Child seat or trailer?

Cheeseface22Cheeseface22 Posts: 133
It's not for right now, as our little one is only 4 months old, but we want to understand the pros / cons of child seat and trailer.

As far as I understand:

Seat - pros: cheaper and more design options, easy to install, doesn't take up storage space.
Seat - cons: throws your balance?

Trailer - pros: well balanced, robust, some have buggy conversion option, road users are extra cautious?
Trailer - cons: storage space, expensive, can't interact when in the trailer?

Anymore factors to consider, fellow cycling families??

Posts

  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 683
    I've never used a trailer but I did have 2 kids seats (one front, one back) on my bike for a while and the balance wasn't much of an issue.

    I now have a trailerbike for the eldest and it makes getting through some gates all but impossible and it can make crossing roads a bit tricky as it's so long and doesn't fit on traffic islands, it also has a massive turning circle - a trailer is likely to have similar issues.

    I'm a big fan of the front mounted seats when they're young. You can chat to them and keep an eye on them but it's not ideal if you're out for long enough that they need to sleep ( although both of mine would happily sleep in it, it just looked uncomfortable).
  • Shirley BassoShirley Basso Posts: 3,132
    I have a wee ride front seat.

    Started using it as soon as the baby could hold his head up. 5m was too soon as he has the wind reflex thing and cried like hell. 6m was bang on and been riding 3x per week about 1 mile to nursery and never had a single cry or peep. In fact he's totally indifferent about it and mainly leans over the side and stares at the floor (now 8m)

    Downside is the feet stirrups mean you have to ride with your knees out but is a sturdy bit of kit and easily removed (simple wingnut) for non kiddy rides.

    Absolutely no issues with balance whatsoever even when he moves his head to look around.

    The only downside is I had great expectations of him finding it really exciting but truth be told he doesn't give 2 sh!ts about being on the bike at all.

    Edit to add : the weeride also has a soft 'board' like thing so the baby can flop forward and sleep, although I'd imagine it's like sleeping against a car or train window where you bang your head everytime you hit an imperfection in the road surface.
  • I’ve used a trailer from age 5 months, my son is now almost 3.

    You can get a ‘burley Snuggler’ to cradle a baby. I used that until about 13 months.

    I have a Burley Solo. I picked it after what felt like days of researching. So I selected it over the others at a similar price point due to weight, ease of folding/ assembling, cargo space behind seat, packed up size and shoulder space.

    I selected a trailer over a seat because I wanted to do longer rides in all weathers.... so a seat just didn’t seem practical for that.

    My son is now almost 3 and since age 5 months I’ve towed him on at least one two hour ride per week, every week. He absolutely loves it. In the summer we spend the day out and stop for picnics. In the winter we’re not out so long but find cafes.

    I’ve towed him up Mt Ventoux and over various other french cols... the trailer is extremely sturdy and stable and handles extremely well descending round hairpins!!

    I don’t have any manoeuvrability issues with the trailer. Obviously you can’t do a u-turn as easily, but the way the hitch works on the Burley is pretty impressive.

    The trailer protects him from the elements better than a waterproof poncho/ sunblock would because he’s fully enclosed.

    Interaction wise, we chat a lot and have no difficulties communicating. I’m sure you could more with a child in a seat.

    Safety wise I stick to quieter roads and trails. I have a Knogg blinder flashing on the back. The flag which came with the trailer broke fairly early on.

    I’ve never rolled the trailer but I think my son would come off a lot better than a similar incident in a bike seat. I’m basing that on the trailer design incorporating a roll cage, whereas with a seat there’s not so much to protect them.

    When not in use I store the trailer in the boot of my small car.

    You can buy a jogger wheel and skis for it, which I don’t have... but could be handy!

    If you plan on doing short rides I’d pick a seat, but longer definitely a trailer. I’ve never once wished I had a seat.

    Now my son is older I love the fact I can pop his balance bike in the back of the Burley so he can ride with me or when we stop.

    I should add I tow with my winter road bike and I had to change the cassette from a 28 to a 34 (it’s super hilly where I live)... my FTP has gone through the roof though!!
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,017
    I have a wee ride front seat.

    Started using it as soon as the baby could hold his head up. 5m was too soon as he has the wind reflex thing and cried like hell. 6m was bang on and been riding 3x per week about 1 mile to nursery and never had a single cry or peep. In fact he's totally indifferent about it and mainly leans over the side and stares at the floor (now 8m)

    Downside is the feet stirrups mean you have to ride with your knees out but is a sturdy bit of kit and easily removed (simple wingnut) for non kiddy rides.

