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Tag along bikes are unique bike attachments for kids and an adventurous alternative to traditional bike trailers. Tag along bikes enable kids to be out in the open air and participate in the cycle ride.They’re also a great option for children who have outgrown bike seats or older kids who no longer fit in a typical bike trailer.
Tag along bikes mean you and your child can go on longer bike rides and go faster and safer than you could on separate bikes.
In this guide we’ll give you tips on what to look out for when choosing one and list the best tag along bikes.
What is a Tag Along Bike?
A tag along bike (also known as trail a bikes or trailer cycles) is a children’s bike that exchanges the front wheel and fork for a long towbar that fits to the back of an adult bike to form an articulated tandem.
There are number of different types ranging from true tag alongs to bike tow bars and more DIY tow ropes. Tag along bikes and tow bars mean you can attach them to your bike and help your little ones cover distances or terrain they wouldn’t normally be able to on their own.
Whether a true tag along bike or a towing option is best for your family will depend on your child’s abilities and what you’d like to accomplish on your cycle outings.
Tag Along Bikes
Tag along bikes are ideal for children that are too old for a child seat or trailer but aren’t necessarily old enough or fit enough to keep up with adults on a cycle ride. Children can choose to pedal or freewheel on a tag along and will start to get a feel for cycling without getting exhausted.
And the good thing is that most bikes can be fitted with a tow bar or tag along bike. They fit easily to the seatpost or rear rack of most mountain, road or hybrid bikes. It is a good idea to fit a rear mudguard to the adult bike before cycling on wet roads to minimise any spray from the rear wheel of the adult bike.
Tag along bikes are generally much cheaper than tandem bikes and take up less space. They’re also flexible since you can remove the trailer cycle and use the adult bike as a normal solo bicycle when needed.
Cycle Tow Bars and Ropes
A cycle towbar will enable you to convert your kids bike into a tag-along. The towbar attaches to the seat post of the adult’s bike and the head tube of the child’s bike.
Once fitted, the towbar lifts the front wheel of the child’s bike off the ground and locks the steering. This effectively turns your child’s bike into a tag along so you can ride further with them. The added benefit of towbars is that you can unhitch the child’s bike so they can cycle part of the ride by themselves or simply use their bike on it’s own.
1. Burley Piccolo/Kazoo Tag-a-Long
SUITABILITY: Ages 4 – 8.
Burley is a well respected bike brand and well known for their bike trailers and tag alongs. They make some excellent tag a long bikes including the Burley Piccolo and the Burley Kazoo. They are not the cheapest but they are some of the best tag along bikes on the market.
If you are planning to use your trailer bicycle a lot and your budget can stretch then both the Piccolo and Kazoo are highly recommended.
Burley have designed a special mounting system that attaches to a rack (included) on the back of the bike instead of the seat-post. This makes for a smoother, more stable ride and with increased manoeuvrability.
One possible drawback is that a child is not secured with any straps, which is something to consider if shopping for younger children.
The main difference between the two is that the Kazoo is a single speed version while the Piccolo is a geared version with 7 speed grip shift. Watch the video by Burley below to see key features and differences.
Burley Piccolo/Kazoo Tag-a-Long Summary
2. Weehoo iGo Trailer-Cycle
RRP: $225 – $399 – $529
SUITABILITY: Ages 2 – 9.
Standard cycle trailers can often sway from side to side and their lack of harness can’t keep kids safe in the event of a fall. If your child is too young to sit unaided on the back of a tag-along or has additional needs that require a higher level of support, then the Weehoo iGo’s are a great option.
Built lower to the ground, the Weehoo iGo’s are incredibly stable compared to most standard trailer cycles.
They come with a padded seat instead of a saddle, so they are suitable from ages 2 all the way to age 9. Additionally, the recumbent (lying down) seat has a height-adjustable 3-point harness that keeps kids secure and safe. Kids can sit back and relax, hold onto the handles or throw their hands in the air in comfort.
The Weehoo iGo Turbo (RRP $399) has pedals and panniers attached to the seat which hold 14 litres so ideal for school books or a small amount of shopping.
A more economical version of the Weehoo Turbo is the Weehoo Blast (RRP $225). This trailer cycle is better suited for younger riders, where, in place of the pedals there are footrests.
