How to ride an electric bike with a trailer

Trailers are increasingly becoming essential accessories for eBikes, catering to a wide range of users from commuters to outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re commuting to work, embarking on an Overlanding journey, or going fishing, a trailer offers a convenient way to transport heavy or bulky items that don’t fit on a pannier rack.

For those new to the concept of eBike trailers, this guide will help you understand how they can enhance your eBike experience.

Why its necessary to have Trailer for Ebike

Having a trailer for an e-bike expands the versatility and functionality of your electric bike, making it an invaluable addition for several reasons:

1. Increased Cargo Capacity

  • A trailer allows you to transport much more than what you can carry in a backpack or on the bike's frame alone. This is particularly useful for grocery shopping, running errands, or even going on a camping trip where you need to carry equipment, food, and personal items.

2. Convenience and Efficiency

  • For tasks that would typically require a car, such as carrying heavy loads or larger items, an e-bike trailer offers a convenient and eco-friendly alternative. This is especially beneficial in urban areas where navigating traffic and parking can be challenging.

3. Suitability for Long Distances

  • E-bikes are capable of covering long distances, especially with pedal assist. Adding a trailer means you can take advantage of this range without worrying about how to carry all your necessities, whether you're commuting, touring, or embarking on a longer adventure.

4. Enhanced Stability for Heavy Loads

  • Trailers are designed to distribute weight efficiently, which can actually improve the stability of your e-bike when carrying heavy or bulky loads. This makes for a safer and more comfortable ride compared to loading everything onto the bike itself.

5. Family and Pet Transport

  • Specialized trailers are available for safely transporting children or pets, making family outings or taking your pet on an adventure more accessible and enjoyable. These trailers are equipped with safety features like secure harnesses and protective frames.

6. Business Use

  • For small business owners or those offering delivery services, an e-bike with a trailer can be a cost-effective and sustainable option. It allows for the transport of goods directly to customers without the operating costs associated with a vehicle.

7. Accessibility

  • Trailers can make cycling more accessible to people who might not otherwise be able to carry everything they need for a day out, expanding the possibilities for using e-bikes as a primary mode of transport.

8. Environmental Impact

  • Using an e-bike with a trailer reduces reliance on fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, contributing to lower carbon emissions and a smaller environmental footprint.

Right Ebike for your Trailer

Can You Use a Trailer with an Electric Bike?

Absolutely! eBikes are perfectly suited for pulling trailers. They simplify the task of climbing steep hills or covering longer distances while carrying additional weight. eBike trailers are particularly beneficial for activities like hunting, fishing, or Overlanding, where carrying extra gear is essential.

What Motor Power is Required for an eBike Trailer?

To tow items such as camping gear, hunting equipment, or even a deer, an eBike trailer is incredibly useful. For effective towing, especially in challenging terrains, your eBike should ideally have a motor with a minimum power of 500 watts. 

When determining the load you can carry, consider both the trailer’s and the eBike’s weight limits, as well as your weight and the weight of the cargo. For heavier loads or uphill journeys, you might need an eBike with a 1000-watt motor.

bike trailer

Choosing the Right eBike Model for Towing

When selecting an eBike for towing, one key consideration is the type of motor: hub-drive versus mid-drive. For activities requiring you to haul a lot of gear, such as hunting, camping, or fishing, an eBike with a mid-drive motor is typically more effective at towing trailers due to better overall performance. 

Types of Electric Bike Trailers

While bike panniers are a common choice for cycling tours or added eBike storage, trailers provide a convenient solution for transporting larger and heavier items. Various types of electric bike trailers are designed to cater to different needs.

Single-Wheel Trailers

Single-wheel trailers, such as those offered by QuietKat, are perfect for narrow trails and paths. These trailers can carry up to 100lbs, making them ideal for lighter loads where easy maneuvering is key. The narrow design of single-wheel trailers means they are only as wide as the bike, trailing directly behind it.

The QuietKat single-wheel trailer shines in off-road, single-track environments. Its compact size allows for agile movement, enabling hunters or overlanders to access remote areas unreachable by larger 4x4 off-road vehicles. The QuietKat Cargo Trailer – Single Wheel All-Terrain, for instance, is perfectly suited for transporting gear into and out of remote backcountry or forest areas.

single wheel trailer

Two-Wheel Electric Bike Trailers

Two-wheel trailers are the optimal choice for hauling substantial loads and extensive gear. They are particularly favored by hunters and anglers who need to transport bulky, heavy equipment. Compared to single-wheel versions, two-wheel trailers are heavier and broader, making them more suitable for spacious areas and wider trails. For instance, the QuietKat Cargo Trailer – Two Wheel All-Terrain Trailer comes equipped with a versatile 3-way adjustable rack system, allowing for flat or angled positioning to ensure secure and stable loading.

