If you’re eager to share your biking experience with your little ones, you have to choose between a trailer and a saddle.
Comfort and safety are two major concerns and they have their own advantages and disadvantages,
Let’s compare these two means and see which one might fit your needs best!
Bike trailers for kids
A trailer is a transportation extension for cargo or people. It is a motorless, wheeled frame that contains a hitch to attach to a bike.
Bike seats for kids
A bike seat is a special type of saddle attached to the front or rear side of a bike. Its purpose is to carry kids of 1-5 years old.
There are mainly three types of bike seats –
- Front-mounted seats
- Rear-mounted seats
- MTB/Mid-mounted seats
Bike Trailer vs Bike Seat: Head-to-Head Comparison
Trailers can carry up to 135 lbs of weight. So, a bigger trailer can support more than one kid.
Front-mounted child bike seats are designed mainly for children between 9 months to 2 years old. The weight of the kids should be below 33 lbs.
However, rear-mounted seats can handle up to 70 lbs, which means they can easily support five-year-old kids.
A trailer includes three-or five-point harness systems, reflector flags, foot, and shoulder straps, brakes, and low-height configuration for safety.
Child bike seats include three-and five-point child-proof straps, reflectors, suspension systems, windscreens, and foot restraints as safety features.
Trailers come with many comfort features such as adjustable suspension, reclining seats, pneumatic tires, tinted windows, premium suspension, and rain covers. These things make them much more comfortable to ride.
On the other hand, some child bike seats come with arm support, head support, padding, helmet recess, and reclining capacity, which also makes them worth your consideration.
This is a straightforward process – just a hitch attaches the trailer to the bike. Some brands also provide manuals to make things simpler.
Bike seats also have mounting brackets for installation but the process is a little harder comparatively.
Trailers are generally more expensive because they have more safety and comfort features to offer.
They come in bigger sizes with various facilities, which add some extra bucks to their pricing. Usually, the range is between $100 to $1000.
Compared to trailers, bike seats are more affordable due to being smaller and made of fewer materials. They cost you from just $30 to as much as $500.
Trailers make it tough to ride your bike in slippery or wet road conditions. This makes them unusable on rainy days since nobody wants to risk their children’s safety.
A child bike seat allows you to move along with your child as you wish because it is attached to the bike itself.
Kids Bike Seats vs Bike Trailers: Pros and Cons
Advantages of bike trailers
- Lower to the ground
Trailers are relatively safer because they are lower to the ground. This also helps prevent toppling over when the bike is moving or turning.
The cover of the trailer protects kids from weather elements like dust, pollen, wind, UV rays, and rain. Some branded trailers have windows at the side of the cover, which allows the children to enjoy the scenery.
- Easy to Maneuver
As there is a gap between the bike and the trailer, it is easier for the biker to paddle without any hindrance. It is also hassle-free to hop on and off of your bike.
Trailers often come with reclining seats and suspensions, which are essential for a comfortable ride.
Being enclosed, strapped, and seated in a zippered compartment makes child bike trailers safer for your kid. If the bike falls then it usually doesn’t affect the trailer as it is standalone.
- More passengers
A bigger trailer can accommodate more than one child.
Trailers are easy to install as the process is pretty straightforward. You just have to attach the hitch to the bike. It takes less time and effort compared to other systems.
Many bike trailers can be converted seamlessly to a stroller or a jogger, which makes the trailer the winner in this department.
Disadvantages of bike trailers
Trailers are more expensive than saddles, which is a concern for parents on a low budget.
- More weight
Bulky and heavier, they make riding difficult since the rider has to pull the trailer. It becomes even more difficult if you’re biking on rocky, muddy, and rugged surfaces.
- Parking problem
Trailers need more space to park that might be troublesome to find in a busy location.
- Lack of interactions
In a trailer, the child is a little away from the parents to communicate easily and share their experience.
- Closer to traffic
Since trailers are not as high as the bike itself, they may be in a driver’s blind spot and accidents may happen anytime.
Advantages of front-mounted bike seats
- You can protect and keep an eye on your kid as they are in front of you
- You can talk to your child easily
- You won’t be an obstacle for your child to enjoy the scenery
Disadvantages of front-mounted bike seats
- Your child may meddle in your steering
- May impact the balance of the bike and make it difficult to ride
- Give less pedal-to-knee legroom
Advantages of rear-mounted bike seats
- Come with reclining capability, helmet recess, side support, and head support
- Can support taller children
- Better steering experience as the child doesn’t hinder anything
- You can concentrate on riding
- You can protect your child from dust, wind, and tree branches
- This type of seat comes with a shock suspension system to protect your child’s spine
Disadvantages of rear-mounted seats
- You can not keep an eye on your child
- It makes dismounting the bike difficult as it affects the balance of the bike
- You cannot effectively communicate with your children
- It is more difficult to hop on and off your bike with a child seat mounted to the frame
Advantages of mid-mounted bike seats
- A safe option if you are an aggressive rider
- Suitable for kids up to five years old
- Safer for your child on bumpy roads
- The most balanced system as the seat is placed in the middle of the bike
Disadvantages of mid-mounted bike seats
- Kids have to hold the handle if it doesn’t come with a harness
- Can hamper the peddling
- Installation takes more time and effort
Bike Trailer vs Bike Seat: Which One to Choose?
In terms of safety, usability, storage, and comfort, child bike trailers are better. If you prefer a light and cheap system with great experience then go for bike seats.
Considering all aspects, trailers would be a better choice for most parents. If you choose bike seats, there is a possibility that you will feel the necessity of a trailer after using the seat for some time.
Q. Which one is good for babies?
Ans. Trailers would be a better choice for babies as they are safe and comfortable. If the bike falls, this won’t affect the trailer.
Q. What is the price range of budget trailers?
Ans. Trailer prices widely vary from brand to brand. If you need an affordable trailer, they usually cost between $100 – $200, whereas high-end trailers may cost more than $1000.
Q. What would be better for the parent?
Ans. If you are strong and tall then choose trailers over seats. Trailers are heavy, so they need more energy to pull. On the other hand, the seats are mounted on the bike so they may interfere with your pedaling if you are taller than usual.