Best rear bike seats for toddlers and small children
A rear bike seat is a great way to get cycling with your young child as they're designed to carry babies, toddlers and kids from about 9 months to 5 or 6 years old. Some kids bicycle seats are mounted to your bike's seat tube and some are attached to the pannier rack of your bike.
If you're not sure if your child is ready to go in a rear seat, read our intro on rear bike seats.
There are three main price and quality bandings for kids rear bike seats - we've banded them into Premium (over £99), Mid-range (£60-£99) and Budget (under £60).
Your budget and what you need the seat for will help determine which one you go for.
If you're looking at other ways to carry your children on your bike, find out more about cargo bikes.
Different types of rear bike seats
There are two ways of fitting a rear child seat to your bike; frame-mounted or rack-mounted.
Frame-mounted bike seats attach to your bike's seat tube. Rack-mounted bike seats attach to a pannier rack, on the rear of your bike, usually by clipping onto the sides of the rack or slotting into a rack.
Many of the bike seats available have different models for different fixing methods, so do make sure you're buying the correct one for your needs.
On longtail cargo bikes, rack-mounted rear bike seats are usually used.
Overview of frame-mounted rear bike seats
Frame-mounted rear seats fit most bike types, and are therefore more commonly found. However, be particularly vigilant if you have a carbon bike as it may not be suitable. Also, make sure your seat tube is round or oval because that's a requirement for most brackets for bike seats.
|Seat name||Max weight||Price|
|Thule Yepp 2 Maxi||22 kg||£134.99|
|Bobike Exclusive Tour||22 kg||£125|
|Hamax Siesta||22 kg||£99.99|
|Urban Iki||22 kg||£94.99|
|Hamax Smiley||22 kg||£79.99|
|Bobike Go Maxi||22 kg||£74.99|
|Hamax Kiss||22 kg||£69.99|
|Polisport Koolah||22 kg||£58|
|Belelli Pepe||22 kg||£52.10|
Overview of rack-mounted rear bike seats
For rack-mounted seats you need to make sure your bike is able to take a rear pannier rack if you don't already have one fitted. You'll need to have the appropriate eyelets on your bike frame for this - not all bikes have these, so check before you buy your bike seat.
|Seat name||Max weight||Price|
|Thule Yepp 2 Maxi||22 kg||£119.99|
|Hamax Siesta||22 kg||£99.99|
|Urban Iki||22 kg||£94.99|
|Belelli Pepe||22 kg||£52.10|
Best rear bike seats for carrying toddlers and small kids
Here we take a look at some of the best rear bike seats available, and where to buy them. We've included where to buy new and secondhand as we know children grow so quickly at this age so you can often get lightly used models at a great price.
Premium rear bike seats
These rear bike seats are at the premium end of the bike seat range, meaning they're made to be extra comfortable for your child to sit (and sleep!) in, and easy for you to fit. They're built for everyday usage, so ideal for daily commuting or long adventure trips.
The Thule Yepp 2 Maxi is an award-winning children's rear bike seat that is now widely available in the UK. The range of colours and accessories make the Thule Yepp Maxi a popular choice for both parents and children.
The Thule Yepp 2 Maxi bike seat is made from the same rubber-like material (EVA) that is used to make Crocs shoes, which is antibacterial, shock-absorbent, water-resistant, and really easy to clean, which means they are designed for daily use, year-round.
There are no seat cushions to worry about keeping dry from the elements. A rain cover for the Yepp 2 Maxi is available if you want to avoid the seat getting wet when your bike is parked outside.
This bike seat is safe and easy to use due to the 5-point safety harness with childproof buckle and soft shoulder pads to help avoid rubbing. There are two height levels for the shoulder straps which allow the seat to grow with your child.
There are two models of Thule Yepp 2 Maxi available. One is rack-mounted and secures to a pannier rack on the back of the bike. The rack-mounted bike seat is very popular on electric longtail cargo bikes.
The second type is mounted to your bike’s seat tube using the Yepp Maxi seat tube adapter (fits 95% of bike models). The seat is quick and simple to snap into place and also detach.
The Yepp Maxi 2 rear bike seat can be attached to bicycles with a frame size of 21 inches or larger and a circular or oval seat tube diameter of 1.10-1.57 inches (28-40mm).
Please consult your bike shop or Thule to check whether your bike is suitable for use with the Thule Yepp 2 Maxi rear seat.
