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  1. #1
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    Adams trail-a-bike: how stable is it supposed to be

    I just bought a trail-a-bike on Craigslist. The whole thing looks barely used, the hitch seems to be in like-new shape and I installed it according to the manual (I think).

    The problem is that my son is terrified to ride it because there is a lateral wobble when he gets on/off ... maybe a couple of inches of side to side "play" if you were measuring it from his seat (even though my bike is not moving).

    Can someone who has one of these things tell me: is this wobble normal, or is the trailer supposed to be rock-solid (other than the turning rotation)? If so, what can I do to get it solid? I keep telling my guy there is no way he can fall over, which is true, but he's still nervous because unused to the movement.

  2. #2
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Mine wobbles like crazy.. I assumed it was normal. Bought it used though.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

  3. #3
    You rode how far??? GamecockTaco's Avatar
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    ours has some wobble also....tell him that once he learns to balance a bit, the wobble will go away....just like riding the bike by himself....

    I used to hate when my daughter would decide to stand to pedal.

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  4. #4
    z90
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    Hmm. I don't think it should wobble like that. I have a tug-a-bug (same thing, different brand). When I first set it up I had some wobble. I tightened the quick release skewer until it went away completely, and it was much better. It looks like the adams hitch is built a little differntly, but still. Do you have the shim so it fits snugly on your seat post? Is the skewer tight enough? I bet you can get it to go away if you figure out exactly where the play is coming from.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by linuxgrrl View Post
    I just bought a trail-a-bike on Craigslist. The whole thing looks barely used, the hitch seems to be in like-new shape and I installed it according to the manual (I think).

    The problem is that my son is terrified to ride it because there is a lateral wobble when he gets on/off ... maybe a couple of inches of side to side "play" if you were measuring it from his seat (even though my bike is not moving).

    Can someone who has one of these things tell me: is this wobble normal, or is the trailer supposed to be rock-solid (other than the turning rotation)? If so, what can I do to get it solid? I keep telling my guy there is no way he can fall over, which is true, but he's still nervous because unused to the movement.

    We used to have a version manufactured by Trek, and there wasn't any sort of lateral wobble like that.

    These things are pretty simple - what part of the attachment mechanism is allowing the wobble in the first place?

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    Hmmm, sounds like all the Adams people have the wobble, but others don't. Here's what I've done so far:

    1. verified that the shim is tight to the seatpost .. that is *not* where the wobble is from.
    2. Am currently using a bolt instead of the quick-release pin (just because my seller forgot to give me the pin, it's in the mail). But the bolt is very tight and that is also not the source of the wobble.

    The wobble seems to be coming from the portion of the hitch that is factory-attached to the trailer. But all the bolts that hold it together are super-factory-tight locking bolts so I really can't see what to do next.

    Mulveyr, do you know what your Trek model is called?

  7. #7
    z90
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    You could also take some pics of the connections and maybe try to take this over to 'bicycle mechanics' forum.

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    I am not understanding. I have several Adam's trail a bikes and the bike does move a little side to side, when the kid gets on and off, just because it is so long and on just one wheel...kinda the same movement that you would get as a beginner getting on and off a bike. I agree, take some pictures to show us where you are experiencing the wobble. I am guessing that we all have different ideas of what you are talking about.

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    I have an older model and there is little to no wobble. Our Giant halfwheeler has a lot of play in the hitch but the Adams is very solid. There was an updated hitch, looking at their site if a penny will fit inside the square its the new hitch, if a penny won't its the old, maybe you have the old and its looser?

  10. #10
    Senior Member southpawboston's Avatar
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    from what i understand, all trailercycles except one experience wobble, and it's simply a result of a cheap coupling method. the exception is the burley piccolo, which used a very nicely designed ball bearing hitch which doesn't allow for any lateral play.

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    My Adams is solid, the hinge is actually stiff when not connected to the bike.

  12. #12
    z90
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    Quote Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
    from what i understand, all trailercycles except one experience wobble, and it's simply a result of a cheap coupling method. the exception is the burley piccolo, which used a very nicely designed ball bearing hitch which doesn't allow for any lateral play.
    My Tug-a-bug is has no wobble

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    I have the Adams trail-a-bike, tandem, but it uses the same universal-joint attachment as the regular ones. There is a wobble simply due to the universal joints, and another at the part that can be uncoupled. I think that the Adams coupler allows more degrees of freedom that in required, and so wobbles extra.

    I also have the Trek Mt. Train (not positive on name) single trail-a-bike, which has 2 rotations: around the seatpost, and up/down in the plane of the trail-a-bike. This wobbles noticeably less, but it means that the amount of corner lean the trail-a-bike experiences for a given lead-bike-lean depends on your seatpost angle!

    The Trek was very stable hooked to my Mtn bike, a sloping top-tube design where the attachmetn point was fairly low.

    It was noticeably less stable on my traditional frame road bike, but the stability was more child-lean-causing-steer than it was the wobble effect.

    In both cases, some adjustment was required to the cornering technique due to the coupled-leaning.

    The Adams definitely has the free wobble, which can be considerable. But, the lead-bike can take the more natural lean angle for a corner.

    I certainly suspect that kids learning to balance back there will make a big difference. But right now they're 2.5 and 9 months, so I can't give any feedback yet!

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    Must be manufacturing tolerances, our adams has no wobble, the hinge is so tight I have trouble flexing it to hook it to my bike. Our Giant half wheeler has a lot of play and I thought about shimming it tighter, maybe the p.o. of my adams fixed it. My father was a machinist so anytime anything was loose he would just punch out a shim from some scrap at work, be it bicycles or the washing machine transmission, but its harder for the rest of us to find things like that, usually have to order so we can't take what were trying to fix with us to find one that fits.

