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Thule Yepp Maxi bike seat review

5 Dec 2018
Verdict:

The Thule Yepp Maxi is robust and well-executed solution to riding with a toddler on board

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
• Offers security but freedom for the child • Easy to install • Robust design
Against 
• Very little

The Thule Yepp Maxi bike seat does nothing to dispel the Swedish stereotype of efficient design wrapped up in clean aesthetics. It is designed for children from nine months (it is recommended to consult your doctor before first using the product if your child is under one year) to six years/22kg, so in theory this one seat should be the only one you’d need to buy before your child is able to ride alongside you on their own bike - presuming you live in a country where it's safe for them to do so, probably not the UK.

While I cannot definitely say that this is the case, after several months of regular use I would say the quality of the construction points towards the kind of robustness that would last until a child outgrows it.

Buy the Thule Yepp Maxi from Amazon

All the structural hardware is steel while the seat itself is an EVA polymer that is supportive and comfortable but durable and shock-absorbing.

The Yepp Maxi seat base is mounted on the seat tube of a bike - two rubber-backed clamshell-like panels grip 10cm of the seat tube. From there two steel bars project up and back to present the docking point for the seat.

I mounted the Yepp Maxi on a large Whyte Stirling that has plenty of tyre clearance but a compact geometry. The clamp and base section fit very well in this case, although it did make me think that small frame sizes with compact geometry may struggle with fit or clearance issues.

The clamp section could feasibly take up too much of the seat tube or the child could end up too close to the saddle of the adult.

However this is unlikely to be the case in the vast majority of examples. In addition I don’t see that it is possible for Thule to make the design truly universal without compromising in some area that would be detrimental to the current performance of the product, so this is hardly a negative point.

Rather, just something to keep in mind if you are a prospective customer that is petite/rides a small sized, compact frame.

The seat mounts to the bike-attached base via a clip system that requires a two-button release - push one in while pulling out the other to install/remove the seat.

In my experience that made it impossible that the release would be triggered unintentionally, but to make sure the seat can be locked in place.

Moving on to the seat portion of the design, safety and comfort are balanced brilliantly with freedom of movement in several areas.

Plastic shields extend down the insides of the stirrups that prevented my son’s legs from coming into contact with the bike’s rear wheel, enclosing just enough for total protection without affecting his freedom to move and adjust.

It is a similar story with the shape of the seat: curved lower down so my son could securely nestle in it but flat enough around the shoulder area for free movement of his arms and head.

The backrest extends to a reassuring height but is ventilated, so my son never got uncomfortable despite spending up to an hour at a time in the seat.

The five-point harness is adjustable and I found it very secure in use, but it remained quick and easy to fit around an often-excited-and-flailing toddler.

Thule’s claim of the buckle being childproof is reasonable because it takes a concerted level of dexterity to undo, even by an adult, and the restraints are padded in the same EVA polymer as the Yepp Maxi’s seat body.

Projected as The Thule Yepp Maxi was, out behind my regular riding position, I found it took quite an adjustment in my riding style to account for the 3.8kg seat and 17kg child sat in it.

It takes more getting used to than a top tube mounted seat for example - more weight is required over the front of the bike to balance the handling’s tendency to become unnervingly light, and movements by my son more acutely affected my steering.

Buy the Thule Yepp Maxi from Amazon

However in exchange, as the rider, I got unrestricted room to ride as normal so after a short period of familiarisation I could easily account for these consequences.

These effects are inherent to this type of bike seat solution so not flaws of the Thule Yepp Maxi. Indeed, they would have undoubtedly been a lot more keenly felt if the design of the seat was less accomplished.

For those looking for a fit-and-forget solution to get your child on your bike in safety and comfort, I can recommend that the Thule Yepp Maxi should be top of your list.

Price: 
£110

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