Small enough to forget you’re even carrying it, yet strong enough to pull a 200 lb. rider up a mountain, the TRAXmtb is the ultimate tow rope for adventurous mountain biking families. Whether your 8-year-old needs a little assistance to the top of a trail or you’re tag-teaming your way through an adult distance race, the TRAXmtb is your perfect companion.
The TRAXmtb stands out from other towing options because it’s small, lightweight, and is easily mounted and stored on the lead bike’s seat post. As a single, self-contained unit, the TRAXmtb is a breath of fresh air as there are no extra pieces to go missing (it mounts via zip-ties)! As an added bonus, once mounted, you can’t accidentally leave it behind at your house or on the trail. It’s always there when you need it and out of the way when you don’t!
TRAXmtb Bike Tow Rope
MSRP: ~ $46 (39.95 €)
BEST FOR: Advanced child riders or adults pulling adults
MOUNT LOCATION: Seat post (27.2 to 31.5mm) on adult bike
MAX TOW WEIGHT: 200 lb (90 kb)
MAX TWO SPEED: 6 mph (10 km/h)
MAX ROPE LENGTH: 74.8″ (1.9 m)
PRODUCT WEIGHT: 95g
- Lightweight, small and unobtrusive
- Rope quickly and easily unwinds to use and rewinds when done
- Easily adapts and mounts to almost all seat posts
- Unit is stored on seat post, no need to worry about forgetting it or putting it in your pack
- Attaches via zip-ties, so no lost adapters
- Entire unit is one piece (besides zip-ties)
- Rope quickly jerks rider forward once the end of the line is reached (child must have good control of the bike)
- Can be tricky for kids to mount and unmount while wearing biking gloves (our rider couldn’t detach the rope while riding)
TRAXmtb Bike Tow Rope – Results of Our Testing
It’s amazing how quickly “Mom, let’s go mountain biking!” turns into, “How much farther?”. We love getting out and riding as a family but some of us love the drive to the top more than others :-).
Tow ropes are the perfect solution. Allowing you to easily pull your child (or even an adult!), up to the top of the trail, two ropes are a must-have in any mountain biking parent’s arsenal.
We tested out the TRAXmtb on several different rides with our 8-year-old tester and it delivered on every one of its promises… strong, durable, easy to use, easy to store, and easy to mount.
Towing with the TRAXmtb – How it Works
The TRAXmtb consists of a Kevlar towing wire wrapped around a plastic spool encased in a durable plastic housing. Like a tape-measure, the spool inside the TRAXmtb is self-tensioning, so the wire always remains taunt.
When you are ready to tow with the TRAXmtb, simply pull the thin Kevlar wire out of the body of the TRAX and hook it over the headset of the bike to be towed. No tools or special adapters needed. Since the lead bike needs to stay upright in order to hook the wire to the bike being towed, we found it easiest for the adult rider to pull out the cable and hand it the rider being towed to attach it to their bike.
Our little guy did have some trouble with his gloves getting in the way of of the wire when hooking it to the headset, but it wasn’t a big deal and he got better at hooking it with every ride.
Between the tension of the wire and the black rubber coating around a portion of the loop, we had no problems or concerns with the wire coming out of place. The wire stayed firm and never slipped.
TRAXmtb in Action
Having used the TowWhee tow rope, as well as the no-longer available Bicycle Bungee, I’ve found that all tow ropes, including the TRAXmtb, create minimal resistance from the trailing bike. With all ropes, towing is surprisingly easier than one would anticipate and doesn’t even require changing gears!
The smoothness of which they pull, however, does vary. Between the three, I found the self-correcting tension of the Kevlar wire to create the smoothest ride once you get going. With the wire always taunt, there’s never any slack in the cable to cause any “bounciness”.
Ironically, when using the TRAXmtb I found myself wanting to pull little dude up the mountain farther than he often wanted to be pulled. Knowing how much we both love the downhill (and certainly due to the annoyance of having the stop earlier than I wanted to before we had the TRAXmtb), the minimal drag from the rope re-excited my drive to the top!
