Any balance bike is better than no balance bike, but every now and then, we come across a bike that is truly exceptional. One of the few balance bikes on the market that is tested to CPSC bike and toy requirements, the Saracen Freewheel is solid from top to bottom. Tested to withstand physical stress from multiple directions (bike standards) as well as for lead and choking hazards (toy requirements), the Saracen is a real bike, not just a toy.
Built for adventurous older toddlers, the Saracen comes complete with wide handlebars, internally routed brake cables, knobby 12″ air tires and as icing on the cake, a well-loved bell. Coming in at 10.7 lb., the Saracen is about a half pound lighter than the Ridgeback Scoot (another top pick of ours for this age group) and is also slightly smaller to allow for younger/shorter/lighter riders. A fan from day one, our 4 year-old tester in 4T clothes, had no problem putting the Saracen to work. From the pavement to the pump track, the Saracen was nimble enough for quick maneuvering, yet sturdy enough to stay grounded during leaning turns (where many light balance bikes lose traction).
Saracen Freewheel in action:
Saracen’s standard knobby tread make it an excellent choice for kids who want to ride on trails as well as paved surfaces. No too knobby, the tire rides smooth on paved surfaces, but has much better grip than the standard street tires found on most balance bike, including the Scoot. Built in the same factory (but designed by different UK bike companies), the Scoot and Saracen have the same wide handlebars, grips, bell and rounded bolts.
Both bikes also have similar easy-reach, adjustable hand brakes and adjustable, easy-reach brake levers. When purchased from WeeBikeShop, both come with an upgraded seat clamp and brake lever barrel (red metal pieces on bike).
Several other differences exist between the Scoot and the Saracen. Better for younger toddlers, in at least 2T pants (but not petite – see below), the Saracen is lighter, has a lower handlebars and a lower minimum seat height. The Scoot is heavier, taller and is better suited for preschoolers in at least 3T pants. For kids in at least 5T clothes, or those kids who many need additional years of riding on a balance bike, the Ridgeback Scoot XL is a better fit.
35 lb. 4-year-old in 4T clothes on the Saracen, Scoot and Scoot XL. He was easily able to fit on all three bikes, but has the most room for growth on the Scoot XL.
With an inseam of 13.5″, out 2yo tester thoroughly enjoyed riding the Saracen, but in the end, it was too wide for her petite build. In addition to the handlebar bars being too wider than ideal, her shoes often hit the rounded rear axle bolt during her stride. For average size 2-year-old, the rear-bolts shouldn’t be a problem.
Bottom Line: The ideal bike for older toddlers, in at least 2T (but not petite), ready to roll on various terrains. With wide handlebars, easy-reach levers and knobby 12″ tires all wrapped up into 10.7 lb., the Freewheel is well equip to tackle the never-changing, adventurous world of the toddler. Bike comes with an extended seat post.
Availability: The Saracen Freewheel is available at WeeBikeShop for $179.
FTC Disclosure: All pictures and statements provided belong to Two Wheeling Tots LLC. No monetary compensation was provided for this review, however a bike was provided by WeeBikeShop, whom we are an affiliate of, to help facilitate this review.