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Old 12-17-11, 08:58 PM   #1
1987cp
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Options for a front-mounted kid seat?

When originally looking at kid seats, my wife pointed out the concept of a front-mounted seat, but with only one kid it seemed far simpler and safer (and a good bit cheaper IIRC) to use a normal rear-mount seat. I had to make some brackets to really mount the thing conveniently, but for my purposes it works very well.

Now with a second kid on the way, I'm contemplating how I'll go about carrying two kids on my bike should I want to take the new kid along before my first kid is really big enough to ride separately. Not that I ever ride very much or very far, but the front-mount kid seats I've seen online all mount behind the handlebar, which looks to me like it'd make a bike completely inoperable. Seems far more logical (and safer) to me to have something that would mount to the stock mounting points just like a normal cargo rack! Does someone produce one like that, or would I have to try making one myself?
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Old 12-19-11, 06:34 AM   #2
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Since noone else has jumped on this I'll offer up my advice. Since you will have two little kids, the best thing you could get at this point is a trailer. I know you've already invested in the one bike seat, but you can still use that for the youngest kid and the older one can ride in the trailer. Or better yet, the little one can ride inthe trailer using a car seat for the best support and protection, while the older one rides in the bike seat. The other advantage of the trailer is that you can buy additional hitches for the bikes so your wife can pull the trailer onthe days you dont want to or cant.
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Old 12-19-11, 10:27 AM   #3
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I've thought about trailers too. But aside from their crazy prices, isn't it dangerous to have a little guy down low and sticking out into motor traffic? Paying attention to surroundings and leaving sufficient space are foreign concepts to drivers in this area, whether I'm travelling by Raleigh or by Crown Vic.

I was also looking at the thread about hooking a normal kid's bike to a hitch ... my son will be nearly 5 when the new kid comes ... would just need some arrangement that lets me leave the rear-mount kid carrier in place.
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Old 12-19-11, 01:42 PM   #4
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You can get yourself a new InStep or Schwinn double trailer/stroller for around $100, which I'm sure isnt too far off from a front mount bike seat. As for the traffic issue, if you're going to get hit, you're going to get hit. Trailers have nothing to do with it. If you ride the sidewalks or close to the road edge you might want a trailer that has guarded wheels so you dont hook something, but in my 10+ years of using trailer and riding in all kinds of crazy environments I've never had that issue. You kinda learn where the trailer will follow and "drive" accordingly.

We have the TrailGator for one of the kids' bikes and it works quite well. You could get one to work under a bike seat, but I'm not 100% sure on that (we havent had a rear bike seat for some time and I cant remember how ours was mounted).
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Old 12-20-11, 12:23 PM   #5
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I don't like the idea of riding with a trailer in traffic. I feel like I'm too likely to misjudge the width of the bike, and that cars may cut too close. But that's my own paranoia.

I rode for awhile with a topeak babyseat on back and a ibert in front. I should have gotten a double kickstand for it. It was a bit tippy. It also had very limited cargo space. I used a front basket, but front panniers might have been a better choice for it. Check out this blog: http://familyride.wordpress.com/ with a family bike with both front and back seats. She's got it working well. How well a front seat works is going to depend on your frame. The ibert works great on my cruiser, or on the frame we have our xtracycle on, but it is completely incompatible with my husband's road bike.

What I like the best for two kids is an xtracycle (http://www.xtracycle.com). It has the width of a normal bike, and you can tow a kid's bike for your big kid. It can accommodate two kids on the back rack, or one in the front and one in back, in lots of different ways. You can take a friend along for your big kid. It can also accommodate a ton of cargo. We were really lucky, and found our xtracycle used. The frame size is such that with a seat height adjustment both my husband and I can ride it. So we still have our individual bikes with back seats mounted on them, but now we also have an option for one parent to take both kids out for the day.

An almost 5 year old will be outgrowing any standard trailer in short order. Actually, at 5, maybe this would be better: http://clevercycles.com/blog/product...ndem-coupling/
Save the back seat for the little one, and let the big one get some cycling practice.

