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What about rear-mounted child seat for bike?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm piggy-backing on the recent post about bike trailers.

I'd like to bike with my almost-2-yr-old dd. I've read some off-putting things about rear-mounted seats being unsafe, and we don't have space to store a trailer.

I ordered a front-mounted seat that looked really cool. But unfortunately it interferes with my pedaling and makes me ride "bow-legged." Riding with it for just 3 miles (WITHOUT dd in it) gave me sore knees and ankles for a week. I think it's a no-go.

So I'm back to the rear-mounted seat. I see lots of them in our neighborhood. I'd like to hear from people who use them - do you feel safe with them? Do your toddlers like them? Any pro or con testimonials?
post #2 of 22
I don't have one but BIL does. I tried it but didn't feel comfortable with it. The bike felt too top heavy, not a problem while riding, but felt too tippy while stopped and I felt like if it started to tip I might not be able to hold it up. BIL uses it with his son with no problems. I just wasn't comfortable with it and getting on and off the bike.

I like the fact that the bike trailer I have will stay upright even if the bike tips.

post #3 of 22
We have a rear bike seat, love it as does our todder. I see very few saftey hazards with them IMO. None of them being enought to keep me from enjoying a bike ride.

I think it is so nice to be able to interact with my child as we ride along about what we are seeing.

Trailers do bother me however for two main reasons. The first being all the dust kicked up by the bike tires the child get the honor of breathing. The second being if you ride along roads the child will be at the same level as exaust. Oops I am going off on a rant about trailers when you asked about bike seats.

What kind of a front bike seat do you have and on what type of a bike? We are thinking of getting a front mount so I can take both girls on rides. But that concerns me about you not being comfortable while riding.
post #4 of 22
Funny. I just looked at the trailer one because we bought a rear0mounted for our 26 mo. old., which he loves, but when we mentioned the trailer possibility to our ex-lawyer BIL, he said it's unsafe!

Anyway, we like the rear-mounted and so does our son. We got ours at a bike shop, called Co-pilot. My husband did the 'choosing' (let the salesman choose), and I think I would've explored the german-made one they had (eropean brands tend to be more safe, in my opinion, because Europeans tend to be more discriminating in their purchases, perhaps? or countries there are more controlling? I dunno ... ).

Anyway, we had some trouble installing it. My husband had put it on incorrectly, but once we put it ont eh right way, it was fine. Moves very little, etc. And of course my son wears the helmet.

we have a biker in our neighborhood --owns a bike touring company -- and he uses the bike seat with his li'l one, if that's of any help to you.

This one only is safe to 40 lbs ,though.

Oh. And it's my husband who's riding with him, and he's 230 lbs., so the top-heavy thing is a different issue for us, you know? He's tall and big and strong, so I'm not sure how I would feel with it, but they love it.
post #5 of 22
Hmmm.... I have to be the voice of dissent here. There's no way I'd use a rear-mounted seat for my kiddo. The top-heaviness is a big issue, but the bigger problem is that if you go over, so does your child. The advantage that bike trailers have is that they stay upright when the bike wrecks (unless, of course, the bike goes flying - but in your average, fall-over wreck or crash, your child will be safe). Then there's also the chance of your child's foot getting caught in the spokes (which happened to me when I was a child riding in one of those seats).

All of that said, none of this really matters if you're riding somewhere with heavy traffic. As an avid cyclist and a former bike messenger, I've personally been endangered by one too many idiot drivers to even consider taking my child anywhere near traffic (one of them actually t-boned me, broke my ankle, and sent me flying into his windshield). The majority of drivers just do not look out for bikes.

We ride on trails or sometimes around our neighborhood at times when there is very little traffic - that's it. This solves the 'exhaust' issue that someone else had mentioned. As for the dust - they're really not going to be sucking in any more dust than you are. And there is a screen to keep debris from flying into the trailer.

