Thule Yepp Maxi
Built with durable "Croc-like" material, the Yepp Maxi excels in various climates and is known for its ease of use.
RATING: Highly Recommended
BEST FOR: Families in hot climates. The Yepp provides much more airflow than competitors.
MOUNT TYPE: Rear Rack
9 mo. to 48 lb.
Pros & Cons
- Available in rear-frame mount and rear-rack mount
- Made of durable "Croc-like", weather-resistant foam
- Comes in several different fun colors
- Offers great ventilation for hot weather
- Super easy to mount and unmount for rides with or without baby
- Easy-to-use 5-point harness
- Shoulder straps only have 2 height adjustments which aren't ideal for the youngest of riders
- Footrests may be too high for the oldest kids
The Thule Yepp Maxi is one of four rear-mounting Thule child bike seats. The Yepp Maxi is unique in that it is available in two versions – one mounts to the rear frame of your bike, while the other mounts to a rack on the rear of your bike.
For this review, we used the rack-mounted version. Besides the mounting systems, the two versions of the Thule Yepp Maxi appear to be identical.
Thule makes seven different child bike seats, four of which are rear mounted. The names can be a bit confusing, as can the differences between them. Here’s a quick summary comparison of their rear-mounted seats.
Thule Yepp Maxi: (Rack or frame-mounted) With more ventilation holes than any other seat, the Yepp Maxi is perfect for hot climates, or families who will do a lot of summer riding.
Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi: (Rack-mounted) Super lightweight, the Yepp Nexxt Maxi is a good choice if you’re concerned about added weight in the back.
Thule RideAlong: (Frame-mounted) The most full-featured of the bunch, the RideAlong has backpack-style shoulder straps that don’t slip off shoulders, continuously adjustable shoulder height settings, and a reclining seat. It’s the best seat on the market, unless you need ventilation.
Thule RideAlong Lite: (Frame-mounted) A more basic version of the original RideAlong, the Lite is ideal for families on a budget.
Thule Rear-Mounted Child Bike Seats
|Feature||Yepp Maxi||Yepp Nexxt Maxi||YeeToo||RideAlong Lite|
|Yepp Maxi||Yepp Nexxt Maxi||RideAlong||RideAlong Lite|
|Mounting Style||Rear Rack or Frame||Rear Rack||Rear Frame||Rear Frame|
|Round Frame Dimensions||28 - 40 mm||N/A||27.2 - 40 mm||27.2 - 40 mm|
|Oval Frame Dimensions||Max 40 mm||N/A||Max 40x55 mm||Max 40x55 mm|
|Space Needed to Mount||Not published||Mounted to rack only||4.75"||4.75"|
|Age||1 - 6 years||1 - 6 years||1 - 6 years||1 - 6 years|
|Weight Capacity||20 - 40 lbs.||20 - 40 lbs.||20 - 40 lbs.||20 - 40 lbs.|
|Harness||5 point||5 point||3 point||3 point|
|Weight||10.1 lb.||5.8 lb.||10.2 lb.||9.5 lb.|
|Suspension||No, but shock absorbing seat||No, but shock absorbing seat||DualBeam||DualBeam|
|Shoulder Straps||2 height slots||2 height slots||Continuously adjustable height||3 height slots|
|Quick Release Bracket||Yes||Yes|
We start with bike compatibility, because if you can’t mount the Yepp Maxi to your bike, the rest of this review doesn’t matter! With thousands of adult bikes on the market, it’s not a sure thing that every bike seat will work with your bike. That said, rack-mounted seats typically fit any bike that is compatible with a rack.
The Thule Yepp Maxi comes fully assembled and requires very minimal set up as long as you have the right rack and/or rack adapter. The rack-mounted version of the Yepp Maxi can be mounted directly on a rack that has an EasyFit window (yellow-arrowed area below), or more likely, you’ll need to buy the EasyFit adapter which mounts to your rack. If you don’t already have a rack, you can purchase Thule’s rack to ensure compatibility with the bike seat.
Yepp EasyFit Adapter with Axiom Rack
Once you have the right rack or the EasyFit Adapter installed, the bike seat simply clicks into place by pushing the red slider button and turning the gray knob clockwise after hooking the seat base onto the rack.
