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Thread: ibert

  1. #1
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    ibert

    In my particular "set", I am known as the 'bike maven.' People come to me with all sorts of questions about cycling.

    Now, I have never cycled with babies or small children; I know that there are lots of different options available. Seats that mount behind the saddle. Seats that mount on the front rack. Seats that mount on the top tube. Trailers that hitch to the seatpost. Trailers that hitch to the rear wheel. Specialized machines of different types. People have very strong opinons about which is best.

    Someone sent me this: http://www.ibertinc.com/.

    What do you think? I'm not sure why, but there seems somethng wrong about the adult's position. I can't put my finger on it, but it just doesn't look right.

    Of course, I may be wrong. Has anyone used this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elkhound View Post
    Has anyone used this?
    I have not used this, but I ran into someone at a local park who brought his kid in one. He told me he liked it. The kid seemed happy.

    I use an old Burley trailer, which works good except when the kids get into 'Daddy! Lizzie won't share!' kind of stuff.

  3. #3
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    I see these all around Portland. Haven't heard of anyone having a problem with them. People say it's more stable to have the kids in the front.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  4. #4
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    From a safety standpoint -

    1. The child is at the front of the bicycle, and high above the center of gravity. Should a sudden stop occur, the mass of the child will cause the bike to tip forward over the front axle. Not only will the child be the first absorber of all impact, but the mass of the rider will then crush the child against any obstacle in the way. This isn't rocket science - just basic physics.

    2. The mass of the child on the handlebars will cause "heavy" steering. Once the handlebars are turned in one direction and the gyroscopic stability of the front wheel is beyond the tipping point, the bike will want to continue turning in the direction that it is going. VERY strong muscles may be required to straighten out the bike before it falls. Again, this is just basic physics.

    3. The safest location for a child is in a stable trailer behind the bike that will remain upright even if the bike is laid down.

    I wouldn't put my child in a contraption like the one shown.

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    I have one, and it works great. It feels much more stable than the seats on the back of the bike. I haven't experienced any difficulty in stopping or turning. I really hardly notice that the seat is on there. It is so much fun to ride with your little one up front where you can see them (and they have a great view), and talk to them. The only downsides, in my opinion, are the relatively low weight limit (I think it's 32 pounds?) and the fact that the seat doesn't offer much support if your little one falls asleep.

    It works especially well with more upright bicycles (like the Electra Townie, which also can't take a rear seat, making this one of the only options for a child seat on that bike). Some people may have trouble with their knees hitting the seat. It seems to depend on the rider's dimensions and the bicycle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon View Post
    From a safety standpoint -

    I wouldn't put my child in a contraption like the one shown.
    Thank you, FarHorizon; you've articulated my concerns quite well.

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    I love mine.
    I feel more comfortable with him between my arms as opposed to behind me and he could not be happier in it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon View Post
    1. The child is at the front of the bicycle, and high above the center of gravity. Should a sudden stop occur, the mass of the child will cause the bike to tip forward over the front axle. Not only will the child be the first absorber of all impact, but the mass of the rider will then crush the child against any obstacle in the way. This isn't rocket science - just basic physics.

    2. The mass of the child on the handlebars will cause "heavy" steering. Once the handlebars are turned in one direction and the gyroscopic stability of the front wheel is beyond the tipping point, the bike will want to continue turning in the direction that it is going. VERY strong muscles may be required to straighten out the bike before it falls. Again, this is just basic physics.

    3. The safest location for a child is in a stable trailer behind the bike that will remain upright even if the bike is laid down.

    I wouldn't put my child in a contraption like the one shown.
    1. The extra weight will make it easier to "endo" but not make it inevitable. I find that trailers are much more dangerous in this respect. They have caused me to near endo/jackknife a number of times, where the ibert would not have caused that type of behavior. It is unlikely that the rider would "crush" the baby. Watch a couple of endo movies on youtube or elsewhere to see what I mean. Bike and rider are usually separated during the crash. If struck, the legs of the rider most likely would hit the baby but the majority of the riders weight strikes forward of where the baby would be. The childs torso is behind the bars. The bars will likely strike first then maybe roll forward to the child, but first strike will most likely be the bars.

    Endo 1
    Endo 2
    Endo 3
    Endo 4

    2. The weight limit for these is 38lbs. Assuming the maximum, this is not 38 extra lbs of rotating mass. Any average adult can steer with one of these. You don't need your super athlete card to qualify as a driver for this rig. No worse than riding with loaded front panniers.

    3. Debatable but I don't think the question of safety should factor in very high in these discussions because the accident rate is so low with the child carriers as a whole and the injuries are typically light. They are just arguments over the crumbs when the cookie has yet to be eaten.

    I think their biggest drawbacks are the limited size of child that you can get into the ibert and the restrictions on smaller riders that would have a harder time reaching around the child and carrier to the bars. They are a solid option for any riders comfortable with traveling with kids on bikes.

    I do not own an ibert nor do I work for the company.

    For others with questions, do a search on ibert in the forums. A couple of posts about them plus real world experience.
    Last edited by masiman; 07-15-08 at 01:39 PM.

  9. #9
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    The fear is thick enough to cut with a knife around here some days.

    My daughter has ridden in a Bobike mini since about 10 months. While she absolutely loves riding in the bobike, she only just tolerates riding with my wife in the Burley trailer.

    Yes, I have to ride with my knees slightly wider than I normally would. No, I couldn't "endo" the bike I carry her with if I had to.

