Blackburn CoPilot Limo Child Bike Seat Review
This is a guest post from Jennifer Gardner, a rad mama of two and cyclist from Boulder, CO.
Finding the Blackburn Copilot Limo baby bike seat for $5 at a thrift shop was sheer luck. My decision to clean it up, find the matching bike rack, and keep it was a more calculated decision. Living in Boulder, Colorado means I’m lucky enough to score used kids bike equipment all the time. Therefore, I didn’t feel compelled to keep this seat if I didn’t like it.
Fortunately, I did. The Copilot Limo surprised me with its straightforward, no-cursing-required install, a WASHABLE gel seat, and the look of thrill on my girl as we rode around town. At 11.8 pounds, is lightweight enough that the seat is barely noticeable on the bike.
We live right on a main town bike path and commute by bike regularly. Since we are on the bicycle so frequently, finding a comfortable seat that would fit my youngest child for at least a year or two was important. I was seeking longevity (room to grow), quality material, and comfort. I believe I found all three in this seat.
Below I will explain why we’ve kept the CoPilot Limo as well as what I would change if I could. If you are looking for a lightweight, easy to install, economical option this might be the seat for you. However, head caution when paying full price for this seat or inspect it carefully before buying used.
Review in a Nutshell
- Lightweight, easy to install and dismount seat
- Thick WASHABLE gel padding and side protection
- Spoke guards (the Velcro straps that secure the child’s feet to the seat).
- Fold-down grab bar, three-point harness, reclining backrest
- No storage space as opposed to a bike trailer
- Limited space between child and rider, limited recline as well
- Baby slides forward creating a gap behind her low back.
- You MUST use the carrier that comes with the seat because the two are designed to clip onto each other
- Durability and safety concerns
- It will not install on a bike that does not have a quick-release rear wheel
Price & Where to Buy:
- MSRP: $149
- Check price at Amazon.com
CoPilot Limo Bike Seat Detailed Review
The Copilot Limo really is just as luxurious as the name implies. The seat is wide and roomy with a reclining back and plush gel seat pad. My toddler likes resting her hands on the padded overhead pull-down bar which also conveniently holds her babydoll in place and gives her a sense of safety. The gaps in the plastic toward the top of the seat act as nice vents on hot days and offer a place to clip on a backpack for storage.
Since we use the seat often, I really appreciate that the gel padding comes off easily and washes great. I’d rather my daughter not sit on spilled milk or smashed fruit longer than necessary. I can take the seat off, run it under the sink, and put it back in under ten minutes. The glue on the back of the Velcro does start to come loose but can be re-glued with super glue.
Fit: Not made for Tall Parents or Children
The seat fits my 20 lb 22-month-old well with plenty of room to grow. My overly confident and brave husband took our 49 lb 4.5-year-old for a quick trip down the bike path with it and said that while hard to pedal it was doable. Granted the seat is rated for up to 4.5 years old, however, my girl is 50 inches tall (the size of a 6-year-old) and her knees poked him in the back while he rode. This ride was more to placate her desire to “ride in the baby seat” and is not recommended.
My eldest gets her height from her papa, who is 6’2”. He complained that the back of his shoes hit the bottom of the baby seat. At 5’7”, I have this problem as well but less so. The seat does seem to come too far forward (see pic below) giving both rider and child little personal space. For this reason, despite the quick release mounting system (making swapping the seat between two bikes like a car seat with two bases) we have not installed a second rack for my husband’s bike.
Despite the lack of space between parent and child (like we really had any to begin with) the CoPilot Limo is a solid bet when looking for an economical yet luxurious rear child seat. Unless of course, you or your child are tall.
What I Would Change
The CoPilot Limo does have some inconveniences though with regards to comfort (in addition to lack of space between rider and baby seat). I wish the seat reclined significantly more, the small tilt back isn’t enough to prevent my toddler from flopping forward when she falls asleep. Her tushy also tends to slip forward creating a gap behind her back. There seems to be a lot of pressure on her diaper area when we finish rides due to sliding forward. Perhaps this is because my girl is small, however, I can’t seem to fix the problem no matter how much I tighten the straps. I wish there were more adjustments on the harness so I could get a more secure fit. There are only two slots for the harness height on the seat. I wish there was a third for smaller kids. I would move the seat further back and allow it to recline more to counteract the slight tilt forward the seat naturally has while installed.
While I appreciate the safety strap around the seat post I noticed it scratched up my seat post which for me is no big deal because this is my commuter bike but I wouldn’t recommend putting in on a nicer seat post. Finally, in a perfect world, the seat would attach to a universal bike rack as opposed to only the Blackburn EX-1 Rack. Be mindful there is a separate rack you need if you have disc brakes which costs a bit extra.
The adjustable foot wells on our seat no longer tighten down but I can still strap my child’s foot down so she doesn’t kick me when riding. On the newer model Limo, the adjustable foot well was taken off completely. Perhaps this is because it kept breaking. Great idea, but it just wasn’t executed well.
The Copilot Limo seemed to be a solid bet when looking at other seats on the market. I like the bright colors (ours is red and yellow but the newer model is a bright blue and green), rear light mount, and reflector for standout visibility. I’ve seen other parents add more reflectors as well as a flag for added safety. I think this is always a good idea especially if your biking in a bike lane on the street. The Copilot is compatible with Blackburn flashers and CPSC reflectors if you chose to add more safety precautions. The padded overhead pull-down bar acts as both a hand rest and added barrier if the bike were to tip. With regards to safety, I feel the Copilot is a solid bet as long as it stays in solid working condition. (See below for more on this).
Copilot advertises that the pull-down bar can be placed behind the seat for a free-standing child seat, however, I’m not entirely convinced this would be safe. Sure, the seat can stand alone but I don’t think I would put my kid in it. It wouldn’t take much to knock it over resulting in a crying toddler who might now be afraid of the seat. It’s just not very stable.
Durability and Warranty
There are additional security straps that limit rearward seat movement. This little added feature has been great for my piece of mind. Upon doing a little research, however, I found that there have been complaints that this strap breaks and the warranty is only a year, so if this happens the seat is rendered useless. A replacement strap isn’t available to purchase on the Copilot website so this might be something to keep in mind. There is also a rubber strap on the back of the seat for added safety that is possible to snap. It also has no replacement option available.
All in all, this is a great seat with a few addressable, and unfortunately, a few non-fixable problems. I’m happy to re-glue the Velcro to the seat or shove a jacket under my sleeping toddler’s neck due to lack of full recline. (Most seats don’t recline anyway). I’m also happy I only paid $20 for the seat (used rack included). However, if either of the safety straps breaks (both front and back) or being to tear this seat will quickly be recycled. The warranty is long gone and there are no responsible replacement/fixes for either component.
In conclusion, I would not recommend spending full price on this seat. I noticed older models are on sale on Amazon and I would consider buying them if finances are limited. It’s still an all-around good seat especially compared to some of the cheaper brands sold in box stores. If you can find this seat used (which is common in our area), then be sure to inspect the safety straps thoroughly before purchasing and keep in mind that you’ll need the matching Blackburn rack.