How to Connect a Bike Trailer to a Bike – Easy Solution(2022)

I have been using different bike trailers with my kids for over a decade now on various types of bikes. Mountain bike is my favorite type to connect a bike trailer when heading on a camping trip in the wilderness. Learning how to connect a bike trailer to a bike can be confusing and intimidating since the bike trailer attachment arm technology is highly susceptible to the ever changing-updates. But most cyclists are unable to keep up with these technological changes.

This article provides detailed insights into everythings I have learned about how to hook up bike trailers and bikes together. I have also revealed various ways to connect major bike trailer brands to mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, road bikes, and even cruisers.

Summary

  • Major bike trailer brands are compatible with different types of bike axles.
  • Use an axle adapter to connect incompatible trailers with bike axles.
  • Use either axle attachment or seat post attachment method.

Can Bike Trailer Attach to Any Bike?

Choosing the best bike trailer for your bicycle can be a daunting and confusing experience. Many different bike trailers suit specific bike types and brands. Every cyclist should understand how to attach a bike trailer to a bike.

Can Bike Trailer Attach to Any Bike

So, can a bike trailer attach to any bike? Yes. Most bike trailers are compatible with mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, road bikes, and cruisers. But many cyclists find it challenging to attach a trailer to a disc brake bike. Different bicycles have different styles of connecting a bike trailer. The bike trailer attachment style depends on the different types of the axle. Connecting a bike trailer to a bike with a quick-release axle is easier than a thru-axle.

If your bicycle has disc brakes, get a compatible bike trailer attachment to the frame and avoid issues related to connection. Otherwise, keep reading this article to learn more about connecting bike trailers to different types of bikes.

What Types of Bike Can Pull a Bike Trailer?

Having the best type of bike to pull a bike trailer will make a huge difference. Bike type plays a crucial role in the riding experience, especially when pulling over 40lbs. So, what types of bikes can pull a bike trailer? The best bikes to pull a bike trailer are disc brake bikes, hybrid bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, and beach cruisers.

What Types of Bike Can Pull a Bike Trailer

But each bike type has some advantages and disadvantages when pulling a bike trailer. I recommend trying different types of bikes to make an informed decision.

  • Road bike: A road bike is my favorite choice to pull a bike trailer since the riding position allows the cyclist to transfer more power to the legs. It also has a lightweight frame and aerodynamic position.
  • Mountain bike: Mountain bike is my second-best option due to its comfortable upright riding position and ability to cruise rough terrains. The disc brakes make it challenging to connect the bike trailer.
  • Cruiser: A cruiser is an excellent option for riding along the beach since it is convenient and comfortable. But the heavy frames make it challenging to pull a trailer since the low seat does not offer optimal power transfer to the legs.
  • E-bikes : E-bikes can also pull a bike trailer since they are powerful and sturdy. But there is a high risk of over-speeding and losing control. Besides that, electric bikes are illegal in some areas.
  • Hybrid bike A hybrid bike is the best alternative to road bikes when towing children in bike trailers. They have a lightweight frame and a comfortable flat handlebar. The only downside is the upright riding position that does not allow much power transfer to the legs.

Bike Trailer Attachment Ways

Many cyclists think universal attachment and bike trailer hook-up work well with all bicycle models. But this is not always the case due to many factors. The most reliable bike trailer attachment ways are the axle of the rear tire and seat post. These methods can help distinguish the trailer’s angle of the arm.

The Axle bike trailer attachment method is the most common way. But it might not be compatible with some bike models. Check your bike if it has a quick-release axle or disc brake option. A standard quick-release is common on old-generation bikes, and it is easier to attach a bike trailer than on a bike with a disc brake system.

How to Connect a Bike Trailer to a Bike

Cycling is an excellent activity, and it is doable for everyone. Including kids or pets can be through bike trailer attachment. Below are quick steps for connecting a bike trailer to a bike:

How to Connect a Bike Trailer to a Bike

For Axle Attachment

A rear axle attachment is the best place for connecting a bike trailer to a bike. But it will be challenging to connect the receiver to the axle. Below are steps to attach a bike trailer to a bike via a rear axle attachment:

For Axle Attachment

Step 1: Remove the Rear Axle

Use a wrench to loosen the rear axle attachment without removing the tire. Pull the axle out of the tire once the nut is loose.

Slide the washer and receiver through the axle attachment. Put the axle back and tighten the wheel onto the frame.

Step 2: Attach the Hitch Coupler

Align the bike trailer with the axle attachment and insert the hitch into the receiver. Use a pin to lock up the receiver and hitch together.

Step 3: Attach the Safety Strap

Most bike trailer brands come with a safety strap to secure the bike and trailer together. Connect the safety strap to the trailer’s arm, wrap it around the bike frame then clip it.

Step 4: Test Drive

The golden rule is to test your connections before going out to ride. It will ensure everything is well connected to avoid crushing in the trails or on the road.

For Seat Post Attachments

The seat post attachment method is the easiest option for connecting a bike trailer since it does not involve special tools. Below are quick steps for attaching a bike trailer to a bike seat post:

For Seat Post Attachments

Step 1: Install the Receiver

Remove the seat post from the bike and slide the receiver on it. Return the seat and adjust to attain the appropriate position.

Step 2: Attach the Trailer Hitch Coupler

Install a trailer hitch onto the receiver and align the holes. Insert a bolt through the holes and adjust the washer and nut to secure the hitch tightly.

Step 3: Attach the Safety Strap

Connect the safety strap on the trailer’s arm, wrap around the seat post and clip it. The safety strap provides extra security precaution by preventing the hitch from detaching.

Step 4: Test Drive

Inspect your bike trailer connection with the bike by testing before going out with your kids or pets. It will help to avoid accidents or slipping in the trails.

Is Your Bike Trailer Compatible with Your Bike?

Not all types of bike trailers and bike combinations are compatible. I recommend examining your bike trailer to see if it is compatible with your bike brand. The compatibility issue will help determine whether to buy an adapter or not. Below is a table that shows which adapter or spacer is compatible with your bike trailer and bike:

Bike Trailer BrandBike Type Adapter Needed
HamaxThru AxleThru Axle
HamaxQuick ReleaseNone
SchwinnQuick-ReleaseNone
ShwinnThru AxleNone
InstepQuick-ReleaseNone
InstepThru AxleNone
BurleyHooded DropoutsSpacer
BurleyQuick-ReleaseNone
BurleyThru AxleThru Axle
ThuleHooded DropoutsSpacer
ThuleQuick-ReleaseNone
ThuleThru AxleThru Axle

Conclusion

Learning how to connect a bike trailer to a bike is possible. Bike brands with quick-release axles are super easy to attach to the bike trailer. Connecting a trailer to a bike with a disc brake and thru-axles can be a daunting experience. Grab a compatible thru-axle adapter to reduce the hustle of attaching the trailer.

I hope the information in this article helped attach a trailer to your bike. Feel free to share with your friends or family and share your experience in the comment section.

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