child seat for bike

so i reckon it's about time i got out on the bike with the little one now and again.

any recommendations for a child seat that can be easily attached to an mtb and to a road bike?

also any feedback/experience of riding on road and off road with a child attached to your bike?



  • I had a Copilot Limo a few years ago.  Not cheap but the price includes a Blackburn rack to mount it on.  A bit restrictive if you want to use it on more than one bike unless you get a second rack.  It goes on the bike easily enough but it's a bit off a faff getting everything strapped in. I suspect they're all like that given you don't want little feet waving around near the spokes.

    Didn't really like riding with it though.  Having junior on the back made a bike difference to the centre of gravity and made handling interesting, made all the more fun by the knowledge that I really didn't want to come off!   I suspect a trailer would have been a better option, although I don't know what they're like off road.

  • I don't like the idea of child seats on bikes. It's bad enough ensuring your own safety from others road users or from just falling off. I think they should be banned. Would you walk amoungst traffic pushing them in a pram!

  • JD - I wouldn't put one on a road bike personally because I use my road bike for faster cycling than my MTB and same reasons Smithy said

    I've cycled lots with them on MTB and used them on the cross bar, on the rear pannier and as a trailor. Not naming makes, because mine are all old now.

    The cross bar was my favourite for a young child.  like this  LBS shop sold me a child's saddle that attached to horiz tube with just bar pedals for the feet. Started using it with a 2-3yr old but only away from traffic and she was a sensible child!. The reason I liked it was their weight was close to mine, we could talk ( I could say 'hold on' over bumps) and with her between my arms I could protect/lift off if we had an accident. We did come off and I did lift her and land her safely away from the bike a couple of times. Mine didn't have the chest strap.     Not sure if you can still get these - they weren't widely advertised and I know there are issues over safety. I liked it though. Depends what sort of cycling you're planning

    The rear pannier types are bulky and weighty and I felt it made the bike unsafe. On hills I could do a wheelie just because of pedalling with all that weight at the back. The front wheel lifted too much for me to think it was a stable cycling set up. It was however a safe cradle and a very young child would be secured.    

    Trailor bikes are better for older children but I have stopped using mine because of the safety issue. It's a bit like a wagging tail and I think you need to be quite a strong cyclist to do hills with it but it really is great training on them. Some cars were fab giving it a wide berth but we did have one car pull level with us and the wife hurled abuse at me for being on the road and drove beside me for some time doing so..... she did her job. I haven't taken it on the road since.

  • We got a 'quick fit' reclining rear seat for my old MTB that's been around Richmond Park and other nearby parks/trails, with a bit of back streets/roads to get there. Not as comfy/padded as some models, but both kids have loved it, although I agree with KP's point about the cross bar seats for talking with and protecting smaller kids.

    Deffo a more cautious rider than when on my commute/race bikes without the precious cargo. The weight over the back wheel, and I suspect the flexible metal in the mounting bracket, means Nick has to sit still or risk spilling both of us. Never a problem with Jacq, she just sat still and enjoyed the ride.

    Trailers seems OK on wider/flatter paths, but be no good for me around here where bike paths or side streets have chicanes of barriers to stop people riding through. Be great on the cycle paths in France, but scare me sh1tless towing one on a UK road.
  • Oh those things are so scary, JD. image

    I know several parents who have used them...once or twice. They've said the stress of each journey just wasn't worth it - interesting to hear Kanga's response to Angry Woman, because he's certainly not alone.

    Yes, of COURSE car drivers should be safe, and patient, and courteous and competent and all those other things - but it only takes one who isn't...

  • I used a pannier rear rack type when Jack was small on the MTB on country roads and yes the extra weight does make handling an issue ,(though less so for you and I JD than some of the atherletes among us!), I found we got a lot of room on the road and I never felt that scared for us.

    Lulu kicked off and wouldnt go in it though ! 

    They both loved being carted about in the trailer and on paths/ trails  etc it was a good workout but I never really liked it that much on the road. 

    You need to go to an LBS and try a couple of options out see what works for you and the nipper..

  • Must admit I don't like the look of child seats where the kid is up quite high behind the rider and if you do fall it seems their head is going to be the first point of impact - especially if they are strapped in - not sure if you do strap kids into a bike seat ?   If I was going to use a child seat it would have to be in front of me where I could at least try and shield their head if we fell.    

     I did have a trailer but couldn't get used to using it on the road - was always too worried and it was quite big to take to trails so sold the thing.   Also they aren't actually getting any exercise in a trailer or child seat  - better all round just to take them for a walk.    I think I would use a tag along but as my youngest are now 8 the time has probably passed to make it worth getting one.    

  • Jj wrote (see)
    Oh those things are so scary, JD. image I know several parents who have used them...once or twice. They've said the stress of each journey just wasn't worth it - interesting to hear Kanga's response to Angry Woman, because he's certainly not alone. Yes, of COURSE car drivers should be safe, and patient, and courteous and competent and all those other things - but it only takes one who isn't...

    did kanga have a run in with Angry Woman then?

    thanks everyone for your replies.  i do wonder about the safety.  cars on the road would worry me alot.  off road i'd just be worried about crashing given how rutted teh trails are around here.  perhaps i should just stick to going for walks with her in the child backpack carrier for now.  i take her out for little walks too of course so she gets fresh air and hopefully a love of the countryside.  but they're only little walks at the moment.

