Front row or back seat: kids on your bike

Extra high level of comfort, water repellent seats, soft parts on the shoulder straps, great adjustability of the foot holders and back section, spoke protection for rear seats and a double shell against puncture. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Just a few examples of the current developments in bicycle child seats. Meanwhile, we do see an increasing popularity of “bakfietsen”. Parents cycling around to bring their kids to school in the morning, with or without e-support, going to the beach with their kids and stuff or going home with groceries.

It is imaginable it’s difficult, as a retailer, to give advice to the customer and meet his/her needs. Everyone is different, so are their needs and thus the advice. One person will be happy with a super versatile bakfiets and buy it as a replacement for their car, while another does not want to buy a new bike and chooses a hyper modern fashionable child seat. To make the customer’s journey as smooth as possible, some context and tips are given in this article. Let’s start with some background info on the child seat – there is more history than one would think!

The first child seat was made of wood and reed, braided around a steel frame. This was fixed at right angles to the luggage carrier with leather straps. Cushions provided more comfort for the small travelers. It was GMG later Yepp and nowadays part of Thule - who changed this. They came up with a system that facilitated the installation of child seats by fitting a clamp attachment under the rear seat, to be locked with a simple lock nut against loosening. GMG was ahead when it comes to design and even color matching front and back seats. It was Bobike who introduced another way of mounting the front seat, namely done by a small block on the stem of the bicycle. The seat is clamped with two large metal pins into this block. One of the pins has an opening for a locking pin or a small padlock to prevent theft. Bobike was the first to make a shell fully made of hard plastic with a small metal frame underneath. Nowadays they have a double-walled shell for extra safety. As they say: child seats are being used to carry your most valuable belongings, only occasionally to transport an office bag.

As said, it cannot be ignored that the bakfiets has gained popularity in the last few years. Traffic jams can be avoided, one can easily go to the beach, nearby park or city - especially when he/she has an electric one. Great versatility is the main motivation for people to choose a bakfiets, but it is a big investment as well. Prices differ between € 1700,- and € 6000,- for an electric one. The non-supported ones might be cheaper. Of course, it can be seen as a replacement for the car, even an environmental friendly alternative. However, when someone already has a bike and doesn’t want to invest in a new one, a child seat would fit better to its needs. Especially when one doesn’t have enough space to park the bakfiets in- or outside the house.

Following the trends

Nowadays the bicycle child seats of many brands are sturdy, safe and durable. They meet the European EN14344 norm to ensure safety. Materials often used are aluminum and high-quality plastics. The seats come in different types with lots of options, such as adjustable footsteps, in height-adjustable backrest, magnetic belt closures, 3 to 5 point belts and various attachment options such as rear carrier or seat tube mounting. To promote the child seat, clever marketing is needed. When it comes to customer needs such as ease, comfort, durability, lifespan, fashion and costs, brands make clever use of experience marketing. Telling stories to create fans for their brand, by sharing Instagram pictures and by promoting their products not only in bicycle stores but also on fairs for future parents. Out of the box promotion means they empathize with the customer and they respond quickly to the latest fashion.

New brands & opportunities

There is still some space on the market despite the large offer of child seats. The relatively new brand Urban IKI by OGK brings a Japanese feeling on the market with a Dutch designed child seat. Qibbel - quite younger than its competitors Yepp and Bobike - has proven itself on the market with contemporary designs and shapes. It seems that the authentic way of child transport will always be alive and brands continue to evolve to be a step ahead of the needs of parents: easy, affordable and especially safe transport of their children in a fashionable way! Luckily some bakfiets manufacturers give the opportunity to mount a front child seat inside the bakfiets, so the customer can profit either from the advantages of a bakfiets and go along with the latest child seat trends!

Text by: Fietscontent (fietscontent.nl )