The best front bike seats for toddlers and young children
Front bike seats are a lovely way to cycle with your young child, because they are in front of you. This allows you to chat as you cycle along, pointing out everything you see during your ride. It also allows you to keep an eye on what they are doing, which is more difficult if they are in a rear seat behind you.
Front bike seats are extremely common as a means of transporting small children in Holland and Denmark, and as the benefits of family cycling are becoming more widely realised here in the UK, we expect to see more and more families starting to use front seats to transport their children.
Here's our pick of the best front bike seats currently available in the UK. (Please be VERY careful of buying cheap imported front bike seats on auctions sites. These may place all the weight of the child on to a metal clamp that attaches to your seat post or stem, and which don't meet British Safety standards).
Each seat will have restrictions on the type of bike that it is suitable for, so please check the manufacturers instructions carefully before purchasing and using the seat. Front seats are not recommended for carbon fibre bikes, and can be tricky with drop handlebars.
Yepp Mini (RRP £85)
The Yepp Mini is a light, colourful and easy to use front seat, ideal for round town use. It gives your toddler a full view of the road (or preferably cycle path) and because it is made out of the same material as Crocs, they are easy to keep clean (great during those potty training months!)
The Yapp Mini is functional, comfortable and stylish - coming in a wide range of colours. The best bit is the range of accessories, including a windscreen and the wonderfully cute Miffy Sleep Roll.
The Yepp bike seat range is designed to grow with your kid. Once they grow out of the Mini, Yepp have designed the roomier back seat, the Yepp Maxi. If you have kids of different ages, you can have one of each, as is a popular sight in Amsterdam.
The Yepp Mini Front Seat is suitable for carrying children on the front of your bike from 9 months up to a maximum weight of 33 lbs (approx 3 years). It is mounted onto your bike's handlebar stem using the adapter supplied. The stem must be made of steel and have a diameter of between 0.8 to 1.1 inches (28 mm). It's easy to snap the seat into place, but also to detach it if you don't have your child with you (or if you need to leave the seat at nursery for someone else to do the pick up (additional Yepp Mini mounts are available for this purpose). There's also an integrated lock to prevent theft if you're leaving the seat in situ.
As you'd expect, there is a 5-point harness with an easy-to-use buckle, which also has soft shoulder pads to protect against chaffing. The footrests are adjustable and have straps.
This video show how to fit and use the Yepp Mini seat:
The manufacturers instructions to check whether the Yepp Mini will fit your bike can be found here (downloads on the right hand side of the page)
Where to buy the Yepp Mini
It is becoming increasingly difficult to get hold of the original Yepp Mini shown above, as in 2016 the Yepp and Thule brands combined. At the time of writing, there were quite a few of the original Yepp Mini's remaining on Amazon, and several colours in stock at Wiggle. also both new and second hand versions on Ebay .
This reducing stock is because a new seat has been designed, called the Thule Yepp Nexxt. It isn't as colourful as the originals (you can have it in any colour as long as it's black!) and isn't yet widely available in the UK (although you can order it through Amazon if you're willing to pay postage).
The Yepp shown above is mounted on the stem of your bike. In contrast the Weeride is a frame mounted front seat, as this picture shows.
Going frame or stem mounted is a matter of personal preference. Parents with short arms and small frames (or pregnancy bumps) will probably gravitate to a stem mounted seat, and they are popular around town options. Some parents find a stem mounted seat can affect balance or steering (particularly off road), as the weight is over the front of the bike, and will therefore favour a frame mounted seat where the weight is towards the centre of the bike. Others just prefer having their child closer in to their body.
The Safefront is Wee Rides latest front seat offering, which comes in two models - the standard, and the Delux.
The Weeride Safefront Child seat has movable enclosed footrests to ensure no dangling legs or feet and a 5 point safety strap. The Safefront is claimed to fit 99% of bikes as long as they are 16” frame or above, but please note this seat does not fit drop handlebar bicycles. It does however fit oversized stems and bikes with front suspension and is suitable for ladies and men's bikes.
The Safefront comes either as the standard seat, or the deluxe version, which has additional seat and strap padding, which may prove more comfortable if you're going on longer rides or if your child is smaller and needs the extra padding.
You'll note in the picture that the Weeride comes with a headrest - this is to support your child's head and neck if they fall asleep when you're riding. Again very useful if you're out all day, or if your child has a tendancy to fall asleep the moment you start moving!
Fitting takes about 20 minutes but once in place the seat can be removed in seconds for solo riding.
Weeride seats are available from a wide range of local bike shops and also available on-line and in store at Wiggle, Evans Cycles and Halfords as well as on Amazon.
The Weeride Kangaroo is the "original" Weeride seat and is a good choice if you're looking for a cheaper seat, or perhaps aren't sure if it will get much use.
What's the difference between the Kangaroo and the Safefront Weeride bike seats?
The Kangaroo was the original WeeRide. The latest model is the Safefront, and has the following upgrades: higher sides for increased child stability, added strap underneath the bar for extra stability, 2 movement thumbscrew and 2 movement buckle release for enhanced safety; additional straps on footcup holders; increased seat size.
Both come with standard and delux models (the delux having thicker padding on the headrest and the seat).
The Oxford Little Explorer is one of the simplest kids front bike seat on the market. This is a seat aimed at the older end of the age range, where your child isn’t going to fall asleep and wants to feel close to the action. It’s simple to get your child up and into and is ideal for short, sharp rides out. It’s also easy to cycle with when the child isn’t in the seat, so good for dropping off at nursery or preschool and continuing your journey. Safety features are limited, but include a two point belt that fastens around the waist and non-adjustable foot straps. Please note that this seat differs from some of the other cheap imported bike seats at a similar price, as it fastens to the top tube (cross bar) and not the seat post or stem. For this reason, it's not suitable for step through frames (or if you have a very small frame size).
Dutch designed Bobike seats are very popular on the continent, but sadly they don't have a good distribution network in the UK. Thankfully given the modern world we live in are relatively easy to get hold of from The Netherlands.
They have three front bike seat offerings - the Bobike Mini, the new Bobike Mini One, and the Bobike Exclusive Mini. You can probably guess that they go up in price through the range!
The entry level Bobike Mini is a rival to the Yepp Mini, coming in a range of colours and with supporting accessories and spares. The Bobike Mini One is the newer version and comes with a few added design and comfort features.
The Bobike Exclusive Mini is their premium stem mounted front seat, which is packed with additional safety features, including straps with purport to keep your child's head from lolling down or sideways if they fall asleep. Best of all, the Bobike Exclusive Mini comes with a little handlebar, so your child can play at steering!
It is possible to order Bobike front bike seats and accessories from The Netherlands via Amazon and Ebay, but unfortunately they are hard to find in UK stores at the present time.
Some of the cheapest front bike seats available are from Polisport. Again,these are a popular brand on the continent and offer a no-frills, cost effective way of transporting your child. It may not be the most luxurious ride, but if you're just popping them to nursery, or doing a quick ride to the park or shops, then you're needs are going to very different to someone heading out for hours on end across various terrains.
The Guppy Mini and the Bilby Junior have slightly different specifications (the Bilby comes with front support bar). You must make sure you buy the correct fittings, as you can get a stem mounted version and a frame mounted version (suitable for bikes which don't have the required space to install the seat on the head tube).
This article was first published in August 2012 and updated in October 2018 to reflect new models
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