Popular on Amazon, the Chicco Red Bullet balance bike is a sure pass. Read the review below to find out why we disagree with those Amazon stars.
Chicco Red Bullet
RATING: Not Recommended
SEAT HEIGHT: 12.75″ – 14.75″
WEIGHT: 6 lb.
TIRE TYPE: Foam
- VERY small compared to the average balance bike
- Upright handlebars prevent kids from leaning in far enough to be able to run fast
- Only 2″ of seat height range, minimum growth
- Small 10″ foam wheels
- The seat requires a wrench to raise or lower it (this is highly uncommon)
Chicco Red Bullet Balance Bike Review: Results of our Test Rides
If you’re gifted the Chicco Red Bullet balance bike, it will work fine, and you should be grateful to have received a free balance bike. However, if you’re considering buying one… don’t. For its price, there are just too many better alternatives to consider instead.
Here are a few reasons why the Red Bullet is inconvenient for both parents and kids:
- It has only 2″ of seat height range, which offers minimum room for growth
- Small foam wheels make the ride bumpier
- The swooping handlebars are awkwardly high. Along with a short wheelbase, there’s little room for young ones to maneuver the bike comfortably
- The seat requires a wrench to raise or lower it (this is highly uncommon).
If you’re looking for a great balance bike that’s under $70 like the Red Bullet, take a look instead at the Swagtron K3 ($59) or the Radio Flyer Glide & Go ($69), both of which feature air tires and have considerably better components and designs.
“But the Chicco Red Bullet has 4.5 stars on Amazon and over 600 reviews”, you say! We know. So if you need more convincing from parents that have personally used, test, and reviewed over 30 different balance bikes, read on for our full review!
The Chicco Red Bullet is a very small balance bike. But while its frame is small, its seat height is actually the same or taller than other, much larger balance bikes. This small frame paired with a higher seat height makes for an awkward combination. Kids tall enough to ride the Chicco are generally cramped on its small frame.
Additionally, with only 2″ of seat height adjustment (from 12.75″ – 14.75″), it offers less room for growth than almost any other balance bike. For example, the popular Banana Bike GT has a seat height range of 12.5 – 17″. That’s 4.5″ of range, compared to the Chicco Red Bullet’s 2″.
Chicco Red Bullet vs. Banana Bike GT
Perhaps the biggest flaw in the Chicco Red Bullet’s sizing is that its wheelbase is very short. The wheelbase is the distance between the center axle of the bike’s wheels. A longer wheelbase (within reason), makes a bike easier to balance, and also provides a comfortable amount of room for a child to lean forward and run.
The Red Bullet’s wheelbase is just 18″, while the Banana Bike GT’s wheelbase is 22.5″. That’s 4.5″ shorter!
Additionally, as you can see below, the tires on the Red Bullet are much smaller (10″) than most every other balance bike (12″). Smaller tires mean a more bumpy ride and that the bike can’t clear obstacles as easily.
Larger wheels are used on bikes for leverage over obstacles (from simple cracks in the sidewalks to curbs and large rocks). On kids’ bikes, larger tires allow for greater clearance and proper geometry. (The increased vertical space extends a child’s reach and decreases their center of gravity).
In addition to its small size, the geometry of the Chicco Red Bullet is also vastly different than other balance bikes in its price range. The handlebars of the Chicco Red Bullet balance bike are high, and swoop back towards the rider. They are also centered more forward on the front wheel.
You can see this difference in the image below, where the Chicco Red Bullet is compared to the very popular (and usually cheaper) Radio Flyer balance bike.
This design forces riders into an unnatural, upright position on the Red Bullet, with their arms bent at a 90 degree angle in front of them. This results in very limited room in the cockpit of the bike. As expected, the poor geometry of the Red Bullet was an issue as our testers found the bike more difficult to handle and more twitchy as compared to other balance bikes they have tested.
To be clear, a toddler can ride the Chicco Red Bullet. It’s just not as easy to ride as other bikes. And because there are other cheap bikes that are significantly better and easier to ride, there really is no reason to choose the Red Bullet.
Like many budget balance bikes, the Chicco Red Bullet features foam tires (vs air). Like all foam tires (even those on the $100 Strider), they are more prone to losing traction on off-road surfaces as compared to air tires.
As mentioned above, the biggest issue with the Red Bullet’s foam tires is that they are only 10″, while most balance bikes have slightly larger 12″ tires. Several budget-friendly balance bikes with 12″ air tires can easily be found on Amazon, like the Swagtron K3, the Banana Bike GT, and the Radio Flyer Glide & Go.
Seat Post Adjustment
Most balance bikes have seat posts that are pretty easy to adjust. Even budget balance bikes these days often come with a quick-release clamp that makes it super fast and easy to raise or lower the saddle. For those that don’t have a quick-release clamp, they usually just require a simple Allen key. Not as convenient, but not terrible.
We were really surprised to find that the Chicco Red Bullet requires a wrench to loosen and tighten the seat post bolt. Honestly, this is a pain, and just one more reason why we really don’t recommend this balance bike.
Balance bikes take a beating. From frequent fall with beginning riders, to toddlers dragging their bikes on the ground, balance bikes will get beat up. That said, the Chicco Red Bullet balance bike’s components aren’t made to take a beating. The saddle is prone to tearing, and the rounded bolts will dent and get scratched easily.
Don’t believe the Amazon stars. The Chicco Red Bullet balance bike is not a 4.5 star bike. We don’t recommend it. For better options that are also budget-friendly, check out our 8 Best Cheap Balance Bikes List.