Solid, well-built child bike seats, but the shoulder straps can be problematic on both the Bobike Mini and Mini City. Read the review below for more details on why the shoulder straps limit the use of the seat.
Bobike Mini and Mini City
BEST FOR: Bikes with at least 1″ inch of clearance on steer tube for mounting.
MOUNT TYPE: Front frame
AGE RANGE: 9 mo. to 33 lbs.
- Universal mount is designed to fit both threaded and threadless headsets
- Optional hand bars, sleep pads, windscreens and storage boxes – customizable to suit your needs.
- 2-handed safety buckle
- Foots straps require tools to adjust and the design is less reliable
Bobike Mini and Mini City Review: Results of our Test Rides
From the Netherlands, where a large percentage use bikes as their primary source of transportation, BoBike has fine-tuned their products to maximize comfort and usability. With two front-mounted models, optional hand bars, sleep pads, windscreens and storage boxes, the Bobike Mini and the Bobike Mini City can each be customized to suit your needs. From the mounting bracket (the Bobike City and Mini+ use the same one) to the City’s unique shoulder straps, the BoBike Mini’s provide a comfortable and stress-free ride for both parent and child.
Mounting the Bobike Mini
The universal mount that comes with the Bobike Mini’s is designed to fit both threaded and threadless headsets (if you are unsure what type you have, read What to Look for When Purchasing a Child’s Bike Seat). If you have a threaded headset, mounting the bracket is as easy as screwing in two bolts. If you have a threadless headset, it is a little more complex but still manageable as shown by the BoBike video below (the threadless installation is shown halfway through).
If you are not familiar with bikes or uneasy about removing the handlebars, any local bike shop should be able to mount the bracket for a reasonable price, be sure however to shop around as some bike shops may attempt to charge you up to $100 for a 15-minute job that involves removing three bolts.
If you attempt to install the bracket yourself, please note that there is a slight mistake in the BoBike video above. When remounting your handlebars, be sure to tighten the bolt on the top cap (bolt shown in step one above) before tightening the bolts on the stem (shown in step 2 above). Once the bracket is mounted, the seat is attached by sliding the seat’s two mounting bars through the two holes on the bracket closest to the saddle of the bike. A safety pin is then attached for added security (shown in the video and in the picture below). Although both use a safety pin, the Mini City has additional quick-release bracing that unlocks by pulling a handle on the back of the seat.
To remove the seats, simply remove the safety-pin and pull the seats up, the City requires you to pull a handle while the Mini+ lifts straight up. Once removed, unlike the iBert or WeeRide, the small, unobtrusive bracket can remain on the bike without concern to its rider.
The buckling system on the Mini City is the main selling feature of the seat. While the Mini+’s buckling system is quite standard compared to other brands, the City’s is hands-down the best system on the market. First off, the extra-wide straps with three independent adjusters allow for a comfortable, customized but most importantly, secure fit. Concerns about straps slipping or being pulled down during a ride are also eliminated by the City’s unique buckling system. Instead of buckling between the legs, each strap of the Mini City independently buckles directly into the seat above the child’s shoulders.
Buckling above the shoulder prevents the straps from sliding down, eliminates the need to completely readjust the straps before every ride and also keeps the buckles out of reach of children, thereby preventing any accidental un-bucklings. As a side note, when using the Mini City, it is important to make sure the buckles firmly snap into place, as a partially buckled strap will most likely fall out during a ride (we did not experience any problems, but another user had). To prevent accidental un-bucklings on the Mini+ a two-handed safety buckle is used.
The unique buckles of the City also provide for a higher backrest as compared to the Mini+ and the iBert. With a higher back, the kids were less likely to get bumped during a ride and more secure in case of a fall.
With your child’s seat so close to the front wheel and handlebars, a system to secure their feet in place is essential. Unrestricted, loose feet can push on shifters and interfere with steering. Both BoBike Mini’s footrests are height adjustable, but only the City can be quickly adjusted without the use of tools. The City also uses the same extra-wide strapping with a locking buckle to secure the foot, while the Mini+ provides a less reliable pressure-fit strap.
In order to prevent kids from pulling their feet out of the foot straps, stiff “tennis shoes” can help keep a child’s foot in the foot straps much more so than a soft, pliable leather shoe.
As discussed in Things to Look for When Purchasing a Child’s Bike Seat, a handlebar is an important feature to consider on a front-mounted bike seat. Without a place to put their hands, they often grab for things they shouldn’t. Falling asleep is also common for kids on bike seats, so while returning home in best, providing them with a soft place to rest their heads is certainly something to consider.
The handlebar (shown above) comes standard with the City while a padded “hand rest” is available for the Mini+ for $35. A sleep pad is not available for the Mini City and while the buckling system of the City does prevent them from folding over, it is not recommended to ride for long distances with a sleeping child.
In addition to the Hand Rest, BoBike also offers a windscreen, to help protect from cool winds or rain, and a front-mounted BoBike. The BoBike is mounted to a rack that attaches to the BoBike mounting bracket and can be used with or without (as shown above) the BoBox.
Comfort for Rider
Front-mounted bike seats can be cumbersome to the rider. Being 5’10” with a 34″ inseam, lowering my seat and slightly splaying my legs as I rode was necessary in order to ride comfortably. I also found getting on and off the bike more challenging as the seat provided little room to lean forward to get off the saddle. Even with the slight modifications, however, I still looked forward to my rides with the BoBike and did not consider the changes to the burdensome to our rides.
Petite riders, however, may have more difficulty riding with front-mounted bikes seats due to the smaller geometry of their bikes. A simple measurement of your bike’s top tube can help determine if you and your bike are suitable for a front-mounted seat. If the length of your top tube (or the distance from the stem to the seat post) is less than 20″, you may not have enough room to ride comfortably. As a reference, both the Mini+ (shown below) and the City take up 10″ of real estate on your bike.
Photo courtesy of Dutch Trading Company (Brighton UK).
The BoBike Mini City is the highest-quality front-mounted child bike seat on the market. From its unobtrusive mounting bracket to its unique buckling system, you and your child are sure to feel happy and secure while riding the Mini City.
BoBike Mini vs. Yepp Mini
Having ridden with the BoBike Mini City for the past year, several differences between the two became apparent during our rides. While the bike seats look and essentially function the same, there are certainly pros and cons to each. Starting with the seat, the durable foam material of the Yepp (link to my full review of the Yepp Mini) made for easy washing, while the holes in the back allowed for air circulation, preventing sweaty backs on hot days. The BoBike Mini City, however, offers slightly more coverage along the sides of the seat as well as a recessed helmet pocket to prevent the seat from pushing up on a young child’s helmet during a ride.