The trailer thread

Bicycles for Toddlers to Teens

The trailer thread

Postby MattyK » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:17 pm

Does anyone else use a child trailer?

We bought a Croozer Kid for 2 at the start of this year. It has spent most of its life being used as a double stroller to kinder and ballet class, but we have put a handful of bike rides on it now that the weather is getting nicer.

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I have a (as of now) 4 year old and a 14 month old - so one is at the upper limit of fitting, and the other has just reached the age that you're advised to start rides (mainly due to helmet/neck strength issues).

We got the optional infant sling, which was good for when my boy was quite new, then upgraded him to the baby seat supporter (a padded seat insert), but he quickly outgrew that (he's big!) and now goes in the normal seat.

We also got the handlebar console, which is great for stroller use as drinks and keys/wallet etc are close at hand. There is even a little split hole in it for poking headphone cords through.

We have the optional sun cover too which provides a little more shade, but its practicality is limited by the fact that it slides up and down the top frame tubes, and the side panels are also attached to those frame tubes. This means, if you want to pull the sun shade down forwards, you have to undo some of the velcro loops and reattach them forward of where the side panel velcro loops are.

The hitch lives on my commuter bike permanently; I have a hub gear so it is firmly bolted in place to the axle.


Pros:
Gets the kids outdoors and moving faster than they can ride. Great way to get to the playground.
Comes with stroller wheel and jogger wheel kit included. My wife has used the stroller wheel a lot, we have not used the jogger wheel though.
Heaps of room in the back (enough for nappy bag, balance bike, snacks, drinks, stroller wheel for when you get somewhere, etc)
Rolls well, no complaints of ride comfort (believe me, my daughter would complain!). In fact the kids tend to fall asleep in it!
Easy to access inside (a couple of velcro tabs on the front cover)
Easy to fold up and down. It needs a good pull to snap the clamps into place, but it is as tight as a drum once done. My wife can do it, so it can't be that hard.

Cons:
The harnesses (5 point) are quite fiddly to adjust for length, especially when you are trying to reach in around a seated child. Once adjusted though they are easy enough to buckle.
The stroller wheel is a little rattly. Nowhere near as silent as the big wheels (in trailer or jogger mode)
It's heavy! I guess this is unavoidable, so it's a bit unfair to list as a negative. But you certainly notice when it's full and you come to a hill. My lowest gear is about 39 inches, not really ideal for hauling heavy loads... It jerks a bit when you go over bumps or accelerate, but again that's probably common to all of them.
No enough recess for helmets. There are adjustable head supports provided; I'm not sure if these are intended to support the neck (and provide clearance above for a helmet) or to be used in countries without helmet laws. Consequently, if the child isn't supporting their head, their helmet will push down over their eyes. However, the main reason for this would be that they are asleep, so maybe it's a moot point.
It's wide! This is probably the main drawback. It's too wide to fit through a standard doorway. Have a good hard think about the practicalities of that. It will just squeeze through a doorway tipped on its side without being folded up, but it is bulky and awkward to do this. Only slightly easier when folded down. I doubt the competition is much better though, you still have to fit two kids and two 20" wheels.
Apart from doorways, if you are going to a bike track, many of them have bollards or traffic obstructions that are equally hard to get past. However there is not so much weight on the back axle of your bike, so it is possible to lift the rear of the bike, step it sideways, and get through.
Despite folding down and the wheels coming off easily, it is still too big to fit in the (small) boot of our car. So it is limited to use around our neighbourhood, not for travels and holidays. We really could use a bigger car though...

Over all, it's a great trailer, a high quality piece of kit, and highly recommended if you can live with the size issues. It feels like it will last for years, but unless you keep churning out kids you probably won't get years of use out of it before they outgrow it, and as a double trailer it's really only effective for an age gap of less than 3 years, because you're limited to kids between 1 and 4-5 years old.
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by BNA » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:18 pm

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Re: The trailer thread

Postby find_bruce » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:18 pm

My little bit is 18 months & loves going for a ride- I got the guilts this morning as I was heading off to work & he put his helmet on to come with my. Had the saddest little face when he realised I was leaving without him.

