I had reservations about the Taga 2.0. Yes, it's so nifty. And this new iteration of Taga's stroller-to-bike contraption, the next generation of a design released some years ago, definitely has something for everyone.
Double child seats that face forward or allow the younger child to face the cyclist! A reclining seat for young nappers! Rack for cargo or a third child seat! 'Accessory bar' with kid-friendly add ons! Rain canopy! Optional e-assist!
The list continues.
Taga, which has had great success with its first model, a super stroller that transforms to a three-wheeler in just about 20 seconds, worked for three years to make the next version of what it calls 'the coolest family bike you could possibly imagine.'
And from the immediate and overwhelming response to the company's new Kickstarter, which allows people to buy the basic model of the Taga 2.0 for $599, people agree. (A fully-loaded Taga 2.0 during the Kickstart would be $1,635, still a fairly low price for an electric-assist cargo tricycle.)
So why am I skittish? I love cargo bikes, and my electric-assist Joe Bike Shuttlebug is a joy to ride.
Well, I test rode the Taga (the original design) a few years back. As part of the test, I learned how to convert the three-wheeler from stroller to bicycle, then immediately started pedaling up the nearest hill.
The Taga felt heavy and unwieldy, and when I went around a curve in the road after building up speed on a downhill, very unstable. I didn't like it - I couldn't see how a mother or father with babe or board would feel!
But it must have just been me.
Looking at the snazzy Taga 2.0, I asked a cargo bike specialist, Barb Grover of Splendid Cycles, about tricycle cargo bikes. Grover explained that cargo trikes like the Taga have advantages - whether they are tadpole-shaped (two wheels in the front) or delta-shaped (two in the back), they are exceedingly stable, especially launched from a stop. This is a plus for people new to the idea of family biking or nervous that a more traditional bakfiets style cargo bike would be hard to handle with kids.
The downside, according to Grover, is that long-time two-wheeling cyclists may have some brain retraining to do to get used to a trike. Grover described long-term commuter or road cycling on a two-wheeled bicycle as "creating a groove in your brain" that helps you balance and maneuver without really thinking about it.
So moving from two wheels to three can be disconcerting at first.
In addition, trikes may be stable and easy to ride on flat surfaces and at gentle paces – perfect, in short, for family riding – but normal trikes can become less so on hills and curves.
It seems like I set myself up to get a negative first impression of the original Taga, when all I really needed was a bit of time for brain retraining.
The fantastically successful Kickstarter for Taga 2.0 - ($966,623 pledged in just a single campaign day) - can be accessed here.
(And yes, that is a water gun in the photo - an add on to the Accessory Bar.)