With foam tires, the Haro Z10 PreWheelz is perfect for the toddler who plans on riding indoors. The lifetime warranty and quality of the Z10 can't be beat.
Seat Height: 11" - 17"
Weight: 8.8 lb.
Brakes: No Brakes
Tire Size: 10"
Grips Bumper: Yes
Frame Material: Steel
“We make a $10,000 Masi road bike, and I get excited about a $99 balance bike.
Go figure. Probably because I’m a Grandpa.” – Joe Hawk, COO of Haro Bikes
Most major bike manufacturers cater to the high-end market (where the money is) and often put minimal effort on their children’s line of bikes. Joe Hawk, the COO of Haro Bikes, sees it differently. He views children as the future of bicycling and believes the wants and needs of parents and children should not be sacrificed at the alter of high profit margins. Unlike larger names such as Specialized and Giant, at Interbike (the largest bike-industry show in the US) Haro had their balance bikes front and center, while the others didn’t even bother to bring them. Haro believes that children are a worth investing in and is eager to help get and keep kids of all ages on bikes. In the world of poorly made, big-box store bikes, they are striving to create a line of high-quality and affordable bikes for kids. Eager to hear my thoughts, Joe took the time at Interbike to talk with me about their balance bikes. How could they improve them? What changes did I feel they should make? How can Haro help educate parents on the benefits of bike riding? From the beginning, his passion for kids and biking was evident and although their balance bikes may not be my top pick, the next time we are find ourselves shopping for a pedal bike, the local Haro dealer will be our first stop.
Z10 vs. Z12 PreWheelz
Haro PreWheelz balance bikes come in two models, the Z10 and the Z12. The Z10 weights 8.8 lbs., has 10″ foam tires, a seat height adjust of 11″-17″ and a MSRP of $109. The Z12 weighs 11 lbs., has 12″ air tires, a seat adjust of 12.5″-18.5″ and a MSRP of $139. Both bikes have an adjustable handlebar, a durable headset with bearings and come with a limited lifetime warranty on the front fork and frame. The Z10 was designed with foam tires for indoor or outdoor use for toddlers, while the Z12 is designed for more adventurous preschoolers. To get a good feel for their bikes, we tested the Haro on various terrains with various ages and were overall, very impressed with the quality and performance of the bikes.
From the get go, our five-year-old tester was off and running on the Z12. As an experienced balance biker, she was comfortable and confident on her first ride, which cannot be said about other balance bikes she has tried. Whether riding down dirt roads or cruising down the driveway, the Z12 soon became her favorite bike. After watching from her Z10, her three-year-old daughter soon wanted in on the Z12 action. While the three-year-old enjoyed the Z10, she preferred the air tires over the foam and was soon cruising and balancing on the Z12. With a 15″ inseam, she easily fit both bikes, while her five-year-old sister with a 17″ inseam was too tall for the Z10. One feature they both asked for however was a brake.
We also tried the Z10 out with two, 22-month-old toddlers (two weeks apart in age). From 18-months, toddlers are generally ready to start walking around on their bikes, but their ability to manage a bike can be a concern. Weighing 8.8 lbs., the Z10 is 2 lbs. heavier than the Strider, which also has a minimum inseam of 11″. After two weeks on use, the weight of the Z10 was clearly not an issue for the taller and heavier one-year-old, who was already sitting and running on the bike. The smaller one-year-old however, did find the Z10, as compared to the Strider, harder pick up after a fall, but had no problems managing the bike once on the bike. Being adventurous, he also insistent on doing several “tricks” on his bike that he had seen his older brother do.
Features of the PreWheelz
Besides size, the main difference between the Z10 and Z12 is their tires. The Z10 has foam tires while the Z12 has knobby air tires. Designed for indoor use as well, the Z10 foam tires are non-marking and are lighter weight for younger riders. While foam tires work well for toddlers, we much prefer the durability, traction and cushion that air tires provide for older riders. While most balance bike have air tires, the Z12 is one a few balance bikes that come with knobby tires. Providing additional traction in loose dirt or gravel, the Z12 would be a great pick for preschoolers whom mainly ride in non-paved terrains.
The exposed bolts and ripped handlebar grips, common on metal balance bike, were also apparent on the Haro’s. While not as obtrusive as bolts on other bikes, the bolts did begin to wear with time, creating a scratch hazard for ankles. The seat (saddle) of the PreWheelz also began to shown slight signs of wear. Although minor, upon comparing the seat to the same seat on a one-year-old Adam’s Runner, we do have concerns about the seat’s durability.
Our greatest concern with the PreWheelz were the footrests. While our older testers loved using them, when riding with shorts, the grip tape, which wraps around the sides of the footrest bar, did scratch our five and three-year-old testers. Our toddler testers, never rode their bikes with shorts, but upon watching them ride, it was quite clear that they would have been scratched had they been wearing shorts. In addition to the grip tape, we also found that the footrest in general was much to big for the Z10. Not only did the footrest hinder their stride, kids small enough to fit the Z10 are most likely too young to actually use the footrest anyway.
Compared to Other Bikes
When compared to other bikes, the Haros are certainly well priced and are worthy of their price tag. The Z10 has better overall components (real headset with bearings, better quality build) than the Strider. For $140, the Z12 is comparable in quality to the Ridgeback, but is not as adjustable and lacks a brake.
Perfect for the toddler who plan on riding indoors, the Lifetime warranty and quality of the Z10 can’t be beat. For older riders who plan on riding off-roads, the Z12 is a great choice.
By: Natalie Martins
Last Updated: December 28, 2016
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