At some point you realize your kid has outgrown the Chariot. This is natural, as is the grieving process that follows. Yeah, sure was nice being able to throw the little one in the cocoon and take off. No more though, and it's time to upgrade. Break open the wallet and head to REI.
The Novara Afterburner 2.0 is just the ticket. It's not cheap, but if you want to continue to burn it up on two wheels without leaving your kid behind you probably don't have a choice. As always, look on Craigslist first.
The Afterburner takes about 20-30 minutes to assemble, with requisite cursing treated by direct application of beer. Once it's together, and the hitch installed on your bike, you're good to go. Two issues surfaced: first, the hitch requires a certain amount of seat post showing, but that wasn't a problem with either of our bikes although the five-foot-nuthin' Sheflogger's was close. The second issue is that, even on a medium frame 29'er the Afterburner's pedals are just a few inches off the ground on the bottom of the downstroke.
The latter issue we used as a learning moment and gave our 4-year old the "pedals level!" talk. He's actually been pretty good about it, after we drove him over a few curbs to get him used to it. Just leave yourself plenty of room to corner and brake: at five-and-a-half feet long and over 22 pounds, this thing adds considerably to both. And while we're at it, a third issue is when you unhitch it, don't just lower it to the ground because it will be resting directly on the chainring. You can't flip it over without removing the flag – and your kid will demand you have the flag on at ALL TIMES – so it has to go on its side, all of which could have been avoided with a kickstand of some kind.
Anyway, the Afterburner does work, especially well on pavement although it will do some light dirt work as long as it's not too soft, bumpy or vertical. As a training device the Afterburner works pretty well; just find a good paved incline and head up. You'll notice it right away. One nice design touch is the arm folds, but the damn thing is still four feet long, and the handlebars don't twist so it sticks out to the sides. Suffice it to say you'll need some cubic feet tote this thing around. Hello, minivan.
So bottom line: despite being heavy, clunky, low to the ground and difficult to transport – oh, and costing as much as an adult entry-level mountain bike (want a spare hitch? that'll be $44.50!!!) – once you're on the road it works as advertised. The good news is when the Littleflogger outgrows this you should be able to sell it to finance another bike for them.