Haro Z12

Pedal Bike Review

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Best Under $200

Small and mighty, the Haro Z12 comes with knobby tires for riding on varied surfaces for your adventurous, all-terrain rider.

View on Haro’s website Find a Dealer

Product Specifications

MSRP: $199

Recommendation: Recommended

Seat Height:

Weight: 17.5 lb.

Frame Material: Steel

Tire Size: 12"

Brakes: Coaster

Handlebar: Medium

Gain Ratio: 2.9


Available Online: No


MSRP: $199

By: Natalie Martins

Last Updated: January 10, 2017

FTC Disclosure:

  • Gregorio Cespedes

    I love your site, i checked almost every bike review and i never thought this could be so overwhelming, i will love to have your experienced advice to select my daughter first bike.
    She is 3 year old, with almost 4T clothes, 39,5 inches tall and 15″ inseam.
    she never had a bike and wants one a lot, so gonna be her 3rd birthday present in couple weeks.
    Regards and thanks in advance.

    • Is she a pro on a balance bike? If so, then I would look at the ByK E-250. With a minimum seat height of 15.7″ she will be able to touch the ground, while still allowing plenty of room for growth. Another option is the Cleary Gecko, but it is pretty small and she would grow out of it much sooner than the ByK.

      • Gregorio Cespedes

        Hello Natalie, no My daughter isn’t a pro, actually she never had a bike ever, still same recommendation? Maybe I didn’t express well on my previous post, I meant balance bike.
        I understood the best way to learn to ride is with a balance bike first right?
        Regards Greg

        • Gotcha, no that’s probably my fault. Yes, I would certainly go with a balance bike first. With a 15″ inseam, my first choice would be the Ridgeback Scoot, as it will provide her the most room for growth. If she happens to weigh less than 30 lb. then I would go with the Yedoo Too Too. If you are looking to spend less, then I would look at the TykesBykes or the KinderBike.

    • What type of first bike are you looking for, a balance bike or a pedal bike? I would suggest a balance bike and would recommend a larger balance bike such as the Saracen Freewheel or the Ridgeback Scoot.

    • Glad to help Has your daughter every ridden a balance bike? If she has, then you will want a bike whose minimum seat height is around 15″. Your options are the ByK 250, Islabikes CNOC Small and WOOM2. The ByK is the cheapest of the group at $229 and comes with a parent handle and training wheels. The other do NOT come with trainings wheel or a handle, but are much better quality. The WOOM2 is slightly better suited for timid riders, while the CNOC is better for average to ambitious rider. You really can’t go wrong with either the WOOM2 or the CNOC, but if your budget does allow for a $300+ bike, the ByK 250 would be a good choice.

  • Kelly

    Hello! I love your site. We are trying to determine which bike will be more rugged and “take a beating” for my 7 year old son. We are thinking of the Woom4 or the spawn savage 1.0. He is currently on a trek jet single speed so we are looking for a gear bike so that he can keep up with our hill climbing. Woom is such a young company, do you have a preference? We are considering tire size, weight and resale value. Thank you!!!

    • They are both great bikes, but the Spawn is much better for aggressive trail riding than the WOOM. The disc brakes, gearing and lower geometry of the Spawn make it an awesome bike for mountain biking, but is too much for everyday riding. So if you plan on riding mainly around town and with some trails, I would go with the WOOM4 as it will be more comfortable, but if you are riding aggressively, I would go for the Spawn.

  • Vicky

    Hi. We are in New Zealand so have limited choice in balance bikes. We are looking for something with a really low stand over height and light weight as our daughter is a bit short. We want to get it for her 1st birthday even though she will be 6months off using it, so something they can start using early. It would also be great if it would last her long enough to skip a 12 inch pedal bike. Our choices in nz are. Cruzee, strider, Zippizap, giant, torpedo7. Thanks heaps

    • Considering her age, I am quite certain the Giant and Torpedo7 will be too big and heavy for her. The geometry of the Zippizap looks a little off to me (the seat is too far up the frame), so I would go with either the Cruzee or the Strider. I prefer the aluminum frame of the Cruzee, but the Strider does have an extended seat post and handlebars that will allow you to expand the bike if needs be. More than likely, as long as she rides regularly, she should be able to jump up to a 14″ bike (such as the ByK E-250), from wither the Strider or the Cruzee, so either will work.