How to choose right ebike trailer

Choosing the right e-bike trailer involves considering several factors to ensure it meets your specific needs, whether for cargo, child transport, or utility purposes. Here's a guide to help you select the ideal e-bike trailer:

1. Purpose and Type

  • Cargo Trailers: Ideal for hauling groceries, equipment, or other supplies. Look for features like waterproofing, capacity, and easy loading/unloading.
  • Child Trailers: Safety is paramount. Look for trailers with sturdy construction, harness systems, and features like sun and rain protection.
  • Pet Trailers: Similar to child trailers but designed for pets. Ventilation and access points are key.
  • Utility Trailers: For larger or specialized loads. Assess the size, weight capacity, and adaptability for your specific needs.

2. Compatibility with Your E-Bike

  • Ensure the trailer can be securely attached to your e-bike. Check the hitch system and confirm it fits your bike’s rear axle or frame. Some trailers are designed specifically for e-bikes, considering the additional speed and weight.

3. Weight Capacity

  • Consider the maximum weight you plan to carry and check the trailer’s weight limit. E-bikes can generally pull more weight than regular bikes, but it’s important not to exceed the trailer’s or your bike’s capacity.

4. Size and Storage

  • Assess the trailer's dimensions to ensure it can accommodate your cargo. Also, consider how you will store the trailer when not in use. Some models fold down for easier storage.

5. Safety Features

  • For all trailers, especially those carrying children or pets, look for safety features like a sturdy frame, reliable hitch system, reflectors, flags for visibility, and brakes or wheel guards. If carrying children, ensure the trailer has a robust safety harness and meets relevant safety standards.

6. Durability and Weather Protection

  • A good e-bike trailer should be made from durable materials able to withstand the elements and the wear and tear of regular use. For cargo and pet trailers, water-resistant or waterproof covers are beneficial.

7. Ease of Use

  • Consider how easy the trailer is to attach/detach, load, and unload. Also, look at the ease of conversion if the trailer can be used as a stroller or jogger.

8. Wheel Size and Suspension

  • Larger wheels roll over bumps more smoothly, improving comfort for passengers and stability for cargo. Suspension systems, while not necessary for all types of use, can greatly enhance comfort and safety when transporting children or pets over uneven terrain.

9. Visibility

  • The trailer should be equipped with elements (like reflective materials, bright colors, and lights) that make it highly visible to other road users, enhancing safety.

10. Reviews and Recommendations

  • Research reviews and ask for recommendations from other e-bike users. Personal experiences can provide valuable insights into the trailer’s performance in real-world conditions.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose an e-bike trailer that will serve you well for commuting, shopping, adventures, or family outings, maximizing the utility and enjoyment of your e-bike experience.

How to use ebike trailer

Attaching a Trailer to an Electric Bike

Most electric bike trailers are designed with hitch arms for easy attachment to the bike, typically compatible with the trailer axle. QuietKat trailers, for example, can be attached to any eBike with a 3/8" threaded rear axle, including our own fat-tire models.

Towing a Trailer Uphill with an Electric Bike

Towing a trailer uphill might seem daunting with a regular bike, but an eBike makes it much more manageable. There are key points to remember:

  • Secure your gear properly for stability on steep inclines.
  • Anticipate quicker battery drainage when hauling heavy loads uphill and plan accordingly, possibly with a portable solar charger or an extra battery, especially on extended trips.

ebike trailer

Tips for Riding with an Electric Bike Trailer

Using a trailer with an eBike can be straightforward and safe, provided you follow some essential guidelines:

  • Adhere to weight limits to avoid overloading your eBike and trailer.
  • Ensure all gear is securely fastened in the trailer.
  • Select a trailer compatible with your specific eBike model.
  • Opt for a robust, powerful eBike, especially for heavy-duty activities like hunting or camping; city or racing eBikes may not be suitable.
  • Carry a puncture repair kit for both bike and trailer tires.

Best Ebike Trailer Brands

Burley

The Burley Coho XC stands out for its exceptional durability and capacity to carry substantial loads, making it a standout among single-wheeled trailers. It's designed to be highly adaptable, catering to various needs and preferences, whether it's for a quick trip to the store or an extensive bike tour. Features such as a kickstand and an easy-to-use hitching system enhance its convenience, along with a commendable towing capability. The assembly process is simple and user-friendly. This trailer excels across different environments, from urban bike paths to rugged singletrack, earning it our top recommendation.

However, the Coho XC isn't without its drawbacks. Its sturdy construction results in a heavier trailer, which is noticeable due to its single-wheel design. Additionally, the space between the bike's rear wheel and the trailer's cargo area requires mindful packing to prevent instability or sway. Despite these minor issues, the Coho XC's blend of versatility, robustness, and practicality significantly outweighs its limitations.

For those willing to compromise slightly on towing performance and ride smoothness for increased capacity and lighter weight, the Burley Design Flatbed is an excellent alternative. It features a spacious flatbed that can hold larger items, though it necessitates using straps to secure your cargo effectively.

