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You won’t have heard of OGK, the makers of Urban Iki bike seats, at least not yet.
The company have only just launched in the UK and the Urban Iki range is the first they’ve marketed outside of Japan, where the brand has been a market leader in bicycle seats and accessories for 80 years.
The company has married their considerable experience and techy know-how with Dutch design and flair for making everyday objects look cool while retaining their functionality.
The Urban Iki Rear Seat is designed to let an adult rider carry a child aged from nine months to about six years old (weighing 22kg) on the back of virtually any bike. Priced at £79.99, which includes a mounting rack, it’s at the upper middle slice of the market for bike seats and offers excellent value if used over five years.
I’ve been a keen cyclist for years and regularly pedal around London on my two-wheeled speed machine but I’ve never felt brave enough to cycle with my kids on board, until now.
The Urban Iki Rear Seat, in a combination of sorbet shades, has tempted me to try it out so I’ve been taking my sons, five-year-old Tyler and two-and-a-half-year-old Rocco, out for a spin in my local park and on the surrounding streets.
How do you fit the Urban Iki Rear Seat to a bike?
Despite getting off to a positive start – it only took a few moments to clip the leg protectors together and slide them under the seat – I stalled when it came to attaching the frame mount to my bike’s seat post.
Perhaps I was over-thinking it (this seat is all about simplicity) or perhaps it was the wording in the user manual, which referred to a bike rack (eh? I haven’t got a bike rack! Eek!) but it then took a further 20 minutes to properly attach the frame mount to my bike and adjust the bracket in line with the wheel axle.
I don’t think the user manual helped; I couldn’t fathom why the instinctive and hard-to-get-wrong action of simply clicking the frame bracket into the seat-post-mounted clamping block necessitated a whole page while the much-more-fiddly task adjusting the mounting bracket onto the frame bracket was in five steps squished onto one page.
Fortunately, there’s a QR code in the user manual that can be scanned and takes you to a more helpful instruction video.
Once the frame and bracket were attached, it was relatively easy to slide the seat unit onto the bracket and click it into place and there are some red stickers in place to help you check this has been done correctly.
All that remained was to slide the cover cap over the clamping block and set a combination on the integrated cable lock and secure it around my seat post. The whole process took about 30 minutes but I suspect that had the instructions been clearer or had I had any experience of fitting a seat to my bike, it would have been closer to 10.
Is it easy to take off the bike once fitted?
Yes, but you have to remember to unlock and remove the cable lock first. That’s easy to do when visibility is good, it’s not raining and you don’t have a wet and shivering child whimpering beside you, but in the dark and wet, I suspect it might be harder.
However, once the lock is off, you simply press a button/handle at the bottom of the back of the seat and slide the seat backwards and off the frame bracket. You can then press down the cap on your seat post and pull out the frame bracket itself, leaving your bike almost back to its old self.
Does it feel secure when your little one is in it?
Yes, it actually felt more secure when it had a child seated inside it than when I tested it out empty. The seat stayed firmly in place, despite my five-year-old’s best attempts at destabilising it while he was strapped into it.
I didn’t feel it budge as I turned tight corners or went over bumps. With Rocco on board, it also felt sturdy and secure, and because he’s smaller, he seemed more protected by the seat, which enveloped more of his body.
What do you think of the safety harness?
It’s brilliant and possibly the best five-point safety harness I’ve seen on anything – bike seat, buggy or car seat.
Why? The genius addition of a stand-up crotch buckle, which stays upright as your child gets into the seat, making it nearly impossible for it to be sat on or ‘lost’ inside a layer of clothing. It also makes it possible to close and open the buckle with one hand, so you can use the other hand to steady your bike.
It’s also secure – even my Houdini-eque older son couldn’t work out how to unclip himself – so you can pedal around safe in the knowledge your child will stay put until it’s time to dismount.
Is the Urban Iki Rear Seat safe?
It’s triple-tested: It meets stringent Japanese safety requirements, European EN14344 safety standards and it’s been TUV-tested and approved by an independent German institute. So I’d say so.
Is it comfortable?
For the kids, very – on short and smooth rides. Both Tyler and Rocco are exceptionally well-versed in letting me know if they are feeling the slightest twinge of discomfort but neither of them uttered a word of complaint during their journeys around our local park.
Instead, I just heard shouts of delight and utterances of sheer joy coming from behind me as we wheeled around the paths.
The seat can be adjusted to fit each child thanks to two different heights for the padded shoulder straps and foot rests that can slide up and down with stretchy rubber straps to secure little and not-so-little feet in place.
The padded seat cushion is soft but not particularly deep though the boys didn’t seem to notice, even when we bumped over uneven ground.
That said, it’s not designed to be ridden off-road or on mountain bike tracks as it lacks the substantial padding and protection this would require.
I’m also not sure how comfortable it would be once the novelty of riding on mummy’s bike wears off and the reality of bumping around city streets with just plastic behind them sinks in.
In my seat, I can occasionally feel the my heels knocking against either the frame bracket or the leg protectors as I cycle, which is disconcerting. Having tested the rear seat out on a larger bike, I know it’s not a design fault but rather a consequence of having a small bike frame.
