Kids Ride Shotgun Dirt Hero

Kids Ride Shotgun Dirt Hero off-road balance bike

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Say hello to the Kids Ride Shotgun Dirt Hero. The Kiwi company has launched Magura-equipped, off-road balance bike that can be fitted with 12in or 14in wheels. Looks rad!

  • Brand // Kids Ride Shotgun
  • Product // Dirt Hero balance bike
  • From // Extra UK
  • Price // £290
Kids Ride Shotgun Dirt Hero

You may well know of Kids Ride Shotgun already. Perhaps you’ve read our review of the Kids Ride Shotgun Pro child seat. Well, the Dirt Hero is the brand’s first foray into getting the kids off the adult’s bike and to their own machine. And because it’s Kids Ride Shotgun, this balance bike is designed to go off-road. Hence the name, Dirt Hero.

Kids Ride Shotgun: “We’ve noticed a growing number of balance bike families hitting the trails, but we know it can be hard for parents to find a runner bike that’s up to the task. That’s why we set out to create a bike that would open up riding off-road for balance bike kids, enabling them to experience the stoke of mountain biking from an earlier age.”

12in wheels

It may sound a bit OTT to talk about the geometry of a balance bike but the Dirt Hero is essentially a bit slacker and longer in wheelbase than is usual for a balance bike. Hey, more stable geometry isn’t exactly irrelevant on a learning-to-ride bike.

The Dirt Hero is a typically well executed product with a number of neat touches and reassuringly canny speccing. Not least of which is the potential to have the bike ‘grow’ just as the child does. The Dirt Hero comes with 12in wheels and tyres but, thanks to a neat bit of dropout design, can accommodate 14in wheels further down the line. The 14in wheelset (inc. tyres) will be available as an optional upgrade.

And yes, you can even run the Dirt Hero as a mullet! Should you want to. Keep the 12in wheel at the rear and just install the 14in front wheel setup. Proper on-trend, as they say.

Personally speaking, I’m a big fan of 14in wheel balance bikes when the time (and height-of-child) arrives. My lanky kids quickly outgrew a standard 12in balance bike. Rather than have them make do with an overly teeny ‘n’ twitchy small wheelers until it was time for them to progress to a bigger wheel pedal bike, getting them on a 14in wheel balance wheel was just the ticket for keeping them on two wheels and smiling.

All too often the first bigger wheeled pedal bike can be a bit of a too-soon purchase, resulting in frowns and tantrums all round. Kids who haven’t yet wholly mastered the art of balance and handling can find the introduction of pedaling into the mix a bit too much. Keep pedals away until the general bike handling skills are there. Big wheel balance bikes FTW!

Being able to simply slot in a new pair of bigger wheels sounds like a great idea to me. To upgrade to 14in wheels the Kids Ride Shotgun Dirt Hero balance bike has the ability to have extra converting dropout added to both the fork and the rear of the frame.

Another feature that opens up some adjustment is the footpad. It’s removable. The idea being that until your child is properly able to whizz along safely with their feet up, the footpad stays off. Then as and when the kid has nailed their ‘feet-up coasting-along’ badge, you can install the footpad to give them somewhere to put their feet whilst riding.

In terms of age range, the Dirt Hero is designed for kids aged around 2 up to about 5, depending on height.

Some nice speccing and designs touches include the skinny grips that are still a fully featured design involving comfy rubber, ‘shroom gill sections and fingertip ridges. The saddle has an ergonomic handhold area on the underside should the kid occasionally need a steadying/slowing hand from an adult.

The Crown Gem tyres from Vee Tire Co. are a really good choice. Grippy off-road, nippy on tarmac, plenty of volume to allow for variable pressure setting up (soft for comfort/grip, firmer for rolling speed etc). Then there’s the properly sealed headset, the thru-axles, the cartridge bearing hubs and the downtube protector (fear no kerbs, nor peaked pumptrack rollers on the Dirt Hero).

Rounding out the package is a bunch of stickers, a trio of differently coloured top tube protection decals and a scaled down mudguard. Nice.

Our test bike weighs in at 4.2kg, that’s with the 12in wheelset and the Magura MT4 brake installed. We did also set the Dirt Hero up with 14in wheels and that weighed in at 4.5kg (inc. rotor and everything).

