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Bike Trail-Gator

ShylockShylock Posts: 98
edited September 2012 in Family & kids cycling forum
Looking at one of these for my 3yr old son http://www.trail-gator.com/

Does anybody have any experience of these and are there any alternatives?

It will be fitted to my Genesis HT and connect my sons apollo "fireman" bike.

Cheers

Posts

  • FrankieFrankie Posts: 4,525
    Not great, the kids' bike end tend to fit only smaller head tubes. Used it for a bit but eventually settled on a trailer bike
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,729
    Get a cheap Adams or similar tagalong bike, see link at bottom of post. I used a trail-gator and found it heavy / damaged the son's bike because you have to really get it fixed solid. You can pick 2nd hand trailabike off ebay or similar for £30 or £40 or so. I found my son loved it and i used to forget he was on the back until he shouted or would pedal like mad when im trying to stop or something. Most fit onto the seat stem and have a quick release universal joint with security pin. My son loved it used it until 5yrs old as struggled when on longer rides with eldest. Now ride solo all the time.

    Link below is example only.
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/adams-trail-a ... 500wt_1198
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • InitialisedInitialised Posts: 3,047
    They have a tendency to lean to one side. Better to get a model without a front wheel than just the bar to attach the other bike. I took a 5 year old around Keilder on one. He was a bit scared at first but soon got used to it, Makes hills hard work!
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    Use ours weekly (and that's only because Thing1 rides solo a lot of the time now. Once it starts being used for Thing2 it'll get used about 3-4 times a week).

    Love it!

    Yes, it's heavy - but you want it to be a solid unit. In my experience, leaning to one side means you don't have the seat clamp on straight. Yes, you have to torque it up a lOT. Yes, it wills scratch your seatpost. Yes, it will gouge the head tube of the kid's bike a bit. No, it doesn't fit on all head tubes, but certainly most.

    Do I recommend them? HELL YEAH! Nothing beats being able to ride somewhere with them attached, detach them for some solo work, and back on for the ride home. Or, ride out until they're (almost) too tired and the hook on for the ride home.
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • Stevie-effStevie-eff Posts: 36
    I've just got one of there and my little un loves it!!

    I agree, it has damaged the head tube of the boys bike, but that said, it was a cheap-ish bike and kids just damage things at his age anyway.

    I got away with telling the wife i needed a spare seat and seatpost for my bike so i am not carrying that heavy bracket around, you dont spend a fortune on a light bike and attach heavy bits to it do you?!!! She fell for that one so i got a posh new seat and post- winner!!!

    The boy wants to get out round sherwood pines with me now, yes it is harder work but its gets them into biking from an early age, which cant be a bad thing!!!

    As a short term measure to get kids out riding and spur them on to explore and get peddling on their own, they are spot on, and a hell of a lot cheaper than a tag along.
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    Stevie-eff wrote:
    As a short term measure to get kids out riding and spur them on to explore and get pedaling on their own, they are spot on, and a hell of a lot cheaper than a tag along.

    For us, it's not so short-term. I've been using ours for almost 3 years now. Most of the time Thing1 rides solo. But there's a few trips where there's no real alternative route choices so she rides attached.

    Then, later this year, the mantle will be handed down to Thing2. Not sure what to do there - I may have to get another kid's bike mount so I can attach to either of them. It may even be cheaper to get a second complete unit.

    And yeah, I also have the spare seatpost/saddle for my 'fast bike' as Thing1 calls it.
    5849978037_25c302eedb.jpg
    Last year, we did a lap at a semi-local cyclocross event like that. This year, we're both doing it solo. Yipe!
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • htsw5htsw5 Posts: 72
    I've got both a tag-a-long and a trail-gator and have used them both on the daily commute and leisure rides with my 3yo and would argue that you can get both to work, but there are slight differences that you should be aware of.


    Advantages for Trailgator over Tag-along
    Allows the littl'un to pedal solo part way and part attached. (although bear in mind a 3 yo isn't going to be too fast when riding solo)
    Less storage space required


    Advantages for Tag-along over Trailgator
    Rolling resistence is reduced due to larger wheels - my 3yo has 14" wheels, compared to 20" on the tag-a-long so his bike is doing twice as many revolutions.
    Comfort for them is better due to larger wheels
    You aren't covering their 'best' bike with crud from your back wheel if you go out in the wet.
    Slightly shorter which can improve manouverability
    Less attractive to opportunity theives / less faff to secure. If we go into town, I'll tend to disconnect the kiddies bike to lock them together, but I won't bother with the tag-along.



    The general rule in our house is that if it wet or if we are trying to get somewhere then we'll take the tag-a-long.
    However if there is time and space for him to have ride on his own, we'll take the trailgator.



    All in all, you can get either (or both) to work for you. It will depend on the type and frequency of cycling that you're planning to do.