      • Vicky

        Thanks heaps for that. Think we will go for the Cruzee if our budget can stretch that far. Thanks for pointing that out on the zippizap as I didn’t notice that. Big help!

  • Carley

    Hi there, any thoughts on the Chillafish BMXIE? I live in South Africa, and our balance bike options are pretty limited. My little boy, 21 months, is pretty average in height (85cm, not sure of inseam) and slim. I would like to get him a bike for his 2nd birthday. Options that I’ve found here so far are Strider, FirstBike, Chillafish BMXIE, Frog Bike Tadpole. I don’t really love any of the options for him at this point, but I’m not sure which might be best. Thanks!

    • While I have not seen the BMXie in person, I’m not a fan simply because it has very little room for growth. It only has two seat heights at 32 and 39cm. Most kids will not be ready for a pedal bike with an inseam of 39cm, leaving him no choice to ride it even though it is too small for him. The Strider, FirstBIKE and Frog are all much better choices in terms of quality and performance. Of those, I would for with the Frog (might be too big though), then the FirstBIKE (with the lowering kit) and finally the Strider.

  • Alison

    Hi! Thanks so much for the information you have put together on this site. I am trying to decide on a balance bike for our 27 month old. She is tall and petite, 35.5″ and 25 lbs with a 14″ inseam. She is in 24 mo/ some 2T clothes. She currently has a fly bike, which she loves scooting around on. I think she likes that it is lightweight. We would mostly use the bike in our cul-de-sac with occasional dirt trails. It is a Christmas present, but it doesn’t warm up where we are until early-March so she has a little time to grow more. I am trying to choose between the Kinderbike Laufrad or Kinderbike Mini (I like that it is light). Also, how do you feel about the Radio Flyer Glide and Go with Air tires? How much does it increase the weight? Thank you so much!

    • With a 14″ inseam, she will be fine on the Laufrad, so I wouldn’t go for the Mini. I haven’t seen the Glide and Go with air, but air tires generally add 3 pounds to the weight of the bike, making the weight of the bike close to 12 lb., which would be heavier than the Kinderbike, plus it doesn’t have a brake.

      • Alison

        Thank you!!

  • Justin

    Hey Natalie. Thanks for the great info. It helped guide me to a Specialized Hot Rock 12″– awesome. Now we are looking for a 16″.
    A couple of comments that might improve your site: I agree with another poster that higher center of gravity is actually more stable than lower. The boat analogy is not applicable because the boat bottom can slip side-to-side in the water to allow it to rotate/tip faster, and the tipping torque “lever arm” is increased higher centers of gravity. A bike tire is stuck to the ground side-to-side, and is more like balancing a broom on your hand – more stable with higher center of gravity. (see http://cycleseven.org/bicycle-stability-and-centre-of-gravity-or-mass). Those budget bikes are unstable with their upright body position- but that is more due to short wheelbase and trail than the high center of gravity. … See what you think. Also, I’m a huge fan of my daughter’s Opus Nix 20″. Opus is a Canadian bike maker that makes light high quality bikes that can be purchased at some bike shops and online in the US. Would be a nice addition to get the word out about those. Great site!

    • First off, thank you so much for teaching me! I know this site isn’t perfect, but with time I am hoping I can fine tune it. You make some great points and I would have to agree that the boat analogy isn’t the best and should be replaced. I love the analogy to the broom stick though as that certainly applies. On the link you provided (thank you!), it does state that an object with a high-center of gravity is only more stable when moving, not at slower speeds or when stationary. With balance bikes, getting kids past the stationary phase is the hardest part about learning to balance and ride. As a result, I believe it is better for a bike to have a lower center-of-gravity when they are learning to ride as it will be easier for them to keep the bike up and get started on it. If kids are constantly frustrated trying to keep the bike up, they are going to be less motivated to actually get it to go. This same idea applies to their first pedal bike. A low center-of-gravity is best as they are just learning. Once gets get to 20″ and 24″ bikes, there are so many other aspects to the geometry of a bike that I don’t think the center-or-gravity isn’t as big as a deal, especially since kids are already comfortable riding. Thoughts? I’d love any feedback and am certainly open to it.

