Best Child Bike Seat
The Thule Yepp Maxi is a bike seat that attaches to the rear of the bike seat attaching easily to the seat post. This option's seating area is a soft, flexible material that is soft and squishy for comfort and bendable to resist breaking on impact. We like the bright color, simple attachment, anti-theft locking, and comfort features not included with all competitors. This seat is high-quality and has a longer life than most competitors, with a broader passenger weight range. It also has variable seat placement and recline adjustments for comfort.
This product is more expensive than the majority of the competition in this review. However, we feel the seats's longevity and quality justify the price if you plan to use it frequently and your budget allows. We believe this is an excellent choice for families who frequent bike use and plan to have regular outdoor adventures with their children on a bike.
If you are looking for a rear placement kids' bike seat, the Thule Yepp Mini is a top contender. This somewhat flexible option is brightly colored, has adjustable stirrups, and a quick attachment that locks to the bike to avoid potential theft. The seat is smaller than the Maxi and has a lower passenger weight range.
Given the front placement and lower weight range, this seat has a shorter lifespan than the other Thule we tested, which could impact your decision to select it over the rear seater. This seat is also somewhat more expensive, and families on tighter budgets may want to look elsewhere. However, we think this is a top-quality option for parents who prefer the front placement on a bike and could be the right choice if you plan to transition your little one to a bike of their own when they outgrow the weight limit.
The budget-friendly CyclingDeal Bicycle Seat is a high-backed bike seat with rear attachment. It has a lightly padded seat, adjustable stirrups, and an adjustable harness with no-rethread shoulder height change. We like that this seat has a handlebar for little ones to hold and a wider seat for more comfort or a range of child sizes.
The padding on this seat can retain rainwater making for a wet seat if you encounter incremental weather. It is also slightly more challenging to put the mount on the bike, though attaching the seat to the mount is easy enough. It also doesn't lock to the bike, so theft could happen depending on where and how you plan to use it. Overall, we think this seat is a good one, especially for the price. It might be easy for families on a budget to overlook the few downsides it brings with it.
The UrRider is a unique, collapsable middle seat that folds up and fits in a carry bag. This seat is easy to set up when you know how it works and offers a firm seat, handlebar, and footpegs for little ones. We like how easy this option is to take on the go and think parents will appreciate being able to quickly attach it to a touring bike or bike share in the city. A seat like this can expand the world's possibilities by letting you ride with little ones in a way you can't lugging around a traditional kids' bike seat.
If you frequently use a bike seat, this one might not be the most comfortable. It lacks any padding, and there is no seatback for little ones to lean on. We also think it may not be the best option if you frequently ride at home as it lacks some features for comfort for the sake of being compact and lightweight. Overall, we think travelers and city dwellers will appreciate this compact, easy to carry seat.
The economical iBert Safe-T-Seat is a budget-friendly option designed with little ones in mind. We like the contoured full-body design and think the spinning steering wheel is almost as fun as our kid testers think it is. This seat comes with an adjustable harness and stirrups with a thin pad for comfort.
While this seat is inexpensive and could be a good fit for the price, it isn't as high quality as the competition, and the components are somewhat unfinished, like the attachment to the seat, which is more on par with a garage project than a machined part. Also, something about the design puts little ones higher up and closer to the handlebars, which means larger children can't fit in the seat. While we like other options in this review better, both for front and rear seating, we can see value in the front seat placement of this budget-friendly choice. It could be a contender for families who want a front-seater on a budget.
The Hamax Caress is a nice quality rear seat option with an easy attachment method and comfort features. This rear seat is reclinable, which is unique in our lineup of options, and it has easy one-handed adjustments overall. We like that this seat has some padding, suspension, and adjustable seat placement. It can also lock in place to prevent theft.
The Hamax is one of the more expensive options, and we don't think it is that much better quality to merit the price as it isn't as nice as the similarly priced competition. We like the Hamax, and we think parents will too, but if given a choice, side-by-side, we'd choose the Thule over the Hamax.
Why You Should Trust Us
BabyGearLab has been buying and testing gear for babies for over seven years so parents can find the right products for their little ones and needs. This kid bike seat review is led by Senior Review Analyst Bob Wofford, experienced bicyclist, and father of 7. Bob selected each seat and tested them on various bicycles with different children of various sizes to determine the best in the bunch for different needs. Wendy Schmitz, Senior Review Editor and mother of 2, rounds out this team with the test result analysis and assistance with award winner selection. We purchased and tested the seats for ease of attachment, seat adjustability, and quality.
