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Chariot Cougar questions

mountainpenguinmountainpenguin Posts: 37
edited November 2014 in Family & kids cycling forum
Hi All
New dad here
Just ordered a cougar as I really want to spend some quality time with little one and mum.
I have a few questions:
    How young can we start ? Is there a sensible place to get used spares / extras ? are the extras:
    Baby Sling Bivvy Bag Baby Support Rain Cover
etc worth getting if so which ones ?

Its pretty hilly round here so I will be using my commuting bike is it worth swapping the rear block for a bigger range than 11-22 ?
Thanks All


  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    Most 'experts' suggest about 12 months. (It's the vibrations that's the thing).

    We started with our Croozer at about 9m - just 1km trip up the shops and back, and slowly, slowly built up. Partially so she could get used to it - partially so we could. (On that front, use it as a pram beforehand so the little one gets used to it - the vibrations aren't a factor there).

    Gearing - it's certainly handy. What's your front chainring? Most of the time, I towed ours behind my old 80's hybrid, with a triple on the front and lowish on the rear (11-28? Dunno, never really looked). Came in handy.

    That being said, there's a guy near us who pulls a tagalong with his SS, so it takes all types.
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • We got a burley D-lite and took our son from I think a bit younger than 9 months. That was only on a sea front promenade near us that is all tarmac and very good tarmac at that. Very little in the way of vibrations I would expect. Also took him on a good canal towpath near us at slow speed. the top speed of Burleys is 15mph and I didn;'t have a working bike computer at the time so we went a bit slow.

    The only trouble was he either liked it or hated it depending on his mood at the time. We ended up taking a break from it when he was a bit older and used the child seat (hamax Siesta) instead. He preferred the higher position as it made him feel more involved and not closed off like in the trailer.

    We nearly got the baby snuggler with the trailer when he was 6 months intending to use it when he was able to hold his head and start sitting up I think but left it a bit later til about 9 months. He was starting to walk using furniture then so was, IMHO, strong enough to take the trailer. Then he was too tall for the snuggler/sling. The Burley seats I think are similar to the Chariot with 5 point harness in a sling type of seat. The Burley allows for a wide range of adjustment but it took some time to get right. My advice is to try it out BEFORE you plan to go out with it for real. Nothing worse than faffing about getting the fit right with a baby before you go out. It makes it unpleasant for the kid and in our case the lad took a dislike to it. He got over it but the first ride was not right. Take the time to really nail down a comfortable fit well before the first trip out.

    IMHO the accessories are just the brand's attempt to make a bit more out of you. The snuggler/sling is only good for use as a pram. I am assuming you are not using the chariot as your daily pram, in which case he/she will be too old for it by the time you use it as a trailer IME. Get it if you are using it as a stroller but I would worry about vibrations even in the sling/snuggler.

    Rain cover? I take it that is the storage cover when not being used. Got a garage/shed? Better to use that, if not then I can see how a nylon or polyester cover would be good. You can store it fully assembled and keep it dry. We just allow ours to dry then fold and store in a shed but it is a Burley which may be easier to fold than the Chariot I really don't know. The Burley is pretty good for weatherproofing and I'd expect the Chariot to be as good too. Both towards the top end of child trailers so they should be. One tip is to make sure the flag is on the road side. A lot of child trailers are American or European and have the flag that side. I changed the bar around so the flag attachment was the right side. It all helps visibility although I found drivers gave me and the trailer a lot more space than when I am on my own. Most cars would swing out some distance beyond what is needed for safety when overtaking. It is like they know there is a kid in there and they will get crucified if they hit the trailer. Never had a single car or truck or bus go near the trailer. That did not help the grandparents get over their fears for our lad in the trailer.
  • Thanks thats really helpful.
    We do intend to use the chariot as a push chair / jogging chair too so sounds like the sling will get some use.
    Any ideas where to get a flag from ?
    The Rain cover for the chariot is for use with baby in. For general storage it will be in the shed.
    I had not thought about a maximum speed so thats worth remembering.

    My hope was to use it to get too / from nursery which where I work on nice days from about 7 months. Its about 20 mins cycle there and 40 mins back without out baby. I guess maybe wait a bit longer for that.
  • Burley trailer came with it but they also sell another flag with a longer pole.

    I know the chariot brand, now owned by Thule, sells a cycle y trailer kit that has the link arm, hitch and flag. Can't see an after market flag on their site. Didn't it come with a flag? Take a look at the handle and see if there is a small.hole to take a flag. If it is circa 3-4mm then it might take the Burley flag.

