With the myriad of bike seats on the market it can sometimes be a challenge to pinpoint which seat will work best for your family (and your existing bikes). The good news is that Burley has created a line of rear mounted seats that fit on most bikes, whether you are looking for a frame-mounted seat or a rack-mounted seat.
The Burley Dash (in whichever version you pick) is a great option for toddlers and preschoolers (starting around a year old), and offers features we really appreciated like a robust 5 point harness, comfortable, easy to wash padding, and a storage compartment on the rear of the seat. It also offers excellent hang for your buck, coming in well below some of our other favorite rear mounted seats.
Review In A Nutshell
- Storage on rear of seat
- Recess for helmet
- Adjustable 5-point harness
- Arm rests
- Comfortable seat padding, easy to wash
- Relatively affordable
- No ventilation holes in back of seat
- Not a great fit for taller kids
Price: $149.99 (Dash RM)
Comes In 3 different Models: Rack mount, Frame mount, and Frame Mount w/ Reclining
There are three different Dash seats in the Burley line-up: the Dash RM (a rack mounted seat), the Dash FM (a frame mounted seat), and the Dash X FM ( a reclining frame mounted seat).
Burley sent us the Dash RM (rack mount) version for review. The seat is safe and features one of the better mounting solutions we’ve seen. With various safety features and an A-class mounting option this seat is unique and ready to rumble down the bike path.
Though it requires a bike to already have a rack, buying an aftermarket rack and installing it on most bikes is easy. Once the rack system is installed, the seat itself is installed to the rack in a matter of seconds via the easy adjusting knob on the underside of the seat. A clamp system adjusts around the rack frame and clamps down tightly.
The Dash RM easily mounts via a knob. Simply open the knob enough to slide the seat onto the rock, and then tighten the knob to clamp it down.
We found this to be one of the easiest bike seats to install. If you have a rack or the option to add a rack, I would highly recommend it for ease of use. If you have a long-tail cargo bike, for example, the Burley Dash RM is an excellent option.
We mounted the seat on both our Bunch Bike and our Rad Power Radwagon (pictured here). The Burley Dash RM works particularly well on long-tail cargo bikes.
The frame mounted options look to be quite handy too (although we haven’t tested them firsthand yet). They come with a universal mounting box, so that they can on fit several bikes without racks and the mounting boxes can be left on however many bikes one so chooses. This is nice if both you and your spouse want to swap the seat between bikes and you don’t have racks.
Additionally, the RM does NOT recline, so if that’s important to you, then you’ll need to pick the X FM (frame-mounted) seat instead. Reclining can be really nice for young kiddos who have a tendency to nap while you ride.
For more information on bike seat mounting, read our guide to child bike seats.
Adjustable 5 Point Harness
Safety is a primary concern for all parents when biking with their children. Having a 5-point harness keeps your little one safe and secure in the seat without being able to climb out of it while on the go. This is a common feature on most seats that are designed for toddler age children, though some cheaper seats have only a 3-point harness.
While we would expect nothing less than a 5 point harness on a good quality rear mounted bike seat, the one on the Burley Dash did have a few features that differentiated it even from other higher end seats. For one, the buckle is on the chest rather than the crotch. This is more comfortable for the child (can you imagine riding with a buckle in your crotch?1?), and also helps keep the shoulder straps more secure and less likely to slip off.
While both the Burley Dash (left) and the Yepp Maxi (right) both have a 5-point harness, we much prefer the buckle on the Burley Dash. Note how it buckles at the chest rather than at the crotch.
Secondly, the shoulder straps (when placed in their lowest position) do a better job than most for keeping teeny tiny riders safe and secure. We found that it comfortably fit my 16 month nephew, where many rear-mounted seats don’t fit toddlers under 2 very well.
The shoulder straps can also move to a higher setting, but remain lower than many other seats. This makes the seat a good option for younger and shorter riders, but isn’t an ideal option for taller children.
Here you can see that there are two different sets of holes through which to route the straps (one lower and one higher) to fit children of different heights.
Seat Padding Is Comfortable…And Easy To Clean
Comfort is the key to longer rides and having an enjoyable experience or adventure with your little one. The pad on the Dash RM may seem thin but is made from a high-density foam that offers comfort and will not make your little one overly hot on warm days (although I’ll talk more about this in a moment). The pad also helps cushion bumps along the path and provides coverage from the bum to up around the shoulders depending on the child’s size.
The padding is easy to wipe down with a wash cloth, but if you need a deeper cleaning, that’s possible too. The padding is attached with velcro and it is easy to remove for the inevitable cleaning that will be needed once all the adventure snacking is done.