      For Opus bikes, I have seen them at several bike shows and they seem great, but with none of our local bike shops carrying their bikes and with Opus not interested (yep, I’ve asked) in having us review one of their bikes, I am really limited. Hopefully that will change with time.

  • Jenny

    Hi there – my almost 3yr old son really wants a bike with pedals for Christmas. He turns 3 in the end of Jan. He’s 37.5″ tall and wears 2t/3t pants and 3t/4t tops. His current inseam is 13.5″ so he’s a bit short on the inseam for a bike right now – I was hoping to get it for his birthday but I want to go ahead and purchase it now in case we give it to him for christmas. WOOM only has pink in stock until Mar – so that counts me out of that one – I was going to go for the Isla – does that sound like a good choice or is there a different bike you would recommend since his inseam is below 15″ – I’m confident that by end of Jan he will be about 14.5 / 15″ inseam. Thank you and great info on the site!!!!

    • Glad to help! Being in 2T/3T pants, the Islabike will certainly fit him now and it is a great bike! The one downside of the Rothan is that like the WOOM, it is small. This is great for littles one (the Rothan is still my petite boy’s bike of choice), but kids are in 5T pants, they are too small for the bike. So, if you live in an area where he won’t be able to ride for a large portion of the year, I would look into a slightly larger bike such as the Yedoo Too Too. If he will be able to ride year round, then I would go with the Islabikes.

  • Jenny

    eek just ordered a cleary bike – considering his inseam was small – we are ok having to buy another one in a year if need be. isla was top choice or woom2 – but i think he’s too small.

    • No worries, he’ll do fine! You checked his inseams which is the most important thing :)!

  • Kiara

    Hi there – Im looking for a great option for my petite 18 month old. He is wearing size 0 pants, 1 top. I’m really lost at what to get him. i love the first bike I’m considering just buying and waiting for him to grow into it, or we have the cruzee in australia which seems to be great but i love the safety and look of the first bike. What are your recommendations? 🙂

    • Kiara

      Oh also we have the byK balance bike 200 and a few other options in Australia. 🙂

      • For little guys, the Cruzee is going to be your best choice to get started. It is small, lightweight and very easy for the little ones to maneuver around. The FirstBIKE is a great bike, but it won’t fit him until he is comfortably in 24 months pants (with a lowering kit). Even with the kit, he is going to need some help to get on and off the bike at first. While the Cruzee doesn’t have air tires and a hand brake like the FirstBIKE, for little ones, it works just fine. In a year or two, when he is zooming around on the Cruzee, you can then decide to upgrade to a bike with air tires and brake.

  • Alisa

    Hi, I’d like some advice. I’m wondering what bike trailer you would recommend for a special needs child. My son is 5, 40 lbs, and about 39 inches tall. He has autism and is nonverbal, and because of his disability, does not know how to ride a bike. I think a trailer would be the best way for me to ride my bike with him. I currently have an InStep robin double bike trailer, but I’m looking to upgrade in the next few months. Ideally, I’d like to find something he can ride in for the next few years as he grows older. What do you recommend? Thank you.

    • What an amazing mom you are. I’m sure he loves biking as is means more time with you as well as getting outside. For a trailer, you are a champ for pulling him along in the Robin, which pretty small for his size. I think you will find the Wike line of Special Needs trailers/strollers to be just what you are looking for. They are larger, taller and wider and have a very high weight capacity, but they are pricey. The size you need is currently on sale, but it is still $720 (http://www.wicycle.com/index.php/products/special-needs-trailers/wike-large-special-needs-trailer/). For price though, you are really going to get the most life out of the Wike. Currently, he won’t need a trailer that size, but he won’t outgrow it for years to come. If you are looking for a cheaper option, I would consider the Croozer 1 ($399), which is the tallest trailer under $500 (that I recommend) and more supportive than the Robin. It also comes with the conversion kits for a stroller.

