I was recently forced to replace my son’s child seat on the back of our cargo bike. Had to replace the cargo bike as well, but that’s another story. When I purchased it, I went with the Yepp Maxi, mostly because that’s what the manufacturer recommended with their bikes. The way the seat attached to the rear rack was thru-axle secure. So when I went to replace it, I had to go with a Thule product because Thule purchased Yepp. The seat has been revised a bit and is now a new version called the Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi. The original Maxi is still available.
There have been a few changes to the rack and I have to say that every one of them is an improvement. Let’s start with the back of the seat; it now features a plastic frame that includes two openings near the kidneys for ventilation, rather than the perforated design used previously. The frame is bright orange and includes an easy-to-see reflector. You simply can’t be too visible when you’re riding with a child on your bike. The mounting clamp is also a good bit more universal now in that it grips the rack from the outer rails. Also, should someone do a lousy job of clamping the seat to the rack, there’s also a leash that attaches to the rack to keep it from just flipping off the back of the rack. It’s more secure than it was before, fit-wise, and in terms of theft, it’s much more secure because it now includes a keyed lock. No one is removing the child seat from the rack without the key.
During my shop years a mounted many a child seat on bikes. I hated them because the seats were generally underbuilt in order to make them light enough to put on a road bike. They seemed flimsy. Worse, because the bikes weren’t designed to have a child in a seat mounted to the rear triangle, the child’s face invariably ended up being positioned mere inches from the rider’s chamois.
However, when you mount a seat like the Nexxt Maxi on a cargo bike, the kiddo ends up a couple of feet from the rider’s backside, giving the child the opportunity to look around and see something other than shorts.
Thule has updated the five-point harness, changing the release mechanism, making it simpler to buckle and a bit more complicated to release. These are good things as The Deuce was beginning to figure out the buckle and I didn’t want him releasing it while we were riding along. The release is a two-hand affair, but simple enough for most adults.
On the previous seat the child sat right on the plastic, which is pretty firm. Now there’s a pad to offer a bit more cushion and I have the sense that it makes the biggest difference not on long rides but when I hit bumps.
The Deuce is four and a half, roughly 42-inches tall, and is rapidly outgrowing this thing, but the fact that the straps are adjustable and have two different attachment points (which are now more secure in the new version) depending on the child’s height and the stirrups are adjustable as well have made this seat remarkably adaptable. Thule says it can handle kids from nine months all the way up to six years of age. Just bear in mind it’s unlikely to last one child for that entire time. It has a weight limit of 48.5 pounds.
I’ve yet to see another seat as well-considered as the Nexxt Maxi. The way the plastic frame for the stirrups wraps in to provide a skirt to keep the child’s feet out of the rear wheel should a foot become free is a terrific example of how they considered details that are easy to miss until something goes wrong.
I’m a fan of quality, especially when safety is at issue. I knew that if I was going to ride around on a bike with my kids riding along with me I needed to be convinced they were safe. For that reason, dropping $219.95 on this seat doesn’t bother me. I’ll be bummed when The Deuce finally outgrows this seat because it’s given him such a great vantage as we ride. It’ll be years before he rides that high again.
Final thought: Way better than being in the car.