Introducing the new Kids Ride Shotgun PRO Kids Mountain Bike Seat! With no frame contact and designed for use with hard tail, full suspension and electric mountain bikes, the new Pro seat is the result of what many Kids Ride Shotgun fans have been eagerly waiting for.
Two Wheeling Tots Mamas Lauren and Carrie have been busy testing Kids Ride Shotgun’s newest seat. In this review we’ll cover all the features of the Shotgun Pro, and provide helpful comparisons to other kids MTB seats on the market. Is the Pro the right seat for you, your little shredder, and your bike? This review will answer that question!
Kids Ride Shotgun PRO Overview
BEST FOR: Mountain biking with kids ages 2 to 4
WEIGHT LIMIT: 60 pounds
- Fits on a wide variety of bikes, with adapters for especially hard-to-fit mountain bikes
- No frame contact
- Easily swap between bikes
- Angle of saddle quickly adjusts for a perfect fit for your bike
- “Mini pedal” foot rests have great grip and rubber foot stirrups
- Adjustable-height legs are padded to protect the bike’s frame
- Two headset spacers are included (for use with two bikes)
- Straightforward, quick installation
- Higher saddle not ideal with older kids
- Flat saddle may cause kids to shift forward or backward on bumpier terrain
- Heavier than other MTB seats
- May not be compatible with some bikes with shorter steer tubes (area where spacers are)
Shotgun Pro Mountain Bike Child Seat – Results of our Test Rides
TWT Adventure Mama Lauren hit the trails almost immediately with her Shotgun Pro seat. She managed to ride 35+ miles of true single-track trails, including 2 big shuttle rides. Lauren has previously ridden with both the Mac Ride bike seat the original Shotgun seat and was able to thoroughly compare and put this new seat to the test on the trails of Park City, Utah.
How the Shotgun Pro Works in a Nutshell
Like other kids MTB seats, the Shotgun Pro is an “open style seat” that consists of a saddle and footrests with stirrups. Optional handlebars are available, or you can choose to have your child hold onto your bike’s handlebars. There is no harness, so your child must be old enough to sit for extended periods of time and hold on to the bars (~2 years old).
With a weight limit of 60 pounds, the Shotgun Pro has plenty of room for kids to grow. By the time your kid is 60 pounds, they’ll definitely be too tall for you to want them on your bike anymore! (For reference, the Mac Ride’s weight limit is also 60 pounds, while the Original Shotgun seat’s weight limit is 48 pounds.)
The Shotgun Pro seat attaches to your bike very differently from the original Shotgun seat. With no frame contact, the Shotgun Pro attaches to your bike’s headset and seat post. Not only does this avoid frame contact, but it makes taking the seat on and off your bike much faster, much like the Mac Ride MTB seat.
A special spacer ring is required to secure the front clamp, while the rear clamp simply attaches to your existing seat post. Both clamps are tightened with a thumb screw – although an Allen key may be helpful to tighten the front clamp. We discuss bike compatibility in much more detail below.
A favorable difference Lauren recognized almost immediately was the fact that she did not have to bow her legs out as much as she pedaled. This was especially useful during the uphill portions of her ride. With the Shotgun Pro seat sitting higher than other mountain bike kids seats, it gives parents more room to pedal. While this is not a huge performance issue and has never limited Lauren in her riding with other seats, she sure enjoyed the extra space for her legs.
On the other hand, with the seat sitting higher it’s really important to make adjustments to your set-up before you get out on the trails. It can make the difference between a ride full of stoke or a ride full of frustration. Luckily, the Pro has plenty of adjustments to customize the fit for you, your child, and your bike and we ended up having some truly incredible rides.
When first testing the Shotgun Pro with its saddle set to its factory setting, the saddle was actually too high and it made the descents less fun as our little tester was now taking up more space directly beneath Lauren’s chin – sometimes even interfering with her vision as she assumed a lower position on her bike. (It should be noted that Lauren is a shorter rider around 5’4″ and this will be discussed more below).
Lauren began adjusting the Shotgun Pro to find a more comfortable position for her and her son. By adjusting the seat as far back as she could (lowering her child significantly), and ditching her beloved Shotgun handlebars (loved by mama and child) that kept her son too upright with this seat, she found her sweet spot.