Pros
- Adjustable suspension
- Great tracking behind the rear wheel
- One-handed hitching
- Stands on its own

Cons
- Wobbly if not packed evenly
- A bit heavy

Aosom

The Aosom Wanderer stands out in our evaluation as the trailer with the highest weight capacity, offering exceptional value. It proves that robust, long-lasting, and effective design can be achieved without a hefty price tag. Its versatility, straightforward assembly, and smooth towing capabilities impressed us, showcasing its functionality as a basic yet capable trailer.

However, the Wanderer is among the heavier and noisier options we tested. While its build quality is solid, it lacks the refinement of more expensive competitors. Yet, these minor drawbacks do not overshadow its effectiveness as a reliable urban cargo trailer. It comes highly recommended for those seeking a budget-friendly, heavy-duty trailer solution. For individuals looking for something with a bit more finesse in towing and handling, the Burley Travoy is worth considering. It offers a balance between affordability and usability, excelling in urban environments with its lighter construction and ease of use, despite a lower weight limit compared to the Wanderer.

Pros
- Easy assembly
- Great tracking due to spring-loaded connection
- Durable

Cons
- Rattles when empty
- Heavy
- Axle mount sometimes rotates forward

QuietKat

QuietKat's Single-Wheel All-Terrain Cargo Trailer offers a practical and adaptable solution for cyclists who need to transport heavy loads on narrow paths.

With a capacity to carry up to 100 pounds within a compact area of 14” by 24”, this trailer is designed to complement any QuietKat hardtail eBike seamlessly. It features a single 20x4” tire, ensuring it easily navigates through various terrains without compromising on stability, even with oversized items.

The trailer has been thoughtfully redesigned to include a quick-connect system for effortless setup. By simply pulling and pushing the pin, users can swiftly open the assembly, attach it to the bike's bobbin, and secure it by moving the assembly forward to engage with the bike.

Moreover, it's compatible not just with QuietKat's full-suspension models but also with other electric bike brands, provided a BOB Axle is acquired separately, enhancing its versatility across different biking setups.

Pros
Easy assembly
- Stands on its own

Cons
- A bit heavy

Additional Accessories Beyond Bike Trailer

Beyond a bike trailer, enhancing your cycling setup with additional accessories can further improve convenience, safety, and enjoyment on your rides. Here's a curated list of accessories that complement a bike trailer and elevate your cycling experience:

1. Bike Lock

  • Secure both your bike and trailer with a high-quality bike lock. Consider locks with flexible cables to wrap around the trailer frame as well.

2. Hitch Adapter

  • If your bike trailer's hitch connector isn't compatible with your bike, a hitch adapter can provide a seamless connection, ensuring compatibility across different bikes.

3. Trailer Cover

  • Protect your cargo or passengers from the elements with a weather-resistant cover. Look for covers specific to your trailer model for the best fit.

4. Safety Flag and Lights

  • Increase visibility with a safety flag and attachable lights, especially important in low-light conditions or when the trailer might obscure your bike’s built-in lights.

5. Handlebar Mirror

  • A handlebar-mounted mirror allows you to keep an eye on the trailer and traffic behind you without constantly turning your head.

6. Storage Bags and Organizers

  • Maximize the utility of your trailer with custom storage solutions, such as internal organizers or waterproof bags, to keep items secure and dry.

7. Puncture Repair Kit and Spare Tire

  • Be prepared for flats by carrying a repair kit and a spare tire for both your bike and trailer, ensuring you’re not stranded due to a minor issue.

8. Wheel Stabilizers

  • For cargo trailers, wheel stabilizers can help manage heavy loads and prevent tipping, especially in uneven terrains.

9. Child Snack Tray and Holders

  • For trailers used to transport children, snack trays and cup holders add convenience and comfort for little passengers on longer rides.

10. Pet Accessories

  • If using a pet trailer, consider accessories like a pet mat for comfort, a leash tether for safety, and collapsible bowls for water breaks.

11. Reflective Tape

  • Apply additional reflective tape to the trailer’s sides and rear for enhanced visibility during dusk or nighttime.

12. Bike Pump

  • A portable bike pump ensures you can maintain optimal tire pressure in both your bike and trailer tires, improving efficiency and ride comfort.

13. First-Aid Kit

  • Carry a basic first-aid kit for unexpected injuries or emergencies, particularly important on longer rides or when biking with children.

14. Weather Canopy for Child Trailers

  • A weather canopy shields passengers from rain, wind, and too much sun, providing a more comfortable ride in any weather.

Investing in these additional accessories can significantly enhance your bike and trailer setup, whether you’re commuting, running errands, or enjoying a family adventure. Tailor your selection based on your specific needs, the type of cargo or passengers you’re transporting, and the conditions in which you typically ride.

Conclusion

eBikes paired with trailers are an excellent duo for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a viable alternative to quads or other off-road vehicles. 

We don't produce e-bike trailers, so we definitely recommend QuietKat. However, if you're in need of a high-quality Canadian e-bike for your trailer, we invite you to visit us at 654 College Street, Toronto. We'll demonstrate why our e-bikes are among the top 10 in Toronto.


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