The Burley Dash child bike seat is the newest addition to Burley’s line-up of recreational transport gear. Offered in both frame and rack mount, Burley’s debut into child bike seats lives up to the quality, safety, practicality, and comfort you’d expect from the Burley name.
Pros & Cons
- Great-quality materials and design
- Fantastic price point
- Higher-set buckle helps keep shoulder straps in place
- Rear pocket to store keys, phone, etc.
- Lowest shoulder strap placement accommodates young toddlers better than most rear seats
- Easy to mount and unmount for rides with or without child
- Easy-to-use 5-point harness
- Optional recline feature
- Foot straps are difficult to secure
- No ventilation in the seat back
Burley Dash Review – Results of our Test Rides
When it comes to helping families get outside for everyday or epic adventures, Burley is a brand that delivers. For decades, their fleet of exceptional bike trailers have been the trailer of choice for many outdoor enthusiasts. And now Burley has expanded their line-up of “child-hauling options” to include child bike seats! Can we get a WUT WUT!!!
The Burley Dash child bike seat is a high-quality, easy-to-use seat that comes in three different options – Burley Dash Rack Mounted ($149), Burley Dash Frame Mounted ($149), and Burley Dash X Frame Mounted ($189). All three seats are identical, except for their mounting systems, and the X can recline.
Burley Dash – Rack Mount vs Frame Mount
These solid seats enter the market at a much needed sweet spot. Selling at a mid-range price point with a fantastic design and great-quality components, the Dash seats are a serious bang for your buck. They have better quality components and more features than a budget seat, but not all the extra bells and whistles of seats over $200. The Burley Dash is a perfect option for families that want a high-class, functionally awesome seat, but don’t need the most luxurious seat on the market.
While seemingly a small detail, our favorite feature of the Burley Dash is something that not even the most expensive child bike seats have – a rear seat pocket! More on that below, but as moms who have ridden our fair share of kids around on child bike seats, a rear pocket is a game changer and reason alone to buy this seat.
The Burley Dash seats performed on par with the best seats we’ve used. Sitting low on the bike, the seat has a relatively low center of gravity. And with leg shields tucked in so they don’t interfere with the adult’s pedal stroke, the Dash was happily unobtrusive. Whether going for short jaunts around town, picking kids up from the bus stop, or going on extended family rides, our little nugget loved her new seat, and so did mama.
Rear child bike seats can often make riding a bit awkward as you feel the weight of the seat and your child rocking behind you. But the Burley Dash seats felt like they were integrated into the bike, designed to be a part of your everyday riding experience, rather than an afterthought.
As someone who doesn’t have the best sense of balance, I was happy to discover that there were times I could have forgotten that I was riding with an extra body behind me. And I probably would have forgotten had she not been constantly telling me, “Dis fun! Dis fun!”
The Burley Dash child bike seats make bringing baby along for the ride fast and easy, without the complication of transporting a bulky trailer. And with plenty of hours of hauling kids under our belts, we can honestly say that while trailers certainly serve their purpose, having your little one close enough to chat and sing makes riding with them a uniquely memorable experience. I don’t even mind getting pounded in the back with sweet little fists. 🙂
Size and Age of Child
Is the Burley Dash a good size fit for your child? All of Burley’s seats are safety rated for babies, toddlers, and kids from 12 months up to 40 lbs. This is standard for basically all rear child bike seats, although every seat varies in the range of age and weight that is the best fit. From our testing, we found the Dash seats to be the best fit for kids from ages 18 months to about 42″ tall.
When it comes to babies and young toddlers, rear-mounted seats are rarely (if ever) going to be a better fit than a smaller front-mounted seat. However, because rear seats are larger and safety rated for more weight, many families choose to start with a rear seat so that they don’t have to buy a new seat once their toddler outgrows the front seat. Quite simply, it’s a more budget-friendly option!
One unique selling point for the Dash is that compared to other rear seats on the market, the Dash seats are actually a better fit for 12-month-olds than most. Because the Dash’s lowest shoulder strap setting is placed lower than most other seats, it does a better job of keeping those younger and shorter babies and toddlers secure.
