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Looking for a bit of advice +/- some recommendations on a rear child seat for my bike.

I am after a rear seat as I have an a-headset which from my reading limits options of front mounted seats, and also quite a bit of saddle-bar drop so think my knees would be obstructed. My commute bike is a Kinesis Pro6 (63 cm) which has rack mounts so I can do either the Hamax style frame mounting or a rack mounted option. Currently leaning toward a frame mounted as I currently only have quite a lightweight rack which I got from a bike jumble and don't know the weight rating for, and also because both the bottom and top end price range seats (Avenir and Hamax) seem to be frame mounted. Alternatively some middle of the range ones from Bobike which can be rack mounted are available online, although I have seen the quick mount system on those criticised. Any reason to prefer one system to the other? I know the frame mounted ones are supposed to be a less harsh ride, but I am not really planning to go far at all and may actually wheel the bike the 15 mins walk to the child minder's house and then ride to work from there, which is the primary reason for getting the seat.

Also although I have done a bit of reading on the seats, I am unsure as to how you go about getting the kid into the seat - do you just lean the bike against a wall or something and get the kid on the back with the seat already in place, or do you put the kid in the seat and then attach it to the bike? Would guess either of these is a bit of a rigmarole, so would I also be advised to get a kick stand?
I also keep the bike in an Asgard shed which I am pretty much doesn't have enough height to be able to close the lid with the seat attached to the bike and I might need to remove it each evening, so would that make a difference to anyone's recommendations?

Thanks in advance, any other nuggets of wisdom greatfully received.
 

12 comments

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Johnnyvee [150 posts] 1 year ago
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We went for a wee ride which although mid mounted was great as our little ones felt safe and secure. You could also get on the bike first and then lift them up into place. It does mean that you pedal a bit wide kneed but once off (could leave at childminders) there's just an additional cross bar type thing in place.
I wouldn't suggest you put your child on a bike when it's propped up. If it falls over....

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DoctorFish [150 posts] 1 year ago
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When our child was younger I used a trailer.  She loved it, and to me it felt a whole lot safer than trying to get a child in a childseat and then having to keep the bike supported the whole time.  No way would I trust a kick stand for that, and I don't think I'd trust leaning it against a wall either.

I'm sure accidents with childseats are rare, or we would be hearing about the accidents.  I just couldn't really work out how to use one safely and have the bike supported the whole time.

 

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rnick [145 posts] 1 year ago
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Used a Hamax with an mtb for both my kids, they loved it. Loading the little wrigglers on can be fun, a wall is helpful to lean against. Look out for foot straps as spokes and little feet are not a good combo. Fitting a rear light might involve a bit of drilling and a few strips of reflective tape are a plan. You'll be surprised how far off road you can get, we managed most blue trails at local trail centres. On road it's harder work, but not an issue. Budget for decent waterproofs, fleece suit, gloves, boots and a Helmet, otherwise they get cold and grumpy. Accidents - well apart from cars, steep hills can hard work going up as the front wheel lifts, if the kids are heavier this can be noticeable. When they nod off they can lean out a bit, so give hard objects a bit of a wider berth. I used the seat until they were about 3...then balance bikes after that.

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turboprannet [303 posts] 1 year ago
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I use a Hamax Caress and I've mounted it higher up than usual so I can still use the seat tube water bottle.

As rnick says you need to use walls tactically to get them in but it's fine once you get going. Would recommend!

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rdmp2 [59 posts] 1 year ago
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I have the Topeak babyseat II- rack mounted. Sounded  ideal as clicks in and out in 2 secs tool free and leaves no visible trace when removed. However littlun finds it quite a harsh ride (do the frame mounted ones have some flex in the stays?) and had to switch to bigger tyres to soften it.  Happier with it now

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Al__S [1295 posts] 1 year ago
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Whatever you get, please don't use a rucsack! I see so many kids having a throughly miserable time on rear seats because their parent has a bag on their back

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ClubSmed [734 posts] 1 year ago
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what age is the child that will be using the seat? For under 4 years I preferred the top tube mounted solution from "Oxford" as it's inobtrusive and I can see my child. When able to balance on a bike themselves (5+) I moved to a home made solution of cheap saddle fixed to my pannier rack with foot rests (like these http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/152468430907) and adapted a two bottle sale mount (like this http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/152199382365 with added grips). This works very well for our use which is less than a mile and avoids roads and does not make a difference for the rest of my commute.

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gonedownhill [207 posts] 1 year ago
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Thanks for help everyone!

I should have made it clear that leaving stuff at the childminder's house isn't an option, especially a trailer, as I am only doing the drop off in the morning and not picking her up in the afternoon. My partner will be walking home with my daughter so I am not sure she would be thrilled with the prospect of dragging a trailer home without a bike to pull it. 

My daughter is going to be 11 months when I start this routine so is small enough to go up front, however I don't think the top tube mounted ones are an option for two reasons - one is that I am 6'6" and have quite a bit of seatpost showing even on my 63cm frame so there is quite a lot of knee action above the top tube. The other is that the top tube is shaped so that it is flat on the underside for shouldering so not sure it would take the clamp. There are also cables routed along it which may be an issue. I know there are stem options but again think those are mostly incompatible with A-headsets.

