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Old 06-16-05, 07:21 AM   #1
PaulH
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Trail a bike (or equivalent)

Last Memorial Day weekend, we used Giant's version of the Trail a Bike for transportation around Ocracoke Island, NC (great place). My daughter loved it, and I was delighted at how much less work it was than pulling a trailer. In fact, we did a 14 mile trip in slightly over a half hour each way.

Her day camp is approaching, and she has already been taliking about how she would like to do the daily trip on a Trail a Bike, rather than in our InStep trailer. Since there are some significant hills on the way, this does not seem a bad idea to me either.

What makes of Trail a Bike clones have you used, and how well have they worked? A rear fender would be good as it does rain in the summer here. She is six. The Giant model worked quite well.

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Old 06-16-05, 07:41 AM   #2
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I am using the Gary Fisher version which in 04 was called the Freeloader 20. It has an integrated fender in the front but my bike also has fenders. My son loves going for rides and we ride at least 3 times a week. Trek has a similar version (as they are the same company) and Burley makes the Piccolo which many here like quite a bit. At 6 you may want to look at one of the models that has gearing and or one with a 24" wheel rather than 20".

http://www.fisherbikes.com/bikes/bik...ds&bike=FL_201
http://www.fisherbikes.com/bikes/bik...ds&bike=FL_206
http://www.fisherbikes.com/bikes/bik...ds&bike=FL_241
http://www.burley.com/products/trail...?p=Piccolo&i=8
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Old 06-16-05, 08:46 AM   #3
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14 miles in slightly over a half hour? Let's be generous and say it was 40 minutes. That's a 21 mph average speed. Your daughter must be a good stoker.

I'm using an Adams trail-a-bike (starter model) with my 6-year-old daughter. So far we've only taken it around the neighborhood, which is a 2-mile stretch of gently rolling pavement. She's not much of a pedaler, so I do all the work. I'm not too fond of the Adams' U-joint/hitch mechanism -- it's wobbly and difficult to decouple.
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Old 06-16-05, 10:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulH
What makes of Trail a Bike clones have you used, and how well have they worked? A rear fender would be good as it does rain in the summer here. She is six. The Giant model worked quite well.

Paul
Paul- we have two, a Trek Mt.Train single speed and an Alley Cat with rear der. and 6 spd hub. The frames are nearly identical (with the exception of the dropouts- horizontal on the Trek) and seem of similar build quality. I've gotta believe they came out of the same factory. They ride fine, and while neither came with fenders, I don't think fitting a fender to the rear wheel of either would be hard (actually, I have an old Zefal fender that would be a nice fit, I bet- hmmmnn).

While I'd love to sell you our Trek Mt.Train (we don't need two of these) I feel compelled to tell you that we quickly decided that we needed a geared trail-a-bike, and this is a great option for teaching my son about shifting for when he moves up to two wheels and trail riding. Hence the Alley Cat. There was a recall on the Alley Cat (which I found out about after buying the bike ) having to do with the seatpost mount. I'm keeping a close eye on it, and don't expect a problem fixing it if necessary, but if you don't feel like you "have skills" then you might look to another system.

Steve
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Old 06-16-05, 11:11 AM   #5
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The round trip was 14 miles. It came out to 7 miles in 32 minutes for each of the two route segments. That compares to perhaps 45 minutes each way when pulling the trailer. Quite an improvement!

Paul
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Old 06-17-05, 11:06 AM   #6
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Just FYI: Adams has discontuined the "starter" model of the Trail-A-Bike. They now have a lighter 6 speed shifter model and a single speed folding model. I'd go with a shifter model, hopefully the child will learn how to shift with one amongst the hills.
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Old 06-17-05, 12:19 PM   #7
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Does anyone know who makes one with the highest weight limit? They are not posted on the websites.
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Old 06-17-05, 02:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Does anyone know who makes one with the highest weight limit? They are not posted on the websites.
85 lbs. is the highest I've seen. It isnt' the trailercycle itself that can't hold the weight, but the hitch and the seatpost.
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Old 06-17-05, 07:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outdoorboy
Does anyone know who makes one with the highest weight limit? They are not posted on the websites.
The Burley Piccolo, which is pretty universally regarded as the Cadillac of trailer bikes, is rated for 85 lbs OR 50% of the weight of the rider of the lead bike. Having pulled heavy loads (twins on a tandem trailer bike) I would say that the weight limit is due primarily to handling concerns -- the rig gets squirelly when you load it up.

If you want to go heavier, I would seriously consider a tandem. There is also a thing called a Cycle Morph (http://www.cyclemorph.com/) that is like a trailer-bike but is rigid and for adults.
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Old 07-15-05, 08:57 AM   #10
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Thanks for your help! My local bike shop had a single speed Adams Trail-a-Bike. The only problem was the lack of a fender. My wife and I agreed that this was an absolute "must have' to keep our daughter's clothing from getting soiled and oiled. The shop owner promised to find and adapt a fender, and we paid for the bike.