    Good luck.
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    7855364584_fec3a869e9.jpg
    Spotted at the local pool, yesterday. (That's a ByK, which is the closest we get to an Islabike here in Australia. Locally owned/designed, so can't complain too much, although it is built to a price so not quite up there with an Islabike).
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    Quick question to those of your with trailgators -

    what age (kid's, not yours :roll:) did you start with them? We've got our daughter a first bike but she's not really strong enough to pedal it for herself yet, and I picked up a TG reduced in Tesco the other day for £17 :shock:. But am not sure whether to try her on it yet or not. She'll be 3 at Christmas, but not sure if this is too young to trust her on something that she could simply decide to let go of, when she'll be behind me...
  • htsw5htsw5 Posts: 72
    I started my son on a TG when he got his bike for his 3rd B'day and he'd been on a tag-a-long for 5 months before that.

    I would say that he is big for his age, had a balance bike and been in a bike seat regularly to nursery so quite used to concept.

    It's not just strength you need to think about but also boredom.

    You want to watch that they understand that they need to keep holding on and their feet on the pedals. I've caught my son scuffing his feet along the floor and what looked like he was trying to put his feet into the front wheel :shock:

    To counteract the boredom, I tend to keep talking to him as we go along and have built up a variety of things to keep us entertained on the route to nursery - naming sections of the route, counting lampposts, singing etc.


    Start slow (they feel the bumps more on smaller wheels) and short and see how she gets on - you can always put it away and get it back out in a month or so.

    Good luck,
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    jimothy78 wrote:
    what age (kid's, not yours :roll:) did you start with them?

    Four, when she got her first 'big girl' bike. http://www.flickr.com/photos/baudman/4466787408/ Prior to that, it was runbike for shorter journey (when we'd walk), or in/on one of my bikes for longer ones (when we'd normally ride). It was sort of something I wanted to instill in her... I was happy to do some of the work, but there'd always be times where she'd be expected to ride solo.

    I agree with the above comment - kids get bored. Most of our trips are within 5-10km. Occasionally we'll do longer ones, but rarely. When we do, she's almost always riding solo for at least some of it (bike path, etc.)
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    baudman wrote:
    Four, when she got her first 'big girl' bike. http://www.flickr.com/photos/baudman/4466787408/ Prior to that, it was runbike for shorter journey (when we'd walk)

    Thanks for the reply - Do you mean a balance bike? (ie. a bike without pedals)? We've been wondering about something like that to bridge the gap...
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    jimothy78 wrote:
    baudman wrote:
    Four, when she got her first 'big girl' bike. http://www.flickr.com/photos/baudman/4466787408/ Prior to that, it was runbike for shorter journey (when we'd walk)

    Thanks for the reply - Do you mean a balance bike? (ie. a bike without pedals)? We've been wondering about something like that to bridge the gap...

    Runbike = Balance Bike = Scoot Bike = heaps of other terms for them. Yeah.

    A quick search of this forum will show you I'm a HUGE advocate. Given, there's a small percentage of kids who won't have the balance or motor skills for them. But, the vast majority will benefit from one immensely. They progressively learn balance, each ride, so that by the end it's innate. (They're also great for the parents, as the kid can comfortably move at your walking pace, and almost never needs help, they can lift it up gutters etc themselves).

    Then, the transition to a pedalled bike is best achieved by dropping the saddle, removing the pedals. They 'runbike' it to get used to it, then bung the pedals back on. Look in the 'Teaching them to ride' sticky, for countless success stories. Thing1's balance and slow-riding skills are superb. Thing2 is great on the runbike, and will be transitioning to pedals as soon as she's tall enough (although, she'll keep riding her runbike for getting around for some time yet).
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • jimothy78jimothy78 Posts: 1,407
    baudman wrote:
    Then, the transition to a pedalled bike is best achieved by dropping the saddle, removing the pedals. They 'runbike' it to get used to it, then bung the pedals back on.

    Interesting you say that - I'd been thinking along exactly the same lines. The only problem with adapting the bike we've been given as a balance bike is that I'd have to chop down the seat tube by a couple of inches so she can reach the floor. As things stand, it sticks up a long way proud of the top tube, and as such the minimum seat height would still leave her legs dangling.
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    jimothy78 wrote:
    baudman wrote:
    Then, the transition to a pedalled bike is best achieved by dropping the saddle, removing the pedals. They 'runbike' it to get used to it, then bung the pedals back on.

    Interesting you say that - I'd been thinking along exactly the same lines. The only problem with adapting the bike we've been given as a balance bike is that I'd have to chop down the seat tube by a couple of inches so she can reach the floor. As things stand, it sticks up a long way proud of the top tube, and as such the minimum seat height would still leave her legs dangling.

    Some people find a normal kid's bike adapted for use as a runbike to be worthwhile.

    I find they're far too heavy and, as you've said, the geo is all wrong. Even if you remove the whole drivetrain. The ones actually built for it are much lighter so the kids can handle them all my themselves - lifting up steps, whatever. And yeah - they need to be able to have their feet flat on the ground while in the saddle, I find.

    So, it's only a trick I use when first moving to pedals, to initially increase their confidence with a newer (generally heavier, bigger, faster rolling) bike. Once they're comfortable on it, the pedals go on, and they're away.

    But yeah, lots in here - viewtopic.php?f=40032&t=12694331
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
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