Kids mountain bike news from the 2023 Cycle Show
If you’ve had misspent youth riding mountain, trail or jump bikes then it can come as a bit of a shock to realise the fun might be curtailed when you find yourself a parent.
It can be hugely frustrating to think that you’re going to have to wait years to share your obsession with the most important (little) person in your world.
Which is why there’s really good news at this year’s Cycle Show (which took place at Alexandra Palace in London from 21 to 23 April 2023)
There were three brands showcasing new kids bikes that are all designed to get kids out on the trails and bike parks as early as possible, plus other products designed to make your family cycling trips hassle free and fun.
Kids Ride Shotgun
New Zealand brand Kids Ride Shotgun have gone from strength to strength in the past few years, catering for the youngest of mountain bikers.
The Shotgun Dirt Hero (£290) balance bike was officially launched a couple of weeks ago, but this was our first chance to actually see one up close.
The most striking thing about the Dirt Hero is the disc brakes. Shotgun have worked with Magura to make bespoke rotors that meet the regulations for kids bikes this size. This allows them to be fitted pre-sale, which is going to appeal to those of you who don’t want the faff of having to source and fit disc brakes yourself.
The Shotgun Balance Bike is compatible with both 12” and 14” wheelsets, allowing you to upgrade as your child grows, or have them mullet style (big wheel at the front, smaller wheel at the back).
A really nice touch is that the white frame can be personalized with one of three decals.
Shotgun have taken the approach that whilst you might want your kid to be riding a bike with as decent a specification of your own machine, your child is still just that – a child. And they might like dinosaurs, unicorns or lions.
This sets Shotgun apart from the other brands in this space who have made mini-me versions of their adult bikes.
Again, this is going to be a personal preference (with a bit of child influence thrown in). Do they want a fun bike? Or one that’s just the same as mum or dad’s?
If you opt for the Shotgun approach, then you’re also going to need the matching jersey (£33) to complete the look. There’s one for each decal option!
They’ve also recently launched the MTB tow rope (£35) which replaces their more expensive previous model (it’s now without the carabiner). Apparently these are also proving popular with couples where one has an e-mountain bike and the other a manual bike – no kids needed!
This is an addition to the range, bringing the total choices to three depending on your budget and attitude to fixing a seat to your frame or not.
It was good to see all the seats in one place.
Competition to win a Dirt Hero balance bike:
Shotgun currently have a great competition over on their Instagram page to win one of their brand new Dirt Hero Balance Bikes! All you have to do is tag #dirthero on Instagram reels showing your kid being epic on their balance bike. Full details are here.
Launching at the Cycle Show 2023 was a brand new kids bike range from DMR called DMR Sidekick.
DMR are a long established mountain bike and jump bike brand who have realised the next generation of riders are getting younger and younger!
The three bikes aren’t going to be available until July 2023, but the Cycle Show gave us a sneak peak of what’s to come.
Their balance bike is a true mullet – with a 14” front and 12” rear wheel.
It’s brake free, but there’s mounting points to add your own if you want, for when your child is ready for this feature.
Next in size, for those who’ve moved onto a pedal bike is a 18/16” mullet. This comes with a Hebie chainguard which we’ve seen being specified by Puky and Cube in recent years.
The largest kids bike in the DMR range is going to be a single speed 20” wheeler (£630). This is a wheel size where kids are often thought to be desperate to move onto a “big bike” with gear.
But obviously if mum or dad are riding a DMR jump or trails bike then you want to be just like them.
With the Sidekick range DMR are cleverly catering to their existing fan base, and creating a new one at the same time!
Propain kids bike range
The same marketing philosophy can be seen with Propain. This German brand is renowned for being able to customise the build of their high end mountain bikes.
They’ve brought this same ability to customise the componentry to their kids bike range.The bikes have been available elsewhere in the world for a while, and are finally going to all be available to the UK market.
Each bike is bespoke built and there’s currently about a 6-week waiting list for delivery from Germany.
The smallest bike in the range is the BamBam (£279). This is 14” wheeler which is good news for those looking for something different to the usual 12” wheelers.
As with the DMR balance bike this is brake free, but has the option to add your own post-purchase.
Propain’s smallest pedal bike is a 16” wheel which wasn’t on display, followed by two 20” wheel bikes.
With 9 speeds via a SRAM x5 drive train unit, SRAM brakes and 80mm 1st Ride air forks these 20” wheel bikes are mini-me versions of the adult bikes.
The hard tail 20”er is called the Dreckspatz and retails for £1,199. The full suspension Frechdax is £1,699 for which you get 90mm travel courtesy of a RockShox Monarch rear shock.
I suspect there’s going to be a lot of dad/daughter or mum/son upgrades being planned!
Propain's largest kids bike is the Yuma. This starts off with a 24” wheel set which can be easily switched out for 26” wheels or be run as a mullet. Very handy as kids at this age can grow so quickly at this stage.
The Yuma retails for £2,299.
It’s worth noting that these prices for the Propain bikes include VAT (20%) and Custom Duties (14%) but are exclusive of shipping from Germany which is listed as EUR 199 on their website.
Obviously, once you’ve got your Cycle Sprog kitted out with the perfect bike you want to get out on the trails as frequently as possible.
I loved seeing the Tent Box set up for a parent /child trip. The smaller of their offerings (pictured) sleeps two, and they also have a four-berth for a family trip.
I climbed inside and was mightily impressed with both how comfy the mattress was, and the superb view of the Cycle Show unfolding below me.
A camping/biking trip is exciting enough in its own right, but there’s something additionally special about sleeping up high! And the thought of not having to mess around with tent pegs and inner and outer tents is VERY appealing!
Unique cycling gifts
What do you get the cyclist who has everything? I’m sure I’m not the only one who struggles with gift ideas, so it was great to see Sharon Aldridge from cycle & recycle with her incredible range of gifts.
The clocks were particularly striking and other products included coasters, necklaces and bracelets.
And what better way to get your Cycle Sprogs to hang up their coats than have a bike chain coat rack?
It was certainly an interesting day out at the 2023 Cycle Show. If I had to choose one word to sum up the trend I saw in kids mountain bikes I think it definitely has to be “mullet”.
Do let me know what you think about all these new products in the comments below.
Keep up to date with the latest Cycle Sprog articles
Sign up to receive our newsletter straight to your inbox.
Other articles you might be interested in:
- Choosing the best balance bike for your child
- Best kids 20" wheel mountain bikes for 5 and 6 year olds
- Best kids 24" wheel mountain bikes ages 7 to 10 years
- Best kids 26" wheel mountain bikes
- Best mountain bikes for teenagers and small adults
- Kids hydration packs: pros and cons of using them on a family bike ride
- Frog MTB 62 Rider Review