Dad bike build – advice and show me yours
Actually in the process of beefing up my Cyclocross/Commuter to make it a bit more suitable for ‘dad duties.’ Currently eyeballing a Cannondale CaadX disc. Disc brakes and tougher bigger tyres are definitely the way to go when you’re towing a trailer but make sure whatever your buying has dropouts that will work with the hitch.
A decent range of gears is a good idea too, steeps hills are bloody hard work with a trailer. If we lived anywhere near proper big hills I’d probably stick a triple on (oh the shame) but as it stands I should be able to get by with a 50/34 and a big cassette.
Bar wise I’d go for the widest drop bars you can find, getting yourself into more of a ‘road’ position can make long flat drags less of a chore. I use my MTB with the Chariot gor offroad and I do miss the drops if we have to cover any distance on tarmac.
That’s just my experience from the past year of nipper shuttling.Posted 4 years agojoemarshallMember
Mine is a trek 1200 with triple chainring. Use it with a trailer, plus commute to work on it.
Things that are essential:-
1)If you live anywhere hilly, a low gear – I have 30×23 as my lowest gear, and I do use it here in Derbyshire. If you use a compact, 34×27 would be even lower.
2)Mudguards – especially with the trailer, as otherwise any puddles go straight in the face of the kids (when you have the top open).
3)Rack mounts – I have rack and panniers, but to be honest this is just because any bike without them isn’t going to be the sort of bike you want to pull a trailer with – friend stuck his trailer on his super-light road bike, and it was really flexing the tubes in a bad way.
Other than that:
I have 23mm tyres, although if they’d not been half the price of the 25mm, I’d probably have gone 25mm.
I have Mavic Open pro + shimano hubs, I think I went 32 hole on both ends, seem plenty strong enough. I’d just get something like that, bog standard mavic rims, with disc hubs if you go that way. Oh and a dynamo hub on the front, which is brilliant – no noticeable drag, and you just always have lights, great in summer storms when it suddenly turns dark.
I’ve got normal caliper brakes, they work fine, although if you’ve already got disc brakes I’m sure they would be fine, and I must admit I do get through a pair of pads a year on the calipers, which is more than I used to pre-trailer.
Oh and drop bars for me, I just find it so much faster and more comfy on drops. Don’t know if you can run your discs with drop bar though.
One funny thing is how much difference the bike you tow a trailer makes – I sometimes tow it using my mountain bike, and it is completely night and day. Probably mainly the tyres and the bars and the riding position, but with the lightish road bike, you don’t notice the trailer too much until you hit a hill, whereas with the mountain bike it always seems like a big old drag. It shouldn’t make a difference, after all the loaded trailer weighs about 35kg, but it really does.Posted 4 years ago
Wide shallow drops sounds like a good option. Shall do some investigating.
Have a 48/34 double and an old XTR triple. Reckon I’ll try the double and see how I get on.
Hate to ask… but what tyres? I was thinking of something with a bit of squish, maybe like a Big Apple, or would I be better off with just a 28mm road/CX tyre?
Edit: yes, will be getting some long chromoplastic guards when I work out what wheels I’m fitting!
Double edit: Looks like drops might be the way to go. What disc callipers work well with STI levers?Posted 4 years ago
Hi. Need to build a bike for Dad duties. The bike will need to pull a trailer (probably with 2 kids and a dog,) accommodate a Hamax child seat, fit racks with panniers, and mudguards. Journeys will be nursery, commute (about 10 mins along bike paths and road) and days out (towpaths, nothing too lumpy.) Would like it to be fairly nippy when stripped of kids seat and trailer.
Thinking of using a RoadRat frame for the build. Got some old Juicy brakes and 9 speed drivetrain with a compact double. Still deliberating over wheels. Need something fairly tough. Tempted by the Kinesis CX wheelset and some fattish road rubber for some extra comfort. Not sure about bars either, flat wide, flat narrow, or drops, or something in between. Any advice? Flat not too narrow is tempting for a bit more stability with the child seat. Would also like something I can fit an xtracycle to when they sort out a new UK distributer.
So, do you have a Dad (or Mum) bike you use for similar duties? How have you built it up? What do you like and what would you change?
Many thanks.Posted 4 years agoscott_mcavennie2Member
I find the drops plenty stable enough for the child seat. My Genesis is actually the completely standard spec – drops Avid BB7 brakes and the continental cyclocross race tyres. Works well, and as soon as I leave the seat at the nursery, it absolutely flies. 😀Posted 4 years agodavidjSubscriber
Have been pulling our Chariot trailer on a 42×18 Pompino – It’s pretty tough going and flexes worryingly! Mudguards are definitely required and it’s really handy to have somewhere you can leave waterproofs and some way to carry a decent D-lock.
Just bought a Kona Ute for Dad duties so the Pompino can be returned to winter-fixie mode.Posted 4 years agowoody2000Subscriber
Having just pulled a trailer containing a 3 yr old, a 4 yr old, their bikes and associated kid crap up the Scarborough – Whitby rail trail (not all of it!), I can tell you that a 456 with fat tyres and 1×9 isn’t the kind of bike you should consider 🙂
Mudgurds to stop all the crap hitting the kids are essential (I didn’t have any, mine looked like they’d been down t’pit!)Posted 4 years agohatterSubscriber
Tire-wise tread depends on whether or not you’ll be going off road but either way I’d err on the ‘chunky commuter’ side of things as you’ll need all the braking grip you can get if you have to haul on the anchors with a trailer behind you.
Also, trying to fix a puncture with a tired, hungry baby howling at you is no fun at all so something with good puncture resistance is very well advised, keep the racey tires fore your racey bike.
Currently using 32c Conti top tourings but considering 35 Marathons for a bit of extra speed and squish.Posted 4 years ago
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