Attaching a trailer to your Xtracycle cargo bike can make for one epic gear and/or kiddo hauler! We hitched one up to each bike in our fleet and we think they are a perfect pair.
Applies to the RFA in Sport or Utility mode.
Applies to the eSwoop, non-electric Swoop, eStoker and legacy models like the Classic, 10e or 24D.
Please note: The original FreeRadical and Leap are now retired.
While cargo bikes rank supreme when it comes to hauling stuff, sometimes ya just need more space! Here are four of the most common reasons for attaching a trailer to a long tail cargo bike:
1. To haul people on the deck and more people in the trailer
Here are the maximum number of passengers a long tail cargo bike can carry with a trailer hitched up and child seats installed:
Typically fitting 2 kids on the rear deck is ideal but many riders have been able to carry 3 smaller kiddos on the deck of a long-tail which, combined with a front Yepp seat and trailer, means being able to carry 6 total!
2. To haul people on the deck and the family pet in the trailer
3. To haul people on the deck and cargo in the trailer
4. To haul cargo on the deck and even more cargo in the trailer
As seen here in a trash haul from a trail clean up. Yes, that’s a car bumper. 😉
Installing a trailer on an Xtracycle cargo bike
Before we get into the details, let us share some important safety notes. When hauling a trailer, your bike will be long and wide. Be sure you are aware of your limitations in size when riding. Also be sure to secure some kind of safety strap to the trailer and your bike, in case the hitch fails. This will keep you, your passengers and other cyclist and motorists safe. Read all the installation instructions for your trailer, and pay special attention to the maximum weight limit listed for that trailer.
So let’s get into that install!
Chances are your trailer came with a hitch that is intended to be installed on the rear wheel of a regular bike. It might look like this:
This hitch can just as easily be installed on the rear wheel of your Xtracycle! The eSwoop, non-electric Swoop and eStoker come with quick release rear axles and the RFA comes with a bolt on axle. The trailer hitch will install the same way on both, you just need a hex key to remove and reinstall the RFA axle. Be sure to not lose the little axle springs! And be sure to follow all the safety guidelines in your trailer’s manual to ensure the hitch has been properly installed before use.
A few quick notes about installing a trailer hitch on the RFA. If you are using RFA Footsies or Footrests, the one on the side of the hitch will need to be removed since this will interfere with the trailer arm. An option for having a foot rest for rear passengers on the hitch side of the back would be to install an RFA Footpeg instead.
While we ran into no clearance issues with a round trailer hitch (with a diameter of 1-1/16″ – pictured above), we did have some clearance issues with the square-like Burley hitch. To attach the Burley, we simply had to use a Burley brand hitch adapter.
Now a quick note for those of you installing a hitch on an EdgeRunner. While we didn’t have any clearance issues with the hitches, we did run into the trailer arm interfering with the U-tube foot rests we had installed. Unlike with the RFA, you can modify the U-tube to still be partially installed without getting in the way.
To do this, remove the front and back U-tube screws. Slide the U-tube all the way out. Re-insert the front part of the U-tube but keep the rear part out and above the insertion point. Put the screws back in place (the rear screw won’t be securing anything, it will just be there so you don’t lose it). Put a rubber 7/8″ chair cap on the rear part of the U-tube to prevent it from scratching the frame. Pivot the back end of the U-tube up. Once high enough, secure the U-tube in place with a camp or CinchStrap. While children can still rest their feet on the U-tube when it is strapped like this, please prevent children from standing on the U-tube.
Here is a close up of the U-tube arm strapped in the upwards position.
Other hitch options include
Here are some other options for trailer hitches that do no install on your bike’s rear axle.
Bikes At Work Xtracycle Trailer Hitch ($70 – available at the time this article was posted on BikesAtWork.com)
Surly Dummy Hitch ($200 – available at the time this article was posted on ModernBike.com)
This hitch would replace the U-tube the non-drive side (left side) of your Xtracycle. The hitch can be left on at all times (but should not be used as a footrest nor support for your cargo) and the trailer attached and removed as needed. This will not work on an RFA but should work on any Xtracycle longtail.