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Old 04-30-07, 10:14 AM   #1
TallRider
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baby seat the clamps onto stem or steerer tube - fine for 22.2mm quill?

A friend of mine is looking at a bike seat for his 1-year-old. This kind seats the baby in front of the rider, which has a number of advantages for center of gravity and visibility, and seems as if it would be fine in terms of mechanical forces. I think it's probably more ideal to clamp onto a steerer tube (it's probably designed for 28.6mm steerer tubes, the standard nowadays) but will also clamp to a quill stem.
It's the safe-T-seat made by iBert.

Any reason to worry about the mechanical safety of this device? I suspect it'll be fine, but wanted it run it by other mechanically-oriented folks, perhaps even one or two who've seen it.

Here's some pictures of the clamp design:



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Old 04-30-07, 10:34 AM   #2
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I think it's ok mechanically and I assume the manufacturer has a weight limit recommendation. I'd consider replacing an Al quill stem with a steel one and certainly would want a steel steerer for a threadless fork.

I have more concerns about having the baby in front of the rider. Sure, the baby's visibility (to the rider) is better but I don't think I'd want the baby to be the first thing that gets hit in an accident and having the adult rider thrown into the baby in a front end collision doesn't sound like a good thing either.

All of that extra weight on the front wheel can't do anything good for the steering. Remember the recommendation not to have a handlebar bag that weighs more than about 5 pounds because of the effect on steering? This rig surely far exceeds that.

Not my bike and not my child but I'd never get one if they were.
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Old 04-30-07, 12:22 PM   #3
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Yeah, some of my thoughts exactly. I didn't want to bias initial response to the thread. I'm not confident that it's very safe, though it may be just as much. Steering isn't likely to be thrown off unless you lean the bike a lot, but that's certainly possible in an almost-crash which would predispose it to be more likely to become a crash.

Matt's current stem is a forged-aluminum, and could be replaced with a steel quill. I think it'd probably be fine if clamped just above the headset locknut though. But maybe a rear-rack seat would be better?

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Old 04-30-07, 01:41 PM   #4
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I've seen a lot of baby-in-front seats in Europe, so I can't imagine there are many crash disadvantages. However, an extra 20-30 pounds levering on your fork and headset can't be a good thing. Is there a design that clamps to the toptube and seatpost?
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Old 04-30-07, 02:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by tellyho
I've seen a lot of baby-in-front seats in Europe, so I can't imagine there are many crash disadvantages. However, an extra 20-30 pounds levering on your fork and headset can't be a good thing. Is there a design that clamps to the toptube and seatpost?
Yep, I've got friends in the Netherlands who use a baby-in-front seat on a daily basis, they use their bikes for primary transportation so it's not just for occasional, casual bike path rides. Apparently, they've had no problems. That being said, I don't like this setup, it looks dicey to me.........We use a trailer, my two year old daughter loves it. Strictly for low speed, bikepath cruising, though, which I think is all that's approrpriate for this type of thing-

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Old 04-30-07, 02:59 PM   #6
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Also, it's worth noting that the seat here probably only works with flat-bars. My friend Matt has a road bike with drop bars, and it looks as if the kids' legs are supposed to go on either side of the stem, under the bars, which wouldn't work with drops.
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Old 04-30-07, 03:13 PM   #7
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I've found that if you have a 3rd waterbottle mount on the underside of the downtube, as many touring bikes do, it is excellent for mounting babies. It keeps the center of gravity low, and you can look down and check if the baby is still there. There is also the added benefit that debris thrown up by the front wheel is blocked and won't mar the paint on your nice frame.

(just kidding )

Slightly more seriously, though, i spent many hours as a baby and small child in a front mounted baby carrier.However, if i recall correctly it was mounted in front of the handlebars and much lower, on a front rack type of thing. This was probably better for stability but there was one nasty incident that i can just barely remember (must have been 2 years old or something) when i managed to get my leg stuck between one of the rack bars and the spokes, taking off the skin from my ankle. I still remember sitting on the ground screaming and seeing bits of my skin on all the spokes.

So in retrospect, not the greatest design, although perhaps with better leg guards it would be pretty good. This was in the early '80s, BTW. I'm sure a design that could allow such an injury today would never make it to market.

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Old 04-30-07, 03:33 PM   #8
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You notice in the picture that both the man's legs are pointed straight down. If he were pedaling you would see how awkward it is, since he would have to spread his knees out wide to clear the kid. I rode in a little wooden seat on the back rack of my mum's bike facing backwards, in the early 1940s. I remember my elder brother and sister running along the sidewalk behind me. In the 1970s I carried my duaghter on a seat on the rear rack - no problem except I forgot she was there when I dismounted and swung my leg into her and we both ended laying on the ground.
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Old 04-30-07, 06:10 PM   #9
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I can see the attraction for this type of child carrier in the Netherlands or some other countries where bicycles are used for a large range of utilitarian purposes. Having the child up front keeps the rear rack free for other uses like groceries, etc. I'm still not comfortable with the concept.
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Old 05-01-07, 07:16 AM   #10
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What kind of helmets are those? That baby looks like Magneto.

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Old 05-01-07, 07:36 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Turboem1
What kind of helmets are those? That baby looks like Magneto.
That's hilarious. Thanks for pointing it out - I'd not even noticed b/c was just looking for a good picture of the seat.
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