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Saturday
Jul102010

« Bobiked Up Beyond Belief »

After a year of trolling Craigslist for a used Bobike Maxi rear child seat, I happened across a trade-in/discard on the floor of Dutch Bike Seattle at a nice price, and now we have both a Mini and a Maxi. Mamafiets here we come!

Dad, kids, and tiger on their way to the wading pool. Must ... not ... complain about the heat.

I've chosen the Globe Live Mixte for our test bike ... I wonder if it's not Dutch enough (meaning sturdy indestructible hi-ten steel) to handle 2 kids plus parent, what with its lightweight curvy aluminum frame, but oh well. So far it feels a might bit flexy, but it's a nice smooth ride. I would have used my actual Dutch bike but as it's not a step-through frame, I'd need to attain levels of yogic flexibility to get a leg over with kids on front and back.

As far as the handling goes, between the low-ish trail, centering spring, weight on the porteur rack, and a centering weight in the front seat, you'd need an advanced degree in steering geometry to understand what's going on. But so far, it seems to work.

For those in the market for kid seats, I'm a big fan of the Bobikes (not the latest Star Wars-y ones, though), although we're used to having chest buckles over here in car country. See our front child seats article for more on fitting and such. Their Dutch kid seat competitors, GMG, previously keeping alive the kind of bent-metal-tubing seats you might have ridden in "back in the day", have also come out with some great looking new Yepp front and rear seats (AKA Mini and Maxi too). All the modern Dutch trimmings are there - windscreen, "sleeping roll," and even a locking mechanism on the quick-release! Not as necessary here in the US, where folks are more likely to gawk at than rip off such setups. See them & compare with bobikes and iberts and more at Clever Cycles.

Visualize helmets if you must. Matching ones, of course.

Whether you're in the market for a front or rear seat, or both, do take a look at the Dutch seats. They are decades more evolved than what you'll find in your local bike shop. They do have less "plastic bathtub" wrap-around coverage than the US rear seats you'll find, but I personally am OK with that. And for Dutch front seats, you generally need a more upright bike with some stem showing. But you need that anyway, right?

I do wonder if "Maxi" is the best branding choice for the US market (not that they currently care). Kind of like the (English) Brompton touring pannier that was recently rebranded as the "T-Bag." Perhaps the new Brompton US rep will fill them in on the multiple levels of wrong involved in that moniker. Similarly, makers of "Fanny-Packs" (which are making an inexplicable comeback with the fixerati youth) here in the US should seek branding consultation before launching in the UK. Glad I could help with all that.

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Reader Comments (14)

i like "T-bag"!

totally with you on little-lord-vader's-tantrum-throne- style kid seats.

July 10, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertodd

So Bern helmets clearly needs to use that top photo in an ad campaign.

Fine with Maxi. However, T-bag needs renaming. Fast.

July 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersara

I just got my Globe Live 2 Mixte last week. I had to special order it as the Specialized dealer didn't carry it as part of their regular stock. They had plenty of Electra Townies to choose from, though. I love my Globe. My kids are all too big for baby seats these days, so I won't be purchasing any as accessories!

July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer S.

We bought Electra Amsterdam Ballon bikes, guys and gals models, and are in heaven. The balloon tires are speedy like narrow tires yet lots more cushy for bumps, and can handle grassy park lawns, streetcar tracks or whatever else like a mountain bike tire. The riding position is the perfect mix for all of the riding needs we've encountered around the city, and the handle bars are good for a stable ride as well as for accommodating the child's seat (more below). Cons - none have come up so far.

Installed a Yepp front seat four our toddler, we love having him in front of us and he loves the view. My knees don't hit the seat which is what most people ask. Moving the seat between the two bikes takes all of 5 seconds (we bought an extra base mount), and the seat itself seemed like the most comfortable of the 3 brands we looked at. Two things that could be improved - we bought the optional sleep pillow but our boy can easily pull it off & throw it during the ride, and the shoulder straps fall down over his shoulders, we are going to buy a clip similar to ones on a child's car seat and hopefully that will solve the problem.

July 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Congrats on your new bikes! I think a chest buckle would be simple ... my wife wants me to do the same for our bobikes. So far I'm just keeping them as tight as possible.

July 19, 2010 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

Congrats on your recent Bobike Maxi acquisition! I have been searching craigslist for one as well, but the Bay Area is not nearly as bike-centric as the Northwest. I am currently leaning toward the Yepp Maxi (I kind of like the lime or orange from a safety/visability standpoint) for my new PUBLIC mitxe. Do you know if the Bobike or Yepp Maxi would require me to remove my rear rack. I just can't tell from pics and it's so frustrating that I can't check these out in person.
Happy riding!

July 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

They're designed to work with a rear rack, and the Public bikes seem Euro-inspired, so they should probably work. But check with Clever Cycles - they carry both types of seat and Public bikes now. Pretty bikes!

July 19, 2010 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

Good idea. Thanks Julian!

July 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Thanks for this! It's really nice to see what kids look like in these seats -- I have finally got a new bike and want to get a seat for my toddler. In the shop photos they all look huge and heavy, so seeing these with children in them is a real help.

I'm torn between these and the Yepp ones, which are made from the same stuff as Crocs -- but I am concerned about how safe they are as they have even fewer safety features and I live on a busy road in the UK.

PS. Fanny packs are called "Bum Bags" in the UK, which is only marginally less revolting to UK ears! Actually fanny packs is more accurate considering where the sit (UK fanny, not US)... Anyway, I think I've give them more than enough thought for a lifetime now!

February 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

I know this post is over a year old, but I stumbled on it while trying to figure out what sort of bike seat to get for my son. I really like the Yepp Mini so I am leaning towards that - but I would need a new bike! I am curious about the bike you ride since you mention here that you have a Dutch bike (I have been looking at a few of those) but you went with your Live instead. Why is that? I LOVE Specialized bikes and I am thinking about getting a Live (or maybe Daily) but I am trying to weigh them against a Gazelle or WorkCycles Secret Service. I'd appreciate hearing your opinion about the types since you have both.

July 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

The Dutch bike was fantastic on flat to low hills but proved too much of a heavy beast for Seattle's larger hills, and was sold by the time of this post (also wasn't step-through so hard with 2 seats). Not that the Live is perfect - some cheaper components, lack of disc or hub brakes on my model, and generally flimsier frame construction in terms of true mamafiets use (2 kids plus groceries). In fact, it's better as a 1 kid bike. If you can, test ride both styles as they're quite different! If you don't have big hills to contend with and don't have other cargo bikes, you might do well with a FR8 or other step-through Dutch bike. The Linus step-throughs look good with a Yepp Mini, as well.

August 1, 2011 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

i'm wondering if the Yepp mini will fit on the Globe Live 2 Mixte. Does anyone know?

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternorma

Not sure, as I haven't tried, but I would be surprised if it didn't.

July 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

I am looking to potentially get this rear bobike seat from a local store. My son is almost 16 months. I am however a smidge worried about the fact that because it has a lower back what happens if he falls asleep? Any problems with this at all? I cant find many reviews. I am in Canada. Thanks.

April 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

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