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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We had been looking for a trail a bike on Craigslist for a while now but were in one of the LBSs yesterday and they had an Adam's Trail-a-Bike. They offered to let us rent it for roughly $35 for the long weekend. When discussing it, the owner implied that we won't want to buy. He said after getting used to leaning and the feeling of speed our 5 year old will want to ride all by herself.

So we went out on the local Greenways today to see how she liked it.


The good news: she LOVED it!!! The bad news: the wife thinks we need to buy it.

So to my questions for those of you that have one:
#1 is the LHS owner correct: will the kids really want to ride their bikes more or just ride with daddy everytime I head out?

#2. is the attachment at the seat post actually strong enough to do more than simple rides through the neighborhoods?

Thanks all for the advice.
John
 

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M8 M12 M15 deez nuts
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Try to find a Burly Piccolo. One small problem, they stopped making them in 2006, so you'll have to find a used one… but the build quality is second to none. I managed to find one via Craigslist late last year that had realistically 20 miles of use, paid $200.00 for it, plus the proprietary Moose Rack which the unit mounts to. Seriously, I don't understand why Burley stopped making these things, they are really top-notch!

My six year old likes to be the "stoker", providing a bit of extra boost to the rear wheel via his pedals. We go to/from school, the park, and the offroad trails with it… of course I have it hooked up to a Surly Big Dummy cargo bike (see picture).

 

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coopdad said:
#2. is the attachment at the seat post actually strong enough to do more than simple rides through the neighborhoods?

Thanks all for the advice.
John
The attachament is stronger than most parts of a mountain bike or the bones of the rides so I would not worry about it failing on anything that you would ride with the trail bike.

Both of my kids benifited from riding the trail bike but I probably got more out of it because we could go much farther and faster as a family with the trail bike.
 

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Will Guide for Beer
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Adams Trail-a-Bike

Though you are at the 'end half' of use on the trail-a-bike, I suggest you get it. I had my kids on them ages 3-7 and wouldn't trade those bike memorys for anything. You can get 2-3 years out of it.

Problem for you is that the LBS guy is not pulling your leg. You should very soon have a 16 inch bike in your garage. It will depend upon your child as to weather s/he wants the trail-a-bike or ride their own. You are in the overlap years of these 2 very different bike types.

Hold on, it gets worse. In 2-years, you'll be pricing a 20-inch bike with hand brakes and gears.

As for the Adams trail-a-bike, they are bomb proof. We used ours for years on smooth and rough singletrack. Bang 'em up and down curbs. They can take a pounding and maintain good re-sale value. If you decide to get it, do yourself a favor and also buy a second seat post and saddle (for your bike). If your bike(s) have a quick release, you can switch back and fourth in seconds.
 

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Will Guide for Beer
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Adams Trail-a-Bike

Though you are at the 'end half' of use on the trail-a-bike, I suggest you get it. I had my kids on them ages 3-7 and wouldn't trade those bike memorys for anything. You can get 2years out of it.

Problem for you is that the LBS guy is not pulling your leg. You should very soon have a 16 inch bike in your garage. It will depend upon your child as to weather s/he wants the trail-a-bike or ride their own. You are in the overlap years of these 2 very different bike types.

Hold on, it gets worse. In 2-years, you'll be pricing a 20-inch bike with hand brakes and gears.

As for the Adams trail-a-bike, they are bomb proof. We used ours for years on smooth and rough singletrack. Bang 'em up and down curbs. They can take a pounding and maintain good re-sale value. If you decide to get it, do yourself a favor and also buy a second seat post and saddle (for your bike). If your bike has a quick release, you can switch back and fourth in seconds.
 

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I think Adam's hitch connections are complete garbage. We have the 24" version. There is so much slop and flex in the joint that I can't use it on even the best of singletrack. We are restricted to the pavement, and even there, it flops back and forth a lot just from the play in the hitch (which I agree, the design and looks of it seem very weak).

I'm considering modifying it with a hitch from a better product (checking into buying hitch parts only), however then we still have the problem of its anvil like weight.

