All About Ride Along Bike Seats

Looking for a way to share the fun and excitement of riding bikes with your child at an early age? Then a front-mounted Ride Along Bike Seat might be what you’re looking for. If you’re like us, then you probably can’t wait to get out on the bike with the kids and see the sights. With a front-mounted ride along bike seat, children as young as 9 months old can ride on a bike with you. Of course, check with your pediatrician, and make sure you adhere to state laws when it comes to riding with children on a bike.

So why do we love front-mounted “ride along” seats so much?! To take an excerpt from one of our brands, Mac Ride - “With a front-mounted seat... we love that our kids can talk to us and share in the experience of the ride. With your child on the bike with you, they can point out things that interest them and ask questions. Another big benefit is that being on the bike itself is helping them to learn the mechanics of riding a bike and how it feels to lean and turn.” If you’ve been considering a bike seat for your child we’ll answer all your questions and more below!

What’s the difference between a front-mounted bike seat and a rear-mounted seat?
Are there different types of ride along bike seats?
Which bike seats are the best?
When can you ride with your child on a bike?
How to measure inseam for Mac Ride fit?

Child on bike seat

What’s the difference between a front-mounted bike seat and a rear-mounted seat?

Aside from the obvious, one is on the front of the bike and the other is on the rear of the bike, there are a few reasons why we prefer a front-mounted bike seat:

  • Your child can see what’s out front, which is arguably the most fun aspect for them!
  • When they are up front with you, you can easily have a conversation, talk about what you see, and point to things along the way.
  • Front mounted seats really put your kid in the driver's seat as they get the full biking experience, learning what it feels like to lean into turns and steer, as well as learning how brake levers and shifter levers work on the bike.
  • With a front-mounted seat the positioning and added weight of your child and the seat is better located toward the front of the bike to maintain a safe riding experience. With a rear mounted seat, the weight is out back and results in diminished steering or in simpler terms; the front wheel becomes unweighted and makes steering sketchy.
  • From the compatibility side of things - there are fewer bike frame set-up issues with a front mounted seat since they are typically mounted to the vertical stem of the bike, just under the handlebars.

Are there different types of ride along bike seats?

There are a number of different seats out there, but they really fall into two main categories, which are a strap-in style bucket seat, and a sit-on-top ride along seat. The strap-in bucket seat, like the Thule Yepp Mini, safely and securely holds your child, and even gives them a set of handlebars to hold. The second category of bike seats is the sit-on-top bike seat, like the Mac Ride seat, which allows older riders to sit on their own bike seat, just in front of yours while they hold your handlebars and have their feet strapped into the seat.

Which bike seats are the best?

We’ve personally tested and ridden with A LOT of kids bike seats ourselves and with our friends. We quickly narrowed in on the best seats by considering mounting style, ease of assembly, adjustability, weight, features, safety, and of course fun. As we’ve mentioned we’re fans of the front-mounted seats so that quickly removed any rear-seat options. Next was mounting style and ease of repeated assembly, meaning how quickly and easily can you repeatedly take the seat on and off the bike (trust us, you will do this a lot). The Mac Ride Bike Seat and Thule Next Yepp Mini quickly landed themselves at the top of our winners list. If you have any questions about bike ride along seats, feel free to contact a Bambino Gear Expert.

Father and son riding bike on trail

When can you ride with your child on a bike?

Each child develops at their own pace, so we like to use other developmental markers to guide parents to answer the question, “when can you ride with your child on a bike?”

  • #1 rule - if your child is too small for a helmet, then you have to wait till they are bigger. No helmet = no go in our book.
  • They can wear a helmet, great! Keep in mind that the added weight of a helmet affects their head control. Before jumping on the bike, make sure they can support a helmet on their own.
  • Check your state laws - New York state for example prohibits children under the age of 1 to be transported on a bike. Please follow all state and local laws where applicable.
  • The ride along seats we use and love are oriented towards kids that can consistently hold their heads up, have grip strength, and can understand basic instructions. For children under the age of 2 years, we recommend using a strap-in style bucket seat like the Thule Yepp Mini as this has added safety straps and the seat itself supports their head. For 2 years and older a sit-on-top ride along a seat like the Mac Ride is a great option for teaching your child what riding a bike feels like when holding the handlebars.

We feel that “Age recommendations” are not all that accurate - You’ve probably found this to be true when purchasing kids clothing, we certainly have. Since our son was 6 months old, he has been consistently wearing clothes that are 2-3 sizes beyond his “suggested age range”. On the flip size, his little sister who is 7 months old is still swimming in what is supposed to be 6 month clothing!

Because of this we don’t really like to use age as an indicator when it comes to readiness to ride a bike, or bike or helmet sizing. We will always reference actual weights and measurements of your child to get the most accurate assessment.

That said, as an example, our son was on a bike with us at 9 months old (as approved by our pediatrician), but with our daughter we fully expect that she will not be able to ride with us until around 12 months. If you need help determining if you and your child are ready to ride bikes together contact a Bambino Gear Expert to give your guidance, but remember they are always going to recommend you consult your pediatrician for the final say!

How to measure inseam for Mac Ride fit?

Making sure your child is not too small or too tall for the Mac Ride Bike Seat is a simple process and only requires a couple tools to get the right measurement.

  • Step 1: You’ll need a book, a measuring tape, and your child in their favorite pair of shoes.
  • Step 2: Have your child stand against a wall, place the book between their legs and raise the book up until it hits their crotch. Measure from the top of the book (make sure to hold it level) to the floor.
  • Step 3: The Mac Ride seat fits riders with an inseam from 9 to 13 inches and up to 60 lbs.

Simple as that! Check out our size guides to find the appropriate inseam range for your child.

Mac Ride Size Guide