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Thread: Tag along Bikes

  1. #1
    Senior Member ummbnb's Avatar
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    Tag along Bikes

    Planning to get one of these for my 6yo for Christmas so he can go on longer rides with me. Any advice on one brand over another?

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    Burley Piccolo's are arguably the best ones made. I think the main difference with the Burley's is that the connection setup is less prone to slop and sway. Currently the Piccolo is not in production. However, you can find used ones on Craigslist and ebay. When I last was looking about 8 months ago, they were going for ~$175-300. Another "however" is that they are reportedly coming back into production within a year.

    If you don't want to spend that much, people report that the Adams and Trek models are next in order of preference.

    Do a search on "tagalong". There are many threads that may cover some questions you have not thought of yet .

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    Senior Member veloellen's Avatar
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    MY piccolo just sold on ebay tonight - heavy but very stable. Our son is also 6 years old. We own a tandem and bought a stoker kit for him - getting it installed as I write this! GIANT has a very good tag-a-long - best trail-a-bike rated by BICYCLING last year.

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    I have towed my son (now 5, we started when he was 3) over 1000 miles, on two different tag alongs. First was a non-pedaling version of the Instep Hitchhiker. We really liked it, it towed well on the road, but was only mediocre on singletrack because it doesn't have enough clearance over the rear wheel. This year, we've put almost 500 miles on an Adams Trail-a-Bike. After extensive review and comparison we settled on this model mainly because: 1) it is excellent offroad (lot's of rear tire clearance so when I go over steep hills (small, steep hills where there isn't a flat surface at the top but immediately goes back down) the arm attaching to my seatpost doesn't rub on my rear tire 2) I have multiple hitches so I can tow it using any bike I own; btw, the hitches are $15 through REI, $30 everywhere else) 3) the construction of the frame protects the front chainring.
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    procrastinating member
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    Anyone have direct experience with one of these?

    http://www.trail-gator.com/

    It seems like a longer-lasting solution than a trailer-only bike, if the usability/performance is comparable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepoole View Post
    Anyone have direct experience with one of these?

    http://www.trail-gator.com/

    It seems like a longer-lasting solution than a trailer-only bike, if the usability/performance is comparable.
    Try a search on "gator", a few hits there.

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    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Only problem with a Trail-Gator is the child has a brake.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepoole View Post
    Anyone have direct experience with one of these?

    http://www.trail-gator.com/

    It seems like a longer-lasting solution than a trailer-only bike, if the usability/performance is comparable.

    There is another way to spell its name: W-o-b-b-l-y !

    There are lots of posts about it in this forum. Not a very good solution, except for very occasional use.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

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    Senior Member DynamicD74's Avatar
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    My husband and five year old daughter love riding together, with my daughter on her Adams Trail a bike Folder 1. It's single speed with no brake, and it folds for storage. My five year old is terrified of the prospect of removing her training wheels from her bicycle, so we're hoping that riding behind dad on the trail a bike will help her in several ways.
    Stealth Bike Pilot

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    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    The best trail-a-bike: Burley Piccolo.
    Good news: Burley is selling the Piccolo again . . . made to their specs in China, at a lower price.
    Avialable in single speed or multi-geared. Check with a Burley dealer.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    I saw a trail-gator for the first time a few weeks back while visiting a friend in the San Francisco area. They used it occasionally with their son when he gets tired riding solo after a long family ride. While not as stable as a proper trailer bike, it does fit a nitch situation of not having to push a child to finish a ride if they are beat.

    We use a Gary Fisher labled Trek Mountaintrain 206 (Fisher is a Trek brand line). Once you get the mount tight, it is nice and stable. I just last week bought some pedals with integral clips to help my daughter keep her feet in place. Especially important when they get tired. The bike is fine. Only minor gripe is no protection for the chainring when not attached to my bike.

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    The Trek I bought for a nine year old was unstable with the original factory fittings.. Although he was a good bike rider, the lack of stability made him too nervous to want to ride it. I bought a second "fit kit" of spacers which enabled me to take out the "free play" and get it to ride smoothly...but I was VERY unhappy it did not have the proper spacers in the original fit kit, and equally unhappy that the shop tech did not know that the additional spacers were essential.

    And, by age ten, he wanted to ONLY ride his bike...I think that Trek tag-a-long ended up costing about $50 per hour of actual use.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    Odd, as mine came with three grey spacers (marked 1, 2 & 3), and an additional thin sleeve, giving 6 combinations. Within a day I found the perfect fit, and used it a fair amount last summer. My daughter turns 5 next week, so I suspect we will have at least a year or more on the T-A-B. Next summer I will try and teach her to shift on command - that ought to be interesting!

