I have a Gary Fisher zebrano, bought some time around 2000. It's in perfectly good nick and i'd like to get a rear child seat for it to take my little boy out on it Unfortunately, my local bike a shop thinks my old bike won't work with any seat currently on the market, due to the position of the brake cables and some 'pins' on the back wheel fork (sorry for novice description!). They thought any adaptation to fit would be unsafe. Apparently my bike won't take new model bike racks for the same reason.

I need an second hand child seat. Does anyone know a model name or anything that could start me off on eBay? Or a current model child seat that would fit? I'm not a cycling pro (sure i have given that away already!) and haven't really got a clue where or how to start looking for fittings or anything past blindly walking into a bike shop.

At the moment, it's looking like I'll need to buy a new bike for the sake of being able to fit a child seat!

Thank you in advance. Any advice appreciated!

NB. I'm not keen on seats that go in front of the cyclist for safety reasons. Also don't really like the idea of a trailer in London streets.enter image description here

  • It would be rare such a bike cannot be fitted with a rack and child seat. I am very surprised. The Zebrano I see on the net is a fairly standard Hybrid, without disk brakes (which are often the problem). Can you post pictures of the 'pins' and close ups of the rear triangle around the axle and where it meets the seat tube. Consider getting a second opinion from another bike shop.
    – mattnz
    Mar 26, 2017 at 22:00
  • Can you post some photos? We're having a hard time visualizing this problem.
    – RoboKaren
    Mar 26, 2017 at 22:02
  • 1
    Thank you for all your comments. I've managed to get a picture up to clarify about the 'pins'. Not sure about the disc brakes; i do remember them looking at the back wheel and thinking brakes were an issue to fit a rack. It was a large London Evans bike shop reckoned i had no options when I took it in. If you still think I'm barmy, please let me know, and as you say, mattnz, perhaps I should get a second opinion at a bike shop further afield. Thank you again! Mar 27, 2017 at 8:44
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    @ChrisH not that odd - they're brazed-on rather than being tapped into the frame directly.
    – Criggie
    Mar 27, 2017 at 9:25
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    Find another bike shop....
    – mattnz
    Mar 27, 2017 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


Your bike has cantilever brakes, which use a straddle cable and then the main inner cable pulls that. Totally typical brakes for the age of the bike, and perfectly serviceable. However the center cable has to run straight up to a hanger, and its not impossible that some brands of seat may foul this area.

Not quite sure what pins your LBS is referring to. The full-sized image clearly shows two lugs for mounting a rack (on either seatstay, just by the brakes.) The photo cuts off at the bottom but you definitely have one lug on the dropout where the mudguard currently mounts.

Could be the bike shop was referring to your front derailleur cable, which is the wire going straight down the seat tube. That could interfere with the clamp used in the next image.

So depending on your budget a rear mounted seat like this should work. https://metaefficient.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Mother-Child-Biycle-1024x771.jpg This one uses a permanently mounted clamp on the seat tube (black, behind rider's left knee in photo) and the two silver poles are the main supports for the child seat which is held suspended over the rear rack.

Downsides - the view isn't great for a kid, and they're always looking sideways which is bad for any kind of accident. The rider can't see the child. Also note the child's weight is more behind the rear axle than in front, so this unweights the front wheel a bit and makes the bike handle worse.

Also notice the rear tyre may just be low on air, but it also shows how much the weight balance is altered. Adding a 5-10 kilo child plus a seat all on the back wheel is not ideal.

Personally I'd strongly recommend a mid-mount seat like this

enter image description here

Notice the child can see what's coming, and can hold the sleep pad, or can even fall asleep on it.

The downside is that the average and taller riders will have to ride slightly more bow-legged. Most models do allow the seat to be easily removed leaving just a mounting bar in place, at which time the bike rides normally.

Some further reading for you: http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/best-child-bike-seats-39715/

  • Unrelated - in top pic Mum has a poorly fitted helmet, and in the bottom pick the child's helmet is rotated back. Neither is getting any forehead or face protection from their helmet.
    – Criggie
    Mar 27, 2017 at 9:55
  • The handling effect of a rear seat isn't that bad, and they're suitable up to a much larger child (mine is 3 now and there's no way she'd fit on a top tube seat any more even ignoring my legs. Sleeping in a rear seat is perfectly possible. I suggest a handlebar bag or basket for the inevitable baby luggage, rather than keeping it at the back even if it fits. I had planned to write an answer about rear seats but can't improve on yours: +1.
    – Chris H
    Mar 28, 2017 at 6:47

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