Madsen Bike Review
Simply stated, I love my Madsen bike. My husband travels a lot, and even when he’s home he’s still working hard and rarely available to take the kids so I can get out for an hour, so my kids are always with me. Before any of my kids were in school, my Madsen was one of the few things that really gave me freedom to get outside and explore.
Problems with Other Setups
We’d been living in St George for a good six months with all of those nice established bike trails taunting me. One such bike trail started right behind out house. I already had a double trailer but with three kids if I wanted to get any real mileage I had to throw the three year old on a seat right behind me. It was totally worth it but there were downsides. It took a long time to get everybody situated and ready to go, the kids in the trailer were always fighting, and with the bike seat I could never pull over for a minute to help kids in the trailer without removing the kid from the bike seat as well for safety. The real problem of course was that all my kids were growing: my four year old was squashed into the trailer next to the baby and the three year olds knees pushed right into the small of my back. I also knew I couldn’t take a lot of hills because while I might be strong enough to climb them, I knew the friction brakes on my bike couldn’t stop well with all of that weight going down.
Best Aspects of the Madsen
As soon as I got my Madsen bike I realized that it not only fit my ever growing kids better, but there were a lot of other advantages too:
- Kid Experience- Since my kids were out of a trailer and close to me, they could observe all kinds of things about our environment while we were riding and we could talk about it. This also led to longer and more enjoyable rides for everyone. My son’s favorite ride turned out to be the route with the most gardens. We spotted all kind of wildlife on our rides and one afternoon they talked all about the difference between lizard’s bums and mice bums while I giggled and pedaled.
- Kid Visibility- While my new center of gravity with the kids up higher took some getting used to, I knew the kids were far more visible sitting right behind me in their fluorescent safety vests than they had been in a trailer on the ground behind me.
- Disc Brakes- Disc brakes are what you find on a motorcycle, vs friction brakes. I can stop on a dime, even on a steep hill.
- In and Out Ease- The whole production of loading the kids and their stuff in and out of the bike was so much quicker than using a trailer that it practically invited us to make last minute stops to feed the ducks or explore a new park on the way home.
- Bomber Kickstand- Unlike other types of bikes, you can depend on the kickstand as your load your kids (or bags of cement for that matter) making it no problem to jump off the bike real quick and grab the teddy bear they just threw out.
Areas For Improvement
While I would recommend the Madsen to almost anyone with small kids, there are some less positive aspects to consider as well:
- Weight- Dragging kids and there stuff is always going to be heavy, but this bike is heavier than a towing a trailer. That said, on some hilly terrain I’m just not strong enough to tackle in this bike, especially now that my kids are bigger. On the flats the components are so amazing that it’s like riding on butter, and my kids are so big they won’t fit in a trailer anymore.
- Cost- This is the probably the most prohibitive aspect for those considering the Madsen. If you can afford it, it is worth it. The Madsen is pretty bomb proof (I never needed mine serviced in all five years), and it is competitive with other bikefiets and cargo bikes.
Ultimately for me, the pros far outweighed the cons, and with the help of my Madsen bike, some suckers, and some audio books played out loud, I was able to take rides up to an hour long with all three of my kids and really increase some of our quality outdoor time together. I hope this Madsen Bike Review is helpful! If you think a trailer might be more up your alley check out this review on a Burly trailer by Kathy here.
(I received no compensation of any kind for this review.)
Do you have a favorite bike set up for families? Tell us what works for you!