In the images below with our very tall 12-month-old tester, both the Burley Dash and the Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi have their shoulder straps set to the lowest height setting. The Thule seat has a large gap between the shoulder and the top of the strap, while the Burley’s is set just right.
Min Shoulder Height Setting: Burley Dash vs. Yepp Nexxt
While we prefer the set up of the Burley over the Thule for young toddlers, be aware that even with the Burley’s shoulder straps tightened all the way down, they were still not super-snug on our young tester. They were snug enough that he certainly would not fall out. The Burley Dash’s 5-point harness (vs. 3-point on most other seats), also reassured us of the security of our baby tester. (More on that later!)
Because rear-mounted child bike seats are made to accommodate a larger age and weight range than front-mounted seats, they can’t be a perfect fit for every child in that range. All that said, if you have decided on getting a rear seat and have a young toddler, the Burley Dash is one of your best options.
Older Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers
Older toddlers and pre-schoolers really hit the sweet spot for the best fit in the Burley Dash. As you can see below, the Dash is a fantastic fit for our very tall 2-year-old. Based on her past growth, I would have happily put her in this seat at 18-months. The Dash was also a great fit for our 3-year-old tester, and our petite 5-year-old tester who still had just a bit of room left for growth.
On the high end of the size spectrum, the Dash’s second (higher) shoulder strap placement isn’t quite as high as some other seats, so it doesn’t offer as much room for growth for kids past their pre-school years. (See image below.) In our experience, most families don’t use a child bike seat with kids over 4 anyways, but be realistic about how you plan on using your seat. If you anticipate riding with your child at age 4 or 5, you should consider a seat like the Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi with higher shoulders straps. (On right below.)
Max Shoulder Height Setting: Burley Dash vs. Yepp Nexxt
As a reference point for older kids who don’t exceed the 40 lb. weight limit, take a look at our very petite 5-year-old 37 lb. tester, who is 40.75″ tall. (She’s the height of an average 4-year-old). On the left, the shoulder straps are extended almost to their max, allowing her to sit comfortably and even with a little room to grow.
On the right, the shoulder straps have not been extended and the seat is uncomfortably tight for her. We point this out because lengthening the shoulder straps is not intuitive. The first day we actually thought they didn’t extend and that the seat didn’t fit her well. If you have an older child, make sure to lengthen the shoulder straps for the best fit!
Harness Adjustment for 5-Year-Old: Lengthened vs. Not Lengthened
Harness and Buckle
The harness mechanism on the Burley Dash seats will look familiar to anyone who uses a Burley bike trailer. This buckle is different from other child bike seats because it functions more like a trailer buckle system – the straps that flow through the buckle are separate from the straps that go over the shoulders.
As you can see in the image on the right below, most child bike seats have just a 3-point harness and shoulder straps that adjust in length by pulling the strap down, or loosening it to give it more play. Burley’s unique 5-point-harness system adjusts in three different places – (1) shoulder straps, (2) side straps, and (3) crotch strap. We also love that this 5-point harness cradles a child’s chest more and makes it less likely they’ll wiggle out of that harness!
While the shoulder straps are the primary source of adjusting for the height of the rider, the bottom buckle strap can also be lengthened or tightened. Additionally, the buckle straps on the side are tightened to adjust for the girth of the child. In our experience with the seat, it is much easier to secure your child if you loosen the side straps before putting them in the seat, and then tighten them again once buckled.
Because the buckle height placement is affected by tightening or loosening both the shoulder and crotch straps, the buckle can be raised or lowered somewhat based on your preference. We liked the buckle a little higher (as seen below left) because our toddler likes to try to squirm out of her harnesses.
As you can also see below (on the right), almost all child bike seats buckle in the crotch. As kids get older and taller than the highest shoulder strap insertion point, it’s more likely that the shoulder straps will fall off. While Burley’s highest shoulder strap hole is lower than many other seats, its unique higher buckle will help keep those shoulder straps in place, even on taller kids.
Buckle Placement: Burley Dash vs. Other Seats
Shoulder Strap Placement
There are two insertion holes in the Burley Dash to adjust the starting height of the shoulder straps as children grow. The straps are easily raised or lowered through the rear of the seat. Non-slip, slightly tacky, foam pads on the shoulder straps help keep the straps in place and also make the rider more comfortable.
