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Bike Seats for Kids – What are the options?

By Annette 3 years ago8 Comments

Getting to ride anywhere with your toddler or toddlers in a bike seat is so much fun. Exploring your neighbourhood or local bike trails by bike is just great for everyones mood and energy. As your family grows the options do to. So have a read of the nine options below and consider what is the right solution for you and your family.

  • Front Mounted Kids Bike Seats
  • Rear Mounted Kids Bike Seats
  • Mid Mounted Kids Bike Seats
  • Trailer Bikes
  • Bike Trailers
  • Tailgators
  • Cargo Bikes
  • Tandem Bikes

Find the right kids bike seat solution and make sure their helmet fits then head for the great outdoors…Oh yeah if they won’t wear a helmet or refuse to keep it on then no riding. They are simply not ready to go for a bike ride so try again in a few weeks time. Remember once they are in that seat/trailer they want to go so no mucking around Mum – get everything on, packed, buckled and tied then the last thing you do is get them on the bike…

Choose the Right Kids Bike Seat Solution for You and Your Family

Not all kids bike seats fit all types of bikes… So if you are trying to ride with your child on your bike, the first thing you may need to understand is what type of bike seats will match your bike.  To learn more about bike types and which kids seats they work with read our story Kids Bike Seats – Match your bike to a seat.

 

Front Mounted

Why use a front mounted kids bike seat? This seat sits right behind the handlebars so the child is in between your arms. Kids love this as they can see where they are going. This seat provides the best interaction between you and your child as they are right in front of you and you can see what they are doing.  Read more at The Best Kids Bike Seats for Town Riding or Bike Path Riding.

Will it fit your child? This seat generally fits children 1 to 3yrs, with a maximum weight of 17kg, they must be able to sit up, and it fits a height of up to 110cm.

Will it fit your bike? The biggest issue is space…Read this story for help in understanding if a front mounted seat will fit on your bike,  Will a Yepp Mini Fit on Your Bike? You need space on your handlebar stem to mount this system. If the distance between your seat and the handlebars is short – less than 20inches/your frame is x-small – you may have difficulty riding with this type of set up, you won’t be able to reach the handlebars around your toddler.

Perfect Bike Match = town bikes, cargo bikes & large frames.  Read more at Kids Bike Seats – Match your bike to a seat.

Other considerations. It can be a good idea to have some kind of wheel or handlebar for the toddler to hold onto otherwise they can start playing with your handlebars – some of these seats even come with a large padded T-Bar incase your little one falls asleep. It’s also a good multi child option as it leaves the back of the bike for more children – if your riding is up to it and on the flat!!

Price range $219 – $80 (second hand). Brands Yepp, iBert and Guppy.

We sell:  Yepp Mini front mounted child bike seat ($219)Because the Yepp Mini has a 3 point harness system that can’t be opened by a child.  Adjustable shoulder straps & footrests.  Padding over the shoulder straps and a comfortable foam constructed seat.  It is lockable, colourful and easy to get on & off the bike.  Read more The Yepp Mini – The Best Front Mounted Kids Bike Seat

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Yepp Mini attached to a vertical handlebar stem

Front Bike Seats attach to the handlebar stem

Yuba Mundo & Yepp Mini. goRide

Mundo Cargo bike with a Yepp Mini attached

Upright body position. Yepp Mini. goRide

A Town Bike is one of the perfect bike frame matches

Rear Mounted

Why use a rear mounted bike seat? This type of seat fits above the rear wheel of your bike attached to the carrier or the frame of your bike. This type of seat offers a solution for a wide age range. Your child will be very secure in a rear seat if the seat has 3 point harness system that your child can not release.  Generally the more you pay the better the harness system will be. It is lighter than a trailer and a great warm weather option but being exposed you will need to make sure their clothing provides protection from sun/cold.  Read more at The Best Kids Bike Seats for Town Riding

Will it fit your child? This type of bike seat will suit an age range from 1 to 6yrs so make sure your seat has adjustable shoulder & footrest heights so that as they grow the seat still fits. A general weight range is from 9kg to 22kg depending on the brand

Will it fit your bike? Rear bike seats will either be attached to the frame of your bike – the seat post (with this set up you do not need a carrier) or to a rear carrier. To understand what type of system will fit your bike read Will the Yepp Maxi Fit on my bike.

