Towing kids who ride their own bike – Buying Guide

Solutions: Tow Bar, Tow Frame and the Tow Rope

Supporting you to get the right towing option for kids who are riding their own bike… so you can smile when you ride.

tow rope

Why choose a Bike to Bike towing option?

What can towing offer your family? The main advantage with towing is that you do some/most of the work for them and you make most/all of the decisions. Therefore as the rider of the lead bike you need to be capable of taking on this extra work, this extra load that towing a child requires.  Do you have the fitness/strength or bike confidence that is needed?

Towing broadens where you can ride and how far you can ride with your child. As you are making the decisions you can take them into busy environments e.g. traffic that they would otherwise be unsafe in. You can also take them further or onto terrain that they may struggle to bike on their own e.g. up hills.

This provides more riding experiences for families with different aged children and can provide a greater variety of experiences at an earlier age. Your family is more likely to enjoy the riding experience if you are supporting and challenging each rider at their riding level and capability.

 

If having a bike to bike towing option would be a good solution for your family to open up your riding opportunities and experiences then please read on…

Below is a table with the solutions available and a quick comparison guide. As well as more detailed information about factors to consider to understand the right solution for you family

Towing kids who ride their own bike: Solutions and Quick Comparison Guide

Tow Frame - Follow me Tandem
Towing Option
Age Range
Suitable for kids 3-9 yrs. Great with kids who are learning or lack confidence
Weight Range
Suitable up to 45kg, combined weight of child & bike
Features
Hub to hub attachment (low to the ground) makes this the most stable towing option.
Best Suited for
In traffic, bike path & very easy trail riding. Due to stability can be used for permanent towing intially & for assistance as the child becomes more competent and confident
Riding with Multiple Children
The hub to hub stable attachment allows for better multiple kid riding. Front/mid & rear kids bike seats will work.
Cost

$499.00

SHOP
Tow Rope - Tow Whee
Towing Option
Age Range
Suitable for 4 years through to adults if the lead bike rider has the capability to tow
Weight Range
Suitable up to a maximum of 225kg
Features
Light and easy to carry... very easy to attach & detach for use when assistance is needed. Always under tension so gives a safe & smooth tow
Best Suited for
Bike paths & mountain bike trails when a rider requires assistance to ride faster, further or up and over challenging terrain. Great in strong winds. Great bike tour/multi day option to carry. E-Bike compatible
Riding with Multiple Children
Best used with mid mount or front mount seats also designed for mountain biking
Cost

$79.90

SHOP
Tow Bar - Trailgator
Towing Option
Age Range
Suitable for kids 4-9 years who are well balanced riders on their own bike
Weight Range
Suitable up to 36kg, combined weight of child and bike.
Features
Easily attached to mounting brackets that are attached to the lead & trailing bike. Easy storage on lead bike when not in use
Best Suited for
Intermittent use on bike paths. Can be used in low traffic with a competent well balanced lead & trailing bike rider (the set up can create a lean)
Riding with Multiple Children
The bar can not be used with rear seats so front & mid mounts are the compatible options
Cost

$179.00

SHOP

What environments do you want to ride in?

There are a variety of towing options for good reason.  Different types of towing products are better suited to different riding environments. Understanding where you will ride or where you want to be able to ride helps in your decision making.  In the section below we explain what the best options are in specific environments;

In Traffic Solutions: To ride in traffic you need a safe set up… a set up that is stable. The Bike Tow Frame is the most stable set up for towing (due to its low hub to hub attachment being closer to the ground).

Bike Path Solutions: Bike paths are generally safe riding environments and therefore any of the options are suitable – Rope, Bar or Frame. It is best to base your buy decision on where else you may ride or want to ride.

Mountain Biking Solutions: Mountain bike trails usually involve some technical aspects.  This can be climbing or rougher terrain. The Tow Rope is a great choice to assist kids through challenges.  It is very light and easy to carry making it a great solution in this environment. Help them up a hill or when they are getting tired.  Not to be used while descending.

