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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Better Pics of Cargo Trailer, Smaller Wheels

My previous attempts to add these new sunlight-taken pics of the trailer timed out over the last day or so, so I gave up and created this new post to host them instead. One change I made is that I replaced the 24" wheels with 20" wheels, which gives the trailer a lower center-of-gravity, and also puts it a bit more level when using the current hitch attachment I have on the test bike. I still haven't made a mount point for the Columbia, so no pics of it on the regular road bike yet.

The first is from above and to the right, nothing really new besides the smaller 20" wheels.

Interestingly enough, they actually weigh a couple ounces *more* than the 24" wheels off the Huffys I had been using. I don't like that part, but they're they only 20" wheels I have. I think I'm going to try to snatch up some of the kid's bikes that show up on Freeycycle sometimes, if I can find any that are not in good condition, to use for parts like the very small wheels.

This is from the left side, showing the whole test bike and trailer setup.

From the rear.

This makes it easier to see the hitch connection, made out of the front headstock of a former Huffy, and a stem from another wrecked bike (I think it was a 24").

This pic is from a bit underneath and to the front of the hitch, so you can see the stem mount on the bike's cargo rack tubing (and also my horrible welding to fill in metal that was really too thin for this purpose).

The stem is not one of the typical ones you have to slide the handlebars thru, rather it has a 4-bolt separate plate on the front to allow it to be mounted on any kind of handlebar (or other tubing) design, even those that can't be slipped thru a standard stem clamp. This let me attach it to the cargo rack tubing without any trouble, just under the rear edge of the KLP cargo pod.

I tested it in this configuration on a ride to Safeway today, and it worked out well enough. Since I didn't have baskets or siding on it yet, I just hung the bags from bungee cords across the two side rails on top, and tied some more down to the floor plate with more bungee cords. Even like that, it successfully hauled about 90 pounds of stuff.

Unfortunately for me, there was a variable-direction wind with gusts up to 15 or maybe 20MPH, and at least 5MPH at minimum, so I had a really tough time pedalling home with it, since the test bike has no front shifter right now, and is manually set to the center pedal sprocket. The rear shifter doesn't go down to the lowest 3 gears due to a manual block set on it for a motor test I had planned but haven't finished the motor for, so I couldn't shift low enough to easily move all this mass, especially getting started from a stop. :-( But that's no fault of the cargo trailer. :-)

It did however make me re-consider adding a motor and batteries to the trailer itself, so it could at least help compensate for it's own drag. I had decided against trying that before even building it because I need a way to have it autothrottle itself as I start to pedal, and keep up with the bike but never go faster than the bike, and always slow down exactly as I do, etc. Turns are also problematic, in that I would need one wheel to go faster than the other during turns, and have to have it automatically change power on each wheel to do that, too. I know I don't *need* it to be that complicated, but I would want it to work that way if I did it at all.

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