Bicycle Network: Bikes 'n' Bits
Kiddie carriers - seats
Ride On magazine's Gear Guru Rene Bueman investigates child seats for front and back and child trailers.
How about celebrating Junior's first birthday with your first ride together? Equipped with a child seat or trailer and once your little one is strong enough, your bike becomes again a healthy, convenient option for local trips. Ride On tested nine child seats and four trailers so you can know which family transport option suits you best.
Children can be carried on a bike or in a trailer from the time they can sit up by themselves (approximately nine to 12 months) until they are between four and six years of age, depending on the child's weight and the carrying capacity of the seat of the trailer.
Child seats are the less-expensive option compared to a trailer. Rear seats require a rack (often included if you don't have one already) and are relatively easy to fit. Disc-brake fitted bikes usually require a dedicated fitting but they are commonly available. Front seats are less common and have various attachments systems but are still quite easy to install.
Carrying your young one in a child seat keeps them close and makes talking and interaction easy. Getting them in the seat can be tricky – as can mounting yourself – and there is the danger of falling over with the child in the seat. Imagine juggling a helmet, a nappy bag, a two-year-old and a bike. Don't worry – people have been using child seats for decades now – you just have to be careful.
Child seats affect the balance of a bike and riding can be a meandering experience when a child plays wobblies. Front-mounted seats have better dynamics but still have an effect. Bear in mind that kids in front can wave their hands in front of your face. Kids swinging about in a seat – and simply the extra weight – also places stress on your bike, particularly at the point of attachment.
A benefit of a child seat over a trailer is that while a seat makes your bike a bit bigger it isn't another object to park somewhere.
What about a trailer instead?
More about the options for babies on board
This category is very even but the Hamax and the Bobike stand out because of their good all-round construction, function and appearance. If I were to pick a winner it would be the Hamax because the Bobike has less adaptability to the majority of frames.
|Model||Price||Min and max limits||Carrier rack required?||Removable?|| Rating out of 5
|OKBaby Ergon||$179.95||9 months–6 years or 9–22kg||No||Yes, quick-release seat||3|
|Hamax Plus by Cykla www.cykla.com.au||$270||9 months–6 years or 9–22kg||Yes, included in price. Rack is compatible with Hamax rear basket and pannier||Yes, quick release of pannier and seat or seat alone, no tools needed||3.5|
|Topeak Baby Seat by Cassons www.cassons.com.au|| $175
($199.95 for disc-brake version)
|1–4 years or 9–18kg||Yes, included in price||Yes, quick-release seat, no tools needed. The rack needs tools and removal is not recommended.||3|
|Beto Child Seat by Bike Corp www.bicorp.com.au||$119||1–4 years or 9–18kg||Yes, included in price||Yes, spanner needed||3|
|Repco Child Carrier Seat by Sheppard Cycles||$110||At least 1 year and no more than 22kg||Yes, included in price||Yes, no tools needed||3|
Bobike Maxi + by Gazelle
|$249||9 months–6 years or 9–22kg||No includes a MTB Bracket to fit most bikes on the market.||Yes, can also be padlocked for security||3.5|
The Bobike Mini Plus is by far the best seat in this category but all three seats have very limited adaptability to most bikes in the Australian market.
||Min and max limits
||Features||Demountable?||Rating out of 5
| WeeRide Kangaroo Centre-Mounted
Bicycle Child Carrier by WeeRide www.weeride.com.au
|$169.95 (or Deluxe Limited Edition version with more padding $199.95)||approx. 9 months to 4 and a half years, and no more than 18kg||25mm of steering tube above the top tube or a thick quill headset|| • 5-point safety harness
• 10 foot positions
• Fore/aft adjustment
|Yes, seat comes off carrier easily but you need a spanner to remove carrier.||2.5|
Safe-T-Seat by PlusConcept www.ibertoz.plusconcept.biz
|$149||1 year and no more than 17kg||Approx 30mm diameter A-head or similar quill||• 3-point safety harness||Yes, remove a circlip and pin and then the seat.||1.5|
Bobike Mini Plus by Gazelle
|$199||9 months–3 years or
|includes a MTB Bracket to fit bikes without Quill stems||• 3-point safety harness with buckle
• Adjustable foot supports
• Can attach an optional windshield
|Yes, easy to grab and pull a large circlip, no tools needed||3.5|
*Gazelle the importers of Bobike want to let riders know that a new product is now availiable; the BoBike Junior; this is a new seat on the market and can seat children 5-10 years of age and from 20 to 35 KG! This seat is more like a rear bench seat and retails for $249.