  • Sarale

    My son is 4 years old but is very small for his age and wears size 2T. He rode a tricycle last year and I was going to get him a bike with training wheels until I found your website! We went to Toys R Us yesterday and he tried a bike with training wheels which he really wants but I would like to get him a balance bike. The manager there said that since he rode a tricycle I should just move on to training wheels. Is it too late for a balance bike? What would you recommend? And if I do get a balance bike what is good for a tiny 4 year old?

    • Being in size 2T I would definitely go with a balance bike. There isn’t a pedal bike small enough to fit him! While he would be able to ride on a pedal bike with training wheels, he wouldn’t be learning anything as he already knows how to pedal from him tricycle. A balance bike would allow him to learn to balance as well as be able to go up and over jumps, curbs and ride in essentially any terrain, while on training wheels that would be impossible. To find a balance bike, ToyRUs sells the Velo brand, which many people like, but I generally prefer the metal-framed bikes with air tires and a hand brake. You can find a list of balance bike here, http://www.twowheelingtots.com/the-best-balance-bike-for-your-dollar-2/ or can sort through them here, http://www.twowheelingtots.com/balance-bike-guide/. Hope that helps!

  • Newyorking

    I am looking to buy a balance bike for my 3 year old boys. Their inseam is around 15″. I tried balance bikes in stores, 12″ and 16″, I think 16″ is a tad high but they may grow into it. What is better, 14″ or 16″? Should their entire foot be on the floor? In the 16″ both their feet are not entirely on the floor, just toes. I am confused because I didn’t come across a single 14″ in stores that they could try, just 12″ which is too small, and 16″ which is slightly big. They just turned 3!

    • 14″ balance bikes are rare and are usually only found online. With a 15″ inseam, I would go for a large 12″ balance bike, such as the Ridgeback Scoot or the Saracen. They are on the higher-end side around $179 a piece though. If you need something for affordable, I would look at the Stampede Bikes (TykesBykes) Charger 12 or the Muna.

  • Julie Duda

    Hi Natalie, I’m wondering if you have any pictures of a small 20 inch Islabike vs a WOOM3? It looks like the specs of the WOOM bikes are slightly larger than the islabikes? My son is turning 5 and is 45 inches with 18 inseam. I’m worried the 16 inch Isla will be too small/quickly outgrown for the money. I like the looks of the Isla bikes more compared to the WOOM bikes, but I think he physically will be more comfortable on a bike where his feet can touch the ground. I’m getting confused because I’ve read reviews where people are saying their 3 or 4 year old is on the 16 inch Isla bike. Whereas the WOOM3 says its for 5-7 year olds. My so is usually 75-80% for height. He’s been riding a tykesbike balance bike and is maxed out on the seat height. We went to our local bike shop that only sells Raleigh and their 20 was too big and the 16 too small/not really any growing room. Thanks!

    • Sorry I don’t, plus I don’t have either of them currently available to take a picture of you. If he is too small for a Raleigh 16, then he is going to be too small for the Islabikes 16. Are you sure him inseam is 18″? My 4yo is on the petite side, is barely in 4T pants and has an inseam of 17″. Then again, maybe Raleigh changed up the geometry of their bikes. I would call them and have them measure the minimum seat height on the 20″ and 16″ you tried and then compare them to the seat heights on the Islabikes. All and all, I think the 16″ is likely to best, or if him inseam is taller, maybe the larger the Small BEINN 20″.

