iBert Child Seat: Review, plus Shoulder Strap and Steering Wheel Assembly Instructions

I got the iBert kid seat about four years ago, when it was just baby CJ and I riding around town. I’ve had all three girls in this now at one time or another and I LOVE this seat. Love it! Having the girls in front of me is the best – I can talk to them, they can tell me what they see, they have a great view and can play with my bike bell and fall asleep on my arm… it’s awesome. I can’t say enough good about it. The girls really enjoy riding in it, too. Mae cries the whole time she’s in a bike trailer (kind of like her car seat!), but tries to grab her helmet to go for a ride every time we walk through the garage.

Four years in, it still looks and works great. Installed on my Electra Amsterdam, an upright Dutch-style cruiser, it is very comfortable. The knees are not an issue, and neither is balance – it’s different having someone else move around on a bike with you, but takes very little time to get used to. Fun, easy, comfortable.

For another review, check out The Sprog out of Vancouver.

This winter, I checked the iBert website and discovered that they sell some upgrades from the seat I had – an improved seat belt, and a just-for-fun steering wheel that looks like it would double as a great bike-nap pillow. Oh, and replacement pins to hold it on the bike – I’d lost ours, so the seat was held on with a zip-tie. Love zip-ties, but it didn’t seem like a great long-term solution. I also wanted to know how long it would be before Mae grew out of the seat.

I sent them an e-mail and got a response almost immediately. Love that customer service! The year I bought the seat they transitioned from 32(ish) to 38 pounds, and they told me that the weight limit would be stamped on the back of the seat. Bingo! 38 pounds means that even my 90th-percentile “baby” should easily be able to ride in this for at least another year or two – by which time our six-year-old might be ready to really ride on her own. Great news.

Our starting point today. The seat I had; the accessories are new.
Our starting point today. The seat I had; the accessories are new.

It may have been snowing today, but spring is on my mind. Time to assemble! The instructions were a little hard to follow for someone as un-mechanically included as me, so I’m posting a step-by-step in hopes that there is someone else out there who also reads pictures better than words.

First, the easy one: the iBert safe-t-seat strap assembly instructions.

1. Cut old crotch strap and remove from seat.

DSCF4704

2. Insert the new strap into the seat slot making sure that the T-stitch goes all the way through the seat slot and is unable to be pulled back through the slot. This was easy enough, I just had never known this was called a t-stitch before. Note that there is a LOT of extra webbing here – enough to make me think that I was doing it wrong. Have faith. It’s fine.

The t-stitch, I presume?
The t-stitch, I presume?

3. Remove one of the jam lever buckles from the shoulder straps and insert through the backrest slot of the seat.

The buckle opened and removed...
The buckle opened and removed…

Note that the straps below have the wrong side facing up – the black side is meant to be up. It doesn’t change the functionality of the seat, though. Also, and this is important: take a look at the buckles before you thread the straps. There IS a left and right strap, and they aren’t labeled – so double-check before threading them through.

The strap fed through (backwards)...
The strap fed through (should be black side up)…

Using the other jam lever buckle as a guide, thread the strap through the buckle and push down the lever to lock the strap.

Threading the buckle.
Threading the buckle.

To thread the buckle, slide the strap through the flat part and out the top of the first slot, then back down into the second slot. Adjust and tighten. Easy peasy.

Okay, on to the tricky bit…

The iBert safe-T-seat steering assembly

It took me about a half an hour to install this. Like I said, I’m not mechanically inclined. But here goes.

1. Take the 3/4” bolt and put it through the front of the steering wheel.

The 3/4" screw...
The 3/4″ bolt…

Then put the steering wheel onto the base and add the fender washer and the nylock nut. The metal portion of the nut screws onto the bolt and the nylon portion of the bolt will be facing out. Take a close look at the photo below – do you see how the nut has a funny-looking whitish spot on the top? That, apparently, is what makes the bolt “nylock.” It needs to be on top, facing you.

The nylock nut, 3/4" screw, and washer.
The nylock nut, 3/4″ screw, and fender washer.

Using the wrench and screwdriver, tighten the nut enough so the steering wheel turns with a small amount of friction but not so tight that the child cannot turn the wheel. The steering wheel should not freely turn on its own. The bolt needs to be screwed in to the nylock portion of the nut or the nut will not lock onto the bolt.

Holding onto the nylock nut with the wrench while tightening the screw.
Holding onto the nylock nut with the wrench while tightening the screw.

2. Peel the paper from the steering wheel pad and attach to the center of the steering wheel.

Mae has already discovered that she likes to stick her fingers in the smiley face's nose.
A happy nap awaits…

3. Attach the steering wheel base to the lap bar and align the 3 holes.

Okay, let’s talk first about “attach.” It means to line up the little tabs on the steering wheel assembly to the bottom of the lap bar, like this…

These little tabs will kind of clip on to the edge of the lap bar.
These little tabs will kind of clip on to the edge of the lap bar.

There are two of those to clip over the bottom of the lap bar. Now you can slide it back and forth a little bit. Look at the center hole on the bottom of the lap bar and slide the steering assembly around until you can see the light through the hole like this:

Now it's lined up.
Now it’s lined up.

4. Screw in the (3) 1/2” bolts until the ends are just flush with the steering base holes.

This part will be tricky if you have large fingers – it’s tight. Here’s the first screw:

First screw in bottom of assembly.
First screw in bottom of assembly.

Now, there’s a reason why the instructions say only to screw in the bolts until the ends are flush (meaning just even) with the steering base holes: there is no room to move the wing nuts.

5. Hold the wing nuts over the screw ends and continue tightening the bolts until tight.

So, you need to carefully line up the wing nuts over the bolts…

Why yes, that is a Spiderman band-aid. Feel free to ignore it.
Why yes, that is a Spiderman band-aid. On-trend this season!

…and then hold them in place as you screw the bolt in to tighten them. I’d say that it took me at least ten minutes to do this part just because the nuts kept slipping off… it was tricky. But!

Final product!
Final product!

It can be done!

Happy Mae
Happy Mae

And the results are well worth it. I can’t wait to get this on the bike!

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