Exceptional Rating for 18-month-olds and 2.5-years-olds
Best in Class for Best Safety Features
FirstBIKE is an award-winning German-designed bike that has recently made its way to the US. With its unique composite frame, four different tire options, eighteen different color combinations and a claim to be the safest balance bike available, FirstBIKE talks a good talk, but does walk a good walk? As one who currently owns more balance bikes than pairs of shoes, I can honestly say it not only walks a good walk, it redefines what a good walk is. From its industrial-grade sealed bearings that glide like butter, to its weather resistant composite frame with a lifetime guarantee, it is quite simply the best all-around and indeed safest balance bike on the market. Here’s why:
Looking for a deal? Check out my review and then head over to WeeBikeShop to get 10% off and free UPS ground shipping any order over $250, plus get an additional $5 off the Uvex Hero (one of my top-rated helmets), when purchased with a bike. Plus, for orders more than $50, use the coupon code “ToyFair14″, for an additional $10 off (expires 2/28).
First off, although composite, the frame is highly durable and easily withstood multiple jump sessions from my 5 foot, 10 inch self.
The composite nature of the FirstBIKE frame allows for several advantages over metal or wood. First, it is essentially impermeable to the elements.
With no paint to chip, metal to rust or wood to warp, the FirstBIKE is truly an all-season bike that will last for generations. All-season you ask? Yep, there is an optional ski kit available for $45.
Second, the molded nature of the frame allowed the designers to recess all bolts into the frame itself, thereby eliminating any risk of kids being scratched or injured by exposed bolts.
The recessed nature of the bolts, as compared to exposed or covered bolts, additional allows for greater clearance for running.
Lastly, the composite seat post is unique is that it is incredibly easy to adjust and cannot rotate, thereby preventing the seat from swiveling.
The Saddle (Seat):
The saddle is made of a soft, yet sturdy rubber that is specially designed to grip the child’s bottom and prevent slipping and sliding. It it also ergonomically designed to be comfortable for the ride. As an added bonus, the non-porous nature of the seat make potty-training accidents a breeze to clean up (not that I would know :)).
The Wheels and Tires:
Despite all its other incredible features, the sealed, industrial bearings are what truly make this bike superior. Compared to other balance bikes, the FirstBIKE appears to glide effortlessly across the pavement. With one slight push, the bike begins to balance and the fun begins.
To help ensure you get the best bike for your child, FirstBIKE offers four different tires. For those whom may be riding in dirt and in streets, the “Cross” model comes with a 12″ air tire with knobby tread while the “Street” model comes with a smooth tread 12″ air tire for those whom stick to pavement. For those who want extra cushion out of their tires, the “Big Apple” and “Special Edition” bikes come with SCHWALBE premium pneumatic “Big Apple” tires and Schraeder valves for a smooth ride (the same tires found on the LikeaBike Jumper).
For parents not wanting to hassle with flat tires (although tire sealant generally solves that issue), the “Basic” model comes with solid hard rubber with a deep tread that performs much better than the standard EVA foam puncture-proof tires.
The Brake and Grips:
The optional rear-drum brake ($20) on the bike was easily one of the best brakes found on all the bikes we tested. Not only was it sized appropriately, it worked quickly and efficiently. Sure, I wish it were standard on the bike, but if you can spare the extra $20, it’s certainly worth it, especially if you child is over 3 and a half. Take note however, that the brake must be purchased at the time you buy the bike and cannot be added on later as the brake is integrated into the frame itself.
The grips are also made of hard rubber and provide an essential bumper, to protect hands during falls.
While the bike does come with a turning limiter, our testers had no problems maneuvering the bike.
Thinking outside of the box, the FirstBIKE designers came up with an innovative solution for allow younger riders to ride their bike. Instead of lowering the frame, they simply engineered two small plates to raise the back tire, thereby lowering the frame and bringing the seat lower to the ground. All FirstBIKE models comes standard with a minimum seat height of 14″, the lowering kit drop the seat down to 12″. If your child has an inseam less than 15″, the lowering kit is necessary. Based on our testers, we found that toddlers are able to fit on the FirstBIKE with a lowering kit about the same time then transition from 18-month clothes to 24-month clothes. The optional lowering kit is $15 and can be purchased at any time and consists of two hard plastic spacers and two bolts. The axel of the real wheel is inserted through the upper circle and the bolts attach the kit to the frame through the lower circle.
Video of Features:
As an added bonus, the flat nature of FirstBIKE’s fork make for a perfect place for a basket. Staying true to their nature, FirstBIKE’s basket is no standard plastic weave basket, instead it is a single piece of unbreakable plastic. Unbreakable you say? Well, as any parent of a three-year-old boy knows, rocks are far to often there best friends and before I knew it, my son was riding around with his “friends.”
Not surprisingly, the 8+ lb. of added weight to the front of his bike, eventually caused him to fall and the rocks to spill out. At first I assumed the basket had broken, but nope, it was the zip-tie. The basket was still as good as new. Quiet impressive indeed! The baskets are available in red, blue, black and pink for $24. Bells (the soccer ball in the above picture), which offer a pleasant “ding” versus an irritating “ring” are also available for $12.
An all-around amazing bike. While pricey, it certainly packs a lot of punch for your dollar and is sure to be well-loved by your kids.
MSRP: $205 for “Big Apple,” available in red or green and $165 for “Cross” and “Street” models that comes in various colors.
Where to Buy:
FirstBIKE’s are only available in a few bike shops, so shopping online is your best bet. WeeBikeShop (formerly FirstBIKEUSA) was the original distributor of FirstBIKE in the US and unlike Amazon, offers the full range of models, colors and FirstBIKE accessories at competitive prices with free UPS Ground shipping. Wee Bike Shop (www.weebikeshop.com) is also owned and operated by a bike enthusiast family, so I highly recommend shopping with them. To help get your kids out and riding, WeeBikeShop is currently running a promotion to get 10% off and free UPS ground shipping any order over $250. Plus, get an additional $5 off the Uvex Hero (one of my top-rated helmets), when purchased with a bike. If you have any questions in regards to FirstBIKE or any of their products, feel free to give them a call at (401) 654-0029.
For Canadian residents, FirstBIKE is now available online at Scamper Gear.