There’s no greater urge for mountain biking parents than to get their sprogs onto the singletrack as fast as possible. This cunning child seat is certainly one of the best ways we’ve seen yet.
Before looking at the details of this seat, you have to put it in context. For a start, traditional rear mounted kids seats are useless off road. They either need fitting on a rack (which rules out full suspension) or depend on long cantilevered steel rods clamped to the seat tube. Nice and bouncy for bairns round town, but likely to smack into the rear wheel on drops and with a devastating effect on front wheel control through corners or up steep climbs. It’s not likely to do a lightweight frame tube any good either.
Unless you hermetically seal kiddie trailers they fill up like grow bags as soon as you hit the dirt, with flying stones and dog muck being a constant danger. Smashing and rattling along in a small isolated greenhouse isn’t exactly the most appealing introduction to off roading either.
LOCT – Little Ones Come Too – works by sitting junior right up with you, sharing the same view of the trail and even the same handlebars. Not only are they ‘steering’ when you steer, but you can chat to each other, warn them about bumps and go “Wheeeeeee!” down hills in perfect ‘pigs in muck’ harmony.
Riding in a group you’ll be amazed how fast even the smallest kids will pick up stuff like standing up for bumps and roots and so on by watching riders in front. Having your arms round them and being physically close helps stop pre-school panicking, and while our three-year-old is pretty fearless, she took to the LOCT in minutes and absolutely loves using it now.
Considering what a fight most kiddie carriers of any type are, fitting the LOCT was easy. The nylon steerer tube spacer that holds the swivelling mount just sits under the stem, while an accurately machined two bolt two-piece clamp grips the seatpost at the far end of two telescopic tubes. You’ll be stuck if you’ve got a Scott as it won’t take 34.9mm posts, but 31.6 and smaller is fine if you use the various rubber packing strips.
Length adjustable stirrup bars then hang down alongside the downtube and can be angled forward for more wheel and knee clearance. Your bike takes up no more room in the back of the car or on a rack with it on either. Once fitted it’s been rock solid too, with no need for any adjustments or retightening beyond a bit of stirrup position tweaking. The strapped stirrups and scooped, soft rubber coated saddle keep your kid nice and secure on the bike too, which is pretty important.
With the weight well centred, steering is remarkably unaffected too, and we had no trouble weaving round tight switchbacks or plonking down small steps/kerbs. Obviously there is more weight forward and higher up than usual though, plus you’ve got a very valuable passenger so trying anything too radical is a bad idea.
So far this reads like an advert more than a review, but there are some downsides. For a start £169.99 is very expensive and most kids will want to be on their own bike before they hit the recommended maximum age of six. Then again there’s always a buoyant market for second-hand kids’ stuff and it’s well made enough to last.
What riders and rugrats will work together also varies with size. Tall riders (6ft plus) shouldn’t have much trouble up to four- or five-year-old height, but shorter pilots need to be careful not to chin their children over bumps. You’ll also have to get used to pedalling with your knees out to stop them hitting baby buttocks or the saddle itself. It’s much better than similar seats we’ve used, and you can just about ride clipped in, but switching to flatties might be a good idea if you’ve got knackered knees.