    Absolutely no issues with balance whatsoever even when he moves his head to look around.

    The only downside is I had great expectations of him finding it really exciting but truth be told he doesn't give 2 sh!ts about being on the bike at all.

    Edit to add : the weeride also has a soft 'board' like thing so the baby can flop forward and sleep, although I'd imagine it's like sleeping against a car or train window where you bang your head everytime you hit an imperfection in the road surface.

    Used a Wee Ride front seat with my daughter up to 3 yr old. Doesn't affect balance, gives them added protection by having your arms around them, they can see what you're seeing instead of your back, you can talk to them and keep an eye out for them dropping anything or having a problem. Easy to fit and remove. Once she'd mastered a balance bike and then riding a bike with pedals at 3, we moved to a follow me tandem, but only for long trips if she got tired, or if venturing onto busy roads. By 4.5yrs, she didn't need that either.
    TACX iFlow - basic, Bushido smart -Rubbish, Elite Kura - not smart, Direto - awful, Tacx Neo1 - perfect.
  • We've had both trailer and rear seat. Just be aware that a seat can have a big effect on handling on some bikes.

    I had a hybrid spesh crosstrail and the rear seat worked well. Got that nicked so got a planetx London road super commuter bike. Great bike and I've used it from MTB trails, road, commuting to loaded touring but it was too unstable with a child seat. A hamax siesta reclining seat, top of the range at the time so a good, stable seat. It just resulted in my bike shaking so much when setting off that I really could not ride my bike more than a free metres. I do not know why that happened. It was very unnerving. I honestly thought I would crash every time I set off. It got worse as I gained speed. I never got above 5mph without having to stop. Fortunately my partner took the seat back and I never used it again.

    I think it's like a fully loaded bike shimmy thing. A resonance sets in and you have what motorcyclists call a tank slapper.

    There's a review if a burly dlite on line where the guy tested the ability to protect his kids. He strapped them in with helmets then turned it upside down and shook it as hard as he could. The kids loved it and were unharmed. Not scientific but illustrative I think.

    Btw IME motorists give both child trailer and child seat toting cyclists a wider space than if uppity ride without them. It is the idea a kid is in there that I think causes this courtesy. I doubt any motorist is so self righteous to risk hitting a kid in a trailer. Imagine the outcry you'd get.
  • I’ve used a trailer from age 5 months, my son is now almost 3.

    You can get a ‘burley Snuggler’ to cradle a baby. I used that until about 13 months.

    I have a Burley Solo. I picked it after what felt like days of researching. So I selected it over the others at a similar price point due to weight, ease of folding/ assembling, cargo space behind seat, packed up size and shoulder space.

    I selected a trailer over a seat because I wanted to do longer rides in all weathers.... so a seat just didn’t seem practical for that.

    My son is now almost 3 and since age 5 months I’ve towed him on at least one two hour ride per week, every week. He absolutely loves it. In the summer we spend the day out and stop for picnics. In the winter we’re not out so long but find cafes.

    I’ve towed him up Mt Ventoux and over various other french cols... the trailer is extremely sturdy and stable and handles extremely well descending round hairpins!!

    I don’t have any manoeuvrability issues with the trailer. Obviously you can’t do a u-turn as easily, but the way the hitch works on the Burley is pretty impressive.

    The trailer protects him from the elements better than a waterproof poncho/ sunblock would because he’s fully enclosed.

    Interaction wise, we chat a lot and have no difficulties communicating. I’m sure you could more with a child in a seat.

    Safety wise I stick to quieter roads and trails. I have a Knogg blinder flashing on the back. The flag which came with the trailer broke fairly early on.

    I’ve never rolled the trailer but I think my son would come off a lot better than a similar incident in a bike seat. I’m basing that on the trailer design incorporating a roll cage, whereas with a seat there’s not so much to protect them.

    When not in use I store the trailer in the boot of my small car.

    You can buy a jogger wheel and skis for it, which I don’t have... but could be handy!

    If you plan on doing short rides I’d pick a seat, but longer definitely a trailer. I’ve never once wished I had a seat.

    Now my son is older I love the fact I can pop his balance bike in the back of the Burley so he can ride with me or when we stop.

    I should add I tow with my winter road bike and I had to change the cassette from a 28 to a 34 (it’s super hilly where I live)... my FTP has gone through the roof though!!

    This is amazing. I doff my cap to you!
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 6,794
    We found rear bike seats worked well until they were able to go on a trailer bike.

    But don't we all really want to be Danny Macaskill?
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