The Mac Ride bike seat’s unique saddle helps keep kids safely in place, and is super easy to swap between bikes. Read the review below for all the reasons why the Mac Ride excels on everything from paved trails to singletrack!
Pros & Cons
- Can be taken off the bike or re-installed in less than a minute
- Unique saddle shape comfortably cradles little bums
- Stirrups are highly adjustable to fit younger and older kids
- Can be used with a dropper post and full suspension bikes
- Kids LOVE it because they feel like they're riding with the parent
- Can be used for neighborhood or mountain trail riding
- Safer than it looks!
- Child is not strapped down, so not great for wiggly kids or nervous parents
Mac Ride Bike Seat Review – Results of our Test Rides
The Mac Ride is a unique front-mounted child bike seat that places kids front and center while riding with their parents. Mounting to the steer tube and the seat post, it’s one of the few child bike seats compatible with a wide variety of bikes – from hybrid city cruisers to full-suspension mountain bikes. While originally created as a MTB child bike seat, we’ve found that the Mac Ride is a fun choice for any biking family on the go.
From riding singletrack to commuting to preschool, the Mac Ride is suitable for a wide variety of rides and riders. To get the best feel of how the Mac Ride performs in various conditions, we tested it out with three different parents and kids around the neighborhood, at the skate park, as well as on basic mountain biking trails.
Kelly, our resident dad tester from Haven Outdoors, tested out the Mac Ride on his mountain bike with his 2-year-old daughter. Natalie, mom of three and Two Wheeling Tots founder, tested out the Mac Ride around the neighborhood with her five-year-old. Lastly, Fressia, one of our resident mom testers, has done in-depth reviews of various mid-mount child bike seats with all four of her kids aged 1.5-6. Their individual thoughts and experiences with the Mac Ride are outlined in the performance section below.
Made from a hard, yet surprisingly comfortable plastic, the Mac Ride’s seat has the tackier feel of rubber (like those used for the soles of athletic shoes). A child won’t slide around like they would on some smooth plastics (like playground slides), and it’s also softer on a child’s bottom than hard plastic. Its unique shape keeps kids cradled both front to back and side to side, adding to the safety of the seat. Although not padded like other similar seats, its molded shape is comfortable for little bottoms.
The MacRide has a fantastic stirrup design, our favorite of any of the MTB child seats we have tested. Not only is the material and shape superior, but also the MacRide’s footpegs can be adjusted to comfortably suit the leg length of the rider.
The stirrups adjust both up and down as well as forward and back. Because of this, the Mac Ride is more customizable to fit the specific size requirements of your child than any other MTB seat on the market. This makes for more room in the child’s personal cockpit while riding because their knees can be adjusted lower.
34.75″ Tall Child vs. 40.75″ Tall Child
On the Shotgun and the DoLittle, all riders have their feet at the same height, regardless of their size. As a result, taller children end up with their knees in their chest while they ride.
Some MTB child bike seats have stirrups that a kid’s foot can slip through, others have stirrups that their feet can fall off of, or slip around on. The MacRide has stirrups and footrests that are made from a similar plastic as the seat, allowing a shoe to easily grip and not slip.
However, the stirrups are far more malleable than the seat, making them super easy to adjust and allowing a child to break free of them in the event of a crash. *See story in Fressia’s section below.
Optional Hand Grips
If you’re going to do a lot of off-roading with your child, it might be worth the extra effort to install the optional hand grips. These mini grips make it easier and more comfortable for a child to hold on to the bike when riding an extra adventurous trail.
Installing the Mac Ride’s hand grips require you to remove the adult hand grips, along with the brakes and the gear shift in order to slide the cylindrical foam grips onto the handlebars. The process may be a pain for some parents, but depending on your frequency of use, may be totally worth it.
The Mac Ride is unique in that additional space is not needed on the steer tube to mount the seat. Installation differs slightly depending on the type of bike on which the seat will be installed. Most hybrid and mountain are built with threadless headset, for which the Mac Ride mounts with a spacer bracket. If your bike has a traditional threaded headset, you will need to purchase an adapter in order to install the Mac Ride.
A 10mm spacer (common on many newer bikes and most mountain bikes) is simply swapped out for the Mac Ride’s Mounting Bracket Spacer. Once the spacer is placed and the handlebars are re-tightened, the seat can easily be installed and removed within minutes.
