Want to share your love of mountain biking with your child, but they’re too little to keep up on the trail? Kids Ride Shotgun is here to help you solve that.
Already popular elsewhere, but just introduced to the North American market, the Kids Ride Shotgun child bike seat is unique in that it’s been designed specifically for mountain biking. This means it works with virtually all mountain bikes including those with unusual suspension designs, carbon fiber frames, and dropper posts. There aren’t many kid-haulers that can make that claim.
Now that you know that it will work with your bike, there’s probably only one question left in your mind: is it fun?
Heck yeah, it is.
Review in a Nutshell
- Doesn’t require any hardware to be installed permanently on the bike (for example, a headset spacer)
- Comfortable saddle
- Allows full use of dropper post
- Installs on nearly any bike, including full-suspension mountain bikes
- Fun and interactive
- Not easy to switch between bikes
- Leg length isn’t adjustable
Price & Where to Buy:
- $150 USD
Kids Ride Shotgun Detailed Review
Easy and Quick Mounting (Mostly)
Unlike many other front-mounted bike seats that attach to the seatpost, the Shotgun seat mounts directly to the frame. Kids Ride Shotgun has made an excellent video on this process that will do a better job explaining it than we could.
The first time you install the seat, expect to spend some time on the process. (15 to 20 minutes). After that, it takes about 5 minutes to remove or re-install the seat on the same bike. This process is straightforward and painless. The one really nice thing about the Shotgun seat is that when you remove it from your bike, you aren’t left with anything installed on the bike. This is different than the Mac Ride, for instance, which requires a semi-permanent installation of a special headset spacer on the bike.
In fact, we’ve heard from several parents who have specifically chosen the Shotgun seat over the Mac Ride because they ride with “zero-stack” (aka without any headset spacers). If this is true for you, the Shotgun is the logical choice.
One thing to be aware of is that the seat is not easily transferable between frames. When we swapped the seat from my bike to a friend’s bike, we had to go through the initial installation process all over again. This could be a huge pain if you and your spouse both plan on using the seat. In that case, we’d definitely pick the MacRide instead, as once you install a headset spacer on each bike, you can swap the seat in a matter of minutes. If you are the sole child-hauler in the family, this is no big deal.
The other thing to be aware of is that unlike the MacRide that remains one cohesive piece when removed from the bike, the Shotgun has several bolts and separate pieces. We wish that the seat came with some sort of storage bag (like the Do Little), so plan on figuring out one of your own (or use the box) to make sure everything stays together for storage and transport.
Fits on a Variety of MTB Frames (and Won’t Damage Them)
We installed the Shotgun seat on several different full-suspension frames and had no issue with any of them. I was particularly curious if the seat would fit on my Ibis Mojo with its unique frame design, and it did!
Considering my mountain bike is my baby (and I’m sure yours is too), I was happy to see that the portions of the seat that come in contact with the frame are well-covered in protective rubber. During testing, I didn’t end up with any scratches or scuffs. There was one spot, however, on the underside of my downtube where the axle could potentially rub the frame. For long-term use, I would probably figure out some sort of protective shim to add in this spot…..
Allows Full Use of Dropper Post
Many front-mounted seats, like the TykeToter, install to the seatpost. This makes use of a dropper post impossible or limited. The MacRide is dropper-post compatible but it must be installed to the bottom portion of the dropper (the non-movable part). This precludes its use if this section is fully inserted into the seat-tube.
Since the Shotgun seat installs the frame rather than the seatpost, there are no limits on what you can do with your dropper. This is particularly helpful if you ride with your dropper fully inserted into the seat-tube.
Comfortable For Your Little Passenger
Kids LOVE the Kids Ride Shotgun seat. Mostly because it’s a ton of fun to get an up-front ride on a singletrack descent. But they wouldn’t love it for long if the seat was uncomfortable. Fortunately, it is.
The saddle is well padded and ergonomic for young kids. The tilt is also adjustable, so you can get just the right angle so your child isn’t slipping forward or backward. We appreciated this.
Compared to the MacRide seat, the saddle is smaller. Our 2-year-old tester fit better on this saddle than on the MacRide. My 6-year-old, on the other hand, preferred the larger saddle on the MacRide and found it more comfortable.
You may also choose to install the optional grips. This installs to your handlebars with a couple of hex bolts. I personally found this a bit of a pain to install, and my son is already accustomed to simply holding onto my handlebars, so we mostly rode without it. However, if your child is smaller, or if the positioning of the seat on your frame causes them to lean over excessively, the grips may be a good idea. They provide a bit of rise so your child can sit up more upright.
The biggest con we found on the Shotgun seat is that the legs don’t extend and are fixed in place. This was no big deal for our 2-year-old tester (she fit great), but as your child grows the extendable legs are nice. If you plan on using the seat for several years, we preferred the MacRide in this area.
Adjustable Stirrups Keep Small Feet Safe
On a front-mounted bike seat, stirrups or foot straps are a must. We learned this the hard way when our son stuck his foot in my front wheel while riding on the Tyke Toter.
