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  1. #1
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    Child seat on a roadbike questions.......

    Wife and I had a kid last year, and the year before that I bought my wife a roadbike. Next season, we are in ohio, our daughter will be big enough for a bike seat. We don't want a trailer because it will hinder where we can ride. We have older mtn bikes, but we spent a decent amount on her roadbike and that's what we want to ride. I am going to get the Topeak seat that attaches to their rack, or the Thule seat that attaches to the seat tube. I need to buy an aluminum road/gravel bike that has rack mounts on the seat stays. I have read and understand that with her on the seat it's going to alter the handling of the bike. I ride a couple thousand miles each year and feel confident anywhere I ride, road, trail, traffic, etc.

    1) I know we aren't going to go as fast as we normally do, but will it be so drastically different that it would be unsafe with the child seat?

    2) Should I not use a drop bar bike?

    3) This is the bike I want. Found one on CL and it meets all my criteria:

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  2. #2
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Trailer. Sorry, but it's easily the safest option.
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  3. #3
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    In my opinion, a child seat is extremely dangerous. Yes, it will affect handling somewhat, particularly since the child can unexpectedly make a move that the rider might never expect. Even if the child remains passive, any kind of accident will send him/her in a long plunge to the ground---and the child will not know how to land or protect itself the way an adult might. I think these seats should be banned, but that's just me.

  4. #4
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    A suggestion is...stop into the rim versus disc thread currently running and post your question. Many of the disc brake guys ride with a child seat on the back of their roadbike and they should be able to help.

  5. #5
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    A child seat is a risk to the child. But so is a trailer, playgrounds and most of life. That's your call.

    I don't think the weight thing is that big a deal. My tiny mother had me in one of those things until I was three - if she could handle it you can.

    That bike looks okay if you can mount a rack/seat securely to it. I would be inclined to decrease potential crash events by putting some very puncture proof tires on and some interrupter brake levers so your hands are never far from a way to stop.

    One of the biggest dangers of these seats is putting the child in them without the bike falling. My brother has a scar from a kick stand failure while he was sitting in a seat. Come up with a plan.
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  6. #6
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    Get a trailer. It is the only safe option for the infant. I used a Burley trailer when my two kids were young, and it worked very well. The kids were far better and more safely secured, and were more comfortable being able to have blankets, snacks, toys, etc, and could see scenery better.

    As others have said, carrying a small child on a bike is very dangerous in the event you are in any sort of accident. Accidents by definition aren't something you can predict. In an accident the infant will fall or forcibly be thrown to the ground where they are at much increased risk of brain or neck injury, even if they are wearing a correctly fitted helmet. Don't forget, an infant's head is proportionally far heavier than an adult's head.

  7. #7
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    Mounted seat: Safer from vehiclular impact, but if you dump the bike, the lateral impact on your child can be severe. Plus, it negatively affects the handling of the bike. Also, weight limits on mounting points might be a limiting aspect.

    Trailer: Better dynamically, except under hard braking (especially on steep downhills). Mounts on chainstays may damage frames. More vulnerable to cars from behind.

    Handlebar mount: VERY dangerous, and I think illegal.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Trailer. Sorry, but it's easily the safest option.
    We have both. Kids prefer the trailer. They can ďreadĒ and not worry about dropping the books or toys.

    Not a lot of empirical evidence to say one is inherently safer than the other in the event of a collision with an automobile, but I can tell you the trailer is way less likely to tip while putting kids (hint, nearly impossible), taking them out or maneuvering around an obstacle. So we use the trailer, unless all three kids are coming because itís less of a hassle getting kids, diaper bags, farmers market purchases etc in and out, safely.

    I also find it hard to believe that there are places one canít ride with a trailer that one is likely to ride with a rear mounted seat. But what do I know, Iím just a CAT 5 racer, with CAT 4 parental abilities.






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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    Mounted seat: Safer from vehiclular impact, but if you dump the bike, the lateral impact on your child can be severe. Plus, it negatively affects the handling of the bike. Also, weight limits on mounting points might be a limiting aspect.

    Trailer: Better dynamically, except under hard braking (especially on steep downhills). Mounts on chainstays may damage frames. More vulnerable to cars from behind.

    Handlebar mount: VERY dangerous, and I think illegal.
    I think youíre wrong on the likelihood of injury to a child in the event of a collision with an automobile, but Iím open to reading a research article describing the likely severity of injuries which have occurred to children riding in rear mounted seats when struck by a motor vehicle vs the likely severity of injuries when riding in a bicycle towed trailer designed to accommodate children is struck by a motor vehicle.

    The handlebar and top tube mounted kid-seats just tick me off...


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  10. #10
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    I think you're fooling yourself if you believe one lightweight plastic/aluminum/nylon vessel is going to protect a child than another. If a car hits your child seat bike or trailer it will be serendipity if no one is seriously hurt.


    The primary safety downside I see to trailers is how long the bike/trailer is when it comes to crossing through traffic. It makes it much harder to cross several lanes compared to a bike alone, and might surprise someone used to just dealing with just a bike.
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  11. #11
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjdhawkhill View Post
    We have both. Kids prefer the trailer. They can ďreadĒ and not worry about dropping the books or toys.

    Not a lot of empirical evidence to say one is inherently safer than the other in the event of a collision with an automobile, but I can tell you the trailer is way less likely to tip while putting kids (hint, nearly impossible), taking them out or maneuvering around an obstacle. So we use the trailer, unless all three kids are coming because itís less of a hassle getting kids, diaper bags, farmers market purchases etc in and out, safely.

