PDA

View Full Version : Trail-a-bike experiences?



chris_s
07-16-2013, 11:57 PM
My 3-yr old is getting a bit tall for his iBert. Thinking about picking up a trail-a-bike. Anybody out there have experience with one? Other suggestions?

ronwalf
07-17-2013, 12:17 AM
And to add to the question: How well does it ride when empty?

mstone
07-17-2013, 04:24 AM
I've been very happy with the weehoo.

eminva
07-17-2013, 04:56 AM
We had good experiences with the Burley Piccolo (http://www.burley.com/home/bur/page_776/piccolo.html), and it looks like they have at least one other model in their product line now, too. It mounts to a rack rather than the seatpost which I believe makes it more stable. Also, you can put panniers on the rack even with the Piccolo attached.

The thing was a tank -- bought it used on Craigslist and sold it there when he outgrew it. Very sturdy and a good resale value.

It was easy to attach and detach and I used to drop the kid and the Piccolo at school on my way to work.

Liz

chris_s
07-17-2013, 07:16 AM
Will give the weehoo some more investigation - thanks for the heads up on that.

I've heard good things about the Burley, but I'm really wedded to my current rack. Hmm...

Biggest concern I've got with the trail-a-bike is many reports of major wobble in the hitch.

chris_s
07-17-2013, 07:21 AM
I've been very happy with the weehoo.

How awkward is it to safely get your kid on and off by yourself?

mstone
07-17-2013, 07:39 AM
How awkward is it to safely get your kid on and off by yourself?

If you have the bike leaned against something stable, should be fine. The attachment point is pretty solid, and I can hold everything up just by the connecting tube, but if the front wheel flops over you'll lose it (because the whole bike will turn). If the kid can get on by him/herself that's moot and you can keep everything up just standing over your bike. (And if they can't get themselves on, I don't know of another trail-a-bike that would be suitable anyway.) The low center of gravity on the weehoo helps with stability.

If you plan on riding in the wet or on dirt/mud you'll definitely want a full fender on your bike for any trail-a-bike, and especially for the weehoo. The weehoo does come with a mtb-style mudguard that mounts on the post, but it can only do so much if you're pumping a ton of water out the back. You'll also want to rig a rear fender on the weehoo itself, or you'll get a rooster tail that soaks the kid when you're moving fast through water. If you keep it under 10mph or so that's not much of an issue, but who wants to do that. :)

Also worth pointing out that the seat post mount is fairly cheap, so I keep one on my commuter and one on my wife's bike all the time. To your previous post, there's some play in any universal joint, but it's not excessive. Certainly keeping the weehoo up by holding the bike is not a problem. You'll want a fairly tight connection between the seat post and the hitch collar, and there are a number of shims in the box for different seat post diameters.

Mikey
07-17-2013, 08:05 AM
+1 for the Burley. I have a tandem Adams Trail-a-bike but it was modified to mount to the burley rack system. Much more stable laterally. I have both the adams tandem and an adams single that my wife picked up from Good Will (just needing the seatpost mounting hardware, which is pretty typical because people leave the mounting bracket on their bike and then have their bike stolen, so they sell the trail-a-bike without the seatpost mounting part.)
We went ahead and purchased two seat back rests that fit below the seat and allow us to strap in our 4 year old (especially when he is sleepy.)

I would stay away from the really cheap ones (they tend to mount loosly at the seatpost or wobble at the orbital joint, and often your little one is leaning well to one side just to keep from rocking side to side because of the play in the joint.

Craigs list works, again just be prepared to spend $40 more for the mounting hardware.

dasgeh
07-17-2013, 09:10 AM
+1 for the Weehoo. We love ours. I've ridden with it some - my husband has ridden with it a lot, both with and without kid (he'd drop her off at preschool with it - and took a few weeks before he had the "duh, I can leave the thing there" realization). You could talk to him about it on Sunday at a little ride called KIDICAL MASS ARLINGTON (http://kidicalmassarl.blogspot.com)

In fact, if you want to swing by Cherrydale, you're welcome to borrow it for the ride on Sunday. (Or any time we're not using it, and we'd even be willing to chat about it when you pick it up. Though Sunday would be best :-)).

Mikey
07-17-2013, 09:20 AM
Yes come to Kidical Mass this Sunday, you will probably see every possible permutation of Trail-a-bike in use, and you can judge for yourself.

baiskeli
07-17-2013, 09:29 AM
Stability is important. The lower the kid is on the trailer, the better, which is probably why Wehoos work well. Getting the hitch on tight and in the right place is important too.

