trail-a-bike leans wrong way (was adams trail-a-bike rubbish shifter)



G

graham

Guest
Thanks for the feedback on the shifter - I eventually replaced the
shifter wth a twist-style one (unfortunately still too hard for little
hands to change to lower gears but that'll come much sooner than it
would have with the un-useable original rubbish).

I also made crank shorteners from a pair of old cranks - much better for
a 4 1/2 yr old.

A new problem is the hitch, and leaning, specifically: when the lead
bike leans to enter a corner, the trailing bike leans the same way, but
once in the corner the trailing bike is now slightly sideways on and
leans out of the corner !! Not helpful for the learning process!

[I've since googled for it and perhaps it's a well known issue...ho hum
but for those that don't know...It happens because the vertical pivot on
the hitch is parallel with the seatpost which of course slopes
backwards, quite a lot on my MTB. Not the brightest of designs - if the
pivot had simply been welded at an average seatpost-lean-angle it would
be better, or even better something with adjustable angle, like the
adjustable handebar things].

So, to cut to the chase, has anyone altered one of these hitchs to work
more sanely? If so how did you go about it?

(I'm considering re-welding the clamp such that the vertical pivot
really is vertical. But I'm wondering if I should replace the hitch
altogether with something better - it's already developed slop after
little use - presumably a function of the short length and crudeness of
the pivots. However, I don’t want to have to fabricate the whole thing
myself).

rgds all,

graham.


ps - yes, i know I should have just bought the piccolo! The problem was
that it doesn't fold, though in retrospect that was a simpler problem to
work round!
 
P

Peter Cole

Guest
graham wrote:
> Thanks for the feedback on the shifter - I eventually replaced the
> shifter wth a twist-style one (unfortunately still too hard for little
> hands to change to lower gears but that'll come much sooner than it
> would have with the un-useable original rubbish).


My experience was that very young children didn't get the idea of
shifting anyway, so I'd just stop before a hill and shift it myself. The
shifting never worked very well on my Adams, the very short chain stays
don't help.

> I also made crank shorteners from a pair of old cranks - much better for
> a 4 1/2 yr old.


My Adams came with kid-sized cranks, I started my daughter at 4 1/2
without any problems.


> A new problem is the hitch, and leaning, specifically: when the lead
> bike leans to enter a corner, the trailing bike leans the same way, but
> once in the corner the trailing bike is now slightly sideways on and
> leans out of the corner !! Not helpful for the learning process!


I'm having trouble understanding your problem. I pulled my daughter from
age 4 1/2 to 9 1/2 in many environments, including a lot of technical
off-road trail riding. She had no problems switching to a single bike,
which she rode alternately, starting perhaps at age 6. Today, at 12,
she's an excellent cyclist, with very good bike handling skills.


> [I've since googled for it and perhaps it's a well known issue...ho hum
> but for those that don't know...It happens because the vertical pivot on
> the hitch is parallel with the seatpost which of course slopes
> backwards, quite a lot on my MTB. Not the brightest of designs - if the
> pivot had simply been welded at an average seatpost-lean-angle it would
> be better, or even better something with adjustable angle, like the
> adjustable handebar things].
>
> So, to cut to the chase, has anyone altered one of these hitchs to work
> more sanely? If so how did you go about it?
>
> (I'm considering re-welding the clamp such that the vertical pivot
> really is vertical. But I'm wondering if I should replace the hitch
> altogether with something better - it's already developed slop after
> little use - presumably a function of the short length and crudeness of
> the pivots. However, I don’t want to have to fabricate the whole thing
> myself).


The last thing in the world I'd experiment with is the hitch on a
trailer-bike (and I have a degree in mechanical engineering).

I had one of the earlier Adams, with the smaller hitch. Ours developed
quite a bit of play. I came to regard the play as a feature. Given that
almost any hitch design will have some play, I found that a lot was
better than a little. My daughter didn't seem to mind the "list" at all
and became quite adept at preventing the bike from "flopping" to the
other side. In short, she learned to balance very well and kept it leaned.

My main problem with the Adams was the "chain keeper", necessary because
of no front derailer. It was constantly getting badly bent from hitting
rocks and logs and straightening it was a chore.


> ps - yes, i know I should have just bought the piccolo! The problem was
> that it doesn't fold, though in retrospect that was a simpler problem to
> work round!


I have never understood the desirability of folding, the trailer-bike
isn't very big. I disliked the Piccolo because it required a special
rear rack. I wanted to switch towing bikes occasionally, and most of the
bikes I wanted to tow with either had a rack for other purposes or were
bikes that I didn't want to put a rack on.
 
D

Diablo Scott

Guest
Peter Cole wrote:

> I have never understood the desirability of folding, the trailer-bike
> isn't very big.


Huh? My Halfwheeler is longer than any of my single bikes - way too
long to fit in my car, it would even be ungainly in the back of my
minivan, and there's no way to put it on my roof rack; but with the boom
folded it fits easily in the trunk/boot of my sedan.
 
S

SMS

Guest
graham wrote:

> So, to cut to the chase, has anyone altered one of these hitchs to work
> more sanely? If so how did you go about it?


I gave up on the seat-post mounted trail-bikes. It's a poor design, both
for the pilot and the stoker.

I bought a used Burley Piccolo. Six years later I sold it for about $10
less than what I paid for it. The Burley mounting system is much better.

Used Piccolos don't last long on craigslist.
 
P

Peter Cole

Guest
Diablo Scott wrote:
> Peter Cole wrote:
>
>> I have never understood the desirability of folding, the trailer-bike
>> isn't very big.

>
> Huh? My Halfwheeler is longer than any of my single bikes - way too
> long to fit in my car, it would even be ungainly in the back of my
> minivan, and there's no way to put it on my roof rack; but with the boom
> folded it fits easily in the trunk/boot of my sedan.


Huh? I just tossed mine on a trunk rack for five years.
 
G

graham

Guest
Thanks for your responses guys.
Interesting take of more-slop-is-good, Peter. I suppose it might
encourage balancing skills! though right now I'd like a little more
control both for me & the towee.
The problem with the lean is quite pronounced - maybe my seatpost leans
more than yours did; maybe your old model was a slightly better angle;
maybe there was so much slop in your hitch after all that off-roading
that you couldn't tell :)

SMS - yup, I can see why the piccolos hold their price. But I won't be
getting one - have spent enough already for something that's used
relatively infrequently.

I think I'll get a spare seatpost hitch attachment and reweld it at a
better angle (or, if my welding turns out to have deteriorated in disuse
I'll pay someone to do it). I'll let you know how I get on!

rgds.