What We Would Ride
With a larger frame and tire (14") than the Scoot, the Scoot XL is perfect for taller kids too big for a 12" but not yet able to manage a 16" bike.
Seat Height: 16" - 22"
Weight: 12.5 lb.
Brakes: Hand Brake
Tire Size: 14"
Grips Bumper: Yes
Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy
Not to big, not too small, the Ridgeback Scoot XL is the perfect bike for older preschoolers or grade schoolers who have yet to learn how to ride a pedal bike. The Scoot XL is geared towards kids aged 4 to 8 who have no biking experience at all, who have only used training wheels (and can’t get rid of them), or who have outgrown their small balance bike but don’t yet have the desire or confidence to move up to a pedal bike.
The Scoot XL 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.
Larger Balance Bikes: The Purpose
Larger balance bikes, such as the Scoot XL, are designed for older/taller kids who have yet to master a pedal bike without training wheels. While the majority of 4 to 8 year-old’s have the skill level to transition from a balance bike to a pedal bike or the confidence to finally remove the training wheels, some kids do not. The Scoot XL is the perfect solution for kids stuck in the transition gap. The Scoot XL is typically a child’s first balance bike, but can also be an upgrade for taller preschoolers with a smaller balance bike who are not yet ready to transition to a pedal bike.
Another option for kids having difficulty transitioning to a pedal bike is to remove the pedals from a bike and have the child use the bike as a balance bike. While this method typically works just fine for athletic and/or eager riders, it is not a feasible or fun solution for many kids. Pedal bikes typically weigh at least double the weight of a balance bike, making them much harder to balance and maneuver. In addition, by the time kids are ready to add the pedals back on the bike, they are often too big for the bike or quickly outgrow it.
Lastly, even for kids who have already mastered a pedal bike, they typically return back to their balance bikes from time to time. Pedal bikes are fast, but they are very challenging for young riders on jumps, curbs and on winding dirt trails with uneven surfaces, all areas where balance bikes excel.
Scoot XL Size
With a 14″ wheel, the Scoot XL is perfectly proportioned for kids who are too tall for a 12″ bike yet too short to handle the longer reach required by a 16″ wheeled balance bike or pedal bike with training wheels. For young kids learning how to glide on a balance bike, the sizing of a bike can greatly increase or decrease their rate of their progress. Too small and they can’t properly lean in to gain speed or balance, too big and they can easily get overwhelmed because large bikes are hard to steer as their handlebars are often too high. As one of few 14″ balance bikes, the Scoot XL provides plenty of room for growth for preschoolers in at least 4T clothes without being too big. For some hesitant preschoolers in 4T, the smaller and lighter Scoot may be better.
4-Year-Old in Size 4T Fits Best on a 14″ Balance Bike vs. a 12″ or 16″
Frame and Seat Height
While other brands that offer a 14″ balance bike simply put a larger tire on a frame designed for a 12″ bike, the Scoot XL frame is actually larger than the Scoot, as it is designed to fit an older child. Like the Scoot, the Scoot XL’s frame is built with sturdy 6061 aluminum alloy and is strong enough to hold an adult! The larger, taller frame of the Scoot XL better compensates for longer inseams and a seat range of 16″ to 22″. Our tall 6-year-old in size 7 clothes had no problems comfortably riding on the Scoot XL. The handlebar height on the Scoot XL is also adjustable.
Tire and Frame Size Difference Between Scoot and Scoot XL
To put the XL’s sizing claims to the test, we had two kids on both ends of the Scoot XL’s size range – a 6-year-old tester in size 7 clothes and a 4-year-old in size 4T clothes – take the bike out for a ride. Both were able to handle the bike beautifully without any complaints. For kids in 3T whose parents expect them to grow quickly, the Scoot XL is still slightly too big (the handlebars are too high), but is manageable for really athletic kids.
The Scoot XL is a Perfect Fit For Kids Aged 4 to 8
Riding through snow, mud, and dirt, the knobby tires on the XL easily maneuver over hills and jumps. In addition to performance, the knobby tires on aluminum rims provide an older, more mature look to the bike that both of our testers appreciated.
Brakes and Grip Bumpers
The internally-routed brake cable, easy-pull hand brake, and soft rubber grips with thick protective bumpers add additional appeal to the bike for both parent and child. Unlike previous years, the 2017 Scoot XL model has the rear brake lever mounted on the right-hand grip side versus the left-hand grip. In the US, rear brake levers on pedal bikes are mounted on the right side, while the front brake levers are mounted to the left side. With the brake mounted on the right side on a balance bike, kids instinctively learn to brake mainly with their rear brake, versus mainly their front brake which could cause them to crash.
Scoot XL’s Easy-Reach Brake Components
The Scoot XL is the perfect balance bike for taller preschoolers or grade schoolers who have not yet transitioned to a pedal bike. With very few 14″ balance bikes on the market, the Scoot XL is the perfect balance bike for kids stuck in the transition gap between a small balance bike and a pedal bike. With a minimum seat height of 16″ and a max of 22″, the Scoot XL is sure to be a success with kids in size 4T to 8 clothes.
By: Natalie Martins
Last Updated: February 5, 2017
FTC Disclosure: No monetary compensation was provided for this review. For many, but not all reviews, products are provided by the manufacturer or distributor to help facilitate the review. All opinions and images are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC and should not be used or replicated in any way. Two Wheeling Tots LLC is an affiliate of Amazon.com, Backcountry.com, Chain Reaction Cycles.com, Cruzee.com, REI.com, bikeshophub.com, prioritybicycles.com, guardianbikes.com, us.woom.com and weebikeshop.com.