Conclusion: Topeak Babyseat II Rating:
A quick search for kids bicycle seat on Amazon brings up a list of about nine seats to choose from.
There are two main categories: a.) those that mount on the front of the bike, and b.) those that mount on the back of the bike.
I have two kids, so I’m thinking I may need both eventually, but since I will mostly be riding with my oldest son, who about 40 inches tall now, I decided to go with a rear-mount seat since they accommodate taller children more easily.
This decision, along with the popularity, price and amazon reviews narrowed my choices down to three brands: Bell (~$60 – rack not included), CoPilot (~$125), and Topeak (~$130). All three look fairly similar at first glance, but a closer investigation helped me determine what I think is the best choice. All three have lower end models that cost less, but I’m only interested in the full featured models for my little prince.
(FYI – if you are interested in a front mount seat, the iBert Safe-T Front Mounted Child Bicycle Seat is a good choice from the reviews I’ve seen so far.)
Here are the three product descriptions taken directly from the Amazon product listings:
Topeak Babyseat II:
The Topeak® BabySeat™ II with rack creates a virtual cocoon of protection and features a 6-point harness. A suspension system cushions bumps and jolts, and the integrated roll bar provides head protection and doubles as a carrying handle. Adjustable footrests and straps keep small feet away from spinning wheels. The heavy-duty rack features a BabySeat™ attachment that requires no tools to attach and remove seat from rack.
The 2006 CoPilot Limo features a reclining back and adjustable foot wells that are category leading for comfort and adjustability. With 150 grams of ultra-plush gel inside a washable pad, your kids will experience unsurpassed comfort. The Limo also includes a strong, lightweight tubular Blackburn EX-1 rack that doesn’t weigh your bike down, and a secure, quick release mounting system that makes it easy to swap the limo between bikes with the addition of a second rack.
Take along your child on a biking adventure using Bell’s protective and comfortable rack-mounted child carrier. The Cocoon will carry your 40-pound-or-less child in safety, comfort and style, as it features a thick seat pad, high back for added protection, a five-point harness, molded spoke guard, and adjustable foot rests (which also allows the seat to grow with your child). Easy to attach to most 26- and 27-inch bikes (without rear suspension), this carrier can also be removed easily for solo rides. A rear reflector is included.
After reading dozens of user reviews for all three of these seats, It seems like any of them would be a decent choice, but I decided to go with the Topeak BabySeat II with (Disc Brake) Rack for the following reasons in order of priority:
- It is the only kids bicycle seat that offers spring suspension (that I’m aware of) for the child passenger. The springs have a full three inches of travel, so in the unlikely event of a curb hop, they won’t be jolted into tears.
- The back of the seat goes up high enough on the sides to act as a ‘roll cage’ in the unlikely event of a slide-out, the child’s head will be protected by the seat on the sides and rear.
- Six point harness system offers one more point of security than any of the others, although I’m not too sure what that amounts to in practice.
- Quick release system will allow me to easily remove the seat when I want to go for a ride w/o the kiddies.
- Adjustable foot rests – this turned out to be a critical one since my heels hit the foot rests as I peddle when at their lowest position. I had to move them up a couple notches to get clearance for my size 10.5 feet. This isn’t a big deal as my 40″ boy still has plenty of room for his legs at that position.
One thing that the Topeak child bike seat does not do is recline. I noticed that some of the others do, I suspect this is better if your kid likes to sleep during rides, but it seems like it would move the center of gravity further back than it already is which isn’t such a good thing in my mind.
Topeak Babyseat 2 Un-boxing and Assembly Picture Gallery
Here are the manufacturer’s detailed specs:
The Topeak® BabySeat™ II features an innovative suspension system, quick secure rack mount, and fully adjustable seating and harness system to make it the best in the business! The rear rack is Quick track compatible with all Topeak MTX trunk bags and rear basket for a multi purpose base rack. The tubular aluminum rack is disc brake compatible and its solid design also acts as a rear fender.
- New wrap-around seat design with integrated roll bar creates a cocoon of protection and complies with stringent European and Japanese safety standards.
- Updated 6-point harness offer superior comfort and protection
- Suspension system between the BabySeat II and the base rack helps to isolate the child from bumps and jolts.
- Included tubular aluminum rack is disc brake compatible and features fast and easy BabySeat mounting and removal.
- Seat Body Molded Engineering Grade Plastic.
- Safety Features: Adjustable Foot Rests with Straps, Roll Bar Handle, Six Point Harness System, Full Body Cocoon, and a Rear Reflector.
- Suspension: Dual Steel Spring.
- Capacity: 22 kgs / 48.5 lbs.
- Weight: 3130 g / 6.9 lbs (Seat) 630 g / 1.38 lbs (Disc Rack)
Here is a video of the Topeak child bike seat in use:
Here is a video review of the CoPilot Limo baby bike seat:
..and here is a video of the Bell Cocoon kids bike seat:
Disclaimer: I do not have hands-on experience with the Limo or Cocoon seats – my opinion is only based on my research and personal experience with the Topeak seat.
I hope this review has been helpful and informative for other parents out there doing their research. If you have experience with other toddler bike seats I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!