Saturday, April 2, 2011 3.00pm
By BikeRadar UK
Seats that fit behind the saddle, tag-a-long bikes and trailers are the usual options for transporting young children by pedal power. The common theme here is that the child sits behind the rider, which is fine for those over two who can occupy themselves for 30 minutes, but not so great for younger ones with the attention span of a goldfish.
Enter the Safe-T-Seat. This plastic bowl with leg-rests attaches neatly to the fork steerer or stem and gives the child both a good view and a feeling of security, as Mummy or Daddy has to reach around them to grip the bars. Fitting is simple. First you have to clamp a support strut onto the steerer tube using two Allen bolts (this applies to modern bikes with threadless headsets; on older bikes with threaded headsets it attaches directly to the quill stem). This feels sturdy and secure.
Then you slide the seat onto this strut and secure it in place using a bar and split pin. This system plainly works – the Safe-T-Seat is British safety standard BS EN 14344 accredited – but for peace of mind, we'd prefer a more solid bolt and locking nut. The seat would also benefit from a tighter fit between the moulded guide tube on its underside and the support strut as there's a degree of play which doesn't instil confidence.
Getting the child in and out is relatively straightforward, particularly if you straddle the front wheel and lift them in facing you. The only real challenge is sliding little legs under the handlebars and into the leg-rests – we’ve lost a wellie several times during this manoeuvre. Once this is done it’s easy to pull down the front safety bar and fit the adjustable shoulder straps.
Once the 'cargo' is in place, the ride is pretty good. Balance isn't badly affected as the weight sits fairly centrally on the bike, and although steering becomes noticeably heavier it’s not a problem to point the bike where you want to go. Longer-legged riders may find their knees hit the bottom of the seat, but adjusting saddle height helps minimise this. Overall the Safe-T-Seat is a great introduction to bikes for tots. Longer outings aren’t its strong suit, but it's perfect for family rides or a spin to the shops.
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