How it works

A bike trailer is attached to the rear wheel using a (tow-bar) and a hitch and is pulled by the bicycle. Through a rear-view mirror on the handlebar you can observe what is going on in the back. Such a mirror can be retrofitted to the handlebar or helmet.

Special baby seats for bike trailers

In order to transport babies who cannot sit on their own in a bike trailer there are two possibilities: special infant hammocks and child seats. A special bike carrier seat can be installed in most trailer models using customised seat belts. The device for a car seat can also be mounted in some models so that the baby can ride along in it. Different trailer models allow the installation of a special infant swing (similar to a hammock). Please note the manufacturer’s specifications for all products.

Child seats specifically for bike trailers

These special carrier seats for bike trailers are made of unbreakable material. They are attached to the trailer frame with customised seat belts. Here, too, the baby is buckled up during the ride. The seats are small, which makes it possible to fit two of them next to each other in a two-seat bike trailer, if for example twins are to ride along. These carrier seats do not fit into all kinds of trailers and do not absorb shocks as well as the infant hammocks do.

Infant carrier car seats in bike trailers

Carrier car seats can be fitted in only few trailer models. They are mostly only available for one-seat models. They can be fastened to the trailer by using a click adapter that needs to be installed before use and is offered by the trailer’s manufacturer. The car seat does not absorb shocks as well as an infant swing does. Just like in the swing the baby is buckled up and can safely ride along. As soon as it is asleep the seat can be taken out of the trailer without having to wake the baby up.

Bike trailers are highly secure! Most models come with a rollover bar and a metal frame that form a protective cage in the event of an accident.

Belt systems and suspension

Babies have no sufficiently developed back muscles to independently absorb major shocks. Bike trailers for children should therefore have a suspension system that absorbs shocks on uneven surfaces and thus prevents possible damage to the child’s spine. Depending on the model there are self-adjusting suspension systems and suspension systems which need to be adjusted according to the current weight the trailer is carrying (see picture). In all models the little passengers are buckled up using a belt system and therefore remain in the trailer in the event of an accident.

Seat minimizer

The children can ride along in the normal seats of the bike trailer as soon as they are able to sit on their own without additional support. There are special seat minimizers that support the head and hips of babies who can sit on their own but are still too small for the normal seats.

Conversion to a stroller

The (tow-bar) is mounted on the trailer and can be easily removed on many models. Often, one or two (small) stroller wheels or one (larger) jogger wheel can then be attached or folded out, so that the trailer can be used as a stroller. Since most bike trailer models can be used as strollers, they can also be taken on trains.

Flexible use – multiple bicycles and only one trailer

Depending on the model, the hitch is either delivered multiple times straightaway or it can be reordered. The second or third set of coupling can be mounted on the various bicycles of the family/the users. The trailer is therefore not tied to a specific bicycle but can be used flexibly.

Attachment to special bikes, e. g. folding bikes

A bicycle trailer can also be attached to special types of biycles, e. g. folding bicycles, tandem bicycles or pedelecs as long as the assisted speed does not exceed 25km/h (please note the manufacturer’s specifications!). Depending on the model of the bike, the rear wheel axle might need to be exchanged in order to mount the trailer coupling; ask your local bicycle shop for further information. According to traffic regulations (check your local legislation) bicycle trailers for children cannot be attached to an S-pedelec with registration (S-pedelecs/E-bikes can reach a maximum speed of 45 km/h). Due to technical reasons some special bicycle frames or special gear shifting systems do not allow for bike trailers to be attached. So, it is recommended to always bring your bicycle with you to the specialised dealer when choosing a trailer.

What to watch out for when buying a trailer


If you are planning on carrying the trailer often (e. g. stairs to your apartment) it should be as light as possible.


If not already attached, a separate rear light according to traffic regulations ( depending on local legislation) needs to be added to the trailer. Tip: Buy a rear light with a rechargeable battery (available in stores from approx. 20 euros, as of July 2018).


The bicycle trailer should have a rainproof outer material and, if possible, a seal indicating the use of non-toxic materials in the upholstery and belts. The side windows and the top should have UV protection. Information on this usually is found directly on the demonstration models in specialist shops.

