Can Electric Bikes Tow Trailers? (7 Of The Best Options)

I wanted to buy an electric bike for my wife, but I wasn’t sure if an electric bike could pull a trailer up the hill where we live. I couldn’t find a definitive answer, so I bought one anyway to find it out.

Electric bikes can pull trailers, which makes them a convenient option for bike commuting with children and grocery shopping. Some electric bikes are strong enough to pull trailers uphills, even on steeper climbs with relatively heavy loads.

Let’s see what kind of an e-bike you need to pull your trailer and the best trailers available for your electric bike.

To understand whether an electric bike can pull a trailer, you need to consider the following factors: 

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  • Type of electric motor
  • Amount of extra weight
  • Terrain
  • Power of electric motor

Type of motor: Hub vs mid-drive

Whether buying a hub or mid-drive motor e-bike is probably the most important decision. They both have their advantages and limitations.

Electric motors take energy from your battery and give you torque in return. 

Hub motor

A hub motor, gives you torque directly at the wheel, and the gears on your bike don’t come into play. Some electric bikes have their hub motor built into the front wheel, but more commonly, they have it built into the rear wheel. 

The main advantage of hub motors over mid-drives is that they are a lot cheaper because of their simple design. These bikes are often equipped with a throttle that allows you to ride them like a small motorbike.

The biggest drawback of hub motor electric bikes is that they are less powerful than their mid-drive counterparts, and therefore they may struggle to haul a heavy trailer.

You need a 750W hub motor or stronger if you want to haul a trailer full of kids, and you have some inclines as well. 250W or even 500W are not strong enough to assist you up a hill.

Here are a few bikes that are well-suited for pulling trailers:

  • RadWagon – Amazing cargo bike. You may not even need a trailer if you purchase this one.
  • Rad Rover – Strong, reliable and robust. Great service.
  • Aventon Aventure – Great design, excellent battery life. You can buy the trailer from the manufacturer directly.
  • Himiway Zebra – Great value proposition. Reliable, strong bike.
  • Juiced Ripcurrent S – A strong, fast e-bike with a big battery pack.


A mid-drive motor gives you torque at the pedal, and the power gets transferred through the chain and cogs to the wheel. When you change to the smallest gear, you have plenty of power available to you to haul a trailer.

A bike with a 250W mid-drive electric motor is strong enough to assist you up a steep hill with a full trailer. You need to switch to the lowest gear on your bike and you need to pedal harder than normal, but it makes getting up the hill possible.

Income School

Hunter bikes have 750W motors or even stronger, and they are specifically designed to pull heavy trailers on challenging terrains.

Mid-drive motors are more sophisticated, and therefore more expensive than hub motors.

Here are two excellent mid-drive bikes:

  • Lectric XPremium – An excellent folding mid-drive in an affordable price range
  • Rambo Bushwacker – With up to 1500W of power available, this bike can haul anything anywhere.

Extra weight

The more extra weight you pull the more extra power you need to keep you going, and the more you can benefit from an electric bike.

A bike trailer weighs between 30-45 lbs (14-20 kg) on average, and it can carry up to 50 – 275 lbs (23 – 125 kg).

Here are some examples of how much extra total weight you need to consider (in addition to the bike and the rider):

  • Small trailer + groceries for a week for a small family: 50-55 lbs (22 – 25 kg)
  • Small trailer + 4-year-old child: 65-75 lbs (30 – 34 kg)
  • Large trailer + groceries for a week for a large family: 90 – 100 lbs (40 – 45 kg)
  • Large trailer + 2 children (3&5 years old): 120 – 140 lbs (55 – 64 kg)

You can use a strong hub drive motor if you have less than 75 lbs of extra weight. Go for a strong mid-drive motor if the total weight of your trailer and cargo are in excess of 75 lbs. ailer.


The terrain makes a huge difference whether or not you have a trailer. Even a slight incline slows you down. When you have a trailer it’s always extra work, because of the added weight. 

The flatter the terrain, the more likely that a hub motor is sufficient. Go for a mid-drive option if you need to climb steep hills.

Battery life when pulling a trailer

Riding an e-bike with a trailer reduces the bike’s battery range. 

How fast your battery will be depleted compared to when it’s not pulling a trailer depends on:

  • The level of assistance
  • Extra weight
  • Terrain

Weight and terrain don’t only play an important role in deciding what type of motor you need to opt for. They influence a great deal how far you can go on a single charge too.

Besides weight and terrain, the level of assistance is the third important factor in your battery range. Your leg is a “motor” too, because the harder you’re able to pedal the less the motor needs to work. This means that you get longer range out of each charge. 

Using an electric bike in power-on-demand mode with a heavy trailer reduces its maximum range by up to 80%. This means that if your e-bike is capable of doing up to 50 miles (80 km) on a single charge, you may only get 10 miles (16 km) when fully loaded and on a hilly terrain.

If you use your bike in pedelec mode (it only assists you when you pedal), the motor doesn’t need to work as hard, so you increase your e-bike range. 

By lowering the level of assistance and pedal more, you can go further on a single charge. 

My experience is that a fully loaded electric bike on a mixed hilly and flat terrain gives 30% of its maximum range. Our electric bike is rated at 125 miles (200 km) on the lowest assist level on flat terrain, but on the highest assist level, towing a fully loaded trailer on a mixed hilly and flat terrain we only get about 37 miles (60 km) out of one charge. 


E-bikes and trailers are a great combination. If you love cycling, it’s a combo that can replace a car in the family. As long as you set realistic expectations, don’t overload your trailer, and have a bike with sufficient power, you will be a happy rider.

Happy Riding!

Sam Benkoczy

Hi, I'm Sam. I own and maintain 6 e-bikes, 15 regular bikes (road bikes, folding bikes, hybrid bikes, city bikes among others). I learned about bikes from my local bike mechanic as well as from bike maintenance courses. I love being out there in the saddle, and using my bike as a practical means of transportation. You can also find me on my YouTube channel at Say hi to me at

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