Center-Mounted Child Bike Seats

A center-mounted child bike seat lets you pedal with your kid essentially cradled between your arms. These seats, which are new to the U.S., allow mom or dad to be right there, always with an eye on the little one.

I find it to be more fun, too, to have a kid right in front of you. They grab the handlebar and pretend to steer. You can easily talk to them, show them where you’re going, and so on.

Unlike a rear-mounted child bike seat, your overall center of gravity is close to the middle of the bike with center-mounted setups, making it easy to control.

Center Mounted Child Bike Seat - iBert

This summer I’ve been testing two child bike seats, the iBert Safe-T-Seat and the Kangaroo, both of which mount on the top bar of the bike. They’re similar in principle, though the designs are pretty different.

There are some big cons with a center-mounted bike seat, so let’s start there: The No. 1 complaint I have is with the bike’s performance once a center-mounted seat has been added. Since the seat sits between your legs, you have to pedal slightly bow-legged, which cuts much of the power from your pedaling. It’s also difficult with either of these models to pedal while standing up.

Indeed, I have to get off the bike and push on steep hills, as my bow-legged pedaling while not power us up.

This is a major flaw to the center-mounted concept. If you want performance, look elsewhere.

Center Mounted Child Bike Seat - iBert

But for tootleing around, for cruising on relatively flat trails or down the sidewalk, these seats work well. I’ve come to really love the kid-between-the-arms setup, and my daughter does too.

Of the two center-mounted seats I tested, the iBert safe-T-seat was preferred. It’s slightly more expensive than the Kangaroo WeeRide — at about $90 for the iBert, versus $50 for the WeeRide — but its design is cleaner and its bulk less in the way.

It mounts via a single prong of metal, which attaches to your bike’s stem under the handlebars. The seat slips on and off easily with the release of a single keeper pin. A minimum of 3/4 inch is needed on the handle bar stem to accommodate the stinger mount assembly.

The safe-T-seat is designed for children age 4 and under; the minimum age is 12 months, as the child needs to be able to sit up and hold the weight of a helmet. The maximum height of the child that can use the safe-T-seat is 42 inches. Kids taller than that will be uncomfortable. The recommended max weight is 38 lbs.

My one complaint with this model is its plastic seat arm, which folds on a hinge to let the child sit down, then (supposedly) snaps shut for safety. There is a webbing harness as the main safety attachment. But the plastic seat arm on my test model would not properly snap shut. It came that way, kind of ill fitting.

Otherwise, this is a great seat for parents and kids alike.

Contact: iBert Inc., www.ibertinc.com
Price: $89.95

Center-mounted seat No. 2 in my test was the Kangaroo WeeRide Seat, a model distributed by Kent International Inc. in the United States. It is bulkier than the iBert, but does have a couple advantages.

Attaching this model to your bike takes about four times as long as with the iBert. The bar assembly is much bulkier, too, as it spans the whole width of your top bar, connecting onto the bike’s stem and then the seat post in back.

Center Mounted Child Bike Seat - Kent Kangaroo

After taking the WeeRide’s mount bar on and off a couple bikes, I began to get frustrated with its shoddy hardware. The hex-head bolts became manky and started to shows signs of superficial rust. I’d suggest the company to invest in higher-quality bolts.

This seat also gets in the way more while pedaling, as its kid foot areas extend down further than with the iBert.

One plus to this model: There’s a built-in handle/platform for the kid. My daughter, who often gets sleepy on long bike rides, could lay her head down on this platform and snooze. (Her head just flopped around if she fell asleep on the iBert.)

This model is also a fair deal, at $49.95.

Overall, the WeeRide will do the job fine for biking around town with your kid, as long as there aren’t large hills.

It fits about the same size/age kids as the iBert.

Contact: Kent International Inc., www.kentbicycles.com
Price: $49.95.

Center Mounted Child Bike Seat - Kent Kangaroo Carrier

Posted by phaedrus - 07/26/2007 09:47 AM

Some of the bobike seats look like they might not interfere with pedaling as much. They are designed with dutch bike geometries in mind so that might make a difference if you’re trying to put them on an MTB or a Hybrid. I think the Mini+ with the optional windshield looks quite cool:
http://www.bobike.nl/pdf/gebruiksaanwijzing_mini+_en.pdf

If you look through their website, you’ll find pictures of people riding with them that look like they’re able to use their legs properly.

I believe CleverCycles out in Portland carries bobikes. I know I saw one on one of the photos they’d posted of their shop at some point.
http://clevercycles.com/

Posted by Mark M. - 05/09/2008 10:52 AM

from a standpoint of safety, stay away from these contraptions. It does not matter whether they mount in front or behind you. If you go down, your child will go down with you. The bike is not supposed to carry two. Get a trailer. They are much safer for the children. The trailer will stay upright when your bike goes down.

