Friday, April 13, 2012

Review: iBert Safe-T seat

The iBert Safe-T Seat
After much deliberation--I've been looking into child seats for my bike since before Sprout was born, reading reviews & articles on safety--we finally bought an iBert Safe-T Seat . We purchased it at JV Bikes, in Yaletown, where I was able to bring in my bike & try out the seats to see how they'd fit before I bought one.

I was originally intending to buy the Polisport Bilby Jr. seat, because the reviews I'd read were good & it was only $70. However, when I actually got to the store & tried it on my bike, I realized it wasn't going to work. My knees hit it as I pedalled & the back of the seat was against my chest before we even put Sprout into it.

So, I took a look at the iBert Safe-T Seat  & that's what we ended up buying. On to the review after the jump!

What is it?

The iBert Safe-T seat.

How does it work?

The 'stinger' (a metal mounting bracket) attaches to your front stem just below your handlebars. It requires less than an inch of space, so it fits a lot of bikes without too much adjustment. The seat slides onto the stinger & then a pin goes through both to secure the seat. Your child sits in the seat, facing forward with their legs going just under your handlebars.

Why is it good?

First off the installation took about five or ten minutes, from opening up the box to installing the hardware to attaching the seat pad & adjusting the harness straps. The only tool needed is an allen key, which is included with the seat.

When I ride, my knees still touch the seat at the front just a little, but the whole seat is farther forward & sits lower than the Bilby, because Sprout's legs going forward out under the bike's handlebars & because the seat back isn't as high. There's room for him to grow a bit before he is up against my chest not to mention the weight limit on the iBert is 40 lbs. A major advantage of the iBert design is the child's legs are forward & it doesn't impede your turning radius at all like the other front seats I've seen.

I've heard people complain about having difficulty balancing their bike with a front-mounted seat, but I don't know if they were comparing the difficulty with using a rear mounted seat or not. I've ridden a number of times with more than Sprout's weight attached to my rear rack (40lb bags of kitty litter, large turkey, gear for a bike tour) & found it very awkward to balance. This is because the part of the bike you're holding onto--the handlebars--is quite far from where the weight is. When the weight is over your front wheel as it is with the iBert, the bike feels more balanced & you have better control because that's where you're holding on. I've read that many of the injuries when using rear mounted bike seats happen not while riding but during mounting & dismounting the bike--with the iBert, you can often stand over the bike while putting the child into the seat--no need to get on afterward.

If you don't want to leave the seat on your bike when you're at your destination or if you're going out sans baby, it's fairly easy to remove--just a matter of pulling out the clip & pin under the seat. It's also smaller than most of the other seats on the market for those of you who have limited storage space.

Sprout didn't make any fuss about getting strapped into the seat like he sometimes does with the trailer. He loved the ride & it was very easy to talk to him, as he was just a few inches under my chin. He also had a lot of fun ringing my bell once he figured out what that was for.

What's not good about it?

The seat wiggles around a bit in the bracket & rattles when you ride over bumps. It feels very strong, but I think I might use some rubber strips or tape to stop the rattling. The seat only has a three-point harness, which might be vulnerable to serious escape artist children, I suppose. In addition to the harness, there is a plastic bar that goes across the seat in front of the child, but I find it tends to flip down & get in the way when I'm trying to get him in the seat.

Where can I get it?

JV BikesDenman Bike Shop, Cambie Cycles & Ride On Bike Shop in Vancouver carry them. Check the iBert website for more retailers in other cities & countries. UPDATE: the iBert Safe-T Seat is available HERE on

How much does it cost?

It's in the upper middle of the range from my research: we paid $140 for it, on sale.

Disclaimer: I didn't get any compensation to write this review. The links to the iBert on Amazon are affiliate links & if you purchase one via my links, I'll get a small commission.

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