As far as the kids liking it, my younger boy loves it, but my older boy can't stand to ride it. It is clearly a matter of their personalities. My older boy doesn't like the feeling of not being able to steer/correct/control his own balance (plus he doesn't like the flopping back and forth of the hitch itself).
 

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I have a trek 24" that's been a blast. 2 of my kids have enjoyed and outgrown it. My 3rd is just getting started on it. It's been everywhere from the beach to park to singletrack and fireroads.

The hitch took a little bit of adjusting to get it right but once it's set it rides great in any condition we take it in. The only thing I can say to watch out for in rough terrain is large grade brakes (going from flat ground to steep). If you go in a straight line your back tire hits the the bar to the trail-a-bike and lifts it. Not so good. Just put on a slight angle and all is well.

Considering the amount of memories tied to this thing (and still counting) I consider it the best bike purchase I've made.

Can't say for sure how it will affect their riding habits. My first one on it loved the variety of riding her own bike and riding with me. The second got kind of lazy on me and just wanted to ride with me. 3rd, we'll see. One thing for sure they all loved it.

Good luck!

 

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Locojay said:
I have a trek 24" that's been a blast. 2 of my kids have enjoyed and outgrown it. My 3rd is just getting started on it. It's been everywhere from the beach to park to singletrack and fireroads.

The hitch took a little bit of adjusting to get it right but once it's set it rides great in any condition we take it in. The only thing I can say to watch out for in rough terrain is large grade brakes (going from flat ground to steep). If you go in a straight line your back tire hits the the bar to the trail-a-bike and lifts it. Not so good. Just put on a slight angle and all is well.

Considering the amount of memories tied to this thing (and still counting) I consider it the best bike purchase I've made.

Can't say for sure how it will affect their riding habits. My first one on it loved the variety of riding her own bike and riding with me. The second got kind of lazy on me and just wanted to ride with me. 3rd, we'll see. One thing for sure they all loved it.

Good luck!

Looks like you're running a 24" on the back of your bike, too? I am also running a 26fr/24rr setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think all of your comments above are correct... this thing will serve many purposes: a teaching tool and a convince tool (ease on the parents that want to ride distances). Add that to the fact that we think it should be easy to sell on Craigslist, we decided to purchase the Trail-a-Bike, after a weekend of riding roughly 15 fun family miles.

We paid about $25 more than we could have gotten it at Amazon which I am ok with since we are helping our hometown bike store.

So if there is anyone who is considering a tag-a-long, here is other things I learned researching the Adams that are not mentioned above:

1. its price point is smack dab in the middle of the tag-a-longs. prices are between $175-$200 at local bike shops, $150 at Amazon (with free shipping).

2. the mounting system appears to be be very strong but does become loose over time (but does have bolts that are easily tightened which helps somewhat).



3. Adams has this bump bar across the bottom that really needs to be a little bigger to avoid hitting the chain (when it is sitting on the ground when waiting to be mounted to the bike.) And the sticker-on bumper doesn't do much so I put some clear water tubing zip tied on.


4. the weight on my wife's bathroom scale says 22lbs. (which is only 2lbs more than our trailer)

5. compared to our trailer it is much more practical for my daughter. She can stand up over bumps which makes for a more comfortable and fun ride (less whining and longer riding).

6. the Adams does fold up for travel which makes it much roughly the same size as the folded up trailer. But it might be able to be put on the car rack (not tried it yet.)

Hope this thread helps other dads/moms wanting to take the kids riding.
John
 

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Will Guide for Beer
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ridemtn said:
I think Adam's hitch connections are complete garbage. We have the 24" version. There is so much slop and flex in the joint that I can't use it on even the best of singletrack. We are restricted to the pavement, and even there, it flops back and forth a lot just from the play in the hitch (which I agree, the design and looks of it seem very weak).

I'm considering modifying it with a hitch from a better product (checking into buying hitch parts only), however then we still have the problem of its anvil like weight.

As far as the kids liking it, my younger boy loves it, but my older boy can't stand to ride it. It is clearly a matter of their personalities. My older boy doesn't like the feeling of not being able to steer/correct/control his own balance (plus he doesn't like the flopping back and forth of the hitch itself).
The "flex in the joint" is your failure to correctly modify what Adams has provided. You need to modify what you have and get rid of that "slack and slop". We used an old garden hose and cut it up. Solid as a rock. You simply need to find some rubber (maybe a blown tube), insert it and attach it. The modification is up to you.

