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Bike Seats for Kids – What are the options?

By Annette 4 years ago10 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.  We highly recommend viewing our FAMILY RIDING page where the seats are set out according to the age of your child.

Attached to the bike options:

  • Front Mounted
  • Mid Mounted
  • Rear Mounted

Towed by the bike options:

  • Trailing 1/2 Bikes
  • Tow Frame, Bar or Rope
  • Bike Trailers

Special bikes:

  • Cargo Bikes
  • Tandem Bikes
  • Trikes

Front Mounted – Often called Mini’s

Why front? Interaction – 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.  Read more at The Best Kids Bike Seats for Town Riding or Bike Path Riding.

Will it fit your child? Age range 1 to 3yrs (only front & rear seats take a 1yr old), 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 Front Seat Fit on Your Bike?  If your bike frame is small or 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 & medium or large frames.  Read more at Kids Bike Seats – Match your bike to a seat.

Other considerations. It’s 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!

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The Thule Mini

We sell:  Thule Mini  ($219) because the Thule Mini has a 5 point harness system that can’t be opened by a child.  Adjustable shoulder straps & footrests.  Padding over the shoulder straps and a comfortable incredibly lightweight seat.  It is lockable, bright and easy to get on & off the bike.

We sell:  Yepp Mini ($264) because it offers an A-Head adaptor for attachment to mountain and trail style bikes.  Read more The Yepp Mini – The Best Front Mounted Kids Bike Seat

We sell:  BoBike Mini & Windscreen ($295) because this brand also offers a windscreen.  Best used with town/urban/commute style bikes that have a Quill/Threaded Handlebar Stem (find out what this means, click HERE).  Protection from the elements means you will ride more often so a great investment!

Front seat for a mountain bike – The Yepp Mini

Rear Mounted – Often called Maxi’s

Why rear? Years of use therefore value for money – this seat sits 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 and protected in a rear seat.   Read more at The Best Kids Bike Seats for Town Riding

Will it fit your child? Age range 1 to 6yrs , with a maximum weight of 22kg, they must be able to sit up, and make sure the shoulder straps and footrests are adjustable for a growing child.

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 a Rear Seat 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 child’s 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.

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The Thule Maxi – carrier mount

We sell: Thule Maxi Nexxt Rear Carrier ($299), new to the market for 2018 because the Maxi Nexxt is the easiest seat on the market to fit to a carrier – it simply clamps on. They are constructed of durable, comfortable, compressed foam like helmets are made from so are incredibly light.   These Maxi’s offer a magnetic harness system, excellent adjustment range in shoulder straps & footrests and the seat can be locked to your bike.

We sell:  Yepp Maxi Frame (on sale for $249) child bike seats.  Because this Maxi has the best, most secure frame mounting clamp available.  It also offers 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

The Yepp Maxi – frame mount

Rear Mounted – Juniors – for Older Kids

Why a rear Junior? Simple, sleek design for older kids 4 to 10yrs – ideal to take kids on the bike with you when they would struggle riding their own bike.  Often a traffic/distance or hill climbing barrier.  This type of seat offers a great commuting solution. Your child will be secured by a lap belt only so must be able to sit independently and understand why they shouldn’t try to stand.

Will it fit your child? Age range 4 to 10yrs, with a maximum weight of 35kg, the  footrests are adjustable for a growing child but will need a tool to change.

Will it fit your bike?  A junior seat will be attached to the frame of your bike – the seat post (with this set up you do not need a carrier) or it can be mounted over the rear carrier. It gets added strength from struts that clamp onto your seat post supports.

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

Other considerations. This seat is easily flattened to turn into a storage/cargo option for bags/groceries etc. It is important to have good feet/wheel protectors to ensure no accidents in the rear wheel happen.  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.

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The BoBike Junior

We sell:  BoBike Junior ($250),  because BoBike have a great reputation for safety and have won several awards and certifications for safety. A BoBike junior is constructed of durable yet comfortable, plastic and are meant to be used daily so your investment will last.  Sleek and functional it is a great option for older children.

Mid Mounted

Why Mid? Mid mount systems are attach 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.

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.  The Shotgun includes rubber foot straps as an added safety feature.

Does it fit your bike? These seat are versatile and will fit 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.

Bike Match = most bikes, all mountain bikes (Shotgun).

Other Considerations. The biggest difference to other types of bike seats is that mid mounts have no harness (exception WeeRide).  Are you comfortable with this, for where you are choosing to ride?

The Shotgun MTB 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).  Shotgun seats have footstraps and you can buy a seperate kids handlebar which is great for young kids to assist with balance.

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.

The DoLittle

Trailing 1/2 Bikes

Why 1/2 Bikes?  Great investment when you do not need your child to be riding on their own bike. This system allows your child to pedal or coast – they don’t have control of the brakes or steering so can rest/relax or help out with the pedalling.  Really versatile and great for family touring, multi day riding.

Will it fit my bike? Most 26″ or 700c bikes will tow a trailing 1/2 bike.  If your bike is 27.5″ or 29″ make sure you check for compatibility. They attach at your seat post and are compatible with most adult bikes – not carbon. A quick release for easy detachment from the adult bike is a great idea.