Mounting the adapter bracket is equally as easy and convenient as mounting the standard Mac Ride bracket. The handlebar stem is removed from the steerer tube and the adapter is placed on the quill stem of the steerer tube. The adaptor is then securely tightened to the stem using an allen wrench.
To install the seat once the mounting bracket is in place, the Mac Ride is secured in two places. The front end of the Mac Ride is secured around the mounting bracket spacer while an additional clamp secures the back end of the Mac Ride below the seat post clamp. In order for the rear clamp to secure to the seat post there has to be at least 2 cm of space on your seat post.
Once the mounting bracket has been installed on the bike, putting the Mac Ride on and taking it off takes less than a couple of minutes. When not in use, the bracket can stay on the bike and does not impact the regular functioning of the bike. It’s not even noticeable on a threadless headset and is barely noticeable on a threaded headset.
Caution: Ensure that you have sufficiently tightened the handlebars after installing the spacer bracket! ** Refer to incident mentioned in Fressia’s review below.
Mountain Biking Use – by Kelly
I have been taking my 2-year-old daughter mountain biking with me when I take my younger kids who are 6 and 8 years old because we are usually on pretty mellow trails. She has been riding on my back in a kid carrier backpack and she loves it! Nothing but weees and yahoos all the way down the trail.
On the climbs, she just tells me, “Go faster dad!” I had seen seats like the Mac Ride before and though it would be nice to try one sometime but always had some hesitation in taking a look at them and I definitely wouldn’t have thought of buying one until trying it out. I was worried that my kid would just fall off or not be able to hold onto my bars while riding. Or perhaps my child would just be too nervous to even get up in the saddle while I was riding. I can honestly say that all of those hesitant and negative thoughts were put to rest after installing the Mac Ride and giving it a go.
Mac Ride with Two-year-old Tester
Riding with the Mac Ride did take a bit of getting used to. Having the extra weight of my daughter on my bike was a bit awkward at first, especially in the corners because she doesn’t know how to lean her weight into the turns yet. Once I got past that it was smooth sailing.
I feel like my daughter was having a more connected experience riding on the Mac Ride versus being behind me in a backpack. Lots of weees and yeehaws just like in the backpack. I asked her what she liked best and she said the seat is better.
I would like to try riding with the Mac Ride again on a full suspension bike. I used it on my hardtail. I think the plusher the suspension the better the ride for your child. Since they are sitting the entire time and taking the brunt of the bumps, they will benefit from a well-tuned suspension set up. So if you are riding a hardtail you may want to keep your speed down a bit more.
Through the bumpier, more technical terrain I do feel like the backpack allowed me to carry more speed because I could stand and use my legs to absorb any harsh feedback from the trail. But for smoother flowier trails I would choose the Mac Ride for sure as I feel like my kid is having more fun. And after all, this is more for the child than for mom or dad.
I do feel that the smaller child the better. If the child is smaller they are able to have the seat closer to the handlebars and further from your legs. The larger the child becomes, the closer they have to sit to you which creates an awkward bowed-out pedaling position.
One thing worth noting is the shape of the seat that creates a nice cradle for the child, keeping them pretty secure even during steeper downhill sections. The cradled shape keeps them from moving forward or back on the saddle.
The seat is lightweight and built very well. Nice job Mac Ride. Now there is no excuse to not go mountain biking. Even when you’re stuck with babysitting duty.
Mixed Use with Younger Kids – by Fressia
I am a huge fan of this new style of “mid-mount” child bike seat. I love telling people about these seats, and everywhere we go on our biking adventures, people stop to ask us how our child is “riding like that” on our bikes. I’m so excited to watch this new concept grow and become more widely used.
The Mac Ride is the fourth bike seat we have tested and used extensively. It very quickly became my favorite. I can use it comfortably with kids as young as 18-months-old, to using it with my 6.5-year old. Here are the ways we use and love it! (Full disclosure, the Kids Ride Shotgun Seat is the only “MTB” or “mid-mount” seat I haven’t tried, so I’m not referring to that seat.)
Family Bike Rides: On a beautiful day I love to get my kids outside. Though my 2 & 3 year old can ride their own bikes, they are much slower than the rest of us. The stop-and-go, the slow gain ratio of their bikes, and their tired little legs prevent us from going more than a couple of miles as a family.
Putting our kids on the Mac Ride means that we can go a lot farther and stay outside a lot longer. The comfortable saddle of the Mac Ride keeps their bums comfy and the ability to raise and lower the height of their feet keeps their entire body actively engaged.
