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Old 08-22-08, 08:01 PM   #1
natbla
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Is this adecent Trail-a-bike?

Is this a decent trail-a-bike ?

http://www.rei.com/product/774425


My Dad is offering to get a trail-a-bike for my daughter and us (me and wife) to use. I don't want to blow him out of the water with a high end Burley even if its the best ever made. I used an Adam's single speed fold able on vacation and that worked well with my 4 year old daughter.

So other than the Adam's what's a good value priced that I'll be able to use with my daughter for the next few years? As she just learned to rider her own bike w/o training wheels, she not up to a longer ride on her own yet.

I know there are a good number of threads on this topic, but I can't find one too easily and I need to email my Dad a couple models by the end of the weekend so he can either send money or order it for us. So the one above is from REI and on sale this week. Any thoughts?

Also any reason I should forgo the single speed and get a geared one at this point. I'm assuming that Lauren, who turns 5 in a month, will be over the trailer bike thing by the time she hits 8. This is why I figure single speed is good enough.

or do I need something like this?
http://www.rei.com/product/757787

I'd be using it on the Allegheny Passage trail and on vacations but not for general road rides (wife isn't willing to risk us getting hit). Any thoughts or comment would be great.

Oh Yeah, I ride mostly road bikes so which ones work best for 700 cc wheels

Thanks

Last edited by natbla; 08-22-08 at 08:07 PM. Reason: another question
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Old 08-23-08, 04:32 AM   #2
bigeasyrider
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The single speed Novara you posted a link to appears to be a lot like the Trek Mountain Train single speed trail-a-bike we bought about a month ago. We've been very happy with the Trek Mountain Train; it seems to have a pretty good build. (In contrast, we initially bought a "Wee-Ride" and took it out once, but found it wasn't built very well and even had a defective tire. It didn't cause us any problems, but it didn't inspire confidence, and we didn't think it safe. We returned it and bought the Trek instead.) The Trek Mountain Train has a 20" tire and seems to fit our daughter (who turned five in June). Like you, we thought a few years is probably all our daughter will want to ride on a trail-a-bike and then will want to be on her own bike. (If it turns out differently, we figure we'll deal with it when the time comes.)

Apart from reasonably built components, one of the most important parts of the trail-a-bikes, we came to recognize, is the hitch where it attaches to your seat post. The Wee-Ride clamped securely, but the hinge of the arm wasn't so great and didn't move very much or very smoothly. The Trek, by comparison, remains fairly stiff but moves fluidly for good cornering. I understand a particular problem with the cheaper trail-a-bikes is that the hitch isn't built very well and doesn't hold up. I don't have any experience with Novara bikes, but from what I've read they make a reasonable product. I imagine their trail-a-bike is fairly commensurate with the Trek Mountain Train.

We paid $170 for the Trek, whereas the Wee-Ride was on sale for $99 (regularly $120). We also considered an Adams (as you mentioned you used on vacation), which sold for $140, from one of our other lbs, but we didn't think it appeared as well built as the Trek. The Wee-Ride is made by Kent. The Adams may be, as well. I'm not sure. Kent sells their trail-a-bikes under a number of different brand names. With few qualifiers, I would say avoid the Kent made trail-a-bikes. A brand name costs a few dollars more, but there's a real difference in quality between the Kent trail-a-bikes and the brand name ones. The difference in price is $50-$70. Our feeling is that if we're putting our five year old on one behind me to ride at any speed at all, that's a small difference in price to pay for peace of mind that she's safe.

Oh, Giant also lists a trail-a-bike on their website. You might want to look at it. I don't have any experience with it, but it might be an alternative name brand to look at if there's not a Trek available near you or by way of whatever manner the bike would be ordered.

One thing to be aware of is that balancing the weight can be more difficult on narrow tires. A road bike with 23s likely will be more of a challenge than if you were on wider tires. We attach ours to my hybrid which has a 32 on the front and a 38 on the back, and I don't find any significant problem balancing my daughter's weight and the trail-a-bike.

Good luck with your efforts. They're great fun. Our five year old took to it immediately and LOVES going for rides (and of reasonable distances, too). It's a great way to ride together as a family. We ride around town, but even limited to trails it'll be great.

Sorry about my longwinded post. Shorter version: Novara looks good. Also try Trek and Giant.
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Old 08-23-08, 07:12 AM   #3
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Previous threads with good info and opinions:

TAB Users
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If you can make up the difference between your father's contribution and the cost of a Burley, I would do that. Otherwise, the Adams and Trek seem to be the better of the seat post hitch tabs. I have not heard much about the Novara's but I would guess they are about the same as the Trek and Adams.

One of the best deals going is the used market. There are a few Piccolos on Craigslist. They generally go for under $200. If over then I would definitely offer less. There is one near me in DC, but it is listed at $200. Of course there is shipping on top of the cost, but you could get a Piccolo for the cost of a new Novara.

