Early Rider Trail Runner 14″
Built with a hand-brushed, lacquered aluminum frame and high-end components, the Trail Runner is a beauty!
RATING: Highly Recommended
BEST FOR: Trail riding preschoolers who would benefit from larger, grippier tires
WEIGHT: 8 lb.
|Child's Pants Size||
Update: The Alley Runner now only refers to Early Rider’s 12″ model. Their 14″ models are now called the Trail Runner (with standard tires), the Trail Runner XL (with extra knobby, off-road tires – shown above) and the Road Runner (with drop-down bars). The model used for this review is the older version (with a slightly different frame design), but is otherwise comparable to the Trail Runner.
The Amazon listing provided is also for the WeeBikeShop Limited Edition model which includes a narrower and much wider handlebar for better grip and improved steering. The wheels have also been replaced with Crown Vee fat tires for improved riding in all-terrain conditions.
Classically modern and functionally sophisticated, the Alley Runner by Early Rider is every bike junkies’ preschool dream come true. Built with a hand-brushed and lacquered aluminum frame on high-profile air tires, the Alley Runner is a dream on wheels topped with a carbon fiber seat post and a faux-leather riveted saddle. Weighing only a mere 7.9 lb., the Alley Runner is designed to ride as good as it looks. Quick and responsive, the Alley Runner comes complete with sealed bearings, integrated threadless aluminum headset and narrow carbon fiber handlebars.
Starting at $210, and with saddle height ranging from 13.8″ (on the 12″ model) to 19.5″ (on the 14″ model), the Alley Runner/Rider is suitable for kids aged 2 to 6.
The 12″ Alley Runner.
As expected, our testers loved the Alley Runner. Claiming it looked like an airplane, one tester jumped on the bike and truly began to fly. Even our youngest two-year-old tester, who was to short for the bike, couldn’t resist its metallic charm and happily walked the bike around the neighborhood on his tippy toes. In the end, our testers in clothing sizes ranging from 4T to 7, all fit comfortably on the Alley Runner. Just shy of the 14.7″ minimum inseam of the Alley Runner 14″, the 12″ tire option would have been a better fit for our two-year-old tester in 2T clothing.
Compared to other bikes in its price range, the Alley Runner has a lot to offer. Bigger than the Islabikes Rothan and lighter than the Ridgeback Scoot, the Alley Runner is one of the lightest bike on the market for older preschoolers. Is it also the only larger balance bike to have rounded and recessed bolts to prevent scratches on legs. While quick and light, one downside of the Alley Runner is a lack of a brake.
While our testers had no issues stopping the bike, it certainly took a toll on their shoes. Furthermore, some of our older testers were not as comfortable on the Alley Runner due to its narrow handlebars. Five inches shorter than the Ridgeback Scoot, the narrow fit caused our larger-framed riders to experience super sensitive, “twitchy” steering as compared to bikes with wider handlebars. **This is not the case for the WeeBikeShop Limited Edition (linked to above) which has a wider and narrower handlebar.
Bottom Line: The picture below says it all, performs like a champ and photographs like a queen. Perfect for any true bike enthusiast, the Alley Runner is sure to get you and your preschooler out the door as often as possible. Due to the narrow handlebars, the Alley Runner is not recommended for larger-framed kids.