The quick and easy nature of hooking up the TRAXmtb made me fall in love with it even more. With the TRAXmtb mounted to my seat post, I didn’t have to check and double check my pack to make sure I had my tow rope with me before we left the house. Stopping to mount and unmount the TRAX was also a breeze as I didn’t have to remove my pack. Little dude just pulled up next to me, grabbed the wire, hooked it on, and off we went.
During our rides, we did come across one downside to the TRAXmtb. The tension on the cable allows it to be pulled out smoothly, but upon reaching the end of the cable you can feel it come to an abrupt end.
While the TRAXmtb is plenty long to tow at 6.2 ft (1.9 m), those feet go by quite quickly if the rider on the tow bike doesn’t start pedaling the same time as the lead rider. As a result, our 8-year-old tester was often jolted forward when getting started as he wasn’t as quite on the draw as I was. While this quick jolt never caused him to crash, it did make him uncomfortable and forced him to quickly self correct and regain control of his bike.
The shorter length, as well as the tension behind the wire, also made starting to ride with the TRAXmtb a bit more challenging while on a steeper incline. The steeper the incline, the quicker the rider being towed needs to be ready to react. In addition, you’ll want to take caution while stopping on a steeper incline as the tension on the wire is enough to pull the front wheel of the lead bike off the ground when stopped.
Removing the TRAXmtb
Upon reaching the top of the hill, removing the TRAXmtb is quick and easy. To release the cable, simply pull up on the wire loop and slightly pull back to unhook the wire. Upon release from the bike being towed, the wire quickly retracts back into the housing and without any concerns of whiplash to the tow rider (we tested several times to make sure :-).
For those planning on using the TRAXmtb for races or with adults, this is where the TRAX really shines! Unlike other towing devices, the TRAX can be quickly and safely be removed without either of the riders needing to stop.
TRAXmtb vs. TowWhee
To get a good feel of the TRAXmtb we did a head-to-head test with the TowWhee rope system. While the two tow ropes are essentially identical in their purpose, we found their respective designs make them better suited for different types of riders and riding situations.
|Length of rope||6.2 ft (1.9m)||4.6 ft – 14.2 ft|
|Weight of rope||3.3 oz. (95 g)||5 oz. (142 g)|
|Max towable weight||200 lb (90kg)||500 lb|
|Max towing speed||6 mph||8 mph|
|Lead bike mount location||Seat post||Looped over saddle|
|Tow rider mount location||Headset||Headset or headtube|
Due to its shorter cable and less “give” upon reaching the end of the cable, we would recommend the TRAXmtb for more advanced riders. While it gets easier with time, the initial jolt when being pulled by the TRAX was much less preferred by our kid testers than the gradual pull of the elastic TowWhee.
Extending out to 15 feet, the TowWhee also allowed the tow rider to ride much farther behind the lead rider. We found this longer distance to be beneficial to younger riders. In addition to providing more time to start, it also provided them more time to stop!
If the child rider is not paying attention while being pulled, they can easily run into the adult rider if the adult quickly slows down or stops. With kids easily being distracted, we found these few milliseconds the longer rope to be a big benefit for younger riders.
Tow Ropes vs. Tow Bars
With BOTH tow ropes, it is essential to note their maximum tow speeds are relatively low at 6 and 8 mph. Tow ropes are designed to tow kids up hills (mainly on trails), not around town. They are not a good choice for those who want to help their younger kids extend their ride distance with their family.
Unlike other “towing” mechanisms, such as the Trail Gator or FollowMe Tandem, tow ropes require kids to balance and maintain control of their bike. They need to be aware enough to know when to slow down (so they don’t run into the adult rider) as well as when and how to maneuver the bike around any obstacles on the trail. If a child were to fall while on a tow rope, they can also be dragged by the adult rider!
TRAXmtb Bottom Line
The TRAXmtb is a game-changer for mountain biking families. Whether you’re riding with young groms who don’t quite have the strength (or the desire) to tackle the next hill, or older kids who needs some extra encouragement, the TRAXmtb is just what you need. Handy when you need it and out of the way when you don’t, the TRAXmtb is our favorite tow rope for intermediate to advanced riders.
Due to its shorter length of rope and tendency to “tug” riders from the get-go, we don’t recommend the TRAXmtb for beginning riders who aren’t fully capable and confident in balancing, maneuvering, and braking their bike in a wide variety of circumstances.