are two-piece systems that are mounted on the rear wheel axle.

Each model also has a maximum load weight that is closely related to the drawbar load. Therefore, never load above the maximum load weight!

It is also very important to pay attention to the drawbar load when buying a trailer. The drawbar load is the force that acts on the trailer device of the bicycle. If you are unsure, find out about the drawbar load on the Internet or from your dealer and read the instruction manual for the bicycle trailer.

Suspension

The suspension is especially important for bicycle trailers for children or dogs. To ensure riding comfort for children and dogs, the suspension should be as high as possible when buying the trailer.

Some good suspension is useful for all models.

Children, babies or dogs sitting in a trailer with good suspension will feel a gentle rocking sensation if there are minor imperfections in the ground. However, if the suspension is weak, the occupants in the trailer could be really jolted by dirt.

This is not pleasant for the occupants and not healthy in the long run. A good suspension is a bit more expensive, but it is also very useful for shopping. If the floor is bumpy, the shopping is not jolted, but is cushioned by the suspension.

Wheels and brakes

Depending on the model, there are also bicycle trailers with brakes. The more load the trailer can carry, the more likely it is to need a brake. Even though the models with integrated brakes are somewhat more expensive, they are very important for safety on the road.

If your bicycle's brakes are rather weak, you should make sure to buy a bicycle trailer with integrated brakes. This helps you to brake the trailer without the bicycle brake having to brake the entire load.

To make it as easy as possible to pull your bicycle trailer, larger wheels are more suitable. Wheel diameters of 16 to 20 inches are best. Smaller wheels increase the effort required to drive.

The tyres on the wheels should be pneumatic tyres. Rubber tyres do not have good suspension and are not used as often. Nevertheless, you should also take a look at the tyres when buying.

Decision: What types of bicycle trailers are there and which is the right one for you?

Not all bicycle trailers are the same. There are so many models that look so different and have different functions that it is not easy to find your perfect bicycle trailer.

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Child trailer Suitable for children and babies, safe means of transport Cars on the road are a danger
Cargo trailer Suitable for larger loads, easy to use, alternative to car when shopping Depending on model, a brake is required
Swivel Load easily observable, bike can still tilt Rather wide
Bicycle trailer for dogs Transport for dogs, similar to child trailers, various weight classes Only up to 40 kilograms load
Push trailer Additional power, relief when riding Rather expensive, needs drive such as electricity or petrol

In this section you will find the different types of bicycle trailers explained in detail.

Children's trailers

Children's bicycle trailers are equipped with one or two seats for children. Depending on the model and size, babies can also ride along. The bicycle trailer for children is characterised by its stability and low centre of gravity. The safety belts in the child trailer make the bicycle trailer a safe means of bicycle transport.

The metal frame of the bicycle trailer for children can be either steel or aluminium. A bumper is attached to the sides of the frame to protect the occupants of the trailer in the event of a collision.

Advantages
  • Suitable for children and babies
  • Safe bicycle transport
  • Stabilising padding
  • Also suitable as a load carrier
  • Can also be converted into a buggy (depending on model)
Disadvantages
  • Uncomfortable for children if suspension is weak
  • Cars on the road can pose a danger to cyclists

The roof of the trailer is usually made of transparent plastic so that the occupants can also see something and are protected in rain or sun. The entrance is on the front and is often closed with Velcro or a zip. To ensure seating comfort for the occupants, there is stabilising padding such as recliners, seat aids or fixable carry bags for small children. This makes the child trailer an interesting alternative even for smaller children.

Depending on the model, you can also use the child bike trailer as a pram by converting the trailer. Due to the trailer's low centre of gravity, stability and directional stability, some models are also popular as prams for jogging or inline skating.

Cargo trailer

Cargo trailers are trailers with two wheels that are used for large loads such as shopping or, as the case may be, animals. Cargo trailers are the oldest form of trailer and there are also trailers with only one wheel.

Cargo trailers are open at the top, closed on the side and have a stable and fixed railing that secures the load in the cargo trailer. Depending on the trailer, up to 400 kilograms of load can be carried in a cargo trailer. However, normal models can carry about 40 kilograms.

Advantages
  • Carry large loads
  • Easy to use
  • Alternative to the car when shopping
Disadvantages
  • Depending on the model, it needs a brake
  • Depending on the model, it does not protect against the weather

If your bicycle brake is weak, it is imperative that you buy a cargo trailer with brakes, otherwise your bicycle brake may break and your safety will not be guaranteed. Many models can be bought without brakes.