    I taught her to ride this past summer, and a few weeks ago she 'graduated' from the 12" to the 16" tire bike. She is great on flat terrain for up to 5 miles solo, but anything more demanding I insist on the T-A-B for our outings.

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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I've never used these tag-along thingies- but I would assume they are geared a lot higher than a normal kid's bike? Meaning that with a healthy adult pulling the bike, the kid couldn't ever pedal fast enough to add any power with a Trail-Gator?

  15. #15
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    It was with this concern in mind that I went with the 6 speed T-A-B. Depending on terrain we will be riding, I preset a gear for her so that she can actively participate. You would be surprised how much of a help a kid can be when you approach a hill. Compared to a passive trailer that acted like a drag shute, the TAB is a breeze to pull.

    Oh, and those pedals (clips) I purchased when out of town? Of course - wrong diameter thread post. Too big for the crank arms. I was down in TX (Richardson Bike Mart). Great store, bad advise!

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    Do you know if they make tandem trail-a-bikes? A co-worker of mine has twins; they are not quite old enough to use one yet, but they will be soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elkhound View Post
    Do you know if they make tandem trail-a-bikes? A co-worker of mine has twins; they are not quite old enough to use one yet, but they will be soon.
    Adams used to but not anymore. I think they stopped making them due to liability issues. They do come up on ebay occasionally and go for a couple hundred.

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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I know I've seen a tandem trailer within the last month or so at Richardson Bike Mart here in the Dallas area- I didn't know such a thing existed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    I know I've seen a tandem trailer within the last month or so at Richardson Bike Mart here in the Dallas area- I didn't know such a thing existed.
    A tandem trailer and a tandem TAB are two different things, at least to me. A trailer would be something like a Burley D'Lite, Chariot Cougar, Trek Gobug, etc. A TAB would be a Burley Piccolo, Trek Train, Adams, etc.

    I do think there was a trailer made that had tandem (front to back) seating and not the typical side-by-side, but I do not remember the name of it, nor have I ever seen one.

  20. #20
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    What I mean is an attachment with one wheel that goes on behind a regular bike, with two sets of pedals for two kids to pedal- they're seated inline. It's not just to tote dead weight around.

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    As mentioned, Adams did make a tandem TAB, but no longer. I just went with a TAB behind my bike for one child, and a regular trailer behind another bike (usually my mom) for the second. When my twins turned 5 (they are tall for their age, admittedly) I purchased a Trek T900 tandem (hybrid with a very low stoker position) and put a Trek Mountain Train behind it. DS is about 2 inches taller than DD, so he was able ride stoker before his sister (with crank shorteners); and the trailer bike is lower, so DD usually takes that position. Of course as soon as they were riding reliably our streets were torn up and our riding seriously limited until just last month, but as soon as the weather warms up a bit we will be out on it again. They are 6 now and DD likes to ride her own bike more, but for longer rides I still get her onto the "bike train."

    Catherine

  22. #22
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    StephenH is right. Richardson Bike Mart had a tandem hanging on a rack next to the Trek Mountaintrains when I was there at Thanksgiving. It was used, IIRC - a rental item, but in good shape. First time I had ever seen one.

    Oh, and I sent them a note about being sold the wrong pedals, and they are sending me out the correct set at no charge (no need to return the first set). Nice.... I'd deal with them again.

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    All:

    Adam's has re-introduced the tandem t-a-b:

    http://www.trail-a-bike.com/product/...iginal-tandem/

    Don

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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepoole View Post
    Anyone have direct experience with one of these?

    http://www.trail-gator.com/

    It seems like a longer-lasting solution than a trailer-only bike, if the usability/performance is comparable.

    Just saw this:

    http://dallas.craigslist.org/bik/636336949.html
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    Trek only so so

    Having owned several Trek bikes, we special ordered the trail bike with 7 speed shifter. The shifter is sorta handy, as you can set a gear for the kid, but they really don't shift it themselves much.

    But we were really unhappy with the Trek, it was the only Trek product we ever bought that was poor quality. I really don't think it's any better than the cheap ones, and would save my money. I'm guessing it really is one of the cheap brands with a Trek sticker.

    The hitch works, but even when properly installed the trail bike tends to go the opposite of the way you want, just ever so slightly. This is OK for kids that can't ride yet, but drives kids used to balancing crazy. It was frustrating enough I wanted to make my own hitch, that made the bike lean slightly in a turn (not that difficult I don't think). I'm guessing all trail a bikes are similar in this regard.

    We wanted a Burley, but never could find one. That hitch appears much better, but no experience to know for sure.

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