As a backup safety measure, there’s a safety strap that wraps around the bike’s seat post. In the event that the EasyFit system failed, this would prevent the bike seat from falling into the road. The strap actually pulls tight enough that if it were a true emergency, the seat would be able to stay relatively in place until you were able to stop.
Adult Rider Comfort
The information in this section is about mostly any rear rack-mounted seat. Many racks can be adjusted to be closer or farther away from the bike seat. This position will determine how close your child is to you once the Yepp Maxi is installed. From a stability standpoint, the closer your child is to you, the better.
Rear-mounted seats can feel awkward and even a bit scary if you’re new to them. 30+ lbs. of additional weight sitting behind you completely throws off your learned sense of balance. The first time I ever tried to ride with a rear seat mounted to my bike, I almost fell over!
Balancing is trickiest during stops and starts, but when riding at full speed you easily get the hang of it. Turning and crossing streets can also be daunting at first because as you turn to check for cars, once again that weight in the back of you can mess with your balance.
Additionally, rear rack-mounted seats sit higher than rear frame-mounted seats, which contributes to a higher center-of-gravity and potentially more difficulty in balancing.
All of this said, the closer your child is to your seat, the less awkward the distribution of weight is on the bike. With young kids with small legs, it’s convenient to keep them close. But as kids grow, you may be forced to move the rack back in order to make room for longer legs.
There is a “center” mark on the seat that is the recommended placement for ideal balance, but your bike saddle or child’s size may necessitate moving the bike seat further back.
Size and Age of Child
Both front and rear-mounted bike seats are typically safety rated in the US for kids 12 months +. Front-mounted seats are smaller because they have to fit between you and your handlebars. As a result, they also have a younger maximum child age of around 3 or 33 lbs.
Rear-mounted seats are larger and can accommodate a child for a longer period of time. In Thule’s case, all of their rear-mounted seats are rated for babies, toddlers, and kids up to 40 lbs, or 1 to 6-years-old.
If you’re still on the fence about a front vs. rear-mounted seat, size is, of course, the most important factor. If your child is already at least 2 years old, you won’t get more than a year or two out of a front-mounted seat and a rear seat would be the most cost-effective option.
Front vs. Rear-Mounted Child Bike Seat
But if you have a baby, from personal experience we highly recommend looking at a front seat like the Thule Yepp Nexxt Mini for the first few years. Being able to “snuggle” and sing to your baby while riding are some of my very favorite memories.
We’ve got a giant baby on our hands though and we’re about ready to start transitioning to a rear seat. We tested the Thule Yepp Maxi seat on our 19-month-old (28 lbs.), a 12-month-old (20 lbs.), a 3-year-old (33 lbs.), and a 4-year-old (also 33 lbs.).
Each child fit fine in the seat, but the Yepp Maxi isn’t as ideal for kids on the lowest and most upper end of the seat’s capacity range. As we explain below, the shoulder strap placement is a bit high for the youngest riders, while the footrest placement may be too high for kids in size 5 clothes or above.
Thule Yepp Maxi Fit with Different Ages
The Yepp Maxi shoulder straps are great quality and are padded with foam. Padded shoulder straps are generally more comfortable, especially if a child is wearing a tank top or a wide-necked shirt. The foam material the pads are made from is slightly grippy and helps keep them in place.
Thule’s other Yepp rear seat, the Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi also has a non-slip rubber pad on each strap, while the straps on the Thule Ridealong are thickly padded and actually attach to one another so they can’t slip off the shoulders.
Shoulder Straps of Thule Yepp Maxi vs. Thule RideAlong
Two shoulder height slots are placed on the back of the Thule Yepp Maxi to allow you to raise the height of the shoulder straps for a better fit as your child grows.
These two settings are adequate for most kids, but the similarly priced RideAlong offers a superior system that is continuously adjustable for the most precise fit for your child. The RideAlong’s system also adjusts down much farther to better accommodate younger, smaller toddlers.
