Early Rider Trail Runner 14″

Balance Bike Review

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Built with a hand-brushed, lacquered aluminum frame and a faux-leather riveted saddle, the Trail Runner is a beauty on wheels. With knobby air tires, it's also a dream for trail riding.

View on REI.com

Product Specifications

MSRP: $230

Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Seat Height: 14.8" - 18.7"

Weight: 8 lb.

Brakes: No Brakes

Footrest: No

Limiter: Yes

Tire Size: 14"

Grips Bumper: Yes

Bolts: Rounded

Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy


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.

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.

alley runner feature

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.

Early Rider 430x340

The 12″ Alley Runner.

alley runner other

 As expected, our testers loved the Alley Runner.  Claiming it looked like an airplane, one testers 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.

alley runner sizes

Compared to other bikes in its price range, the Alley Runner has a lot to offer.  Bigger than the Rothan and lighter than the Ridgeback, 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.

Alley Runner comparision2

While quick and light, one down side 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.

alley runner handlebars

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.

Other Models:  The Trail Runner is now available in 3 models. The Trail Runner (shown in this review), the Trail Runner XL with fat (extra wide tires) and the Road Runner 14″  with dropped handlebars.

alley runner model


MSRP: $230

By: Natalie Martins

Last Updated: January 2, 2017

FTC Disclosure: Two Wheeling Tots did receive an Alley Runner 14" model from TikesBikes to help facilitate this review.  No monetary compensation was provided for this review.  Upon completion of our reviews, all products received by Two Wheeling Tots are donated to organizations or individuals.  Two Wheeling Tots in an affiliate at TikesBikes as well as many other balance bikes retailers.