I hear you: finding the best front mounted child bike seat sounds downright scary. Your child? In front of you? On your bike? What if they sneeze or try to get off?
For you cautious, wise parents, I ask this question: would you prefer your child in front where you can see them, or in back?
Honestly, there are actually a lot of benefits to both positions - and yes, having a child that mounted in front is perfectly safe!
Front mounted bike seats are actually very popular in Europe where they have been used for decades to carry children around.
Simply put, a front mounted child bike seat is just a seat that is mounted in the front of the bike, with the child facing forward, instead of the back.
But just because they’re right for other parents doesn’t mean they’re right for you, so let’s dig into some specifics.
Table of Contents
- 1 What to Look for in a Front Mounted Seat
- 2 Best Front Mounted Child Bike Seat
- 3 Pros and Cons of a Front Mounted Child Bike Seat
What to Look for in a Front Mounted Seat
Choosing a front mounted seat for your child can be difficult, especially since they’ve gotten very popular in the last few years, which means there are even more models to choose from. There are a few questions you should ask yourself when you’re looking at your choices, so hopefully you’ll be able to eliminate at least a few options.
Is your child the right size?
Front-mounted seats do have lower weight limits, usually between 30-35 pounds. If your child is already over this weight limit, then consider a seat that mounts in the back instead.
Is your bike compatible?
Many front mounted bike seats say they are compatible with most bikes, which is generally true as long as your bike meets a few requirements, mostly for your comfort:
- Space: does your bike have enough space to fit a child? This is especially important for shorter bikers.
- Handlebar space: You will need at least half an inch of space to mount the seat on the handlebars. When you loosen the lock nut, can you move the handlebars up and inch, and still ride comfortably? If so, you’ll have enough room for most available seats.
- Threaded headset: does your bike have a lock nut for the handlebars? You can easily tell by looking at where your handlebars connect to the rest of your bike. If there is something that looks like a nut there, you have a threaded headset. If not, you have a threadless headset, which often means that the base of the handlebars is simply too wide for a mounting bracket to fit.
Is it comfortable for the child?
It’s never fun to discover you’ll have to adjust your child ten times before they stop crying about being in a seat, especially when they’re mounted in front and you’ll have to get off every time to adjust. You’ll want to make sure the seat is:
- High with a recess pocket for a helmet
- Has a reclinable seatIncludes a windscreen
- Has a comfortable footrest
- Is specifically made for a child that is the weight and size of your child
Otherwise, make sure you’re looking for features that indicate quality: cushioning, suspension, adjustable shoulder straps, and comprehensive instructions, for example.
Best Front Mounted Child Bike Seat
If you’re still thinking one might be a great option for you, here are our top picks for best front mounted seats.
This is one of the more affordable versions of a front mounted bike seat, and it’s relatively comfortable for female rides because it is a little more compact. It features water-repellent materials and adjustable footrests and straps, and comes in four different colors, depending on what your favorite color might be (you’ll be looking at it a lot!).
The best feature of this particular seat has to do with safety. The Thule Yepp is equipped with a five-point harness to ensure safety of a child that is buckled in. The Thule Yepp Mini is the most affordable version of a line of quality seats from Thule, and is designed (and tested) for children up to about thirty pounds.
When you’re all done riding for the day, or just stopping for a break, the seat has a quick-release bracket that makes removing it from its mount a cinch. At 7.7 pounds and its own child handlebar, the Thule is a great buy for any parent looking to test out a front mounted seat.
With a name like “Safe T-Seat,” what’s not to love about this colorful, bright product? It only comes in two delightfully vibrant colors, like green and red, so as a bonus, your bike will be easier to spot! Unlike some seats, this seat is center-mounted, which is supposed to allow for better balance and more mobility for you.
While it doesn’t have integrated child handlebars like the Thule line, it does have something that looks like a “wheel” that can be driven and beeped for some extra fun. When a child is ready for a little nap, they can also lean forward on the cushioned circle comfortably - with their helmet - and take a snooze while you ride along.
Because of the unique design, this is a seat that can be mounted on threadless bikes as well, meaning that many commuter and higher-end bikes will be able to take advantage of this seat.
