If you are a mountain biker and a new parent, one of the most common questions that comes up in our forums is, “How can I safely take my young child with me on my bike rides?”
There are actually several options available. You can:
- pull a trailer behind you (good for 2 children, not good for visibility and interaction)
- use a rear mounted seat (creates a very rearward biased center of gravity, can be tippy, not good for visibility and interaction)
- use a mid bike (top tube mounted) seat (hard to pedal with the child carrier in this location)
- use a trail-a-bike/alleycat style add on (good IF your child is old enough to hold on securely by themselves)
- use the iBert safe-T-seat
I have tried the trailer and the rear mounted seat, but hands down the iBert safe-T-seat beats both of these options. If you have more than one young child, the trailer is a better option. But if you have only one small child/toddler who wants to ride with you, the iBert offers a much better view, and more importantly, better interaction with your child as you ride. Everywhere we go, we get comments and questions about the iBert safe-T-seat from other excited parents.
Mounting the seat to the bike:
The iBert safe-T-seat uses a very simple mounting bracket (called the “stinger”) that mounts to the steerer tube of the fork, just below the stem. It uses two bolts and takes only 5 minutes to install (actually, it took me 10 minutes but only because I had to move a spacer from on top of my stem, to below it.) A minumum of 3/4″ IS required, so if you don’t have any spacers on your steerer tube, you may be out of luck.
The seat itself slides on to the stinger bracket and attaches via a pin that is secured by a cotter pin. Without the child in it, there seems to be a lot of play between the seat and the mounting bracket. However, once the child is in the seat and secured, it was never an issue.
You do not have to remove the stinger bracket, to ride the bike solo. The stinger bracket swings around when you turn the handlebar, but it does not get in the way.
Loading your child into the seat:
It is helpful to have a bench or tailgate of a truck or trunk of a car, or something to lean your bike against, when loading and unloading your child from the seat. Clearance between the cables from the handlebar and the leg portion of the seat can be tricky, but not a big deal (I try to make sure my child points his toes a bit when getting in or out so they don’t get hung up on the cables.)
Also, I have found that it is necessary for me to load my child, then secure the safety straps over his head, without him wearing his helmet. If he has his helmet on, the clearance with the straps is not enough to go over his head with helmet. Not a big problem, but something to remember.
Once loaded and ready to go, the iBert safe-T-seat offers a great ride experience. We can talk back and forth, point out different sites along the trail…just a really fun and unique way to share the ride with your little one. Everywhere we go, we get comments and questions and smiles from other cyclists and parents.
At first, with the added weight of the child attached to the steering of the bike, it takes a bit of getting use to. But after just a couple of laps around the driveway, this feeling disappears (you won’t be bombing any gnarly switchbacks, to be sure, though).
Also, because of the position and the spacing of the seat, there is not a lot of space to hop down between the saddle of the bike and the iBert safe-T-seat. You can solve this by either lowering your seat for starting and stopping (so you don’t have to hop down) or by using something to stand on (a curb works well) when starting or stopping in order to maintain proper saddle height for peddling.
As a parent of a young child, there is no better option than the iBert safe-T-seat…really. And no, I didn’t get paid to say that. In fact, I paid for this product with my own money, at full retail price, this is not a free test product or something bought at an industry insider price. I first found out about this product from their booth at the Sea Otter this past year. I recommend it to any cycling parent with a toddler.
If I had to complain about one thing (and I think every good review has to include at least 1 think that isn’t perfect), it would be that the ride might be more comfortable with some padding in the butt and inner thigh area of the seat. You would think a diaper would be the mother of all chamois, but we’ve been working up to longer distances of rides and harder terrain, so a little bit of padding would be nice.
Summary and Rating:
I would strongly recommend the iBert safe-T-seat. It is a lot of fun for my son and I, and it is a great way to get your youngster excited about biking. I’ve even moved up from laps around the local park to real singletrack rides. My only complaint is that I didn’t find out about this product sooner! Had I known, I would have had him in this thing for the last year, as it stands now, we don’t have long to go before he reaches the 38 pound weight limit (which means I’ll have to get him on a balance bike (Skuut/Like-a-Bike/Glider) soon!
I give them 5 flamin’ chili peppers overall:
And 5 flamin’ chili peppers for value:
Do you have an iBert and want to share your experience? Please write a review on our site here:
iBert Inc. Website:
From the manufacturer:
-better than trailers
-better than rear-mounted seats
-better than other front mounted seats
-installs in minutes
Will it fit your kids?
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 well and hold the weight of a helmet on his/her head. The maximum height of the child that can use the safe-T-seat is 42 inches. Kids much taller than that will be uncomfortable. The recommended max weight is 38 lbs. Above 38 lbs and the maneuverability of the bike may be affected.
Will it fit your bike?
The safe-T-seat is the most adaptable child carrier on the market today. It fits more bikes than any other front mounted seat. A minimum of 3/4 inch is needed on the handle bar stem to accommodate the stinger assembly.