Just my two (or three or four ) cents.
post #6 of 22
We've been using our bike seat for about 3 months now, with my two-year-old daughter. We mainly went for the seat (instead of trailer) due to cost. Reading all the safety considerations of trailer vs. seat made my head spin. As I ride with her, she feels quite secure/safe to me. We bought a Topeak which has shock-absorbers for the big bumps and she really is enclosed on all sides in the seat (not the front, of course) and well strapped in. If the bike fell, she wouldn't fall out, though of course, who knows exactly what would happen. Ours does have nice stretchy, though secure, foot "harnesses" that keep the child's feet from the wheels. The only thing I've learned is that you can't stand up and pedal (like when going up a hill)--it's just too top-heavy and wobbly. Maybe you can test-ride a couple things and see what feels good and secure to you.
post #7 of 22
We have a rear-mounted bike seat that we bought when our oldest was 2, and he LOVED it!
We didn't have any safety problems with it, and are planning to use it with our youngest (20 months old now) this summer.
On another note...
Don't forget to buy your little one a well-fitting bike helmet.
post #8 of 22
I debated between the trailer and the seat and finally decided on the seat. I ride on the roads near our house (we live in the country) and on bike paths. Many of the roads around here don't have wide shoulders so I didn't want half a trailer hanging out in the road as cars were passing.

Cars don't look for bikes so they certainly aren't looking for trailers which are below their line of vision.

I have the CoPilot which I had installed by my bike shop for a small fee ($15). I hardly notice the extra weight and am able to stand and pedal going up hill with no trouble. I'm 5'4" and weigh about 150# (20 too much! ). DS is 12 months and weighs a little over 20#. I'm in decent shape from heavy gardening, but I'm not super buff or anything.

I don't do any stunt riding - actually I've never crashed as an adult - so the factors I considered where (1) DS' comfort/safety; (2) how I would be able to navigate around cars.

After reading the other posts, it sounds like 6 in one hand and half dozen in the other. Whatever works best for your family in terms of $$, storage, comfort and preference is the best choice for you!
post #9 of 22
We also have a rear-mounted seat, the topeak one someone mentioned above. DH (who's the SAH) is the one who uses it on his bike, and he is very comfortable with it. I have never seen DH fall, even during heavy-duty mountain-biking or bizarre road mishaps, so I guess I feel pretty safe about that issue. But if he were to tip over, I think DS would be scared but otherwise OK -- maybe a few scratches and bruises. The seat is well-protected, he's very strapped in (feet included, although he's been known to pull his feet out of those straps), and he wears a helmet. Plus, we don't go whizzing at 15-20 mph when DS is in the seat. In a car crash, I think I'd rather have DS in the seat than in a trailer. I don't know, I just have horrible thoughts about that one. Maybe they are unfounded.

The best thing about the seat is that DS loves it and loves interacting with the world in it. He's always pointing out the things we pass, and people engage with him. The worst thing is that if they're out on the bike alone they can't take too much with them because the only storage place is on DH's back, which is not the most comfortable way to ride (I swear when I ride with a backpack I move slower than when I put the bag on my wheel rack).
post #10 of 22
I have to agree w/ Dragonfly on this on. While I can'y speak from experience I have read lots of reports. DP and I are in the market for something to take DD on rides w/ us. At the bike shop the clerk told him the trailer was safest for a couple of reasons.
If the bike tips the trailer stays upright. Ijust kept thinking if a babe is up in the seat it's a long way down
The trailer has a frame around it protecteing the child in case if a crash

We would love to get on but are no sure if we have room. Unless we want to keep it locked behind our building but I'm not sure if that's a good idea.
post #11 of 22
We have a seat on the back. DD loves it. I got that because:

I grew up in holland and everyone has the kids on the bike (not in a trailer) so it seemed like the thing to do.

DD is only in it a little but I ride my bike to work and I can't imagine having to lug a heavy trailer for 8 miles so DD can spend a mile in it.

I don't ride on streets with heavy traffic. I could still get hit, but we could get hit walking too or a miriad of terrible things could happen. Maybe they will, but maybe they won't. I have decided to take my chances.

Now that we have it, the top heaviness doesn't bother me but I am really used to the concept of having other people on the bike with me (grew up with it) and my mom had both of us on the bike and I was 5-6 yo on the back, sister at 1-2 on the front. Plus I ahd my cousins on the bike with me growing up and my friends on the back when we were older.