The Tow Frame and Tow Bar can be used on easy mountain bike trails. The stability of the Tow Frame out performs the Tow Bar in this environment as the Tow Bar can produce lean which  can cause some challenges on narrow and/or windy trails.

Multi Day Solutions: Having a tow option is great to assist you through multi days on the bike.  All the bike to bike tow options work well in off road environments.  The Bike Tow Frame works best for prolonged periods of towing.

 

Your child’s ability on the bike.

To tow a child using a bike to bike tow system your child must be able to ride a bike, preferably with a bit of confidence.  Most of these options will have a minimum age recommendation which should be followed.  The maximum age limits are more about safe weight levels. Where you can use them with your child may depend on your child’s skill & confidence level on the bike.  So read on to learn more…

Tow Frame: This system offers a good age range from 3yrs to approximately 9 yrs old.  It is the most stable and can be very successfully used with children who are not very confident on the bike in all riding environments. Including traffic.

Tow Bar: You can use this bar from 4yrs to 9yrs.  Some confidence on the bike is preferable. Young children need to be taught not to lean, this is very important in traffic.

Tow Rope:  This towing product has the widest age range from 4yrs to adults (max weight 225kg).  Kids needs to quite good independent riders to enjoy this option. At the later end Towing restrictions depend more on the adult doing the towing (their strength & confidence). Electric bikes remove these barriers and allow most adults to tow any child.  As this rope is non rigid it requires more learning to use safely.  Designed for off road environments it should only be used on the road with confident riders who understand the risks with traffic.

 

Bike compatibility & attachment points.

All towing options require you to understand a little bit about the bikes/E-bikes being used.  There are some things about bikes that make them hard to use when trying to attach or mount things onto them.  The following is a bit of a list of some things to be aware of

  • Carbon frames & road bikes are generally incompatible
  • Dropper seat posts will not work when mounting brackets to seat posts for attachment
  • Bikes with 29 inch wheels may be too large
  • X Small and Small Sized BIke Frames –  usually mean seats at a lower height… will you have enough space on your seat post to mount an attachment at a height where anything attached to it clears your rear wheel?
  • Electric bike battery placement over rear wheel/on a rear carrier adds a lot of height and may block the path way from a seat post for towing

Tow Bar: Attachment from adult seat post to steering tube on the trailing bike. Learn more at  Will a Bike Tow Bar Fit my Bike

It is not compatible with carbon seat posts.  It needs a clear path way from seat post over rear wheel to the child’s bike.

Tow Frame: Attachment from wheel hub of adult bike to wheel hub on the trailing bike. Learn more at Will a Bike Tow Frame Fit my Bike

It is not compatible with adult bikes that have 29 inch wheels.

Tow Rope: Attachment from the adult seat/saddle to the steering tube on the trailing bike. Learn more at Will a Bike Tow Rope Fit my Bike

Compatible with all bikes.

LEARN MORE AT :  

  • Will Your Bike Work for Towing Kids

Towing using an E-Bike.

If your E-Bike is compatible for use with a bike to bike towing system (see above) it can be a great option to remove any barriers.  E-Bikes give you added power and the ability to cover greater distances. One of the challenges especially as your child grows is the weight you will be towing.  This can affect your ability to tow for very long or to maintain good balance and therefore a steady, straight riding line.  See the section below on riding with multiple kids and how E-Bikes can really help with this.

As always be aware of your safety… E-Bikes give you the ability to travel at a much faster speed than you would achieve under your own power.  What does this mean when towing a child?  While it might not be an issue while going up a hill, what does it mean on the flat?  If this is how you will tow your child we recommend you spend longer in the practice/safe environment when you first get set up, going over balance and stopping distances.

LEARN MORE AT :  

  • Towing Kids & Electric Bikes

 

How often will you tow?

