The old days of an uncomfortable plastic shell stuck to the back of your bike are long gone and the selection of a bike seat for your precious cargo can be a daunting task. So we thought we would give you a few tips to help you with your decision.
FRONT, REAR or CENTRE!
Up until the turn of the century your option was simple, a rear seat. But nowadays front seats are becoming much more popular. Below we break down the benefits of each type of seat and give you some good examples to look at.
BEFORE WE START
But before we get into any of the detail, let’s start with the first question you should ask when buying any seat. “Does it meet the Safety Standards?”. Though standards vary from the EU to the US to Australia, they will all be pretty similar.
They have to be, as at the end of the day the priority is to keep your most precious gift completely safe. If any company says “the standard isn’t relevant to our seat”, or, “our seat in unique so the standards aren’t applicable”, or “ we meet some of the standards”, then there are your red flags.
All child bike seats fit into a section of the standards. With online shopping becoming more popular the checks the bricks and mortar stores may have made in the past might not be there. So ask the question to the retailer or the manufacturer.
The traditional rear seat controlled this market up until around 10 years ago. The bulky seat was an easy option that fitted to most bikes and would last your child up until aged 6 in some cases.
Nowadays there are some very sophisticated models with the child’s comfort a priority with recliners and plush cushioning. Most of the major seat manufacturers will have rear seats in their range and the pick of the bunch are:
Benefits: You can use upto the age of 5/6, seats can be reclined, extremely comfortable.
Disadvantages: Child looks at your back, cant be used until at least 1, destabilised the bike with weigh all on the back, cannot communicate with child or deal with any issues.
FRONT / CENTRE SEATS Still seen as a new concept, they actually started around 20 years ago by Weeride, but now most major manufacturers produce a front seat.
The seats visually look very different to rear seats as much smaller and have lower backs. This is because the rider is behind you and the smaller seat means less interference with the rider.
In Europe front seats sell more than rear seats and are the fastest growing style. Good examples are:
Benefits: Your child sees what you see and you can communicate with them, can be used at an earlier age than a rear seat because they are infront of you,
Disadvantages – smaller than rear seats, can affect riding style as seat is in front of you, if they attach to the handlebars the weight is put on the front of your bike.
There is one CENTRE SEAT – and that is the WeeRide. This has all the benefits of front seats but the additional benefit of centralising the child’s weight and therefore making the bike more stable.
FOR OLDER KIDS
Once your child is over 4 your options for child seats are limited. You can still get some use out of a rear seat but the front seat will be too small in most cases.
You can use one of the new style of seats appearing on the market such as Kids Ride Shotgun or Mac Ride. But as these seats have no protection or restraints we cannot recommend them and they do not meet any safety standards.
Your other option is to use a tagalong or trailer Tag-Alongs – WeeRide Australia
Whatever seat you buy you will be benefiting of being out in the fresh air an exercising whilst also enjoying quality time with your child. The seat you choose must meet Safety Standards for your peace of mind and knowing that the seat has been tested to strict standards.
Then you need to weigh up the size of your child, riding style, design of bike and the fun and comfort aspects of the seat before making your decision. Stick with one of the major manufacturers for peace of mind: WeeRide, Polisport, Thule, Hamax.