With these changes Lauren set out for some downhill shuttle rides to test the performance of the seat. She was pleasantly surprised by her experience as those minor adjustments made for an incredible riding experience! It felt safer, more playful, and way more comfortable. For Lauren, the child sitting lower is a big deal as she is a shorter rider and loves a good downhill shuttle ride with her little one (I mean pedaling extra weight uphill isn’t always the most fun).
So while the set up and adjusting of the Shotgun Pro took more time and some trial and error, once adjusted right, this new seat evoked stoke and trail riding happiness!
Other features that Lauren enjoyed out on the trails was the fixed position for the little rider’s feet. On other seats she has had issues with the foot rests spinning or moving.
She also enjoyed the stylish mini grom bike seat! It is truly is the new and improved seat from Shotgun. It is still padded and plush, but with a new sleek design. In addition, the seat angle was effortless to adjust. This is another adjustment you need to make before hitting your favorite trails.
Lauren did find that when riding terrain with more rocks, roots, and little drops, she preferred the Mac Ride saddle to the Shotgun Pro saddle. The Mac Ride saddle cups the child’s bum and more securely keeps the child in their saddle and seated position.
On small roller drops or rocks and roots, the Shotgun Pro seat would shift her little grom forward towards the handlebars. This was a small performance difference and really only resulted in Lauren riding even slower and more controlled.
Some parents may not notice, especially on smoother terrain. But for other parents, they may need to take bumpier riding terrain slower as their passenger is not as securely nestled into the saddle.
During testing, Lauren found that the Shotgun Pro front clamp interfered and rubbed with her headset, even causing the front clamp to open on a ride. We discuss more about this issue below. However, we did want to note up front that we don’t recommend riding with any child mountain bike seat if you have rubbing with the front clamp and your headset or handlebars.
Parent and Child Fit with the Shotgun Pro
We’ve tested all of the MTB child bike seats, and while there are many important factors to consider, the most important is how the bike seat positions your child in relation to your body. This comfort and fit factor will have a huge effect on your enjoyment of the ride.
Saddle Height – Higher than Other MTB Seats
One of the first things we noticed about the Shotgun Pro was that it sits higher in relation to our bikes compared to the original Shotgun and the Mac Ride MTB seats.
The Shotgun Pro sits about 1.5″ higher than the original Shotgun, which you can see here.
The Shotgun Pro also sits higher than the Mac Ride, which you can see here.
So is this a good or a bad thing? It depends. Overall, having the child higher on the bike (and in relation to your body) usually means there’s less interference with your pedal stroke – you’ll have to bow your legs out a bit less. Nice right?
On the other hand, a higher seat means that you’ll need to be more precise about where you position the Shotgun Pro’s saddle so that your child sits as low as possible in relation to your body. (Basically, you don’t want them up in your chin!) It also means it won’t be as great of a fit when your child is older and taller.
Adjusting the Saddle to Accommodate for Height
It’s important to know that the saddle of the Kids Ride Shotgun Pro can be adjusted along the rail to move your child closer or farther away from you. Because the seat rail is at an angle, moving the seat closer to the adult’s handlebars raises the saddle higher, while moving the seat closer to the adult lowers the saddle.
Don’t just assume that the factory setting is the best setting. Depending on your child’s size and your size, you’ll need to play around with the best fit for you.
If fact, because the Pro sits higher than the Shotgun classic and the Mac Ride, adjusting where that saddle sits along your top tube is going to make a much bigger difference in the comfort of your ride, as you’ll see below.
While we certainly can’t account for every parent and every child, we want to show you how the Shotgun Pro fit with three different parents and two different kids. This will give you an idea of how the seat will fit for you and your child. For both our 5’10 and 5’4 TWT Mamas, we found moving the saddle closer to us resulted in a significantly better fit than the factory setting.
Parent Height and Child Height
TWT Adventure Mama Lauren is 5’4 and her just-turned-2-year-old is 33″ tall. Here is a side by side comparison of them on the Shotgun Pro and the Mac Ride. In order to achieve the lower body positioning of the Mac Ride on the Shotgun Pro, we moved the Pro’s seat back on the rail a few inches.
Once we had positioned the seat to lower her son, Lauren was able to ride more efficiently on the trails. Her son did not interfere with her riding, even on descents i.e. hitting her chin, impacting her vision and body position etc. This truly made all the difference in performance on the trails.