A stable bike--a mountain bike or upright bike as opposed to a road bike--also helps. On my road bike, the Trail-a-bike was so wobbly that I put training wheels on the trailer to make sure it wouldn't tip over. When I switched it to my old hybrid, it was alot better. I can pull my 100-pound kid on it now without much problem (she has a disability and isn't riding on her own yet, but we're working on it).

chris_s
07-17-2013, 09:46 AM
In fact, if you want to swing by Cherrydale, you're welcome to borrow it for the ride on Sunday. (Or any time we're not using it, and we'd even be willing to chat about it when you pick it up. Though Sunday would be best :-)).

I've been planning on coming Sunday, but then again I planned to come to Father's Day also - this seems like the the right extra pop of motivation to overcome any dumb excuses that float into my head.

I'll plan on Sunday being DS' last hurrah in the iBert and check out / chat about Weehoo. See folks there!

Note to self: investigate options for mounting bubble machine on back of Weehoo.

hozn
07-17-2013, 06:40 PM
I don't have much information to add, but I also like the weehoo. That thing is heavy (amazingly the older models were even heavier!), but I think that is pretty universal. And the material for the seat and paniers is not as durable as you would hope, but cust service is great. They just sent me new paniers since one if them was tearing.

My son loves it, being out in the air. It is also easier to talk to him than than when he's in the Burley trailer. He pedals avidly ... backwards. (He is nearly 3 and has really only been tall enough to pedal starting this spring.)

It is also really easy to break down for transport.

oldbikechick
08-20-2013, 09:25 PM
revitalizing this thread since I'm thinking about getting one of these as well. I'm wondering which way to go though, my daughter is about to turn 4 so I'm hoping she could get more of a "sitting on the bike" experience than with the Weehoo and she'd be able to grow into it more. Those who have them, up to what age would you use the Weehoo? It seems like it would be good for a short while but she might outgrow it soon. This would not be for real long rides, just back and forth to school and some easy family rides with big sis riding her own bike.

mstone
08-21-2013, 04:22 AM
revitalizing this thread since I'm thinking about getting one of these as well. I'm wondering which way to go though, my daughter is about to turn 4 so I'm hoping she could get more of a "sitting on the bike" experience than with the Weehoo and she'd be able to grow into it more. Those who have them, up to what age would you use the Weehoo? It seems like it would be good for a short while but she might outgrow it soon. This would not be for real long rides, just back and forth to school and some easy family rides with big sis riding her own bike.

I did camping trips on the towpath with the weehoo when my kids were 6 & 8. One of the things I like about it is that it has a long useful life. (Much more adjustment range than a regular trail a bike.) The thing getting them off it is more that they want to ride their own bikes than outgrowing the weehoo.

dasgeh
08-21-2013, 08:44 AM
revitalizing this thread since I'm thinking about getting one of these as well. I'm wondering which way to go though, my daughter is about to turn 4 so I'm hoping she could get more of a "sitting on the bike" experience than with the Weehoo and she'd be able to grow into it more. Those who have them, up to what age would you use the Weehoo? It seems like it would be good for a short while but she might outgrow it soon. This would not be for real long rides, just back and forth to school and some easy family rides with big sis riding her own bike.

The Weehoo was designed for kids with disabilities, so it can take a pretty large weight, and has lots of adjustability. IIRC, it'll handle the average 10 yo.

Of course, you might consider getting something like this (http://www.amazon.com/Trail-Gator-Trailgator-Bicycle-Tow-Black/dp/B0011HZKI8/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top) - an attachment that turns the kid's own bike into a trail-a-bike. That way, the kid has an option. I've never ridden with one of these, and haven't paid attention to the reviews (assuming it wouldn't be relevant for our kids for a few more years), but it's usually listed in summaries of biking-with-kids options.

consularrider
08-21-2013, 09:35 AM
I can't remember what brand we had (13 years ago), may have been Trail-a-bike. I used it with our son when he was between four and five years old (he was big for his age). He enjoyed getting out behind me on what he called the "stick" bike. However, while there were no problems on level ground, I found the version we had difficult to handle on uphills (Brandymore Castle on the W&OD and the link from n Four Mile Run Dr to Ohio St N. We got him his own bike when he was five and he immediately fell off and has pretty much refused to ride ever since. :(

dasgeh
08-21-2013, 02:44 PM
Note that Bike & Roll sells used trail-a-bikes for $100 during their sale (http://bikethesites.com/Blog/bike-sale-sunday-september-8th), which is coming up.

oldbikechick
08-21-2013, 10:07 PM
Thanks for all the tips. I will definitely check out the weehoo and others and good to know about the sale!