Bike match = most bikes with the exception being full suspension mountain bikes.  Read more at Kids Bike Seats – Match your bike to a seat

Other considerations. Bright colours help with being visible in traffic and reflectors on the rear of the seat are great added safety features to look for. Helmet shape is important as the childs head needs to be able to sit flat against the back of the seat. All goRides helmet solutions will suit a rear seat. You are adding weight to your bike that is high and at the rear so you will need to practice riding with this uneven weight – this can take a little time.

Price range is wide, from upwards of $295 new, down to clearance items at $85.  Popular brands in no particular order Yepp, BoBike, Guppy, Polisport, Topeak.

We sell: Yepp Maxi Rear Carrier ($279) or Frame (on sale for $269) child bike seats.  Because Yepp Maxi’s offer a great harness system, excellent adjustment range in shoulder straps & footrests.  They are constructed of durable, comfortable, colourful foam and the seat can be locked to your bike.  Find out more – The Yepp Maxi – The Best Rear Mounted Kids Bike Seat

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Seat post attachment child bike seat. Yepp Maxi. goRide

Frame (seat post) mounted rear child bike seat

Yepp Maxi Frame Mounted kids bike seat. goRide

Yepp Maxi rear child bike seat with 2yr old

Mid Mounted

Why use a mid mounted kids bike seat? This mid mount system is attached directly to your bikes top tube (for example the Do Little and the Shotgun) or via a bar/adaptor that creates a top tube (for example the Wee Rider).  It gives great interaction and good protection in between your arms. Having the weight closer to the centre of the bike means that your bike is more balanced so provides less challenge to manoeuvre. This may be a benefit if you are considering doing some riding on easy off road trails. As your child gets bigger, reach around them can provide some challenges to this. The biggest difference between the type of bike seats is the mid mounts have no harness (exception WeeRide).  Are you comfortable with this, for where you are choosing to ride?

Does it fit your child? The mounted bar system (WeeRide) has a similar age range to the front seats (1-3yrs) whereas the top tube seat (Shotgun) has a wider age range 2 to 5yrs depending on the size of your child.  The Do Little can create a top tube or be mounted to one – age range 2 to 7yrs.  Weight range is wide 9 to 23kg depending on the brand. These no harness systems are great for kids who have ridden balance bikes from a young age.

Does it fit your bike? Bike Match = versatile, most medium to large frames (you require space for the child to be which is created by larger frames).  Therefore the taller you are the better this type of seat suits you.  Read more at Kids Bike Seats – Match your bike to a seat.

We sell:  the NZ made Shotgun because it adjusts to fit on all mountain bike frames including wide (greater than 49mm) top tubes, Shotgun ($220).  We sell: Do Little Bike Seats made in NZ, because it fits standard, sloping and step through frames of most bike frame styles, shop page here ($155).  Both these mid mount seats are extremely well made and strong.  For more of a comparison see The Best Kids Bike Seats for Mountain Biking and the Do Little is also a great bike path option – The Best Kids Bike Seats for Bike Path Riding

WeeRide – bar mounting – is on Fishpond expect to pay $200 or more.

Shotgun kids mountain bike seat. goRide

Shotgun kids mountain bike seat

doLittle mid mount kids bike seat. goRide

A town bike, Do Little match

Trailer Bikes

These half bikes are towed behind your bike.  They attach at your seat post and are compatible with most adult bikes. A quick release for easy detachment from the adult bike is a great idea. Most models fold down for easy storage and transport. This system allows your child to pedal forward, backwards or coast – they don’t have control of the brakes or steering. Weight may be a consideration so make sure you know the weight of what you are buying. Some models come with adjustable handlebar height which can be good as the kids grow.

Suits slightly older kids from 4 or 5 years up to 7yrs.

You are buying half a bike here so don’t expect a deal. Price range $215 – $1000. Why? You get what you pay for.

