Stampede Charger 12″

Balance Bike Review

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Best Bang for your Buck

A high-quality, budget-friendly balance bike for kids who weigh more than 30 lbs.

View on Amazon

Product Specifications

MSRP: $110

Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Seat Height: 12.5" - 17.5"

Weight: 11 lb.

Brakes: Hand Brake

Footrest: No

Limiter: Yes

Tire Size: 12"

Grips Bumper: Yes

Bolts: Exposed

Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy

Review

The TykesBykes “Scamper” has been renamed the “Charger 12”, but they are identical bikes.  As they are still in transition, both the “Scamper” and the “Charger 12” are shipping out, but they are the same bike.  TykesBykes has also been renamed Stampede Bikes.

Scamper award

The best bang-for-your-buck the Stampede Bikes Charger 12″ packs a lot of punch into it’s $129 MSRP price tag.  Built to last by a California based, family-owned company, the Charger 12″  is the perfect bike for ambitious toddlers ready to take on the world.  Complete with a hand brake, air tires, plenty of room for adjustment on the handlebars and seat post and backed by top-notch customer service, its hard to go wrong with the Charger 12″.  With a seat height ranging from 12.5″ to 17.5″ and weighing 11 lb., the Charger 12″  is best for toddlers ages 2.5yo (or in at least 24 months clothes) who weigh over 30 lb.

Tires & Tread

The vast majority of balance bikes come with 1.25″ wide tires, the Charger 12″  comes with 1.75″.  Providing extra traction and cushion, the Charger 12″ is one of the few lower-end bikes that is ready to roll on various terrains.  While knobby treads are best for those riding mainly dirt trails, from packed dirt trails to the pavement jungles, our 3.5 year-old tester in 3T clothes didn’t skip a beat on the Charger 12″.

Scamper dirt

Being on the lighter side (he currently weighs about 33 lb.), our tester normally prefers lighter bikes, but had no complaints about the 11 lb. Charger 12″.  The additional stability offered by its wider tires, seat and handlebars was clearly evident in his playful riding.

Scamper paved

Stability

Wider is generally more stable, especially for taller kids. One of the major differences between the Charger 12″ and other bikes is the width of and height of the its handlebars. Compared to the Yedoo Too Too and the Strider, the Charger’s handlebars are significantly wider. The wider stance makes the steering less twitchy, providing more control for the rider.  The higher position of the handlebars additionally makes the Scamper a top-pick for taller toddlers, but may not be the best pick for petite riders.

Scamper handlebar width

Compared to the Strider and the Yedoo, the Charger’s taller and wider handlebars is clearly evident with our tester.  Almost too tall for our testers, upon comparing pictures, the handlebars of the Charger should have been lowered, as shown below.
Scamper tall

For those smaller riders, the Charger’s bent handlebars can easily be adjusted up or down, as well as tilted front to back, to increase or decrease the width of the cockpit (the distance between the seat and the handlebars).  While tilting the handlebars forward can help during the learning process, it isn’t recommended for more advanced riders as it can shift the riders weight to far forward on the bike.
Scamper handlebar height

When compared side-by-side to other bikes, the Scamper’s larger wheels, low step-down frame and higher handlebars can clearly be seen.

Scamper compare

Frame & Components

One of our favorite features about the Charger is the frame.  As tough as they come, we previously had one 12″ Stampede Bikes balance bike run over by an SUV twice without the frame getting damaged or bent in anyway (besides scratches).  With an 100 lb. weight limit, these bikes are also sure to take anything than a kid can throw at them.  On top of that, their matte finish and two-toned paint looks as good as it performs.

Scamper details

Comparisons

Side-by-side, the Charger 12″ stands out in the crowd.  With the same $119 MAP (minimum advertised price, sales price is usually higher, but no lower than this) as the Strider Sport, TykesBykes’ air tires and brake make it a clear winner in it’s price range.

Scamper vs. Strider, Yedoo

While all three bikes vary in weight, saddle shape and brake design, they all come with the standard exposed rear and front axel bolts.  While rounded, the bolts can scratch the ankles of children during their strides, especially for those with narrow hips.  The wider seat of the Charger, can help prevent scratching by creating wider stance when running, but can also force smaller kids to sit further up on the seat.

