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Wednesday
Dec312008

« All About Front Child Bike Seats »

What follows is the first installment of a series on ways to carry kids on your bike. In a country with such a high lawyer to personal-responsibility ratio, this series should probably start with a lengthy safety admonishment and legal disclaimer, but luckily, someone's already written that for me.

So before we go too far down my giddy biking trail, let's just get the responsible part out of the way. If you're thinking about taking your young children with you on your bike, please do give the following links a careful read:

No really, we'll wait ...

Bike-Tutor child seat with classy backdrop

... welcome back. Still wanna ride a bike with your kid? Splendid. Let's get into the options. We'll start with my favorite way to carry one young child on a bike, the front child seat. For some reason, the rear child seat still is easier to find in most bike stores. Which is well enough for older kids if you've got a sturdy bike and rear rack, but rear seats are not ideal for younger kids. They make the bike less stable, require spoke guards to prevent wheel injuries, aren't as social or fun, and feature a lovely view of your sweaty derrière.

For these reasons and more, front seats are my favorite way to go for kids from 1 year to 3 years of age. Riding a bike with your toddler between your arms, talking about stuff you see, and having her feel like it's her bike, is unbeatable. My 15-month-old let out an enormous WHEEE! the first time we rode up and down the block on her first front seat, and started signing "more" frantically and crying each time we passed the house, worrying the ride was over. Now she's a bit more nonchalant, but still likes bikes so much that she tosses out a "cool bike!" to everyone we pass. I don't think she'd be such a fan if she'd been stuck in a trailer all this time.

Is It Safe?

Are front seats safe? I'm not aware of a study that compares front child seats to rear seats. In my opinion, a front seat may have some safety advantages over a rear seat:

  • You can see your child at all times, and anticipate weight shifts or dropped objects
  • You'll know if they fall asleep, and can stop or make sure their head is supported well enough
  • If you tip, your arms can break their fall
  • Having extra weight up front on a bike feels more balanced than having more weight over the rear wheel behind you
  • Less jarring ride to the child, since they're not right over the wheel
  • No feet-in-spokes worries this way

But in general, having your child up on your bike probably does add some risks, compared to bike trailers (or not biking with your kids). There is no quality dataset that I'm aware of here, but plenty of parental and professional opinions on the matter; you will have to come to your own decision here based on your risk tolerance, bike skills, local riding conditions, and comfort. Here are some drawbacks:

  • Knee clearance. Taller riders may find their knees bumping the seat, so demo if you can. I've found that splaying my knees a bit is surprisingly tolerable for moderate-length rides, especially since I use platform pedals instead of clipless. In general, an upright city bike or MTB conversion will work better with front seats. Raising your stem or moving your seat back might help some recreational/sport bikes, but trust me, these front seats are so worth it that you might as well trade up to a nice practical city bike.
  • Naps. Little kids like to fall asleep on a bike. Some seats are better than others in this regard, but none are that great. I don't love to see sleeping kids dangling sideways out of their seats with their necks bouncing all around, which is more typical with rear seats that transmit every bump in the road. Fatter tires at lower pressures, seats with better upper body and head support, "sleep pads" in front of the child, etc. may help, but sleeping kids are where bakfietsen, trailers, and other family biking solutions we'll review in future posts have an advantage.
  • A child seat affects your center of gravity, and an active child can send you off balance or interfere with your steering.
  • Tipovers, even at low speeds, will generate significant rotational momentum by the time your child hits the ground.
  • You have to worry about landing on your child, and whether or not her being harnessed to a falling bike is a good thing.

