In 2012 Polisport won a product design award for their Guppy Maxi Front and Rear bike seats. We asked Iona, mum of two, to test out whether the Guppy Maxi Rear Child Seat also passes the test of being safe and easy to use with a 3 year old.
Assembling the Guppy Maxi rear bike seat – not quite as easy as it looks
When the Polisport Guppy Maxi rear bike seat arrived for review it was nicely packaged with not too many separate pieces, which was encouraging, since I’d never assembled (or used) a rear bike seat before.
Firstly, I tried to put the seat together without looking at the instruction manual- it all looked soooo easy! When it was assembled, I couldn’t for the life of me put the seat onto the frame on my bike, so, eventually, I opened the instruction manual.
As is often the way, the Gupppy Maxi manual is in lots of different languages. In this case, somebody at Polisport must have thought it was sensible to mix up all the sections throughout the booklet, instead of sticking to one language at a time. “Jazz it up a bit!” they must have said. Well, they obviously hadn’t tested their manual out on the unsuspecting public before letting it loose on the likes of me. I had a hard time finding the English instructions, let alone jumping from section to section in the same language. And, unfortunately even in English, the instructions were difficult for me to follow.
After twenty minutes, when I could feel myself reaching for the gin, I reached for my hubbie instead, who instantly got stuck in. Half an hour and two gins later, we got the bike seat onto my bike – result!.
Crash Testing the Polisport Guppy Maxi Rear Bike Seat
My three year old son was pretty excited about trying out the bike seat, and keen to get strapped in. However, some of his enthusiasm disappeared when the bike hit the deck as I couldn’t hold the bike upright when he leaned to one side. This had nothing to do with the gin, I hasten to add!
On the positive side, my son went “thud” but not “ouch”, due to the useful side supports on the bike seat. After an impressive fall to the ground, the bike seat stayed intact and so did my son.
A bit more information please!
It would have been useful if Polisport had made me aware of the importance of centre of gravity by way of clearer graphics and warning signs. Instead we discovered the hard way that if the seat is too high, it’s really difficult to correct a tilt to the side.
Also, if the seat is too far backwards, the bike turns into a Bucking Bronco. Which, if you think about it, defeats the object of having a netted pocket behind the seat. If the pocket actually worked, it would only increase the weight behind the seat, encouraging the bucking effect.
Our first ride out with the Guppy Maxi Rear Child Seat
Now that the bike seat had been crash tested, my son was slightly subdued, but soon cheered up again when we went zooming off on our first ride together. It was great!
Other than the need to pedal a little harder, it felt pretty natural to have the extra seat on the back of my bike. The lower seat position meant that my son didn’t overly tilt when I stopped the bike, and it helped that my own bike seat was at its lowest limit, so that I could easily put my feet to the ground without tilting the bike to one side or the other.
When my son donned his thick puffer jacket, the Guppy bike seat became slightly user-unfriendly. He’s a robust three-and-a-half year old, but falls comfortably within the recommended limits of 22Kg weight and age of up to 5 years. The seatbelt could be a bit more generous, as even fully extended, the belt was still very snug on the poor mite, giving him a bit of a fatty complex (he’s not overweight!). Anyhow, the belt did finally click in with lots of grunting from me.
Off we went, flying along the back streets, singing happily (well, he was – I was puffing a lot) and, as we went sailing between a set of concrete bollards which stop motorised vehicle access through a short cut, I thought it would be great to have a couple of extras on the bike seat:
Extra 1- Better foot rests
The current foot rests are not much more than plastic stirrups which my son’s feet slip out of easily. This means that we end up kicking each other as I pedal.
If the stirrups were chunkier, like an oversized clog-type design, not only would the little one’s feet stay inside, but they wouldn’t wander outside to the sides of the bike, which can potentially result in broken legs, e.g. when the bike is squeezing between concrete bollards.
Extra 2- Luminosity
The bike seat is mid- grey. There are two red stickers on the back which I think are meant to be reflective, but that’s it. Need I say more?
Polisport Guppy Maxi Rear Bike Seat review – my final verdict
So does the bike seat work? Yes, certainly. We’re having a lot of fun and my son prefers the bike to a car, even in the rain.
Would I recommend it? Yes, along with high visibility strips, a simpler instruction manual, a willing accomplice and half a bottle of gin.
Oh, and make sure that your co-pilot in the bike seat signals the same direction as the pilot. Otherwise, the drivers behind get confused!
Where to buy the Polisport Guppy Maxi Rear Bike Seat
To find out if your local bike shop stocks the Polisport range, click here.
If you want to personalise your seat, style sets for the arm and foot rests/straps are available in different colours. The Guppy seat and the style sets are available online at Amazon.
Please note that there are two ways to mount the Guppy seat – frame mounted and rack mounted. There is more detail on the differences between the two at the end of this review of the Polisport Koolah rear seat (the entry level Polisport seat).
Cycle Sprog were provided with the Polisport Guppy Maxi Rear Bike Seat for review