Then the build began… Trails Trust trailers evolve
Craftsman Jeff Anderson took a deep breath and cut into the first piece of alloy.
“It was quite overwhelming to be honest."
“I could visualise the two trailers being towed in the forest and here’s me finally getting stuck into it after a big build up and planning phase.
“I felt inspired, exhilarated and focused once on the tools. It was awesome to know I was at the heart of producing something that will make people’s lives easier.”
Jeffson Bikes owner Jeff Anderson has been in the business of bike frame building and servicing for 37 years. When Bosch eBike Systems sat down with him and the Rotorua Trails Trust in late 2019 to understand the challenges the Trust faces, he could visualise the project.
Rotorua Trails Trust manager, Damian Clarke, explained his team found it difficult hauling more than 30kg of equipment into the forest daily. He found driving people and gear around expensive, time-consuming and environmentally unfriendly.
As a result, the design and development of Project Mahi Waka – a trail maintenance trailer (small and nimble) and Piki Waka – a trail building trailer (large, lockable, modular) was born. Both trailers designed to be towed by Trek eBikes epowered by Bosch and decked out with new Bosch power tools.
Jeff said the design took some innovation as no-one had built trailers like this before for New Zealand riders and New Zealand conditions.
This meant in the design phase he spoke with three other local Rotorua engineers to brainstorm the design and materials.
Damian says the Trails Trust have been surprised and stoked to see how much the trailers can carry.
“Even though mock-ups were made, it’s another reality once they’re actually built.
“I’ve been in a few times each week since the build began and it’s been great to have input as the designs have been refined.”
Trail builder Casey King said his shoulders and back will be thanking him for it.
“This is going to save a lot of carrying, normally we've got the fuel in one hand, chainsaw on the shoulder, and somehow a couple of other tools too, so it'll prevent a lot of balancing of stuff, and sore backs.
“As an example, sometimes we had to walk in gear for the Kotukutuku trail build for 2.5 km and that wore you out before you even got on the digger, so this change is going to be good.
“With the trailers being towed on the back of an ebike, it's effortless to ride which is excellent.”
Trail builder Jamie Walker agrees.
“The eBikes definitely help to push off to start with. Once you get momentum, the assistance of the battery kicks in and you zoom along the single track with the trailer.”
The Trails Trust are getting stuck into their work this week with these amazing new assets.
Jeff explains it was a fun and inspiring process and he’s loved being involved with the Trails Trust and Bosch eBike Systems as a team for the process.
“Bosch have a vision to Innovate for Life. I feel we have stayed true to that ethos with this project bringing fun and enjoyment to mountain bikers for many years to come.
“As a craftsman - these trailers are pieces of art to me.
“I feel proud to have worked on a project that helps the Rotorua community.”
Jeff’s final designs resulted in the following features:
– aluminium - for the right balance between lightness, strength and durability.
– a trailer coupling to hook to the Trek eBikes epowered by Bosch for strength, robustness and ease of latching and unlatching.
– Hubs & spokes - downhill hubs and spokes for strength.
– Rims - tubeless tyre rims to absorb the shock from the forest floor and to avoid punctures.
– Tyres - Maxxis all terrain tread tyres with heavy sidewalls.
– developed to tie gear on top that doesn’t go in the boxes such as rakes, spades, weed eater etc
Maximum load capacity:
– Piki Waka 2 wheel trailer: 85 kg, Mahi Waka single wheel trailer: 40 kg
– Piki Waka (trail building trailer): lockable lid for trail builders to be able to take the main box off the trailer to use securely on-site over multiple days in remote locations.
The modular trailer base can still be used in other ways by the Trails Trust in the meantime while the build is underway.
– Mahi Waka (maintenance trailer): a sir clip to keep it closed