Needless to say, I ride a lot more cautiously with a child on my bike. In addition, please think about the following:

Safety Tips for a Child As Passenger on Your Bike

  • If you're just getting into cycling, fantastic, but do build your skills and street awareness before taking your kids along.
  • Practice riding your bike with your new seat installed before putting your kids in it, to check handlebar clearances, and to practice mounts and dismounts.
  • In particular, there may not be adequate "crochal clearance" on the top tube with a seat there, so you may need to perfect the dorkstand (balancing on a tippy-toe from the saddle at stops).
  • Get or perform regular tuneups on your bike to find problems before they happen, and if you hear a new funny noise on your bike, obey your "spider-sense", and stop to figure out what it is before your wheel falls off or other such calamity.
  • Invest in a burly double kickstand (Dutch bikes come with these), to help make loading and unloading more safe. Either way, keep a firm hand on the bike when your child is in the seat. Don't lean the bike against a wall or trust the kickstand. This is how most falls seem to happen with bike seats.
  • If there is potential for your child to fall forward on the handlebars (as with the Bike-Tutor), remove pokey accessories, and consider padding your stem and handlebars. We attached the padded head from a hobby horse with zipties - squeeze the ear, and it whinnies. Bonus.
  • Be careful about dropped objects, which could jam a wheel. Tethers for sippy/snack cups are a good idea.
  • Stick to low/slow traffic areas at first, or dedicated bike trails.
  • The sidewalk is usually NOT the safest place to ride (and may be illegal). Drivers don't expect or see you there, and you are more likely to get hit at crosswalks and driveways.
  • Don't hug parked cars to stay out of traffic - you are traffic, and you do not want to get "doored" with your child on your bike. Drivers behind you can wait, or pass you with room, and are more likely to give you adequate clearance if kids are involved.
  • Study these most excellent tips on "How Not to Get Hit By A Car".

Still with me? Let's do a roundup of front child seats. I've owned or ridden most of the following, favorites first. You'll note that my faves are European and harder-to-find, which stems from the fact that we in the US are way behind Europe when it comes to riding with kids in anything other than a trailer.

Bike-Tutor

The Bike-Tutor probably deserves a full review, since coming from "across the pond" it's a bit obscure here. It requires more dynamic balance than the more passive seats, which makes it inappropriate for younger kids, but more fun for kids over 18 months, and it has a higher age/weight limit.

The advantages include an active riding position - they really feel that they're riding the bike, and may absorb early balance and steering skills on your rides. My daughter even tries to take over the handlebars (this, of course, could be a negative). It's frame-mounted, which feels more secure, and affects handling less than the stem-mounted seats. The adjustable footrests are comfortable, protect the legs a bit, and allow for mild "hot-dogging" (trying to stand). It also has decent knee clearance, especially when she's not on the bike (narrow seat). It has a waist belt/thigh strap harness which is easy to click in and out of.

Disadvantages include cost and availability (we got ours from a Canadian eBay seller). It features a PITA installation - you will cuss for an hour or two figuring out the best configuration for your bike (instructions are kinda vague, and there are many fastening options). But thereafter it's smooth sailing, and I haven't had to adjust mine all year. It's not compatible with napping (but might be with a slaaprol - Dutch for sleep pad ... see horsey head above, and a future post). It's also not as quick as the others to take on and off.

Update: This is now made in UK, redesigned to mount on step-through/loop frames, and hopefully less of a pain to install. Now called the Co-Rider.

Updated update: Doesn't sound like the mounting system for non-horizontal top tubes is safe, per this family's hair-raising experience.

BoBike Mini

Bobike Mini in one of many fabu printsThe Dutch BoBike Mini seat is a splendid seat for kids from 1yr (manufacturer says 9mo) to 3yrs old, up to 33 lbs. They're expensive at full retail (but so worth it), but can be found used and on eBay. Your local kid-cargo-friendly bike shop may have them too (Dutch Bike Seattle, Aaron's Bike Repair, and Clever Cycles carry them, and deserve your business). If you have an upright bike with older-fashioned quill stem, you're all set. Otherwise you'll need an adapter for threadless headsets, and you will have knee clearance issues on drop bar bikes. See this handy overview of Bobike fit issues.

