As a MTB parent choosing a front mounted seat for your little shredder, you might be wondering ‘do I need the kids handlebar attachment’, or ‘can’t my little one just hold onto my bars?’
It's a question we're often asked, so we spoke to mountain bike parents around the world, and put together the top 5 reasons to rock the kids handlebars when riding up front. Read on to learn more!
5 reasons to use kids handlebars when riding upfront
1. No one likes cold hands
Having cold hands on a ride really sucks, and unfortunately hands are often the hardest part of our body to keep warm when mountain biking.
For kids, even with gloves on, holding onto adult bike handlebars can be cold, particularly through the winter months and shoulder seasons when the temps are down.
This is where kids' mini handlebars come in – the rubber grips are warmer for your little one to hold, and as every parent knows – a warm kid is a happy kid.
“If you can successfully keep your kid warm on your bike rides, then more than half the battle is won.” – Lauren
Pro tip: want to keep riding in the depths of winter? Add kids pogies for toasty hands all year round.
2. Achieve the perfect riding position
As adult riders, we think a lot about bike sizing and riding position, so it should be the same for little people. Putting your little one in a comfortable riding position is important for keeping them stoked throughout your ride, and will ultimately see them wanting to ride longer.
When smaller kids are riding without the handlebar attachment, they can find themselves leaning forward and stretching to reach the bars. By using the kids handlebars, they don’t have to lean so far forward, which puts them in a more upright and comfortable riding position.
On the other hand, bigger kids riding without the handlebar attachment, may find themselves leaning down and rounding their back to reach your bars (because of their height). By using the kids handlebars, they can sit upright and centre their weight – resulting in a more comfortable, balanced riding position.
Setting your little one up in a natural and ergonomic riding position will help them to feel confident and balanced on the trails, and will ultimately be more comfortable on longer rides.
“I bought a shotgun pro seat for my son and it was great, but I found he was leaning quite far forward. I then added the shotgun bars to our setup and have found this helps him to sit more upright and helps with our overall balance while we ride." – Julian
3. Holding on is easier with grips
Can you imagine riding your bike without grips? Neither.
Because riding up front requires active participation from your little one, you’ll want to ensure they’re holding on throughout the ride – ready for any changes in terrain or bumps along the trail.
The rubber grips on the kids handlebar attachment are much grippier than alloy or carbon bars, and allow your co-pilot to easily maintain control of their balance and weight whilst you’re riding together.
The clue is in the name, because grips are errrr... grippy!
“The handlebars make a huge difference – they give my 3.5 year old son something with a bit more grip to hold onto, reducing the chance of him slipping off my bars.” – Corey
4. Keep little hands from wandering
As every parent knows, kids are inquisitive.
Little people like to touch and play with things – even things that aren’t theirs. For example, your gears, brakes and your dropper post! It’s not ideal when you’re pedalling along minding your own business, and a little hand secretly activates your dropper post. Surprise!
Giving your co-pilot their own handlebars to hold will keep their little hands away from your bars, preventing them from touching anything they shouldn’t.
“The handlebars give my little one a comfortable place to put her hands when on the bike. It also gives me peace of mind knowing she is not going to play with the gears or brakes." – Phil
5. They’re stoke inducing
Kids love having their own grown-up stuff.
So giving your co-pilot their own set of handlebars, just like mummy’s or daddy’s, is a foolproof way to get them excited about mountain biking.
Not only will they be pumped about matching with you, but they’ll feel as though they’re doing the steering and are in control of the bike as you ride together – which is a great way to keep them engaged and having fun.
"My kids prefer using the handlebars as they feel that they get to steer the bike!” – Caoimhe
So long story short, whilst the shotgun bars aren’t compulsory for a fun time on the trails, they do increase safety, comfort and stoke when out riding together. And because the more fun they have on the trails, the more they’ll want to go for rides – it’s a win win!
Shotgun Pro Bars
Allen key fixing for easy fitting, removal and adjustment
Quick release for lightning fast fitting and removal
250mm wide bars
355mm extra-wide bars
22.2mm standard grips for little hands
19mm undersized grips for little hands
Fits 25.4mm, 31.8mm and 35mm handlebar diameters
Fits 31.8 and 35mm handlebar diameters only
Fits stems up to 75mm wide
Fits stems up to 60mm wide
Have you tried our kids handlebars?
Let us know how you find riding with kids handlebars in the comments below, we'd love to hear from you!