Next step after tag-along, is the Trail-Gator really that bad?

Location
Rammy
Howdo,

We've been getting some good, socially distanced, use out of our tag-along this year, but we're getting a bit tall for it (Black lamb is a rather tall 6 year old) and on the cusp of riding our own bike,

I've been starting to look at towing a child's bike and the options seem to be the Trail Gator or the 'follow me tandem' the latter being twice the price!

The main negatives I hear about the Trail Gator is that it can wag the tow bike as it's attached to the seat tube which is the same as what I get with the we-ride we've got, will that really be much different, obviously as my daughter gets older / onto a bigger bike there'll be a bit more leverage, but as time goes on, it'll be used more to get along road sections of rides before letting her loose again when safe to :smile:

Does anyone use one on a child's bike with 18-20 inch wheels?
How is it?

Has anyone used both and would say the extra cost of the 'follow me' is worth it?
 

steven1988

Über Member
Location
Sheffield
I bought a brand new Trail gator about a year ago, after pulling a tag along for both kids for about 6 years.

It lasted one ride before i sold it on, i put it down to the fact that there was too many places it could flex but maybe completely wrong
 

CanucksTraveller

Macho Business Donkey Wrestler
Location
Hertfordshire
I had (still have, nobody wants it) a Trail Gator, I wasn't a fan and it lasted 3, maybe 4 rides I think. A few thoughts:

It's hard work, the back end does (or can) wag you a bit which makes for tiring adjustments as you ride, and if the child isn't pedaling much you're lugging a LOT of weight up hills. On the flat it's better.
They're frustrating and time consuming to put together, and not very well made. You will swear as you assemble it, and you'll lose two hours of your life the first time. After the fixings are on both bikes, it's easier.
The head tube connection on the child's bike has to be MEGA tight otherwise the child slowly develops a dangerous list to one side. This mega tight connection will strip paint off their head tube, so make sure their bike is sort of disposable.

I wouldn't say don't get one, it's a very, very difficult age to deal with and some cycling is better than none if they're not ready to go solo yet.. but it's not quite the perfect answer I thought it might be. See it as a compromise and you might get a few nice days out, but you'll want the child on their own bike sooner rather than later.
 

lazybloke

Let's go sledding
Location
In a cemetery
I used a trailgator for both my kids but only to 4 yrs old, as stability was getting dodgy by that age/weight.

Had the dreaded lean problem too, so had to tighten up the bolts - the clamp works by biting right through the paint and into the metal of the headtube, which is not a happy thought when you've recently painted/rebuilt the bike for your firstborn.

Never used a followme, looks like it could be better, Should be at that price!
 

I like Skol

Hold my beer and watch this....
At age 6 I would be going down the separate bikes route. Both my sons rode in a seat on the back of my bike until they outgrew it then swapped to riding separately (starting with stabilisers) as they approached the age of 4.
Sure this does lead to a few slower and shorter rides initially, but they soon get the strength and confidence to ride further.
 
OP
Black Sheep
Location
Rammy
At age 6 I would be going down the separate bikes route. Both my sons rode in a seat on the back of my bike until they outgrew it then swapped to riding separately (starting with stabilisers) as they approached the age of 4.
Sure this does lead to a few slower and shorter rides initially, but they soon get the strength and confidence to ride further.
That is the plan, the issue is, while we have a large park a short ride away, and a few old railway lines there are some busy roads including our terraced streets with many parked cars to be navigated first in order to get there.

There's little opportunity to go ride her bike locally for her to practice and I refuse to drive a mile to the park when we can walk or cycle half a mile instead! I'm hoping by the end of the summer she'll be capable of riding to and from the park, but then we'll be wanting to go on longer rides using the old railway lines.

I had (still have, nobody wants it) a Trail Gator, I wasn't a fan and it lasted 3, maybe 4 rides I think. A few thoughts:

It's hard work, the back end does (or can) wag you a bit which makes for tiring adjustments as you ride, and if the child isn't pedaling much you're lugging a LOT of weight up hills. On the flat it's better.
They're frustrating and time consuming to put together, and not very well made. You will swear as you assemble it, and you'll lose two hours of your life the first time. After the fixings are on both bikes, it's easier.
The head tube connection on the child's bike has to be MEGA tight otherwise the child slowly develops a dangerous list to one side. This mega tight connection will strip paint off their head tube, so make sure their bike is sort of disposable.

I wouldn't say don't get one, it's a very, very difficult age to deal with and some cycling is better than none if they're not ready to go solo yet.. but it's not quite the perfect answer I thought it might be. See it as a compromise and you might get a few nice days out, but you'll want the child on their own bike sooner rather than later.

I'm used to the wag and weight of a we-ride tagalong and we've done some interesting rides on it, guess I'm just trying to work out if it's equally usable to that.

If I can get one complete for an ok price I might give it a try, even if it's just to get us to and from the park so there's more space to practice riding her bike.
 

hatler

Guru
The follow-me tandem is an order of magnitude better than a tag-along.

There 's more than a couple on eBay at the moment for around the £150 mark.
 

sotal

Regular
I used a second hand trail gater with both of my kids and sold it on for the price I paid for it for after. We used it for many rides up until they could ride themselves. It was handy as we could detach and let them ride for a bit and it got them used to sitting on a bike for a prolonged period of time.

Ours was on a relatively small bike, they were both riding confidently by the time they were on 20" bikes.

We found there was some play but we found this to be more at the joint where the bar joined the bracket that goes onto my seat post. This play meant they leaned slightly to one side or the other and could flick from one to the other which you could feel on the towing bike. We did many many miles like this though.
 
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