RATING: Highly Recommended
BEST FOR: Parents who are completely comfortable on a bike and confident in their child’s ability to hang on safely. Best for paved and compact dirt trails.
The Tyke Toter is a unique and easy way for parents to bring older kids along for the ride. Quickly swaps between bikes! Read the review below to see if this child bike seat is right for your family.
Pros & Cons
- Fast and easy to remove or switch between bikes
- Compatible with most bikes
- Child has their own handlebars, keeping their hands free of your handlebars
- Allows child to practice bike balance and body positioning for solo bike riding
- Compact and easy to take on vacations
- No weight limit
- Adult has to splay legs to fit older riders
- Won't fit if your seat post is at minimum seat height
- Foot pegs and treads are at an odd angle
- Seat shape isn’t as comfortable for lengthy rides
Tyke Toter Review – Results of our Test Rides
The Tyke Toter is not your traditional front-mounted child bike seat. With no harness system, no weight limit, and designed to accommodate much older children, it allows your child to sit on your bike with you and enjoy a truly interactive ride.
As a mom of four little kids ages 2 – 6, the Tyke Toter has been a game-changer for me! With kids who have varying degrees of competency on pedal bikes, being able to go for a family bike ride that’s fun for everyone is a challenge. It has to be slow enough for the 3-year-old to keep up, but fast enough for the 6-year-old not to get bored.
Typically, I put the two youngest kids in the bike trailer so everyone can enjoy a decent-paced ride. This puts the 3-year-old in tears because she’s “a big kid and can ride a pedal bike too!” Enter Tyke Toter!
With the Tyke Toter, we’re now able to take the whole family on semi-fast paced, 4-mile bike ride and everyone is happy! My youngest isn’t crying because she can’t keep up, and the oldest doesn’t get so far ahead of us that I have to use my mega loud mom whistle to tell him to stop and wait for us.
My 3-year-old on the Tyke Toter probably has the best time of all. She still feels like she’s riding a bike – she even has her own set of handlebars!
I love it because she’s a chatty little thing and with her right there in front of me I’m able to experience the bike ride through the eyes of a 3-year-old, “Look! A mama turtle and her baby!”
Child Rider POV
The younger testers love the freedom of not being strapped into a seat, whether it’s a bike seat or a bike trailer. Often on bike rides the older kids like to stop their bikes and explore cool rocks, fun trees to climb, or chase the ducks and various wildlife.
Without the child being strapped in, it’s just as easy for her to get on and off the Tyke Toter as it is for the older kids to get on and off their bikes. That way the ducks aren’t gone by the time she gets there and we still have a happy 3-year-old!
With no weight limit, I was able to test the Tyke Toter on all of my kids, ages 2, 3, 4, and 6. The 3, 4, and 6-year-olds can all ride pedal bikes, but now they have a hard time choosing between riding their own bikes or riding the Tyke Toter!
While the 2, 3 and 4-year-old are accustomed to riding in a bike trailer, they much prefer the Tyke Toter. They feel as though they’re riding an actual bike rather than sitting low to the ground in a bike trailer without the wind blowing in their faces or strapped into a child bike seat. They also love the feeling of being able to go faster and ride at speeds to which their gearless bikes and low gain ratios don’t allow them.
Our 6-year-old tester was intrigued by the novelty of the Tyke Toter, and he was much more comfortable on Dad’s larger bike than Mom’s. However, it isn’t his favorite for actual bike rides. His own bike grants him more freedom to explore and be in control and he has more room to move on his own bike. The pictures below demonstrate the comfort level based on the size of the rider and the size of the adult.
6-Year-Old on Tyke Toter
Our 2-year-old tester was giddy with excitement while on the Tyke Toter. This gave her a sense of being a big kid and riding a bike like the rest of the family does. While she loved it, we have our reservations about her size and readiness for a restraint-free child seat.
Adult Rider POV
My absolute favorite thing about the Tyke Toter is that I’m able to carry on a conversation with my child while on a bike ride. When they are on their own bikes I’m usually shouting for them to speed up, slow down, watch for cars, stop ramming their sibling’s tire, etc.
With the Tyke Toter I can fully enjoy being outside with them and seeing the world through their eyes. Quality time with our children comes in many forms, and the Tyke Toter promotes quality conversation while also teaching children to love the outdoors and love physical activity.
Traditional front-mounted seats have a weight limit of 33 pounds, so around age 3 the child outgrows them. Once outgrown, they have to transition to a rear-mounted seat and no longer have the same interactive biking experience as riding in the front.
With no weight limit, the mid-mounted Tyke Toter allows you to keep your child upfront with you for many more years than previously permitted.
Another plus is that seats like the Tyke Toter teach little ones to learn and trust their own strength and balance, just like they have to on their own bikes. For our 2-year-old tester who is just learning to use a balance bike, the Tyke Toter is helping her learn to develop bike-balance. She’s also learning to hold on to the handlebars with the right amount of grip-strength as we ride at differing speeds and on various terrain.
