From Kenda tires and Tektro brakes to Cane Creek headsets and lightweight aluminum frames, Pello Bikes ooze quality. Dreamt up and designed by a dad who couldn’t find a quality bike for a son, Pello Bikes went above and beyond creating a mere bike, he created a new standard for US bike manufacturers. Taking notes from successful European kid’s brands, Pello was build around a child, rather than merely for a child. Built with “Ride Right” geometry, their bikes combine high-end components with child-specific geometry. With a lower bottom bracket, a low-rise handlebars and longer wheelbase than the average 14″ bike, Pello bikes is the first US designed bike to truly compete with European models.
Weighing in at 15 lb., their 14″ Romper, the smallest bike they offer, was sheer delight for our four-year-old tester. Wearing 4T clothes and with a 19″ inseam, he was able to fit on both the Romper and their 16″ Revo, but found the smaller and lighter Romper easier to handle for most rides. From paved bike trail to single-track, the Romper did not disappoint. On paved rides, he happily kept up with the older kids in the pack, while on single-track, the knobby tires provided much-needed grip for rocky trails.
Strong and mighty, the Romper is an amazing bike for eager or aggressive preschoolers. The low-rise handlebars place riders in a comfortable, but not too relaxed, body position, allow for easier balance and more natural control. Small and responsive, Tektro small reach levers pair up with a Tektro rear mini V-pull brakes. To prevent potential endo’s the Pello does NOT come with a front hand brake, but does have a coaster brake as required by CPSC standards. For the ultimate responsiveness in steering, each Pello is built with a sealed cartridge bearing Cane Creek headset. Sealed to prevent dust from limiting movement, the headset kept the handlebar and front tires firmly aligned, even after falls, and will surley keep the steering smooth and resistance free for years to come.
Knobby to allow for traction in all surfaces and thicker to allow for more cushioning, the Kenda 14 x 2.125″ tires on the Romper are significantly larger than those on the Islabikes CNOC, WOOM and ByK. The larger tires add weight to the bike but allow for more aggressive riding. Visually, the tires also lends the Romper to more of a “mountain bike” look than a “road bike”.
The gearing of the Pello Romper is also more aggressive than the others. The gain ratio of a bike is calculated using the number of teeth on the cogs on the bike, as well as the wheel size and crank arm (pedal arm) length. A higher gain ratio allows a bike to be propelled farther with every pedal but requires more effort to get started. The Romper is geared similarly to the CNOC with 3.57 vs. 3.13 but is much higher than the ByK at 2.57. The higher ratio allows kids to pedal faster as it requires less “spinning” of the pedals to get going. On the flip side, the Romper takes more force on the pedal to get started than the ByK, but for eager riders, the higher ratio will be more beneficial, especially once they master pedaling.
Compared to the CNOC, the Romper is also slightly wider, with the space between the pedals at 5.5″ (called the Q-factor) versus 5.25″ on the CNOC. The more space between the pedals, the more kids have the splay their legs to pedal. At 5.5″, the Romper is in the narrower range for Q-factor, making it a great fit most kids.
In summary, the Romper is an amazing bike starter bike for preschoolers ready to ride! While not ideal for petite or really timid riders (the CNOC or WOOM2 would be a better option), its larger frame and higher handlebars allow for more room for growth for taller or larger framed kids. The ByK, however, is much smaller and is a better fit for kids in 3T, maybe even some a tall 2T.
For kids with an inseam of at least 19″, the Pello 16″ Revo would also be worth considering. With the saddle in its lowest position, our four year-old tester had no problems riding the Revo. Larger, heavier and more bike to handle, he preferred the smaller Romper on most rides, but excelled on the Revo during downhill technical rides. For aggressive or experienced riders, the 16″ Revo would be worth considering, but for a first bike, the Romper would be a better choice.
Bottom Line: The Pello Romper is an ideal first ride for eager preschoolers ready to ride! With knobby Kenda tires, the Romper is ideal for all-terrain riding, but the added weight of the tires may be limiting for timid riders. For smaller riders, be sure to request the smaller seat post (free of charge) by emailing Pello at [email protected] get the minimum seat height down to 18.5″.
Availability: Pello Bikes are currently only available via their website, www.pellobikes.com.
FTC Disclosure: Pello Bikes provided a demo bike to facilitate this review. No monetary compensation was provided for this review and Two Wheeling Tots LLC is not an affiliate of Pello Bikes.