Author Topic: Does a trail-a-bike need gears?  (Read 1230 times)

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Does a trail-a-bike need gears?
« on: May 11, 2015, 02:45:13 PM »
Pretty self-explanatory! I am thinking of getting a Burley Kazoo or Piccolo--because I am short and have very little seat post sticking out, I think those are the only kinds I would be able to use.

Anyway, is it worth paying more to have gears? Right now Big Brother is only 4, but I can envision using it for many years on long family bike rides (we could get another for Little Brother next year).

TrMama

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Re: Does a trail-a-bike need gears?
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2015, 03:06:29 PM »
No. Your biggest challenge will be getting the kid to pedal at all. If he is pedaling, he should only pedal when you're pedaling. You specifically do not want the child to pedal when you're already going downhill.

Things worth paying more for include a lighter bike overall (bike + kid = heavy) and a hitch that doesn't have any lateral play in it at all. I've had a couple different Adam's trail-a-bikes and the hitch design allows the bike to sway from side to side in a way that's very challenging to accommodate. This issue gets harder to compensate for as the ratio between the adult's weight and the bike/kid weight narrows.

CheapskateWife

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Re: Does a trail-a-bike need gears?
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2015, 03:21:13 PM »
Finally!  A question I can answer with some experience to back it up!

Stick with the simple bike.  No gears, no brakes, they just aren't helpful.  And when your kid gets frustrated with not being able to figure out the gears, they stop pedalling.  Oh and the weight difference between the two setups is incredible. 

I bought our oldest son the fancy pants geared trail a bike and we both couldn't wait to go back to the simpler bike.  Now his 10yrs younger little brother is my tandem partner. 

TrMama is also clearly speaking from experience.  I have seen knuckle joints that have 4-5 different tightening points and makes for a really wobbly ride as they always come loose.  And be prepared to come up with sleeve shims if you are moving the trailing bike to different captain bikes....we just went ahead and got a bracket for each of the road and mountain bikes so DH and I can carry the load equally for longer outings.

Once your little one gets to about 60lbs, you are going to want that bugger on his own bike, and little bro can just slide into the hand me down.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Does a trail-a-bike need gears?
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2015, 04:28:41 PM »
Thanks! The Kazoo it is. Now I just need to find one used...

The boys are very close in age (16 months), so I think that we will want two. Mr. FP can haul the bigger child while I pull Little Brother, when it's all of us.

I'm also interested in pulling the trailer (with LB) behind the Kazoo. I'm starting to worry that the trailer is overloaded with both boys (total weight 70 pounds) plus groceries.