You’ve seen parents going for a bike ride around the neighborhood with their toddler and you’re planning to do the same.
As you probably know, you’ll need to use a dedicated bike seat to carry your toddler safely and securely.
On this page, I’ll discuss the various types of bike seats and things you should know before buying one. I’ll also share some of the popular models used by a lot of parents today.
A Quick Glance : Our Favorite Child Bike Seats
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Child Bike Seats Buying Guide
1. Front vs Rear Mounted - Which One?
Child bike seats can best be broken down into three different types based on mounting style;
- Front – Peg Perego Orion and WeeRide Kangaroo
- Rear Frame – Thule RideAlong
- Rear Rack – Topeak Babyseat II
Which is best for you and your child depends on several factors such as weight, age, access, and comfort.
These mounts just below the handlebars, offer some pretty nice advantages.
With front position bike seats, your child sits directly in front of you between your arms. This position allows you to speak to and monitor your child with ease, allowing you to enjoy the experience together.
That said, given that the child is right in front of you, space for the rider is limited. You won’t be taking an aerodynamic position with this seat. The rider also needs to be tall enough to safely see over the child.
These space limitations make front-mounted bike seats suitable only for smaller children.
Rear Mounted (Frame)
This seat mounts to the bike’s seat tube in the rear.
Without the space restrictions inherent in front-mount seats, rear-mounted seats can be larger and thus can support older children.
They are also more suitable for longer rides as these seats include more comfort options. The downside is that your child is sitting behind you, making monitoring them and conversing with them much more difficult.
Rear Mounted (Rack)
The only difference is this seat mounts to a bike rack instead of the bike frame.
It is important to note that most rack-mounted bike seats don’t come with a rack. You need to purchase one separately. Just make sure the rack you purchase is rated to handle the weight of the seat and your child.
2. Bike Compatibility
The size of your bike frame can determine what mounts will and won’t work.
Because of the amount of space a front-mounted bike seat takes up this style of the bike seat isn’t suitable for small bike frames.
You need at least 20″ of space between your handlebars and seat post to comfortably and safely ride with a front-mounted seat.
With that in mind, rear mounts are the best option for smaller frames. Most larger frames are capable of handling either front or rear mounting child bike seats.
While you may be tempted to use a lighter bike now that you are adding the weight of a child and a bike seat to your rides, this isn’t the time to consider carbon fiber.
Child bike seats add weight to a bike that your bike’s manufacturer didn’t account for.
While steel and aluminum should be able to handle the added load just fine, that additional weight could crack a carbon fiber frame.
Before choosing which seat to go with, consider the mounting options your bike offers.
For front-mounted child’s seats check to see if you have a threaded or threadless headset.
Threaded headsets have a telltale locknut at the base of the handlebars while threadless do not. Threaded headsets are generally compatible with most front-mounted seats while threadless may require a mounting bracket.
For seats that mount to the frame of the bike, check to make sure you have enough space between your bike’s saddle and the down tube to fit the child seat. You’ll need about 2″.
Also, check to see if cables are running along the down tube of the bike. If you do have cables, you’ll need to use a rear rack.
If you plan on using a rack, your bike must have eyelets for bike rack mounts otherwise you’ll have to go with a rack-mounted bike seat.
If you have disc brakes, you’ll need to make sure you purchase a compatible bike rack such as the Topeak Babyseat II that accounts for the brake rotors that are mounted to the wheel.
3. Child's Age
The age and weight of your child are critical when considering which bike seat to use. Front-mounted bike seats such as the Thule Yepp Mini is good for kids as young as 9 months up to a weight of about 30 lbs.
Rear-mounted bike seats can support older children up to a weight of about 50lbs. Remember, weight limits are also dependent on the size, strength, and skill of the rider that will be bearing the added load.
4. Safety Features
All bike seats feature shoulder straps; however, all shoulder straps aren’t created equal.
Shoulder straps need to be tightened, so they securely hold your child in the seat. Straps that can be pulled to tighten are much easier to use than those that are threaded through a clip.
Straps should also be height adjustable, so the straps fit properly over the shoulders.
Also, consider bike seats that integrate foot straps into their footrests such as the Hamax Caress and Peg Perego Orion. These prevent your child from getting their feet in the way of the handlebars or close to spinning wheels.
When it comes to comfort, rear-mounted bike seats have much more to offer than front-mounted seats.
Rear-mounted seats can be larger, allowing them to offer such features as reclining positions, helmet pockets, bumpers, adjustable footrests, heftier padding, suspensions, and roomier designs.
This all makes for a more comfortable experience than front-mounted seats, which, due to their positioning, are more spartan with only basic comfort features.
Rear Mounted Child Bike Seats
The Schwinn Deluxe is a budget-friendly bike seat for children that offers a lot of bang for your buck. This frame-mounted rear bike seat is made out of lightweight polypropylene.
