Burley Coho Trailer Handling
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  1. #1
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    Burley Coho Trailer Handling

    I recently purchased a Burley Coho trailer for grocery shopping and potential touring. I had previously borrowed a friend's old BOB trailer, so I'm familiar with how a trailer can affect bike handling. I packed the Burley earlier this week and was quite comfortable with how the bike responded. Today, however, I packed the trailer with 55lbs of groceries and was not prepared for how squarely both the trailer and my bike felt. I almost crashed at one point and had troubles riding a straight line a couple times. I made it home safely and enlightened (somewhat).
    I'm riding my gravel bike with tubeless 700x28s (70psi), with a 46cm cowchipper bar. Front and rear brakes ore both 160mm disc. The trailer is running on the stock 16x1.75" tire at 40psi.
    Questions:
    Is it just the fact I was hauling 55lbs the main handling variable? It did not handle like that under lighter loads.
    Does it matter how centered/balanced the load is on a trailer? I had three bags in the trailer; two heavy, one light. Heavy in the back and to one side. Light bag on the other side, more towards the front of the trailer.
    Would swapping to my 700x40 wheels improve handling? The frame and fork can handle 700x45.
    Would more tire PSI on the bike help?
    Would a wider handlebar help? I do plan to go with a 50cm bar at some point.
    What is the best braking method?
    Is there something else I'm not thinking of?
    Thanks for any constructive ideas you have.

  2. #2
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    I have no experience with bike trailers but would think that the same dynamics would apply as with car/truck trailers. The main point being that tongue weight is very important. Too much is going to overload your bike but too little will make the trailer twitchy or as you describe it "squarely".

    hth

  3. #3
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    Why don't you post a link to the trailer or a pic of them together?
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  4. #4
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    It ALWAYS matters how the load is distributed on any trailer. The load MUST be at least 10% heavier ahead of the axle than behind, or else you will have a setup for an out-of-control oscillation.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  5. #5
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    Hereís the setup. Since the wheel is in the rear, itís impossible to put weight behind it. I did just purchase the pannier rack, so I will be able to put weight directly over the wheel.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #6
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    That looks pretty heavy duty trailer & setup. I'm not an expert, but that won't stop me.

    That trailer should have a bigger wheel so the wt is below the axle to really make it better, but it is what it is.
    When you put wt in it, I would think to have the heaviest part on center line of the trailer, I don't think forward/backward is going to effect it too much.
    I don't think air pressure in tire is much of a factor, as long as they seem within reason. You'll need to add air in the rear from standard for you as 1/2 the trailer wt is being added to the rear wheel.
    I think once you ride it a bit loaded, you'll be doing better. It always takes a little training.
    You'll want to strap everything down so it can't start swooping left/right while riding. ... and don't you start swooping either!
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  7. #7
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    I would think that a trailer like yours is better suited to use on a heavy-duty touring bike rather than a fairly light-duty gravel bike. As to the specific load you mentioned, keep in mind you always want to put the heavy stuff as far forward as possible. The further your center of mass is from your center of rotation (the connection on your bike frame), the more dangerous oscillations will become. But, that opens up the possibility of overloading your rear tire by placing more mass on it than it can handle. Plus the fact that I doubt your seatstays and chainstays are really rated for pulling heavy loads behind them. Also, I doubt your gearing is optimal for climbing hills fully laden, either.

    My first suggestion it that you get a bike better suited to heavy hauling, a heavy touring bike, something like a Specialized Awol. Short of that, you'll need to make some compromises, putting as much weigh forward as the limitations of your bike will allow, keeping your speed down, and limiting how much you carry.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  8. #8
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    The bike is a Ti frame, designed for gravel and "light touring." 50+ lbs is definitely not light! Since a heavier frame is not in my immediate future, albeit a good idea for heavy lifting, lightening and better distributing the load will be the solution. Thanks, everyone for your thoughts.

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