Been meaning to post about a mod I did to replace the crappy hitch with a nice burley one. Just waiting on a new chariot nut for the alfine hub - nut does up as normal, hitch bolts to the end of the nut
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Re: The trailer thread

Postby huggiebear » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:03 pm

not the same style of trailer, but my son just started school and i dont like the idea of his recently restored bike being left at school so im building this trailer so i can cart it home and back again to pick him up.

consists of an old gate cut up to form the frame, 2 front forks from 16" bikes i was scrapping, some colonial fence palings and some screws. i also ordered a eyelet style toe rod end from ebay which will be my hitch point. so all i need to buy still is a long bolt which the tie rod will go onto and make the draw bar and hitch bracket off the back of the bike. im also picking up a section of c-channel to hold the bike in place while being towed. (if you buy actual c-channel it costs about $30/m but if you buy fence post channeling its $12 for 3m) it should be all finished over the weekend apart from the tie rod which wont be here until monday/tuesday.

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Re: The trailer thread

Postby MattyK » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:43 pm

Ingenious. Wouldn't something like a trail gator be easier though? I guess this will have more general versatility though.
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Re: The trailer thread

Postby huggiebear » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:25 pm

i did think about something like that but after spending $200+ on restoring the bike i dont like the idea of bolting on a plastic clip to the front or getting him to ride a new single wheel extension bike thing. and the looks we will get will make it worth it. and at a running cost so far under $18 and estimated total cost of under $35 (depending the price of stain/paint) i doubt i could get any other aftermarket style unit for that price.

and the best part is building it. i love hands on stuff
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Re: The trailer thread

Postby huggiebear » Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:20 pm

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Re: The trailer thread

Postby rangersac » Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:16 pm

Yup, a serious old Burley one that dates back to about 2000, that we got second hand from some mates. It's still going strong despite a lot of abuse, and nearly 50kg of kids in it!
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Re: The trailer thread

Postby faustorider » Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:12 pm

Can anyone recommend a trailer brand, am looking at prices below $300, will buy new or second hand. Went to the LBS, they have a Thule for $1500, looks good but not worth the money as I have my doubts as to how often it would get used.
The next query is has anyone towed one behind a road bike? I have three road bikes, my wife has a mountain bike which she wants me to use, but I am a roadie and I figure I will be slow enough towing the weight of a trailer let alone towing behind a mountain bike. All my road bikes are steel framed not carbon so they should be strong enough, but they are valuble so don't want any damage to my bike.
I intend to only use it on bike paths, cargo too precious to risk being on the road, although I still have a 1 kilometre road ride to get to a bike path.
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Re: The trailer thread

Postby find_bruce » Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:56 pm

Chariot are beautiful but too expensive. The clamp on attachment from cheap trailers are garbage. I used a cheap trailer but fitted a burley attachment - bracket secured by quick release, works well on any bike
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Re: The trailer thread

Postby silentbutdeadly » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:16 am

faustorider wrote:Can anyone recommend a trailer brand, am looking at prices below $300, will buy new or second hand. Went to the LBS, they have a Thule for $1500, looks good but not worth the money as I have my doubts as to how often it would get used.
The next query is has anyone towed one behind a road bike? I have three road bikes, my wife has a mountain bike which she wants me to use, but I am a roadie and I figure I will be slow enough towing the weight of a trailer let alone towing behind a mountain bike. All my road bikes are steel framed not carbon so they should be strong enough, but they are valuble so don't want any damage to my bike.
I intend to only use it on bike paths, cargo too precious to risk being on the road, although I still have a 1 kilometre road ride to get to a bike path.


I picked up a used trailer that one commonly sees on Ebay...like this one...
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It's a knock-off of the Pacific brand and the fabric quality and build is not a patch on the Pacific but the trailer chassis is better. If you wanted to spend a bit more than your budget then the WeeHoo might be a good place to be.

As for towing behind a roadie...fine from a bike safety proposition (it won't hurt the bike) but bear in mind the impact of over 40 kgs worth of trailer/child/gear on your gearing. With all due respect to your self belief about your guns...but 50/39 front rings are a bastard to get going from a stand still (which will happen a lot). The effort will put extra strain on you and the driveline. Besides most trailers will have a recommended speed limit below 25 km/h (mine is 18) and you have to consider that you have to be able to steer and stop at those speeds whilst managing that extra weight (it takes a little getting used to). TBH...I'd use the MTB - not everything is about speed.