    I also find it hard to believe that there are places one canít ride with a trailer that one is likely to ride with a rear mounted seat. But what do I know, Iím just a CAT 5 racer, with CAT 4 parental abilities.





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    I agree with this. If by some chance there are, go somewhere that isn't an issue. It's your kids safety we're talking about.
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  12. #12
    I love to climb!
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    My gosh, the usual fear mongering over child seats.

    A child seat is plenty safe, you don't need a trailer if you don't want one. Be practical and safe, and a child seat is plenty safe (don't go crazy fast, stick to safe routes, don't leave the kid alone on the bike even with a kickstand, don't do jumps, etc, in other words, exercise common sense and you'll be fine). In other words, a child seat is not a death trap as so many on this forum claim, for if it were, I'd hear about a lot more injuries and death from them than I do (I hear of almost none, btw, and absolutely zero first or second hand, only the random story third hand here on the web. And I sell a lot more child seats than trailers. Most patents are responsible with their kids and exercise due caution when using the child seats, i.e, common sense)

    I have used a child seat on a road bike, and it was ok. I preferred using the hybrid bike, was more stable for me, but that might have just been the difference between those particular bikes. It wasn't that the road bike (technically a cx bike) was unstable, just the hybrid was even more stable. The kids really liked being in the child seat as opposed to the trailer (I used both with the first kid, skipped the trailer with the second, and she was happy in the seat).

    If the bike you're looking at can take the rack to instal the child seat, you'll be fine.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
    I think you're fooling yourself if you believe one lightweight plastic/aluminum/nylon vessel is going to protect a child than another. If a car hits your child seat bike or trailer it will be serendipity if no one is seriously hurt.


    The primary safety downside I see to trailers is how long the bike/trailer is when it comes to crossing through traffic. It makes it much harder to cross several lanes compared to a bike alone, and might surprise someone used to just dealing with just a bike.
    Some people think that being elevated when hit by a small car will save them, scooting across the hood ala Bo Duke, but getting hit by a 3/4 ton pickup probably wonít matter... which is pretty much why I asked for empirical evidence, rather than anecdotes.

    Sure, IF drivers are really used to solo cyclists, they might get surprised by the bright red trailer that lags 4 feet off the rear wheel of a rider, (with a 5í high high vis pennant, and is all covered in reflective trim). but IF theyíre that used to single cyclists, theyíre also likely conditioned to mini group rides and commuter pacelines. We can all ďwhat ifĒ the questions to death, but in the end, I still havenít found a study that describes likely outcomes from different types of collisions with an automobile.

    I know that trailers donít tip at slow speeds, but bikes with rear mounted seats are ungainly and itís not too hard to spill the rear end of the bike with the kid strapped in. Broken arm, legs etc seem pretty likely for kids in comparisons to just watching Dad fall over and kids learning a new four letter word.


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  14. #14
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    Child seats generally protect kids' legs. With helmets it is mainly arms and collar bones that are at risk if a slow fall.

    To me this is more a question like the relative danger or roller skates or roller blades. Trailers keep the kids low and stable, but give up some direct control. Pick your poison.
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  15. #15
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    There's no way in H@@L I would consider a child seat on a bike - a trailer yes. What happens IF you crash- too much risk. Ride at separate times, ride a trainer, and if you really both need to ride at the same time, get a sitter would be my advice. Don't put your child's safety at risk.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    There's no way in H@@L I would consider a child seat on a bike - a trailer yes. What happens IF you crash- too much risk. Ride at separate times, ride a trainer, and if you really both need to ride at the same time, get a sitter would be my advice. Don't put your child's safety at risk.
    But people don't just "crash". They hit things, get hit by things, lose control in a corner, brake too late and go off the road.

    A trailer will protect a kid better in some types of accidents, no better in others. And a trailer will cause some types of accidents that a seat on the bike would not. Thinking about why crashes happen is as much of an issue as what happens when they do.
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  17. #17
    teoblar
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    Being hit in traffic on a bike or while pushing a stroller through a crosswalk or being hit by a meteorite. Life has risks, but riding as a family is wonderful and totally worth it. Stay off of busy roads and narrow shoulders.

    I never considered a bike-mounted seat. Trailer for cargo/snacks/books as mentioned above, take two kids if you want to. There were a lot of benefits.

    The first thing that came to mind was having that extra weight so high off the ground. Makes for longer fulcrum, increasing the de-stabilizing effects. Same argument with backpacks vs panniers, I suppose. Keep the load low.

    For future consideration; we outgrew the trailer and I put them on a double tag-a-long (Adams is the best), the kind that mount to your seatpost, and gave the kids the chance to "contribute" to the biking effort. At the kids largest it added about 110lbs to the back of my bike. I got my first disc brake 29er with wide handlebars for that job.

  18. #18
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    I came out with a trailer. My main issue is that aside from a crash, turning around to get the child creates a separate opportunity for injury not present with a trailer (which will not tip). A kid falling from the seat position could be seriously injured, and I'd have trouble trusting a kick stand or wall to keep the bike up.

    Another nice thing about the trailer is that it only takes 30 seconds to unhitch and get an unencumbered bike. The seats are a bigger deal to remove. Finally, my trailer converts to a jogging stroller- so it does double duty.

    You do slow down a decent bit with a trailer (especially acceleration), but they roll smoothly and don't detract from the experience of riding too much.

    I don't see what a drop bar bike or flat bar has to do with anything unless you are using one of those front mounted seats (which seem like they would kill the handling).

  19. #19
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    Milk crate on the back for your essentials, and child on the front. I'd forego the purple helmet at this point in time.

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