Cargo Trailer(s) With Surge Braking System

Jul 1, 2012
Montana, USA
You don't really have a plan set or tutorial on how to build safe bicycle cargo trailers.

Safe as in when you got a load on the trailer and you are going downhill and have to hit the brakes your own trailer doesn't try to run you over.

There are various types of trailer brake setups I have tried and a "surge braking" system built into the trailer hitch/tongue is the best method I have developed.

Works just like the hitch braking system on full size U-haul rental trailers. Smaller tube that is a slip fit inside a larger tube. Both tubes slotted with a loose through bolt and a mild compression coil spring inside makes up the hitch assembly so that when you apply the towing bikes brakes the hitch/tongue assembly of the trailer compresses and pulls on the cables that activate the brakes on the trailer wheels.

You get the idea. And all of your stuff looks far nicer then mine. So if you just worked with the basic idea and took my "crude but effective" solution and removed the "crude" part it could make a nice set of plans that I think a lot of people would be interested in since trailers are fairly universal.


Super Moderator
Apr 14, 2013
Peacehaven nr Brighton, Sussex ,UK
The necessity for a braked trailer depends on the trailers payload , Personally I think to have a trailer that is heavy enough to require brakes then it is going to be too heavy to tow up hills .

Just my pennyworth on the subject . But open to suggestions

regards emma

Radical Brad

Garage Hacker!
Staff member
Mar 13, 1999
Kakabeka Falls, Ontario, Canada
If your trailer has an electric assist, you almost get free braking, since the motor will create drag due to eddy currents.

Also keep in mind that you may make your ride more dangerous by adding trailer brakes.
Imagine a scenario when you are hauling quickly around a corner and feather the brakes.
The tendency there would be for the trailer to "drag" your human powered vehicle straight.

This issue would be very pronounced on a trailer carrying a weight that exceeds the towing vehicle (plus rider) weight.

I would also advise against trailer brakes on a human powered vehicle.