School Pick Up/Drop Off: My first-grader prefers riding to school versus being driven. However, I’m not a fan of him leaving his bike chained to a school bike rack, exposed to the elements and the carelessness of other bike riders when they load and unload their bikes (my son included). Because of the Mac Ride, we both win! He gets to ride to school and his bike stays safely in our garage when not in use.
Errands: Living in the suburbs has its perks. When I forget to get something at the grocery store, I can just jump on my bike to ride back to the store to get it. And I can take a kid with me for some quality one on one time. When a kid has a play date and it’s too far too walk, but too close to drive – Mac Ride!
It’s so easy to take on and off that I also love that I don’t leave it on my bike. It comes off so easily that if I’m riding without kids, I will definitely take it off my bike. Other mid-mount seats I left on my bike indefinitely because taking them off and putting them on took anywhere from 3-10 minutes depending on the seat. That’s not convenient considering how often we go on bike rides.
Skate Park: Using the Mac Ride at the skate park is probably my kids’ favorite. The quick ups, downs, and turns give them a psuedo-rollercoaster experience, but their young legs don’t have to do the work to get up the steep inclines. And the extra weight of a kid on your bike gives you a decent workout all while spending quality time with your kiddo.
Off the Beaten Path: While we don’t do any legit mountain biking around Fort Worth (hh, how we miss the desert mountains of Arizona), we do try to find places to ride that aren’t sidewalks, streets, and skateparks. We have found plenty of packed and loose-packed dirt paths in a 20 mile radius.
Learning to ride on terrain other than a street or a sidewalk can be frustrating for little legs and arms. But they still want to have the fun and the adventure that comes from riding in nature! The Mac Ride gives kids the ability to enjoy nature at a faster pace. They get to see more of it and enjoy it because they aren’t putting all their brain and body power into making their bike go. They’re also learning to love the idea of more difficult rides, which gives them more incentive to try new things on their own bikes.
A note about proper installation of the Mac Ride and the safety of the stirrups: After I had been riding at the skate park for about ten minutes without incident, I went to make a wide 90° turn and the handlebars turned, but the wheel did not. I had not tightened the handlebars as much as was necessary.
This was completely my fault and had nothing to do with the design of the Mac Ride, but did result in a crash while I had my three-year old on the Mac Ride. (Her tears were short-lived and she was back on the bike right after we secured the head set). I was incredibly impressed with how I was easily able to bail off the bike with my daughter in my arms because she was in no way caught in the stirrups or bike.
Neighborhood Use with Older Kids – By Natalie
Child Point of View: My son absolutely LOVED riding on the Mac Ride. Front and center, he loved feeling like he was riding mom’s bike and couldn’t stop talking about everything he saw during our rides. Normally not an ambitious rider, on the Mac Ride he actually wanted to keep riding versus begging to head home.
Parent Point of View: On the tail end of the age range, riding with a five-year-old tester was fun, but it did limit my space on the bike. To avoid bumping into him, I did have to splay out my legs to pedal, but it wasn’t significant enough to make riding uncomfortable. Being 5′ 10″ and riding a large framed bike, it wasn’t hard to make it work, but I imagine it would be challenging for those riding on small frame bikes.
Compared to using other bikes seats or trailers, the ease of the Mac Ride was refreshing. My son simply hopped on and after securing his feet we pedaled away. Having taken him to preschool with a bike trailer for quite some time, the simplicity of the Mac Ride was appreciated and would have made our commutes to preschool easier and potentially faster.
My one initial hesitation with the Mac Ride was the open design (no shoulder straps). The Mac Ride is designed for the child rider to fall away from the bike during a crash, much like skis when skiing. Having crashed my bike and even broken a bone while riding, I can certainly see the benefit of having the child be released from the bike rather than tumble down with it (I once fell several feet down a mountainside), but as a parent, I instinctively still wanted my child strapped down.
But after experiencing the Mac Ride for ourselves, I did feel very comfortable and safe when using the Mac Ride and never felt like our tester was in danger of falling out (even when he was trying to do “tricks”). As a semi-cautious parent, I would still limit use to basic single-track mountain biking or use around town.
A game changer for many active families, the Mac Ride is a great bike seat for parents who want to share their love of biking with their younger kids. Well-built, easy to use, and enjoyed by kids and adults, the Mac Ride is a winner in our book.