An integral anti-theft lock helps give peace of mind when leaving your bike unattended, making it ideal for both adventurous cycling days out or the daily commute. There is a safety light attachment point on the back of the seat and a custom rear light is available to buy separately.
As you can see from this picture, Yepp also do a front bike seat for children up to 3 years old (or 15 kg), called the Thule Yepp 2 Mini if you need to carry more than one child at the same time.
A quick wording about the naming of the seat if you're buying secondhand. The Yepp brand (which was Dutch) was bought out by Thule (a Swedish company) in 2016.
It took a while for a new name to come to market, especially in the UK, so older seats may be listed just as Yepp rather than Thule Yepp.
Hamax Siesta reclinable rear bike seat (RRP £99.99)
Hamax’s top of the range kids bike back seat, the Siesta, as the name suggests, is great for toddlers who like a snooze while you do the hard work. The Hamax Siesta reclinable bike seat is available as rack-mounted and as pannier rack-mounted version.
The seat can be reclined by 20 degrees without impacting on the centre of gravity, allowing your baby or toddler to enjoy their nap in comfort.
The standard Siesta model uses the Hamax Safety System which is quickly and easily fitted to most types of bikes using only 4 screws. You can remove the bike from the fixing point, but it will still have the metal carrier bars attached to the seat.
The Siesta has a curved head area to allow space for the back of a helmet if they wear one (resulting in a more ergonomic ride, as your child’s head is not pushed forward by the back of the seat).
The Hamax Siesta comes with a double buckle system, which Hamax says only requires one hand to fasten and keep the child securely in the seat, leaving your other hand free to support the bike. It can also be fastened without going over the child’s head (or helmet).
Cycle Sprog reader Andy has provided us with the following details of the Hamax: "I have used the Hamax Siesta on a full-suspension Specialized Bicycles Stumpjumper 2010 without problem for several years. The seat is very good, and although you can release the buckles with one hand it is pretty stiff and isn't easy. Much easier to use two hands."
Hamax also produce a wide range of accessories, including a neck support pillow and waterproofs, plus additional fixing points so you can carry on more than one bike.
Bobike Exclusive Tour (RRP £125)
Bobike makes a large range of different bike seats, and if you ever venture over to the Netherlands you'll see that they rival the Thule Yepp for popularity.
The Bobike Exclusive Tour is their premium model, which has been designed with longer bike rides and cycle touring in mind.
This is shown in features such as an adjustable headrest and a contoured belt which is designed to keep your baby or toddler upright, even if they fall asleep.
The "Click and Go" mounting system allows you to switch the seat easily between bicycles, which is useful on long bike rides or if you're sharing the nursery drop off and pickups and the seat belt is designed to be fastened with just one hand.
There is a flashing LED light on the rear for safety during the winter months.
A waterproof cushioned seat (and we know sometimes it's more than the rain that gets a seat wet!), spoke protectors, adjustable foot support trays and helmet recess all combine to make this a premium kids bike seat, which is of course reflected in the price.
The Bobike Exclusive Tour is most widely available as a frame-mounted bike seat, which fits round or oval seat tubes with diameters of 22-40mm.
Mid-range rear bike seats
These rear bike seats are slightly cheaper than the premium ranges featured above, meaning there are some differences in terms of quality, ease of use, and comfort.
However, they're all really good rear bike seats that would be perfect for getting out and about with your kids, especially if they don't need to nap during your rides.
Urban Iki rear bike seat (RRP £94.99)
The very stylish Urban Iki rear seats are available in a range of colours and are suitable from 9 months to 6 years (or up to 22 kg), like most other rear bike seats.
With a 5 point harness, water repellent seat cushion, adjustable footrests and an ergonomically shaped seats, the Urban Iki seems to hit the sweet spot. It is a very popular seat and is the recommended seat for some cargo bikes.
It is the only rear bike seat that comes with a frame and rack mount, which provides greater flexibility, especially if you're not sure what will work best on your bike.
Carrying a rucksack can be problematic when your child is behind you in a bike seat, so Urban Iki has come up with a clever solution to this; a child-sized backpack that you can attach to the rear seat.
Bobike Go Maxi bike seat (RRP £74.99)
The slightly less expensive Bobike Go Maxi bike seat is another frame-mounted bike seat and the newest addition to the Bobike collection. It is specifically designed for the international (not Dutch) market and will fit on most bikes with oval or round seat tubes (diameter between 22-40 mm).