We sellWeeHoo Turbo – 2 to 9 years.  Because it provides a really safe secure seating option, it would be much harder to fall off/out of this. It also comes with storage compartments for whatever you want to take along – not to exceed 36kg of weight, price new $579.  Get more information by reading The Best Kids Bike Seats for Bike Path Riding

Otago Rail trail kids connected to bikes Sam goRide

Trailer bikes are great for bike touring

Bike Trailers

A common towing option these kids bike seats offer great protection from the weather but think about wind. Good protection from any possible accidents as they are designed with roll bars. Because they are big and close to the ground cars tend to go around them. Use flags and bright colours to help the cars with this. Also remember you are wider than normal – how will this effect your riding and distances from the curb/parked cars. Trailers can carry more than one child plus nappies, groceries etc. Children can sleep and eat inside a trailer, carry toys etc. As the kids get bigger it will get harder for you and some trails are just not meant for trailers – width, surface.  You will need low gears to get up even minor hills and good brakes for any descents to avoid shunting from the weight of the trailer. Practice even controlled application of brakes.  Interaction with a child or children in a trailer is not great and if there is more than one of them in there they may get sick of being that close to their brother/sister quite quickly!! Consider storage and whether you need to transport the trailer in your car – will it fold down easily and not be too heavy to lift.

Age range wide 8 weeks to 6 years. This is one of your options if you are happy to cycle with your baby strapped into a car seat/sling/carrier and fitted into your trailer – we are talking no helmet and not on the road (see Biking with Babies on Board). A lot of brands recommend 12months and up for age use.

The price range is wide due to different size options and multi functions. Some models convert to a stroller or jogger when you get off the bike – check out WeeRide’s Deluxe or Classic trailer models or the Burley Delite if this sounds like you, remembering multi functions will also come with a price tag. One of the more expensive options (if you are buying quality that will last) but think carefully about the benefits – all year use because of weather protection, multi child carrier, ideal for an alternative to car use = savings gained…

Babies bikes. Rear trailer. goRide
Bike Trailer.  Riding with kids attached. goRide
Trailgators

Trailgators join two bikes together. This set up lifts the childs front wheel off the ground giving you control of the steering but they can still use their back brake if they have pedal brakes – which is funny the first time….Great in terms of using what you may already have – a kids bike and an adults bike. There is a minimum recommended wheel size for use of 25inches for the adult bike (have a look at the wall of your tyres to get your wheel size) and you will need some exposed seat post for the attachment. This can be a great option for longer rides with kids or navigating your way through busy traffic. When the time is right you can detach them, retract the arm and they can ride for themselves.

Ideal for slightly older kids 4 to 5yrs +

You should be able to find one for around $180 new.  There is a strong second hand market for these attachments.

Tailgator.  Riding with kids attached. goRide
Cargo Bikes

Great alternative to a car for around town transport. Good for multi children families. The set ups are either front or back, seats or trailers. Trailers can be enclosed or open. So you should be able to find something that suits your family dynamics. Ideal for flat smooth pathways and surfaces, not so great for hills as they are heavy. You can get around this by purchasing a battery powered one to assist you with hill climbing.

Age range good 1yr to ……when they decide its not cool.  These bikes are designed to carry loads so weight is not an issue.

Financially this is a bigger investment but with everyday use you will get your money back in saved car bills.

LINKS:  See Using a Cargo Bike to Transport your Family.  If you live in Auckland take a trip to Electric Bike Hub at 29 East Street, Eden Terrace.  They have more than just “electric” bikes on offer – www.electricbicyclehubauckland.co.nz

Tandem Bikes

This could be so much fun. You can get modified tandem bikes that have platforms instead of pedals for the second rider so this is a good choice for children or any riders with disabilities. Tandems are a good touring option but by the time your child fits a standard tandem they will probably be a lot happier to ride all by themselves away from the view of your butt… Brands include Apollo, Schwinn, Polygon, KHS and they come in a range of styles – mountain, touring or road frames and this little beauty, see photo – Kulana Lua Tandem.

Age range from when they can ride there own bike (4yrs+) to ……when they decide its not cool.  These bikes are designed to carry loads so weight is not an issue.

Financially this is a bigger investment but with everyday use you will get your money back in saved car bills.

