Updated May 2017
One of my favorite cheap thrills in life is to ride my kids around on my bike. Bike riding is a great way to get exercise, not to mention a wonderful diversion for infants and toddlers. It’s also an exciting way of getting from A to B, especially if your babes hate being in their car seats as much as mine do.
Here’s a quickie guide of the best bike seats and helmets – enjoy!
“Front of the Bike” Seats
Made specially for the smallest of humans (10 months – 3 or 4 years, give or take), “front” bike seats allow a closer interaction between rider and child, as opposed to having your little one behind you where you can’t see her without turning around (turning around while biking = bad idea).
With a front seat, your arms are wrapped around your child in a very protective position. As an added bonus, they get to ding your bell. =)
Front of the bike seats mount to the stem of your bike and are generally very easy to take on and off. However, because your baby’s center of gravity is over the front wheel, you’ll notice that steering becomes a little more tricky/cumbersome when you first start out, as you are now steering with your baby’s added weight. You may also need to spread your legs a little wider when you’re pedaling (frog-legged) to prevent your knees from knocking the bottom of the seat; however, this too becomes second nature after some practice.
Infant & Toddler Bike Seats
iBert Safe-T-Seat ~ $97, Editor’s Pick
Age range: 1 – 4 years (up to 38 lbs, or until their legs are too long to fit)
We used the iBert when Lucie was a baby and continue to enjoy it for Alice. iBert recommends babies are at least 12 months of age, but many feel this is overly conservative (i.e., most 9 and 10-month-olds are well able to hold their heads up and support the weight of a helmet, etc.).
With a simple cotter pin that holds the bracket in place, this seat is super easy to install and/or switch from bike to bike and doesn’t require any other special parts.
On the downside, the back on this seat is not particularly tall or supportive, and it only has a 3-point shoulder harness (as opposed to 5).
Available on sale on Amazon for ~$97 (MSRP $110)
WeeRide Kangaroo LTD ~ $54
Arguably the most comfortable/padded front bike seat on the market, the WeeRide Kangaroo LTD is another favorite. Parents love the padded 5-point harness and the adjustable foot holders that grow with your toddler, although many report that 3 years is the max you can use this seat in reality, especially if your kiddo is on the tall side.
While not the sexiest option, this affordable seat gets the job done safely and comfortably.
Can be found on Amazon as well.
Yepp Mini ~ $118
Age range: 9 months to 3 years (up to 33 lbs)
Leave it to the bike-loving Dutch to engineer another favorite front seat, the Yepp Mini. This good-looking, lightweight bike seat is the grand poo-bah of front seats.
This seat features a water-resistant, flexible rubber foam seat that is comfy, shock-absorbing, and easy to clean. It has adjustable footrests that can be lowered as your child grows and unlike other bike seats, you can lock this one to your bike to prevent theft (yeah, cuz I live in Oakland, ya’ll). I’ve had every component you can imagine stolen off my bike while parked at the BART station, even my own seat!
With a 5-point safety harness and a selection of six lovely colors, the Yepp Mini is another top pick.
If your bike has a thicker “neck” or stem, as many American mountain bikes do, you’ll need to buy special bolts in order to install it on your bike. Read the Amazon and REI reviews for specifics.
Rear Mounted Bike Seats
For those with older kiddos who have outgrown (or are about to outgrow) the front position – or if you simply prefer a longer-lived bike seat, there are a couple of rear position bike seats that top the lists.
Topeak BabySeat II ~ $143
Age range: 9 months and up (seat weight limit: 48 lbs/rack weight limit: 55 lbs)
This seat is the one you’ll find at most bike shops in the U.S. Made for bikes without a rear rack, this well-liked seat has a wrap-around body, a rear reflector, a nice suspension system to isolate your kiddo from bumps, and a roll bar handle for better head security, which can also be used as a carrying handle.
I will say the installation of this seat took me the better part of an hour, and it’s not a seat you can easily switch from bike-to-bike. However, once installed, the mount rack allows for smooth mounting and removal via a slide lock, so I can easily remove the seat if I need to throw it into the car or onto my bike rack.
Both Lucie and Alice like riding in this seat and fight over it constantly. Lucie is four years old and will probably fit in it for another year or so (not much more). Alice is two and fits perfectly and I can easily adjust the footrest height depending on which child is using it. (Ages at time of publishing)
*Also available at local bike stores. Please support your local mom and pop stores!!
Yepp Maxi Easyfit (Rack-Mounted) ~ $158
Age range: 9 months to 6 years (or up to 48 lbs)
Yepp offers the Maxi Easyfit seat to mount on your rear rack, provided you already have one that is sturdy. This is a quality seat with a 5-point safety harness, a safety lock and soft shoulder pads, with easy installation and on/off.
Note that the seat can be mounted directly onto these bikes that come with the Easyfit “window.”
If you don’t have an Easyfit window on your bike (most do not), you can purchase the Easyfit carrier (for an additional ~$36).
Several bright colors to choose from.
Yepp Maxi (Frame-Mounted) ~ $174
Don’t have a rear rack? No problem. The Yepp Maxi is similar to the Yepp Maxi Easyfit, but meant for mounting on seat posts between 28-45 mm in diameter. The Yepp Maxi comes with a seat post adapter and, like the Easyfit, you can choose from many different colors.
Do make sure to check that your bike has 4.5” of seat tube to mount the seat on before buying!
This is the favorite among serious bikers.
What about helmets? Why, click here!
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