Two weeks later, the Trail-a-Bike was ready. We used it for the first time yesterday. My normal door-to-door time for taking my daughter to day camp and continuing on to work is about 70 minutes, pulling her in our trailer. Yesterday, with both of us able to pedal on the first segment, I made it in only an hour. She loves the view of her surroundings from the bike seat. Most of all, she loves being able to help out, especially on hills (where she makes a real difference) I don't think she will want to use the trailer again.

Paul
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Old 07-15-05, 09:24 AM   #11
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I have done much longer trips than that when my children were 5 or 6 years old.

For good weather protection, I recommend to add a fender on the trailercycle, as well as mudflaps on the bicycle itself. The rear fender tends to be on the short side, so there will be dirty mist thrown in her face and on her clothing.

BTW, it becomes more evident when you ride in snow or mud...
For an installation, see here:
http://www.mgagnon.net/velo/images/E...B-12-31-51.jpg

And if you wonder why I have a mudflap behind the trailercycle too, it was for when I carried the small kid in the trailer instead:
http://www.mgagnon.net/velo/images/T...-ar2-large.jpg
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Old 07-18-05, 01:05 PM   #12
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We have a folding Adams Trail a Bike four our 4 yr old and love it except we're having a hard time figuring how to get it (or any trail a bike for that matter) on a car rack. The folding trail a bike puts all of the weight on one side and so it's hard to put on a trunk rack - it really shifts the weight. I went to a bike shop and they couldn't figure how to get it on a roof rack so I think we're left with a hitch rack. Has anyone done this with any kind of trail a bike? I think we'd be looking at either the Yakima or Thule hitch rack.

We see people riding trail a bikes on rails to trails trails but haven't found anyone yet who has put one on a car rack. Would love to find out what people have done with any brand trail a bike.
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Old 07-18-05, 02:33 PM   #13
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I've tied mine down to a trunk rack on many occasions. You have to tie down the hitch end to keep it stable enough, and counter stack the tow bike to balance out the rack.
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Old 07-20-05, 04:33 AM   #14
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If you look around especialy on ebay you will find something similar made by a company called Kent. Avoid this brand. I have one. It is a stinkin heap POS. Since I bought it I have seen 2 others that have had welds break on them.
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Old 08-05-05, 02:10 PM   #15
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Hi,

Our daughter 5-1/2 started to really enjoys the trail-a-bike this year. I bought it a couple years ago when she got her 16" bike, but it wasn't until this year that she really loved it. She can get a little squirmy, so my wife has me pull her, and she pulls our son 2-1/2 in the Burley trailer. Not as fun for her, but until our daughter is a little less squirmy, my wife just feels better with the trialer. The Burley Piccolo is wonderful, 6 speed, excellent mounting system, and tows beautifully. I bought it used and saved a little, but should be able to sell it for close to what I paid. We both use our older mountian bikes as the tow units, strong steel frames, better brakes, and relaxed seating position. The Burley is excellent quality and while expensive, the resale is also very good. So if you consider the true "use" cost, it might not be more then a cheap tag-a-long.

John

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Old 08-06-05, 07:36 AM   #16
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Hi,

Our daughter 5-1/2 started to really enjoys the trail-a-bike this year. I bought it a couple years ago when she got her 16" bike, but it wasn't until this year that she really loved it. She can get a little squirmy, so my wife has me pull her, and she pulls our son 2-1/2 in the Burley trailer. Not as fun for her, but until our daughter is a little less squirmy, my wife just feels better with the trialer. The Burley Piccolo is wonderful, 6 speed, excellent mounting system, and tows beautifully. I bought it used and saved a little, but should be able to sell it for close to what I paid. We both use our older mountian bikes as the tow units, strong steel frames, better brakes, and relaxed seating position. The Burley is excellent quality and while expensive, the resale is also very good. So if you consider the true "use" cost, it might not be more then a cheap tag-a-long.

John


One recommendation, get the little on a small hyrationpack for longer rides. Stopping to pick up the water bottle gets old fast.
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Old 08-06-05, 09:09 AM   #17
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No trouble putting our Adams single speed folder on our Thule hitch rack. The front of the frame sits w/ the downtube on top of the bar w/ the rubber strap passing between the down and top tubes of the frame. The rear of the frame is supported w/ the top tube above the rack tube.
Our folder came w/ a fender.
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Old 08-25-05, 08:17 PM   #18
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You'll notice how the burley above attaches to the parents bike. This put's the pivot right above the pivot of the rear tire. I personally don't own one, but if you search this forum you will find were others claim this makes a huge difference. This is why the Burley is considered the cadillac. You can buy a new one for about $324 with shipping from several places on the net. They go for almost that much on ebay. (I've bid on several)

The trek is supposedly solid, but pivot's close to the seat. They come in single or multi speed versions, and are a little cheaper.

They claim the hitch on the adams wears quickly, then gets wiggley causing handling problems.
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Old 08-25-05, 08:21 PM   #19
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Apart from its location, the Burley Piccolo hitch uses two sets of ball bearings (hearset and bottom bracket, more or less) rather than pure friction like the Addams and the Trek. Which means it can't wear out, or almost.

On mine, I had the bearings replaced after 3 years of year-round all-weather use.
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