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Old 03-13-2013, 04:42 PM   #1
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Dan's Chariot.

So a friend of mine recently asked me to build his son a "trailer". His son is mentally handicapped and doesn't walk. I don't know much about him- the son is roughly my age and I grew up around him, but that was 25 some odd years ago. They live kinda in the area and I have seen them a few times, so my ideas are really rough- no measurements yet.

Here's what I got. He wants something he can attach to a bicycle, not a modified bike. One idea he gave me was he wants to use a rice rocket style racing seat- 5 point harness, lightweight, etc. I think using 1" square tubing with a minimal frame and 2 wheels will work. It would be nice if the seat can slide so we can balance Dan's weight on the trailer. It will need some kind of leg rest with straps to hold his legs, and maybe something for his hands? Think some enclosed fenders like I've got drawn here will work instead of that though...











Them's the ideas that've been percolatin in my noggin the last week or so.

Any suggestions?! Anyone ever built anything like this? HELP!!!
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:56 PM   #2
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good on you for doing this.

seems like quite a bit of weight on a seatpost...maybe a beefier 3 wheeler over a regular bike?
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:57 PM   #3
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Just off the toppa my head, there should be a shield to stop pebbles and other junk coming off the back tire, otherwise he'll be pelted constantly.

Seondly, what happens if he puts a foot down?
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:01 PM   #4
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Didn't even think of the pebbles off the bike tire...

The leg rests will have straps so he can't move them (as well with the seat- 5 pt. harness).

As for the weight on the seat post, I think we can do a pretty good job of balancing it to the point were there really isn't much extra weight on the bikes back tire.
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:57 PM   #5
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I concur that the force on the seatpost might be a bit much.

I've seen a mount for a M/C trailer that attaches on the swingarm. Could something be rigged to give it a 3 point attachment: seatpost & each side of the rear axle?

In any case, I'm going to send the thread to a cousin who does drafting & machine work, see if he has any ideas.

The build idea reminds me of a guy who does Ironman with his handicapped son. Pushcart for the run, towed inflatable boat for the swim and a trailer for the bicycle segment. God bless him for keeping the faith with his kid!
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:04 PM   #6
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Hope he puts a helmet on him. I watched one of those kiddie trailers flip over when a guy was towing one down hill.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:30 PM   #7
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He specifically said he wanted the hitch to go off of the seat post and not the rear axle. No idea why, just his preference I guess. If you think about it though, attaching it to the seat post would actually transfer a bit of the weight (not much) to the front tire because it is ahead of the rear axle.

Aside from weight worries, any other reasons why attaching it to the axle would be better?

I think he wears a helmet anyways, so we should be good there.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:24 PM   #8
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In my mis-spent youth, I worked at several bike shops, and formed a few opinions along the way.

Having installed the relevant hardware and tested both seat-post mounted versions and low-mount versions. I prefer the greater stability of the lower mount versions (B.O.B, Burley) to the (less stable) high mount versions- I think Cannondale used to sell those.

And definitely install a fender on the tow bike, with a mudflap.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dorkpunch View Post
He specifically said he wanted the hitch to go off of the seat post and not the rear axle. No idea why, just his preference I guess. If you think about it though, attaching it to the seat post would actually transfer a bit of the weight (not much) to the front tire because it is ahead of the rear axle.

Aside from weight worries, any other reasons why attaching it to the axle would be better?

I think he wears a helmet anyways, so we should be good there.
I'm no engineer, but I think the way the trailer pulls is better when its attached at the rear axles. Remember, this thing has to go thru 3 axes.

Other than that, what about a little suspension for the passenger? Mount the seat on something? Thudbuster bumpers maybe? Maybe a suspension for the wheels.

Oh, and PM Ricky. This is the kind of stuff he loves to noodle on.

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Old 03-14-2013, 07:55 AM   #10
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I think I've seen wheel chair wheels that have a plastic disc the size of the wheels on the spokes so you can't stick fingers in there.

Sounds like there might be a similar need here. Also aid the aerodynamics.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:06 AM   #11
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I'll agree with the above when they talk about hitch placement.
I've pulled both my kids in trailers quite extensively and the push can be significant. A low hitch will make the combo safer.
Have a look at the moto-mule in vendors or a BOB bike trailer for hitch ideas.
I'd bet you could get the local bike shop interested in the project and possibly
get a deal on parts.

On hitch placement in your drawing, if you think about it, when the bike leans the trailer will want to steer in the opposite direction.

GP640 screwed with this post 03-14-2013 at 01:32 PM
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:24 PM   #12
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Helped a friend build something similar; epoxied trash can lids together to make fenders and it worked great. We used a modified rear skewer to attach the rig as well; like a Burley tow behind.
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:58 PM   #13
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Just out of curiosity, have you thought about moving the wheels forward and adding a swivel tag wheel to the back? That would distribute weight but would alter the dynamics of the ride.

Something like this:

http://www.cruiserlift.com/swivelwheel58.html
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:28 PM   #14
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Good suggestions and info all, thanks!

A local bike shop... Wouldnt that be nice.

I think he's open to changing the hitch location. He was not interested in building a hauler style purpose built bike- he wants something he can pull behind the bike he already has. Still kinda fleshing out ideas with them, I have no idea what the budget is for this or if I will be scrounging parts up in the junkyard. Did design a suspension system for the seat but not sure what they want to do yet.

Keep the ideas coming!
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:44 PM   #15
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I'm no engineer but I know from experience that when you tow something, keeping the attachment point lower makes it easier on the person towing. At least that's what I know from pulling a sled in the snow.
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