Bike seats

Buyer’s guide to bike saddles | Cycling Weekly (September 2018).

The bicycle is an indispensable means of transport for many parents - it's cheap, you can get anywhere in the vicinity, always find a parking space and do something else for his health and the environment. But if you want to take your child with you, suddenly the question of the suitable transport device arises. Child seats that are mounted on the bike have basically proven themselves, but there are many things that you should consider when choosing the right fit and when using it.

What types of bicycle child seats are there?

Most children are transported in a seat mounted behind the driver. You should not attach the seat directly to the luggage rack or touch it. It makes more sense to have a seat that you can attach to the seat tube with a special bracket, so that it can swing freely with your child. This suspension increases the comfort for your child considerably.

The seats are comfortably designed for your child and provide the best possible protection against accidents. Some seats can be mounted directly onto the luggage rack using an adapter plate, but with less suspension comfort. Because your child sits behind, it is protected from the weather, especially the wind. Disadvantage: As a driver, you do not see your child and hardly recognize whether your son or daughter may already be asleep. You can also talk badly with your child while driving.

Another way to transport your child is to install a special seat in front of the driver - either between the driver and the handlebar or in front of the handlebar. In both cases, your child is vulnerable to wind and weather, but as a driver, you always have it in view and can talk to him well.

Remedy against the weather creates a windscreen. Even if your child is sitting in the opposite direction when driving between the handlebar and the driver, it is more sheltered, but does not see the road itself, which could make it uncomfortable.

Always put a helmet on your child. When sitting in a high-backed stance, the helmet should be flattened at the back to allow it to lean comfortably against the head.

Hubert Paulus, a safety expert at ADAC, recommends that children on bicycles should always be transported at the back: ""If the child is sitting in front, the distraction is too great for the driver. In addition, the risk of injury to the child in an accident is higher. ""

For what age / weight are child seats suitable for cycling?

When asked if you can take your child with you on a bike, it's not your age that counts.More importantly, your child can sit alone and keep his head up.

It is also important how much your child weighs, because the seats always have an upper limit for approved kilograms. Rear-seat bicycle seats, because of their sturdier and higher construction, can carry heavier children than the handlebar mount seats. In addition, it is easier for you as a driver to transport heavy loads at the rear. Front affect the steering behavior.

Only if your child weighs 15 kilograms, may it sit in front. From 15 to 22 kilograms, you always have to transport your child in a back seat. In Austria children are generally only allowed to ride in the back.

What should I look for when buying a bicycle seat for my child?

If you want to buy a bicycle seat, always bring your bike and your child with you. So you can determine whether the desired seat can be mounted on your bike at all and whether your child fits well in the seat.

The seat should be stably constructed and anatomically shaped. Particularly important are the straps and the straps for fixing the feet, so they do not get into the spokes. The harness at the rear seat is fastened with a buckle between the legs of the child. You should be able to open and close the lock easily, but this should be impossible for your child.

In general, keep in mind that you need to hold on to both your child and your bike when you put your child on the seat or take it down. That takes a little practice. The backrest can be folded back slightly in good seats so that your child can sleep when it gets tired. However, you should avoid that your child falls asleep while driving, otherwise his head wobbles with every shock and every curve. An additional neck pillow can help here a little.

The seat upholstery should be easily removable to protect it from rain. Otherwise you must cover the whole seat with a large plastic bag or remove the entire seat to protect it from rain. Because the padding can easily soak up with water, which makes the seat almost unusable, if your child is not wearing rubber pants.

If your bike is outside overnight or you want to keep the seat safe from rain and theft, you must be able to remove the entire seat. For the seat must be easy to dismantle.

How useful are used bicycle seats?

According to the law, you can also buy used bicycle seats - as opposed to car seats. However, the technology has evolved in terms of safety and comfort, so you should not resort to a very old model.

Be sure to use tie rods that also act as spring clips and straps that secure your feet.The standard DIN EN 14344 stands for a large-area spoke protection.

If the plastic shell is scratched or bleached by the sun, then it is hardened and probably old and brittle. Then refrain from buying.

What requirements should the bicycle on which the seat is mounted meet?

The bike that you want to take one or two children with you must be stable to carry the extra weight. You also need good brakes. Of course, the wheel must be approved for road traffic. A specialist dealer can judge if your bike is suitable for child transport.

Basically, men's bikes are more stable due to their design, because the center bar reduces the flutter, which can easily occur in fast downhill driving with a lot of load. However, the center pole is an obstacle when getting on and off with a rear seat. Because you can not swing your leg over the saddle anymore. More comfortable is therefore a women's bike or a bike with low-lying frame.

When setting up and putting down your child, a two-legged center stand offers more stability than a simple kickstand. The center stand holds the bike in a reasonably upright position. You can also mount a stabilizing spring on the front wheel of the bike. This prevents the front wheel from swinging to the side while standing, which could cause the wheel to overturn more easily.

It is also important to protect the saddle spring, if available. In the saddle springs your child could pin their fingers from their back seat. Modern gel saddles have no exposed springs anyway.

Sources

- Stiftung Warentest: Bicycle Child Seats: How To Keep Your Child Safe, v. 29. 3. 2007

- ADFC: Parent bikes and child seat

- Parenting knowledge. com: How to Find the Right Bicycle Child Seat or Trailer for Your Baby

- Dirk Petersen, Environmental and Product Advisor at the Verbraucherzentrale Hamburg

- Hubert Paulus, Safety Expert at the ADAC

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