Rain cocoon for BoBike Mini + windshieldWhat I love is the speed and ease of taking it on and off the bike, once the mount is installed. It's also a comfortable, well-built seat, with a nice riding position for your little one. The straps are easy and secure. It doesn't affect handling as much as I thought it would, and knee clearance is good for me - I usually keep the seat on the bike even without Drew, as it makes for some extra cargo space. Overall, this is the most refined seat in this roundup.

An accessory I would recommend is the windscreen, which can really increase your child's comfort on colder/wet days. If you do a lot of wet riding, or would like to, I spotted this ridiculously cute Basil pink vented rain cover for the seat/windshield combo at Clever Cycles ... if it weren't for le Veltop, I'd have picked one up.

Yepp Mini

The Yepp Mini is a new arrival on the scene from the venerable GMG, formerly making the kind of tubular steel kid seats you might have grown up on. And while I haven't gotten to ride one yet, I've drooled over plenty, and they look great. Crocs-esque soft-but-not-soggy foam seat, chic colors, available windscreen and sleep-pad, quick on and off. Likely to have similar bike frame fit/knee clearance considerations as the Bobike Mini.

WeeRide

What's wrong with this picture?The little ones tend to nap on the bike, and for that a WeeRide has you covered, as it has a large napping pad in front of your child. Its uses a frame mounted bar with removable seat. It was our first child seat, and it worked well enough at the time, but Drew outgrew the straps well before the age limit, and I was never that happy with how they worked (kept sliding off her shoulder). Also, knee clearance wasn't great, but probably could have been improved by mounting the bar higher. For a younger infant, with parents on a budget (we found ours at Target), this is a decent way to start, if you don't mind futzing with straps.

iBert

The Ibert "safe-T-seat" is a cute little seat, more easily mounted to standard US bike stems than the Bobike, and easily removed. But when the seat is off, a metal prong threatens the family jewels. I'd keep the seat on, or avoid forward dismounts, unless your family is large enough already. Our friends liked this with their 1 year old, and it's got a Kermit-vibe going for it. I haven't tried it, but the knee clearance looks excellent; I've even seen these on road bikes.

Others

A Brompton-specific front seat solution is the ITchair, and I've seen various kid-bike-saddle-on-top-tube DIY variations online, but since those are unrestrained ways to go, they don't make so much sense for younger toddlers who are prone to falling asleep or letting go. Have I missed any that you, my gentle reader, have tried? What's been your experience with front seats? Anyone out there crashed with one of these seats? We haven't fallen, and are not planning on it, but bad things do happen. Other than bike-fear trolling on forums by folks that haven't ever ridden with such seats, I haven't read any concrete accident reports with this mode of child transport, and it would be useful to know some actual causes and results.

But let's not end this roundup on such a Debbie downer note. Let me leave you with this passenger panda portrait (self-portrait while riding - yes, I know, "speaking of accident reports ...", but this was taken on a closed course by professional drivers). It's Drew on a Bike-Tutor seat on a Dutch bike, under a cozy Veltop ... do kids usually look this happy in a carseat or bike trailer? This is why we love the front seats.

Panda under Veltop

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Reader Comments (57)

Howdy, fellow Dutch-biker. This site is fantastic! I'm definitley sending the link to my sister so she can get more tips on riding with her 5-year-old son. She has a trail-a-bike, but often can't use it to take him to pre-school in the morning because he's too tired. I wonder if there's anything better than lugging a Burly-type trailer for an older child who may not be completely awake?

January 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDottie

Hey - nice blog, and nice Oma! With the front rack too ... I experimented with ziptie-ing a bunch of different baskets to the rack to make carrying stuff easier, and ended up with a great Wald basket. With a basket and bungie net, you can carry 2-3 bags of groceries on the front alone ...

