The Chillafish BMXie is a cute and sporty little balance bike that is sure to put a smile on your toddler’s face. Kids will love the “big kid” styling while parents will appreciate the Rubberskin tires that will NEVER go flat! Due to the wider width of the bike along the rear axle, we don’t recommend the bike for kids with smaller frames. Often called the Costco balance bike because it’s sold there every Holiday season, check out our review below to see if it’s worth the money!
Chillafish BMXie Review
RATING: Highly Recommended
BEST FOR: Kids in size 2T to 4T clothes
SEAT HEIGHT: 12.25 – 15.25″
WEIGHT: 8.5 lb.
TIRES: Rubberskin (rubber covered foam)
- Puncture-proof Rubberskin tires
- Excellent durability
- Easy to adjust seat height
- Removable footrest (on BMXie model, not BMXie2)
- Available in many different color combinations
- Incredibly easy to assemble
- No handbrake
- Seat height limited to 3 settings with just 3″ of growth
- Wide rear axle on bike can interfere with child’s stride
- Saddle is not padded
- Integrated footbrake and footrest can confuse young riders
Chillafish BMXie Balance Bike Full Review – Results of Our Test Rides
“Whoa, that’s a cool bike, can I ride it?” With a cool, sporty look that is available in a wide variety of colors and designs, the Chillafish BMXie is fun little balance bike that is great for toddlers. With unique puncture-proof Rubberskin tires that have more traction that foam tires, but without the hassle of air tires, the BMXie is a great choice for those who want a maintenance-free bike. It’s also quite familiar to many parents who see this balance bike at Costco every Christmas.
Like all bikes, however, it’s certainly not suitable for everyone. And just because it’s sold at Costco doesn’t mean it’s perfect. 🙂 Given the BMXie’s wider frame and limited seat height, we found the Chillafish to be best for kids with average to larger size frames and in at least size 2T pants.
This Chillafish balance bike is a medium-size balance bike and is a best fit for kids in at least 2T pants. The seat height of the BMXie can be adjusted to one of three set seat heights that range from 12.25″ at its lowest setting at 15.25″ at its highest setting. Due to the unique seat adjust system of the BMXie, the seat heights cannot be set outside of these three settings.
The seat height of the Chillafish BMXie is adjusted by unscrewing the seat post knob located on the seat post. Unscrewing the knob isn’t as fast as a standard quick-adjust seat post adjuster, but it is tool-free so the seat can be adjusted on the go. Once loosened, simply pull the seat up until you reach the set heights located on the seat post and then screw the adjuster back into locking position. Really easy!
In addition to the Chillafish BMXie’s sporty and fun styling, our favorite feature is the unique puncture-proof Rubberskin tires. Most puncture-proof tires are made of solid foam, so while they will never go flat, they don’t provide nearly the traction as standard air tires.
Chillafish’s Rubberskin tires have a solid foam core but have an outer rubber layer to ensure great traction! Like advertised, we found the Rubberskin tires did provide much more traction than foam tires, but they like foam tires, they don’t offer any cushioning like air tires.
A clever feature of the original Chillafish BMXie balance bike is its removable footrest. When in use, the footrest easily screws into place at the base at the seat post. For experienced riders, the footrest is large enough to easily rest their feet on, yet small enough to not interfere with their stride.
For beginning riders, however, footrests can often be problematic as they can hit the back of the child’s leg while they are walking the bike. Chillafish’s solution is simple. The footrest can be unscrewed (no tools needed) and then reattached to the bottom on the bike’s frame just below the “Chillafish” name for quick and easy storing. You can see the red footrest in its storage position in the two collage pictures in the sizing section above.
The newer Chillafish’s BMXie 2 has a footbrake integrated into the footrest. (Both models are still available.) We love brakes on balance bikes. In addition to helping kids stop faster and safer, they also save their shoes from being quickly worn down!
While cool in theory, this integrated design can actually be confusing for kids. If a child rests their feet on the rear portion of the footrest, it simply acts as a footrest. But if a child rests their feet on the front portion, the brake activates. Many children can’t make this placement distinction, and once they try to use the footrest and stop the bike instead, they no longer try to use it.
Additionally, relying on a footbrake instead of a handbrake can be problematic for toddlers. When using a handbrake, kids instinctively have their feet out and ready to catch themselves when they come to a stop. With a footbrake, kids’ feet are busy breaking, so they aren’t in a prime position to stabilize themselves as they slow to a stop.
In the end, it’s probably better if your child just doesn’t use the footrest or footbrake. Problem solved!
Saddle Not Padded
The saddle of the Chillafish balance bikes are covered in a rubber like material which helps keep little bums from sliding out of place. But unfortunately, the don’t have any padding at all. For riders in diapers (like our 2 year old tester), this won’t be an issue. However, the seat is pretty hard if you don’t have a diaper to act as cushioning.
Concerns with Frame Design
Our one major concern with the Chillafish balance bike is its wide rear frame, particularly around the rear axle. Unlike other balance bikes on which the rear axles are as narrow as possible, the frame of the BMXie sticks out about two inches past the wheels on both sides of the bike. As a result, our testers often hit their foot and even ankles on the frame as they rode the bike, which often lead to an unpleasant experience.
Since the frame width was certainly much more of a problem for our testers with narrower frames, we don’t recommend the bike for petite riders.
Fun, sporty, and built with some of our favorite puncture-proof tires on the market, the Chillafish BMXie is a stylish and maintenance-free balance bike for everyday neighborhood riders in at least 2T pants. Due to its wider frame, however, the BMIXie is best for kids with larger or wider frames. If you come across this balance bike at Costco, check out a few of our favorite balance bikes before you make that final decision.