This position did, however, stretch her son out a bit more on the bike. Above you can see him leaning forward more on the Shotgun Pro, while he’s still pretty upright on the Mac Ride. This won’t be as comfortable for very young riders, but Lauren and her son still had an epic 7.5 mile ride with this set up.
Now take a look at how much higher Lauren’s son sits in relation to her body when the seat is shifted forward to match the seat positioning of the Mac Ride. This position was very uncomfortable for Lauren because her son’s helmet kept hitting her chin while riding.
So what’s the bottom line here?
(1) Be sure to take time to play with the saddle positioning of the Shotgun Pro before you head out to the trails!
(2) The Shotgun Pro has less room for growth. Lauren doesn’t have any more room to shift the Shotgun Pro farther back while the Mac Ride has several inches of room to move the seat back. Remember, moving the seat back = lowering the seat. As a result, she’ll have more room to play with over the next two summers as her son grows… which leads us to our next point.
Older or Taller Kids
If you plan on using the Shotgun Pro seat until your child is 4 or 5 (or a really tall 3.5-year-old like Carrie has), you may run into an issue with the higher saddle of the Shotgun Pro. Because the Pro sits higher, its “sweet spot” for use is a bit more narrow than the original Shotgun or the Mac Ride.
Take for example, TWT Mom Carrie and her husband Brian. Carrie is 5’10 and Brian is 6’1. Their daughter is 3.5-years-old and 42.5″ tall (and 43 pounds). For reference, Carrie has quite a long torso!
In the images below you can see how the child’s helmet is close to Carrie’s chin, but falls a few inches lower on Brian’s chin. (And realistically, this is Carrie’s bike and Brian could actually sit a bit higher than this on his own bike, increasing that space even more.) With a child this size, the Shotgun Pro is still a fine fit for Brian, but not as much for Carrie.
Now take a look at this comparison of Carrie and her daughter on the Shotgun Pro and the original Shotgun. The original Shotgun seat is about 1.5″ lower to the ground on Carrie’s bike, and will give her significantly more room to lean forward and get low while climbing or descending. It will also provide much needed wiggle room for her little wiggle worm to move around without interfering with mama.
As a result, if your child is already tall as a young toddler and you want to use an MTB seat for several years, the original (lower) Shotgun might be a better choice for you.
The Effect of Adjusting the Saddle Forward or Backward
Here you can see how the body position of our 3-year-old changed with the seat shifted in either direction. While both positions helped to create more chin clearance for Mom, moving our child back (closer to Mom) ended up being a much better solution.
Child Shifted Farther Away vs. Closer to Adult
Why? Because with a child this size, moving them closer to the front of the bike will cause their knees to interfere with the bike’s ability to turn fully.
Like with Lauren’s situation, the better solution for this mom and child was moving the seat back towards mom, which lowered the child’s position quite significantly. How far you can move your child back will of course depend a lot on your body type.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The design of the Shotgun Pro’s rail extension prevents you from moving the saddle as far back as it technically can go. If slid all the way back, the saddle sits above the lever that must be opened to shorten the rail when attaching or detaching the seat. The lever cannot be opened in that position because the saddle gets in the way.
Other Shotgun Pro Features
Saddle Shape is Flat
While the sleek black Shotgun Pro saddle is lightly cushioned for maximum comfort, the shape of the saddle is less than ideal for some mountain bike riding. Because the saddle is flat, kids can sometimes shift forward towards the handlebars if you’re riding over a rock garden or doing a small drop, even at slower speeds.
We’ve found that the curved seat of the Mac Ride serves to keep a child better nestled in their saddle when riding over terrain that isn’t smooth and flat.
Legs with Foot Rests and Stirrups
As a small but significant bonus, the legs are surrounded in a rubber sleeve to protect the frame of your bike. The Mac Ride doesn’t have frame protectors on its legs and we did ding our frame once as a result.
If you extend the length of the legs for older riders, the leg extensions are not surrounded in rubber.
We would also love to see these seats have some type of protective material on the under side of rail. While the point of many of these seats is to reduce contact with the frame, it is hard to avoid completely. Whether while taking on and off the seat or the legs coming loose on Lauren’s Mac Ride. So invest in some type of frame tape. We personally love Ground Keeper Custom as you can create custom designs for your beloved bike.