Scamper bolts seat

Stampede Bikes Line Up

In addition to the Charger 12″, Stampede Bikes offers a 16″ Charger, as well as a XL package for the Charger.  All three bikes are built with the same care and concern as the Charger and are a great choice for older kids.  As a general rule (every child is different), the Charger 12″ is great for kids ages 1.5 to 4, while the Charger 16″ is better for kids aged 4 to 8.

TykesBykes sizes

Bottom Line

The Charger 12″ is a great pick, budget-friendly bike for toddlers aged 2.5 years and up or for toddlers who have a minimum inseam of 12″ and weigh more than 30 lb.

MSRP: $110

By: Natalie Martins

Last Updated: December 26, 2016

FTC Disclosure: FTC Disclosure: All opinions stated are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC.  No monetary compensation was received for this review, but TykesBykes did provide a 12" balance bike to facilitate this review.  Two Wheeling Tots LLC is not an affiliate of TykesBykes but is an affiliate of Amazon.

  • Jon

    Hello – our son is turning 3 and we are looking at a balance bike. He was 39 inches at his 30 month appt, weighing 32-35 lbs. He is tall – 90th% – for his age. Seems like he might be in between the Charger and Scamper specs. Which would you recommend? Seems like the Scamper given the handle bar height and hope he can use this to master 2 wheel biking and move into a 14-16″ pedal bike next.

    Thanks!

    • At three, I would get the Scamper as the Charger is really too much bike for a three-year-old to handle. The Scamper should provide him plenty of time before he is ready to transition to a pedal bike.

  • Malia

    Love your site! I’m looking at these for my just-turned-3 twins. On the Balance Bike shop website, there is the Scamper 12″ and then just the Tykes Bykes 12″–there’s a $10 difference in price ($119 and $109) but I’m not sure exactly the difference in the bikes. Can you advise? I can email them as well. Thanks!

    • There are a couple slight differences, but the main one is the different in the minimum seat heights. The Scamper will go down to 12.5″ while the 12″ goes down to 13″. The Scamper is also newer with different paint options.

  • Carrie Johnson

    Hi! We are trying to decide on a bike for our 3.5 year old daughter. She weighs 32 pounds, is 39 inches tall, and has a 15″ inseam. We are thinking either the Too Too or the Scamper. Would the scamper be too heavy for her? We are riding mostly in rough terrain. Thank you!

    • Being over 30 lb. the Scamper should be just fine for her. If you are riding in rough terrain, I would also be sure to look at the Scoot as the wider handlebars and longer wheelbase will be beneficial.

  • Michelle McMullen

    We got our son a Strider for his 2nd birthday. He didn’t have much interest in riding it until this summer and now he has mastered it quite well. Our driveway has a hill that he enjoys riding down and it is making me nervous since there are no brakes on the Strider. He is 34 lbs and 37 inches tall. We are debating buying a balance bike with a brake v. a 12″ pedal bike. What would you suggest at this point?

    • It really depends on him. If he is asking for a pedal bike and his inseam is at least 16″, I would for a 14″ pedal bike like the ByK 250. If he has shown interest, but is still hesitant, then you could consider buying the Strider’s footbrake, http://www.striderbikes.com/product/parts-and-apparel/brake-kit, to help buy you some time. If he has shown no interest, then I would go for another balance bike.

  • Kim

    Good morning! Thank you again and again for your informative and detailed website! My son will be four in October and has (approx) 16″ inseam (approx) 38″ tall. He wears mostly 4T clothes. Would the TykeByke Scamper be too small for him? Hopefully he goes from this to a 14″ pedal bike in a year? Thanks again 🙂

    • It will certainly fit him now, but he is on the taller side. If he has an ambitious personality and you think he will be eager to move up to a pedal bike, then the Scamper will work great for him. If he is more timid, then I would consider looking into a larger balance bike, such as the Scoot.

  • Kim

    Thanks Natalie! Also what are your thoughts on the Kundo?

    • A great bike, very lightweight with fun, wider-profile tires, but it had a longer reach than most bikes, so I wouldn’t recommend them for petite kids or those with shorter torsos.

  • Joshua Flores

    My daughter is 27 months and has about a 13″ inseam. Would you recommend the Frog Tadpole over the TykesBykes?

