How to choose child bike seats?

Type of bike

One of the main frustrations parents have with baby bicycle seat in Singapore is getting them properly mounted.  With countless different types of bike frames and sizes, as well as numerous different bike seat mounting systems, it’s easy to see how challenging obtaining a perfect mount can be.  As a general, standard city bikes or commuter bikes (mountain bike style frames without suspension) are the most versatile, while specialty bikes, such as road or full-suspension mountain bikes, are not recommended.  Prior to purchasing a seat, we want to ensure our bike is compatible with our seat of choice.  While we cannot guarantee a specific seat will specific bike, here are some basic guidelines to follow based on typical front and rear-mounted seats.

Required bike specs for front-mounted seats:

Type of headset:  While there are various types of headsets, we essentially just need to know if ours in threaded or not.  Luckily, we can easily determine our type of headset by looking where the handlebars attach to the frame of our bike.  With a threaded headset we will see a locknut circumference the frame, while with a thread less set, there is no locknut, but two bolts will be visible higher up on the stem (the bar that connects the handlebars to the fork).

Available space on quill stem (Threaded) or steer tubes (Thread less):  All front-mounted bike seats mount to either the quill stem (threaded headsets) or the steering tube, the tube that runs through the frame and connects the handlebars to the front fork (threadless).  Various distances between the stem (bar that attaches handlebar to steering tube) and head tube (portion of the frame that the steering tube travels through) are required for all front-mounting brackets, ranging from 3/4″ and up.

Available Space on Frame:  Front-mounted bike seats take up about 10″ of space between the stem and saddle of the bike.  If our top tube or the distance between our handlebars and seat tube is less than 20″ we may have difficulty riding with a front-mounted seat.

Specs for rear-mounted bike seats:

Rack-mounted Rear Seats: The majority of rear-mounted seats on the market mount to a bike rack, thereby requiring bike rack eyelet mounts on our bike.  Without these eyelets, a rack substantial enough to hold a child’s weight cannot be mounted to the bike and a frame-mounted rear seat must be used (explained below).  Four eyelets are on the frame, two on the seat stay (below the seat post) and two on the frame where the rear brake is attached (shown below).  If our bike does have eyelets, we will also need to determine whether it has disc-brakes.  Disc brakes are easy to spot as we can see the small braking disc around the hub of each tire.

Frame-mounted rear seats:  If our bike does not have mounting eyelets or even if it does, the location of braking and derailleur cables can be problematic.  If any cables are on the seat stay, versus the chain stay, the mount for the rear-mounted seats may prevent the cables from functioning properly.

Size and age of child

Front-mounted seats should not be used for babies under 9 months (12 months in some areas) and kids over the age of three and/or over 33 lbs.  In addition, any child that is not willing to wear a helmet should not be on a bike seat.  The weight recommendations for rear-mounted seats vary greatly; they generally max out at 40 lbs. but can go up to 70 lbs.

Place for hands/sleep bar

Keeping our kids comfortable during rides is an added bonus for everyone.  Happy kids make for happier rides.  While testing, we found that front-mounted seats with handlebars made for a more comfortable ride for child and adult.  The kids felt more secure having something to hold on to while adults found less “grabbing” of the their handlebars from the kids.  Padded handlebars and “sleep rolls” are also as added bonus as they provide a soft place for kids to lay their heads when they inevitably fall asleep. To read more about baby car seats in Singapore click here.

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