Sleepy 5-year old ... a trailer might not be a bad idea, unless she wanted to upgrade to a Madsen or Bakfiets, where she could set him up on the bottom of the bin with pillows. A rear seat could maybe work, but she'd need a burly bike, and having a 5-year-old lolling around back there sounds a bit dicy. Or an xtracycle with a custom seat or railing around the passenger area might work. The trailer's probably the cheapest and easiest way to go, as much as I dislike trailers. Or introduce him to strong coffee. The preschool would love that.

January 11, 2009 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

Thanks for the tips! Strong coffee, although the most economical choice, is the last thing this kid needs.

Good to know about the Wald basket. I've been searching for one large and sturdy enough for my front rack, so I'll definitely check that out.

January 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDottie

I'm not sure if you are aware that you can buy bicycles over here in the Netherlands which come fitted with front and back child seats. They are called "mamafietsen". While you can use a normal Dutch bike with accessories to approximate the same thing, these do have advantages including:

o Wider handlebars to more easily reach around the child in front
o More space in the frame at the front, low step through to make getting on and off easy
o Even more sturdy rack than usual at the back
o Always a double kickstand
o 26" instead of 28" wheels for more strength

They not only come with the child seats but also with an attachment for carrying a pushchair and of course huge panniers so that supermum can carry plenty of shopping at the same time as two children.

January 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Hembrow

Thanks - I wasn't aware you could buy them ready-to-roll like that ... here's a photo of one I just found, with stroller attachment, as advertised:

I have thought the De Fietsfabriek Pack-Max Duo's with two seats on an extended rear rack and a seat up front were pretty nifty, too.

January 14, 2009 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

Thanks for the primer on bike seats for kids, very thorough!

February 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPampered Mom

You're absolutely right about the Wee Ride straps -- they are a huge pain and I'm skeptical that they do much good. But it was $35 on craigslist...

I think I might take the plunge and get the Bobike. We use the bike so much it would be nice to have a better bikeseat. I just wish I could get the mamafietsen here in Vancouver!

March 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPippi

Hi. Does anyone have any ideas about transporting a six year old and a (small) 4-year old together? They have effectively outgrown my double trailer (all they do is fight for space now).

I was planning on getting a tag-a-long for the 6-year old (who can ride on her own now, but not long distances) and a front-mounted seat for the 4-year old (35 pounds).

But it sounds like the 4-year-old might be a bit big for a front seat, plus I use toe clips and do "crunch" one or twice a year....

Thanks!

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterXaphod

You could xtracycle them (4yo in rear seat, 6yo on snapdeck), or do what JJ does which is shown in this flickr photo and discussion ...

Let us know what you wind up doing!

June 6, 2009 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

I just wanted to thank you for this primer on front bike seats. I have recently installed a Bobike Mini on my bike and taken my 21-month old son out for his first few bicycle rides. He loves it and I love being able to talk with him while we ride. I would not have known about the Bobike mini without your site as I've never seen them sold where I live, nor have I seen anyone else using one.
My husband and I also toyed with the idea of a Madsen, but just getting the Bobike seat sure saved us a lot of money!

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShoopee

Shoopee - My pleasure! Glad you love the front seating ... spread the word! You can justify the Madsen when you have another or he starts wanting to bring friends along ...

August 7, 2009 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

Thank you, I'll stick with little Drew on a bike tutor - that smile sells me every time!

Thanks for showing an interactive bike tutor on such a cool bike!

Durwin

September 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDurwin

I found your blog thru Carfree with Kids and I've been working my way around. I got my son (and me) an iBert seat for his first birthday, and it has been amazing. Not only does my son adore it, but it was a great way to calm him down when he was cranky. An added benefit was that when his dad saw how much his son enjoyed it, he started biking more! And we bought a 2nd one, so we can each have one on our bike, rather than swap the seat.

I say "was" because we live in VT and winter and biking just don't go together here.

And I wanted to add that while the front seat makes it easier to notice if the kid is falling asleep, in our experience, our kid has never fallen asleep while biking, partially I think to being able to see and experience everything around him.

