Operators need to be practical about wedge double-deck trailers, says Don-Bur

George Barrow
April 26, 2017


Don-Bur has urged operators to be pragmatic in their adoption of wedge double-deck trailers, rather than going for the largest cube-out volume available on the market.

With the wedge design now allowing for a 52-pallet volume, the front of the trailer has become a contentious area as manufacturers have looked to maximise the capacity above the fifth wheel with only a finite amount of room to play with.

Don-Bur is exhibiting a 13.6m-long, straight-frame, tri-axle wedge lifting deck trailer (pictured) at the CV Show this week. It has an overall height of 4,930mm (16ft 2in) and is designed to suit a standard 1,250mm fifth wheel height. It is one of 41 such trailers being built for Whistl.

Richard Owens, group marketing manager at the trailer manufacturer, told CM that the overall height on its own had raised a number of questions.

“Where 4,880mm (16ft) used to be the default maximum double-deck height a decade ago, there is no legal limit and trailer roofs have been creeping up and up to the point where 4,930mm is now fairly common,” he said. 

“Unmarked motorway bridges have a minimum height of 16ft 6in [5,029mm] but this doesn’t account for the last resurfacing, slight unevenness in the road or even the slight drop in height sometimes associated with the bridge sections under the hard shoulders; now in common use,” Owens added. 

“At 4,930mm, you’re only left with a few inches clearance.  Any higher and your drivers might start wincing every time they go under a bridge.”

He also urged operators to consider the impact some models of wedge double-deck trailers would have on the fifth wheel height, and what that would mean for the type of truck in operation.

“The UK standard of 1,250mm [for fifth wheel height] doesn’t provide a lot of scope to expand internal dimensions so the temptation is to opt for a low, European height – circa 980mm,” explained Owens.

“However, aside from a hefty investment in specialist tractor units, an operator would then be introducing a wild card into the fleet that wouldn’t then be compatible with other trailers,” he said.  

“A workable compromise might be a dual-height fifth wheel ranging from 1,070mm at its lowest to 1,220mm, only 50mm shy of the UK standard.”

Our Live Blog has more from the show.

  • If you're looking for a used trailer we have 39 for sale from Don-Bur and more than 1,400 from a range of manufacturers available. 

About the Author


George Barrow

George has been writing about nearly anything with wheels for the past 15 years and is the UK jury member of the International Van of the Year and International Pick-Up Award.

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