This new tow rope is designed to take the hassle out of hill climbs so that you can tackle bigger adventures with your little rider.
The concept is simple. The shotgun tow rope attaches to the parent’s saddle – and is connected to the kids stem via a shock-absorbing rope, which stretches to 10 feet (3.1 metres) when you’re towing a kid uphill. The setup is rated to 500lb / 225 kg, so it’s suitable for big kids too.
The shotgun tow rope is available by itself, or you can combo it up and get a rad animal-print hip pack in the same kit. The hip pack is designed to be worn by MTB kids and provides the perfect place to stash the tow rope during the ride.
We sent a new Tow Rope to Flow bro Warwick and his son Link to try out on their local trails in Newcastle and Dungog for a week. Here are his thoughts on how they towed their way around the trails.
What were your first impressions of the Shotgun MTB Tow Rope?
It’s bright and colourful and made with kid-friendly, quality lightweight materials. After noticing the bike-riding animal print on the Hip Pack, my eight-year-old son, Link, immediately warmed to it and – being so light – he was even happy to carry it.
The convenience of the Shotgun Hip Pack is outstanding. Not only can you store the Tow Rope out of the way when descending, but you also score additional space for some ‘let’s go further’ bribes like jelly snakes, Freddos and a spare protein bar for the big kid doing all the work (phew!).
How was it in action?
Surprisingly, there was no damage to either bike considering the weight in tow. The soft end attachments mean no scuffing, rubbing or chipped paint. Something every grown-up who is precious about their gear will be stoked about!
Taking the Tow Rope to the local flow trail, we managed three repeats. We didn’t stop once during each nasty 100-metre climb. Usually, Link would have to take a break every now and then during the early switchbacks. Then, once the single trail opened up to meet the fire-trail, I would have to push him the remainder of the way to the top of the trail with one arm, hoping my back wouldn’t seize up halfway.
It was so quick and simple to install on my seat and connect the other loop to his bike’s stem – sub 10 second install time on average. Although it came with clear instructions, they weren’t really required. So simple, and so effective.
Once we reached the summit and were ready to enjoy the flowy descends, it was just as easy to remove, bundle and stow away securely in the Hip Pack.
How’s the Shotgun MTB Tow Rope compare to other set-ups you’ve tried?
During our last visit to the local flow trail, we trialled a nylon tie-down contraption, which by the end of the day started to fray and took upwards of five minutes to loop through the tight fastening clamp. Then compound this lost time with the couple of minutes it took to recoil it small enough to fit in my pocket before the descent.
Compare this to the less than 10-second install time before the climb and the less than 10-second removal and stow in the Hip Pack pre-descent, it meant we spent more time razzing and less time with Link thinking about being at home playing X-Box instead.
Did it impact your ride?
On the first install, the loop around my seat looked a little awkward to sit on. I was slightly worried about what might accidentally get snagged in there, but we soon worked out it is designed to sit flat on the seat or off to the side. To be honest, I didn’t notice it once, even when peddling out of the saddle and squatting numerous times, I certainly could not feel it move.
I expected a lag-and-drag during the initial acceleration, but the Tow Rope’s spring design smoothed the pull really nicely, without any noticeable slingshot effect.
I’ll admit all that climbing was hard work. My legs were jelly by the end – and that was with Link pedalling to assist. But having him ask to do one more run versus the usual scenario of having to negotiate bribes to ‘get one more in’ before we head home was a treat.
On our final climb, I recalled hearing that the local pub now hires e-Bikes, it took all my strength to refrain from dropping by for a mid-session refresher and additional hire fee. Matching the function of Shotgun’s Tow Rope with the climbing efficiency of an e-Bike would really make it a solid day for both of us, double-digit repeats for sure. There’s always next time.
The Shotgun MTB Tow Rope could also be ideal for riding reasonably flat surfaces like bike paths where you can tow junior for further distances at a descent but safe pace.
The Shotgun MTB Tow Rope enabled us to ride further, faster and for longer and it was way more enjoyable than riding without it.
You’ll be a great communicator by the end of the ride, cause if you don’t yell ‘break hard’ when they need to brake hard, I suspect you’ll need to be prepared for some grazed ankles, or even worse – if they’re super accurate – a hefty derailleur repair bill. But that’s just common sense.
- 1.7m / 5.5 feet un-stretched – 3.1m / 10.0 feet stretched (polyester)
- Black alloy carabiner and pink paracord (5mm)
- Load rated to 500lb / 225kg (one size fits all)
- Product weight: 0.25kg
For more information on the Shotgun Tow Rope, head to the Kids Ride Shotgun website or get in touch with Jet Black Products to find your nearest dealer in Australia.
Mo’ Flow Please!
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