We have a few months on the Trailgator now…enough time to give an informed review. What is a Trailgator you ask? A tool to connect a kid bike to an adult bike. Here, let me show you:
It works on fancy Ti bikes.
It works (kind of) on little folding bikes.
It produces lots of smiles.
It clamps on to the headtube of the kid bike…
And clamps on to the adult bike seatpost.
When in use, it holds the front tire of the kid bike off of the ground, and holds the kid bike handlebars still.
Essentially, it turns any kid bike into a trail-a-bike. But the advantage of the Trailgator is that you can disconnect the kid bike, and your kid can ride their bike. When not in use, the Trailgator has an integrated storage bracket that connects to the rear QR on the adult bike (barely visible above), so it stores neatly out-of-the-way. That’s a huge advantage of the Trailgator. A trail-a-bike cannot be used unless connected to an adult bike. If you ride somewhere and your kid wants to do a little ride by themselves, they cannot.
With the Trailgator, we can ride somewhere, disconnect, and my daughter can practice her riding skills solo. We then reconnect, and ride home. When riding on streets or anywhere with any hazards, I’m firmly in control. I stop us, I turn us. I can control the speed.
We’re close enough that we can easily talk and communicate. That’s a huge advantage from my perspective. Another huge advantage is that my daughter gets the feel of real bike riding–no training wheels. She feels what it is like to lean around a corner.
Moreover, it is very adjustable, and provides flexibility to use the Trailgator with a lot of different size bikes–both adult and kid bikes. My brother in law uses a trailgator with his mountain bike…his six year old son rips the flats and downhills riding solo , and then they hook up the trailgator to pull kiddo up hills. It works great for them.
The downsides? Well…it’s pretty inexpensive, which means it’s heavy. Some of the parts (like the quick releases) are chintzy pot metal. Also, when using it with my Brompton, I found that it would turn the seatpost on the Brompton (and thus turn my bike saddle) when going around corners. That’s annoying. That isn’t an issue with a “regular” bike, like my Ti Vaya that I’m using with the Trailgator now.
The other big downside relates to the attachment to the kid bike. As you can see in the picture, it uses a metal bracket and u-bolts. If you don’t have those u-bolts super-tight, the bracket shifts on the headtube, causing the kid’s bike to lean precariously to the side. If you get the bolts tight enough to hold the bike securely, at the very least it will severely scratch the kid bike, and at the worst, it will dent and deform the headtube on the kids bike. I wish that mounting was more eloquent.
That said, I think it’s a great product. I’m very pleased with the return on investment. For relatively few dollars, it’s a great way to share my love of biking with my daughter, and a great way for us to spend time together. And the advantage of this setup over a trail-a-bike cannot be denied. On Sunday, my daughter and I hooked up the Trailgator, rode several miles to a local park, hung out at the park, unhooked the Trailgator and did some ‘no training wheels’ practice, then reconnected and rode the several miles home. But for the Trailgator, that would not have been possible.
I talk about a lot of products on here–things that make bikes faster, prettier or more fun. This lets me spend time with my daughter. It doesn’t get any better than that.