Balance bikes help kids off all ages learn to ride. It is never too late to ride a balance bike, but for older, and especially timid riders, a larger bike often means a heavier bike. Tall enough to hold an 8-year-old, yet weighing a mere 9.9 lb., the Dimensions 14 from Ridgeback, is the perfect balance of weight and size. Ridgeback Scoot XL high-end brother, the Dimensions 14 is the same frame design, but with extra cushioning tires, a threadless headset and a lighter, more nimble frame construction. All in all, the Dimensions is hands down, the best balance bike we’ve tested for kids in at least 4T clothes.
All too often small balance bikes with extra-long seat post are touted as being suitable for older kids. Addressing height, but not stability or width, in reality, longer seat posts on small frames decrease the overall stability and maneuverability of a bike. In a rare move in the balance bike world, the Dimensions line actually has two different frame sizes to provide for the ultimate ride for kids from ages 3 and up. The frame of the Dimensions 14 is taller and longer than the frame for their 12″ bike, making it more suitable and stable for older riders.
Taller kids often have larger frames and also need wider handlebars. In conjunction with a long wheelbase, the wide handlebars of Dimensions’ creates a more stable base for its riders. The signature Ridgeback upholstered saddle, small-reach brake levers, thick protective grip bumpers and a threadless headset perfect the Dimensions from top to bottom. The Dimensions also comes accented with gold, green, blue, red or orange brake barrels and seat post clamp.
To complete a smooth ride, the Dimensions 14 is grounded by Schwalbe Big Apple tires. Thicker and wider than the standard 14″ tire, Big Apples provide extra cushioning for riders of all abilities. Whether jumping over curbs or rolling over rocks, the tire significantly cushions the bumps and vibrations experienced by the rider.
The result is truly an amazing ride. For our 4-year-old tester, the Dimensions was pure joy on single track. Although he can ride a pedal bike, the lightweight and easy of use gave him the confidence to take on trails he dares not tackle on his pedal bike (which is lightweight as well!).
The bearings and rims on the Dimensions are also a significant upgrade than those on the Scoot XL. The rims and lighter and stronger, while the alloy hubs are sealed, preventing dust and dirt from clogging the bearings, which allow the wheels to smoother and longer as compared to the high quality, but not sealed, bearing on the Scoot XL.
Eye-catching and simply stunning, the frame of the Dimensions 14 is beautifully simple. Compared to the standard glossy finish of the Scoot, the matte aluminum finish creates a timeless, heirloom-quality finish. The two frames are actually identical in size and are both composed of 6061 aluminum alloy, but the Dimensions’ is lighter.
All in all the Dimensions is just about 2 lbs. lighter than the Scoot XL. At 9.9 lbs., it the perfect bike for timid kids who need a larger bike without a larger weight as well as single track cruisers who want a light and nimble ride. With a minimum seat height of 16″ and coming standard with an extended seat post, which raises the seat to 22″, the Dimensions is ideal for kids ages 4 and up (or those solidly in 4T clothes). Like the Scoot XL, the Dimensions does not have a maximum weight capacity and is built strong enough to hold an adult.
Bottom Line: From top to bottom, the Dimensions 14 is our top pick for kids aged 4 and up. Built on a lightweight frame and on plush Big Apple tires, the Dimensions is fully equipt for a smooth, fast ride. With 14″ tires, it provides much more room than 12″ bikes but is more manageable than 16″ tires.
Availability: The Dimension 14 is available from WeeBikeShop, Ridgeback’s US distributor, for $299. It is also available from WeeBikeShop Certified dealers whose qualifications have been carefully screened.