Want to ride with your young child on a bike seat attached to your bike? You have a few choices. Read on for advice on Front and Rear Bike Seats and what might be the right type of seat for you and your family.

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Why choose a front or rear seat?

Both seats offer you something a little different… so let us get some understanding of the advantages of the two types of seats.

Rear Bike Seats are the most versatile kids bike seat.   There is a solution for most bikes and it offers your family a solution for a wide age range. It is a suitable first bike seat. Suitable for children from 1-6 years. A weight range of 9-22kg. Your child needs to be able to sit independently and fit a bike helmet to safely ride in this seat.

LEARN MORE: Rear Kids Bike Seat Buying Guide

Front Kids Bike Seats allow you to ride early with a very young child securely harnessed to a seat. The slightly reclined seat is suitable from 1 year of age through to 2-3yrs depending on the size of your child. A weight range of 9kg up to 17kg. These seats achieve the ultimate in interaction with your child seated between your arms sharing the view and experience with you. Your child needs to be able to sit independently and fit a bike helmet to safely ride in this seat.

LEARN MORE: Front Kids Bike Seat Buying Guide

 

Things that will influence your decision?

Price: The initial outlay for a rear bike seat is more than for a front bike seat.  However, rear seats are better value as you will be able to use the seat with your child for more years, approximately 2-3 more years. Make sure you consider the full cost… do you need any additional adaptors or a carrier for your bike? Do you want to have the flexibility of attaching the seat to a second bike?

Where you ride:  stopping lots or in traffic, commuting to work while doing a childcare drop off, a rear seat just seems to work for families.  Protected by the adult riders body your child will not be as effected by the temperature you are riding in. Compared to quiet roads, cycleways, bike paths or bike trails where a front seat is just awesome to have your child between your arms and so easy to interact with.  Best early introduction to riding in warm weather.

Type of bike: your choice of seat may primarily be influenced by what will fit on your bike.  Bikes are not always compatible with kids bike seats;

  • Rear seats do not work with rear suspension or carbon frames.  Rear seats come in different designs that will either attach directly to your bike frame or to a bike carrier that is attached to your bike.
  • Front seats are best suited to upright step through frames & urban commuting bikes – adult in an upright position.  Attaching a front seat to any other kind of bike means you will be sacrificing something in the way of your comfort while riding.  Usually that is space between your chest & the back of the seat or space to dismount off the front of your saddle when you stop.

Which Kids Front Seat will fit my bike? 

Will a Rear CARRIER MOUNT Seat fit my bike?  Will a Rear FRAME MOUNT seat fit my bike?

 

How will the seat effect your riding?

Riding with Added Weight
  • Rear seats add weight that is high at the back of your bike so you need to be aware of the tipping effect where your front wheel can lift off the ground if there is too much weight in the back of your bike.  This does not tend to happen with bike frames that are medium or larger.  It is more likely to occur when your child is older and heavier.
  • Front seats are placed on your handlebar stem so it will take a couple of rides to get used to the change in the feel of your handlebars.
Starting & Stopping
  • Rear seats prevent you from swinging your leg over your rear wheel to dismount from your bike.  To stop you must come off the front of your saddle and and then manoeuvre your leg somehow.  This is super easy with a step through (no top tube) frame.  Not so easy or elegant with a high top tube.
  • Front seats may prevent you from coming off the front of your saddle/seat to stop.  This is more likely with a sport/trail or mountain style bike that positions the kids seat & your body close.  It will definitely happen with all small/x-small bike frames.  Some people are happy to get around this by lowering their seat so they can touch the ground and remain seated when coming to a stop (again a problem for shorter people – how will you now see around the kids seat?).  If you have a seat dropper you can adjust your seat as you approach a stop so your feet can reach the ground.  If you don’t lower your seat in some way the only alternative is to completely dismount with every stop – leg over rear wheel to come to standing next to the bike.

1 year old riding in a Thule Maxi Rear Bike Seat wearing a Toddler Helmet

Smiles… riding in a Thule Nexxt Mini Front Bike Seat.

Practising at home in a safe environment with a newly installed front bike seat.

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