Posted by Mirela - 01/07/2009 08:16 PM

I use the WeeRide with my 11 month old. She is able to hold her head up well and enjoys the ride a lot. However, I do not see how she will be able to ride on it after she gets a few months older and taller as she will not have room for her head as I will need the room to lean forward. I use a hybrid bike and the peddling is terrible. My knees are very sore during and after riding. I am now looking to get a trailer as this would be more comfortable for both baby and I.

Posted by Rodrigo - 05/18/2009 08:13 PM

I have a question, could you use the ibert on a 20” foldable bike?

Posted by JamesB - 06/12/2009 11:55 AM

The Wee Ride rocks. No doubt about it, and safety is not an issue as you should not be doing anything aggressive with your child strapped in there anyway. Our boy loved riding with us this way, almost as much as I loved being able to interact with him on a nature ride. I also firmly believe that he already had the balance of a bike down just by riding with us this way, his training wheels were off before he was 4! Just throw down and get one (he never asked to go in the trailer again).

Posted by HenryC - 06/29/2009 07:56 AM

I just got the Ibert seat and my 1 year old son love riding with me. He protested at first but once we started riding he start to have fun and was able to change the gear shift as we were riding to my surprise. Yes you will end up riding slightly bow legged, but that is one of the draw backs of either seat design. The other draw back is that it took a little tinkering to be able to ride and dismount safely with the child seat on. I have a short frame bike so there was not a lot of clearance between the child seat and the bike seat so I ended up having to raise the handle bar as high as possible and lowering the bike seat to the lowest position to have enough clearance to be able to get on and off the bike and to be able to start pedeling from a standing start.
In response to Rodrigo question regarding the foldable bike, it might be to small to get proper clearance between the child seat and the bike seat.

Posted by Dicko - 07/12/2009 12:00 AM

Another vote here for the weeride. my son is on the larger size for his age of 2 1/4. he loves riding on the weeride, the interaction is terrific. No one should fall off a bike while a child is on it. If you can’t control the bike, don’t take your kids. if you were to get hit by a vehicle your first reactions should be to cradle you child, easy if they are in front of you as you already have your arms around them. I dread the thought of a car rear ending a bike towing a child trailer!!

Posted by Bestromann - 07/23/2009 07:50 AM

i vote iBert bike seat because it easy to install and it have a pretty color. my kids love it.
Although i have made webblog review about iBert, video installation and lovely home video iBert in many action.
Visit my bloghttp://ibertchildseatreview.blogspot.com/

Posted by hannah - 08/18/2009 04:52 PM

stupid

Posted by connie - 09/15/2009 12:39 PM

we have had our son on the bobike seat every day from when he was 7 months old – we still use it and he is 3 now, although he only weighs 13 kilos, which is important. We’ve been very happy with the bobike seat, especially because it has an optional soft t-handlebar for when they are smaller and a visir that protects them from wind and rain. We had a bracket on my husbands and my bike – both hybrid/city bikes and found them supereasy to take on and off. We are now looking for a front mounting seat for an older child as he is starting to get too small. Can anyone recommend anything?

Posted by steve - 09/27/2009 07:20 PM

We’ve had a great experience with the WeeRide for the past several years. Sadly my daughter is outgrowing it at 4. It’s been great for talking together, and her sleeping sometimes, during rides. Highly recommended for years 1 thru 3.

Posted by samsingh - 05/05/2010 03:52 PM

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Posted by Sofia Meyen - 09/13/2010 08:36 PM

To Mark M: You are incorrect on the safety aspect. Trailers come with their own safety drawbacks, particularly when in traffic and because it is more difficult to keep an eye on your child generally (i.e. choking, getting cold, etc.) Check consumer reports’ website, among others; all found the three options (front mount, rear mount, trailer) were equal in terms of safety, with each offering advantages in particular biking/traffic situations. So: it turns out that trailers are not the end-all, be-all. And whaddaya know— the Europeans, Aussies, and Asians know a thing or two about infants and bikes after all! They only use front and rear mounts, for the most part (no trailers).

Posted by jpea - 08/21/2012 08:27 PM

I would agree with Sofia – we have an iBert and a Burley trailer. We had a car almost hit our trailer earlier this summer. Perhaps the driver didn’t see us pulling it behind us, but I feel like my boy is much safer sitting between my arms on the handlebars in his iBert. It’s awesome :)

Posted by Nash - 04/27/2013 04:31 PM

When my son was born I made a search for a seat. I saw both of these seats. Although I had to pay more for the weeride (I live in Greece), I decided to buy it because of this platform. It was a god decision in my opinion. My son does sleep resting his head on it sometimes on a longer ride. Also, in one occasion it did protect him when we hit into something. I wander what would have happened if he was on the other seat. The seat is really good. Attaching the bar does take some time, but taking the seat off it is quick and easy, so I leave the bar on all the time and take the seat off when I am alone on my bike…so, the problem of assembling it does not bother me!

Posted by Hendrix - 09/21/2013 02:47 AM

Can you tell me which baby helmet is shown in the top photo? It’s the blue helmet in the picture with the father + baby biking in front of the trees.

Thanks!

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