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I'm buying a mountain bike and come in exactly on the boundary between medium and large women's frame sizes. I used to commute by bike in a city several years ago so fairly confident cyclist but would now be cycling on trails with my toddler. I'm planning to use a front-mounted child seat - probably the Thule Yepp Mini. Has anyone used this seat or similar seats and can recommend whether it is better to go for the larger or smaller MTB size to allow space for my knees while cycling, but also be able to reach around the seat to the handlebars? Covid restrictions mean I can't try it out in advance. Thanks very much

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Some things to consider (I'm certainly not an expert!):

  1. Your toddler's weight, sitting high in the seat, will tend to make the bike top-heavy. Your legs are what will keep the bike from tipping over sideways, so a lower or slanted top tube (lower standover height) will make it easier to plant one or both feet on the ground.
  2. Different bike models will have different seat-tube to steerer distances, which will affect your knee/Thule clearance as you mentioned. It might be worth looking at the men's models as well as women's models to find something you're happy with.
  3. There are some reviews that mention the Thule limiting steerer movement to the sides on some bikes; maybe that's actually a good thing?
  4. You or the bike shop can easily modify the bike, for example with a shorter/longer or differently angled handlebar, to suit your needs better.
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  • Most front seats either need a horizontal toptube, or add a bar that serves as one. In the latter case a sloping tube may actually make things worse – Chris H Apr 28 at 6:17
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    @ChrisH The Yepp Mini described by the OP (and the more general class of seats to which it belongs) are stem-mounted, and work best with a step-through frame. – RLH Apr 28 at 14:26
  • @RLH I only looked at the Wee-ride type in detail, they mount on the toptube and were far more common here a few years ago. I rejected all front mount seats as I'd have had to ride with my knees out to the sides, than they would have hit my wrists, but I'm at the tall end of XL frames so the geometry is different to the OP's – Chris H Apr 28 at 14:33
  • @ChrisH I’ve found that the front-mount seats work best with a swept-back bar. I have a Yepp Mini on an Electra cruiser, which additionally has a semi-recumbent position (very laid-back seat post to enable full leg extension while being able to flat-foot over the saddle), which works very well. The other front seat I’ve been very happy with is a MacRide saddle/stirrup rig on my mountain bike with a dropper post and swept-back bars. – RLH Apr 28 at 14:44
  • @RLH and it would work better with a far longer reach than I could buy. I live in a hilly area so need to be able to pedal efficiently. We went for a Hamax Siesta rear seat; now she's about to outgrow a Bobike classic junior with a 35kg weight limit, and can ride her own bike (though living just off a busy road makes that tricky as a means of transport) – Chris H Apr 28 at 15:10
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Separate thought - you'll have this bike for years or decades.

The child will not be a toddler for that long, so consider what you want to ride once the child-seat is no longer part of the setup.

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