Two years ago, Kids Ride Shotgun launched its frame-mounted kid’s seat, a popular option for parents wanting to bring kids on a ride.
It wasn’t the first front-mounted kid’s seat on the market, but some existing options don’t play nice with modern mountain bikes or they could pose a risk to paintwork and precious carbon frames.
The Kids Ride Shotgun seats allow you to slot your little one in front of you and take them out to experience the trails. Designed for groms between 2-5 years old, it gives them a front-row seat, with a saddle and textured footrests, they hang onto your bars and help you steer — or at least that’s what you can tell them — with no need for a harness or seatbelt.
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The Shotgun Pro
The Kiwi outfit has launched an updated version of its kid’s seat, the Shotgun Pro. This update changes the mounting system from the frame to your steerer and seat post, eliminating all frame contact and making it compatible with larger downtube eMTBs in the process.
According to the Kiwi outfit, the major engineering problem with the original frame-mounted seat was how to make it fit around the beefy downtube required to house an e-MTB battery. The brand also says they received feedback that some folks were worried about the seat making direct contact with the frame — even with the soft rubber lining.
So for the Shotgun Pro, the brand set out to solve these problems.
The basic concept is still the same; your grom is mounted between you and your cockpit. They have their own set of footrests and grab onto your bars or set of bolt-on mini-bars. The previous version used metal legs that went on either side of the top tube and downtube, aided by a healthy heaping of rubber to insulate your frame and offer some vibration damping for the little bottom sitting on it.
This Pro version trades the metal legs for clamps that go around your steerer tube and seat post, suspending a rail assembly above your top tube. The Shotgun Pro is compatible with all 1 1/8in steerer tubes, though you’ll need to have enough steerer to install the mounting spacer underneath your stem — two are included in the box so the seat can be easily swapped between bikes.
The saddle slides along a rail to ensure short wingspans can still reach the handlebars, and adjustments like saddle angle are tool-free. For the new Pro version, the footpegs are length adjustable, with 10cm of flexibility built-in, and the footrests have been upgraded to a moto-style pad, with pins for added grip — there is also a rubber toe strap.
Installing the Shotgun Pro
The install process is tool-free, using a quick release around the seat post and a thumbscrew at the front.
With this thumbscrew, anecdotally, we have noticed some clearance issues with bulky stems like the Deity Copperhead. Kids Ride Shotgun says you’ll need at least 46mm between the centre of the steerer and the back of the stem bolts. Adaptors for use with Trek’s Knock Block and Scott Syncros headsets are sold separately.
At the rear mount, the quick-release attaches to all standard seat posts sizes and plays nice with both rigid and dropper posts.
Using a rail suspended above your bike’s mainframe means there are no longer limitations due to frame shape, and the new Shotgun Pro is compatible with chunky e-MTB tubes.
The new Shotgun Pro is a bit more expensive than its predecessor, priced at AUD 399.95, that’s $130 more than the original — which is still available. A set of add-on handlebars is available for AUD 59.95.
How does it ride?
We enlisted the help of a Flow friend, Brian and his little ripper Hux, to test out the Shotgun Pro and share their thoughts with us.
How do you use the Kids Ride Shotgun? What’s a typical ride entail?
Usually, I install the shotgun seat at home, throw my bike in the van and head to one of our local trails. Hux likes going out to Glenrock because we can ride to the beach, and he gets off and has a play in the sand. He also loves Awaba because we see plenty of animals!
I pack some snacks in a hip pack, and usually, we do a cruisey lap of 10km or so. Now he’s getting to know the trails, and he asks me places he wants to go while we’re riding, so I usually let him take the lead. He’s starting to steer himself around corners these days too. After our ride, he rips around sections of the trails on his balance bike.
What do you like most about the new design?
The fast installation, a wide range of adjustability and zero frame contact.
How would you rate the of install and removal process?
The ease of install from the beginning was straightforward. It took no longer than 10 minutes to set up from scratch and adjust to Hux’s size. If you can tighten your stem, then you can install this seat. Once you replace a spacer and the steerer mount is installed, it would take maybe 2 minutes to slip the Shotgun Pro seat on.
It’s easy to use, and it’s also very stable when riding.
What are the key differences between the original and this version?
While I haven’t had any issues with the original KRS seat slipping, there is the chance someone installs the mount too loose for fear of squishing their frame. The new KRS Pro erases any chance of this happening due to its contact-free mounting points on the steerer and seat post.
It was way easier to adjust and set up the new version; if we started riding and felt Hux was too far back and too close to me, I could pull over and easily slide him up the frame. Easy adjustability out on the trails was a big plus for me.
The older pedals and straps are great, but sometimes on rowdier or rougher trails, Hux would need to re-adjust his feet a little, but the newer flatter footpegs were grippier and provided a better platform for him.
What age/size do you think the Kids Ride Shotgun Pro will be suitable for?
Hux is three years and eight months, he is a little on the smaller side, but I feel he could quickly get another year out of the seat using all of its adjustability. I think you could start with a child a little under two.
Would you suggest the add on handlebars?
Absolutely! While they aren’t necessary by any means, the little groms love having their own setup and bars and a higher hand position — it makes them feel more involved. It also stops them from grabbing your brakes and playing with your dropper post! I forgot my handlebars for this shoot, and Hux wasn’t very stoked with me.
Who is the Kids Ride Shotgun Pro for?
The Kids Ride Shotgun is for someone who currently owns a bike that isn’t compatible with the original Shotgun seat and wants to ride with their child. But, it also extends to someone like myself that prefers the new features, added adjustability and a quick setup. It’s also great to share between two bikes. For example, installing a steerer mount on two bikes allows you to transfer the seat quickly between them.
The original Shotgun seat remains a great cheaper option that’s helped get 1000s of kids on the trails with their parents. We’ve been on hundreds of rides with it, and it’s never skipped a beat. However, the Shotgun Pro makes it a little easier, faster and obviously fits a wider range of bikes.
Kids Ride Shotgun Pro Specs
- Designed for children 2 – 5 years or up to 27kg
- Zero frame contact
- Adjustable leg length and width to fit electric and regular mountain bikes
- Fast to fit, remove and swap between bikes
- Fits all mountain bikes with standard 1 1⁄8 steerers (10mm stem clearance required)
- Optional kids handlebar accessories sold separately — $59.95 AUD
- RRP: $399.95 AUD
For more info on the Shotgun Pro seat, head over to the Kids Ride Shotgun website or get in touch with Lusty Industries to find your nearest dealer in Australia.