The Best Child Bike Seats

Two models rebel against putting the kids over the back wheel by placing your cycling companion front and center. We put them to the test.
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Picture of the iBert Child Seat
The iBert in action  (Nathan Borchelt)

Forget the rear-mounted child seats and trailers you see... everywhere. The kid might get a sense of movement, but how long would you want to stare at someone's back? Instead, let your kid get a more inspired perspective—while letting you interact with them directly—by strapping them into a different kind of bike seat. Not only will they feel the wind on their faces, but positioning the child between your arms, and against your chest, offers another layer of safety, which of course translates into more confident, more enjoyable biking for all concerned.

But the question remains: which front seat to get? We tossed two of the leading models at two new parents, who dutifully took their daughter Sadie cycling, from rides through Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., to quick jaunts to day care. And after six months, the verdict is in...

The iBert
$100, http://www.ibertinc.com
In Concept: This bright green seat is the simpler of the two, anchoring itself to the handle bars by a metal post on which the iBert sits, so that the seat itself is wholly aligned with the direction in which the front wheel (and handle bars) is turned. The kid then goes into the padded seat with his or her feet straddling the center post of the handlebar in a slightly reclined position. A three-point harness strap keeps the passenger securely in place, and a hinged safety bar drops across the child's lap.

In Practice: The seat itself was a breeze to install, and taking the seat on and off the bike is also easy—just pull out a pin from the connecting bar, and the seat comes free (a nice feature for when you want to ride without kid in tow). The unit itself is light, and the child's extra weight is evenly balanced—especially compared to back-mounted units; in three revolutions of the tires, your steering is adjusted. Pedal strokes also remain smooth; both our testers have long legs, but the iBert required hardly any changes to their cycling style. It's not the most stable ride on the market, and the safety bar might be good in theory, but in practice it's quite flimsy—the plastic prong bends pretty easily, and children can open it with relative ease. But rest assured, the iBert is still extremely safe, its three-point harness thoroughly stable, and even the squirmiest of children won't go anywhere.

Good For: Shorter rides (1-2 hours), and for those cyclists with long legs

For children up to 38 pounds.

Published: 9 Dec 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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