If the ride is not that important and you just want one that will work and no hassle shopping, the Novara will be fine.

I'd recommend gears over single speed. They generally don't start to use them until ~6, but it is nice to have when you do more varied terrain with wider speed ranges. It also helps them get used to gears for their individual bikes.

Good luck, post back with what you get.
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Old 08-23-08, 12:17 PM   #4
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A used Burley is a good thing to consider. I just bought an 8 year old Piccolo that has served three children. Other than being a little scuffed up and having a worn out rear tire it works great. Hitch is tight and perfect. Even the shifting is like new.
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Old 09-08-08, 08:44 AM   #5
natbla
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I placed an order for a 7-speed Adam's trail-a-bile on Saturday. It should be in ny the end of next week, just in time for mu daughter's 5th birthday. I'm looking forward to using it with her shorty after that. I have visions of long(ish) rides on the Allegheny Passage near my home this fall, and even some road riding once my wife gets used to the idea. Anyway, I'll let people know how it goes once it gets here.
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Old 09-08-08, 12:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natbla View Post
I placed an order for a 7-speed Adam's trail-a-bile on Saturday. It should be in ny the end of next week, just in time for mu daughter's 5th birthday. I'm looking forward to using it with her shorty after that. I have visions of long(ish) rides on the Allegheny Passage near my home this fall, and even some road riding once my wife gets used to the idea. Anyway, I'll let people know how it goes once it gets here.
That's what I've been using for a bit over a year now. Lots of fun. One catch, w/ the seatpost mount, can't seem to fit it onto my wife's bike between the suspension part of her seatpost and the top of her rack. So she is stuck pulling the trailer for now.

I would trend toward buying a new one from a dealer rather than 2nd hand, I've heard about multiple recalls from Adams and REI models, wouldn't really know where to look or what to look for to find out about potential recalls on other models.
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Old 09-09-08, 09:22 AM   #7
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That's what I've been using for a bit over a year now. Lots of fun. One catch, w/ the seatpost mount, can't seem to fit it onto my wife's bike between the suspension part of her seatpost and the top of her rack. So she is stuck pulling the trailer for now.

I would trend toward buying a new one from a dealer rather than 2nd hand, I've heard about multiple recalls from Adams and REI models, wouldn't really know where to look or what to look for to find out about potential recalls on other models.
It was ordered through one of my local bike shops. Apparently its a listed item in the Redline catalog. I'm not sure if Redline owns the company or are simply a distributor (I didn't ask). Now if I can find the money for a Redline Cyclocross bike.
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Old 09-09-08, 12:00 PM   #8
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I have been very pleased with the Wee Ride Co-Pilot that I got for $60. I compared it to an Adams and shure the Adams looked a little nicer, but not nearly enough to justify 2.5 times the cost. I did have a problem with the rear sprocket failing, but since it happend within the 1st two weks of ownership I was sent an entirely NEW unit instead of just a replacement wheel.

Happy riding,
André
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Old 09-19-08, 07:29 PM   #9
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Its here!!!

Well it was a little bit of an adventure getting a tag along. As I said before, I had ordered an Adam's 7-speed from one of my LBSs. After waiting a week they informed me that the Adams would not be available until December. That didn't work at all for my plans to have it in time for Lauren's B-day and fall family riding. So I called another of the shops in town (there are 3). They deal in Fischer and I was able to get a 6-speed Fischer tag-a-long for $189 after I joined the local bike club for $20. They ordered it for me on Tuesday it was supposed to be here no later than Thursday and it wasn't in yesterday. It turns out the shop is having some cashflow issues and Trek was holding the shipment unitl they received a $400 payment from the shop. Unfortunately Trek didn't tell the shop until the shop called to check on the status of my order. So they gave Trek the money and I had my tag-a-long this atfernoon at 3 PM.

It took me about 10 minutes to put the connecting bracket on my seat post and then Lauren and I were off all round the neighborhood riding here and there for a good 20 minutes. What a great ride. I'm very happy and so is Lauren. Hopefully we'll find some time this weekend to hit the Alleghany Highlands Trail tomorrow. It will be tough with 2 B-day parties, shopping for a gift for my wife, and my own 30-40 mile ride jammed in there. But I think it will happen. So far so good, I can't wait to get out for a bunch of family and father-daughter rides.
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Old 09-22-08, 10:46 PM   #10
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Well the tag-a-long is a big hit. No real long trips, just 20 minutes cruising around the rail-trail, 3 trips downtown to run errands (4 blocks each way), and more than 1/2 a dozen trips around the block "Daddy, please one more time. Daddy please!!"
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Old 09-23-08, 07:54 AM   #11
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Thanks for the update.
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