Make sure that your rig is tight and safe. You are hauling your pride and joy back there. If it fails ... just check your stuff is tight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
zul said:
The "flex in the joint" is your failure to correctly modify what Adams has provided. You need to modify what you have and get rid of that "slack and slop". We used an old garden hose and cut it up. Solid as a rock. You simply need to find some rubber (maybe a blown tube), insert it and attach it. The modification is up to you.

Make sure that your rig is tight and safe. You are hauling your pride and joy back there. If it fails ... just check your stuff is tight.
Do you have photos of the modification?
 

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We love our Adams. We have the alloy shifter 20" that I picked up for $85 on CL very lightly used, killer deal! I've had it on singletrack with our 8 year old to get her used to trails and bike paths/roads with all 3 of our kids.
 

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I put an old tire tube around the joint to take some of the slop out of it. The Adams was great for getting my daughter out riding with me and her older brother without slowing the ride down.
It now is with a friend and his kids. We took that trail a bike on some really good trails and got my daughter into riding offroad. She now has a Scott Scale JR.
 

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ridemtn said:
I think Adam's hitch connections are complete garbage. We have the 24" version. There is so much slop and flex in the joint that I can't use it on even the best of singletrack. We are restricted to the pavement, and even there, it flops back and forth a lot just from the play in the hitch (which I agree, the design and looks of it seem very weak).
Huh. I've used the SS 20 inch Adams as well as the 24 inch geared Adams with no trouble on singletrack. I've pulled him along up to 30+ mile rides.
 

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Jwiffle said:
Huh. I've used the SS 20 inch Adams as well as the 24 inch geared Adams with no trouble on singletrack. I've pulled him along up to 30+ mile rides.
How much does your kid weigh? The 24" model is 30+ lbs, plus a 50+lbs kid, when that hitch wobbles back and forth, it pretty much jerks us over.

Aside from the weight, the gear ratios are road specific. I threw a big 34t freewheel on it, and it still seems geared high with that huge chainring and short cranks.
 

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ridemtn said:
How much does your kid weigh? The 24" model is 30+ lbs, plus a 50+lbs kid, when that hitch wobbles back and forth, it pretty much jerks us over.

Aside from the weight, the gear ratios are road specific. I threw a big 34t freewheel on it, and it still seems geared high with that huge chainring and short cranks.
He's about 60 lbs now. Sometimes he makes the whole bike-trailer unit wobbly when I use it with the cross bike, but it feels more stable on the mtn bike. No wobble or trouble from the hitch, though. Well, I may have had it shift around the seatpost once, straightened it and tightened it down a little, and it was fine.
 

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I give the Adams T-A-B a definite two thumbs up. Tough enough to hold up to anything I would be comfortable riding with a 3-5 year old. I have used mine with both boys on trails in Fruita and even rode the Slickrock practice loop with my 3 YO with no problems.

I think it gives kids a chance to "feel" balancing on a bike without having to worry about falling over. The transition to a 16 inch bike for both boys was as simple as them saying they wanted to ride their own bike, I held the bike while they mounted, and off they went, total time teaching them to ride was less than 10 minutes each.

It also allows kids who are not quite ready for their own bike to go on longer rides. They can pedal when they want and sit back and enjoy the ride when they don't want to pedal. We regularly took both our boys on 10+ mile rides. The best part is there is no whining about being tired and I can ride as long as I want to.

And, the investment is not that much. We bought our Adams for $169, new at LBS, used it for 3 years and then sold it on craigslist for $125. I say buy it, you won't regret it.
 

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Do they still make those attachments that let you tow your child's 16" bike? I swear I have seen them before. I'd like to take my daughter to an easy flat (wheelchair accessible) ride around a local lake, but I just know if we did the trail-a-bike she'd want to ride, and if she rides, she will say she is tired. If they do, that might be an option for you as well. When I asked at the LBS the guy knew what I meant, but didn't know of any his distributors carried.
 
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