The footrests attached to the legs are like mini MTB pedals with grip to keep kids feet in place better.
While we were pretty enamored with this baby grom design, we were a bit disappointed when we realized we couldn’t angle them to keep them flat. As a result, depending on the angle that you set the legs (more on set-up below), your child’s foot may only be resting against the angled edge of the pedal.
Kids Ride Shotgun offers two different styles of mini handlebars for kids. Both options are by far the best kids MTB handlebar accessories on the market. They offer a soft and secure way for kids to hold on tight, and are really easy to take on and off.
The original Shotgun Handlebars attach via tightening screws with and Allen key and are just $35. You can get them on and off in about 60 seconds, but the fact you need a tool to attach them is mildly inconvenient.
The Shotgun Pro handlebars are an upgraded product that sells for $70. The three biggest differences between the original and Pro bars are that (1) the Pro bars attach via quick-releases, (2) the hand grips are slightly smaller in diameter to better fit small hands, and (3) the bars themselves are a bit wider for a more MTB stance.
So which handlebars are better? Honestly, they are both so simple and smart, you really can’t go wrong with either. We do think the addition of quick-releases on the Pro bars is genius. Whether or not that’s worth the bump in price is up to you.
It’s important to note that when using the handlebars, your child is in a more upright position than if they are leaning forward to grab onto your handlebars. For really young and small riders, this is probably more comfortable for them to not have to lean forward so far.
But as kids get older and taller on this higher Shotgun Pro seat, it will not be comfortable for you (unless you’re over about 6’1.) More upright means more up in your space.
So should you get the handlebars? If you’re getting the higher Shotgun Pro, we wouldn’t recommend adding them to your cart unless you’re over about 6’1. For both our 5’10 and 5’4 mamas, the handlebars made their little groms even more in their way.
But if you’re reading this review and realizing the original Shotgun seat is going to be a better fit for you, then absolutely get the handlebars! We have no issues with our taller 42.5″ rider using the handlebars with that seat. Even more upright, her helmet isn’t hitting our chins.
Attaching and Removing the Shotgun Pro is a Breeze!
How easy it is to get the Shotgun Pro on and off your bike is, in our opinion, the major reason to upgrade from the original Shotgun (if you’re tall enough and the Pro is a good fit for you.)
The process with the original Shotgun takes only a few minutes and several steps, but was just inconvenient enough that it made us less likely to want to take the MTB seat off our bike. With the Shotgun Pro, the process is so fast, there is really no inconvenience at all.
The Pro attaches at two points to your bike – the headset and the seat post. You just need to secure the Shotgun Pro’s front clamp to the headset and rear clamp to the seat post.
Both clamps are tightened by hand, and can be done in a matter of seconds. They also can be further tightened with an Allen key. In our testing, we needed to use the Allen key with the front clamp, but not the rear because of its handy quick release lever. To remove the Pro, simply reverse the process.
Each time you remove the MTB seat, you also have to release the rail latch to shorten the horizontal rail to allow for space to take off the seat. And then of course lengthen the rail and close the latch when you’re attaching the seat to your bike.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Shotgun Pro we tested was a pre-production model. The hand tightener on the front clamp has been changed for the model you will receive. Not only is it shorter, but it will have more grip to make it easier to tighten. We did have trouble getting it tight enough by hand, but we’ve been assured this has been fixed. We will update our review as soon as we receive the newest model to test.
Setting Up Your Kids Ride Shotgun Pro Seat
One of the main reasons Kids Ride Shotgun designed a new seat was to allow for compatibility with ebikes. The Shotgun Pro should be compatible with most mountain bikes out there – whether battery powered or not. And while it has a pretty universal design for all types of bikes, there are still four things you need to “fit check” before you purchase:
(1) Headset (Replacing Spacer): Because you have to replace one of your bike’s headset spacers with the Shotgun Pro spacer, you’ll need 10mm of headset spacers that can be removed.
The standard Shotgun Pro spacer is for standard 1 1/8 steerers. Shotgun offers different spacers for Trek Knock Block and Scott Syncros headsets. The Shotgun Pro is NOT compatible with quill headsets.
