If you want to carry something on your car or bike chances are Thule will make something to do just that, their product design is always well thought out and the fit and finish of their range is excellent.
The RideAlong Mini makes an excellent companion for your family biking expeditions and the design and features set this seat apart from the rest.
Read on to see my experience with it.
Thule RideAlong Mini
The Mini is just one of many options in Thule’s range of kids seats. They have rear mount carrier and bracket mount versions as well.
The seat uses a clever quick release system that removes in seconds and all the adjustments on the seat are color coded in blue.
The bracket adapts easily to different headset styles and is quick to install. And one of my favorite things is the 5 years extended warranty, there are not many seats around (if any?) that have this kind of aftermarket support.
The seat also comes in a yellow/mango color with a reversible colored foam pad if greys not your thing.
Thule RideAlong Mini Specs
Where to Buy: Amazon.com
- 5 Year Warranty
- Age Range of 1 to 3 years
- A maximum recommended weight of 33 pounds
- Mounting Bracket fit threaded and threadless headsets
- 3/4 inch/ 20mm mounting space needed
- 5 point safety harness with easily adjustable shoulder straps and child-proof buckle
- Washable and reversible seat padding
- Ergonomic wraparound design
- 5.9-pound seat weight
- Fully adjustable footrests
- Key lock anti-theft bracket
- Install time of 10 to 15 mins
Installing and Mounting the RideAlong
I found nothing overly complicated with the Mini’s bracket. It’s a plastic bracket, unlike the iBert Safe-T-Seat which is aluminum.
The Brackets reinforced plastic construction gives it plenty of strength and it uses two locating sliders and extra long bolts to help it handle the leverage and weight when your child’s sitting in it.
Our bike uses a 1 1/8 threadless headset and the bracket has an internal ring which replaces the aluminum spacers underneath your stem. What I did like about this is the rubber grips the forks steerer tube so and the seat stays put and doesn’t move. Other seats clamp onto the outside spacer rings, they don’t have a lot of tension on them and the seat can move side to side every now and then.
The bracket fits straight onto a regular threaded headset as well.
With the seat removed, the bracket’s pretty minimal, it doesn’t get in the way when riding and it doesn’t have any sharp edges or things to catch yourself on which is a bonus.
The big tab makes clicking the seat on super easy, it drops right down and your good to go.
Under the seat, the big black area you see is the housing for the spring loaded release latch (the blue handle piece). And as with most other Thule products, there is a key lock integrated for extra security. Once the seats click on you can remove it without the lock, but you can also choose to lock the seat to the bike if you’re going to leave it unattended.
Mounting height is determined by your stem, it needs about 3/4 inches of steerer underneath your stem.
Comfort For Your Child
The Mini’s body wraps around and gives your child good stability, it uses molded-in channels for their legs with a decent adjustment range of the footrests.
The shape of the legs channels extends down and at an outwards angle, this helps them give more clearance on your bike while providing a natural rest angle for your kiddies legs which helps with comfort if you are cruising around for longer periods of time.
The seatbelts I thought, really is where the RideAlong stands apart from other seats. They are super easy to use and are excellent quality.
The shoulder straps are covered in nice, thick padding which is not only super comfortable but as you can see, with no child in the seat they retain their shape, they stay put really well when in use and it easy to get your child clipped in as they don’t fall around and get tangled up.
Seat belt height can also be adjusted for shoulder height by pulling the anchor buckle sideways through the slot and repositing it to the next slot.
Adjustment is done by pressing the large blue button, this releases the straps and you can slide them into position. The free end passes through the bottom of the shoulder strap which keeps everything tidy.
The main harness buckle is super simple and secure, to release you need to push the side and top button down at the same time, this should be tricky enough to stop little hands figuring it out.
The Mini uses a good sized seat pad, you can remove it for washing and it’s actually reversible (you can just make out the purple color around the edges) There is a second seat of holes to accommodate the lower seatbelt position as well.
The footrests have good adjustment, they use a small blue lever on the backside of the channel which locks into the ridges.
The foot straps did their job well but I did find them a bit overcomplicated for what they were. I prefer the simple one strap design with a hook, these were two pieces and changing the tension of them to suit my daughter’s different size shoes took a bit longer although, it’s not really a fault.
The handlebar attachment is a rubber coated steel loop, it sits well back towards your child and the position gives a really good grip for them.
Riding Comfort and Position
I found the Thule RideAlong sat in a very similar way to the iBert. It seemed to sit up at a decent height and gave me a good amount of leg room. My knees did touch the seat but it wasn’t too much of a discomfort.
I liked the way it moved with the handlebar turns, it feels like the seat can shift it’s weight with the bike when turning and it gives an extra fun factor to your child as they can lean into the turns better.
I would recommend this seat to work best on more upright style bikes, not racing bikes. I found the very top back area of the seat sat quite close to my chest, it wasn’t a problem but if your bikes stretched out or very low at the front it could be.
The fit of the seat belts is very good, some seats I’ve tried my daughter was able to move side to side and swing her weight around a bit, the RideAlong cocooned her really well and kept her movements in check. If you struggle with balance sometimes or a new to cycling it’s a good point to consider.
Overall the RideAlong mini is an excellent seat to ride with, it sits well and doesn’t impede your visibility.
The handling of your bike will alter due to the weight added to its front area, and as the seat turns with the handlebars, the weight and balance of your steering will also change. I’ve found it’s pretty easy to get used to and feel second nature after a couple of rides.
Loading up your child is slightly tricker as you need to steady the front end from flopping to the side but I usually just rest the bike against something stable and that helps.
The seat itself is very secure and I never found any issues with child discomfort or any lack of support, and the quick release mechanism is secure.
The seatbelts are great, super adjustable and safe and fit extremely well. Team it up with a good quality helmet and your good to go.
Your child’s legs sit well away from any moving parts, and the seating position is further back so although they can still reach the handlebars, it’s a stretch so I doubt they would want to play with the gears and brakes much when riding.
Thule RideAlong Mini Pros and cons
There wasn’t much to not like about this seat, it’s a well-designed unit and very user-friendly, ill share my thoughts below
- Huge 5-year warranty. This is the extended warranty and by registering your purchase you get the 5-year extension. That makes the seat purchase excellent value.
- Comfy child seating position, the leg channel extend outward naturally and have decent adjustable height quick release footrests.
- Integrated hand hold loop, coated in a soft rubber just in case, giving support and a handhold for your young one.
- Excellent quality seat belts, soft shoulder strap pads, secure buckle, and adjustable for shoulder height
- Super quick to take on and off and the base has an inbuilt anti-theft lock
- A generously sized seat pad which is reversible for an alternative color
- I found the footrest straps were a bit finicky to set up, they work perfectly but take longer to adjust to different sized shoes
- 33-pound weight limit is slightly less than other seats
- Hmmm… Having to bend down to get to the key lock?
So to wrap things up, the RideAlong seems to almost be the perfect seat, the quality is great which is to be expected since anything from Thule usually is, the mountings easy and the price is good.
The warranty at 5 years is huge and I couldn’t see anything really going wrong with it.
The seat fits better on bikes with a more upright position, and it gives you a decent amount of leg room.
Do you own this seat? or have any other questions or suggestions? leave me a comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts.