One of the primary reasons I bought my Surly Troll was the uber complicated looking yet brilliantly simple dropouts. With the horizontal axle slots, a dedicated Rohloff mounting plate and more threaded bosses than you can shake a stick at, it’s possible to build the bike up into everything from a fixed gear hack to a full on tourer with internal hub gearing and / or derailleurs. Above all else, however, it was the dedicated mounting points for Surly or BOB trailers that really sealed the deal for me.
The bicycle cargo trailer market exists in something of a niche and those of us who shop there have really been limited to only a few options until quite recently; when I was seriously shopping around, my options were limited to either a twin-wheeled affair like this one which mounts somewhat awkwardly to one side of the bike or a single wheeled one which mounts from both sides of the bike.
There are many pros and cons with both approaches which I’ll write about another time but my research eventually resulted in my buying the legendary BOB Yak – you can see some of our adventures together here.
All BOB trailers mount to your bike by way of a specialised quick release skewer which replaces the standard one in your rear wheel, the trailer ‘fork’ then simply clips onto the new skewer and off you go. This is a bit of an ingenious solution as it allows the trailer to track directly behind the bike, lean as you lean and pull evenly from both sides of the chainstays. Beware, however, if you regularly carry a lot of weight in the trailer, there is a very good chance that the stress you place on the skewer may cause it to bend and I have a theory that my rear hub’s premature failure was at least partially caused by the additional load applied by the weight of the trailer.
Since I bought my Yak several years ago, a few other worthy contenders have come onto the market; most notable amongst which are the Bill and Ted trailers from the slightly unhinged drawing board over at Surly… No, I haven’t tested either or even seen them in person. No, I can’t afford one. No, I don’t need one. Yes, of course I want one. Yes, of course Karen would leave me if I bought one.
Meh. I’m more than happy with my Yak and those dedicated mounts on the Troll suit Surly mounting bolts and BOB Nutz… or so they would have you believe.
Caution: this following section contains traces of science and / or engineering.
I have no idea how Surly trailer bolts mount onto the frame but BOB Nutz are designed to replace wheel nuts on solid axle bikes (those without a quick release) which means you end up with a female threaded frame mount and a female threaded BOB nut… what’s needed here is something decidedly manly. Or, something male threaded anyway.
The required testosterone was provided by a 10mm solid axle, the likes of which are found on any el cheapo mountain bike rear wheel (consult your local friendly bike shop if you don’t have one lying around in your parts box).
- Step 1 – Remove the rear wheel and derailleur from the frame. Thread the axle into the dedicated boss from the outside of the frame and thread the BOB nut onto the inside, ensuring as much axle as possible is inserted and the nut is resting against the frame.
- Step 2 – Mark the protruding axle with tape or similar, remove from frame and hacksaw off the excess. Clean up the cut end, grease well and insert into the BOB nut so you essentially have something ready to thread flush into the frame bosses.
- Step 3 – Grease and attach the now male BOB nut (which I suppose technically makes it a BOB bolt) to the frame by threading it into the female boss from the outside of the frame. Replace rear wheel, attach Surly Tuggnut, bolt derailleur back on, marvel in wonder at the inexplicable ease with which these various parts barely avoid interfering with each other, the pannier mount and mudguard mount. Remove the engine as described in chapter one.
- Step 4 – Attach BOB Yak to Surly Troll, ride to bike shop, load trailer up with plenty of boxes of brand new shiny. Ride home prompting as many strange looks as possible. Explain justification for boxes of brand new shiny to disgruntled girlfriend.