Shoulder Strap Holes: From Front and Rear
The thick plastic seat body is lined with washable and removable padding. These pads stay in place well and are smooth for rider comfort. They are slightly tacky which provides grip and prevents kids from sliding all over the place.
While most child bike seats have ventilation in the back, the Burley Dash seats don’t have any. Depending on where you live and what time of year you’ll be riding, you may or may not need to factor that into your decision.
Ventilation: Burley Dash vs. Thule Yepp
In order for a child to sit comfortably in a bike seat, the top of the seat should swoop back to provide ample room for a child’s helmet. The Burley Dash’s helmet recess is well-designed and even better than some more expensive seats.
Helmet Recess: Burley Dash vs. Yepp Nexxt Maxi
The rear pocket on the Burley Dash is a rare find and might just be our favorite feature of this entire seat! So often we use our seat to go meet kids at the bus stop, go for a quick errand, or even for a quick 30-minute fitness ride. On these occasions, I really only need my phone and keys, but I don’t have anywhere to put them! I end up taking a backpack just for these tiny items, and honestly, it’s really annoying.
For this feature alone, I would probably forgo some of the luxury features of more expensive seats. Convenience is KING when it comes to getting outside with the nuggets. This back pocket is money.
The Burley Dash X model distinguishes itself from the other Dash seats because of its reclinability. It can recline to either 10 or 20 degrees. In the image below, you can see the seat in its normal position on the left, and reclined all the way back on the right.
While not difficult to recline, it does require you to unbuckle the back up safety strap and reach a lever under the seat. It would be an awkward task mid-journey, so should be set before the ride.
We’ve used a lot of footrests in our day, and honestly, most of them are a bit difficult to use. Some foot straps don’t even stay in place and are totally useless.
The foot straps on the Burley Dash stay securely in place and do help keep kids’ feet from kicking you – depending on your child! Like basically all rear seats, determined toddlers usually figure out how to free their feet from the straps and play a lovely game of “kick mom in the back”. HA!
While the straps on the Dash stay secured, they are pretty difficult to actually secure down in the first place. We recommend strapping them down while you have the bike resting against a wall. Because my toddler is devious and would always pull her feet out by the middle of a ride, we ended up not using the straps most of the time.
Child bike seats are tricky because not every seat fits on every bike. But with the Dash offered in both rack and frame-mounted versions, it’s likely that one or the other will fit your bike. In general, if you have a sloping top tube (traditionally women’s bikes), the frame-mounted version will not work, but the rack-mounted likely will.
Rack Mounted vs Frame Mounted
For more details about determining whether a child bike seat will work with your bike, check out our bike compatibility guide.
Frame-Mounted: Once the mounting block is installed on the bike, it’s incredibly easy to mount and unmount the seat from your bike. To install, you simply insert the mounting rails into the holes in the block until you hear an audible click. We really love that you also can visually see that the rails are locked because two green tabs pop out.
To remove the bike seat, you push the front face of the mounting block and lift the seat’s mounting rails up and out. Easy peasy!
The rails should easily align and slide into the mounting block holes. If you have difficulty aligning and inserting the mounting rails into the mounting block, the rails may have been bent in shipping. You can contact Burley’s amazing customer support team to fix the issue.
Rack-Mounted: Once you have a rack installed on your bike, mounting the Burley Dash only takes about a minute. You place the seat on the rack and turn the side knob until the mounting tabs tighten around the sides of the rack. To remove, you turn the knob counter-clockwise. This process isn’t quite as fast as the frame-mounted style, but still quick none-the-less. Be aware that a rack is NOT included with the seat and must be purchased separately.
High-quality comfort usually comes with a higher price tag, but the Burley Dash child bike seats deliver an awesome experience at a very modest price. Like their famous Burley trailers, the Dash seats are simple and practical to keep costs reasonable, but never sacrifice safety, comfort, or quality. For budget-minded families who still want peace of mind that their precious cargo is comfortable and safe, the Burley Dash child bikes seats should be at the top of your list.