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TOUR 03/2016
Reading time 1:45 minutes

Child trailers for road bikes?

Reader’s question

I like taking my daughter in a Chariot child trailer when going on a ride on my road bike. I obtained, however, different answers from bicycle mechanics with regard to the question as to mounting the trailer to the carbon road bike with a Weber coupling. As I don’t want to buy a new road bike, I would like to know: Is it safe to mount a child trailer to the quick-release of the rear wheel or are there any concerns? May I fear technical defects on the carbon bike which would not occur on a steel or aluminium racer?

Reply by Dirk Zedler, TOUR technology expert and bicycle expert

Your intention to take your daughter with you in the child trailer is very laudable. Pulling the trailer with the road bike is in my opinion not ideal. For the transport of my own children I chose a more "solid" bike with a very stiff suspension fork and a disk brake system. The additional load on the rear wheel occasionally requires harder braking, which is extremely important when riding over undulating terrain. In particular the braking forces are the crucial point when it comes to mounting the trailer to the bicycle. Due to the alternating loads between accelerating and braking, the forces acting on the drop out are absolutely significant. There was a tendency in the past years of reducing the weight of bicycle frames when designing the  individual components. In the case of carbon bicycles this concerns in particular the drop outs which have become almost minimalistic in these days as well as the rear stays which have become very thin. This is sufficient for the "intended use" i.e. road racing. For the mounting of a trailer, however, this design is in my opinion not suitable. There are some TOUR magazine readers already who have worn down carbon drop outs by repeated wheel mounting and dismounting. In addition, there is also the risk that the bending braking forces may be higher with a trailer than normally, thus overloading the road bike fork. With an aluminium racer on flat terrain without loads caused by the road and without braking manoeuvre, pulling a child trailer may pose no problems. In the case of a carbon racer I would, however, advise against.

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