  • maude derome

    Hi Nathalie, thank you so much for this amazing website, all the very thorough reviews and complete answers to our thousand questions, what an incredible job you did for us parents ! And yet, even with all this info (I’ve read all your reviews, all the comments, etc.), I still have a quick question regarding the CNOC14 vs WOOM2 for my 3 1/2 little guy. He has been using a balance bike since he was 2 and is very fast, agile and confident with it. He is definitely ready for a pedal bike and really wants one ! I wanted to go with the CNOC14 and then found your review of the WOOM2… My son is almost 40″ and has a 15,5″ inseam (he is also quite athletic) and Islabikes assured me he would be able to reach the ground with both feet sitting on the saddle of the CNOC14. So apparently, size is not the issue here. My question is about the different geometries and gear ratio. We live in a regional park, on a dirt/paved road in the woods with lots of hills (mostly gentle ones) and that is where the problem is with his actual cheap pedal bike : really heavy, bad gear ratio = he can’t go up and won’t make it if it is not flat ground. I looked desperately for reviews or videos of these starter bikes anywhere else than on a flat paved road and could not find anything…So, as you had the opportunity to try both the CNOC14 and WOOM2, what would you get for a kid who will mostly ride his bike on a hilly dirt/paved road ? Should I consider the lightweight, more “agressive” geometry and lower gear ratio (CNOC14) or the fact that his feet will be lying totally flat on the ground with the WOOM2 (which means it is easier to push to go up the hill but also that it will be too small next summer…) ? This bike is a lot of money for us (and complicated to order too as we live in Quebec !) and I really want to make the right choice ! We spend several hours outside everyday for outdoor activities (including at least one hour per day on the balance bike as soon as the snow starts to melt on the road !) so the bike will get a lot of use !! Thank you so much again and I hope my question will be useful to other parents too !

    • Glad to help! A couple questions, with a 15.5″ inseam, he shouldn’t be able to touch the ground with his full foot on the Islabikes CNOC as the minimum seat height is 17.5″ (I just remeasured to double check). My son is in 4T pants and is able to fit on it, but could only touch with his toes in 3T pants. The confusion probably came in that with a 15.5″ inseam he would be able to touch the pedals like he should, but not the ground. The WOOM2 has a lower minimum seat height of 16.7″, which will allow him to almost touch the ground with his full foot. As a result, I would go with the WOOM simply because it has a lower minimum seat height that he will likely be more comfortable on now. Hope that helps!

      • maude derome

        Thank you Nathalie, wow, it helps to talk to someone who actually has the bike to measure it, you are great ! I am a bit surprised as I sent an email to Islabikes with all the measurements, asking specifically if they were talking about the pedals or the ground, and they assured me that he would fit perfectly on the bike, reaching the ground easily with both feet. I guess they meant “with his toes”? Last question, if size were not an issue (I run an outdoor daycare and know other parents who are asking me about good bikes), would you go for the CNOC14 or the WOOM2 for riding a hilly paved/dirt road ? Do you know if the difference in the gear ratio and geometry are noticeable to kids when they ride on an uphill incline? Thanks so much again for taking your time and helping us with this amazing website !

        • You are right, I sent a copy of your comments and Islabikes meant that he could touch the ground with his feet, just not his full feet. They are sorry if there was any confusion and would be more than happy to help you clarify things over the phone. Between the CNOC 14 and the WOOM2 I would go with the CNOC if you have hills as the lower gear ratio will make the bike easier to pedal uphill. Plus, an outdoor daycare, as in kids get to play OUTSIDE! The world needs more of you!

          • maude derome

            Thanks again, I can’t believe how much trouble you go through just for us, the world needs more people like YOU ! I double checked and the confusion about the height is my fault, I am French Canadian and they wrote that my son would have no problem touching the ground with the “balls of both feet” while sitting on the saddle, I misunderstood, I thought it meant only his heels wouldn’t be totally on the ground. I saw many videos with kids using just the front part of their feet with the Islabikes and it seemed fine, but I totally understand why it gets much easier if the saddle is lower. So, back to square one, both Islabikes and Woom offer OUTSTANDING product and service (wow, by the way, both companies were incredibly fast to answer my questions and got me even more infos than I asked !), I guess I can’t go wrong with any of them ! One major difference for us Canadians is probably the fact that WoomBikes delivers to Canada (for free right now !!!) and we can use their 90 days free return policy directly from Canada if ever we are not satisfied. Good thing to know ! And finally, I might get to try both bikes as many parents at my daycare are looking for good bikes; some may go with Islabikes and others with Woom, I’ve already told them about these great companies. But for the next days at least, we will keep using our balance bikes happily in our heavy spring rain ! (Oh, if ever you want another great balance bike to review, I strongly suggest the “ultralight runners aluminum bike” (http://www.runners-bike.com/ultralight-runners-bike, only 90$US at Mountain Equipment Coop) from a great Canadian company run by a family in Edmonton if I am not mistaken. We have six different balance bikes at the daycare (including Striders, etc.) and all the kids always fight for that one, it looks so much more comfortable (and “fast” supposedly as tiny people say…) than the others we carry ! Thank you again so much for your time and work and I will make sure to post my review about the bikes we will order 😉

