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Thule Yepp Maxi Bike Seat Review

Thule Yepp Maxi ReviewThere are few bike seats that gain the loyalty and adoration of parents like the Thule Yepp Maxi has.  The seat is popular with nearly every serious biking family I know, including our own.  When asked what rear bike seat to buy, I always respond with “The Yepp Maxi.”

Our family has been testing the Yepp Maxi for a while now, and here is what we love about the seat (and what we don’t).  I’ll also help explain the different options (Standard Yepp vs the Easyfit), so you make sure to buy the best version for your family.


Review in a Nutshell

Pros:

  • Seat is easily washable and water-resistant
  • Fits on a wide variety of bikes
  • Sleek, attractive design

Cons:

  • Standard version is time-consuming to install
  • Doesn’t recline for naps

Price & Where to Buy:


Yepp Maxi Detailed Review

Yepp Maxi Standard vs Yepp Maxi Easyfit

When considering the Yepp Maxi for your family, one of the most important things to understand right off the bat is that there are really TWO DIFFERENT VERSIONS.  The standard Yepp Maxi installs to the seat tube of your bicycle right below the seatpost.  The Yepp Maxi Easyfit installs to an existing frame-mounted rack installed on the back of your bike.

Yepp Maxi Standard vs Yepp Maxi Easyfit

Which Yepp Maxi should you buy?  If you already have a rack installed on your bike, or have a longtail cargo bike like the Xtracycle, this is an easy choice: go with the Easyfit version.  It makes installation a cinch.  Even if you don’t have a rack already, you might consider adding a rack like the Thule Yepp Rear Rack.  A word of caution: make sure your rack accommodates a load of AT LEAST 60 pounds (your child plus the seat).  Some don’t.

The other nice thing about the Easyfit is that if you plan on swapping the seat between bikes (like yours and your husbands) you can easily do that as long as you both have a rack.

The standard version is a little cheaper and is nice if you don’t care to add a rack to your bike, or if you don’t have eyelets on your bike to mount a rack to.  It will work on MOST bikes, but if you are particularly small or have a bike with strange geometry, it might not fit.  Unfortunately, one of the only ways to really know if it is going to work is to try installing it.  For this reason, we recommend buying it from somewhere that will allow free returns or exchanges.  Also, keep in mind that if you plan to swap the seat between bikes each seat will need to have its own mount installed.  Fortunately, Thule sells this mount as a separate add-on so this is possible.

One bummer about the Yepp Maxi is that the seats are not convertible.  In other words, the Easyfit version cannot be converted to a seat tube install, and the standard cannot be mounted on a rack.  That’s why we recommend spending some time up front deciding which seat will work best for your family.

Biking with the Yepp Maxi

Child Size and Weight Limits

The Yepp Maxi is designed to fit babies and children between 9 months and 6 years old. (Note: The AAP recommends waiting until one year before biking with a baby.  For more info on this, read my article on biking with infants).

Yepp Maxi Sizing

My 5.5-year-old still fits relatively comfortably in the seat although he is nearing the 48.5-pound maximum weight limit.  The high back accommodates children as they grow, and the leg stirrups are adjustable to fit both short and long legs.

Installation

I installed the standard Yepp seat on my commuter bike — an old Specialized Rockhopper with a 15-inch frame.  This was a good test because it fit, and because most folks aren’t riding a frame smaller than 15-inches.  (That said, extra petite women, this may be an issue for you).

The installation ended up being more difficult and time-consuming than I expected.  The biggest issue I discovered is that the mount interfered with the quick-release on my seatpost — boo.  In total, the install took about 30 minutes and I certainly wouldn’t want to repeat it.

Thule Yepp Maxi installation

Installation of the Easyfit version is easier, assuming you already have a rack installed on your bike.  Some racks, particularly on long-tail cargo bikes, already have an Easyfit window.  In this case, install is REALLY easy.  If your rack doesn’t have an Easyfit window (most don’t), you can buy an Easyfit adaptor.  While this adds an extra step to the install, it is still pretty easy.

Comfortable, washable seat

My favorite thing about the Yepp Maxi is the seat itself.  It is made of EVA (a rubbery material) that is easily washable (just wipe down with a washcloth) and water resistant.  We’ve discovered we much prefer this to a seat with a fabric liner (like the Blackburn CoPilot) because inevitably the seat will get wet in a rainstorm or the morning dew, and with the Yepp, you can just wipe it dry.

Thule Yepp Maxi Child Bike Seat

According to my son, the seat is also comfortable.  The frame is softer than hard plastic seats and he’s been on a few long rides without complaint.  Because the seat has lots of holes in it, it is breathable and comfortable on hot days.  He comes out of the seat without a wet, sweaty back or butt.

The one comfort item that the seat does lack is a reclinable back.  This makes it less ideal for little ones who tend to fall asleep on the bike.  For real sleepy babies and toddlers, we prefer a seat like the Hamax Caress, that helps keep their heads from flopping around.

Safety

yepp maxi 5 point harness

The Yepp Maxi has a 5-point harness

I hear you saying, all that’s great, but is the Yepp Maxi safe?  While there is always a certain risk involved with biking with your child (just as there is in driving with a child in the car), the Yepp Maxi does a good job of minimizing that risk.  The seat has a 5-point safety harness and built-in reflectors on the back of the seat.  There’s also a safety light attachment point so you can clip on a rear blinky light such as the Frog Knog. Finally, the seat locks into place (with lock and key) so you also don’t have to worry about it somehow sliding off the mount.

reflectors on the thule yepp maxi

Reflectors on the Yepp Maxi

Loading a Child

The fact that the seat has a relatively open profile compared to other rear-mounted bike seats means that it is easy to load a child into it.  My 5.5-year-old is actually able to load and unload himself if I keep the bike still.  (He still needs me to buckle and unbuckle him thanks to the child-proof buckle).  As with all bike seats, it can be a bit difficult to both hold the bike and lift a child into the seat at the same time.  If you end up struggling with this, you might want to consider adding a kickstand.

Lockable

I already mentioned that the seat locks into place with a lock and key.  This isn’t just convenient to know it is properly secured, it also protects against theft.  The Thule Yepp Maxi is a popular seat, and it is not cheap.  If you live in an urban area with plenty of bicycle theft, this is important to help protect your investment.

Beautiful Design

Maybe you shouldn’t pick a bike seat based on the way it looks, but if it checks all the other boxes, hey, why not?  The Thule Yepp Maxi has a simple, sleek, and beautiful design.  It comes in both black and a variety of bright, cheerful colors.  Thanks to the fact that you can easily wipe it down, it stays looking nice for a long time and should fetch a good resale value when you’re done with it.

Biking with a child in the Yepp Maxi child sea

Comparison Chart: Rear Baby and Child Bike Seats

How does the Yepp Maxi stack up with other bike seats?  Check out our comparison chart in our post on the 5 Best Rear-Mounted Bike Seats.

Bottom-Line

The Yepp Maxi is hands-down our favorite rear bike seat for biking with young kids.  Between the standard and Easyfit versions, you should be able to find an installation set-up that works for your particular bike (or bikes).  It can grow with your child from baby to kindergarten making it a worthwhile investment.  Finally, we love the sleek look, bright colors, and washable material.


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