Swivel trailers

Pivot trailers are, in contrast to the normal bicycle trailer on two wheels behind the bicycle, two bicycle sidecars. They are attached to both sides of the rear wheel and travel parallel to the rear wheel. The swivel is not rigidly attached to the bicycle.

This allows the bicycle to lean slightly in a curve. Nevertheless, the swivel is not suitable for heavy loads. It is more suitable for long boards or tubes that would extend longitudinally beyond the bicycle.

Advantages
  • Load easily observable
  • Bicycle can tilt in curve
  • Suitable for boards, tubes
Disadvantages
  • Rather wide

A good thing about the swivel is that the load can be easily observed while riding, which is especially worthwhile with animals. On the negative side, however, the width of the swivel is noticeable in contrast to other types of bicycle trailers.

Bicycle trailers for dogs

Bicycle trailers for dogs are special trailers designed for dogs. The trailer for dogs is very similar to the bicycle trailer for children, as the trailers for dogs also consist of a stable frame, a good floor and a roof.

Advantages
  • Specially designed for dogs
  • Sturdy and robust construction
  • Protects from the weather (depending on the model)
Disadvantages
  • Only available up to 40 kilograms load

Depending on the model, dogs weighing up to 40 kilograms may be transported. The trailer is very stable and robustly built so that the dog's safety is guaranteed during transport. Some models also have attachment points for a short leash so that the dog is also secured during the journey.

Push trailer

The push trailer, unlike the other trailer types, is motorised and unloads or pushes the bicycle. Push trailers are designed either to relieve the cyclist of additional load or simply to propel the bicycle. The push trailer is single-wheeled. Most push trailers are equipped with an electric motor. These are then called electric push trailers.

Advantages
  • Additional power
  • Relief when cycling
Disadvantages
  • Rather expensive
  • Requires electricity / petrol

The goals of a push trailer are primarily to relieve the burden on the cyclist, the additional power gained from the motor and the braking aid. Push trailers are equipped with a motorised brake. In addition to electric push trailers, there are also freewheel motors with two gears. However, these have the disadvantage that they can only be used on one bicycle and not on different bicycles. [/su_spoiler] [/su_accordion]

Guide: Frequently asked questions about bicycle trailers answered in detail

If you still have questions about buying a bicycle trailer, we have collected and answered the most frequently asked questions from buyers about bicycle trailers in this section. Our large bicycle trailer guide should help you find the perfect bicycle trailer for you on the market.

Who is a bicycle trailer suitable for?

If you like to ride a bicycle and also like to transport your child or shopping, a bicycle trailer is very suitable for you. The bicycle trailer is practical, can be adapted to your needs and you can transport a lot with your bicycle at the same time.

Cycling is endurance exercise for your body, which is very healthy for your circulation and muscles.

The bicycle trailer is therefore ideal for people who are or want to be sporty and want to combine sport with something practical - for example, shopping.

Fahrradanhänger-1

In fine weather, the fresh air on a bicycle is particularly enjoyable.
(Image source: Markus Spiske / unsplash)

Bicycle trailers come in many different versions. Most bicycle trailers are used for specific tasks or people. It is important to think about who or what you want to transport with your bicycle trailer before you buy it. In addition to the industrially produced designs, there are also special functions that can only be found on some trailers.

What kind of bicycle do I need for a bicycle trailer?

Your bicycle should be suitable for pulling a bicycle trailer. This criterion is usually met if your bike is made of steel or aluminium. If you have a racing bike or mountain bike, you should not use a trailer, as the frame of these bikes can otherwise be damaged quickly.

It is important to pay attention to the maximum load weight when mounting the bicycle trailer on the bicycle and to buy a good bicycle hitch.

The bicycle hitch is the central point of purchase, as it is where the bicycle is connected to the trailer. If the coupling is not good, incorrectly mounted or of poor quality, this can become a greater safety risk.

When am I allowed to transport my baby with a bicycle trailer?

Babies are allowed to ride in a child bike trailer from birth. However, a bicycle trailer model for children is assumed and should be equipped with as many additional functions that bring comfort.

The only requirement for riding in a bicycle trailer for children is the maximum age of seven years. Children over the age of seven are not allowed to ride in the child bike trailer. Nevertheless, riding in a trailer for babies under the age of twelve months is very controversial.

A very good suspension is very important for a safe and comfortable ride. If this cannot be guaranteed, bumps in the road will be uncomfortable for the child.

How can I put my dog in the bicycle trailer?

If your dog has never ridden in a bicycle trailer before, it can be very stressful for him. Therefore, you should always get your dog used to the procedure before the first ride in the trailer and relieve him of the stress step by step.

