Off road balance bike launched by Kids Ride Shotgun

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If you're desperate to hit the trails with your little one but they're still too young to pedal then here's some great news.

The lovely folk at Kids Ride Shotgun have launched an off-road balance bike - perfect for honing those shredding skills from an early age.

The new balance bike is aptly named "Dirt Hero" and extends the range of mountain biking products from the New Zealand-based brand.

It's designed for 2-5 year olds and whilst at first glance it may look similar to other balance bikes, its high spec (and corresponding price tag) sets it apart from others on the market.

Swap wheelsets as they grow

Shotgun tell us that the Dirt Hero takes its inspiration from enduro bikes, with a sealed headset, thru axles, a removable footpad, and progressive geometry.

And, because your tiny shredder is growing all the time it also allows you to upgrade from a 12" to a 14" Vee-Tire wrapped wheelset, ensuring maximum usage.

This is great - not just for the taller and older kids out there - but also for those little ones who are learning to ride a 14" wheel pedal bike but aren't quite ready to give up the speed and fun of their balance bike!

And there's nothing stopping you running the Shotgun balance bike as a "mini-mullet" with a 14” on the front and 12” on the rear!

A quick aside for those of you thinking a mullet is a fish or a hair style: When it comes to mountain biking a mullet is a mixed-wheel size bike. Some mountain bikers argue the bigger front wheel provides stability whilst the smaller rear wheel makes riding more fun and responsive - business up front, party at the back. I wouldn't recommend it until your child is very confident on two wheels of the same size!

To disc brake or not to disc brake?

The need for a brake on a balance bike is always a controversial topic - does your child need them or not?

There's no right or wrong answer, and Shotgun have catered to both camps - and then some.

You can opt out, but if you opt in you're fully in!

The child-safe hydraulic rear disc brake is a Magura MT4 with rotor guard, paired with the HC1 lever, which is very easy to use for small hands due to its reach adjustment.

I think the Shotgun Dirt Hero is the first 12" wheel balance bike offering this type of opt in (I'm sure you'll let me know if I'm wrong on this - Black Mountain do disc brakes on their 20" HUTTO but not on smaller sizes).

I should also point out that Shotgun have specified grippy Vee Tire Co Crown Gem 2.25” pneumatic tyres - a far cry from the solid tyres found on some other well known balance bikes.

Oh, and your little one can choose from 3 customisable top-tube skins to really personalise their ride.

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The numbers game

Let's talk about the two important figures - weight and price.

The Shotgun balance bike weighs 4 kgs for the 12" unbraked version through to 4.6kg for the 14" with brake.  For comparison the popular Frog Tadpole is 4.17kg for 12" wheels with brake.

But with this you're getting a mountain balance bike.  Seems reasonable.

So let's talk about the bigger numbers.

Price wise, the Shotgun balance bike with 12" wheels and no brake will set you back £290 / $340 USD.

Add in the brake and it's £369 / $439.

If you want the 14" wheels instead it's an additional £10 / $20 and of course you can upgrade separately at a later date.

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Kids Ride Shotgun are setting their stall out here.  This is a balance bike for the child of people who are used to spending big bucks on their mountain bikes.

It's for those parents with a passion for mountain biking.

Parents who can't wait for their little one to experience the same joy.

If that's you, then you're probably already seeing this bike as an early investment for the years of fun you're hoping will follow.

You might even be wondering whether you should start your day with some balance biking on a pump track followed by a green trail (or could they even manage the first bit of that easy blue?). Then when little legs get tired you can just pop them onto one of Shotgun's kids seats and head off for something a bit more gnarly.   But wait, is the other way around best??

If that's not you, then this bike isn't for you - simples!

If it is, you'll be glad to know we're hoping to get our hands on a Dirt Hero in the next few weeks, so sign up to our newsletter to hear what we think.

In the meantime, here's a lovely video of the bike in use to get you in the mood. Don't forget to let me know in the comments box below your initial thoughts on the Kids Ride Shotgun balance bike.


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