Prices of bicycle trailers

The prices for bicycle trailers range from 150 euros to approximately 1,400 euros (as of July 2018); the price range is comparable to that of strollers. Cheaper models usually are cheaply manufactured might be less convenient to use and often lacksuspension. Expensive, high quality trailers usually have good (and well-adjustable) suspension, have technical tricks that make them easier to be handled and/or are made in Europe. However, fundamentally, cheaper bike trailers are just as suitable for taking a baby along, provided that an adequate baby seat is installed. Bicycle trailers usually have a long durability and are often used by a family for many years, which relativizes the costs of purchase. There is also a market for used trailers. Here you might find an affordable model or be able to resell your trailer after the kids have grown out of it.

Hitching and unhitching

If the trailer is frequently coupled and uncoupled from the wheel, the coupling should be easy to handle.

Single- or two-seater?

A second child is planned or already on the way? Then it might make sense to purchase a bicycle trailer with two seats straightaway. However, if the children have a large age difference, a single-seater might be sufficient because the older child can switch to a child seat on the biycle or maybe even ride one on its own already. A single-seater usually moves more flexibly and fits better through narrow passages. The price difference between a single- and a two-seater is usually about 100 euros (as of July 2018); almost all manufacturers offer both single- and two-seaters.

Easy conversion

Should the bike trailer be used as a stroller as well, it is recommended to watch out for an easily convertible one to avoid being irritated by it. A drawbar that can be removed without having to lift the trailer is helpful. Otherwise, while a child is still in the trailer (e. g. it is sleeping) the conversion is inconvenient.


Should the trailer need to fit through narrow doors or passages (e. g. front door, elevator, cycle barrier) it should be adequately small. Busses, trams, or trains of local public transport are now mostly barrier-free and can usually be accessed with a wider trailer, too. A very small trailer might offer less comfort for the child.

Bicycle trailer, cargo bike and child seat in comparison


Bike trailer

  • If necessary, the trailer needs to be assembled and coupled to the bicycle before setting off
  • Flexible use for couples, so that the trailer can be stored at the place of care

Cargo bike

  • Spontaneous departure/trips possible, no assembly required

Child seat

  • If necessary, the seat needs to be installed before leaving
  • Flexible use for couples, so that the child seat can be stored at the place of care


Bike trailer

  • Attaching baby seats or infant swings to the frame is usually easy
  • Compatible with almost all types of bicycles
  • Suspension useful and available depending on the model
  • Lighting on the trailer is mandatory as the bicycle rear light is covered
  • Belt system available in all models

Cargo bike

  • Attachment of baby seats and infant swings is usually only possible with special equipment
  • Suspension useful and available depending on the model
  • Belt system available in all models

Child seat

  • Belt system and leg protection are standard equipment
  • Compatible with almost all types of bicycles
  • Automatic, independent suspension, depending on the model

Eye contact

Bike trailer

  • The child is seated behind the cyclist
  • During the ride, eye contact with the child is only possible via a rear-view mirror

Cargo bike

  • Depending on the model, eye contact with the child is possible
  • During the ride, communication with the child is possible

Child seat

  • Depending on the model, the child sits in front or behind the cyclist
  • During the ride, communication with the child is possible

Handling and riding comfort

Bike trailer

  • Nearly the same compared to cycling without a trailer

Cargo bike

  • Significantly different, varies depending on the type of cargo bike

Child seat

  • Is changed


Bike trailer

  • For weather and theft protection a lockable storage room accessible without stairs is recommended

  • Flexible storage due to the foldability of the trailer, also possible in the apartment
  • Weather protection available for occasions when the trailer is parked outside

Cargo bike

  • For weather and theft protection a lockable storage room accessible without stairs is recommended – a cargo bike is often too heavy to carry
  • Weather protection available if the cargo bike is parked outside

Child seat

  • Requires the same space in width as a conventional bicycle
  • Weather protection available if the child seat remains outside on the bike

Useful accessories

Bike trailer

  • Handbrake when using as a stroller and/or jogger
  • Bipod or rear kick stand for stable stand of the bike
  • Flag for better visibility in traffic

Cargo bike

  • Electric assist

Child seat

  • Bipod or rear kick stand for stable stand of the bike
  • Depending on the model, the seat can be tilted when the child is asleep


Bike trailer

  • Average acquisition costs, about 150 to 1,400 euros (as of July 2018)

Cargo bike

  • High acquisition costs, about 1,000 to 6,000 euros (as of July 2018)

Child seat

  • Low acquisition costs, about 30 to 150 euros (as of July 2018)