Analysis and Test Results
We purchased and tested 6 of the top bike seats to find the best option for every need and budget. The seats were tested side-by-side and hands-on to determine which products outshine the competition.
The best products are easy to assemble and use. If a seat is hard to set up or attach to your bike, you'll likely avoid using it. Over time, challenges might even influence your decision to use the seat or find an alternative that doesn't include taking your child. We considered each seat's ability to quickly assemble without a hassle in its own right and as it attaches to a variety of bicycle styles. The majority of kids' bike seats in this review are designed for a standard bike style that falls within the "typical" range of bike constructions. Bikes that fall outside these parameters (like a "FatBike") may not work with some or all of the selected seats. Parents will need to consider their bike type before making a purchase. We encourage you to buy from a retailer like Amazon, which has a simple return process if the seat is not compatible with your bike.
The Thule Maxi has an in-depth assembly, more so than most of the competitors. Mounting requires five bolts for the unit assembly and four more to attach to the seat post. It installs lower on the seat tube than the others, and you have to install the aluminum piece that connects to the mount under the seat (two more bolts). The final product is sturdy, and you only have to slide the seat into the component with a color-coded indicator so you know when it is connected properly. The Hamax is more straightforward, with only four bolts to attach to the seat post and a self-adjusting bushing. The seat slides smoothly in place. The CycleDeals is somewhat more complicated. We had to remove the bike seat before mounting the child seat to the seat post. None of the bike seats were particularly challenging. We think all are manageable, but you may feel differently depending on your assembly skills or desire. The UrRider is easy once you get the hang of it, though we can see how it could feel frustrating in the beginning. In our tests, we set it up quickly, but only after we did it a few times and understood the process. It doesn't require any tools, and it mounted quickly to multiple test bikes. It is by far the easiest to set up and attach to the bike, but you don't want to try it for the first time under pressure or with others waiting for you to finish.
Adjustability for child comfort or restraint varies from seat to seat in this review. Some adjust easier on the fly, while others are more challenging or lack useful adjustments. We utilized every adjustment on each product during testing and prefer quick and easy to change products versus those with wing nuts or have no adjustment.
Many of the seats have adjustable harnesses and stirrups. The stirrups adjust for height, and some include straps to keep feet from kicking around. We like those with quick-moving parts or straightforward adjustments and straps that prevent swinging legs, which can rock a bike off-balance. The 3-point harness on the CycleDeals adjusts easily, and we love the shoulder strap height adjustment that is non-rethread and quickly adjusts with your little one on board. The Thules both lack height adjustment on the shoulder straps, so they are sort of a "one size fits most" setup. Both have challenging buckles that require two hands, which can make holding the bike and releasing a child from the harness difficult. The UrRider has nothing for child harness/fit adjustment, which means little ones need to hold on by themselves. It does have footpegs, but they are stationary. The Hamax adjustments are straightforward, and the shoulder straps have a rubber backing to prevent slipping. The buckle is one of the stiffest in our tests and requires two hands to operate. The IBert adjustments are the most cumbersome and the hardest to operate.
Quality can be a "you get what you pay for" proposition, and while not always true, it does ring true when it comes to bike seats. The two most expensive options in our tests, the Thule seats, have the highest prices, but they also offer the best quality and features when compared side-by-side. Considering design and features, as well as construction and attention to detail, we don't think you'll find a better quality seat in this lineup. The Hamax also offers nice quality, though we feel it pales slightly compared to the Thule options, and they all have similar prices. The CycleDeals and IBert both feel like a lower-quality choice, but their prices match what they offer. The iBert is the most disappointing with rougher edges, cumbersome feel, stick on materials, and somewhat unfinished feeling mounting devices. While lower quality than the Thules, the CycleDeals still feels better than the iBert and would be our choice if you are trying to decide between the two.
Riding a bike with your little one on board can create a lifetime of appreciation for the outdoors and memories of adventures together. Choosing the right bike seat for your intended plans is an excellent way to bond when children are too little to pedal or the trip is too long. A useful bike seat is a great addition to any outdoor fun arsenal. We believe our testing process and analysis provide the information you need to select the best choice for your baby-on-bike plans.
— Wendy Schmitz