Ridgeback Scoot

Balance Bike Review

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.

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Product Specifications

MSRP: $199

Recommendation: Exceptional

Seat Height: 14" - 20"

Weight: 11.2 lb

Brakes: Hand Brake

Footrest: No

Limiter: No

Tire Size: 12"

Grips Bumper: Yes

Bolts: Exposed

Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy

Review

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.

2017 Updates

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.

Performance

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.

Collage of three kids riding the Ridgeback Scoot over varied terrain - dirt trails in the snow, sidewalk, and grassy terrain.

Size

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.

Collage showing 4 kids of different sizes on Ridgeback Scoot. 32" tall 18-month-old, 41" tall 2.5-year-old, 43" tall 3-year-old and 45" tall 4.5-year old.

Seat Height

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

Collage showing images saddle features of Ridgeback Scoot: soft, padded leatherette seat, two seat posts included, and handle on back of seat for easy carrying.

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.

Frame

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.

Geometry

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

Close up shot of the Scoot's heavy duty, puncture resistant air tires, Scoot's exposed bolts that wear with time, and a side-by-side comparison of the Scoot with 12" tires and the Scoot XL with 14" 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 Scoot has much wider handlebars than the Strider and most other balance bikes. The longer handlebar allow for room for growth and also better control of the balance bike.

Brakes

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

Close-up shots of Scoot's easy-reach brake lever, now on the right side (vs left on older models)

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.

Bottom Line

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.

MSRP: $199

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.

  • Rachel Dozorec

    My daughter is 3.25 years old. She is tall for her age and wears a 4T/5T pant; weighs 42 lbs. I’m looking to buy a first bike for her. She doesn’t have any previous experience riding balance bikes. There is snow for almost half of the year where we live, so I wouldn’t want to buy something she would outgrow quickly.

    Would this Scoot be the best option? If so, are there any other comparable options? Or do you have any other suggestions for a tall, first time rider? Thanks!

    • Wow, she is tall! If she is has a long torso and is also athletically inclined or eager to learn, then the Scoot XL might be a good choice for her, if not, then I would go with the Scoot. As for other bikes, for tall kids, the Scoot is my favorite as its wide handlebars and longer wheelbase helps to counter balance the height and weight of tall kids.

  • sHandke

    I cannot decide between this and the LIKEaBIKE jumper. We already have a wooden LIKEaBIKE and LOVE it. So we may be a bit biased. Anyway, I’m looking for another bike that’s good for trails and maybe some crazy kid jumping activities. My almost three-year old is a bit of a dare devil, and I’m thinking we need something just for him. We’re very happy with the wooden LIKEaBIKE, but I want him to be able to “keep up with big brother” on the trails (which he currently has no problems with unless his sibling is riding his pedal bike).

    • If you are mainly riding downhills and jumps, I would go with the Jumper. If he will be cruising uphill or on flat distances for a considerable distances, I would go with the Scoot. The shock on the Jumper is awesome, but we found that even when set to it’s lowest setting, the shock is a real disadvantage when running.

  • katherine chun

    I have a 4 year old son who wears a 5T and has no experience with a balance bike. It seems like the Scoot XL would be ideal for him but I have a (almost) 2 year old daughter that I want to pass this down to. Do you think the regular scoot with work for him?

    • If you expect him to transition to a pedal bike sooner, rather than later, then the Scoot will work for him, but I doubt it will probably be too small for him next year. If you think he will need more time, then I would go with the REI Zipper for him and then get a separate smaller bike for your 2yo (who is old enough to start riding herself :)).

  • Bryan

    My 3 year old in 4T just got his Scoot and it’s a perfect bike for him. He went from awkward on an old wooden balance bike that he was scared of to not getting off his Scoot for any reason all day long.

    • Awesome, thanks for sharing. Many people don’t believe me that one balance bike can be so much different than other, but as you have witnessed, there can be a huge difference! Glad your son it loving it 🙂

  • thechunger

    My son turns 4 in a month, is 40″ tall, 16″ inseam, 35 pounds. Based on your “exceptional” rating for 3.5 year-olds and 4 year-olds, I’m debating between the Scoot and Scoot XL. This would be his first experience with a two-wheeler, and though he gets around pretty well on a trike, I’d say he’s more on the “cautious” side.

    Based on your detailed descriptions and sizing information, I’m thinking the standard Scoot would probably be perfect for him initially… but of course I’d hate to see him outgrow it quickly.

    Basically, I think he’s in-between the Scoot and Scoot XL right now. Can you offer any suggestions as to which I should go with? My hunch is that he’ll probably gain more from having the smaller bike initially, but in the long run perhaps the trade-off is worth it? Ugh!

    (Your site is amazing, btw! This is my first experience with purchasing a balance bike, but with your help I know I’m making an informed decision! I wish I had discovered it before we purchased a pedal bike with training wheels for my daughter 3 years ago.)

    • Thanks, I’m glad to help 🙂 I agree, that he is in between sizes. He will fit on the XL, but it is going to be a little big for him as the handlebars will be higher than they should be. Since he is on the cautious side and you don’t want him to be turned off the bike (especially at the beginning of the season), I would go for the regular Scoot.

      • thechunger

        Makes sense… was leaning towards the regular-sized Scoot. Thanks again!

  • Kathryn

    Help! My daughter will be three in August and I’m debating between the Scoot and the Yedoo too too. She is 38″ tall, 16″ inseam, and 32 pounds. She doesn’t “get” her tricycle but she does great on her scooter. Which bike do you think is best for her size? Of course it has to be pink!!

    • I would go with the Scoot as it’s wider handlebars and wheelbase will help her feel more comfortable on the bike. The handlebars of the Too Too are also much lower (to accommodate younger riders). As a comparison, below is a picture of my son on the new Too Too (the final review is not yet done), and you can compare that to picture of him on the Scoot above. These pictures were taken six months apart, so he is slightly bigger now, but not much.

  • Yuli

    Your website is amazing! Thank you for all the comparisons and detailed descriptions/information.

    My son is 28 months, 37″ tall, 14″ inseam, and 30 pounds. By considering his age and size, I am debating among Firstbike, Yedoo too too, and Scoot. I am wondering if you can help me to decide which one would be the best fit for my son.

    • I would go with the Too Too. With a 30 lb. inseam, the Scoot is going to be a little too big and the rigid frame of the Too Too will be better in the long run.

  • Sava

    If this bike is th correct size for my sons age and height etc. just turned three 34 pds, 37 inches but he is clumsy would u get this bike. I do not want to wait till the end of the summer for the Saracen. Any other options?

  • Sava

    Also r people still buying this bike it seems to on,y have comments from two years ago