Ah yes, the Magura MT4 brake. Available as a hop-up kit afterwards, the MT4 has been set up with Magura’s dinky HC1 lever to best suit smaller hands. Out back is 140mm rotor complete with integrated rotor guard for safety. Powerful brakes are great for any riders who don’t have much hand strength.

At £290 for the balance bike (brake and extra wheelset are extra) it is not a bargain basement bike. Having said that, the Kids Ride Shotgun pedigree and the general high quality of the bike will hopefully give the Dirt Hero a decent return on your investment when it comes to resale time.

Price breakdown

  • 12in balance bike // £290
  • 12in balance bike with Magura MT4 brake // £369
  • 14in balance bike // £300
  • 14in balance bike with Magura MT4 brake // £379
  • 14in wheel kit // £140
  • Magura MT4 brake kit // £123 (or £79 when purchased with the bike)

Kids Ride Shotgun Dirt Hero specification

  • Frame // Aluminium Convert 12-14
  • Fork // Kids Ride Shotgun Convert 12-14
  • Tyres // Vee Tire Co Crown Gem 2.25in
  • Brakes // Magura MT4 hydraulic disc brake w/ 140mm rotor
  • Handlebars // Kids Ride Shotgun Riser
  • Stem // 30mm
  • Grips // Kids Ride Shotgun Push-On
  • Seatpost // Kids Ride Shotgun
  • Saddle // Kids Ride Shotgun
  • Weight // 4.2kg (12in), 4.5kg (14in)

Geometry with 12in wheels

  • Seated reach // 301-340mm
  • Stack // 312mm
  • Eff. top tube // 348mm
  • Seat tube length // 155mm
  • Seat angle // 65°
  • Head angle // 66°
  • Chainstay // 267mm
  • Wheelbase // 612mm
  • BB height // 105mm
  • Seat height // 317-402mm
  • Fork offset // 29mm

Geometry with 14in wheels

  • Seated reach // 301-340mm
  • Stack // 312mm
  • Eff. top tube // 348mm
  • Seat tube length // 155mm
  • Seat angle // 65°
  • Head angle // 66°
  • Chainstay // 281mm
  • Wheelbase // 646mm
  • BB height // 140mm
  • Seat height // 352-437mm
  • Fork offset // 41.5mm

Geometry with 14in front wheel, 12in rear wheel

  • Seated reach // 297-339mm
  • Stack // 321mm
  • Eff. top tube // 356mm
  • Seat tube length // 155mm
  • Seat angle // 61.8°
  • Head angle // 62.8°
  • Chainstay // 267mm
  • Wheelbase // 630mm
  • BB height // 120mm
  • Seat height // 324-405mm
  • Fork offset // 41.5mm


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Orange Switch 6er. Stif Squatcher. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. Ebikes are not evil. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

More posts from Ben

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Kids Ride Shotgun Dirt Hero off-road balance bike
  • somafunk
    Full Member

    Not sure a disk brake is the sensible choice for a very young kids bike, sliced/chopped fingers, burns etc

    Full Member

    Not sure a disk brake is the sensible choice for a very young kids bike, sliced/chopped fingers, burns etc

    The middle section is shrouded so you cant poke things like fingers through, and there’s a pretty slim chance these’ll be ridden in a manner that would generate that much heat

    Free Member

    And it’s optional too! You can start them without it and once they’re ready, can put it back on!

    Full Member

    Is it for the kid, or for the parents to be seen with the kid?

    Full Member

    rim brakes on kids bikes are pretty rubbish. little, weak hands, not much lever throw, small rims so less leverage/moment. Discs might look like overkill, but there’s much more of an advantage over rim brakes for little hands on little wheels.

    If your little one can stop better or just as well by dragging their feet, they’re going to rely on them, want to keep their feet on the ground more of the time which is going to hold back proper riding position until they’ve got real confidence in their brakes.

    Full Member


    Very much the latter! 🤣

    Full Member

    Given that the 14 inch wheeled IslaBike is over a kg lighter the weight is the real deal breaker. Every parent knows that you will end up carrying the thing or balancing it on a pushchair a lot so lighter is worth much more to most of us.
    The fact that on offer the Isla is less than half the price will certainly help too!
    Does look the business though.

    Free Member

    We moved to a 14 Isla, took the pedals off & zip tied the crank to the chainstay for a month till they’d got the hang of the bigger bike then worked on pedaling.

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)

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