Family Bike Shopping Part III: The second bike we almost bought, the Zigo Leader

(See also Part I for info on why we were shopping and what we were looking for and Part II for the first bike we ruled out)

After ruling out the Sun Atlas, the next bike we considered was the Zigo Leader. It looked like it would have great weather protection, and since it was a trike, great stability in iffy conditions. It had eyelets for a rear rack, so there was a chance our burley piccolo would be compatible for H to pedal behind, and if not, Zigo said the bike worked with seat-post mounted trailer bikes (and it looks like they may be selling their own). I wasn’t sure about parking, but figured since it comes apart (the front “child pod” detaches and turns into a jogging stroller or a separate independent bike trailer), we’d potentially have multiple storage options. As a small frame with a huge range of heights on the seatpost, it looked like fit for Angela (5′ 1″), one of our biggest concerns, had the potential to be pretty good. That was around the time I posted a plea for test rides, and the company generously put us in touch with a local family that owns a zigo so I was able to try it out.

Upon riding, it was clear the Zigo wasn’t the right bike for us. The turning radius was very wide, wide enough that I would not have been comfortable with it in traffic, though it may have been suitable for path riding. It’s possible that some of my discomfort was due to being used to bikes, not trikes, but I still couldn’t see feeling comfortable with such limited ability to maneuver quickly.  The bike I rode was the “double,” with room for two kids in front (total weight limit 80 pounds, so comparable to a bike trailer but much lower than most any cargo bike), and the “single” would likely turn tighter, so had we gone with this bike, we would have gotten the single, but I doubt the improvement would have been enough for me to feel comfortable. Another thing that concerned me was that it was heavier than it looked, weighing in at about 75 pounds. That’s not really an outlier for a two-kid bike, but there are heavy cargo bikes that feel surprisingly light and nimble. By contrast, the Zigo really felt heavy even with no kids loaded. The final thing that made it clear this wasn’t the bike for us was that the bike just didn’t seem to be made for the type of utilitarian treatments our gear gets. I was very concerned about the longevity of the fabric “pod” for the kids, especially given that the bike would be stored outside, even if we covered it. We know from experience (we store our Xtra outside) that even when we intend to keep a bike covered, it still sees plenty of rain. Because the bike comes apart, we probably could have stored the trailer in the basement to get around this, and might have considered it if we really loved the bike overall, but it would have been a pain to detach every night. Overall, it seemed like a bike designed for occasional use, not the type of daily beating we subject our gear to.

I could see this bike possibly filling the right niche for some families, perhaps folks looking for primarily recreational riding, or who prefer a trike but don’t have enough cash for one of the European trikes, or who could make real use of the ability to convert from a jogging stroller to a bike (we only really needed the bike). At about $1400 for the 3 speed and $1600 for the 7-speed, it comes in at a relatively reasonable price-point (for a multiple kid family bike anyway), perhaps more accessible than most of the other options where the kids are held low and carried in front. If you think this might be the bike (or rather, trike) for you, in the process of considering it, we found out that it is available at REI, which has a surprisingly generous return policy, so it might be possible to purchase and try with minimal risk, even if you don’t have a local dealer or a local family to borrow a ride from.

Next time, the third and fourth bikes we almost bought, but the decision is getting closer, I promise.

About Nathan

Nathan is a postdoctoral research fellow in neuroscience. He thinks parenting is way more fun when you don't have to worry about car seats.
This entry was posted in Biking with kids, Child-related issues, Links and reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Family Bike Shopping Part III: The second bike we almost bought, the Zigo Leader

  1. sara says:

    I’ve seen a Zigo parked around these parts but never have spotted the riders. I think it is great that it is available at REI and am all for options that work for different families–even though your description clearly shows that it would not be a good fit for us either.

  2. Pingback: Family Bike Shopping Part IV: The third and fourth bikes we almost bought, Joe Bike & Neat Bike Box Bikes — Carfree with Kids

  3. will says:

    After 3 months using my zigo leader I’m happy but I miss some details: -
    the tires are very bad because with 268 miles by paved road I have to change the front worn tires and two spokes because it has broken.
    -with 2 kids the zigo enfant insert is not confortable , the baby is dancing all the time, and his belts doesn´t have protective for body.

  4. Emily McCorkell says:

    Hey! Thanks for the review. We’re looking for a family bike for me to transport my 2 & 4 year old in around our hilly town. Have you tried this up hill with kids? I’m eager to hear how it handles. It’s a mile uphill to my 4 year old school…I need a bike that won’t kill me too much! Also, is the pod waterproof and padded? We have a trailer at he minute, but the padding is minimal.
    I know this was an old post, so any reply would be appreciated! Thanks!

    • nathan says:

      I did not ride this bike up hills, but it is substantially heavy and handling overall is quite poor. For two kids & hills, these days I’m recommending an Xtracycle Edgerunner.

Leave a Reply