The Bike List

WeeRide Kangaroo Deluxe child seat £100

Tested by John Milbank, tester for The Bike List

Enjoying a cycle ride with your toddler is a wonderful privilege – the look of wonder on their face makes the extra weight on the bike a small price to pay. The only problem is, with most cycle seats it's everyone else who gets to enjoy that gummy smile. A very good friend of ours was kind enough to give us a rear-mounted cycle seat to take our daughter, Georgie, out on family runs. She loved it, but there was always a nagging frustration as I veered around on the tracks, craning my neck to see if she was enjoying herself.

With your child sitting between the handlebars and seat-post, the WeeRide Kangaroo allows them a view of the tracks unrestricted by your back, and the perfect opportunity to see that smile.

Fitting the Kangaroo to the bike

The WeeRide is supported by a bar that bolts to the seat post and the head tube, and fits all bikes, except those with drop-handlebars. With clear instructions, fitting is relatively easy –  a second pair of hands would be useful, but I had it in place with time to spare before Georgie started shouting at me through the baby-monitor after her lunchtime nap.

I was very sceptical that the fitting bar would work on my Specialized Hard Rock Sport, but there's clearly been a lot of thought put into the design.

Step 1: Separating the two halves of the fitting bar is a simple matter of removing a bolt. Fortunately, I'd had a look at this a few days before I fitted the seat, as the bolt had been damaged in the factory. With the WeeRide being handled in theUKby a small and friendly company, a replacement part was out in plenty of time.

Step 2: Bolt the rear of the bar to the seat post (it helps to only nip the bolts at this stage, then tighten everything up as it all drops into place)

Step 3: Bolt the front section to the head tube (not the stem).

Step 4: With the bolt refitted to the two halves of the fitting bar, and everything tightened up, the bike is ready to use. The bar can be left in place, and adds around 1.5Kg.

Step 5: Assembling the seat only requires one screw, to fit the front headrest (or biscuit table, as Georgie prefers to call it).

Step 6: When you're ready for a ride, the seat joins the bar with a simple thumb screw. Cleverly, this has a hex head in the middle, if you want to tighten it right down. The total weight of the fitted seat is just over 3Kg.

Fitting the kid to the Kangaroo

While the seat may look small, it holds a child up to 18Kg... WeeRide claim it'll fit children of up to four years old. To get the most out of any child seat, you need to get it for them as early as possible – typically from one year old, when they can hold their head up by themselves.

Georgie (who's two and weighs 10Kg) is no trouble to slot into the seat, never kicking her legs out of the way. The only problem I find is that the straps could be easier to adjust. When tightened properly, they give you plenty of confidence, but I'd have liked to have had the ability to pull the straps tight once the EU approved buckle is fastened, rather than the slightly fiddly clasps that make them tricky to adjust when the child is in.

In use

Riders of bikes without cross-bars will of course have to get used to the seat's mount, but once you're on the go, it's surprising how well your child fits between your arms. The biggest change to your riding style comes at the knees – the WeeRide forces your legs open a few inches, which isn't uncomfortable over any distance, but does make hill work a little more of a strain on the knee and ankle joints, as you adopt a slightly bow-legged riding style.

WeeRide claim that your child is under more control when between your arms, compared to a rear seat, but I did find that Georgie would sometimes hang over to one side to watch the front wheel go round, or take great pleasure in ringing the bell. Again, this isn't a problem, but you'd need to be ready if a larger child is prone to throwing themselves around (or even trying to grab the bars).

Verdict

I've tested the Deluxe version of the WeeRide, but one with a less plush seat is available at £24 less, and is well worth a look. Additional mounting bars cost £29.99 including delivery, or less if you buy an extra one with your seat – a great choice when both parents want to take their children out.

With a slightly awkward riding position, you may think that the WeeRide Kangaroo is at a disadvantage against the traditional rear-mounted seats, but the enjoyment it gives Georgie makes any slight discomfort more than worthwhile. Being able to chat to her more easily, to point things out as we explore the countryside, and the sheer pleasure of the moments when she twists round to give me a big grin make this one bike accessory that's not coming off my bike.

Find out more and buy from www.weerideuk.co.uk

WeeRide says:

Deluxe Ltd Edition – limited time only deluxe version of Kangaroo. The ultimate in child comfort and safety! All the features of the Kangaroo carrier, but with the added bonus of thick seat and back padding as well as a new EU approved safety buckle. You get the same improved passenger carrying position of our Center Mount seat with more child interaction and safer weight distribution. But we’ve taken it to a sofa level! 

Features

  • Child is visible at all times by rider
  • Child's needs can be heard, seen and attended to more easily
  • Interesting view for child - no more staring at someone's back! 
  • Child's weight enhances rather than impairs bicycle stability
  • Better communication between adult and child
  • More comfortable, enjoyable riding experience for child
  • Improved balance for rider due to child's central position on bicycle 
  • Enhanced safety because adult's arms surround child
  • Easy to remove child carrier for riding alone
  • No dangling arms or legs to reach wheels
  • Rear of bike is free to carry equipment

At a glance

Verdict Hill work may be a little more of a challenge, but this is a fantastic way for your child to travel.
Value
Performance