The majority of front child bike seats sold in the UK are designed for young children, 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 tend to 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 seats 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 to commuting or more leisurely family cycling.
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SAFETY WARNING – there are a number of front bike seats currently 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;
1) Emailing the seat manufacturer to ask
2) Speaking to your local independent bike shop
3) 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.
SAFETY WARNING – always make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when fitting a front seat.
The best front bike seats for older children
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. Click here to go to the comparison table.
Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended seat
The Shotgun 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. You can read their review here.
The Shotgun seat is designed for children aged 2 to 5 years (and up to 22kg in weight).
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 seat also has moulded rubber padding to protect your frame, and swaps between bikes easily with no special adaptors or clamps required.
You can also get a mini set of handlebars to fit on top of yours, for your little shredder to hold onto!
SHOTGUN SEAT SCAM UPDATE October 2021: Be aware of deals that appear too good to be true on Shotgun seats - they probably are. There's a problem at the moment with scam social media adverts and cheap imitation products. We recommend only buying directly from Shotgun Seats or one of their recommended retailers to avoid being caught out.
Oxford Little Explorer front bike seat (from £35.00)
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 Leco has been replaced by the Oxford Mini Explorer, which has been strengthened by the inclusion of a support between the seat, which is mounted on the top tube, and the footrests which attach to the down tube.
You can read more about the revamped Oxford seat in this post.
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 (RRP £197)
A very simple but elegant design, involving an aluminium frame with a plastic saddle and straps, the Mac Ride 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. Mac Ride can be adjusted as your child grows, with the seat and footpegs moving away from the handlebars as your child gets longer arms and legs.
The maximum weight suggested for the Mac Ride is 60lb (which equates to 27.2kg) and an age of about 5 years of age.
Tyke Toter front bike seat (Approx £110)
The Tyke Toter front seat is an American designed and manufactured seat that attaches to the adult bike seat post, meaning it can be used on the majority of bikes including those with a step through frame. The manufacturer also claims you can fit a metal shim to a carbon seat post.
As you can see the child’s weight is taken by the horizontal tubing, which is made from aircraft grade aluminium. The manufacturer states this will hold the weight of the child up to 45lb (20.4kg) which is around the 4 years mark.
The Tyker Toter front seat comes with lots of detailed information about the types of bike frame it does and doesn’t fit to, so you should be able to work out whether it fits your specific bike. There are various headings under the FAQ tab on their website that should answer all your questions.
Where to buy:
The Tyke Toter can sometimes be bought in Sterling via eBay and is shipped from the US. Costs will vary based on currency fluctuations, but it’s about £110. If you purchase via eBay you’re avoiding the additional currency conversion fees your bank may levy if you buy in US dollars.Buy Now
Front bike seats from Holland (from approx £68 plus shipping)
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.
Do Little Bike Seat (approx £110)
The Do Little front bike seat comes all the way from New Zealand, and their website states “We can guarantee the Do Little fits almost all double tube city bikes, commuter bikes, step-through frames and all mountain bike frames including hard tail and full suspension” The Do Little has been Engineer Certified for a safe loading of up to 28kg / 61.7lbs (which can be up to the age of about 7 years), which is one of the highest weights for this type of mid-mounted seats.
Where to buy:
The Do Little can be shipped from New Zealand – it costs $154 NZD which is approximately £75, plus a shipping cost of $40 NZD which brings the total cost to somewhere around £95, plus any currency conversion fees from your bank.Buy Now
LOCT front bike seat (discontinued)
The LOCT was a front bike seat designed by a British family, suitable for off road riding, with a maximum weight of 28kg. It is currently unavailable as the Company was dissolved in 2012, so their website hasn’t been updated and their Facebook page is no longer available.
This seat can only be picked up occasionally second hand via E-bay or other selling forums.
This is what it looks like, should you come across one:
Summary of front mounted bike seats for older children
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||Shipped from|
|Shotgun MTB seat||22kg||Top tube||£120||UK|
|Mac Ride||27kg||Additional top tube||£197||UK|
|Oxford Little Explorer||22kg||Top tube||£50.00||UK|
|Tyker Toter||20kg||Seat post||Approx £110 plus shipping||USA|
|Holland Seats||40kg||Down tube||£65 - £100 plus shipping||Holland|
|Do Little||28kg||Down tube||Approx £75 plus shipping||New Zealand|
A big thank you to members of the Family Cycling UK Facebook group for help and inspiration with writing this article. It’s a great group to get advice for cycling with your kids, so head over there now.
Whilst you’re on Facebook, don’t forget to follow our Cycle Sprog Facebook Page too!
Other articles you’ll find useful:
- The best rear bike seats for toddlers and small children
- The best front bike seats for toddlers and young 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
This post was first published in July 2018 and updated in January 2021 to reflect the availability of the seats and include links to second hand options