Bike Match = any type of 26″ or 700c bike.

Will it fit my child? Suits slightly older kids from 4 or 5 years up to 9yrs – good for all kids but a great option for timid kids who are reluctant to ride.  The WeeHoo Turbo reclined 1/2 bike is slightly different, it can be used from 2yrs old to 9yrs and it is harnessed as well so a great long term investment.

Other considerations. Most models fold down for easy storage and transport. 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.

The WeeHoo Turbo reclined 1/2 bike

We sellWeeHoo Turbo – 2 to 9 years.  Because it provides a really safe secure reclined seating option, it would be much harder to fall off/out of this.  The age range is FANTASTIC.  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.

We sell – Rocket Tag-A-Long4 to 6 years.  Because it gives you a great option for towing through busy traffic situations, when distances or hills would be too much for them to ride independently.  It’s also a great touring option.  Price $224.

Rocket Tag-A-Long

 Bike to Bike Towing – Frame, Bar or Rope

Why Tow? Connecting a lead bike and a trailing bike can be so worthwhile in a number of circumstances.  Ideal for hill climbing, distances, keeping up with older siblings or in hard weather conditions e.g. wind or rain.  You will need a good gear range and good fitness to able to deal with the resistance of the weight of the bike and child you are towing.  This type of towing really opens up your family riding options in terms of the places/distances you can choose to go.

Will it fit my child? Age range wide, 4yrs to adult.  These tow systems become an option for off or on road use whenever your child can ride with confidence independently – on their own bike.  Exception – towing younger kids on the road/in traffic with a tow rope is not ideal as you do not control their steering.

Will it fit my bike? Frame This product attaches from wheel hub to hub and will work with adult bikes 26 to 28inch wheel.  Bar – compatible with 26 to 28inch adult bikes, not to be used with carbon seat posts.  Rope –  has no restrictions it can be attached to all bikes.

Other considerations.  It is best to match the environment you ride most often in when considering your bike to bike towing options.

The bike tow frame – Follow Me Tandem

The bike tow rope – Tow Whee

We sell – Bike Tow Frame – Perfect for traffic/commuting ($499). This is an amazingly well designed, stable connection system.  So great for use in all types of environments but especially when you want to tow through traffic. Ideal for the family who is committed to commuting by bike.

We sell – Bike Tow Bar – Perfect for assisting over short distances ($179). It is a budget friendly option that allows you to tow when traffic or hills would be too much for them to ride independently.  It’s also a great touring option to plan to use or to have as a safety/back up incase things go a little wrong as it is relatively easy to carry.

We sell – Bike Tow Rope – Perfect for mountain biking ($79). It gives you a great option for towing when distances or hills would be too much for them to ride independently.  It’s also a great touring option to plan to use or to have as a safety/back up incase things go a little wrong as it is so easy/lightweight to carry.  Durable, safe (no drooping into wheels) and strong, it will be used for years.  Find out more… Bike Tow Rope – Making it Easier for Kids to Ride

The bike tow bar – Trailgator

Bike tow rope being used

Bike Trailers

Why a Trailer? A common towing option these kids bike seats offer great protection from the weather but can be difficult to ride with in the 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.  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.

Will it fit my child? 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 – because of the vibration.

Will it fit my bike?  Trailers are compatible with most bikes you are only limited by the bikes ability to tow weight as mentioned above. You will need a good gear range to get up even minor hills and good brakes for any descents to avoid shunting from the weight of the trailer.

Price. 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 Thule  models or the Burley D’lite 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…

goRide will be adding an Urban Single Bike Trailer, Urban Double Multi Use Trailer, Off Road Single Multi Use Trailer and an Off Road Double Multi Use Trailer to our shop soon….  CONTACT us for more details

Thule Chariot Double Bike Trailer
Single Urban Bike Trailer.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.

Trikes 

Perhaps you are looking for something a little different in a bike for your child.  Not technically a seat but worth a mention in our range of options for children.  Trikes New Zealand specializes in this area with their  motto being “Nothing is Impossible”.  There range is extensive and includes recumbent tandem bikes, handbikes and all bikes can be converted to electric assist.

Age range from when they are old enough or physically strong enough to begin to learn to ride on their own.

A few more tips;
  • 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.
  • 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

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…

 

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

Bike Helmets for Kids – What are the options?

 

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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10 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

  • Vicky says:

    Hi there
    What would you recommend for our situation?
    We are keen on a front or mid mount baby bike seat for our 1 year old son. Both parents ride size small full suspension mountain bikes so not a lot of room. Have been looking into the Thule Ridealong mini and the weeride kangaroo seat.
    Thanks so much
    Vicky.

    • Annette says:

      Hi Vicky,
      you simply do not have enough room to mount a front or mid seat on a small framed full suspension mountain bike. The only seat that is specifically made for mountain bikes of this type is the Shotgun – please read the Will it fit? and How to attach information that we have with all the seats we sell. If you want to know more please use our Contact form or fill out a Kids Bike Seat Solution Finder.
      Regards Annette

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