    Not sure where you're based but Evans used to sell Burley so should be able to get the flags. Also leisure lakes cycle shop in the nw is a big Thule cycle kit retailer. Not sure they have any Thule chariot trailers in.stores but they'll be able to get pretty much any Thule kit. Think they're a premier Thule retailer. If anyone can get a chariot flag, if they sell them separately, leisure lakes should be able get one.
  • ... core_8.jpg

    The above is a link to a photo of the Burley flag.
  • Thats very helpful.
    Ill look out for a flag or see if I can get one from somewhere else.
  • Levi_501Levi_501 Posts: 1,105
    Cougars are great, albeit monsterly expensive!

    The only options we purchased apart from the draw bar, was the large wheel for the front, great for country walks with the grand parents and the head cushion.

    My son went in it from nine months. I am not sure I would go much younger than that. Although we nearly put my daughter in her car seat in the trailer; the car seat would have been tied in.

    If you go trail riding, make sure you put the screen down otherwise your child will get plastered. Also wash it off as soon as you get back. No need for cover etc.

    A word of warning, it is quite tiring pulling a trailer. I remember doing 30 miles one afternoon and I was FUBAR'ed when I got home. If you go off road you will only need the granny ring.

    Laslty, take lots of blankets etc. Whilst you might be sweating like a B, they are not moving.
  • We've had the Croozer trailer for 3 years now.

    Excellent for both cycling and running (and for country walks). A bit too big for round town.

    This summer we took it touring in Brittany. The youngest was 3 3/4 and was absolutely fine sat in it, with regular stops and a couple of rest days. Up to 100 km per day, depending on hills, is fine, but I wouldn't want to do much more than that, and he would start getting bored.

    Top tip is to get the kid running round every time you stop and in the evening (older siblings very useful here). Risk is they sleep in the trailer and then can't at night when you want to.

    With him, 3 hiking tents and assorted other stuff behind him, plus 2 panniers, I could feel it on the hills, but my Dawes has a triple and a 32 cassette so was fine.

    I'm not aware Croozer has a top speed - we certainly go faster than 15 mph down hills or even on a nice flat road. Nothing bad has happened.

    In terms of bits, the baby insert is great and a full waterproof cover is essential. Ours came with a flag but it got lost within a few days and can't say I miss it.

    Best change I made was replacing the tyres to Marathons. We were getting endless punctures and haven't had another since.
  • Distance is really down to what the child will stand. Ours starts playing up after an hour so we have to plan stops around that. +1 on the running around. Not a problem with ours as he doesn't walk just runs or sprints if he thinks you are not watching. Give him a yard and you've got at least 50 yards before you stop him sometimes with his sudden burst. Not bad for a 2 year old but hope he slows with age because we are!!

    BTW Our son prefers the child seat on the bike. My advice is to try both and let him/her choose if at all feasible for your activities. The Burley we have can fit a red/white light to the top of the handle/roll bar I believe kind of like the topeak helmet light. Might be worthwhile getting to help visibility even in daylight.
  • Our pram once got loads of punctures from the canal near us and country road footpaths (at autumn hedge cutting time). We patched them up but then put one of those plastic puncture tapes in. We never got any more punctures. I suspect they could affect competing roadies performance but for prams and bike trailers I doubt they make any difference.

    +1 on dropping down the gears a lot with the trailer. I only use the largest of 3 chainrings giving me 9 gears I use normally. Put the trailer on and I tend to use the middle chainring dropping to the lowest on anything slightly hilly and at the end of the day's ride. A trailer makes for a good workout. Can't wait til we fill our 2 seater trailer!!!:) I'm training up now.
  • clantonclanton Posts: 1,288
    We got a Cougar II 2nd hand with the sling and used it from 5-6 months off road on bridleways, green runs at trail center etc with no issues. The Cougar has suspension of course and we run the tyres softish and the sling imparts extra give so we found she slept very soundly and comfortably in it. Our sling saw good use and I personally would recommend one.

    We also got the stroller conversion wheels which we bought afterwards and found this useful at times when touring - so we could make it into a pram and push her around with that.

    I normally tow her with a CX bike with a 34 tooth cassette behind, 32 tooth ring up front and manage ok.

    Normally she manages 1 - 1/2 hours happily sleeps a lot of it! Now that she is older we take books and toys and food and she entertains herself quite nicely.
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