That said I agree that the trailer is ultimately safer. I still have DD on the back with her little helmet on.
post #12 of 22
I started the thread on the bike trailers.

We are still confused as to which to use. The trailer seems like such a big investment for so little time to use. Unless we find one used...... Im leaning towards the seat myself, b/c someone gave us one.

Ive never been to keen on the trailers.....

but like you said, we'd be riding off road on bike trails anyways....so either would really be safe.
post #13 of 22
We have a rear mounted seat (Roemer Jockey) and we love it. Actually, I had to drop the bike today while my daughter was on the back and she was totally fine. Not only was she not injured at all, she was not scared or even startled. We live in a city and it’s great for getting around small streets and for parking. I had a front mounted seat in the beach town we lived in last and I didn’t really like it and I would never have used it in a city where you sometimes must make quick movements on the bike. I would consider a trailer if it was practical for us but it isn’t. If I were dwelling on the safety issue, I would also consider the time your child ISN’T in the car while you are using the bike as transportation.
post #14 of 22

front mounted seat

I haven't ridden a bike in years, but I recently saw a man with his child in a front mounted seat. The seat goes on the cross bar. I asked where he got it, and he said mail order from Canada. He likes it because he can talk with his daughter, and she has a good view. It looked to me to be more stable than a rear mounted seat.
post #15 of 22
julie128, I looked at the front mounted seats, too. On the ones I saw, the sides weren't "built up" like the rear mounted ones. It was more like a little seat on the handle bars. My CoPilot covers Henry on both sides all the way above his head. That way if I wiped out, he would hit the padded side of the seat instead of the pavement/grass/sidewalk. Because they aren't built up on the sides, I figured if I crashed, I would crash onto him. Crashing would be bad enough....having his too-large momma on top of him would just ruin his day.
post #16 of 22
when we just went to look for bike seats the store told us that a front mounted seat was very dangerous because if you get in an accident, you will most likely be propelled forward. This would mean that you would crash right into your little one. He said that those seats were taken off the market for awhile and he won't sell them because they are very unsafe. We ended up opting for the topeak seat and are very happy with it.
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 

Conversion experience

Well, I decided that before going to the trouble of sending my Centric-Safe Haven front-mounted child seat back to the distributor, I would give it a few more test miles. And I'm converted: dd and I love it! It is actually more comfortable to ride with her in it than with it empty. Also I switched shoes so the bow-legged position isn't so hard on the knees and ankles.

I would not take it on a busy road and I haven't hill-tested it yet (but dd gets excited about even minor inclines, so rolling hills may be in our future!) It's perfect for cruising around the neighborhood and the park... we talk and sing and look at things.
post #18 of 22
Hi there!

I have a question about the Centric-Safe Haven bike seat...are you average height? I'm pretty short and the bike shop guy seemed to think that a front mounted seat wouldn't work for me because it would interfere too much with my pedaling. You said you had to do it a little bit bow-legged. Is that uncomfortable? I'd love to hear what you think.

post #19 of 22
my front mounted seat wasn't comfortable for me, with my bike.. but my dh put it on his bike, which has a bigger frame.. and he's fine with it.
as far as saftey.. I can see where it could be unsafe.. but my feeling is that you need to weigh all the risks and decide whats right for you.... when you have a child on your bike.. you tend to be more cautious .. I feel safe with ds on the bike with dh.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
In response to Katie1108's question...

I am pretty tall (5'10") and I thought that was why the Centric-Safe Haven seat was initially awkward for me - though the awkwardness has turned out to be quite manageable. I was thinking that if I had shorter legs they wouldn't get in the way! (But I don't know if that is anatomically sound).

I think the most important thing is to put the seat on a bike that fits you well, so you're not having to reach or stretch or otherwise unbalance yourself while riding, turning, or stopping. I don't find the seat itself destabilizing.

Our recent outing was a 10-12 mile ride on flat trails, and the "bicycle built for two" was totally comfortable for both of us. The seat even has a headrest for when DD got tired (you can see it in the pictures on their website); that was very sweet.
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