(2) Headset (Total Spacer Height): In our testing, we discovered that the total number and the total height of the spacers under your stem will also impact fit. Once the Shotgun Pro spacer is installed, there must be clearance between the Shotgun Pro’s front clamp and your stem when the handlebars rotate.
NOTE: To eliminate any potential confusion, the second grooved spacer in the picture below is for the Mac Ride, which we left on to facilitate comparisons between the seats for this review.
On our Santa Cruz bikes with three full-sized spacers, there was plenty of clearance and absolutely no issues, as you can see above.
On our 2020 Cannondale Jekyll (medium frame) which has fewer and shorter spacers, there wasn’t quite enough clearance between the bike’s stem and the Pro’s sliver hand tightener when the handlebars were rotated to the right. While we could ride this way, this caused the hand tightener to rub against the stem, which was problematic.
This continual rubbing when the handlebars are turned caused the Pro’s front clamp to loosen during a longer, more technical ride. This resulted in the front clamp opening and coming off the bike’s headset entirely. Clearly this is a safety issue, which we addressed with the team at Kids Ride Shotgun.
On our 2017 Devinci Troy mountain bike, the silver hand tightener also rubs the bike’s stem. Luckily on this bike, there were spacers above the stem that we could put below to create enough space. That said, it wasn’t an ideal solve given that this changes the geometry of our bike.
(3) Seat Post: The clamp needs 10 mm of vertical space on the seat post, so if you ride with the seat all the way down, you will have to raise your seat slightly.
The rear seat post clamp has tiny inserts of various thicknesses to accommodate seat posts of different diameters – everything from 27.2 mm, 30.9 mm, 31.6 mm, and 34.9 mm. The arrow below indicates the spacer that can be swapped out if you have a less-common seat post diameter. Most bikes won’t have to change that spacer.
(4) Dropper Post: If you have a dropper post, you can absolutely use the Shotgun Pro. However, you do need 10 mm of space between your bike’s seat clamp and the dropper post’s seal head.
While three of our bikes already had this space, two of our bikes did not. In order to fit the Shotgun Pro’s rear clamp on these bikes, we would have had to raise the dropper post out of the bike’s frame. Not a big deal if you have enough length in your dropper post cables, but if you’re maxed out on cable length, you’ll have to get a longer cable to make the modification.
Also keep in mind that raising the dropper post will raise the minimum seat height of the bike.
Shotgun Pro Initial Installation – Fit for Your Bike
This is a brief overview of installation, just to demonstrate how streamlined it is. You should not consider this an instruction manual, which you can find on the Kids Ride Shotgun website.
While difficulty of installation or assembly is ultimately an opinion, we found the Kids Ride Shotgun Pro to be easier to install than the original Shotgun because we didn’t have to adjust for the unique shape of our bike frame. Installing the original Shotgun required more tweaking for us, while the Shotgun Pro was just install a spacer ring and we were good to go!
Headset Spacer Ring
Initial installation requires you to replace 10 mm of spacers on your headset with the Shotgun Pro spacer ring. Of course this means you’ll have to remove the stem and handlebars from the steerer. Not the most convenient thing in the world, but you’ll only have to do this once.
NOTE: Be sure to install the Shotgun Pro spacer ring in the bottom most spot on the steer tube.
After you install the spacer ring and put the Shotgun Pro on your bike, rotate your handlebars to check that the Pro’s front clamp does not interfere with your bike’s maneuverability. If there is any contact, you will need to move a spacer from above the stem to below. If moving a spacer is not an option for you, you’ll probably need the original Shotgun seat instead.
Shotgun Pro Leg Width
We were really impressed with the ingenuity of the design of the Shotgun Pro’s legs. There are two leg width settings. The “narrow” setting will fit most bikes, while the “wide” setting will fit bikes with a top tube or down tube that is wider than 80mm. The wider setting is mostly for ebikes. While the Mac Ride’s legs can also be widened for an e-bike, we just thought Shotgun’s design was particularly clever.
It does require an Allen wrench to switch between the narrow and wide settings, because you’ll have to rotate the legs. But this is something that could very quickly be done between rides if you’ll be switching back and forth between battery power and pure muscle power bikes.
Adjusting for the Best Fit for Your Child
While there are several adjustment points you need to dial in for a perfect fit, these adjustments are quick and also only need to be made once.