  15. #15
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    Mine wobbled on my road bike to the point that it scared me. I had to work awful hard just to stay up.

    I put it on my old hybrid and it was alot more stable. I think the clamp is closer to the ground on it, and the flat handlebars help too. I also tightened that clamp good and tight and made sure the connecting bolt had no more play than necessary to get it on and off.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    tab

    I can add a couple of things as I had the same problem with our old ADams TAB. Initially had lots of wobble from the universal knuckle part of the TAB so I disassembled and inserted a very thin stainless steel shim to take up the play which worked very well. Eventually we got tired ov the other quality issues with the Adams and upgraded to a used Burley Piccolo which is way better made. The Burley is a dream compared to the Adams but you will have to buy a used one as they stopped making them this past year. The burley attaches to a special rack called a moose rack.

  17. #17
    Senior Member southpawboston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
    I can add a couple of things as I had the same problem with our old ADams TAB. Initially had lots of wobble from the universal knuckle part of the TAB so I disassembled and inserted a very thin stainless steel shim to take up the play which worked very well. Eventually we got tired ov the other quality issues with the Adams and upgraded to a used Burley Piccolo which is way better made. The Burley is a dream compared to the Adams but you will have to buy a used one as they stopped making them this past year. The burley attaches to a special rack called a moose rack.
    I second this! We bought a used Burley Piccolo after scouring the internet for months finding one... but it was worth it. Even paying top dollar for a used one (we paid $250 including shipping from a Craigslist seller), it is a far better value than a new Adams trailercycle. We test-rode the Adams, and I couldn't stand the wobble... too disconcerting. The Burley is a dream in comparison. Aside from the extra drag of a third wheel, it's barely detectable from a stability standpoint. Not only that, but the Burley is practically a "real" bike in that it is made from high quality chromoly steel tubing and alloy components, keeping the weight down to 17 lb. For any kind of riding other than around the block, the Burley is the only way to go, in my estimation!

    Here it is attached to our Bike Friday tandem. Yes, even on a tandem it feels rock solid:




  18. #18
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    The female part of the hitch on the trail-a-bike tends to wear and may need to be replaced.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

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

  19. #19
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    I got my two TABs to the point of being usable by installing shims but I eventually bought a Picollo. I have heard that the Follow-me tandem and the tout-terrain work well.

  20. #20
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    Is the Adams a square in circle male/female style (for lack of better description).

    A tiny amount of wobble is easily manageable, but "inches" as someone mentioned isn't usable for both riders. The child is uneasy with the lateral swaying, and the adult experiences sudden rear movement as the trailer bike falls back and forth with the lateral play.

    Cheap trail-a-bikes like those sold a department stores have a horrible joint and should be avoided. The Adams style is quite secure but can wear over time causing some wobble which will just progressively get worse.

    The OP bought a used one that sounds well worn. A replacement joint will make it rock solid again and these are available on Amazon for convenience.
    Last edited by teterider; 01-09-11 at 08:51 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teterider View Post
    Is the Adams a square in circle male/female style (for lack of better description).

    A tiny amount of wobble is easily manageable, but "inches" as someone mentioned isn't usable for both riders. The child is uneasy with the lateral swaying, and the adult experiences sudden rear movement as the trailer bike falls back and forth with the lateral play.

    Cheap trail-a-bikes like those sold a department stores have a horrible joint and should be avoided. The Adams style is quite secure but can wear over time causing some wobble which will just progressively get worse.

    The OP bought a used one that sounds well worn. A replacement joint will make it rock solid again and these are available on Amazon for convenience.
    Yes, it is. I used one for years with both my kids, but found the female connector would need replacing after several miles of use.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

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

  22. #22
    On the Move teterider's Avatar
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    After several miles?

    With mine, I have slight play now but not worthy of replacement yet. I have about 150 miles on it.

  23. #23
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teterider View Post
    After several miles?

    With mine, I have slight play now but not worthy of replacement yet. I have about 150 miles on it.
    I left out the word "hundred" as in several hundred miles.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

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

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    So, I found a Adams trail-a-bike on Craig's list, a folder 1 compact. The seller says it's brand new, and it looks like it's got the packaging intact. It's been up for awhile, and the price has dropped to $100. Good deal? We have a 12 mile commute to school / work, and it'd be nice to have a trailing bike starting in the spring (bike path is in pretty bad shape at the moment).

    Anyone have one of these? Think it could be removed quickly and easily enough to take it on the bus? (I'm sure it won't fit on the front rack with the parent bike)

  25. #25
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebartom View Post
    So, I found a Adams trail-a-bike on Craig's list, a folder 1 compact. The seller says it's brand new, and it looks like it's got the packaging intact. It's been up for awhile, and the price has dropped to $100. Good deal? We have a 12 mile commute to school / work, and it'd be nice to have a trailing bike starting in the spring (bike path is in pretty bad shape at the moment).

    Anyone have one of these? Think it could be removed quickly and easily enough to take it on the bus? (I'm sure it won't fit on the front rack with the parent bike)
    They got for around $50-75 on CL here, but that could be regional variation.

    I don't know your particular model, but if it's anything like the folding one I used to have, there's no way you'd be allowed on a city bus with one. Even folded, it took up about as much space ( lengthwise ) as a standard kid's 20 to 24 inch bike, and was fairly bulky, to boot.

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