  • I use one where they are strapped to the back, very sturdy etc.  I do think it makes the bike unstable, and hard work when going up a hill!!  It is a great work out though.  I tend to go along a tow path or country lanes rather than busy roads.  Luckily my oldest is starting to ride now so we will not be needing the seat for much longer.

  • sorry, not Kanga - Kinky Pig. I didn't look high enough when I was checking.
  • Rear mounted ones - larger child having a temper tantrum and you'll come off.

     Notwithstanding that excellent for carrying shopping image

  • KeirKeir ✭✭✭

    I bought a basic one from Argos for around £30 and is fine on the ountain bike. I wouldn't put it on my Carbon Giant though! I was so pleased I bought another for the tandem and have picked up a third from freeads for £5.50. All the same model. You can remove the seat easily and use the same seats on different bikes, but changing the attachment bracket remains on the bike and is too much hassle to keep moving between bikes.

    I put my son on the back in the seat 1 week before he was one yr old for a 12M ride and he was fine. The seats are quite high to offer a bit of protection in the case of a fall. We live in a rural spot and I ride very gently with him there. However the favourite is along wood paths. I admit that I occasionally forget he is there and release the brakes a bit on a descent, but he soon reminds me by a 'Too fast daddy' and he has learnt to pull my hair!

    The sit in the middle seats / cross bar seats are no use until the child is older.

    I wouldn't cycle on a busy A road nor in a city with my child on such a seat, but I think the enjoyment we have as a family all going out on the bikes is so good I think introducing him to the outside world and to exercise is great. Roll on spring.

  • I have a co-pliot limo, its great because it reclines, it has a cross bar type thing to make it safer too.  I am only 5' 2" and could cycle ok with a three yr old on the back.  

    We have now upgraded to a tag-along bike which is great for the school run.  We just ride up on one massive wide paveement by the main road and then I walk towing it for the last section of mad busy just-by-school-road.

    But in answer to your question, I never felt safe with the baby seat on the back, but that was because I wasn't a massively experienced rider. However, if I were to go out again with a baby on the back I wouldnt put them in anything other than a co-pilot

  • Another vote for the Limo.  Bike seats are fine as long as you are a reasonably strong (and confident) cyclist.  You get used to the higher centre of gravity and adjust your riding to suit.

    When we got the Limo, it was the only crash-tested seat on the market.  I'm also ashamed to say, we've tested that on a couple of occasions and each time, the little 'un has come away without a scratch.  Friends of ours bought a cheaper one which had no side protection for the kid, had a crash and their boy got quite badly hurt.  Well worth spending the money on a well tested seat.

    We used a trailer whilst in France - the kids loved it and it was very easy to use, but with it being so low and wide, we stuck to cycle paths as it felt like a liability in traffic (even with the little flag sticking out the back!).

    We now also have a tow-along for the big Wickette.  They do need to be older to use it as you have to trust them to hang on, but they are great both on and off road (on road we just cover her in hi-viz clothing).  Not had any problems with that - had nothing but 'reasonably' good experiences with cars (but it only takes one idiot....!).  If you go down that route, I'd recommend a proper 'single wheel' tow along - the sort that hitches up like trailer.  We had a Trail-gator for a while (a bar that fixes between the two bikes, lifting their front wheel off the ground and locking bars in place).  It was the most scary, unsteady thing I've ever used and regularly failed, spilling the Wickette off to the side.  Absolute rubbish and bloody dangerous!

    To be clear though, this is for you to take the little 'un out, right JD - not the other way around, 'cos that could be a few years off yet.... image

  • Jj wrote (see)
    sorry, not Kanga - Kinky Pig. I didn't look high enough when I was checking.
    Sorright Jj, been called worse than a Kinky Pig before ... if that cap fits and all that image
  • thanks for the advice.  i still can't decide whether to risk it on the road or trails or not.  i guess i've never felt in danger out there on the roads. 
  • anyone ever tried these loct seats?  it's a seat over the top tube thing.  would only be using it off road for short rides i guess.

    bit on the expensive side although i guess it can be resold one day at much the same price it was bought for.

  • /members/images/478752/Gallery/31724_395669495687_525580687_4073750_786416_n.jpg

    At Halfords in Amsterdam... but then ... cycling is a tad safer over here... 

  • I am in the market for a nice trailer if anyone knows of one going.....

    I have my eyes like a hawk over the usual suspects ebay and the cycle small ads, but you never know......

    JD have a look at the Taga bikes.

    They convert from a stroller/pushchair into a bike image

  • I have a trailer and a hamax rear mount seat.

    We switch dependant on weather, speed needed, other equipment required etc.

    The trailer is awesome - it takes a little getting used to at first but can carry either one or two kids and luggage (e.g. swimming kit). I have no qualms riding it on the road with children in it. It is visible and they could as easily get hurt in so many other ways.

    The big plus about the trailer is they stay dry if it rains. As they aren't genreating heat (peddalling) it can be a cold spot on the back of the bike in the winter, in the wet, at 15mph, with wet hiar from swimming.

    I would have preferred a Co-Pilot Limo but the Hamax was offered to me for £15. The Hamax is a bit bouncy and on bumpy trails my daughter isn't keen on it - but it is fine on roads. She has ridden in a Co-Pilot and as they are rack mounted they don't bounce.

    I can use both the seat and the trailer at the same time so I could manage three kids. I wondered about a tag-a-long in the middle but think I would want to change the pull bike to a tandem for extra power.image


  • I know someone with a thorn childback who has one pedalling, one on a  car seat and then tows a trailer too....


    this is what they travel with....


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