Friday, February 22, 2013

Product Review: The Yepp Mini

The Yepp Mini is a children's bicycle seat. But unlike other bike seats you may have seen around the child is in front of the rider rather than sitting on the back. The seat is attached to the handlebar stem and is made out of the same flexiable yet strong material that Crocs shoes are made out of. The Yepp Mini is suitable for children from 9 months of age and able to sit up by themselves and comes in some pretty cool colours. They also make a heap of accessories for it tho I haven't really seen the need for getting any of them... yet.*

*they look so good tho. There's a windscreen, a sleep roll (in case your little one nods off) and a stand to convert the seat into a high chair!

Checkin' out my wheels

I've actually been meaning to write a proper review for this product for a while now but something happened today that really pushed me to get on it.

I should also add I currently ride a Hybrid Road bike and the seat fits perfectly. Though I have heard that some people with narrower handlbar stems on Hybrid or Road Bikes might need to get the adapter. Easy to figure out tho. They give you the measurements and all you need to do is measure the diameter of the stem and see if you need to get the adapter.

For the last couple of weeks, the Little Man and I have been riding to daycare together, him strapped up in his little seat with the cutest firefighting monkeys adorning his helmet. 

After I drop him off I ride home, unclip the seat (incredibly easy to do) and drop it off in the garage before continuing on to work (mainly because there are some hard core cyclists at work and I'm afraid they'll laugh at me for riding in with a child seat)

In the evening I ride home, re-clip the seat (also incredibly easy) then go pick up The Little Man from Daycare. 

While most of the parents and grandparents dropping off kids are in cars, a handful of them ride in with kids on traditional "kid on the back" bikes. We exchange nods but nothing more. 

Today when I went to pick up The Little Man, The grandfather of an older kid who always rides him to daycare on a rear mounted bike seat, was inspecting the seat and how it connected to the bike (because the connection is on the handle stem rather than the main stem, it does kinda look like the seat is floating just above the bike).

He had a couple of questions for me:

  • Is it difficult to ride having the kid up front?
Not at all. In fact because the center of gravity of the bicycle is still in the middle like it was meant to be, the bicycle maintains it's stability. Maneuverability is actually much easier than if he was sitting at the back. I will admit that when riding uphills I tend to bend lower on the bike and that does make my chest crush into the back of the child seat. I've also read some reviews that mention that some people have experienced hitting their knees on the bottom of the seat but it hasn't happened to me.
  • Was it easy to assemble/disassemble?
Initial assembly took The Husband about 5 mins to do. The attachment onto the handlebar stem is permanently fixed and the seat clips or unclips onto it. There is also a lock which means that someone can't come along and steal your seat from the bike if you leave it chained up somewhere. But don't take my word for it. Like most things... there is a YouTube Video :-D

  • Does The Little Man like it?
One of the problems with this seat (as would also be the case with the rear seat I guess) is that I cannot see The Little Man's face as we're riding. So I can't see if he's enjoying himself. But judging by the continuous stream of "da da dahahahahahaha da da dahahahahahaha" coming from just under my chin, especially during the cruise downhills. I think he likes it. 
I also think that The Little Man gets to see and experience more being in the front than being behind. And when I point out things to him as we're zipping along I know he's actually turning to look at it. 

  • Is it safe?
Here I had to refrain from waxing lyrical about the definitions of safety and what definition of safe they were referring to. Sometimes it is a bit hard to stop being a Safety Engineer. 
One of the reasons I went out of my way to order a front mounted bicycle seat all the way from the Netherlands was 1) it looked SO COOL and 2) because in some realms it has been decided  that the front mounted seats are slightly safer than the rear mounted ones. In my opinion, this difference is practically negligible. If you're going to crash into something, both options are probably going to be bad news. It would be more advisable to just not crash into something. To this end I only ride on footpaths (sidewalks) while ferrying The Little Man and I don't go very fast (not difficult considering I'm riding with an extra 11kg on board.. *puff puff groan*)
I'm probably a little bit more of a careful rider now after my faceplant on a very wet road on the way home from work just before Christmas. Also the seat being in front provides a constant reminder to be extra careful because The Little Man is literally right under my nose. So all in all I feel pretty good about the Safety aspects of the seat. 
If I had one accessory wish for this seat it would be an attachable mirror so I could glance down and see if my Little Man is having a good time or just freaking out.


  1. Hmmm. I wonder if I also need one of these! I'm not sure I'd be confident using my road bike... perhaps an excuse for a(nother) new bike!

  2. I wouldn't advise using it on a road bike. For 2 reasons. 1) Pure road bikes like I imagine you have (and probably spent a lot of good money on) are very light, and the added weight (of child) makes it tricky to balance for the first few seconds after taking off. 2) Whats the use of having a super sleek road bike if you're going to add weight on it. Get yourself a hybrid or one of those cute country/townie style bikes.
    I have a pretty sleek hybrid and I think the serious cyclists tut tut at my defiling my reduced weight chassis with kids and racks.

  3. I found your blog on google and I had a couple questions for you. We are debating on the yepp mini, the wee ride and the bobike. The yepp is my favorite by far in terms of materials used, the design, knee room, and accessories. My one concern is that it attaches to the stem and the seat turns with the handle bars. The wee ride is attached to a cross bar, so it's independent of the stem. It stays stationary, so it's more part of the bike body. That seems more fluid and easier to ride in my opinion. I have tried a wee ride, but I haven't had the opportunity to try the yepp. The yepp is also a lot more expensive, so I'd like to make the right choice. Do you have any opinions or insight on this? Thanks for your help!

  4. Happy to help if I can.
    From my experience the fact that it attaches to the stem of the handlebars is just great. This is for 2 reasons
    1) I'm 5'10 (or 175cm) and the further the seat is from my knees the better.
    2) As it is I already just brush the top of the little man's helmet with my chin when cycling uphill (one tends to lean forward and pant heavily during these sections) and if the seat was on the crossbar I reckon I'd be pressing my chest to the back of the seat.

    I can understand your concern with regards to the steer-ability of the bike with the Yepp on the handlebars but I personally haven't noticed any issues with it as yet. The Little Man is at 11.5kg at the moment it may be an issue later on when he is heavier. The weight of the seat itself is negligible as it's made from very light materials.

    I mainly chose the Yepp because it was easy to remove and attach the seat once the stem attachment was in place. So that my bike to switch quickly from a 5 min ride to daycare to my 30 min ride to work.

    From what I can see the bobike is almost exactly the same design. So between those 2 I'd go for the price. I remember I didn't choose the wee ride because it attached to too many places on the bike (maybe for more stability) but it also looks bulkier than the Yepp and the bobike.

    Hope this helps.