Why use rear fitting child seats
Following our review of front fitting child seats we have tested a lot of rear seats too. Rear child seats are great for riding longer distances because they don’t really obstruct efficient pedaling like front mounted ones normally do. Rear seats tend to have more comfort features, with some even reclining to let kids fall asleep, being behind the rider means they also block cold wind or rain from the child too. Rear seats generally clip on and off very easily making it convenient and easy to swap between bikes, or remove when not in use. Rear child seats are normally rated for a higher weight meaning you can keep using them until a kid is much older.
With kids sitting behind you it means a little bit less interaction than front seats but I was surprised how much fun we still had compared to the front ones (just don’t leave snacks in your back pocket!) Rear seats are not really suited for proper mountain biking as they transmit the bumps much more and talking of bumps they also don’t fit full suspension bikes. In fact a front seat mounted directly onto a suspension fork really helps absorb all the bumps well.
Rear seats can affect bike handling and in particular when walking with the bike you need to be careful it doesn’t tip backwards with so much weight on the back.
Some people think rear seats are safer than front seats because the rider will impact first and it is not you crashing into the child, I can see the logic but whether this is actually the case depends on a lot of variables and not convinced there is a strong argument either way due to better handling and control with a front seat etc.
Child Seat Attachment
Rear seats attach in two main ways; A cantilever arm that clamps on the seat tube of the bike frame or designs mount direct onto a rack. With many ebikes and city bikes coming with a rack this makes a lot of sense. For others the cost and hassle of fitting a rack makes cantilever designs more sense and easier. A cantilever arm also provides a degree of suspension rather then the rack mount that transmits all bumps direct from the wheel.
- 1 Hamax Caress rear seat – £120-£130 – Rack or Cantilever – 9mths to 22kg
Hamax are a Norwegian company making a range of seats and trailers too. This rear seat comes in both rack and cantilever design. I used it with a rack. It fits tool free using lockable handles that twist and secure the mount and seat. The seat has inbuilt suspension to smooth out the bumps, this consists of a single pivot and two springs. It doesn’t have damping so off road it can act a bit like a pogo stick bouncing about. The springs increase the centre of gravity by raising and altering the height making bike handling harder than some. The back rest adjusts up and down which helps as a child grows and ensure the shoulder straps fit well. It also reclines to the back allowing young kids to sleep easily which is well worth having!
When reclined it further shifts the weight back making bike handling odd at best with heavier kids. With double skin and added arm rests it generally feels very secure, along with simple but effective shoulder strap and clip to hold kids in. It also has a standard strong security strap to go around the seat post. It weighs a lot but feels tough and robust. I think it suits ebike use on cycle paths or daily nursery runs which might involve roads. This is a high end well built safe seat and good option for most rides not on bumpy off road, other than adding a bit of weight.
4/5 (loses a point for high centre of gravity and no damping)
2 Urban Iki Rear Seat – £79.99 – 9mths – 6yrs/22kg
This seat is almost the opposite of the Hamax Caress, a light weight stripped back seat. I used the rack mount version that sits low onto the rack. this uses 2 allen key bolts to screw and tighten onto the rack. Simple but effective. I enjoyed using this seat as it is a light and simple option but it is flimsy and a single wall construction only. The seat buckle clip also feels flimsy but held up fine when tested. The defining moment was on one ride when I thought it was attached but on the first gravel climb it just fell off the back with my son on it. The ‘safety’ wire with a combo lock was around the seat post and it just snapped like string. Luckily my son had a good helmet on which got dented and he was shaken up but unhurt so we were really relieved. The seat had fallen off the rack mount and while the seat might not have been fully clipped in, I thought it was which concerns me and the fact the safety wire just snapped really annoyed me, if it had held the seat it would have stayed on or fallen less severely. It has gone in the bin as I just can’t trust it. I would avoid this seat despite some good features.
1/5 (just can’t recommend this seat)
3 Bobike Go rear Seat cantilever design – £69.99 Cantilever 1yr – 6yr/22kg
This was the first rear seat we got to use and was the cantilever attachment and it has been pretty good. We used the cantilever arm version to save fitting a rack and to help swap between two bikes after buying a spare clamp. A cantilever arm adds a bit of suspension and works well on gravel tracks. It can bounce a bit but nothing too bad. The Bobike isn’t as robust and quality feeling as the Hamax but it uses a double skin for safety, high protective seat back, rear reflector and still feels overall decent quality. It isn’t too heavy at a reasonable 3.2kg. The interface clicks in and feels more secure than the Urban Iki bike, which is a relief! The safety strap goes around the seat post and is strong like the Hamax so gives good back up safety. The only issue we have had is the metal cantilever arms slip down inside the clamp, past the notches they should click into, this isn’t a big safety or operating issue, but clearly it’s not meant to happen but it does lower the centre of gravity nicely! It is essentially a good, reliable middle of the road rear seat at a decent price.
3.5/5 ( Solid if uninspiring)
4 Thule Yepp Maxi Rear seat – £110 Rack mount or £125 Cantilever (as tested) – 9mth to 6yr/22kg
This is essentially the same style seat as the front fitting Yepp mini, but with a rack or cantilever design for the rear fitting. The same ‘foam’ type constructed seat helps absorb shocks well along with a basic beam suspension underneath too all help make it a smooth ride. Once the clamp is fittted the interface to fit is quick release and while robust feeling. The shoulder straps seem to stay on well with two height adjustments generally adequate. The foot rests adjust up and down like most rear seats. At 4.6kg the Yepp Maxi is heavy especially compared to the Thule Yepp Nexxt seat at 3kg. However the lighter Nexxt is more basic and a slightly higher price but still probably good optioon for many looking for a minimalist seat. Overall the Maxi or Nexxt from Thule are probably the best rear seat for general use, however at twice the price of the Bobike option it makes it less attractive, but the Maxi can be found online for about £85.
4.5/5 Buy one here on offer for £85
Other Rear Seat options;
Bobike Exclusive Tour – £110 – Rack fit
A more upmarket and safety focused version of the Maxi Go rear seat. A big design with a double wall skin and extended head rest which is both adjustable and wraps around the child’s head really well. More adjustment and padding than the Go, and clever strap system makes this a heavier but quality option ideal for commuting to nursery on roads and ebike use too.
Thule Ridealong £120 Rack or Frame fit
A slightly cheaper rear seat from Thule in more traditional plastic and with cantilever design. Has a basic beam suspension system designed into it, but we’ve not tested it.
Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi – £145 – Rack fit only
As mentioned the Nexxt seat is a lighter version of the Yepp Maxi but is rack only fit. A nice light minimalist but quality looking seat that we’ve not tried out. It sits very low to the rack giving a good low centre of gravity with a cleaver buckle system. Not as much head rest as some seats.