If you’ve been looking for a child seat for mountain biking, could the Shotgun be the answer?
I’d always been envious of people with a bike trailer – I had dreams of a lovely maternity leave with lots of bike trailer rides, but it never happened, we had no storage for a trailer and they can be costly if you aren’t going to use them regularly. When we moved house and the nursery drop became different I then had lovely ideas about commuting by bike and how it might happen – and then thinking of how I would get up and down the steep hills with a toddler, laptop, a change of clothes and where I would leave a bike or how I would get my bike onto a cramped commuter train just made things far more complicated than simply hopping on the bus, dropping off and continuing on to work.
Family riding hasn’t really been something we’ve done, we’ve tended to just carry on with our own riding and encouraged the girls onto their bikes separately. Our first family riding setup was a WeeRide, which was fine for my 6ft partner Nathan, but useless for 5ft3in me with my small bikes. The seat just doesn’t fit due to the lack of top tube space between the rider and the bars to fit a child and seat. I did have a go at trying to trying to make the WeeRide work for me, this resulted in a comedy ride with friends, me on a borrowed bike, slightly too big for me, but able to accommodate the WeeRide and toddler on board. Every time we stopped, I needed assistance in the shape of the handily placed seawall on the Blackpool promenade, or a couple of friends holding arms out to catch me, the bike and the small girl!
When I saw Barney using the Macride I saw that a different kind of seat set up might work better for us. Perhaps we could ride as a family. Around the same time, I got advertising targeted at me on social media for the Shotgun, so was very happy to test it out for Singletrack.
Out The Box
Collecting the Shotgun seat I was given in a large shoebox sized package, containing the seat and all the tools needed to fit it. The handlebars are a £27 extra, but they were also included in the kit for me to test. Nicely sized grips gave something grippy to hold on to. The other option would be for her to hold on to my bars directly, which she can do quite comfortably. This has the added advantage of it being one less thing to put on and take off your bike, plus you’re less likely to lose the little plastic shims they come with taking them off and on all the time. I suspect for younger riders though they give them a specific place to put their hands, which could be an advantage.
The metal foot pegs are textured for non-slippiness, this plus the rubber strap that goes over their foot means they are pretty well secured in, even over the bumpy stuff. Freya was pretty relaxed about having her feet in there. There are two loop settings depending on the size of the child’s feet and what footwear they are wearing. Freya’s feet didn’t really get in the way when pedalling but I do need to adjust how I ride slightly with her on board, a slight knees out position is needed.
The fact that all the tools are included means that even if you aren’t that mechanically minded or perhaps only have basic tools, you can still get it all set up with no assistance. The instructions are clear enough, though it took me a couple of goes to get the seat clamped tight enough, which I suspect is partly because of the steepness of my top tube. Attempt number one of the down the garden path test showed I’d fitted the seat at far too sloping an angle for my daughter to sit there without sliding back into me.
On The Trail
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|Price:||£120 seat, £27 handlebars|
|Tested:||by Kat Crompton for 4 months|