This bike seat will be more suitable for kids who don't nap so much, or for shorter daily commutes where your child wants to see what's going on and is unlikely to fall asleep. The seat comes with an integrated lock to avoid the bike seat being stolen when not in use.
Hamax Smiley Rear Bike Seat (RRP £79.99)
Billed as Hamax’s “Comfort” model, the Hamax Smiley comes with built-in suspension, to protect your child’s spine.
The Hamax Smiley (like the more expensive Siesta) comes with Hamax’s double buckle system, which only requires one hand to fasten and keep the child securely in the seat, leaving your other hand free to support the bike.
Ventilation in the backrest is also provided, to keep your child cool on a summer’s day.
The frame mounted version uses the Hamax Safety System which is quickly and easily fitted to most types of bikes using only 4 screws. You can remove the bike from the fixing point, but it will still have the metal carrier bars attached to the seat.
Hamax Kiss rear bike seat (RRP £69.99)
The Hamax Kiss is a simple and basic rear bike seat that is great for occasional cycle rides with your child. It attaches to the frame of your bike and the grey or black seat comes with a red or green seat cushion.
The bike seat features a 3 point safety harness, adjustable foot rests and some seat padding. The seat can be easily removed with a quick-release button.
The Hamax Kiss doesn't feature suspension, hence the lower price.
All the rear seats we've looked at so far have been designed for smaller children, but once your child grows out of their first rear seat you can continue to carry them using the Yepp Junior seat - usually between the ages of 5 and about 9.
This type of seat is incredibly popular in Holland, where you see lots of primary school-aged children being carried this way.
Yepp do two models - the more robust junior seat shown here (RRP £85) is designed for daily use.
It has solid folding footrests to ensure feet and spokes don't mix, and the backrest is designed to be comfortable and also a bit "cooler" for older kids who don't necessarily want to look as if they're being contained too much.
They also do a budget version, which is £12 cheaper and has an over the head buckle system and slightly different styling. Both versions are available at Amazon.
If you want to see other bike seats for older children, go to the post The best front-mounted bike seats for older kids.
Budget models of rear bike seats
If you're using your rear bike seat on a daily basis, and have several younger siblings coming along to use it, then it can make sense to invest in a more expensive version.
However, we all know kids grow so quickly so if you're only going to use the seat for a few weekends and holiday rides you can get a perfectly good rear bike seat and still have change from £60. Don't expect to have all the fancy features, but do expect to have a fun ride!
Polisport Koolah rear bike seat (RRP £58)
As with the other brands mentioned in this article, Polisport do a range of bike seats, mainly at the mid to low price range.
Their entry-level seat is the Koolah, which comes with adjustable footrests, an ergonomic shape for a helmet to rest in and a reasonable amount of protection to the sides.
Back in 2013, we wrote a review on the Polisport Koolah seat.
Belelli Pepe rear bike seat (RRP £52.10)
Another brand offering bike seats at the lower end of the price range is Italian brand Belelli. The Belelli Pepe is a simple rear bike seat, which is similar in features to the Koolah with 3-point safety belt and adjustable footrests. The shoulder straps can be adjusted in height as well, just like with the Polisport Koolah.
This seat stands out because of the large holes in the back of the seat presumably to allow air to flow through. This might be nice in summer, but could also mean being slightly colder for your child in winter months.
This bike seat is available for rear rack as well as mounting to the seat tube of your bike.
How do I know which rear bike seat will fit my bike?
As you can see, each manufacturer has a wide range of bike seats to suit different ages, bike types and riding requirements. Most retailers will stock a wider range than shown here, so have a look at each model in the range to see which suits you and your child best.
Every bike and every seat is slightly different, so if you're unsure if a particular seat will fit your bike we recommend;
- Emailing the seat manufacturer to ask
- Speaking to your local independent bike shop
- Joining the Family Cycling UK Facebook Group and searching the group for similar questions. If someone hasn't asked about your specific type of bike then post your own question - there's usually someone who has fitted a seat to a similar type of bike.
Other articles you may find useful:
- E-bikes and child bike seats - all your questions answered
- Best front bike seats for babies and toddlers
- What type of cargo bike is best for my family?
- The best bike for a 1 year old
- Choosing the best balance bike for your child
- Can I cycle with my baby in a sling or baby carrier?
- The best 14″ starter bikes for ages 3 and 4 years
- The best front mounted bike seats for older kids
- Cycling with older kids who have a disability or special needs
- Rear bike seats for older kids
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