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Old 07-20-08, 01:37 PM   #1
Jerry in So IL
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Trail/Tag Along Bikes

What is a good setup? I've only seen the cheap ones at Target and Wally World, Schwinn I think and InStep, for around $100. Are the OK? Are is there better ones. And is there a "bar" that can convert their bike into a TAB?

My rider is a 4.5 year old that is above average in height.

I was thinking avout a BOBike Junior as an alterate.

I know theses are two different animals, each with pluses and minuses. I was wondering more on teh quaility of them.

Jerry
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Old 07-20-08, 02:29 PM   #2
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I have a trek mt train 60 My son has used it for 2 years and going my daughter will start using it soon. This is a high perfomance machine and we routinly go over 18MPH and go on 20 mile club rides so i would stay away from any quality issues that come with a xmart bike.

its it not a toy.
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Old 07-20-08, 08:35 PM   #3
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The very best TAB made is the Burley Piccolo. It tracks and stays vertical the best of them all.

The Trek's and Adams models are decent and very ridable.

If you plan on using it more frequently, I'd recommend the Burley, otherwise the other two above will do fine. If you get something else and you can not easily get it to stay vertical or your child gets nervous when you turn because of the lean, return it immediately and get one of the above.

I'd recommend the geared version. Your 4.5yo likely won't be able to use the gears but by next year you can start teaching them and talking them through on how to use them. Around 6 they will have a pretty good idea of how to use them. Singlespeeds are fine though.

Drawback to the Burley is that it mounts to a supplied rack and is not as easy to mount on a second bike. If you plan on using it on multiple bikes, get a second rack. Resale on the Burley's is quite good.
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Old 07-21-08, 01:08 PM   #4
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The very best TAB made is the Burley Piccolo. It tracks and stays vertical the best of them all.

The Trek's and Adams models are decent and very ridable.
According to the Burley website, the unique mounting mechanism offers better stability and security. How's your experience with the Burley mounting vs. the seatpost mounting? Can the Burley be quickly detached from the adult bike?

Thanks.
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Old 07-21-08, 04:57 PM   #5
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I've had both mounting types. The first was a used Kent something or other. I gave it away after various attempts to get it secured.

The Burley is easy breezy. After the rack is mounted, there is only a lever (engages the failsafe attachment) and then a screw (with a palm sized knob) that mates the coupler to the rack. Takes about 30 seconds to attach or detach. Pretty much idiot proof.

The kids were scared on the Kent. They all love the Burley. Great tracking, stays vertical. If the Trek/Adams/etc. seat post mount styles can be securely fitted to your bike, they should work fine. From other posts here it sounds like they do.
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Old 07-21-08, 10:50 PM   #6
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Another difference between both is that the Burley uses what looks like a bottom bracket and a headset (i.e. articulations on ball bearings) to allow movement between the bike and trailercycle, whereas the Addams and most or all others use a simple universal joint. Because the articulations of the Piccolo hitch are on bearings, they don't wear out the same way as others.

In my case, I got the Addams Trail-a-Bike for one year... and 1500 km. While it was fairly stable at first, it developed some serious play during that year. While it was still physically secure, it really fell on my nerves.

I then replaced it with a Piccolo, bought in 2001. It has an estimated 8 000 km and is still going strong, with various upgrades parts replacements over the years:
- rear rack and fender
- taillights
- new 9-speed rear wheel after about 6 months (the original hub froze literally)
- articulation bearings overhaul 2 or 3 years ago.


I probably will be able to use it for another one year, two years at most. But I'll get rid of it because I'm running out of children.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:55 AM   #7
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Next year we'll be putting our Adams t-a-b to the test, right now our 3.5 yr old is still commuting inside her trailer. Hope the t-a-b gets her through until it's finally time for kindergarten (which she'll ride her own bike to), have to wait and see. The Adams has been rock-solid so far for our 7 yr old but has not been asked to carry a truly daily all-season burden. The burley was not available when we got ours, but I was skeptical of the proprietary rack in the first place, though I probably shouldn't be, it's not like I carry VW engine blocks too often on my tubus.
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Old 07-22-08, 11:20 PM   #8
Michel Gagnon
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Well, I should say that my riding mileage is probably way more than what the usual riders do with their children. I am also aware that the T-a-B hitch has been "improved" once or twice since 2000. No idea if those improvements result in better stability.

As for the Burley rack, it is a steel one and is indeed very sturdy. I have toured a few times with 40-50 lb panniers on that rack and a child on the trailercycle (self contained touring with two children means carrying lots of stuff around), and even with that, the contraption remains rock solid. And in commuter/utility mode, I have carried up to 70-80 lb on the rear rack, though usually without the trailercycle.