A few more tips;
  • Consider the number of attachments you want. Do you want to be able to change the seat between bikes quickly?
  • A word about second hand buying – only do this if you or your partner know a thing or two about bike stuff or you know someone who can give the bike seat/trailer a good look over before you use it. You will need to check all attachments are safe and that the safety harness (if the seat has one) is in good condition. If the seat/trailer is second hand it may not come with instructions on how to fit it to your bike… need I say more.
  • For any bike transport options checking routines are really important. That means you need to understand how the seat is attached and what to look for.  We recommend that you fit the child seat to the bike or at a minimum watch carefully when it is being done.  See Kids Bike Seats – Safety & Care
  • Make sure before you invest your hard earned money that you think of the big picture – not just what suits you know but how you might need it to work in 2 or 3 years time. Alternatively check out the second hand market and make an informed decision on whether your investment could be recouped and used for an upgrade…
  • Got a seat in mind – will it fit your bike or how do you assemble it and attach it to your bike… Check out our range of stories answering this question on our Stories, Support & Solutions page that focus’ on Kids Bike Seats

 

Awesome and well done making it to the end. That was a lot of information to take in. Please let us know what was useful…

get Inspired and goRide – Bike Seats for kids – What are the options?

Thanks for reading. Used together our stories, resources & products support you to achieve and develop as a rider.

Related Resources:

Riding Gear – Kids Bike Seats stories, support & solutions

‘On the Bike’ – Kids Bike Seat Buying Guide

‘Towed by the Bike’ Kids Bike Seat Buying Guide

Kids bike seat Shop Page

We also have a great Kids Helmet Buying Guide,

How to Size & Fit a Kids Bike Helmet

and a Kids Bike Helmet shop page

goRide helps you find your riding SMILE.  Now it’s your turn….Contact goRide. Your thoughts, comments or feedback will make us SMILE.

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8 Comments

  • Jo says:

    Awesome post, well done.

    • Annette says:

      Thanks Jo,
      we are currently working on more resources to help with child bike seat purchasing – so watch this space…

      Annette

  • Sarah Drum says:

    I’m just wondering about the bar-mounted seats – do they interfere with your peddling at all? Someone has told me that you have to peddle with your knees out to the side to avoid hitting them on the seat. Thanks

    • Annette says:

      Great question Sarah,
      yes this can be a concern for bar mounted seats. You may have to make a slight adjustment in how you ride but it will be more to do with the width of your child than the seat. DoLittle have a great design and the seat width at it’s widest is less than your pedal width, so your natural knee rotation wouldn’t hit it. The widest part of their seat is the footrests at 240mm but their design puts these rests a long way forward on your frame. The WeeRide is a wider design so this could be a concern but only if you are short. Of more concern for women riding with a child here is space under the chin and being able to reach the handlebars around your child (if you are riding a style of bike that puts you in a very upright position and have handlebars that sweep back towards you, you will have room. If this is not the case and you are riding a small or x-small mountain bike frame you will have trouble).
      Thanks Annette

  • Lisa Webster says:

    Thanks so much for that, it was really informative. Do you have any suggestions for me regarding heavier children. We have a son with special needs so he will need to be restrained but he is 8 years old and already about 35kg. Cheers, Lisa

    • Annette says:

      Hi Lisa,
      Thanks for asking your question. It’s great that you are planning to ride with your son. You have a couple of options – cargo bike or bike trailer – but you may be restricted by what is available in NZ, I’m thinking more about the cargo bike here and what types of set up would be ideal e.g. a 3 wheel cargo bike with a front bin can take really heavy loads so you will not have to worry about weight as your son grows. If this option appeals you may have to get something custom made.
      Both these options are big investments so we recommend asking lots of questions and getting as much advice as you can. Some things to think about are the types of terrain you want to ride on (both these options are best on smooth, compact surfaces), whether it needs to be transportable (cargo bikes are heavy and long) and how close you would like your son to be (interaction is difficult in a bike trailer).
      Good luck with your search and let us know what you end up with.
      Thanks Annette

  • Nathan says:

    Excellent round-up of the available biking with kids options! Have you considered the FollowMe Tandem? Same functionality as the Trail-Gator but MUCH more torsionally rigid and durable. Additionally, the child’s rear wheel doesn’t cut in on corners which is a major bonuse. I ride most days with one of my sons being towed, and we can do a range of terrain (including urban obstacles) with ease. They are a bit hard to get here in NZ; perhaps you would be interested in importing them?

    • Annette says:

      Hi Nathan,
      thanks so much for taking the time to write a comment and share with us the FollowMe Tandem…we didn’t know it was out there so will have a look into it. It’s great to present all the options especially as technology brings us easy to use and safer options. Thanks again for bringing it to our attention.
      Annette

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