January 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErin

I just came over to your site to send the link to a friend who's thinking about biking with her son. Have been before, but never took the time to comment, so I wanted to say that this is such a great resource. And it's fun to read, too. Love the panda shot!

January 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTrisha

Thanks,
Have been doing so much research on front bike seats, and yours were very helpful! Now I just need to find retailers in Vancouver BC that sell the Bobike...
Cheers!

February 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

Great reviews...Although I love my Chariot bike trailer, I have always liked the idea of front-mounted seats, but here are my challenges which I hope you can help me with:

1) my 3-year old son is 38 lbs
2) I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I cannot avoid hills easily
3) hence I ride a cyclo-cross (road handlebars) which allows me to ride up fairly steep hills with my feet clipped in while towing my son.

Now that we are expecting our second child, I am anticipating having to surrender the double trailer to our infant for a year. From your review, the Bike Tutor is the most appealing option. But I'm wondering how annoying it is to ride with it installed when your child is not with you. It seems like it would take at least 5 minutes to uninstall, but seems to be less bulky than the weeride.

Another question I have at the back of my head is whether Dutch bikes climb hills well.

February 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBethany

Hi Bethany - sorry for the delay! The Bike Tutor's narrow saddle works well on my upright Dutch bike; my knees brush it but I don't have to splay wide. The brochures show a MTB-riding dad, but I'm really not too sure about drop bars. I don't think you'd have a great experience with a 3yo on any other front seat, other than the front saddles Workcycles offers on their FR8.

I might be thinking about a MADSEN or xtracycle, with the second on the way ... my Dutch bike is a bit of a beast up any moderate to steep hill. Doable with slow effort or walking, but hills are where I miss my other bikes. Let us know what works out for you! And check out MyDutchBike there in SF if you haven't already ...

March 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

Hi Julian,

So, I had a stem tube extender put on my road bike to raise the handlebar height almost 6 inches and switched out my hold drop bars for a Nitto Randonneur that has a bit of a rise at the corners. Works well at 4-months of pregnancy.
We got our Bike Tutor yesterday. I was dying to test it out, dragged my son outside in the dark promising him ice cream. He loooved it. I have to say I looved it just as much. The dismount is a bit tricky. But practice makes perfect. The dummy handlebars don't fit on road bars, and may not be necessary. Knees do rub against the tutor, but maybe I can move my seat back.
Thanks again for your helpful input.

--bethany

March 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBethany

Hi-
Thanks so much for your info!! I am desperately trying to talk my husband into a front-riding child's bike seat for our 10mos old (he thinks a trailer would be much safer)...
If I can get him to change his mind, at least I'll know which model to pick up and when! :)
Thanks again!

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterportiakatze

I bought a used 21-speed women's Northwoods Crosstown bike last year and have a Topeak BabySeat on the back and a wire basket on the front. I'd like to try a front-rider babyseat for my 21-month old, 32-pound baby and find something suitable to put my 65-pound five-year old on the back. A $3000 Bakfiets isn't an option, and the bike shop didn't seem optimistic about adding BMX pegs to my rear axle. The older child has great balance and competently rides his own bike, but in NYC I am not comfortable with him going long distances or in the street.
How can I find out if my bike frame/wheels are strong enough to sustain almost 300 pounds of riders? Is there any reason NOT to put my older child directly on the bike rack, aside from toes in the spokes?
Any other solutions for two kids on this bike, or do I need to buy a different bike for myself? I do lots of riding without the kids, or with just one at a time. Not much shopping, but I definitely need cargo space for a backpack's worth of kid stuff -- I currently use the front basket because a backpack sticks in the baby's face when she rides in the Topeak.

ANY suggestions that anyone has would be fantastic -- suanng@mac.com

June 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSuann

I would totally xtracycle that bike. It can tow your older one's bike, they can sit on the deck with only some stoker bars to hold onto, and you can get a bobike maxi or their own peepod seat for your toddler. You can find them used, at times, but even a new xtracycle upgrade is cheaper than a new bike (like a Yuba Mundo or MADSEN).