One of the most raved-about features is simple, but important in an emergency: the tools to adjust the seat, or to tighten it or take it off, are stored underneath the seat, which is padded and very comfortable for children.
The Mini City line is another affordable trio of seats, starting with this front-facing child seat. It has many of the bells and whistles features, such as a distressed black finish and a built in hand rest and bar for a child.
In addition, the back is high and reclines for the child during nap time. The foot tray is also easy to adjust as your child grows, and like most seats, this one holds around thirty pounds. The straps are unique because they strap up, not down like traditional American car seats.
This makes them accessible for the rider, unaccessible for the toddler, and easy to click into place safely if your child is feeling a little rowdy that day.
The overall design of the Mini City is spectacular. It’s attractive, slim and sleek, but it doesn’t sacrifice safety for style.
The adjustable child handlebars are designed to mimic actual handlebars so that it’s fun for your ridealong mini-rider to “help a parent steer,” and then when it’s time for a nap, they’re also comfortable enough to rest a little head.
This seat is particularly unique because it doesn’t depend on your handlebars at all and in fact clips underneath your seat instead! Keep in mind that because of the design, your bike must not have a brake line running up the bike seat tube.
The mount will crush the line, making it difficult to pump the brakes on the back wheel. However, if your brake line runs up the main part of your bike, this seat will work fine.
Ergonomic and minimalistic, the Tyke-Toter front-mount child seat is one of the easiest child seats to install. It’s incredibly compact and lightweight, and attaches to any seat post.
If your seat post is smaller than average, the manufacturer provides rubber shims to stabilize the seat so it is safe to use if requested by the owner.
In addition, this is one of the only seat designs that will work with Cityshare bikes.
Because of the simplistic design, Tyke Toter does warn that the seat was designed with fewer restraints than the average front mounted child seat.
It doesn’t have a shield, belt, handles, or any item that could be deemed unnecessary. Because of this, it is important to note that only children that are good at listening to directions should ride in this seat because if they let go, there will be a tumble!
This affordable seat comes in a multitude of colors, and has a fun, unique design that even includes a sippy cup older. Adjustable footrests allow the Peg Perego Orion to grow with a child, and the built-in suspension system keeps the bumping down to almost zero, giving a child a smooth and enjoyable ride.
Weighing in at almost five pounds, the Orion is built for children that are a year or older and under 30 pounds.
While this model doesn’t bast the five-point harness of the Thule, it still have an extremely comfortable three-point harness with adjustable straps. Installation is a cinch once the bracket is on, and the seat can be easily removed or placed with their patented “one-click installation”. The Orion also comes with a universal mount that even fits threadless bikes, and the bracket can be left on between rides so that the adult can use their bike freely and then simply click on the seat when the toddler is ready to ride, too.
This seat is reportedly very comfortable, padded, and takes safety into consideration with foot safety straps, and hard quality plastic. While the bracket is universal, watch out for tricky brake lines that may get caught on the seat.
There are many great seat choices out there for front mounted child baby bike seats, most of which are very affordable, comfortable, and safe.
There is a lot to consider when you’re putting such precious cargo on the front of your bike, but with careful consideration and perhaps even testing a few seats out, rest assured you will find the right one for you and your child. Then all that’s left is to gear up, put your helmets on, and have a great ride!
Pros and Cons of a Front Mounted Child Bike Seat
Depending on who you talk to, the pros and cons may be a little different, but let’s look at a few of the highlights.
- Your child is able to see everything without interference, which is often calming and soothing for children
- You can talk to your child and they can talk to you
- You can ensure the child is not unbuckling themselves or being unsafe
- Many models are reclinable or have features that allow a child to sleep comfortably in their seat without falling
- Weight is more evenly distributed on bike, making for a smoother ride
- Are often great for dads because of the average man’s height
- Weight limit is lower than rear-mounted seats, limiting a two to three year old to rides in the front
- Riding can become difficult, and shorter riders sometimes need to adapt a “bow-legged” strategy when riding
- Makes getting on/off a bike harder than usual
- Steering is challenging, especially if your child is tall or you are under average height
- Children have an opportunity to grab handlebars or change gears, which can cause distractions