My towing of late has been comfortably done on a 1x10 hybrid with a 40 front and 11-32 out back...gets going quite easily and exceeds the trailer max speed of 18 km/h with ease.
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Re: The trailer thread

Postby bychosis » Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:04 am

I got a Repco trailer a few years ago. Steel frame, plastic wheels. Cheap but effective. It folds down pretty flat with a bunch of pins and the wheels are quick release for storage or fitting in the car. It's got a clear PVC windscreen or mesh to keep bugs out. When it is warm I prop open the rear panel to keep it ventilated. The rear storage section has had two kids school backpacks stuffed into it for the school run while the two bigguns ride and mr 18mth gets a tow. Silly thing also has the flag on the wrong side, guess it was designed for US or euro markets.

http://www.repcosport.com.au/accessories/accessory-1.aspx

The hitch on it was complete rubbish. A massive block of alloy that clamped around the non drive side seat or chain stay. It got in the way of disc brakes and/or my heel when pedalling clipped in. Eventually ditched it and made a hitch that clamps under the QR skewer. Heaps easier to fit, more sturdy.
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No helmets in the trailer for my kids, it pushed the helmet to far forwards down over their eyes. I also now put a cushion in behind their back so they don't slouch so much.

Mostly now I tow with an old steel MTB. It does need decent brakes though to stop the extra weight so I upgraded it to v brakes (over canti's) but gets up enough speed and has low gears for climbing with a load.

You can pick them up on gumtree/eBay for around $50. For the amount mine has been used it has been worth the $150 investment. I don't think I'll sell it when the kids are bigger, for the return I'd get it will probably be used at some stage if I keep on riding. Getting a more expensive one would possible save a couple of kg, but at the end of the day I'm dragging around a lot extra, so what's a little more.

Side note: why is the children's bikes section under "serious biking" it's meant to be fun for kids :lol:
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Re: The trailer thread

Postby Mububban » Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:00 pm

I bought a Pacific trailer (bike only, no stroller option) second hand off a mate, it's great for holidaying in Rottnest with all its hills. We're heading there again soon and although the kids will have just turned 4 and 6 and have their own bikes, the hills over there are impossible for little legs on a single gear. So hooray for daddy who gets to lug the 50kg of extra weight :D At least this time, the MTB will have an electric assist!

I haven't used it as much as I thought I might when I bought it, it's far less faffing about to just have the kids ride their own bikes for a quick afternoon bit of exercise, compared to hauling the trailer out of the shed, connecting it to my bike, getting the kids into the straps etc.
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Re: The trailer thread

Postby ValleyForge » Thu Sep 25, 2014 6:32 pm

I used a Trail-Gator for years with my two kids. Both blossomed into confident riders who are traffic savvy. The beauty is you tow their bike to wherever you are going, so then they ride around on their own bike. One ride we did I towed up the hill there, but my son was happy riding home off the towbar.
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Re: The trailer thread

Postby Seppo » Tue Nov 25, 2014 3:50 pm

G'Day All-

Within the realm of "Trailers"... does anyone have one for sale/kicking-around that they'd want to get rid of? (that they'd be willing to ship to Tassie!?)

I'm looking at higher-end models, single seat, suspension (so, Thule Chariot Cougar type...), but if anyone has something similar? I do prefer to re-cycle/re-use as opposed to buying brand new (I don't need the box, and my kid is only going to wreck it more!)

Having said all that, as with all things Aussie - I've discovered I can buy brand new from the likes of REI in the states for less than half price here (postage included) :roll: , so... it'd have to be under that obviously. :mrgreen:

Let me know if anyone has anything collecting dust!
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Re: The trailer thread

Postby MattyK » Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:14 am

Trailers will cost a LOT to ship (They're huge and not that light).

Still going to be getting a bit of use out of mine (in the first post above) so sorry, can't help you unless you can wait a couple more years.
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Re: The trailer thread

Postby rodneycc » Wed Nov 26, 2014 11:29 am

Fyi they are $99 in aldi at the moment. Seem a good buy. I already have the old aldi model which does the job. I stick a booster car seat in mine for my daughter who is getting too big for it.
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