The trouble with a front seat is that your younger one is already just about at the weight limit for most of them, except the Bike-Tutor, which may not work so well on a step-though frame. I've never met a rider that regretted xtracycling their bike.

As far as older kid directly on rear rack, the feet in spokes is a real risk without a spokeguard, and many US aftermarket racks just aren't built for that load, the way the Dutch ones are.

June 5, 2010 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

Your reviews have been so helpful! I just wish we had more family biking here in southern cali since the weather is great for riding everyday. I have a question though. Have you seen the japanese mam-chari bike with the child seat in front of the handlebars? I am trying to find something similar since at 4'11'' getting my arms around my 29lb 2 year old is beyond difficult. What would you suggest?

August 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShana

Thanks, Shana! Seen mamachari's online but never in this country, sadly. At 29lbs she'll be outgrowing most front seats soon (I believe the iBert goes to 40lbs but it'd be hard to reach around) ... it sadly may be time for a rear seat or longtail (xtracycle, MADSEN, Yuba Mundo, etc). Or the Bike Tutor seat (new model out called the Co-Rider), but must order from UK on that one.

August 31, 2010 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

This is a really nice informative post, thank you. My 15 month old is already 27 lbs (and tall) and I was really hoping to get a front seat for him so we could start biking together. I thinking most of them max out at 30 lb? Do you know of anyone who has used the new Co-rider?

October 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertrillium

We have the Co-Rider. I got it after my 35 lb 2 year old outgrew our BoBike Mini because we love riding with him up front where we can see him and he can feel like he is riding and not just being a passenger. Unfortunately we have never been able to tighten it well enough to keep it stable and just this past week broke the mounting bracket while attempting to tighten it again. We give up. In my opinion it is a cool concept, but a bad design. We are giving up on the front ride concept since there doesn't seem to be another option for a 40 lb child and trying to decide between those rear mount seats that will accomodate his size like the BoBike Maxi or the Kettler Rodeo or the Yepp. I am really disappointed....

January 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristen M

I have found the bobike maxi rear seat for up to 48 I just can't seem to figure out how to get one here in Calli. Any suggestions?

February 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShana

Dear Trillium.
We are sorry to hear that you have had a problem with your Co-Rider seat.

Please get in contact with us so we can resolve this matter. 40lbs is well with in the limits to which the Co-Rider has been tested and this simply should not have happened. We completely stand by our seat and will naturally replace/exchange the entire seat at our expense should you so wish. Please contact by email through the website or on the customer service number on the website so we can help. We also have a Skype link should you want to call although this is only manned during UK working hours.

Apologies for the delay in responding to your post as we only just came across your post however please dont give up on front mounted seats. We hope to hear form you soon and t getting you back on the bike with your Co-Rider.
Yours sincerely
Co-Rider

March 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCo-Rider

This is awsome!! I think its a great way to keep your little family with you when being outdoors together. Of course you should take precautions when it comes to your families safety but is anything ever really safe?

March 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTreadmill Traci

Good post. There are many choices out there. Nothing available met my needs, so I decided to build my own. It worked out so well that I am now gearing up to manufacture them. They will be for sale soon. This design has all the benefits of front mount carriers and none of the disadvantages talked about here. Check it out - www.tyketoter.com. Be kind........I am still working on the site and the manufacturing. This is a very minimalist design that is simple and yet much more effective, fun and light weight. I would love some feedback and questions to help me get started. My kids lobby for who gets to ride and has to be in the trailer. My 4 year-old weighs well over 40 lbs and it works great for her.

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJess Colton

The Co-Rider now has a US distributor and they are taking pre-orders. I'm seriously considering getting it in addition to Trail Gator. I've read that the Trail Gator can be very wobbly/dangerous so I would only use it to haul the bike without child. My son can ride in front on the Co-Rider and the bike towed in the back. (Follow me tandem is just out of the budget).