While I felt that my kids quickly learned that they needed to sit still, I would be nervous with a child who was extra wiggly or extra adventurous, i.e., standing up, letting go of the handlebars, or twisting in the seat. This would throw off their balance, and possibly mine.
Also, their feet could potentially get caught in the moving front wheel or they could fall off the bike, etc. This, of course, is a safety concern for all mid-mount child bike seats and is not specific to the Tyke Toter.
Bike and Adult Rider Compatibility
One of the best things about the Tyke Toter is that it will fit nearly all standard bikes. While most “mid-mount” child bike seats – like the Mac Ride and Shotgun – mount to the top tube of the bike, the Tyke Toter is the only seat to attach to the seat post. The bike must have a standard seat post (no dropper posts) in order to be properly installed.
Tyke Toter on Medium-Framed Priority Classic
The seat post can be no larger than 1.25” in diameter or the quick release clamp wings will not fit. Most seat posts fit in this range. A standard bike seat post is 1.07” and an oversized seat post is 1.24” – so chances are your seat post is compatible.
For the average-sized adult, the TykeToter should be a very easy fit for both bike and rider. Our dad tester is 5’11” and the Tyke Toter fit comfortably on his bike and it was very easy for him to get the children safely on and off the seat.
Where you may run into an issue is if you ride with your seat at or near the minimum seat height. Because the Tyke Toter mounts to the seat post, you’ll need about 1.75″ of seat post to attach it properly. You’ll also have to take into consideration the length of your wheelbase and the angle of the top tube, as the Tyke Toter runs parallel to the ground.
As someone who rides with my seat almost at its minimum height, and with an upward slant of the top tube, the Tyke Toter did not initially fit on the bike.
Tyke Toter on Small-Framed Bike with Seat at Minimum Height v. Raised Height
In order to make it work, I had to raise my seat height higher than where I can comfortably put my feet on the ground.
This presented a couple problems for me on my first few rides. First, I couldn’t sit with both toes safely reaching the ground at the same time. This means I couldn’t mount my bike first and then pick my child up to place them on the seat, as per the Tyke Toter instructions.
I had to put them on the Tyke Toter first, and then get on my bike second. I am confident in my ability to do this safely, however, it is not recommended by the manufacturer.
Secondly, I couldn’t remove my child from the seat before I dismounted, so dismounting became a bit of a race against time. I had to quickly dismount and grab my kid before the kid and the bike tumbled.
After quite a few bike rides with the Toter (because my kids cannot get enough of the “orange bike”) I did find an easier option than the previously mentioned balancing act. By mounting and dismounting with one of my feet on a curb, I had plenty of stability to safely put my child on the seat and safely remove them.
This curb-mounting is easy and is totally worth it in our book, though. The whole family truly loves the Tyke Toter.
Of all the mid-mount seats on the market (Mac Ride, Shotgun, Do Little), the Tyke Toter is by far the easiest mounting system we have found. Taking just 2 to 5 minutes, it’s ideal for parents who want to frequently remove the seat or switch it to another bike. Installation is just a matter of tightening a nut, securing the lever, and strapping on the footpegs.
I also love that the Tyke Toter doesn’t have any loose bolts or screws that I have to keep track of when it isn’t installed on my bike. All the hardware is attached and ready to use and never needs to be completely taken apart. You can also strap the foot pegs around the Tyke Toter to keep it all together when it isn’t attached to a bike. Also – no tools necessary for installation!
Size and Age Range of Child
The Tyke Toter will be able to tote your tyke from ages 2-5 comfortably, or as long as they can fit on it, with no official weight limit. On the lower end we had our 2-year-old tester, who is very small for her age (33” and 22 lbs.), and on the higher end we had an average sized just-turned-6-year-old (46” and 44 lbs). We even rode with a 65 lb. 8-year-old once!
While the Tyke Toter can accommodate kids from a very wide range of ages and weights, the ideal age and size is about 3 to 4 years old. These ages where the most delighted, the most capable, and the perfect size for the adult rider. The other ages still thoroughly enjoyed the Tyke Toter, but wouldn’t be as practical on longer bike rides.
Whether you’re comfortable using the Tyke Toter with a 2-year-old is really up to you. You’ll need to take your size, your child’s size, and your child’s temperament into consideration. From my experience with my very petite 2-year-old, I felt surprisingly in control of her with her between my arms, and she stayed very well put for the most part.
I did have to remind her to keep her feet on the pegs and hold on to the handlebars a couple of times, but she was quickly very compliant and thoroughly enjoyed her ride. However, I couldn’t help but worry about her falling off as we rode along, a thought that didn’t cross my mind with our older (larger) testers.
