THE WIKE BLOG

Bicycle Trailer Capacity: What is the Weight Limit for a Bike Trailer?

July 26, 2021

Have you ever wondered how much weight your bike trailer can carry? What factors determine capacity? These questions answered, and more.

Electric lawn tools

The right kind of bike trailer can haul just about anything: people, pets, even serious cargo. But not every bike trailer is built to haul heavy loads.

So, how do you figure out what the weight limit is for a particular bike trailer?

Well, if possible, you should check the manufacturer's specifications first. They’ve tested the limits so that you don’t have to.

But if you can't find the specs, or if you're dealing with a DIY bike trailer, below is a step-by-step guide on how to determine your bike trailer's weight and capacity.

Added this introductory section to provide context and lead into the core information of the article. Includes internal links and keywords.

What is Static vs. Dynamic Capacity in Bike Trailer Capacity?

Every bike trailer has at least two weight capacities: a static capacity rating and a dynamic capacity. Understanding the difference between dynamic and static capacities is crucial for a smooth and safe trip.

  1. Static bike trailer capacity is the maximum weight a bike trailer can carry when it’s not moving. In general, static capacity is greater than dynamic capacity.
  2. Dynamic bike trailer capacity is the maximum weight a bike trailer can carry that is being pulled by a bike or pushed (in the case of a bike trailer that serves as a stroller).

In the next few sections, we will look at factors affecting static and dynamic capacity.

Factors that affect static bicycle trailer capacity

Wheels

  1. Quality tires play an important role if you are loading heavy objects in your trailer. Smaller diameter (16”) wheels require higher pressure than standard 20” with the same loading in the trailer. If you are carrying heavy loads you should consider high pressure tires.
  2. Single walled rims are used in almost all bike trailer applications. When fewer spokes are used, double walled rims can be used to compensate. A double walled rim with 36 spokes is used in extreme applications where higher weight capacity is required.
  3. Axles used in bicycle trailers are typically 10 or 12mm, or ½”. Use of cartridge bearings improves weight capacity and makes trailers easier to pull.

Frame

  1. Single perimeter frames are used in most bike trailer applications. These consist of a perimeter tube around the trailer and an axle tube to connect the two wheels.
  2. Double frames are also used around the wheels to support each end of the axle or around the perimeter to disperse the loading of a cantilevered axle.
  3. The larger the length and width of the trailer, the stronger the frame must be to support the load. It is always best to load a trailer so the weight is balanced equally front to back over the axle.

Towing assembly

  1. The towbar has historically been the most limiting element of bicycle trailer capacity. It is subject to constantly oscillating forces and frequent shocks from collisions with stationary objects. Towbar structural failure could cause the trailer to disconnect from the bicycle.
  2. The flexible hitch that completes the connection between the end of the towbar and the bicycle must allow the bicycle to turn freely from the trailer. It also needs to allow the bicycle to lean and lay flat without upsetting the trailer. And lastly it should assist in keeping the trailer upright during sharp turns or side to side bumping such as road curbs. The flexibility of the hitch should diminish as trailer capacity increases.

Factors that affect the dynamic bicycle trailer capacity

Relative Weight

  1. The distribution of total weight between the bicycle and the trailer is a critical consideration when attempting to carry heavier trailer loads. The ability of the cyclist to control the dynamics of a bicycle/trailer combination decreases with increasing speed and with the relative weight of the trailer to the bicycle. With speeds under 20 kph the load in the trailer should not exceed 40% of the weight of the bicycle plus rider. This is the reason that Bicycle Trailer Standards worldwide currently advise to limit capacity to 100lbs. It is not the capacity of the trailer but the ability of the bicycle to stop the trailer that is the determining factor.
  2. The use of trailer brakes can ameliorate the relative weight issue but can’t resolve it completely. With the advent of electric bicycles the desire to carry greater loads will continue. These increases in loads should be shared on both the trailer and the bicycle. A heavier bicycle will help to control a heavier trailer.

Height of Load

  1. Trailer tipping due to high loads, uneven ground, or fast turns is common. Wider wheelbase, lower center of gravity, and slow speeds increase dynamic stability.