I’m 160cm tall so my small-framed cycle simply lacks the height to allow for proper clearance of the frame mount on the seat post and distance clearance when the seat is positioned correctly and directly over the axel of my rear wheel. On a slightly larger bike, this would not be an issue and would therefore be a very comfortable way to cycle with your child.
Will it last really last your child from nine months until six years old?
It’s hard to say. I think with proper care, the seat unit would last for several years but I suspect the rubber feet straps, seat cushion and harness padding would need replacing in that time.
The light colours started to look grubby after a few weeks of use although they were soon revived with a quick sponge down.
Ideally, the seat should be stored out of direct sunlight and away from extreme temperatures but that’s not always possible if you’re leaving it at, say, your child’s nursery. Interestingly, the company issues a two-year warranty on the Urban Iki bike seat so perhaps they’re not expecting it to be used for longer than two years.
What would you have wanted to know before you purchased the item?
I can’t fit my bicycle D-lock holder on my bike (I had to remove it when I fitted the frame bracket as there wasn’t enough space on my seat post to accommodate both). This means I either have to carry my D-lock in my rucksack (the lock is dirty and heavy so this isn’t ideal) or I’m limited to rides that don’t involve leaving my bike anywhere it could get stolen if left unlocked (which, given I live in London, is p).
My rear bike light (which usually wraps around my seat post) isn’t visible once the child seat is in place. While this is symptomatic of the small stature of my bike frame, there’s no obvious way to attach a light to the back of the seat so I’m restricted to daylight rides until I can figure out a way to attach the light to another part of my bike or buy a light that will attach to the seat.
In order to make mounting and dismounting easy and safe for both rider and passenger, a bike stand is required. I don’t have one so I relied on walls, which made strapping in and releasing the wall-side foot of my child passenger tricky and made getting on the bike and off again cumbersome and even scary as I struggled to hold up the combined weight of my bike and my child.
What makes this product unique?
The design. The Urban Iki seats are easily the most aesthetically pleasing children’s bike seats on the market.
They come in a mouthwatering array of sorbet shades that look particularly lovely in the sunshine – perfect for this time of year. It’s not just the fantastic colours – the seat unit is gently curved and the outside features a Japanese wave pattern that adds a much-needed softness to a product that’s traditionally looked, if I’m being polite, inelegant and, if I’m being blunt, ugly.
The Click & Go system, which makes it possible to remove the seat in seconds, after opening the safety lock, is another great feature. In another few moments, you can also remove the frame bracket, so your bike is almost ‘back to normal’ with a few clicks.
The stand-up crotch strap that holds the base of the buckle definitely deserves a mention.
As any parent who has fought to retrieve a buckle from underneath the immovable bottom of a heavy toddler will know, it’s challenging to extract with two hands – so attempting it with one hand while your other hand steadies your bike is nigh-on impossible.
The clever Danish design team have found a way to ensure the buckle stands proud, even if your passenger is wearing a jacket that concertinas the second he sits down, allowing you to snap the top of the safety belt into place without fuss.
Once your initial set-up is complete (leg protectors joined and slotted into seat unit; frame and mounting brackets in place) any further adjustments are tool-free and can be done with one hand, or at least that’s the claim. I definitely need more practice with the feet straps though as I found the rubber strips kept popping out of place and I struggled to get them back in with two hands.
Who would this product be most useful for?
A mum or dad with who wants to be able to safely transport their child around town but doesn’t want a child seat permanently attached to their bike (although it looks so lovely and weighs so little, it can easily be left on).
Is it good value?
The Urban Iki by OGK Rear Seat with frame mount costs £79.99. If you already have a rack fitted onto your bike, the price drops by £15 to £64.99. Considering there are no extras you need to buy, this represents exceptionally good value if you use the seat from the time your child is nine months old to around their sixth birthday.
What’s in the box?
Since I don’t have a rack fitted to my bike, I opted for the version that include frame mounting. It contained:
- One rear seat in the colourways of my choice (shell available in four colours – white, mint blue, grey and pink; foot straps, harness padding and inlay available in eight different shades), including cable lock
- 2 leg protectors
- 1 frame bracket
- 1 mounting bracket
- 1 clamping block plus cover cap
- User manual
- No 5 socket-head wrench
What about accessories?
There are none needed for the Rear Seat (the Front Seat has an optional windscreen and handlebar). However, if you fancy a colour change to update or refresh your seat, the styling sets (available in eight colour options for both rear and front seats) are inexpensive (under £9) and include shoulder paddings, foot straps and the soft waterproof cushion that pads the seat. Best of all, you can buy an extra mounting frame so you can transfer the seat between bikes – useful if one parent is doing drop-off and another pick-up.
This funky-looking child bike seat has been thoughtfully designed to provide a secure and comfortable ride for children ranging in age from pre-walker right up to six years old, potentially representing fantastic value for money.
Ergonomic design (fashioned from plastic and rubber) ensures the seat adds minimal weight and bulk to your bike, while the ability to choose the colours of the seat, cushion, feet straps and shoulder pads allows you to create something truly bespoke. It might get grubby easily but it cleans up well and three parts can be replaced easily and inexpensively, which is useful if you’re planning to use it for more than one child.
And because the seat can be mounted onto almost any bike, with or without an existing rack, and can be removed quickly and easily, it’s ideal for adults who don’t want a bike seat or frame permanently attached to their bike.
Check out more of our bike seat reviews here…
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