The Tadpole features air tires, a responsive handbrake, and quality components on a stable, easy-to-balance frame.
RATING: Highly Recommended
BEST FOR: Rugged, yet lightweight and nimble, the Tadpole is the perfect bike for preschoolers of all levels.
SEAT HEIGHT: 13.3" – 16.5"
WEIGHT: 9.3 lb.
|Child's Pants Size||
24-months, 2T, 3T
13.3" – 16.5"
Red, Blue, Green, Pink, Orange, Purple, White, Multi
Pros & Cons
- Rugged, yet lightweight and nimble
- Padded seat and Kenda air tires for great cushioning
- Seat can be adjusted forward or backwards to accommodate torso length
- High-end Tektro brakes
- Long wheelbase for increased stability
- Only just over 3” of adjustable seat height
That smile says it all. For a kid who has a garage full of balance bikes at his disposal, he consistently chooses the Frog Tadpole. With its lightweight frame, high-end components and long wheelbase, it’s easy to see why. Whether on the dirt pump track or cruising the pavement, the Frog Tadpole balance bike delivers. No fancy over-the-top components and no cheap plastic parts, just a fine-tuned, well-thought-out and well-executed toddler’s bike.
Small for his age, our two-year-old tester, weighing in at 30 lb. and wearing size 2T clothes loves to ride, but also loves to be challenged. Having mastered balancing this summer, he quickly graduated himself to the local pump track to take on the jumps and banked turns. In his attempts to climb up every hill and cruise over every jump, the Frog came to our doorstep just in time. With its extremely well padded-seat, cushioning Kenda tires and a long wheelbase, the Tadpole quickly began to resonate with our tester. His new partner in crime, the Tadpole provided him the stability and lightweight he needed to not only take on the pump track, but tackle it with all he had. On paved surfaces, the Frog performed just as well. Whether in our neighborhood or on two-mile ride along a paved bike trail, the Tadpole was ready for action.
One of the first features of the Frog we took notice of was the thickly padded saddle. To help customize the fit, the saddle also sits on rails that allow the seat to move forward or back about one inch to accommodate kids with longer or shorter torsos. For quick adjustments while on the go, the quick-release seat post clamp is an additional perk for parents.
The handlebar grips are also above well above standard. Soft and grippy, the grips are easy on the hands and lock into place to prevent them from slipping off. The toddler-sized hand brake is also properly scaled for a two-year-old to use and activate. Coming from the UK, the rear brake lever on the Frog is actually on the left vs. the standard right in the US. The Frog does come with a second brake lever mount that would allow you to swap the brake to the right side, however, removing and reinstalling the brake and grips can be a challenge and would best be completed at a bike shop.
Built on a lightweight aluminum frame, the Frog weighs in at 9.35 lb. on our scale. While not the lightest bike on the market, considering the bike’s longer wheelbase, padded saddle and brake, it is amazingly light. Atop the bike, the Frog is finished off with a threadless headset and an aluminum four-bolt style stem. Three spacers also surround the stem, making it possible to raise and lower the handlebars (more detail provided below).
Not to skimp on quality, the Tadpole is fitted with high-end Tektro brakes, the same brand used on the top-rated Islabikes and Early Riders. New for later 2014 editions (the version available in the US), the brake mechanism has been moved above the frame to further protect small legs from coming in contact with the brake during strides. As shown in the picture below, the brake mechanism does stick out far enough to for baggy pants or shorts to rub against it, but not enough to be of concern.
The front and rear axle bolts on the Frog are not recessed but do have rounded caps. With time the rounded caps did begin to show wear, but the longer wheelbase prevented any contact with the rough caps.
To prevent a child from turning too sharply, the Tadpole does have a turning limiter. The limiter, however, is much less restrictive than those found on other bikes. If a limiter it too restrictive it can negatively affect the maneuverability of the bike by greatly reducing the bike’s turning radius. As shown below, compared to the Wishbone RE’s limiter, the Frog’s still allows for an acceptable turning radius.
Frog vs. Other Bikes
Compared to some of our other top-rated toddler bikes, the Frog Tadpole balance bike has the longest wheelbase, is the most adjustable (handlebars and saddle rails) and has the plushest seat. It does, however, have the smallest range in seat heights, so we wouldn’t recommend it for toddlers with an inseam great than 15.5″. For taller toddlers in 2T to 3T clothes, the Frog would be our top choice as compared to the FirstBIKE and the Islabike Rothan.
Compared side-to-side, the Frog has a much lower-step through height than the FirstBIKE, making it a lot easier for kids to mount the saddle and is also an inch longer. Compared to the Islabikes, the Frog is 2 lb. heavier, but is longer and taller as the handlebars are set over an inch taller.
The height of the handlebars can be slightly adjusted on the Islabikes and Frog by changing the position of the stem with the metal spacers on the steerer tube (the tube that connects handlebars to the front fork). The more spacers on the bike, the more adjustments are possible. Due to the complexity and potential for problems when swapping out the spacers, we don’t recommend trying this yourself, but it is something that can quickly and easily be done at a bike shop. In addition, it is not recommended to lower the Frog’s stem to the lowest position as, not only would it rarely be needed, the protruding steerer tube (although covered in spaces and topped with the top cap) could potentially cause issues during a fall.
An Exceptional pick for 2.5 to 3.5-year-olds, the Frog Tadpole balance bike is one of our favorite bikes we’ve tested. From its long wheelbase, padded seat and high-end brakes, it is sure to have your child cruising happily and eagerly cruising no time. With a seat range of 13.3 to 16.5″, the Frog is best for kids with an inseam between 14″ and 16.5″.
The Frog Tadpole is a great bike for boys or girls – it is available in red, orange, purple, and white with purple, pink and green spots. Frog Bikes are only available online from Ready, Set, Pedal or directly from Frog Bikes dealers. If a retailer isn’t located near you, give Frog a call at 844-307-4683 at they will work with you to get a bike to you.