    • If you plan on riding mainly around town, both bikes will be great, but if you plan on riding on any non-paved surfaces, or more aggressive riding, I would go with the Frog. Hope that helps!

  • Minta Horton

    Thank you so much for all the wonderful work you have provided! Looking at the TykesBykes Scamper, the Kazam and the Muna. Our daughter is 30 months, weighs 28 lbs and has a 14.5″ inseam. She is also our third and eager to keep up with her older siblings. I’m leaning toward the Scamper … thoughts?

    • Of the three, I would go with the Scamper as I prefer its design over the Kazam and I’ve experienced better customer service with TykesBykes than I have with Muna. With a 14.5″ inseam, the Scamper will provide her plenty of room to grow.

      • Minta Horton

        Thanks so much!

  • LT

    As per you recommendation I just got my son who is 2.5 and about 34lbs the Tykesbykes Scamper. I just wanted to point out that they have renamed it the charger 12. You might want to update this webpage to reflect that because when we gave our son his bike last night for Hanukkah I was very confused. I thought Amazon had sent us the wrong bike, but I confirmed with Tykesbykes and they said that they are transitioning and some bikes say scamper and some charger. Also I had ordered a green bike and received an orange one, this was through Amazon and they gave me a $40 refund since they got the color wrong. We live overseas so sending it back was not an option. Either way my son loves it. Thanks for the recommendation!

    • Thanks for pointing that out! I knew they were in the transition, but wasn’t aware that they were shipping them out yet. Sorry to hear about getting the wrong color as well, but I’m glad they were able to give you a partial refund. TykesBykes has great customer service and I’m thrilled that you son loves it, even though the color was wrong. Happy riding!

  • Jessica

    Hi, my daughter is 3.5 and on the taller side. I’m looking at the 12″ tykebike, the muna and the too too. Do you have a recommendation? It will mostly be on paved road or hard packed dirt. Thank you for any help you can give!q

    • For taller kids, I find the wider handlebars on the TykesBykes and the Muna are slightly better. If she is under 30 lb. though, then I would go with the Too Too. Between the TykesBykes and the Muna, both of their tires will perform fine on the surfaces you mentioned, but if I had to pick between those (which are very simliar), I would go with the TykesBykes as it is designed in the US, is owned by a small family company and they have top notch customer service.

  • Melissa Harrer

    Last year we purchased the Tykesbykes 12″. Our son was 3 at the time and within 2 months on the balance bike, he wanted to try his pedal bike without the training wheels and off he went. All summer he would switch between the balance bike and the pedal bide. Really like the TykesBykes 12″ I love this website. Thank you for your time and reviews.

    • You’re welcome! I’m glad I could be of help as hearing how much kids love riding makes it all worth it 🙂

  • Tim

    Wonderful
    site and reviews—very informative and useful!
    We are going to purchase a balance bike for our oldest son’s second
    birthday. He is 34” tall and weighs 27
    lb, approx. 13” inseam, and just starting into size 2T clothes. We’d like for him to be able to use the bike
    for at least two to three years before moving on to a pedal bike and handing it
    down to his younger brother who has special needs, so bike size, weight and
    maneuverability are likely to be issues for him, too. Riding would be mostly on paved surfaces and
    packed dirt. It seems like the Yedoo Too
    Too would be a great option but the price is too high for our budget, so we’re
    looking more at Stampede Charger, Radio Flyer Glide and Go, or the Strider
    Sport. Of these, I like the Charger the most because
    of price and features, but am concerned that its weight might be too much for
    him to handle until he’s a little older.
    My concern with the Strider is the foam tires and cost to upgrade. Given his inseam, I think that the Radio
    Flyer would be too big for him right now.
    Considering those factors, which of these, or any that we haven’t
    listed, do you think would be best for our son?

    • Glad to help! I think the Charger would be a great bike for your son. At 27 lb., he should be able to handle the bike without a problem and it is tall enough to last him. For your younger son, the additional weight might be an issue. Some other bikes I would consider would be the KinderBike Laufrad (http://amzn.to/1UCy82U) and the Glide Bikes Ezee Glider (http://amzn.to/1Rx3npq). They are both slightly lighter than the Charger, but I don’t believe the quality is a good. They are still great bikes though, so considering you concerns with weight, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy either one.

