Taga convertible bike/stroller

This ingeniously designed bike/stroller sadly doesn’t meet the grade in either mode.
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2 stars out of 5

Price $2295 (unassembled) or $2385 (assembled)Taga as bike
Contact www.tagabikes.com/au/

The Taga is a combination of bike (actually tricycle) and stroller. In bike mode, the child seat is positioned at the front between the handlebars. It converts from bike to three-wheel stroller in about 30 seconds or less, a straightforward process once you’ve had a little practice. The product is generally well-made, and as a piece of engineering design, it’s really quite impressive. Its bold colours and unusual looks certainly attract attention. CHOICE got hold of a demo model to see how it shapes up for safety and ease of use.

Unfortunately, our excitement cooled somewhat after putting it to the stroller test and also taking it for a spin - we tested against key parts of the standards for strollers and bicycles. As the Taga is a tricycle, the bicycle standard doesn’t technically or legally apply to it, but there are certain aspects we think are still relevant.

In stroller mode, the child seat is recommended for a child six months to four years, or 15 kg. In bike mode, it's eight months to 6-7 years, or 25 kg.

As a bike

  • Overall, we found it rather awkward to ride, especially for a tall person whose knees tend to connect with the child seat while pedalling. At 27kg, it’s much heavier than most bikes, and with only a three-gear hub, hills are a big challenge - It has a 5kg weight as a stabiliser in the bottom basket, which you could remove to lighten the load once familiar with riding the bike. It’s perhaps not surprising that the Taga hails from the Netherlands, where there are few hills and traffic is more bike-friendly. The Taga doesn’t handle quite like a standard bicycle so it takes some time to get familiar with the steering. We also found that the locking nut on the rear axle doesn’t tighten quite enough, though in gentle riding is probably unlikely to loosen too much.
  • It has no front or side reflectors, which you should have if you ride on the road. However, considering the Taga is not as fast or manoeuvrable as a normal bicycle, we think it’s not advisable to take it onto the road if at all possible. The child is also rather exposed at the front so riding in traffic could be hazardous as well as challenging. In fact we advise you avoid cycling on roads at any time when carrying a child in a seat or trailer; stick to cycle paths in well-lit areas, or footpaths if legal to do so (see note below).
  • On our tested sample, the rear brakes were operated by the right-hand brake lever and the front brakes by the left-hand; this is the opposite of standard bike configuration and potentially confusing for a regular cyclist. Perhaps this was just how this particular sample was assembled, and may be unlikely to cause problems with this tricycle at gentle speeds – you wouldn’t get the instability you can get on a bicycle when applying the front brake first – but why not stick to the usual brake configuration?

Note: adults can cycle on footpaths in Queensland, the NT, ACT and Tasmania, except where signposted otherwise. In NSW, Victoria, South Australia or Western Australia, an adult can't ride on a footpath (except where otherwise signposted) unless accompanying a child bike rider. A child in the child seat of the Taga, or in a child seat on a bicycle, is a passenger, not a rider, therefore that exemption doesn't apply.

As a stroller

  • It’s not especially convenient as a stroller; in particular, it’s not very manoeuvrable and is bulky and heavy. It does handle rough ground well, thanks to its big wheels and good tyres.
  • The shoulder/waist straps on the child seat harness can be unthreaded from the buckles completely (this is a non-mandatory requirement).

In addition, it didn't meet some mandatory requirements:

  • The crotch strap is too narrow and positioned too far forward. This increases the chance of a child not being securely harnessed. The distributor said they'd look into the crotch strap dimensions.
  • The wrist tether strap’s loop is large enough to pose a strangulation hazard for a young child. The distributor said they'd checked this and found that the tether strap loops on their own tested sample and current stock are smaller than on our tested sample (and meet the standard requirement). Possibly there is some variation between samples.
  • The mandatory standard for strollers requires a red parking brake actuator; the Taga uses the bike brakes, and has a red locking button on these, but really the brake lever should also be red to remind you to use it. The distributor disagreed with our assessment.

Choice verdict

Overall, while we’re impressed with the Taga’s engineering, in practice it’s not as practical or safe as it could be. Getting out on a bike with your child is a great thing, and the Taga is fine when gently cruising on flat bike paths, perhaps to the shops where you might convert it to stroller mode. However, given our concerns about its harness and overall handling, for the price of $2295 you could get a good bike, child seat/trailer AND a stroller that passes our safety tests, and have plenty of change left over. Not as cool or convenient as the combination Taga, maybe, but certainly more affordable.

Video: Taga convertible bike/stroller

Chris Barnes demonstrates the Taga convertible stroller.



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