Hamax Caress

Child Bike Seat Review

What We Would Use

Durable construction, quick and easy adjustments, secure shoulder straps, and the ability to recline make Hamax a smart choice.

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Product Specifications

MSRP: $199

Recommendation: Exceptional

Mount Type:

Age Range: 9 mo. to 48.5 lb.

Additional Mounting: Mounts to 1.1" - 1.6" diameter seat tube (must be clear of wires).

Reclines: Yes

Quick Release: Yes

Inches to Mount: 3" on seat tube, w/o wires on frame

Review

Bike seats are simple by nature, but can quickly become technical and complicated.  Mounting and adjusting bike seats can especially be challenging, but Hamax, a child bike seat maker out of the Netherlands, who has been perfecting their line of seats for years, set out to change that.  Simple, easy and elegant, yet full of features, there is a lot to love on the Hamax Caress rear bike seats.  Available frame-mounted or rack-mounted, the frame-mounted seat is reviewed here while the rack-mounted seat is reviewed here.
Hamax Caress with kid

Shoulder Straps and Buckle

Starting at the top, the shoulder straps easily adjust by simply sliding the lever on the back of the seat up or down. Quick and easy, the straps can be adjusted even when the child is seated. The seat also has a recessed pocket to prevent the helmet from being pushed forward on a child’s face.  When the straps are in the lowest position, the helmet pocket is reduced, but manageable as our 12-month tested had just enough room.

Hamax Strap heights

For added comfort, the upper portion of the straps are encompassed soft and slightly tacky foam to prevent the straps from sliding off the shoulders.  The safety buckle does take time to adjust to, but its unique one-handed safety buckle allow you one free hand to hold the bike.  To release the buckle, you must press down exactly on the center of the button, not too high, too low or on one side or the other.  After a couple days, we quickly got used to the buckle, while our child testers never came close and gave up trying.

Hamax Carness Buckle and Straps

In addition to adjusting the height of the shoulder straps, each strap can can be tighten individually by pulling down on the nylon strap. To lengthen the straps, simply push up on the red horizontal button on the straps upper buckle.

Hamax Carness Loading

Mounting and Centering

Mounting the frame-mounted bracket is quick and easy.  The mount comes apart into two main piece that wrap around the seat tube of the bike and clamp together with four hex bolts. The back mounting bracket is very thin and could potentially be mounted behind any wires on the seat tube as shown in the user manual screenshot below. The mount also lock has a lock that locks the seat to the mount.

Hamax rear bracket

To mount the seat, simply place the end of the mounting arms into the top of the brackets.  When properly inserted, two green safety tabs will protrude through the bracket. To release, simply push on group of eight circles on the face of the mount.

Hamax Carness Bracket

Placement of the mounting bracket on the seat tube is also important to ensure the proper height of the seat.  The seat should be about 10-12cm above the rear tire when mounted.  To get the proper height, partially adhere the mounting bracket, then before tightening the bolts, shift the mount up or down until the seat reaches optimum height, and then tightened the bolts.

Hamax Caress seat height

Centering the seat is also important.  For optimal weight distribution on the bike and for easily handling and balancing, the center mark on the seat should be no more than 10cm from the rear axel of the bike.  To center the seat, simply adjust it forward or back by unlocking and removing the black shaft below the seat (shown below) and then slide the seat along the mounting bracket.

While simple in concept, with the two bikes we tested the bike on both had challenges getting within 10cm of the rear axel.  With both bikes (Specialized Ariel hybrid and Priority Biycles) the saddles got in the way, preventing the Hamax seat from moving forward enough on the mounting rails.  In both cases, however, we were able to move the saddle forward on its rails or by moving the saddle up.  Upon doing so, the seat became too close to the saddle to allow the seat to recline.  In order to recline the seat, the seat had to pushed back beyond 10cm past the center axle.

Hamax Caress center of gravity

Solutions for Problematic Fits

Differences in frame design and saddle placement, can make it challenging to properly fit the Caress.  While we were able to make it work with our two bikes, for many bikes, a different mounting bar will be required to make it fit.  As shown in the screenshots from their Owners Manual, Hamax offer for different bars to help the bike fit problematic bikes.

Hamax Caress mounting bars

Bottom Line

The Caress is easy to use, easy to mount and easy to love.  The Caress is easily one of best bike seats we’ve used.

MSRP: $199

By: Natalie Martins

Last Updated: February 22, 2017

FTC Disclosure: All opinions stated in this review belong to Two Wheeling Tots LLC.  No momentary compensation was provided for this review. A Hamax Caress was provided by Hamax to help facilitate this review.  Two Wheeling Tots LLC is not an affiliate of Hamax, but is an affiliate of Amazon.

  • Joze Green

    Hello, I’m looking for a bike seat for a 3 year old to go on a specialized ariel bike. Have you found any other seats that go on these bikes as the caress is rather expensive and difficult to source second hand. Many thanks

    • We also have an Ariel (large frame) and the Thule RideAlong works great with it. If the seat is low on the frame, then you may need to low saddle adapter. Hope that helps!

  • ERic Jubin

    Hello, almost the same question as the previous poster (Joze): need a rear seat for 3yr old as he’s crossing the weight limit for the current front mounted Thule RideAlong Mini. I have a 2011 Specialized Rockhopper SL Expert 29er (https://goo.gl/photos/AV7jScJcwYJpQJpw9) with a wire and tab on the seat tube. I bought a Thule RideAlong from REI but sadly it doesn’t fit around the tab and I’m not keen on the copper tube workaround you used. Based on the picture of my bike do you think the Caress bracket would fit around my seat post tab?

    • Sorry for my delay in getting back to you. Based on your picture, I don’t think it will work. The bracket is pretty wide and it would have to fit in above the tab as to not pinch the cables. Even if the bracket did fit in the couple inches of space you have, the seat would fit really high on the bike, creating a less than desirable riding experience for you and maybe even your daughter.