Fortunately, the Kids Ride Shotgun seat has rubber foot straps that do a good job of keeping little feet from sliding forward toward the wheel. That said, there are only two settings of adjustment and we found the smallest one was still too loose for our 2-year-old tester. It would be nice to be able to snug these straps up even more, but the straps worked great for my 6-year-old.
Yes, You’ll Have To Ride a Little Bit Bow-Legged
We always get questions from parents on what it’s like to ride with a front-mounted seat. The truth is that it does change your riding. You have to ride a little bit bow-legged. Your weight distribution on the bike is altered. You’ll probably want to ride more conservatively than you normally do.
In our opinion, none of these things are a big deal and are totally worthwhile for the opportunity you get to ride with your child. Any minor drawbacks to riding with a front-mounted seat are still far less than the limitations of riding with a trailer or even a single-wheel trailer-cycle like the Weehoo.
With the Shotgun seat, you are adding far less weight to your bike than these other options. You can ride singletrack and make tight switchbacks. It’s also more interactive and fun for your child than alternatives where they are riding behind you.
Interactive and FUN
Who doesn’t want to be right upfront and in the action? Without having to do any of the work, and reaping all the rewards, the Shotgun is basically like an amusement park ride for your child.
We’ve been using front-mounted seats for years with our son, and some of our best bonding moments have been on the bike. Imagine long conversations, singing songs, and laughing. One word of advice: add a bell to your handlebars. Kids LOVE to ring the bell while riding.
Appropriate Age Range
While the Shotgun seat is advertised for kids between 2 and 5 years old, we think a better guideline is weight and maturity.
On the upper end, the maximum weight for the seat is 48 lbs. Our petite six-year-old is still well under that weight limit, and we were able to ride reasonably comfortably with him on the seat. We know other kids who are 4-years-old and would be pushing the weight limit. The taller a child is, the more challenging it will be to use the seat as well.
On the bottom end, a child needs to be AT LEAST two to ride this seat, and possibly older. This depends entirely on maturity. Our just barely two-year-old tester did great on the seat, but she understood (and followed) mom’s instructions to hold on. Our own son was closer to 2.5 years old before he could stop wiggling enough to make an open-style seat work.
Use on Pavement and Around Town
While the Kids Ride Shotgun seat is marketed as a mountain bike seat, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from using this seat for use around town as well. It works great for spins to the playground, to the ice cream shop, and even the commute to daycare.
Comparison Chart: Kids Ride Shotgun vs Mac Ride vs Do Little vs TykeToter
Compared to the Do Little, the Shotgun seat is VERY similar both in design and function. The biggest difference is that the legs of the Shotgun seat are fore-aft adjustable and can slide in our out to adjust to the width of your frame. The DoLittle legs, on the other hand, are fixed. The adjustability of the Shotgun makes it better suited to fitting unusual mountain bike frame geometry. On the flip side, the Do Little has a higher weight limit (60 lbs), so if you have a solid child you might want to take that into consideration. Overall, we’d give the Shotgun seat the win here.
The Mac Ride has the headstart in popularity here in North America, but the Shotgun seat is going to give it a run for its money. The MacRide has several features we prefer (easy of installation/swapping between bikes, adjustable legs, single-piece design, and higher weight limit), so it remains the favorite at our house. That said, we know several families who have tried both and prefer the Shotgun seat. It is the clear winner for anybody riding zero-stack or who for whatever reason don’t want to install a headset spacer. It is also preferable for folks who want to ride with a dropper post that is fully inserted into the seat tube. The Shotgun seat is considerably less expensive, so that might be the deciding factor for your family.
Finally, compared to the Tyke Toter, we far prefer the Shotgun seat. It allows you to use a dropper or carbon post and provides foot straps to keep your child’s feet safe.
|Seat||Mounting||Max Rider Weight|
|Do Little||Frame||60 lbs|
|Kids Ride Shotgun*||Frame||48 lbs|
Bottom-Line: A Bike Seat That Will Make Your Life More Fun
We’re all about having options, and we love that with Kids Ride Shotgun, we now have yet another seat available for mountain biking with young kids. It’s particularly well suited for mountain bikers who choose to ride with zero stack or who want to ride with their dropper inserted all the way into the seat tube. (Two scenarios that the MacRide is not compatible with).
In our opinion, it’s far preferable to a traditional trailer (which is confined to double track or rail trails) or a trailer-cycle like the Weehoo. It’s lightweight, doesn’t have turning radius issues, and is simply more fun and interactive for kids.
If you want to fit more rides into your busy family schedule, bond with your child, and just have a heck of a lot of fun with your favorite little partner, getting the Shotgun seat is a no-brainer.
Make An Informed Purchase
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About the Reviewer: Kristen Bonkoski is the founder and owner of Rascal Rides and Femme Cyclist. She’s a mom and avid mountain bike rider and racer. In addition to biking, Kristen likes camping, trail running, and eating ice cream.
Disclosure: We received a seat from Kids Ride Shotgun to help facilitate this review. We did not receive any monetary compensation and all opinions are our own. The majority of the links on this site are affiliate links and we earn from qualifying purchases.