If your child’s feet are dangling, sometimes they can go numb or create an uncomfortable experience for the rider. Burley created a smart system with foot platforms that height adjustable. The foot rests move up or down the bottom of the seat for leg room as your child grows.
There are four different positions for the foot rests in order to accomodate your child as they grow. In this picture, the foot rest is extended all of the way. The plastic straps can also be adjusted to cinch down on your child’s foot.
Adjustable plastic straps are then used to secure the feet down in the seat too. This helps keep little feet from venturing toward the spokes (dangerous) or kicking mom and dad.
Of course, this requires that your child is okay with their feet being strapped down. While my son has always been okay with his feet being strapped in, my nephew was NOT.
While the foot straps did a good job of keeping little feet secure, I did find that they were more challenging to adjust and snap into place then other foot straps we’ve used.
A Unique Storage Solution
Generally, if you’re riding with a child you’re going to have to bring along a bag to carry all the stuff required for life with a little one. Let’s be honest–adventures with kids usually involve toys, snacks, diapers, and water. And unlike bike trailers that generally have plenty of storage space, this seems to be something that is usually overlooked on bike seats.
So, I was thrilled to find that the Burley Dash has storage on the rear of the seat. Although the pocket isn’t a huge, it does help relieve some of the storage logistics and can hold a few books, diapers, and granola bars.
Because of the holes on the pocket, I think it would also be easy to lash on a bag or other items with a strap or carabiner. For me, this storage solution was one of the bigger differentiating features of the Burley Dash when compared with other child bike seats.
Arm Rests Provide Extra Comfort
The arm rests on the Dash RM are angled slightly outward and also have ample open space beneath them. This offers comfortable options for the kiddo riding in the seat to be able to hang on like handles, rest their arms, and/or lean a knee or hand under the rest all at the same time.
I felt that the arm rests also helped create an extra protected, cozy feeling, as opposed to seats that are a little bit more open on the sides.
Back Does NOT Have Any Ventilation
One of the only things that gave me pause on the Burley Dash is the fact that there aren’t any ventilation holes in the back of the seat. While we only tested the seat during the fall/winter months, I imagine that the seat might get a bit sweaty in the summer.
As I mentioned earlier, the padding in the back of the seat is fairly thin which should help keep little ones cool, but I still would have expected to see some sort of ventilation holes.
Helmet Recess Works Well (For Younger Riders)
The Burley Dash includes a recess to better accomodate helmets. This is nice because it allows your little rider to learn back against the seat without having their helmet pushed forward.
This worked as planned with our 16 month old tester, but would be an issue for older, taller riders. The back on the Burley Dash is actually quite short, so taller riders will have their head stick up above the seat. For them, the helmet recess is only an awkward hole in the seat back.
The back on the Burley Dash (left) is significantly lower than the back on the Copilot Limo (right). These passengers are of similar heights.
Age And Weight Limit
The Burley Dash fits little ones as young as 12 months old, and as we already mentioned is one of the better rear mounted bike seats for pint sized riders. That said, tiny toddlers may still fit in a front-mounted bike seat better than they will in the Burley Dash.
The Dash will continue to work for kids up to 5 years old, though a better judge of the seat for bigger kids is height and weight. The max weight on the Dash is 40 pounds, which your child may very well reach before the age of 5. Additionally, some kiddos may weigh well under the 40 pounds but be too tall to fit comfortably in the Dash.
To fit most comfortably, I’d recommend the Dash for kiddos between 18M and 4T clothing.
Good Bang For Your Buck
At $150 (for the RM and FM versions), the Dash is comparable in features but more affordable than many of our other favorite rear mounted bike seats. In this review, for instance, we compared the Dash to both the Yepp Maxi and the Copilot Limo, but both are considerably more expensive than the Dash.
If you are looking to maximize value for price, the Burley Dash is an excellent option.
Bottom-Line: A High-Quality Rear Mounted Bike Seat For Toddlers
We’d highly recommend the Burley Dash for toddlers and younger preschoolers starting around a year old. Older preschoolers or especially tall kids may fit less well in this seat than others, so keep that in mind.
We especially like that Burley provides the option to get the Dash is multiple mounting versions. If you have a rack (or the ability to install one), grab the Dash RM. We found it exceptionally easy to install and compatible with multiple racks that we tried it on.
Whichever version of the Dash you choose, it’s a great option for families who are looking specifically for a rear mounted seat, and offers plenty of comfort, safety, affordability, and fun!