62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Great Idea well executed,
This review is from: New 2012 Red Trail Gator Bicycle Tow Bar (Misc.)I just fitted a trail gator to my bike and that of my daughter now that she has outgrown our bike trailer - it's just too much of a squeeze with her and her brother on board. I had worried that the single wide tube on the childs bike (A Raleigh Superstar) might prevent it's fitting but the child's "Receiver" will fit up to 105mm which is good because that's just about the width of the tube on her bike. Issues with bolts coming loose seem to have been fixed by using nyloc nuts so it looks like the manufacturer is taking note of comments like this on various websites.
The most fiddly part is fitting the child's receiver, this consists of some long U bolts which can be awkward to do up unless you have some deep sockets or tube spanners otherwise it's a lot of half turns with a spanner. The spacers can be fiddly, but are slotted so you don't have to dismantle the whole thing to adjust the angle of the kids bike.
On the adult's bike fitting is relatively straight forward, the kit also comes with a clip to "Park" the towbar when the child feels like pedaling and this is probably the only part that worries me as it looks a bit flimsy.
Riding is odd to start with unless you are used to a bike trailer, take the instruction manual's advice and ride solo with the kid's bike attached to get the feel of it, if like me, you have used a bike trailer the feel is about the same. With the child on board it takes some getting used to, particularly if they are still using training wheels. Here I advise you run around the block or find some wide and quiet roads for you both to get the feel of it before attempting a more serious journey.
Looking at the comments an addition is required. Take a look at the photo, the point of contact between the adult and child's rear wheel is very long, now bear in mind that the childs front wheel will be some 50mm above the ground and you have a shallow breakover angle. This means trips on tow paths and roads will be OK but you will have to leave those trips through woods etc for a while longer. It will take small humps and on my kids bikes the compression is partially mitigated by front suspension on their bike.
This does not work with fixed training wheels, trail gator do some flip up wheels which seem to do the trick so this is easily fixed. You may also want a mirror to check on your child as turning to check while they're wobbling about is a challenge.
The bar is not easily transferred between bikes due to the fitments although the bar itself uses a QD fitting. Fortunatelly the adult's and clild's receivers can be bought separately from a lot of web based cycle shops so you can easly set up another adult's or childs bike with a tow point if you want to swap the tow bar with your partner or tow different bikes.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Oct 2009 12:59:37 BDT
W. R. Kennedy says:
This is an excellent accessory which I can recommend highly. I can concur with a couple of points raised in this review :
Firstly, fitting the receiver on the child's bike *is* very awkward and because of that I managed to cross-thread one of the nuts so badly I had to buy a replacement U-bolt. Spares are not cheap, and if you need more than a couple of replacement parts, it's almost tempting to buy a complete new Trailgator (the single bolt cost £7, including postage, and I paid little more than £40 for the whole Trailgator in early 2008).
I can also confirm the flimsiness of the plastic clip, as mine sheared off (I only discovered that when it was no longer attached, and all that remained was the metal bracket and the tiny nut and bolt). Not only is it flimsy, it sticks out sideways from the rear wheel, meaning that bikes need to be stored very carefully next to each other to avoid catching it within the spokes of another bike's wheels. I would even go so far as to suggest removing the plastic part and leaving it clipped around the Trailgator (which it's really easy to remove from the bike anyway) when not in use.
Having broken mine, I looked into spares once again, and discovered I would need to spend around £12 for a replacement (added to the £7 cost of the bolt above, that is nearly half the original price for two spare parts). However, I found a different solution... by rotating the remaining metal part of that bracket backwards by about 45 degrees, bending the protruding part inwards towards the wheel and widening the hole through which the flimsy plastic clip was once attached from around 3mm to 7mm, the Trailgator can then be fastened to that bracket using the same quick release bolt used to attach it to the child's bike. Not the most elegant solution, but £12 cheaper than the alternative.
Posted on 28 Mar 2011 11:51:04 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Mar 2011 11:53:24 BDT
Clearly this is someone who works for Trail Gator. Anyone who doesn't and has used one of these (including the users who have posted positive comments), will tell you how bad this product is. Every reviewer has a nagative comment to make even if they have given 5 stars. It is a great idea, however is does not work like the idea suggests. Everyone who has reviewed this with 1 or 2 stars give a much more accurate overview of what is actually happening with this product. It is only a matter of time before some serious accidents are reported because of this products short-comings.
In reply to an earlier post on 10 Sep 2011 09:50:19 BDT
Andrew Johnson says:
I actually work in Aerospace as an engineering manager, safety is within my remit. Anything can have safety implications if improperly used, maintained or fitted poorly. I have used this on both my kids bikes and for what it is; this is a great product, something to help kids get the hang of cycling and to provide a tow on longer trips.
It very obviously creates a long breakover angle when fitted and clearly is only for road use, most poor reviews I have seen have involved some form of off pavement trip or have expressed fitting issues. As I have pointed out it does require some mechanical aptitude to fit this device it may be that I rate this product highly because as in most things I consider it's limitations and the consequence of my actions before starting.
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