Shoulder Strap Height Adjustment of Thule Yepp Maxi and RideAlong
We used the lower of the two settings for our very tall 19-month-old (98% for height and wearing 2T clothes), which seemed perfectly placed for her. For 12 to 18-month-olds, we do wish there were a lower, third setting like the Thule RideAlong Lite.
As you can see on the left below, the shoulder strap is quite a bit higher than our 12-month-old tester’s shoulder. While we certainly trust Thule’s safety claims, we are a bit hesitant to put a squirmy young toddler in a harness that doesn’t fit precisely.
Thule actually makes other rear bike seat models with shoulder straps that are lower and do fit snuggly over a 12-month-old’s shoulder. We can personally vouch for the Thule RideAlong and RideAlong Lite.
As a result, the Yepp Maxi is a better bet for kids at least 18-months or older or in 24-month clothes. If you’re starting out with a rear seat with a 12-month-old, we recommend the RideAlong or RideAlong Lite as rear-mounted options, or the Yepp Nexxt Mini as a front-mounted alternative.
Shoulder Strap Height on 12-Month-Old vs. 19-month-Old
The Yepp Maxi has a two-handed, child-proof safety buckle and 5-point harness. The buckle is easy enough to use, but also hard enough that it makes me feel confident that my toddler isn’t going to figure out how to unbuckle herself.
It absolutely takes two hands to unbuckle, so be sure to have your bike very securely leaned against a wall so you can safely be “hands-free” as you remove your child from the seat.
Perhaps the most unique feature of the Yepp Maxi is the Crocs-like seat material with superior ventilation. The material is firm but smooth, making it comfortable yet supportive for little ones. It’s not as soft as true Crocs, but not as stiff or hard as traditional plastic. It’s also incredibly easy to keep clean, and obviously very rainproof.
Some child bike seats have a surprising lack of ventilation, including some of the best you can buy – the Thule RideAlong and the RideAlong Lite. With 56 ventilation holes in the back of the seat, the Yepp Maxi is awesome for our overwhelmingly hot and humid Texas summers.
Ventilation in Thule Yepp Maxi vs. RideAlong Lite
The seat height of the Yepp Maxi is tall to allow for proper back support as your child grows from 1 year to 6 years. For younger toddlers, this high back offers additional protection for their little heads and necks.
Because the seat is directly behind a child’s helmet, the seat angles backwards to allow for plenty of space between the seat back and the back of the helmet. This prevents a child’s head from being pushed uncomfortably forward. We still recommend that you buy a helmet with a flat back for babies and toddlers – the Giro Scamp is what we use with our own nugget.
Helmet “Pocket” Works for Various Helmet Types
One thing we do wish the Yepp Maxi had is side wings. Side wings provide more of a “cocooning” experience, which is most helpful in protecting little hands from getting pinched when a parent leans the bike against a wall to get a child in or out of the seat. Additionally, while a crash is unlikely, if you did fall over, side wings can offer a higher barrier of protection for your child.
Yepp Maxi Does Not have Side Wings Like RideAlong
Suspension is a nice upgrade to have on a child bike seat, but certainly not a must-have if you’re sticking to paved roads. The Yepp Maxi does not have suspension. If you’ll regularly be riding on all-terrain or uneven roads, check out the Thule RideAlong or RideAlong Lite that both have dual beam suspension.
Footrests are both a comfort and safety feature. The Yepp Maxi’s footrests are easily and continuously adjustable so you can set them at whatever height is most comfortable for your toddler. In the image on the right below, the footrests are extended to the max for our 4-year-old tester in 4T clothes. If you plan on using this seat with an older child, the footrests will begin to force their knees upward.
The foot straps that keep kids’ feet in place (so they’re not kicking you!) are high-quality and also easy to use. As much as we love the Thule RideAlong, we actually don’t love its foot straps which are hard to adjust and always come loose. The Yepp Maxi’s system works much better and does an excellent job at keeping little feet strapped down. (As long as they are wearing shoes!)
We love the Thule Yepp Maxi for its comfy seat, simple mounting system, easy-to-use harness system, and secure foot straps. If you live in a hot climate, the Yepp Maxi’s 56 ventilation holes will be a lifesaver! Based on the placement of the Yepp’s shoulder straps, we recommend the seat for toddlers in 24-month clothes and up.