Cruzee Ultralite Air
Pros & Cons
- The lightest weight balance bike with air tires on the market!
- Cushioning air tires on sealed, fast bearings
- Narrower handlebars make it great for younger or petite riders
- Rounded frame edges and flat axle bolts to protect hands, arms, and legs from injury
- 4" of height adjustment on the handlebars
- Anodized aluminum scratches easily
- No handbrake
**The Cruzee Ultralite Air is no longer available**
Lightweight and nimble, the Cruzee Ultralite Air is an amazing balance bike for kids aged 18 months to 4 years. Perfectly simple, the Ultralite Air weighs just under 5 pounds and comes with cushioning air tires that smoothly and effortlessly roll along sealed bearings in a high-end hub. With a seat height ranging from 11″ to 19″, the Ultralite Air is an ideal fit for kids in size 24-months to 4T clothes.
Size and Weight
The Ultralite Air is highly adjustable and comes with two seat posts to allow the seat height to range from 11″ to 19″, and the handlebars can also raise up to 4″ to accommodate taller kids. The seat post and handlebars are both adjustable via tool-free quick-release levers. Weighing only 4.9 pounds, the Ultralite Air is also half the weight of many top-selling balance bikes.
As kids’ legs grow in length, so do their torsos. Essentially all balance bikes allow the seat height to adjust, but many do not allow the handlebars to raise in height. As a result, with every increase in seat height, a child must lean forward more to reach the handlebars, placing them in a more aggressive position on the bike. To keep kids in a comfortable, upright position, the handlebars on the Cruzee can be raised up to 4″, which is especially beneficial for taller kids.
The seat height of the Cruzee ranges from 11″ to 19″. We tested out the Ultralite Air with four kids ranging from 2 to 5 whose inseams ranged from 12″ to 20″. The Cruzee was easily adjustable to fit three of our testers, but while rideable, was too small for our 5-year-old tester in size 5 clothes with a 20″ inseam. Our shorter 5-year-old tester with an 18″ inseam fit just fine on the Cruzee but had little room for growth. As a result, to get the maximum use out of the Cruzee, we recommend purchasing it for kids in size 24-months to 3T clothes with inseams ranging from 12″ to 16″. Kids in 4T pants do fit on the bike, but will quickly outgrow it.
Weighing a mere 4.9 pounds, the weight of the Ultralite Air is its main differentiating factor compared to other balance bikes. The similarly priced WOOM1 weighs 7.9 pounds while the Yedoo Too Too weighs 8.2 pounds. For really petite or timid kids, a 3 lb. difference in weight can be substantial. For a small 25 lb. 2-year-old, the Cruzee weighs a little over 19% of their body weight while the WOOM1 weighs just over 31%.
The Cruzee’s lightweight frame allows kids to easily pick up the bike to begin riding and requires less effort to start moving. For our petite and timid riders, the benefits of an ultra-lightweight frame were very clear. Both our 24-month-old tester and our smaller 5-year-old tester refused to ride any other balance bike we offered as they were turned off by their additional weight. Once they tilted up the other bikes, they quickly put them back down and walked back to the Cruzee.
On the other hand, for our older 5-year-old tester, the Cruzee was almost too light. Admittedly, the Cruzee was too small for him, but the lighter weight bike made him hesitant to throw his weight around when taking fast turns or going down curbs. For him, the heavier bikes seemed to ground him more and give him more confidence to challenge himself. As a result, for really aggressive riders or those in the higher percentiles for weight, we believe a slightly heavier bike may be more beneficial. For most kids, however, the benefits of riding of riding a lighter bike outweigh the cons.
Tires, Sealed Bearings, and Bolts
The Cruzee Ultralite Air comes with air tires on metal rims, with sealed bearing hubs mounted with flat, scratch-proof bolts. The only differences between the Cruzee Ultralite (the standard model) and the Cruzee Ultralite Air are its air tires on metal rims (vs. foam tires on plastic rims) and its high-performance hubs.
Tires: The Ultralite Air’s cushioning tires help to eliminate the bumps and jolts felt by kids while riding. A solid foam tire absorbs very little impact while an air tire compresses and absorbs a good portion of the impact which creates a smoother ride for the child. The rubber on the air tires also provides more traction on all-terrain surfaces.
Sealed Bearing Hubs: The high-end hubs on the air model are also a significant upgrade as they roll smoother and faster than the hubs on the standard model with foam tires. Sealed bearings within the hubs mean that sand and dirt cannot enter the bearing which would create friction and slow down the wheels.
Bolts: All Cruzee models come with flat axle bolts that prevent small legs from getting scratched. Most axle bolts stick out up to 0.5″ which can often interfere with a child’s stride, causing them to scratch their legs or ankles on the bolts. Cruzee’s bolts are flush with the frame, eliminating the possibility of legs coming into contact with them.
Quick-release clamps: Focusing on simplicity, the Cruzee’s high-quality, quick-release clamps are easy to adjust and when adequately tightened, keep the seat and handlebar heights securely in place.
Anodized aluminum frame: Cruzee’s aluminum frame is rustproof and provides a shiny metallic finish to the bike. All colors of Cruzees, except for white, are NOT painted, but the top layer of aluminum is anodized to create the shiny bright colors. Unfortunately, this finish easily scratches. To prevent scratches on the most vulnerable rear portion of the frame, Cruzees come with a thick protective plastic sticker, but with time or heavy use, the sticker eventually wears away. Even with scratching, however, Cruzees will never rust.
Saddle: The seat of the Cruzee is very well padded to provide additional cushioning for kids.
Footrest: The small footrest, large enough for a child’s heel, is integrated into the frame at the base of the seat post.
NO handbrake: Our younger testers had no concern over the lack of a handbrake. Most kids don’t have the hand/eye coordination to use a handbrake until they are at least 2.5 years old, so they are unnecessary until that point. Once a child is old enough to use a hand brake, brakes are very useful and can certainly help prevent crashes and prevent shoes from quickly wearing out.
Like any balance bike without a handbrake, the average child rider should not have a problem using their feet to stop, but we would advise parents to be extra vigilant with their kids riding the Cruzee around hills or anywhere they could quickly gain speed. While this is true with ANY balance bike, the fast hubs of the Cruzee do allow kids to gain speed more quickly than other balance bikes.
Compared to similarly priced bikes, the Cruzee Ultralite Air is significantly lighter and offers more adjustability in the seat and handlebar heights. Excelling in ease-of-use and simplicity, the Ultralite Air is truly exceptional for young or timid riders. Everyday average riders will also enjoy the Cruzee. For more aggressive riders, we believe the handbrake and additional weight of the WOOM1 and the Too Too to be a better fit for their riding style.
Perfectly simple, the Cruzee Ultralite Air is an amazing bike for ages 18-months to 4 years. Its lightweight construction makes it especially ideal for petite, timid, or hesitant riders. With cushioning air tires and fast spinning metal wheels, the Ultralite Air was well-loved by parents and our testers alike. The lack of handbrake, however, makes it less ideal for really ambitious riders.