  • Carin

    Hello! Our daughter will be turning two next month, and we are looking at getting a balance bike for her. She is 36″ tall and weighs just about 30lbs. I was originally thinking the Yedoo Too Too for her, but then saw this bike! She would mainly be riding on paved roads, but her both sets of grandparents live on gravel, so she would probably be doing a fair amount of “off-roading.” Do you have a recommendation for which you think would be better of these two, or others? I’m wondering if the Charger would be too heavy?

    • Both bikes would work great for her, but if she is more timid then I would go for the Too Too. If she is adventurous, then she will do fine on the Scamper. Another big difference between the two are the width of the handlebars. The Too Too’s are narrower, which can be better for kids with smaller frames, while the wider Scampers are better for kids with larger frames as well as for more adventurous riders.

  • Jessica

    I just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU for this web site! Thanks to all your research, I was able to purchase a quality balance bike, within our budget, for our 2.5 year old. (We went with the Charger 12.). It is wonderful to feel like you are buying a quality item for your child that will teach them a “life skill” as opposed to a toy that may not even get played with. THANK YOU!

    • You’re welcome. Glad I could be of help 🙂 Balance bikes are amazing and I love helping kids get started on them!

  • Stacey

    This bike was recommended to us and I just wanted to kind of double check, as I’m finally ready to buy one. My son is 21 months old and on the taller side. He is over 34″ but skinny – I don’t know his exact weight, but I’d say he is under 27lbs. He is wearing 18-24 month clothes, but some 2T stuff – mostly its his waist that keeps him in the smaller stuff. I wouldn’t say he is a timid kid, but not insanely adventurous – somewhere in the middle. This bike seems the best bang for the buck, but would hate to buy it and have it be too heavy for him. And since he will continue to be skinny, can he grow into it – or will it always be too heavy? The Woom is just too much for us and the Too Too is also a little pricey – this seems right in our range and so much better built than than the Stryder. Will the weight be an issue and should we go with a lighter bike. I really appreciate the input.

    • If he is willing to try new things, then I think he will be okay on it. If he is hesitant to try things once and is not likely to try something a second time, the I would go for a lighter bike. I believe the Charger is still an amazing bike for the price, so I would go for it, unless he expect him to get turned off by the weight. As a heads up, most kids don’t take to balance bike right away. It often takes time and a lot of practice, especially with kids his age.

  • Scot

    I got this balance bike for my 3 year old son back in May. He was getting fairly aggressive on his tricycle and really took to the new riding experience of two wheels. I was initially hesitant about skipping training wheels for a balance bike, but it was a great decision. He absolutely loved riding it and would ride it for hours on end. A couple months later and he moved on to a pedal bike (the Priority F/W) and is now loving that all thanks to learning his balance on the Charger!

    I chose this balance bike for its value and hand-brake. We have lots of nearby hills so having a brake that I knew worked and I knew he could use was very important. Out of the box, I did need to adjust the drum brake so it would grip tight. But after 5 minutes of fiddling with the screws, I haven’t had to adjust it since and it has worked perfectly. I probably adjusted it too tight because he would skid all the time and eventually I had to replace the back tire because it thinned down and the tube popped. But this was after hours and hours of riding and I would much rather replace a $10 tire than not give him a tight brake. The drum brake has been my favorite feature of a bike this size. It is just so easy for small kids to use.

    I will also say, I’m very glad to have chosen air tires rather than foam/plastic. They were very easy to replace and provide very nice grip on dirt and grass, which you’d be surprised how often kids will venture off sidewalks.

    5 stars! Love the design and value of this bike!

    • Awesome, glad to hear. Both the Priority and the Charger where built by dads who wanted to make a better ride for their kids, so you were in good company :). For the brakes, I haven’t spent a lot of time discussing the pros and cons of drum brakes versus caliper, but you made some great points. In most cases, drum brakes require much less maintenance than caliper brakes, which any parent can appreciate.

