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Experiences with front mounted child seats
I read through a few old threads and found only a few detailed experiences. I like the idea of keeping my boy company during friendly rides and being about to remove/install the seat on a whim. My primary commuter bike has drop bars -- but a lot of steerer above the head tube -- and I would like to mount the seat on that bike.
Hey. We have used an i-Bert safety seat with our daughter since she was a little over a year old. She is about to turn three and will grow out of it in the next little bit. Then we are excited to use it with our son! It is a great seat. You want to make sure you are on the biggest frame you can ride on safely and comfortably, so that you have enough knee clearance. You might have to angle your knees out just a little bit, but you don't have to ride with your knees totally facing out or anything. If they do hit the bottom, it is smooth plastic and does not hurt at all. Our daughter LOVES being up front and talking to us the whole time she is riding. It places her in a very interactive position. The seat comes off very easily for commuting. Our seat is on a bike that is used for commuting to work (without the seat, obviously!) three days a week. I totally recommend one of these, especaially if your kids is a talker like ours!
I have the bobike mini which I purchased on sale for around $80 at www.onestepahead.com. It was really great giving my son rides on my early 90's Trek hybrid bicycle. One unforeseen problem was when he fell asleep in the seat; there's absolutely no head support. Yes, it's very easy to remove for commuting, although you will be left with the mounting collar around your handlebar stem.
I tried fitting it on a Trek mountain bike, but there wasn't enough knee clearance. I also fitted it to an early 70's folding bike, but that bike didn't seem sturdy enough for the two of us. I'm lucky in that I had several bicycles to try it on.
I think the only downsides are 1. doesn't fit well on all bikes 2. upper weight limit is 15 kg (33 lbs), so kid will probably outgrow it by age 3
I just received my Bobike mini which I bought on Ebay. The mounting bracket bolts to the stem. So you need about 1.5 inches of stem exposed above the top of the headset to mount the bracket. You may need to raise your stem in order to have enough space to insert the mounting bracket.
Once the bracket is mounted, its easy to slide the seat onto the mount.
My wife and I are huge fans of the front mounted child seats. We have three of them - these are the Ibert, the Bobike Mini, and a 40 year old Troxel seat.
The Ibert is mounted on a '73 Raleigh LTD - I had to change the handlebar stem to make it fit properly. The Ibert is easy to install, has good knee clearance, and is very easy to get on and off the bike. The mounting system is a huge spike that stays on the stem (when the Ibert is not on the bike, the spike looks rather scary as it is pointing towards my crotch as I ride). I feel the Ibert is the best designed seat when it comes to the child's comfort. This seat is our daughter's favorite. The Ibert is made in the USA.
The Bobike Mini is mounted on a '66 Raleigh RSW - no modifications were needed to make this one fit on the bike. The Bobike is the highest quality constructed seat - it also has the best mounting system. The Bobike is also easy to install, has good knee clearance, and is very easy to get on and off the bike. It seems it was designed more for the practicality and function rather than child's comfort though. The Bobike is made in Holland.
The Troxel seat (perhaps the first front mounted seat ever manufactured) is mounted on a '72 Raleigh Twenty. No modifications were needed to make this one fit on the bike. The Troxel is not made to take on and off and it is rather involved to install. It is well made though - all steel. The Troxel has poor knee clearance. My legs bow outward as I pedal. I also had to retro-fit it with seat and shoulder straps as it was made before safety was a concern. It is rather cool looking though. The Troxel was made in the USA.
If I had to choose just one seat though, I would choose the Bobike Mini.
The quality of materials and craftmanship is far superior to the other two seats.
Could you post pics of your bikes with the seats mounted?
Thanks for the review!
Here are the photos of the three bikes with the three different front mounted child seats.
The first is of the Troxel mounted on a Raleigh Twenty, with a closeup of our daughter's cockpit.
The second is of the Bobike Mini mounted on a Raleigh RSW (my wife's bike).
The third is of the Ibert mounted on a Raleigh LTD.
The Troxel seat (perhaps the first front mounted seat ever manufactured)
I know this is an old thread. We just got an ibert which has been amazing (except when my son fell asleep in it on the maiden voyage). It sure is ugly though. Anyway, my mom told me about a front mounted seat her dad used to have for the kids that was just a metal seat mounted on top of the handlebars. She doesn't remember any footrests or where her feet went and she said her dad would wrap his arms around the kids to keep them on (no harness or restraining system). No helmets either I'm sure. Makes me think of the little boy in "Life is Beautiful" riding in the front basket with his mom and dad on the bike. I'm not sure when it was manufactured, but my mom was born 1958 and the othr kids were born between 1947 and 1960, so that would put it before the troxel.
Last edited by Mountain_mama; 01-10-12 at 11:07 AM.