 

So sounds like Hamax owners leave it mounted.

 

rdmp2 - do you put your child into the seat and then click it into the frame? And what tyres are you running? I run 32mm at the moment with pressure ranging from 30-80psi, dependent on how much time elapses between me being bothered to reinflate them.

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LastBoyScout [491 posts] 1 year ago
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I have a Hamax Siesta (cheapest in Decathlon last I looked, but usually 1/2 price in Halfords - also try eBay for local bargains) on my hybrid (700x28c tyres) and that's been great. Put seat on bike first and then kiddie in seat last thing before setting off. Leaning bike against a wall or fence is best, or seat against a post - use foot under wheel to stop bike moving. Just beware that the bike can fall over backwards as well as sideways - don't need to lift the front wheel much to feel how light it becomes! Comes with a lockable bracket, so you can leave the seat in place - run a cable through it for extra peace of mind.

I'm aware of the bracket around my knees, but don't actually hit it - on a 63cm frame, you shouldn't have any problems positioning it to avoid banging it.

Depending on size of kiddie and how far forward you have your saddle, you can get away with a small rucksack - I do the swimming lesson run with a wide rucksack packed as flat as possible.

My wife has a WeeRide on her mountain bike. It's not as bad to ride as I expected and, being more "balanced", than mine, it's easier to get nipper on the bike without a wall to lean the bike against - you can straddle bike and then pick up kiddie and put them in (if they haven't run off!). The downside to them is with bigger children - partly you'll be leaning on them (especially on drop bars - you might need to fit CX extra brakes so you can ride on the tops) and partly they might be a bit crunched up in the leg depending on which forks you have - the foot rests can foul the fork tops. Other problem with a WeeRide is mounting the headset clamp - wife's bike has a tapered headtube and over-tightening the clamp squeezes it up off the top. You'll also need an aluminium seat post, NOT a carbon one. Doesn't touch the top tube, so no issues with your cables.

If you're going to drop kiddie off and then carry on to work, you also can't stand up and pedal with a WeeRide - at least, not easily, but I've only tried it on wife's bike, which is quite small. If I were you, I'd go for the Hamax.

Edit - brain has caught up and you almost certainly won't be able to use a Wee Ride with drop bars, as you'll have very limited room to turn the bars before the drops hit the foot rests.

The other one I looked at was this one: http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/ok-baby-orion-front-seat-p343622

Very clever headset clamp, but won't fit all bikes, as needs a bit of a gap at the top and bottom of the headtube to get the U-bolts round and won't work with drop bars, so it's out for you.

I've also seen a chap cycling around near me with a child carrier on his back, although never actually with a child in it. Not sure I'd recommend that on the bike, but at least you could walk to child minders with kiddie in that, leave it there and your wife could carry it home.

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rdmp2 [59 posts] 1 year ago
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gonedownhill wrote:

rdmp2 - do you put your child into the seat and then click it into the frame? And what tyres are you running? I run 32mm at the moment with pressure ranging from 30-80psi, dependent on how much time elapses between me being bothered to reinflate them.

 

Its a 2 second job to attach the seat (hook front lip over front of rack then slide in rear locking plate) but it would be awkward with kiddie in situ. As others have said best to prop bike up with seat on then lift child in. Ease of mounting/removing the seat is the best thing about it, although being rack mounted might lead to a harsher ride.

I had 28mm tyres at 85 psi- fine for tarmac but not happy on rough surfaces (eg towpath). Now on 35mm at 45-50 psi and much better. Seat has suspension built in, but does bugger all- I think child weight (8.5 kg) is currently insufficient for it tp take effect.

Couple of minor points. 1- check your chainstays are decent length- the seat is quite close behind me (if I shuffle back on the saddle I can feel the grab bar) and as its position is determined by rack mounting points  it can't be moved further back. 2- rather than have separate shoulder straps that both clip into the buckle between their legs, its a single v (or y) shaped strap going over both shoulders. Means you have to lengthen it to get it over the head, then re-tighten.  Minor points.

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ClubSmed [734 posts] 1 year ago
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gonedownhill wrote:

Thanks for help everyone!

I should have made it clear that leaving stuff at the childminder's house isn't an option, especially a trailer, as I am only doing the drop off in the morning and not picking her up in the afternoon. My partner will be walking home with my daughter so I am not sure she would be thrilled with the prospect of dragging a trailer home without a bike to pull it. 

Have you considered the trailer/pushchair combi solutions like this?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/?iid=321791718296

That way you could tow it on the way there, leave it, and your wife could push it on the way home.

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newtonk [44 posts] 1 year ago
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I use a c£40 Hamax frame mounted one.  Takes 2 seconds to put on/off and only the mount remains on the frame.  The ride is not harsh at all and mini-me loves going over speed bumps in it as he gets a good bounce on!

I use a rucksack as well, and it's not in his face at all - I guess it mostly depends on your position on the bike - I'm on a hybrid but definitely not bolt upright.

As for mounting, lean against wall, attach child, away you go!  It really is easy once you (and they) get used to it.