Bike to bike towing is best suited to intermittent towing. Towing to assist your child when needed. To get up and over terrain that may be a challenge, to ride further, or to ride more regularly. If you are wanting to tow regularly in a more permanent way, from the beginning to the end of your ride for whatever reasons (your child is not confident on a bike, the ride is through busy traffic, your child is not fit enough to ride the distance required) then the Bike Tow Frame is probably the best solution. The Tow Frame will allow you to tow for full journey’s and then, if you choose, reduce over time the amount they require towing.  As they gain competency and confidence on a bike and in different biking environments you can let them ride independently.

Family options & switching between bikes.

It can be great to have the flexibility to quickly change your towing product from one bike to another.  This allows different family members and bikes to be used.

Tow Bar : You can purchase additional mounting kits for both the lead (adult) and trailing bike (child’s) to give you options.  This can be really handy, especially on the kids bikes. When riding with two or more children they can take turns at having some assistance.

Tow Frame: You can purchase additional kids mounting kits to use the same frame with more than one child’s bike.  As the frame itself is not quickly removed, for multiple adults to use, you can consider having more than one frame in your family.

Tow Rope: Really easy to use with any bike.  It is designed to be moved amongst bikes.  Nothing is attached to the bike so any adult bike can tow any other bike.

 

Storage when you ride and at home.

Often with bike to bike towing the product is being carried as you ride independently.  Is this easy?  Will it be OK to have something permanently attached to your bike?

Bike Tow Bar: The Tow Bar is stored on the adult bike when not being used while you are out riding. It retracts, pivots down from the seat post attachment and clicks onto a bracket on your rear wheel hub.  In this position it will not interfere with any riding.  The bar itself can also be removed from the seat post mount leaving an attachment bracket on the adult seat post and a receiving mount on your child’s bike – these attachments are both permanent and not quickly removed.  At Home:  If you choose to completely remove your bar from the adult bike you will have a rigid bar that is approximately 80cm long to store.

Bike Tow Frame: The Tow Frame is the largest structure of the bike to bike towing options.  When not in use it folds back and is hooked to the rails under the lead (adult) bike seat.  At Home: It is not quickly removed from the adult bike and remains attached when the bike is not being used.  Your child’s bike will have an attachment mount permanently mounted as well.

Bike Tow Rope: The Tow Rope is very light, small and easy to carry… it can be put in a bag or can be worn in a loop over your body.  There is no mounting system permanently attached to the adult bike.  There is an option to have a quick loop – nylon webbing – around the steering tube of the child’s bike being towed.  At Home: The rope takes up minimal space and can be easily stored with your bike gear to grab it quickly and go.

Riding with multiple children.

If you choose a bike to bike towing option you can place a second (we recommend younger) child on the bike with the adult rider.  There are two main things to consider when riding with more than one child…

Can the lead rider ride safely with the added challenge of weight and how this will effect balance?  Having two children with you will be challenging.  Think about your fitness & strength and the places you want to ride.  You should be a skilled rider to consider doing this.  An E-Bike will help enormously with your enjoyment of riding with two children.

How does the set up of the towed option restrict an attachment of an additional bike seat?  This involves thinking about the pathway between the two bikes as follows;

Tow Frame Multiple Children Options: Due to the hub to hub attachment you can also attach a front, mid and rear bike seat. Being the most stable tow option it makes riding with another child a more viable, appealing option.

Tow Bar Multiple Children Options: The path way of the Tow Bar means rear kids seats will not work so that leaves mid or front mounts.

Tow Rope Multiple Children Options: As the Tow Rope is most often used for mountain biking you need to be aware that full suspension bikes do not work with rear kids seats so that leaves mid or front mounts.

 

MAKE YOUR PURCHASE A SUCCESS…

Riding safely when towing kids who ride their own bike

There are some simple things to do and check to keep both you and your child safe when riding with a towed option.  For the first time and as it becomes a regular activity for you and your family. Use our resources to help support your enjoyment of your towing experience.

LEARN MORE AT :  

  • Riding Safely with a Tow Frame
  • Riding Safely with a Tow Rope
  • Riding Safely with a Tow Bar

 

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