Mountain biking can take you into some very beautiful settings and mountain bike parks are doing a great job at providing easy beginner trails that are perfect for family riding. Some examples are
- Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park – Kaiteriteri
- Craters of the Moon – Taupo
- Whakarewarewa Redwoods Mountain Bike Park – Rotorua
- Codgers Mountain Bike Park – Nelson
So if you want to start this kind of riding with a young family – from 2yrs – what are the best kids bike seats for mountain biking?
Image courtesy of Ride Shotgun Limited
Mid Mount Kids Bike Seats
As more and more of us are enjoying the pleasures of mountain biking the demand for specialist mountain biking products is growing. Part of this growth has seen the development of kids bike seats designed specifically for placing on mountain bikes.
When attaching a kids bike seat to a bike you have 3 options – front, mid and rear. It is the mid mounted seats that work really well with mountain bikes. Mid mounted kids bike seats place your child between your arms in a really central position on the bike. This means that your centre of gravity is less affected by adding the weight of a child to the bike. Also meaning your balance and steering is less affected, which is important for all riding, but particularly crucial in a mountain bike environment.
A couple of other reasons mid mount systems work for mountain biking are that they are suitable for full suspension bikes (you can not put a rear child bike seat on a full suspension bike). They are compatible with carbon bikes so won’t damage a carbon frame (front & rear seats should not be attached to carbon frames).
Shotgun Kids Mountain Bike Seat $220 – Fully adjustable, easily removed & attached
First installation of Shotgun – adjusting seat tilt
The Shotgun with handlebar & 2 year old
Our first choice for a kids mountain bike seat is the New Zealand designed & made Shotgun (2 to 5yrs). Shotgun introduced their kids bike seat onto the New Zealand market in 2017 so this seat has been designed with modern mountain bikes in mind. The seat is fully adjustable – not only do the swing arms pivot but the width of the seat frame can be changed and the kids seat can be tilted. The Shotgun team believe their seat will fit any mountain bike frame including all frames with wide, flat top tubes and small frames. It can handle top tubes widths from 30 – 58mm wide, and down tubes widths from 30 – 100mm wide (this also means that the seat will fit any bike with a top tube – not just mountain bikes).
One of the most important features of the Shotgun is that once you have it set for your bike shape it is really quickly removed & re-attached without tools, watch this video. Having the ability to do this means that when you use your mountain bike, for mountain biking, there is no issue with attachments or fittings that could get damaged or the hassle of a time consuming removal/reattachment process.
At the beginning of 2019 Shotgun added another awesome feature – rubber foot straps
- To keep the child’s feet secure whilst riding
- But designed to break away in the event of a crash
Shotgun also offer an optional handlebar that gives your child their own handlebar to grip when riding. This can save any worry you have about where they will hold on. However this does add an attachment that you may want removed when mountain biking by yourself.
Do Little Kids Bike Seat $155 – good value, versatile
Do Little attached to front suspension mountain bike
Do Little out on the trail
The Do Little is another mid mount seat option that can be used for mountain biking. This seat also works on a lot of other bike frames including a step through frame (no top tube) as you can buy a “Retro” fitting to attach to your frame and mount the seat on. This gives you the ability to have multiple fittings and use the seat on more than one type of bike making it versatile. The age range for a Do Little is therefore slightly wider, up to 6 or 7 – around 1.4m tall. This is because it can be used on bikes that put you, the rider in a slightly more upright position giving you more space for a child.
We have discovered that the rigid frame of the Do Little is not compatible with small mountain bike/trail bike frames but people on the small side struggle to ride for very long with a child between there arms as there is simply not enough space. They need to be on crusier/retro bikes that give them space.
Do Little is also a New Zealand made product, it was the first company to make a mid mount bike seat without a harness and was designed when mountain biking first began to get a following in NZ. This seat works really well with medium to large triangle frames. The low rider fitting (added in 2017) has made the Do Little more compatiable with the modern full suspension mountain bike shape – just be careful with the width of your top tube, anything over 4.5cm will be too wide.
A Do Little can be fully removed if you have used the standard fitting to attach it – it’s just a slower process than the Shotgun involving 3 bolt sets and an Allen Key. The retro fitting is clamped to your frame and more challenging to remove.
Mountain Biking Using a Kid Bike Seat – Safety
When you have a passenger you must ride within your capabilities and consider the effect of extra weight e.g. brake earlier to stop. Also always factoring in that your child is not secured to the bike, if they start to move around this will effect your balance and steering.
You may want to lower your seat at first as you adjust to riding with a child between your arms, this is only natural. Try to return your seat to its normal height as soon as you feel comfortable. This will allow you to maintain your natural pedaling style, improves your power and also increases the gap between you and a larger older child.
get Inspired and goRide – The Best Kids Bike Seats for Mountain Biking
Thanks for reading. Used together our stories, resources & products support you to achieve and develop as a rider.
Kids Bike Seat – Match Your Bike to a Seat
Kids Bike Seats – How to do more riding with a toddler or 2
Kids Bike Seats – Safety & Care
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