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

Great artticle- thank you so much. It was very helpful in our decision process of which bike seat to choose for our son. We finally set our choice on front Bobike Mini seat, we figured out if it's made and used in Holland- the bikes queen country- it must be good- and we are very happy with our choice. Our one year old son loves it and as soon as he sees it he wants to go on a ride. It feels very sturdy, but at the same time is not bulky as other seats. We live in Guelph, Canada and it was not easy to find in the bike store, so we ordered one online from weelike2bike.ca. We did not have any problem with installation and we bought additional bracket to use on my wife's bike. I must admit- it is super easy to switch between the bikes- even my wife can do it without my help. We are also planning to order a Bobike windscreen when it gets colder. Highly recommended!

June 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDan

This weekend took our daughter on a first ride on our new front Bobike mini seat. She was so delighted and happy! She is 11 months old now and I was not sure if it's gonna work yet, but the Bobike seat is recommended from 9 months old and we decided to try it as we wanted to enjoy the summer days and go on rides together. I don't feel comfortable riding with a trailer and after seeing one tipped over on the tram tracks, I crossed it out from my options list. We saw this Bobike seat in the park and it looked so comfortable, we asked for a brand name and then researched it online. We are very content with it. My husband installed it himself as we bought it from online shop, took him maybe 10 minutes. We both have hybrid biked and it worked out fine- you just need to check the bike stem requirements before you buy, as it's mounted on the bike stem. We found a very good detailed description on www.weelike2bike.ca. I hope it will last us at least two more summers, as it's supposed to be till 3 years old. What I like most about this Bobike seat is that because it is in front of you, you don't really feel any disbalance from having extra weight, it feels almost the same riding with or without a child. I can also talk to my daughter and show her things along the way. We bought an extra mounting bracket and can use it on both bikes, very easy to switch. Well done Dutchies for designing such a great product.

July 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Has anyone tried a Yepp Mini? I'm trying to decide between the Yepp and the Bobike, and I'd love to hear anyone else's experience.

July 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSally

Hi Melissa
The Bobike is really popular here in the UK and from what we have experienced is a really well made seat. Its ideal if your little one is very young ie younger than the intended age for our seat which is only suitable for 2 years and up. We have not come across the Yep seat but have had a number of customers who have used and really liked the Bobike when their child was small ie 1year old then bought ours when they out grew it later. The Wee Ride is also really popular but is a different fitting as it sits on its own cross bar. Again really well made and has the advantage of being instantly removable (ours takes a couple of mins once fitted) Hope this helps. Regards

July 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCo-Rider

Hello,
Thank you so much for this very informative post! I want to get a front seat for my son who is on the small side for 1 1/2 years old (21 lbs, 32" tall) and have been thinking about the bobike or yepp mini. While I think that he'll definitely be under the weight limit until age 3, I wonder if I'll be able to still see over and around him easily (I am only 5' 4"). Any thoughts or experience with petite parents and front child seats? Not sure if I should just skip right to the bobike maxi (even though I much prefer the idea of having him up front). Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

August 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

We have the Yepp Mini. Our son is about 1 1/2 too (19 mo, 26 lbs, 33" tall), and my wife is 5'5". She said "I never worry about seeing over him. But the top of his helmet is a little too close to my chin." She's planning on getting longer handle bars that curve back on her mountain bike, so that she can sit more upright instead of leaning over, which should fix that.

August 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElliot

I loved this post. I live in the city with a walk up apt. I have a Brompton bike (looove my bike). I wanted to ride with my son. Then what happened, I bought a cheaper bike and parked it outside. (With locks!) The front tire got stolen, then the seat, then the basket in the front.

Now, I just don't want to spend on another bike just to ride around with my kid, and I am seeking a way to ride with my son on the Brompton bike. Any suggestions? I heard of the It Chair, but it is elusive, and I hear that it will cost you about another $400 without a saddle.