  1. Getting to know the trailer: Your dog can sniff and explore the trailer. You can give him a treat every time he approaches.
  2. Getting in: The aim of this step is for your dog to get into the trailer independently. You can also spoil your dog with treats here.
  3. Moving the bicycle trailer: The best thing to do is to move the bicycle trailer with your dog inside by hand to the left and right. Then you can pull the trailer through your garden or the front yard so that your dog gets used to it.
  4. Bicycle trailer is attached to the bicycle: If all of the previous steps are no problem for your dog, you can now slowly take your bike for a short ride around the block. If this works well, you can extend the rides more and more.

How much does a bicycle trailer cost?

The price range for bicycle trailers is very wide because there are so many models and versions. Good models start at 300 euros. You should not save money when buying a bicycle trailer, otherwise you risk major deductions in quality and safety.

Trailer model price range in euros
Child trailer 120 - 8'000 €
Cargo trailer 60 - 500 €
Dog trailer 80 - 3'500 €

If you don't have a lot of money, you can also build your own bicycle trailer. However, you will need some experience in working with wood or metal. However, there are good sites and guides on the Internet that can help you build your own bicycle trailer.

What are the alternatives to a bicycle trailer?

Bicycle trailers are only one way of transporting objects, people or animals. There are also alternatives, which we will briefly explain in this section.

Type Description
Basket (rear and/or front) Baskets can be easily attached to the bicycle on the luggage carrier (rear) or on the handlebar (front). The basket allows you to transport smaller loads on your bike. However, this type is not possible for larger loads, children and dogs.
Handlebar bag A handlebar bag is attached to the front of the handlebar. Depending on the model, the bag can be closed - this protects the contents from the weather. Unfortunately, only small loads can be transported here as well.
Child seat The child seat is the alternative to the bicycle trailer for children. Only one child can be transported on the seat. In addition, the safety for children is less high in the child seat than in the bicycle trailer for children, because one is attached to the bicycle itself.

Depending on the purpose for which you need to transport people, animals or objects by bicycle, you should decide on your own type of transport. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. It is best to find out about the advantages and disadvantages before you buy and let them influence your decision.

How fast am I allowed to go with a bicycle trailer?

Legally, there are very few guidelines for the speed at which you can transport people, animals or loads. However, you should always adapt your speed to the road and the surroundings. If you have an e-bike, you may ride at a maximum speed of 25 km/h.

During the ride, you should always keep an eye on the bicycle trailer and only ride so fast that the persons, animals or objects in the bicycle trailer can sit comfortably due to the suspension in the trailer. If you ride too fast, the suspension can no longer compensate for the unevenness and it becomes uncomfortable for the occupants.

Fahrradanhänger-2

Rust can infest your bicycle frame and the bicycle hitch and break them.
(Image source: Alejandro Lopez / unsplash)

The speed of a bicycle with a bicycle trailer by pure muscle power is limited to the maximum speed for cars. Nevertheless, it is rather impossible to go faster than 20 km/h as a normal sporty person with a normal bicycle by pure muscle power.

How do I attach the bicycle trailer to the bicycle?

Every bicycle that is to be equipped with a bicycle trailer needs a hitch. The hitch is to be used regardless of frame size or geometry. Cargo trailers can also be equipped with a drawbar, this goes on the seat post and not on the rear wheel. There are many different types of couplings. We explain the three most popular ones here:

  • Axle coupling: The coupling is attached to the left side of the rear wheel axle of the bicycle. First you have to loosen the quick release axle from the rear wheel. Then pull the coupling holder onto the quick-release and attach it to the rear wheel again.
  • Frame hitch: The hitch is mounted on the frame triangle of the rear wheel. Usually the manufacturer has already provided holes so that you only have to screw it in.
  • Seat post coupling: With the seat post coupling, the coupling is mounted on the seat post of the saddle with a bolt. With this type of hitch, you must pay particular attention to the maximum load weight when installing it.

Can I attach the bicycle trailer to an e-bike?

Yes, it is allowed to hitch a bicycle trailer to an e-bike. The great thing about the combination of an e-bike and a bicycle trailer is that thanks to the motor you can easily manage the metres in altitude and even go on longer tours or bicycle trips.

However, you are not allowed to exceed a speed of 25 km/h on the road. Another major disadvantage of the combination of e-bike and trailer is the high purchase cost. Both the e-bike and the bicycle trailer must be of high quality and have certain quality criteria. You should find out about this early enough.

When buying a trailer for your e-bike, you should pay close attention to the quality of the coupling, brakes and suspension, as well as taking test rides. The weight of the trailer should be as light as possible, but still safe, stable and proper. With these criteria, you are on the right track.

Image source: rioblanco/ 123rf.com

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