  • Nicole

    I am torn on what to get for my 3 year old. She is actually turning 3 in a week, and is on the smaller side – 28 lbs, still fitting into 2T clothes and just starting to fit into 3T. She is pretty rough and tumble though! I am trying to decide between this bike (Charger), the Cruzee, and the Yee Too Too. Other factors in the decision are being able to use it for our younger child (still a baby now but in the future), which is a nice to have but I also don’t want to pick a bike that is smaller and then my 3 yr old doesn’t get enough use out of it. I feel she will mostly use it on pavement. I am concerned this bike might be too heavy, but love the features you get for the price, so am torn! Any advice would be appreciated!

    Thank you again for your time towards this site, it is amazingly helpful!

    • Glad to help! The Charger is a great bike for the price and would fit her perfectly now. Being 28 lb., it is on the heavier side for her, but considering she is tough, I doubt it will be a problem. Bikes in the 10 – 12 lb range. are generally an issue with really timid or lightweights. For the Cruzee and the Too Too, if you like the features on the Charger, you won’t like the Cruzee as it has foam tires and no hand brake. The Too Too is smaller and lighter, but also narrower. If your kids are on the petite side the Too Too would be a better fit, if not, the Charger should fit them just fine.

  • JEssica

    Hi, I’m looking for a balance bike for my almost 2yo that she can comfortably grow into. I’ve looked over your site and am actually not sure she’d be able to use any of the air tire bikes that I was looking at. I would prefer air tires, because of the smother ride and wanted one with a break to get it as close to a bike as possible. Knowing my daughter a turn restriction, like the better bikes have them, would be great too. I measured her today and she is 34.5 to 35 inches tall, with an inseam measure of 11 inches, depending on brand she fits between 24 mo and 2T clothes right now. Which -as it seems – makes her too short/small for any of these types of bikes? I wanted to give it to her for her bday in a month, but maybe i need to have a change of plans? I have a really good offer for Joovy Bicycoo BMX, maybe I should just take that and wait until Christmas to give as a present?
    Any advise would be appreciated. Thank you so much!

    • If she is between 24 months and 2T clothes, the Joovy BicycooBMX may be too big as the minimum seat height is 14″. If she is in 2T pants, however, her inseam is probably longer than 11″. Most parents are usually short an inch or two. If you want air tires, a handbrake and a limiter, the Joovy would be a great choice, but he seat post on it is really short, so she would have limited room for growth. As long as she isn’t petite, the Charger 12 would be a great fit for her as it would fit her now, but also provides plenty of room for growth.

  • Sarah

    Okay, so I have looked at several bikes and I am still not sure which would be best! Our son will be 3 soon but he is little; 25lbs and just now going into 24mo pants. He is extremely active and adventurous and is strong for his size. We also live on a ranch, so gravel and uneven dirt roads are all we have. What would your suggestion be?

    • anon

      I’d measure his inseam in shoes, just to check. Stand him up straight a wall,
      slide a book up to his crotch, and measure from the top of the book to
      the floor. This should help guide you.

      The Charger could be a good option, if you think he could handle the weight – which it sounds like he can.

      You could also look at the FirstBike Cross model (the one with knobby tires) – 24 months pants means he should fit with the lowering kit.

      Frog says the Tadpole will fit a minimum inseam of 12in, despite it’s minimum seat height being listed here as 13.3. You could call them to ask some questions if you want. The Frog would be a great bike if your son will fit.

      If you want lightweight, you can’t go wrong with the Too Too. The Woom 1, Islabike Rothan, and Prevelo Alpha Zero are all smaller bikes, but *should* last him until he is ready to ride a pedal bike – I would consider these if you don’t have harsh winters and so can use the bike for most of the year. They are very high quality bikes.

  • Yadira

    Hi I need help making my final decision on a balancing bike for my son. He is 2yrs 5months old his inseam is 14.5″, his height is 38″ and weights 34lbs. He wears size 3T shirts; 2T pants are a bit short and
    3T a bit long. He is active and strong for his age. He will be riding mostly on pavement and sidewalks. Is the Charger 12″ a good option? or are there other bikes we should consider? The Charges is within our price range. Thank you for help!

    • anon

      If the Ridgeback Scoot is in your budget, I would consider that instead. It is a bigger bike and will last longer than the Charger will. If it is out of reach, the Charger would still be a good bike that would last him until a pedal bike most likely, especially if you have mild winters and can ride for most of the year.