    Then again, I'm confident in my riding. I've even ridden dirt paths, and singletrack with her in the seat. When I return home from a ride, I frequently lock the rear wheel and slide sideways into my driveway. She seems to think it's funny.


    The Ibert didn't appeal to me at all. If I were doing it over again, I'd still buy the bobike, and would have started carrying her sooner.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Otter 718's Avatar
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    I actually own an iBert seat, and love to take my 16-month old daughter for rides. Regarding center of gravity: Her bottom is well below my seat, and about level with my hands, so, from the knees up, I am almost entirely above her. It's very close to carrying her in kind of a hug position while we ride.

    I would think this puts the baby very near, or below, the center of gravity. Yes, she is above 26 lbs of bike, but lower than 185 lbs of me.

    The steering is very, very easy with this seat. I do not have VERY strong muscles, but I have never once felt that steering was even remotely dangerous. Consider the riding environment with a baby passenger, too - This includes a lot of tight, circling turns, at about 2 miles/hour, on and off paths, in the grass, around other kids, up and down hills. The baby is not an unweildy mass to be handled; she is right at the handlebars, and easily controlled.

    When I walk the bike, with baby girl in the seat, I will often hold just the back of her seat with one hand and push it along. The whole setup is very well balanced. Quite the opposite of my experience with a rear-mounted seat.

    My bike is a commuter-ized hardtail mountain bike. I am 6'3", and the bike is a 23" frame, with a long top tube. I understand, from talking with others, that this helps with comfort and handling in this situation - I have plenty of knee clearance, and long arms to reach around my little passenger.



    I got the same lecture about endo-ing from the childless sales guy at the bike shop. I can not imagine how this would ever happen in real life. Even without an adult rider seated on the bike, it's not like this is just waiting to flip over forward.

    My only safety concern with this design are when my daughter decides she is done. It is amazingly distracting to have an angry, flailing baby in between your arms while you ride. Other than that, these theoretical safety concerns have not been apparent in my real-life experience.

  11. #11
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    The only time mine is a problem is when my wife and daughter are riding on their bikes behind me and my son leans over and pushes my arm out of his way so he can see his mommy and sister. I have them get in front and he does great.

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    Elk have you looked in to the Wee-ride product. Something similar to the iBert but is attached to the top tube. I have one and like it far more that a rear mounted child seat. One could argue that it causes the bike to be more top heavy but in the hundreds of miles I have used it I really have not noticed while riding. I have not ever crashed either so. I have taken it off road also. My complaints for the wee ride are the crappy seat belt, low weight limit, and some of the parts are pretty flimsy. I have installed a seat belt from a car carrier and beefed up the seat a bit. I am comfortable with it for now but will be looking for an alternative when my daughter weighs more than 30 lbs. Here are a couple of videos of the wee ride in action:

    http://www.vimeo.com/1483044

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjLzzjx6cmM

  13. #13
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    We are currently trying to choose between the Ibert and the Wee Ride. We have a Chariot trailer, use it frequently for long rides with our road bikes, but it's not practical for around-town, running errands, going out to eat, etc.

    We are planning to attach the seat to my 80's mixte single speed conversion. I don't love the idea of attaching a seat to the stem, so we are leaning toward the Wee Ride, which has a conversion bar for step-through bikes that attaches to the seatpost and headtube. Anyone have any thoughts on Ibert vs. Wee Ride? Anyone used both?

    I had not seen the Bobike Mini before but it appears to also attach to the stem. That really seems like it would make steering a pain.

  14. #14
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xeney View Post
    I had not seen the Bobike Mini before but it appears to also attach to the stem. That really seems like it would make steering a pain.
    Really, the only downside of the Bobike is that it requires a 1" stem - although koolstop now makes a bracket that can be used with a threadless (I'm assuming 1 1/8) headset - http://www.koolstop.com/bobike/index.php

    Steering isn't a problem at all. It's not that it's just tolerable... I don't notice at all. For reference though, I have it attached to an Electra Amsterdam with high, wide handlebars. It's not the quickest steering thing in the world to start with. I'm sure I'd feel more effect had I bolted the seat onto a road bike or something. Additionally, I have a LOT more knee room than the person in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjLzzjx6cmM - and I'm 6'4". Either way, I'm sure you'll adjust.

  15. #15
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    I forgot to mention that my bike has a Nitto threaded stem with Albatross bars -- not sure how that would affect the attachment and steering. Sounds like the Bobike is actually meant for such a stem, but I'm not excited about the low weight limit even though my kid is off-the-charts small.

    Thanks for the review and info.

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    Wee-Ride Ride

    The wee-ride's biggest downfall is the fact it does get in the way of the knees. The ride isn't what I would call a deal breaker but on a 50 mile ride it may bother you. I haven't rode that far with the Wee-ride. About 18 miles off road is the longest. I routinely do 7-10 mile runs with it. The wee-ride has a cheap seat belt that you will want to replace. By the time you get it adjusted the child will want out of the seat. So I bought a used child seat belt off flea-bay. I will agree that a child seat for quick trips will be better than using a trailer unless you need a lot of hauling space. Hope the info helps.

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    We have the Ibert, Bobike mini, and a 40 year old Troxel handlebar mounted baby seat on our three "baby-riders". They all work equally well. They all are safe. They allow our daughter to enjoy the ride as she is not being treated as a piece of cargo as she would in a trailer or rear mounted seat.

    I believe FarHorizon is an alarmist.

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