Last edited by ebartom; 12-20-11 at 12:28 PM. Reason: added more
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Old 12-20-11, 02:49 PM   #6
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E, that is the slickest tow-a-bike setup I've seen and it does look like it'd more stable than the TrailGator (which I like) and the other design I've seen which removes the front tire and uses a bracket similar to the TG to tow the bike. If it wasnt $400, I'd buy one just to have it!
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Old 12-20-11, 02:58 PM   #7
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That is a cool way to do it. But that price sure looks painful.
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Old 12-20-11, 09:16 PM   #8
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Yes. That's why we ended up getting the TrailGator instead. But the trailgator is definitely not compatible with our rear seat -- it needs an empty back rack. You could do a front seat + trailgator. But this tandem coupling thing looks a lot more stable, and as we bike more and more, or if we add another kid and limit our options further, it seems like it might be a reasonable investment.

If your other choice is buying a family tandem (like the Onderwater family tandem, which is $3000) the tandem coupler starts to look downright reasonable.
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Old 02-14-12, 08:00 PM   #9
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I just found this a couple days ago. Completely different from a normal bike, but looks pretty handy for city use. Can attach a second child seat as an extra option, apparently: http://cargocycling.org/2009/08/taga...e-changer.html

I like the kidback tandem with baby seat! I was also eying the Onderwater, which was linked from the same page as the Taga convertible trike/stroller thing. Come to think of it, the tandem-with-baby-seat routine could be done with a normal tandem in Sheldon Brown style ... hm.....



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Originally Posted by ebartom View Post
I don't like the idea of riding with a trailer in traffic. I feel like I'm too likely to misjudge the width of the bike, and that cars may cut too close. But that's my own paranoia.
If it's paranoia, I share it. Cars don't like sharing the road, and the concept of having bicycle trails everywhere is a long way off, so to me it's an important consideration!

Last edited by 1987cp; 02-14-12 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 02-16-12, 08:37 AM   #10
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The Taga looks pretty neat. I would love to take one on a test-drive. I really wonder if you could fly with it for free (like a stroller ). If so, you could take a vacation to somewhere that sells them, and then fly it home free as a stroller.

That website mentions the Zigo, and I did test-drive that one. The steering felt really different than a standard bike, and not in a good way.

This is another option, which is available in the US. I only drove it around the show-room, but it seemed great, and the kids didn't want to get out: http://www.kangaroobike.com/pages/features.php

Last edited by ebartom; 02-16-12 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 02-20-12, 09:30 AM   #11
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Albatross bars are cool!!
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Too bad about the Zigo, as they seem really proud of their steering system. Though, I'm not sure how I feel about the added complexity of also being able to convert to a solo bike like with that and the "trioBike".

The Kangaroo does look really nice, especially with what looks like a normal 26" rear wheel.


Something else funny I noticed, apparently you can order cargo trikes starting at $800ish from the "material handling" section at McMaster-Carr! Looks like those heavily favor rear coaster brakes, though.
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Old 04-04-12, 07:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by himespau View Post
That is a cool way to do it. But that price sure looks painful.
I don't know ... considering that some normal two-abreast trailers cost that much, and a good tandem may run a grand or more used, and usually won't include a kidback kit anyway, and either a tandem or a trailer will be harder to store and transport than two solo bikes .... hmmm......
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Old 04-19-12, 12:53 PM   #13
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I have a Yepp Mini front-mounted child seat (purchased at REI) for my Breezer Uptown 8. It was easy to install and has a quick release so that I can remove it when I ride to work. There is a lock on it to prevent theft.

I enjoy having my child in front of me. We can easily communicate, and I can see when he's leaning or falling asleep.

The only issue I have with the Yepp is that my knees hit the child seat-- I have to pedal in a slightly awkward knees-out motion. However, for my needs, it's fine. (If I were commuting or doing longer distances with him, then I'd work on adjusting my saddle, etc., in order to find a better pedal motion.)

One caution: I don't know if the Yepp Mini bracket would work on wide headset stems. It fits perfectly on the Breezer, but many headset stems are a lot wider in diameter.
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