Front mounted bike seats for children have only recently extended to our shores, having proven popular in continental Europe for many years. Compact in design, they take up little space on a bike and can be left in-situ for storage, which can be very useful if space is at a premium.
front mounted bike seats for children – description
Positioned in front of the rider, a front bike seat gives your child an optimum viewing platform. Styles are varied with some models taking the form of a traditional bike seat with restraint system. Others are constructed in a similar way to rear mounted seats, with similar safety harnesses and features such as leg protection and a high back and sides. When seated, your little one either holds onto the handlebars or a holding bar which forms part of the seat.
For each model there will be a method or knack to getting your child on or off the bike with a minimum amount of fuss. Follow the manufacturer’s guidance and once mastered, your child can be safely seated and ready to go in a matter of seconds.
Fitting systems vary between manufacturers. The most basic has the seat clamped directly to the crossbar of your bicycle, while others use the stem for mounting, or a separate bar between the seatpost and stem. Check that the fitting system will fit your bike before you purchase.
When considering a front mounted cycle seat it is essential to read the manufacturers guidance which may stipulate a maximum age, weight and height. It is also imperative that a child can sit up unaided and be able to support the weight of its head and a helmet if fitted, and this would likely be around twelve months. If you are in any doubt as to whether your child is capable of this then please consult your GP or health visitor for professional advice.
front mounted bike seats for children – why buy?
Your child is directly in front of you so the riding experience becomes much more interactive. They can see exactly what you see, and you can speak to them and hear what they are saying easily. This makes a fantastic introduction to cycling and most young children love the experience.
Your child can learn to read the road and may be much more aware of traffic when they progress to their own bike, compared to being in a rear seat or trailer.
Having your little one up front with you allows the opportunity to share not only experiences but also to give advice. For example, describing the sequence of traffic lights at a junction or who’s right of way it is at a roundabout all helps develop a child’s road sense, skills that are essential as they grow.
You can use a front bicycle seat and a tagalong at the same time to transport two children.
A front bike seat, with its weight situated towards the front of the bike, feels more balanced and stable than when riding with a rear mounted seat.
things to consider
Your little one bears the brunt of any bad weather – in cold and wet weather gloves and warm clothing are a must and a balaclava can be a huge asset. Even on warmer days, remember your child is not moving, so will not be generating the same amount of body heat that you are.
Some child seats are attached to your bike in such a position that you have to ride slightly bow-legged to avoid knocking the back of the seat. This can get uncomfortable on a long ride, with the level of discomfort dependent upon a combination of the size of your bike, the length of your legs and your preferred riding position. If you can, try before you buy.
As your child grows, their head or helmet may start to obscure your view so time to consider another option such as a tag-a-long or a trailer.
Front seats without some form of head support are not really suitable for napping. If you’re out all day and your little one needs their beauty sleep this could be a major issue for you. Some makes come with a head roll to help with this.
front bike seat makes and models
Front seats are relatively new to the UK, so there are only a few manufacturers readily available. We’ve listed what is currently available for you in our article on Front Seat Makes and Models