Any suggestions???

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOlubunmi

Elliot -
Thanks for the input... I have an old schwinn breeze (very upright) - so I guess I should be fine to see over him. Can't wait to take him on the bike!

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

Olubunmi - Get the ITchair. It's magical. Brompton plus ITchair = jetpack for 2. That combo has turned into my favorite way to ride with my daughter, and I have lots of options!

It is absurdly expensive (didn't think $400 though!), but will have good resale value. Ask Clever Cycles if they've still got any. Steve Parry makes a similar seat, in England (http://www.flickr.com/photos/34556241@N00/4059552140/).

For more on kids and Bromptons, get a subscription to AtoB magazine on www.exacteditions.com and read the archives. But there isn't a practical way to get a standard front or rear child seat on a Brompton ...

August 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

This is great. This helps a lot of parents knowing the positives and negatives of riding with their child in front child bike seats. In my opinion, for young ages front seats for my kid will I prefer. By then i can also watch them whatever they are doing.

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterplumbing

We hardly find anything here in Barcelona for forward position . Thanks very much

December 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjuan

Dear Juan.
We are always looking for people in Europe to promote the Co-Rider on a local level.
Please get in touch should you be interested.

Regards
The Team at Co-Rider.

December 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCo-Rider

Hi, I'm in the UK and would like some advice if anyone can help me please?
I have a 19 month old baby who I would like to get a front seat for but also have a 5 year old too who is unable to ride his own bike, he has autism. Does anyone know if it's a safe option to use a tag along at the same time as a front baby seat? Or have any other ideas, I don't think a trailer would take both their weight.
Thanks in advance if anyone can help.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

Hi Becky.
While I have posted here in the past regarding the Co-Rider seat which we make, I have tried the set up you are considering i.e. bike with front child seat and a tag along behind. We actually struggled with this as I found the tag a long flopped from side to side as we rode along. This was quite disconcerting as I found i was constantly on edge as the sudden weight transfer would effect the steering.

We ended up with a tandem and a child seat (Co-rider obviously) and found this to work really well. There are a number of tandems that are designed to have a child on the back and some of these are very reasonably priced. It takes a little getting used to and a little practice but the feeling is amazing and so much fun.

It may be worth having a look on Ebay as they turn up quite often.

Hope this helps.
Regards

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCo-Rider

Hi Becky
I forgot to mention a fantastic company we met while at the NEC cycle show this year called Quest 88

Have a look at their site

www.quest88.com

and see what they are doing.

If you think they may be able to help please let me know and I can make an introduction . They create some truly fantastic creations and Im sure if you talked to them and explained what you want to do they will have already come up with a solution in the past.

I realise this may seem like a shameless plug but as Quest 88 are a company dedicated to getting people, and in particular families, cycling together when traditionally cycling routes would exclude one member of the family. I hope nobody will mind.

Let me know if we can help or if you want an intro to the MD.
Regards
jeremy

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCo-Rider

Fantastic Write-up. Thanks a million.

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErik

Great article! We have a tandem bike with an attached wee-rider for our four year old but with a new baby in wondering if it's best to ditch the tandem and get two adult bikes or if a front seat would work. I need to figure something soon as baby will be one in a few months and I'm anxious to get back on the bike.

August 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralxandra

I'm a petite parent too (5'2"). What bike should i get with what kind of child carrier?
I don't want to buy something that won't fit my bike.
Thanks

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeatrix

!!! I have an iBert seat and I love it and I was terrified of the crotch-threatening bar pointed at me when the seat is off the bike. So I called iBert and they said: "Try loosening it and pointing it forward when the seat is off the bike." A perfect solution; can't believe I didn't think of it myself. Duh. Anyway, works like a charm.

January 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Thanks - I had been trying so hard to research front seating options - you've taken all the hard work out! Much appreciated...

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterisobel

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