Our top pick for older or taller preschoolers. Taller and longer than most 12" bikes, the Scoot is easy to balance and easy to ride. Plus, with six inches of adjustable seat height, any preschooler is certain to get years of use out of the Scoot.
Seat Height: 14" - 20"
Weight: 11.2 lb
Brakes: Hand Brake
Tire Size: 12"
Grips Bumper: Yes
Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy
From its sturdy heirloom-quality frame to its highly adjustable seat height, the Ridgeback Scoot is perfectly portioned for maximum comfort and control. With a longer wheelbase and handlebars than most, the Scoot allows kids to easily gain and maintain control of the bike.
The Scoot was updated for 2017. The new models come with the brake lever on the right side (per US standards) and also come with touch-up paint for the rare scratch or chip.
Straight out of the box, the Scoot was a hit. After one ride, a four-year-old tester begged to ride the Scoot to preschool everyday while a three-year-old tester declared the bike “his” and took off across the nearest open field. Taller and longer than most balance bikes, the Scoot is one of few balance bikes designed to be a “bike” rather than a toy – it truly performs like a bike! From country trails to city sidewalks, the Scoot effortlessly tackled any terrain we threw at it.
Proportioned for older riders, the Scoot is a perfect fit for three, four and five-year-olds. It was far too big for our 18-month-old tester, but actually fit quite well for our vey tall 2.5-year-old tester who is sized more like a 3-year-old. Although that tall 2.5-year-old tester had no problems maneuvering the 12 lb. bike, the Scoot is most likely too tall and heavy for most 2-year-olds. Preschool-aged kids of various heights however, had no issues fitting on the Scoot. In fact, the Scoot is one of few balance bikes we’ve found that has comfortably fit kids aged 3 to 6-years-old.
Each Ridgeback Scoot comes with two seat posts, which allows for a full six inches of seat height adjustment, from 14″ to 22″. The seats on balance bikes are typically set 1″ to 1.5″ lower than a child’s crotch, so the Scoot is best fit for kids with at least a 15″ inseam.
In order to prevent the seat post from hitting the ground when used in its lowest position, the longer seat post should be reserved for older riders with inseams greater than 18″. Swapping out the seat post is as simple as removing one screw below the saddle and swapping the posts. To aid in quick height adjustments, the Scoots are also equipped with a quick-release seat post clamp.
Scoot Seat Features
Additional features of the saddle include a handle for easy carrying, extra-thick padding, as well as an adjustable tilt. The adjustable tile is unique to the Scoot and while the tilt is slight, it does allow beginning riders to sit more upright on the saddle and more experienced riders to lean forward to run.
Built with durable 6061 aluminum alloy, the Scoot is built to last. Strong enough to hold an adult rider, yet nimble enough for preschoolers, the Scoot’s frame is heirloom quality for passing down from one kid to the next. For added cosmetic durability, the decals are protected underneath a clear coat, and for the rare scratch or chip, a small container of touch-up paint is included.
Being larger and more durable than the standard 12″ balance bike frame, at 11 lbs. the Scoot is also heavier. As a result, to keep the bike weight less than 30% of a child’s weight, we only recommend the Scoot for kids weighing more than 33 lbs. Its wider handlebars and longer wheelbase, however, do help to better distribute the weight of the bike, making the Scoot easier to balance than many bikes lighter than 11 lbs.
Built and designed by an established bike company, the Scoot is designed for stability and maximum control. With a longer wheelbase and more upright handlebars, the Scoot provides a more comfortable and natural riding position. When learning to walk or run, kids instinctively learn to center their weight over their hips, so when learning to ride, the Scoot allows them to do the same. With their weight centered over their hips, balancing becomes more natural on the Scoot.
The longer wheelbase also provides ample space for growth. The Chicco Red Bullet, Strider and the Scoot shown below are all marketed to 2 year-olds, but only the Scoot provides plenty of room for growth.
Tires, Bolts and Bearings
To help keep your child rolling, the Scoot comes with heavy-duty, puncture resistant 12″ inflatable tires. A protective liner inside the tires prevents sharp objects from reaching the tube. Flat tires are still possible, but less likely. Even with the risk of flats, air tires are still essential for active balance bikes riders as they provide much needed cushioning and traction for trail riding or merely going down curbs. For older kids, the Scoot XL offers larger 14″ tires.
The Scoot has rounded bolts on its axles that pose a potential scratching hazard when worn. The bolts, however, are slightly set back in the frame, so the risk is minimal and none of our testers were scratched by the bolts.
Features of Scoot’s Tires
Handlebars and Grips
Another unique feature of the Scoot is its extra-wide handlebars. Four inches wider than the Strider and FirstBIKE, the additional length provides older riders with a more natural riding position and increased handling.
The brake on the Scoot is scaled to fit the youngest hands. While most kids generally do not have the hand-eye-coordination to regularly use a brake until the age of three, our 2.5-year-old tester (hand shown below) was able to use the brake without any problems. As shown on the orange bike below, the updated version of the Scoot comes with the brake on the right hand versus the left hand.
Scoot Brake Lever Now on the Right Hand Side
Turning Limiters and Footrests
To protect the brake cable from being wrapped around the frame, the Scoot technically has a “turning limiter” but it is very generous and does not limit steering in any way. Footrests are not included as they are not necessary. During our testing, we did not have a single child ask where to put their feet while riding. They naturally just lift up their feet while gliding.
Scoot vs. Scoot XL
For older kids in size 5 to 7 clothes, the Scoot’s older brother, the Scoot XL (link to our review) is a better fit as it has a slightly larger frame and has 14″ wheels versus a 12″. Eager or aggressive kids in 4T also typically do great on the Scoot XL, while more timid or lightweight kids in 4T do better on the smaller Scoot. For kids in 3T clothes, the Scoot is perfectly sized for them from day one and will provide plenty of room for growth until they are ready to transition to a pedal bike.
The Ridgeback Scoot is the perfect balance bike for preschoolers or for taller toddlers with at least a 14.5″ inseam and who can handle a heavier bike. Built to last, the Ridgeback is a great investment for growing families who are looking for a bike to hand down to younger siblings. The Scoot is also a great fit for families who have two kids of different ages ready to ride a balance bike.
By: Natalie Martins
Last Updated: December 26, 2016
FTC Disclosure: I am not affiliated with Ridgeback bikes and was given no monetary compensation for this review. I was, however, provided a bike by WeeBikeShop to help facilitate this review. All opinions given in the review are mine. I am an affiliate of Weebikeshop as well as several other balance bike retailers.