Baby Bike Seats: Buyer’s Guide & My Top 10 Picks for 2020
Choosing the right bike seat for your baby, toddler, or child is incredibly important. Given the vast array of bike seats available on the market, including various types made to accommodate both various bikes and various children, deciding what the best bike seat is for your little one can be a bit of an ordeal. Thankfully, we’ve created this simple buyer’s guide to help you sort through the madness.
Table of Contents
- How to Choose the Best Bike Seat for Your Baby
- Our List of The Top 10 Baby Bike Seats of 2020
- The Best Rear-Mounting Baby Bike Seats
- The Best Mid-Mounting Baby Bike Seats
- The Best Front-Mounting Baby Bike Seats
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To simplify the process, we’ll break it down into three steps. Firstly, you need to choose what type of bike seat will be the best for your child. This will depend on both size and age of your child, the type of bike you have, and your own personal level of comfort.
Secondly, you will need to check your bike for compatibility. Compatibility can be affected by all sorts of factors, and not all bike seats of a certain type will work on all bikes the same way. It’s best to never make generalizations when it comes to finalizing a purchase.
Lastly, you will need to narrow down compatible seats of your preferred type based on the unique features they offer. These unique features may all offer something different in terms of overall comfort, ease-of-use, and even safety.
How to Choose the Best Bike Seat for Your Baby
What Are the Three Types of Baby Bike Seats?
#1 Rear-Mounting Bike Seats
Rear-mounting seats are appropriate for children over the age of 1 year with a weight less than 48 pounds. They can mount either directly to the frame of a bike or onto a rack. While seats directly mounted to the frame of the bike are sturdier, some bikes do not allow direct installation and will force those wishing to use rear-mounting seats to use a rack.
Most rear-mounting seats offer a plethora of features, including the ability to recline, which work in tandem with the young age limit to make them great choices for babies. However, they do have some caveats. For instance, your baby will always be out of sight, which can be a nightmare for paranoid parents. As well, they make interaction and conversation a near-impossibility, leading to a decrease in overall time spent with your little one.
#2 Front-Mounting Bike Seats
Front-mounting seats are slightly less common than rear-mounting seats, but they can actually accommodate children of a slightly lower age. As compared to the 1 year minimum with rear-mounting seats, front-mounting seats tout a general minimum of only 9 months. However, this also means that front-mounting seats aren’t always so appropriate with older riders, with children generally outgrowing them by the age of 2, or by the time they reach 33 pounds.
#3 Mid-Mounting Bike Seats
Mid-mounting seats are only going to be of useful for those with toddlers and younger children, with the appropriate age range generally being considered 2-5 years old. The main selling point of mid-mounting seats is that they don’t impede the balance of the rider quite as much as the other types. Unlike the other two types of seats which feature oftentimes elaborate harnesses, mid-mounting seats generally have minimal safety features at all– typically just a pair of handlebars.
How Do I Know If My Bike Is Compatible?
Bike seats are notoriously difficult to work with for many parents, leading to rampant frustration and negative feedback over simple issues. In order to avoid this trouble, ensuring that your preferred seat is going to work beforehand is a must. Each type of seat has slightly different requirements.
Requirements for Rear-Mounting Seats
Rear-mounting seats will typically attach to the seat tube of your bike. In order for your bike to allow rear-mounting seats to be attached, your seat tube will have to be rounded and will have to have 4 to 6 inches of available space. As well, if your saddle is set too low, there won’t be any room to mount the seat.
If your bike does not allow for a rear-mounting seat to be attached to a frame, you may opt to use a rack. A rack will create a platform that will allow for a rear-mounting seat to be used and they are typically compatible with most bikes. However, racks come with there own complications and are not always ideal.
Requirements for Front-Mounting Seats
Many front-mounting seats will take up nearly a foot of room between the saddle and the stem of your bike. Depending on the length of the distance between your seat tube and your handlebars, a front-mounting seat may be an unwieldy prospect. Whether your bike can handle a front-mounting seat is oftentimes up to the comfort of you and your child.
Requirements for Mid-Mounting Seats
One of the selling points of mid-mounting seats are how easy they are to fit on most bikes. However, given their increased age minimum when compared to the other types, this ease-of-use isn’t going to help in many cases. There are both recreational and sport-type mid-mounting seats available, with the sportier variety being typically designed to take up even less room on your bike.
What Are Some Other Features to Consider?
There are a variety of other features to consider once you’ve determined the basic type of baby bike seat you would like to purchase. These include the types of harnesses available and the unique level of comfort offered.
Types of Harnesses
The two typical harness designs you will find on baby bike seats, and most other baby seats, are the 3-point harness and the 5-point harness. Both offer shoulders straps, with the difference between the two being a lack of waist straps. A good baby bike seat will have straps that can be adjusted as the child grows, allowing for a greater window of use for the bike seat.
Considerations for Comfort
There are some additional design features that are available to increase the comfort level of your baby as they ride along. Such considerations include helmet pockets, recessed areas that allow for the size of your little one’s helmet in the headrest, and bumpers, which are utilized to help prevent your baby’s fingers from being squished between the seat and an outside object.
Other things to consider when it comes to comfort are adjustable footrests and whether or not the seat you are eyeing can recline. On front and rear-mounting seats, footrests help protect your child’s legs from getting caught in the moving parts of your bike. For this reason, ensuring an appropriately-sized footrest is a must when determining your ideal baby bike seat.
Finally, reclinable seats will offer your baby an opportunity to rest on long rides. If you want your baby to truly enjoy the time you spend riding together, going all-out in allowing them the most comfortable experience possible should be seen as a necessity. Overall, safety and comfort are always going to be the main things to keep in mind when determining the best bike seat for you and your baby.
Our List of The Top 10 Baby Bike Seats of 2020
The Best Rear-Mounting Baby Bike Seats
The Best Mid-Mounting Baby Bike Seats
The Best Front-Mounting Baby Bike Seats
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