The Shotgun Pro saddle can be angled up or down so that it will sit flat, regardless of the angle at which the Pro’s cross beam is connected between your seat post and headset.
Adjusting the angle does not require tools, as the seat’s angle is secured in position by two quick release levers. This also makes it easy to adjust the angle of the Pro seat if you’ll be switching between mom and dad’s bikes.
The saddle can also move forward or backward on the cross beam (or rail) to move your child closer or farther away from you. This movement does require an Allen key.
While this design does allow for maximum adjustability for bike geometry, it also appears to be the mechanism that causes the seat to sit higher than other MTB seats.
Shotgun Pro Leg Length (And Child Knee Bend)
The legs (with attached footrests) of the Shotgun Pro are height-adjustable so accommodate the length of your child’s legs. Our 42.5″ rider had the legs set to their maximum length, while our 33″ rider had them set to their shortest length.
The legs are also angle-adjustable, utilizing the same quick-release levers under the saddle that are used to set the angle of the saddle. The angle you set the Pro’s legs will of course determine the angle of your child’s legs when they rest their feet on the foot rests, which you can see here.
Here you can see two different options, with the angle on the left being the setting we chose as it lowers the knees. This position is less likely to create interference with the handlebars, and also keeps her feet farther away from the front wheel.
IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE: Whatever angle you decide is most comfortable for your child, you’ll need to make sure that their feet are far enough away from the front wheel that you can execute turns without your child’s foot hitting the tire. If there’s not enough clearance, change the angle of the legs, or move the Pro’s saddle further back on the rail.
Foot Rests and Stirrups
The footrests themselves cannot be angled to better accommodate the flat bottom of your child’s foot. We’d love to see that changed for the next iteration of this seat.
The flexible rubber foot straps have just two adjustment settings. They will serve more like a stirrup like while horseback riding, but weren’t designed to keep your child’s foot tightly in place. They are, however, pretty snug on our 3.5-year-old’s foot.
Kids Ride Shotgun Pro vs. Mac Ride
The Shotgun Pro seat has many similarities to the Mac Ride MTB seat. And we know you’re curious, so here are the differences that we think matter most.
Here’s what we like better about the Kids Ride Shotgun Pro:
- The position of the saddle requires less bowing of legs while pedaling
- Slightly less room required on your seat post for the rear clamp (can make a difference if you ride with your dropper post seal cap next to your seat collar)
- Legs have a rubber sleeve to protect the bike’s frame if there is ever contact
- Foot rests stay in place and don’t rotate when kids push them with their feet
And here’s what we like better about the Mac Ride:
- Saddle sits lower on the bike, making it a more universal fit for riders of all heights. Also allows for better true ready position while descending, as well as more room for growth.
- Curved saddle cups your child’s bum, keeping them anchored over bumpier terrain or steeper elevation.
- It’s a few pounds lighter
- Adjusting the height of the legs doesn’t require tools
- Front clamp is compatible with more bikes, including quill stems
Kids Ride Shotgun Pro vs. Original
While the Shotgun Pro could be considered an upgrade to the original Shotgun, there are still pros and cons to both. So between these two, what are the major differences?
Here’s what we like better about the Kids Ride Shotgun Pro:
- Fits ebikes
- No frame contact
- Faster to get on and off your bike
- Easier to swap between bikes
- Higher weight limit (60 lbs. vs. 48 lbs. on Original)
- Legs and footrests are height adjustable
And here’s what we like better about the Original Shotgun:
- Sits lower on your bike, making it a better fit for short and average height riders, and riding with older kids
- Great for use with the Shotgun handlebars (higher saddle of the Pro seat makes a child’s upright body positioning with the handlebars problematic with shorter adults or taller kids)
- More affordable
Kids Ride Shotgun Pro Seat Bottom Line
With no frame contact (hooray carbon framers!) and the ability to adjust its legs to fit wider frames (hooray ebikes!), the Shotgun Pro is a perfect accessory for an even wider array of mountain bikes than the original Shotgun seat. But perhaps its biggest “upgrade” is the lightning fast mounting process, and the super quick adjustments when swapping from bike to bike.
Because the saddle of the Shotgun Pro sits higher than the original Shotgun and the Mac Ride, you’ll want to be honest with yourself about how long you plan to use the seat before you decide which MTB seat is right for you.