Monday, 16 June 2008

Hamax Plus System Follow up

A few notes on the hamax plus system, following a few months of use. 

First the seat. Its still going great, still no problems with it. A few tips though:
  • For extra support when you know that your little one is going to fall asleep, take an inflatable neck pillow. It gives total support of the head.
  • If your planning to leave the seat on the bike when you lock the bike up. You should secure the seat.  I have a thin lock for securing panniers and seat in one go, but i know someone who's just attached a little jangly padlock to the rack.
  • Mikes got new waterproofs from Muddy Puddles. Still not had to use them though.
Second the panniers:
  • I use these all the time now (my other panniers have been retired)
  • They stand upright when you put them down, which makes them better than a normal pannier and better than a laptop bag. It also means you can put them in the bottom of a shopping trolley and load your shopping straight in.
  • Its really easy to find things. Partly because the shape means the bottom is not very far away and partly because they have an almost luminous orangey yellow lining which makes it easy to see and find things.
  • After a lot of practice i can take them on and off quite quickly now. Not as quick as my ortliebs but acceptably so.
  • One of them is a good size for my laptop , a book, lunch, water, tools, and odds and ends. Theres just room to spare if i pick up a bottle of wine on my way home :-)


Jamie McNaught said...

Hi CycleDad from WannabeCycleDad,

I currently have a CoPilot Limo which a mate bought for me on Cycle2Work. I didn't really research the purchase that hard as it was the only childseat that our Cycle2Work supplier sold - silly me.

I somewhat assumed that given young children require a whole host of things taken everywhere with then that no-one would design a childseat that could not accommodate luggage etc - silly me.

So, I'm now researching this second purchase a lot more closely and was wondering if you could answer some questions?

1) I can't seem to find the internal dimensions of the bag when the top corner is folded down. You mentioned you carry a laptop, which I would be doing too. Could you list the internal dimensions of the bag, or the size of the laptop, or even the make and model of the laptop?

2) Any idea if you could fit the carrier onto a bike with disc brakes?

I actually don't have the bike yet (old bike was stolen last week), but I would really like disc brakes as I want to lower the maintenance overhead and also have very effective brakes. (is it just me or do rim brakes really require adjusting every 100 miles or so to work effectively?) Oh, that and I want to take it offroad in the Scottish mountains!

Thanks very much and keep up the great blog.


Cycledad said...

Hi Jamie,

The bag carries my work dell 15'' brick which is about 2 cm deep. It would carry 3 or 4 of those to be honest. It also takes my beloved macbook pro 15''. The thng is only half of the top corner needs folding down. Theres a bit of an art in the packing, but you get the hang of it in the end.

re disc brakes, dunno mate, but as the hamax is rack mounted, the important thing is to be able to mount the rack. That means mounting points on the seat stays and just above the rear axle. Basically if the bike coms with a rack it will take a rack.

I know what you mean about maintaining rim brakes, i tend to replace my blocks once a year minimum.

Glad you like the blog!

PS the coplot limo is the best seat on the market for the child. The side protection and removal is unparalleled. The compromise is the luggage.

Jamie McNaught said...

The problem I find with racks on disc brake bikes is that the legs of the rack are much further appart. On a child seat as solidly constructed as the CoPilot Limo, you cannot put the seat on the rack as the gap between the child's leg holders on the seat is not wide enough to accomodate the rack (and there is simply no way to bend/force the seat's leg holders out).

Also, if the eyelets that you secure the rack onto the bike frame are located under the disc brakes (as many/most are), then you need add spacers to stop the legs of the rack hitting the brake calipers. I've done this before on a mates bike - we got a long bolt and lots of nuts to move the leg out from the frame by about 2cm so that it cleared the brakes. This worked for carrying panniers, but this would not necessarily work when trying to secure a child seat as the legs will not necessarily move appart to accomodate the wider rack. And, all the weight is on this bolt... a risk I am prepared to take with my mate and his luggage, but not with myself and my son!

You only replace your rim brakes once a year? I must be doing something wrong! I commute 50miles a week, and I need to change pads atleast every 4months. And I genrally have to adjust them (which is the thing I really hate - just so much black road gunk) every 100->150miles to keep good braking power or I'm reduced to airbrakes - something I'm fine with on my own, but with my son on the back I want serious stopping power.

Cycledad said...

my cycle commute is a little bit shorter and spread between two bikes. Also i take my bike on the train, so i habitually adjust my brakes while i'm waiting for the train. V brakes are so easy to adjust these days.

Also i have a rural and a main road commute so i dont actually brake a lot.

Does sound like you might be better off with a prong mounted seat like the hamax siesta

vman said...

Hi CycleDad. How does spring suspension on Hamax Plus compare to prong type seats? This summer I'll start to take my 18 m.o. kid out. Most of the time I ride on unpaved roads, and I'm worried about my kid's back but at the same time I want to have rack option.


Cycledad said...

Hi Vman,

hmm i'm not sure. To me the prong suspension always seems more rigid. The only caveta is that if you have a full suspension bike the prong will be attached to the rear suspension.

I wouldnt be happy going over very rough roads on the bike with Mike. I've been on grass, and canalside but not unpaved roads.

Anonymous said...

Hi CycleDad.

Thanks for the entertaining and informative blog; my husband and I found it very useful & may buy the Hamax Plus panniers to go with the seats. A query for you - we want to cycle to work after dropping our 13 month old twins off at nursery and were wondering whether it’s possible to get a laptop in and out of the panier bag when the child seat is attached, Thanks Becky

Cycledad said...

Hi Anon,

You can fit a laptop in the bag and then attach the bag to the bike and take the bag off while the seat is attached.

I dont know if you can get the laptop out of the bag when the seat is attached (never tried). I'll try it and let you know (might be a while though we're on holiday)

Anonymous said...

My partner and I have been using the Hamax Plus system for about 3 months now, and we've had nothing but problems:
- I've had to return 2 pannier bags which came incomplete or ripped due to poor stitching
- My left pannier won't clip properly on to the rack (the clips seem to be out by a couple of mm), which means it has a tendency to fall off. The mouldings for the clips are made from a different material to my partner's left bag which works fine. The difference is obvious to the naked eye, but Hamax are insisting they have never changed the design/materials of the bags which is just ridiculous.
- The child seat mechanism jammed today, so I can't take the child seat off my bike!

In summary I would say the system is great in principle but there either seem to be a LOT of design flaws to iron out, or the consistency/quality of manufacturing isn't good enought (or both) so I'd advise caution I'm afraid...