The best front mounted bike seats for older kids
The majority of front child bike seats sold in the UK are designed for toddlers and young kids, who are unable to pedal themselves. They tend to have enclosed sides to support the child and a 5-point harness to keep them securely in the seat.
They also usually have a maximum weight limit of about 15kg. This is great in theory, but what happens when your child gets to the age of about 3 years and they become too big to physically fit in the front seat, or too heavy for the seat's upper weight limit?
Thankfully, there's a growing number of front bike seats that you can continue to use beyond the age of 3 years, or a weight over 15kg. Some are designed specifically with mountain biking in mind, and others are more suited for everyday journeys or more leisurely family cycling.
SAFETY WARNING - there are a number of front bike seats being shipped to the UK that are available on Amazon and eBay that claim to be able to take VERY heavy weights (surely they haven't got lb and kg mixed up have they?). You're potentially buying a cheap seat that doesn't come backed up with the appropriate reputable brand name and the associated safety features.
Take a look at the fixing points and the construction of the seat and make sure you're happy putting the weight of your child onto the seat through the fixing point. Ask yourself if you're seeing any evidence of safety standards to back up the claims of taking an older and heavier child and whether a manufacturer's website can be found. Have you seen any photos of a child actually using it? Compare it to the weights and construction/mounting points of the seats highlighted in this post.
Which front seat is best for my bike?
All the seats featured in this post are suited to steel and aluminium framed bikes. Please do not use a child's bike seat on a carbon fibre bike (or one of any other material) unless you've checked with the manufacturer first.
Every bike is different, so we can't provide specific advice for each make of bike. However, we do state below which types of frame the seats don't fit.
For specific queries visit the website of each manufacturer. 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.
The best front bike seats for older kids
Below we take a closer look at the front seats available for older kids. Please be aware that some of these seats don't have the same levels of restraints as bike seats for smaller children, so you do have to be happy with this level of risk when riding with your child.
For a summary of the maximum weights, fixing points, and prices see the table at the end of the post.
Kids Ride Shotgun MTB seat
Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended seat
The Shotgun 2.0 is a front child seat designed specifically for mountain biking. It allows you to get out on the trails once your Sprog is 2 years old and is a brilliant way to give them a love of MTBing from a really early age!
When we asked 3-year-old Rosie to test out the Shotgun seat with her Dad, she had a fabulous time. Read their review of the original Shotgun seat.
There are currently three Shotgun seats available:
All Shotgun MTB seats are designed for children aged 2 to 5 years (the Shotgun 2.0 and Shotgun Pro have a higher weight limit of 27 kg).
The seat is fully adjustable to fit top tubes 35 – 68mm wide, and down tubes from 35 – 100mm wide.
This range of adjustment covers all mountain bikes, and even some of the new e-mountain bikes hitting the market.
The Shotgun 2.0 seat has moulded rubber padding to protect your frame, and swaps between bikes easily with no special adaptors or clamps required.
The Shotgun Pro seat can also be swapped between bikes easily and features zero frame contact.
You can also get a mini set of handlebars to fit on top of yours, for your little shredder to hold onto!
Oxford Little Explorer bike seat
Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand
OK, so I'm a bit biased about this one, but it's the newer version of the bike seat I used to commute with my youngest Cycle Sprog once he was too big for our rear bike seat. I still miss the "cuddly" rides we used to have in what was then known as the Oxford Leco.
Having my arms around him as we rode to nursery and school every day was such a special time, plus I'm sure his traffic awareness was greatly improved by being able to see and talk about everything with me.
The bike seat is designed by Oxford Products, a UK based company. The Little Explorer can only be used on bikes with a top tube so isn't suitable if you've got a step-through frame.
The maximum child's weight for the Little Explorer is 22kg, so should be good for most kids aged between about 3 and 6 years.
Mac Ride front bike seat
A very simple but elegant design, involving an aluminium frame with a plastic saddle and straps, the Mac Ride kids bike seat has been around for a number of years and is beloved by mountain biking parents.
The Mac Ride seat is a very sleek design which can be easily and quickly unclipped from your bike when you no longer need it, and stored flat in a rucksack or other bag.
The seat is attached to a special front mount spacer on the top tube. Two of these spacers are included with each purchase so you can swap your Mac Ride easily between bikes.
If anyone knows how to carry kids on a bike it's the Dutch, so it's worth looking at how they do it. The majority of Dutch bikes are step through city bikes, and so top tube mounted seats won't work.
Hollandbikeshop.com have a range of very simple frame-mounted saddles to fit a wide variety of frame sizes and shapes.
The maximum weight limit for the child is 40kg and all seats come with a two-year warranty.
Prices vary depending on the Euro/Sterling exchange rate but are in the region of £65 to £100 depending on the model, with additional shipping costs to the UK from The Netherlands plus any currency conversion costs levied by your bank.
Summary of front mounted bike seats for older kids
Here is a summary of all the currently available front bike seats featured in this article.
Remember, if you’re buying a very cheap bike seat not featured in this article (one that appears to allow a much heavier child to be carried) do your research to check it’s going to be safe and comfortable for your child.
|Seat name||Max weight||Mounting point||Price|
|Shotgun MTB seat||22 kg||Top tube||£85|
|Shotgun 2.0 MTB seat||27 kg||Top tube||£145|
|Shotgun Pro MTB seat||27 kg||Top tube||£200|
|Oxford Little Explorer||22 kg||Top tube||£35|
|Mac Ride||27 kg||Additional top tube||£197|
Before you go...
Front bike seats are a great way to transport older kids, but it's also worth considering your longer term options (as these kids keep on growing!)
If you're using your bike for daily transport (rather than mountain biking) then it's worth thinking about cargo bikes.
Cargo bikes do require a higher investment than a bike seat, but may well be the right solution for your family - either now or in the future. Read all about cargo bikes.
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Other articles you'll find useful:
- The best front bike seats for toddlers and young children
- The best rear bike seats for toddlers and small children
- Best single seat bike trailers for carrying one baby or child
- Cycling with older kids who have a disability or special needs
- The best 14" starter bikes for ages 3 and 4 years
- The best 16" wheel bikes for 4 and 5 year olds
- The best Tagalongs for pulling a child behind your bike
- Review: Kids Ride Shotgun front bike seat for mountain biking with your child
- Rear bike seats for older kids