For short people, the Piccolo offers another advantage : no need for an exposed seatpost to attach the trailercycle.
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Old 07-23-08, 10:35 AM   #9
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FWIW, here's our TAB experience...we purchased one recently for our 3.5yr old to use. He can already ride his own 12" bike (no trainers) very well, but he can't keep up with us and our 6yr old on trail rides. We ride mainly on fire trails (heavily packed dirt roads), paved trails/MUPs and occasionally on streets. Our TAB is the "original folder" singlespeed; it's attached to DH's dual suspension GT MTB. We've probably about 100 miles on it so far and have had no problems with the hitch getting too loose or anything like that. It seems quite secure and sturdy, even when we're riding over rougher dirt roads. I think we paid about $135 for it online (shipping was included and we paid no tax).

We have put the 6 yr old on the TAB and it works fine- he makes a great stoker LOL. You can definitely feel the extra weight of the 6yr old (55lbs), but it's not hard to get used to. If your kid doesn't know how to ride his own bike, the 'lean' and weight shifts of an inexperienced rider might make the set-up a bit squirrelly. I took an older child for a spin around the block and it was no fun since she kept leaning this way and that...Dh has less of a problem with the weight shifts since he weighs more than I do in the first place.

We tried the Burley (our friend had one and lent it to us), and while it's very nice and incredibly sturdy, we couldn't justfy spending $$$$ when it's likely we will only use it for a couple of years. If we had bought one when DS#1 was little, we would have gotten much more use out it and it would have been more economical.
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Old 07-23-08, 11:12 AM   #10
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As far as the cheaper Tabs go, we have a wee-rider copilot and one made by Instep. The wee-rider is much nicer than the instep. The handle bars and seat are tons easier to adjust, However, the instep does go a little bit lower. I picked our up on Craigslist for not much money. I really hope that someday we can have the burley one, but for now the Wee-rider works well and we haven't had any trouble with it. On a side note, the seat back from Adam's can be used on it. We are planning on ordering one.
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Old 07-23-08, 11:15 AM   #11
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Ps. I should mention that we are only putting about 20 miles on it at a time and that is pretty much on the weedends.
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Old 07-23-08, 05:58 PM   #12
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The Burley works great. It costs more but resale value is very good on Burley products so in the long run it may actually cost less than the cheap ones.

It's too big for our 38" 4.5 year old and just small enough for our 46" 6 year old.
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Old 07-23-08, 09:54 PM   #13
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I have the Trek Mountain Train single speed, and dd gets a free ride whenever we go any speed at all. I would say, what ever you get, get multi-speed.

On your other question, there is the trail-gator. I have friends who used it for a while, and the big drawback is that the child can use his/her coaster brake.

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

Hope that helps

Catherine
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Old 07-23-08, 11:11 PM   #14
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.

On your other question, there is the trail-gator. I have friends who used it for a while, and the big drawback is that the child can use his/her coaster brake.

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

Hope that helps

Catherine
Coaster brakes can easily be made inoperable, but not a good idea if the child is also learning to ride a bike, or does ride it.
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Old 07-24-08, 12:14 AM   #15
Michel Gagnon
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From what I have observed, the Trailgator has a few drawbacks :

– The child can use their brake (a minor inconvenience, in that the child can be told so)

– Many (most?) 12" and 16" bikes are very low quality. The ones my daughters used were great for learning to balance, but I would not have used them for any significant trip.

– When attaching the child bike, the front end has to be raised, which means the seat angle changes. Unless you readjust its angle, the child may have a really sore rear end.

– Most importantly, on many bikes, the attachment to the Trailgator is very sloppy. I think the possibilities for success or failure really depend on the exact configuration of the head tube of the child bike.
I have seen a few that were riding with the child inclined by about 15-20 degrees!
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Old 07-24-08, 03:37 PM   #16
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It's worth it....

We also own a Burley Piccolo and it is well worth the $ we paid. It is very sturdy and stable and we've used it everyday since we bought it. One of the reasons we went with the piccolo was because it doesn't attach to the seat post (which I've read can cause potential problems). And once the rack is installed, the piccolo is extremely easy to attach and remove.
The only issue we had with the piccolo is that our 4 year old son is a little too short for it so he does have a tough time if he wants to pedal. If he just cruises with the pedals parallel to the ground, he's very comfortable and always has a great time. So as an alternative, we modified his shoes so he is able to reach and pedal no problem.
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Old 07-25-08, 12:03 PM   #17
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We have a Trek Mountain Train and I think it is great. My 4 yo daughter thinks it is fun and we have hit speeds of 20 mph+ without any issues. It is super adjustable handlebar/stem and it seems very well built. I bought ours at a garage sale for $60 and it looks brand new - and I have sold others including Adams on Craigslist so I would suggest checking their if you want to save some money. You can generally get them for 1/3 to 1/2 of the price of new so worth the effort.
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Old 07-25-08, 01:22 PM   #18
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I had a Schwinn runabout. It was very poor quality. Barely functional at all. I only needed it for a couple of months, and that is all it lasted. Biggest weakness was the hitch. It was poorly made and lent itself to wobbling, and looseness. Aside from that, the bike itself was low quality, geared strange, and had no brake of any kind. No coaster brake, no lever brake, nothing.
If you are going to use it much, then get a Burley.
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