Our dad tester also rode with our petite 2-year-old in a standard front-mounted child bike seat as well as with the Tyke Toter. Comparing the two, he certainly felt safer with her in a traditional front-mounted child seat.
He felt that having such a small-framed body on the Tyke Toter in such a wide open space without her being strapped in was too risky. In the picture above it’s easy to see that with his larger frame, and longer arms, she definitely was not as snug and enclosed by his body and arms as she was when she rode with me and my shorter arms and shorter torso.
With the 3 to 6-year-old testers we noticed we had to splay our legs out in order to accommodate the width of the child that was basically sitting in our lap. This was awkward at first, but as we rode the Tyke Toter more often, we hardly even noticed it. I ended up feeling just as comfortable as riding with no child.
Notes for shorter adults vs. average height adults
At just 5’2″, my head was barely above the heads of our 4 and 6-year-old testers. With the 6-year-old, he either had to lean forward or I had to lean my head to the side in order to both fit comfortably.
With our dad tester, none of these mild inconveniences were present and he was able to comfortably ride no matter the size of the tyke being toted.
Seat, Handlebars, and Foot Pegs
Seat: The seat is made out of 0.5″ thick, orange, high-density foam and is 6” across and 4.25” front to back. The high-density foam doesn’t provide a lot of padding or have much give to it, but it does feel softer than sitting on metal or hard plastic.
While the Tyke Toter’s seat isn’t a traditionally shaped bike seat, our testers did not complain. Even our testers with bigger bottoms had nothing negative to report about it and the tested tushies stayed comfortably on the seat.
Handlebars: The handlebars are 8.25” wide and 1” in diameter with 3”, highly-durable rubber grips. The rubber grips aren’t like traditional handlebar grips – they don’t have any “squish” or tread to them.
Because there isn’t any squish, little hands could get tired of gripping them on lengthy rides. With no treads, and made from a harder rubber, sweaty little hands could also have a harder time holding on for long periods.
The grips do slide easily off the posts if you pull on them, (they stay firmly put if there is no pulling), and they make a fun popping noise once they break free from the metal. Once the kids discovered this it became quite fun for them, and keeping the grips on the bars was a bit of a problem!
One of the best things about the Tyke Toter is that it has handlebars for the kids which are completely unattached from the adult’s handlebars. With other mid-mount seats this isn’t the case. They either do not have handlebars at all, or the child’s handlebars attach to the adult’s handlebars and are sold as an accessory.
Our testers love having their own handlebars. Having their own handlebars closer to their body gives them a more upright ride, which allows them to look around a bit more than if they were leaning forward. It also keeps their hands clear of the gear shifts and the wires. However, because they are so upright, their body positioning on the Tyke Toter isn’t ideal for rough terrain, such as mountain biking.
Footpegs: The convenience of being able to strategically place the footpegs of the Tyke Toter is handy, but they have a few design flaws that I noticed as soon as I installed them on my bike. There are also numerous Amazon reviews that mention problems other consumers have had with the footpegs. Some problems are just annoying (how small they are), while others definitely become a safety issue (feet sliding off the pegs and into the moving wheel).
The footpegs are held to the downtube with two strong velcro straps. Two rubber shims are also included in order to more securely fit the pegs to the downtube. The rubber shims, when used correctly, plus the pressure of the child’s feet, do a great job of securing the footpegs to the down tube.
The hard plastic footpegs are 6” wide from end to end, however, once they are installed there is only 2” of room for each foot. Because there is so little room on either side of the down tube, feet (especially older kids’ feet) are more likely to slip off the pegs.
The placement of the treads on the footpeg is a little unexpected. The child’s feet do not rest on the treads, rather their feet rest on the smooth side of the pegs. With the foot pegs off the bike it does seem like the treads are in the most logical spot. However, when you attach them to the diagonal angle of the down tube, the treads are faced to the back, rather than facing upward where they would be under the sole of the child’s shoe.
While this didn’t significantly impair the functionality of the rides we took, there are moments where our tester’s feet slid off the pegs. They would be less likely to do so if the treads were under the rubber soles of their shoes.
Additionally, the Tyke Toter is the only mid-mount bike seat that we know of that doesn’t have straps or a way to keep the child’s feet secure and out of the front fork or the front tire.
This could be a potential hazard, (and has been for some consumers according to Amazon reviews) with the kid’s feet so close to the moving front wheel, but even with the treads under their feet, the moving wheel is still a potential hazard.
While we haven’t had any serious issues with Tyke Toter’s foot pegs we do wish they secured kids’ feet better.
We absolutely love the Tyke Toter and would highly recommend it to all families no matter their activity level or biking expertise. The simple installation makes it so easy to go for a quick ride without having to leave it on your bike all the time.
My kids particularly enjoyed being able to go so fast without tiring out their legs. Every time we head out to the garage for a bike ride there is a lengthy debate about which kid gets to ride “the orange bike”!