For those with two children/twins their is yet another option to transport your kiddos with the Weehoo Two Bike trailer (RRP $529)
Performance is great on paved paths and thanks to the single wheel, narrow footprint, it really shines on non-paved trails and narrow single tracks where a larger trailer would be more cumbersome and might get caught by low branches. With one wheel, the Weehoo is able to track smoothly on uneven surfaces, compared to a trailer that bounces back and forth and would make for a bumpier ride.
The only thing we aren’t so keen on about the Weehoo is that because it’s so close to the ground, kids can get dusty and dirty, so make sure your child has glasses on and they should be okay.
Weehoo iGo Trailer-Cycle Summary
3. TrailGator Tow Bar
SUITABILITY: 12″-20″ bikes.
The TrailGator is a great alternative to a traditional tag along bike and a good option if you’re looking for a tow bar on a budget. It is essentially a towbar that fixes to your child’s bike and turns it into a trailer cycle.
This is helpful if your child is too small for a traditional tag along bike and has other benefits too. For example you can let your child ride part solo of the journey and then attach the TrailGator There are multiple benefits as
It opens up all sorts of possibilities such as towing a child too small to fit onto a traditional tag along bike. Or you can convert a it mid ride – so a child can use their bike solo for part of the journey, and then attach the TrailGator for parts of the journey where they may be tired or when you are travelling through more challenging sections.
The installation of the TrailGator is easy enough but be aware that it does take some time. It’s not recommended for bikes that have hand brakes and do be aware that they are more wobbly than trailer cycles.
TrailGator Tow Bar Summary
4. FollowMe Tandem
SUITABILITY: 12″-20″ bikes.
The FollowMe Tandem is a great alternative to the standard tag along bikes above. Not the cheapest option on this list, it is similar to the TrailGator but with a higher quality design. It allows you to tow your child on their own bike and connect or disconnect when you like, so they can choose to ride independently if they wish.
The FollowMe Tandem is is a high quality Swiss design with a rear-axle mounted steel trailer that only weighs 4kg.
It features incredibly secure connection points on both ends and a clever design results in a smooth and stable ride. If you plan on doing a lot of riding on paved and light trails we recommend investing in the FollowMe Tandem. Check out the video below.
FollowMe Tandem Summary
5. Shotgun Kids MTB Tow Rope
SUITABILITY: Load rated to 500Lb / 226Kg
The Shotgun tow rope is the simplest and most affordable option in this roundup. It’s a great option to bring along just in case due to it’s portability. Originally designed in New Zealand for mountain bike families this bungee rope means you can keep your little ones close but also provides enough space so they can also ride more independently.
It allows your child to experience the thrill of mountain biking and allows you to give them an extra boost when needed. You can enjoy bigger family rides without the worry of tired little legs
Easy to use, the Shotgun tow rope attaches to parents saddle and connects to the kids bicycle over the stem for quick use, or around the stem for longer climbs. The tow rope is available on its own or can be bought with a carrying case hip pack that is designed for small hands, and can be carried by your child so is easily accessible when you need it.
Similar to the Shotgun tow rope is the TowWhee tow rope (RRP $40). Very similar it’s a worthy competitor however it was not available for sale non Amazon at the time of writing. There are some Chinese tow ropes versions for sale on Amazon from about $30. The quality may not be the same but if you are on a tight budget they may be a viable option, just make sure you do your research first.
Shotgun Kids MTB Tow Rope Summary
Conclusions for choosing the best tow or tag-along
Choosing the best trailer tow bar, rope or tag-along for you and your child depends on what sort of experience you are looking for and the age and ability of your child.
To recap on the options listed above there are three main types of trailer bikes which each offer slightly different functionality and advantages. These include:
Standard tag-along bikes that are hitched to the back of an adult bike and act like a half-bike on the back. They provide a realistic cycling experience for kids who want to pedal but can’t quite go the distance.
Recumbent trailer cycles have a seated position and are lower to the ground. As a result they are generally more stable and are the only option with harness straps to keep little ones safe, which is a good option for younger children.
Tow bars and tow ropes provide more freedom and allow a child to ride by themselves and be towed when they get too tired. Suitable for children who can already ride but can’t manage longer distances or inclines without a little assistance.