The Topeak BabySeat II is a basic, affordable child bike seat with a major advantage – it comes with a rack for mounting so you don’t have to deal with finding one on your own. The Topeak is only available as a rack-mounted rear seat, and can even accommodate bikes with disc brakes!
While most rack-mounted seats don’t offer suspension to smooth out the bumps in the road, the BabySeat II is one of few that does. This is a really nice upgrade, especially at its low price point.
So if you need a rear child bike seat that mounts to a rack, you think suspension sounds like a great idea, and you’re on a budget, the Topeak BabySeat II should definitely be on your consideration list. Read our full review below to see if it’s the best seat for you!
Topeak BabySeat II
RATING: Highly Recommended
MSRP: $169 (different models available for 26″, 27.5″, 700c, or 29″ wheels, or disc brakes)
BEST FOR: Parents who want a rack-mounted seat but don’t already have a rack, as well as those looking for a rack-mounted seat that’s compatible with disc-brakes.
MOUNT TYPE: Rear Rack
SUGGESTED AGE RANGE: 1 year to 48.5 lb.
- Solid-quality, durable plastic construction
- Wrap around design offers extra protection for child
- Soft, breathable, mesh-layered padding
- Proprietary mounting system for mounting and unmounting in seconds
- Easily adjustable foot rests
- Fits a wide range of ages really well
- Harness can get caught on child’s helmet when pulling it on or off
- May have to raise your saddle to remove the seat
- Unbuckling requires two hands and can be a little difficult
Topeak Baby Seat Review – Results of Our Test Rides
The Topeak BabySeat II is a rear, rack-mounted bike seat that is suitable for babies starting at 12 months to kids up to 48.5 lbs. Along with the included rack and suspension system, the Topeak’s wrap-around sidewall protection and lockable lap bar are two additional safety features that make it different from other child bike seats.
While not perfect, the Topeak does excel at being simple, efficient, and a smooth ride. If your bike is designed to hold a bike rack (see What to Look for When Purchasing a Baby Bike Seat if you are unsure), then the BabySeat II is a bike seat worthy of your consideration.
Size and Age of Child
The Topeak BabySeat II fits a wide variety of ages better than most other seats. With the lowest shoulder strap setting of any rear seat we’ve tested (just 9.5″ from the bottom of the seat), if you’re looking at a rear child bike seat for a baby, the Topeak is one of your best options.
Our tall and solid 2.5-year-old tester fit quite comfortably at a higher shoulder strap setting, and our 38 pound 5-year-old tester was also a fantastic fit. As with most rear-mounted seats, the older and heavier the passenger, the more unbalanced we felt while turning and stopping during rides.
3-Point Harness, Buckle, Lap Bar, and Adjusting Shoulder Straps
Child bike seats have either 5 or 3 point harness systems. 5-point systems have shoulder straps and waist straps, while 3-point harnesses only have shoulder straps. The Topeak BabySeat II has a 3-point harness, but with the added security of a lockable lap bar. While 3-point harnesses are safe without a lap bar, we certainly appreciate any additional safety features.
A downside of 3-point harnesses is that to get your child in or out, you have to lift the entire harness over your child’s head. With a helmet in place, this is often not possible without either taking off the helmet or loosening the straps.
The BabySeat’s straps can be loosened relatively easily by pulling up on the strap and pulling on the slack through the plastic strap slider on the back of the seat. However, the process is less convenient than most and is definitely annoying when you’re trying to get your child strapped in. So while not our favorite feature, considering the Topeak’s price point, it’s definitely not the end of the world.
The buckle is high quality and instills a lot of confidence that your child is secure. It requires two hands to unbuckle – one hand to pinch the sides, and the other to press on the center. It’s a little hard to do when you’re also trying to balance your bike, so it might help to have your bike leaning against a wall.
Shoulder Height Settings
The height of the shoulder straps should be as close to the top of your child’s shoulders as possible. There are three shoulder strap height settings to accommodate children as they grow. Several high-end seats (like the Thule Yepp Maxi below) only have two settings, so Topeak’s three is a nice upgrade.
Footrests and Foot straps
To help protect the child from the wheels and spokes, the BabySeat II offers well-designed plastic guards as well as foot restraints. With seven different sliding positions, the footrest can easily be re-positioned to fit your child’s legs.
A Velcro foot strap is provided to keep feet in place, but it’s a little hard to use compared to other foot straps. For kids with larger feet (even our 2.5 year old), it’s almost impossible to re-thread the strap because there’s very little space between the side of the foot guard and the child’s foot. As a result, it’s much easier (although at bit awkward) to loosen the strap, have your child put their foot under it, and then tighten.
Realistically, most foot straps don’t work well. Even if they’re easy to put on, most kids pull their feet out of foot straps pretty quickly.
Padding and Ventilation
Considering the Topeak’s lower price point, we weren’t expecting the padding to be as nice as it is. It’s high-quality, durable, and stays in place really well. It’s that perfect thickness – enough to provide sufficient cushioning without being bulky. The padding is covered in a mesh layer to make it more breathable.
Like some other child bike seats, there are no holes in the back of the seat for ventilation. This is something to consider if you’ll be taking long rides in a very hot climate.
Because most rack-mounted child bike seat attach directly to the rack, there is no way to provide suspension. The Topeak BabySeat II’s mounting system allows the seat to sit above the rack, leaving room for those two gray “shocks” between the seat and the rack.
As a result, the seat can bounce slightly and smooth out small bumps in the road. The BabySeat is one of only two rack-mounted seats we know of that has suspension. (The Hamax Caress is the other.)
Back-Up Safety Strap
I normally wouldn’t dedicate an entire section to such a minor detail, but I really love the back-up safety strap on the Topeak BabySeat II! Looping around the seat post and through a plastic ring, it Velcros securely in place. It’s super easy to attach, and actually makes me confident that it will stay in place if something were to happen.
Mounting the Topeak BabySeat II
Rack-mounted child bike seats are traditionally a little more tricky to get on and off a bike than a seat that mounts to the frame. Topeak designed a proprietary mounting system for the BabySeat II that allows you to take the seat on and off in just seconds.
You must first attach the included rack (available in both disc and non-disc brake models) with four simple bolts. This rack is unique to the Topeak BabySeat II and is only meant for use with this particular seat. You’ll see that it has a round hole in the top of the rack, which is part of the mount’s locking system.
Now comes the easy part. The BabySeat is set on the rack by first hooking the front of the seat onto the front lip of the rack.
To secure the seat to the rack, insert the yellow slide lock in from the side. The red button will protrude from the hole in Topeak’s propriety rack.
This mounting systems is so streamlined, but it’s possible that you’ll need to make a modification to your bike to make it work for you.
If your saddle is set low on your bike, there’s not enough clearance for the BabySeat to hook onto or be unhooked from the front lip of the rack. In order to mount or unmount the seat to access that rack lip, you have to raise your saddle.
If you have a quick-release seat post, if you ride with your saddle high, or want to keep the seat permanently on your bike, this won’t be much of an issue. However, you ride with your saddle low and your saddle requires a tool to raise and lower, you may want to spend a few bucks and buy a quick-release seat post collar instead.
What’s the bottom line?
The Topeak BabySeat II is a fantastic quality, comfortable seat for a really fair price. With a rack included with purchase, it takes the guessing game out of having to find your own rack! While some of its features could be a little easier to use, you’re not going to find a better seat at this price point.