Safety features include a 3-point harness, leg restraints, and a padded crossbar. A seat spring guard and bike spoke guard shield are also included to keep fingers away from moving parts.
The Deluxe also has several comfort add-ons including a removable headrest, padded seat, and adjustable footrests. This seat is rated for children age 1 and over up to 40lbs.
Looking for a child seat that offers the versatility to fit on a variety of bikes?
Check out the Caress from Hamax, a European company that specializes in kid’s bike seats and trailers. The Caress can be installed both directly to the bike frame and on a bike rack.
Hamax also has comfort in mind with the Caress. The frame-mount option has a dual-bar steel suspension while the rack-mount option features a built-in spring suspension.
Also, it is reclinable up to 20º, has a helmet recess, and includes an adjustable backrest that grows with your child. Hamax has also designed all strap adjustments on the bike to be one-handed, so the other hand can be free to secure your child while you get them strapped in.
You also don’t have to worry about someone walking off with this seat when you park your bike at the playground. The Caress includes anti-theft locks for both frame and racks mount options.
Whether it’s bike racks, bike trailers, or bike seats, Thule has made a name for itself with high-quality products. The RideAlong is no exception.
It comes with all the bells and whistles when it comes to comfort. The reversible water-repellent padding can be removed for laundering. Footrests and foot straps can be easily and quickly adjusted with one hand.
Thule’s DualBeam suspension is built-in to absorb bumps. It reclines to five different positions up to 20º, making it perfect for napping, and includes integrated protection wings. And it can be mounted and dismounted in seconds through Thule’s quick-release bracket.
As the RideAlong continues Thule’s commitment to quality, be prepared to pay a premium as it is one of the most expensive options out there.
Topeak Baby Seat II
Topeak is a company that specializes in designing a variety of accessories for your bike, knows you want to get that baby seat on your disc-brake bike. That’s why they’ve designed this baby seat rack combo that is compatible with bikes with disc brakes.
The Baby Seat II’s washable wrap-around cocoon seat is reminiscent of what you might find in a high-end car seat. Other safety and comfort features include a padded hand rest, adjustable footrest and straps, a helmet rest, and a built-in suspension system.
Installation and removal is also a breeze with this seat, which can be removed from its mount with the push of a button. The Baby Seat II also comes in several color options including yellow, blue, green, and pink.
Front Mounted Child Bike Seats
Peg Perego Orion
Family-owned Italian company Peg Perego knows about baby carriers. For the past 60 years it has been making carriages, strollers, car seats, high chairs, and riding toys.
The Orion, the company’s front-mounted child bike seat, mounts to the head tube of your bike. This mounting system is adjustable to fit tubes ranging in diameter from 32 mm to 52 mm.
It attaches to the mount with one-click installation, allowing for easy installs and uninstalls. Other features include thermoformed padding, an adjustable 3-point safety harness, and adjustable footrests.
It is designed for kids up to 33lbs. The Orion comes in a variety of very visible colors including lime green, hot pink, fire engine red, and aqua.
And at a very affordable price, the Peg Perego Orion offers excellent value.
Comfort isn’t something we normally associate with front-mounted bike seats.
They’re generally more about the experience. The Weeride Kangaroo from Kazam, a company that makes child bikes, bike seats, and bike trailers, aims to change that by giving your child a place to rest their head.
It is designed with a flat padded dashboard that gives your child something to hang onto or lay their head upon if they’re ready for a nap. The Kangaroo installs to your bike’s downtube and seat post using a steel support bar that won’t interfere with your brake cables.
The bike seat is designed for kids age 1 to 4 and up to 35 lbs. Other features include adjustable foot cups and a 5-point safety harness. The Kangaroo comes in two color options; neon green and grey.
Thule Yepp Mini
Thule continues its top-notch child seat design with the Yepp Mini.
This streamlined yet sturdy kids’ bike seat includes great safety and comfort features. It comes outfitted with adjustable foot straps that will keep the junior’s feet safely away from the handlebars.
The 5-point safety harness is padded and easily adjustable for a secure fit while the cushioned seat absorbs shocks. A padded handlebar gives your child something to hold onto as you ride along.
The Yepp Mini, which is designed for children age 9 months to 3 years old and up to 33 lbs, mounts to your bike’s headset and is easy to install and uninstall. There are three different colors to choose from; blue, black, and orange.
UrRider Child Bike Seat
Like the concept of a front-mounted child bike seat but don’t like the idea of having something bulky sitting in front of you as you ride?
Check out UrRider’s ultralight child bike seat. At less than 1kg, this is one of the lightest child bike seats you can find. It includes a padded seat that is hollow for ventilation, adjustable footrests, and a padded handlebar that your child can hold onto.
It folds flat and includes a carrying bag, making it very portable. You can easily it to your bike’s seat post and downtube and it will also work with cruiser bikes, foldable bikes, and even city shared bikes.