Find the Best Bike Trailer for You

Not every bike trailer can carry heavy loads, but the right kind can haul just about anything! Browse our selection to learn more about our bike trailers, and feel free to contact us with your questions about bike trailer weight limits and more.


BLOG ARCHIVE

What makes a bicycle trailer extra strong?

Should I get a Single Bike Trailer or Double Bike Trailer?

Child Bike Trailers Materials Guide, Part 1: Bike Trailer Flooring

Proper Bike and Trailer Lighting for Night Cycling

How to Choose the Right Special Needs Trailer For Your Family

At What Age Can My Baby Ride in a Child Bike Trailer?

Which is Safer: a Child Bike Trailer or a Bike-Mounted Child Seat?

How To Build a Cargo Bike Trailer Using an Easy DIY Kit

Anti-Theft Tips: How to Lock Your Bike Trailer to Prevent Theft

Bike Trailers / Cargo Bikes for Couriers and Other Businesses

7 Ways to Make Your Child's Bike Trailer More Comfortable

Bike Trailers & Wheelchair Bicycles for Older Kids with Disabilities

Complete Guide: How to Attach a Bike Trailer to Any Bike [With Photos & Videos]

WIKE Inertial Braking System

Bike Trailers For Kids: Everything You Need to Know About Child Bike Trailers

Can I Put a Bike Trailer on My Bike?

Bike Trailers For Kids - Everything You Need to Know

Most Beautiful Machine

Reckless Bikes in Vancouver sells Wike Cargo Bike

Cycle Light Solution for U of G Students

Types of Bike Trailers

Bike Trailer helps Youth Employment

Bicycle Trailer Capacity: What is the Weight Limit for a Bike Trailer?

Bike Trailer Parking: How to Park, Lock or Fold a Bike Trailer

Electric Stroller Bike Test Report

Electric Salamander

Keeping your Bike Trailer in Tip Top Shape!

Cost Effective Housing for Homeless - Tiny Town Pilot Project

WHAT’S NEW? .... The Wike Newt!

Going Green – Cargo Trailers Part 1

​Wike on CBS Innovation Nation

Multi-Brand Double Occupancy Bicycle Trailer Comparison

Cargo Bikes vs. Cargo Trikes: Features, Pros and Cons

The Benefits of Active Transportation

Guelph Company Awarded 2018 EUROBIKE Award for the Salamander Cycle Stroller

What happened to Taga? The crowdfunded stroller bike that left backers in the dust

Wike Enters The Dragon's Den!

Soar into the New Year on Your Bike

Unlock Independence - Kids, Bike Trailers, and Cargo Bikes

Bike Trailer Components You Need to Know

Three Reasons why Getting a Cargo Bike can Change your Life

The Best Cargo Hauling Solution for Your Bike

Breaking the Ice Around Cargo Bikes

Child Bike Trailers - Freedom for the Holidays

Cargo Bike or Cargo Bike Trailer?

Top 3 Reasons Cargo Bikes are Going to be Huge

Do You Know Your Awesome Cargo Bike Type?

Cargo Bikes - A Lifestyle Choice

How to Choose the Best Cargo Bike for You

Top 4 Reasons Why You’ll Love a Cargo Bike

Choosing a Cargo Bike Trailer

What Makes a Good Bike Trailer?

St. James High School Visits the New Wike Bike Trailer and Box Bike Factory

Guelph Magnolia Bike Ride

Amphibian Series Product Launch

Wike featured on the CTV News

Will bicycle trailers evolve into the cars of the future?

We’re Moving!

Wike featured in Pedal Magazine

Change Your World - Article by Guelph Mercury

Cargo Bike Showplace opens in Guelph

Wike Offers delivery to your door of Box Bikes and Cargo Trikes

Wike Featured in the “Financial Post”

Wike Bicycle Trailers Featured in the Globe and Mail

Wike opens new Distribution Facility in Europe

Wike appears on Dragon’s Den October 23, 2013

Pedal-Powered Family: A Trip Across North America

What’s up in Active Transportation