          • maude derome

            (Oh oh, I sent you a long reply yesterday but I can’t see it here ?! I will start over, I hope I won’t be repeating myself, sorry.)
            Well, first I am amazed by the time and energy you put into responding to all our comments and questions, the world of parenting needs more of YOU !! Regarding the confusion about the height of the CNOC14, I double checked and it is certainly my fault, the company told me that he would certainly be able to reach the ground with “the balls of both feet” while sitting on the saddle. I am French Canadian and I thought that meant only his heels wouldn’t be on the ground, but from what I understand now, it means more like his toes, my mistake not theirs, I am sorry ! I saw many kids on different videos riding their Islabikes “on their toes” for the first time and they seemed to do just fine, but I totally understand why it gets easier if their whole feet lay flat while they seat on the saddle. For my kid then, I think I will go with WOOM mostly for this reason but also because, as Canadians, it is much easier to order the bike: they deliver to Canada (for free right now !) and we can use their 90 day free return policy from our place as well ! I have to say that I communicated with both companies and they both offer AMAZING service answering my questions incredibly fast and with even more infos and suggestions that I had asked ! I think I just can’t go wrong with any of them. I will see now at my daycare if some parents with bigger kids are more interested with the Islabikes, which would be great, as we will be able to compare both bikes on our type of road (hilly dirt/paved road) and of course, share it in a review on your site 😉 For the next few days, we will all keep riding our balance bikes and enjoy the rainy/muddy days of spring here ! By the way, we have 6 balance bikes at the daycare (one for each kid) including Striders, etc., but there is one our kids always fight for and I don’t think I have seen it on your website. So just to let you know, it is the “Ultralight Runners aluminum Bike” from Runners Bike, a small Canadian company based in Edmonton (http://www.runners-bike.com/). Their product is inexpensive compared to others pretending to be of the same quality (they sell the ultralight runner at Mountain Equipment Coop for around 90$US) and boy, kids love it here !! Apparently it is more comfortable and “super fast” as tiny people say… So in case you get some questions from Canadian members of your blog, from my experience here, Runners bike might be good to consider (the aluminum ones, they have a cute model made of wood but, oops, the rain destroys it quickly if left outside !!). Thank you again SOOOO much for your help, it has been greatly appreciated !!!

          • maude derome

            Hi Nathalie, I tried to answer twice but it doesn’t work. My answer might be too long, is there a maximum number of words for our answers ? Maybe I am just talking too much 😉

          • maude derome

            Ok, shorter answer…Well, first of, I am amazed by the time and energy you put into responding to all our comments and questions, the world of parenting needs more of YOU !! Regarding the confusion about the height of the CNOC14, I double checked and it is certainly my fault, the company told me that my son would certainly be able to reach the ground with “the balls of both feet” while sitting on the saddle. I am French Canadian and I thought that meant only his heels wouldn’t be on the ground, but from what I understand now, it means more like his toes, my mistake not theirs, I am sorry ! I saw many kids on different videos riding their Islabikes “on their toes” for the first time and they seemed to do just fine, but I totally understand why it gets easier if their whole feet lay flat while they seat on the saddle. For my kid then, I think I will go with WOOM mostly for this reason but also because, as Canadians, it is much easier to order the bike: they deliver to Canada (for free right now !) and we can use their 90 day free return policy from our place as well ! I have to say that I communicated with both companies and they both offered AMAZING service answering my questions incredibly fast and with even more infos and suggestions that I had asked ! I think I just can’t go wrong with any of them. I will see now at my daycare if some parents with bigger kids are more interested with the Islabikes, which would be great, as we will be able to compare both bikes on our type of road (hilly dirt/paved road) and of course, share it in a review on your site 😉 For the next few days, we will all keep riding our balance bikes and enjoy the rainy/muddy days of spring here !

          • You’re welcome:) I consider myself lucky to be able to find a “job” in which I can truly feel like I am helping people. I was a teacher before I had kids and LOVED seeing the reaction in kids face when they finally “got it” (I taught science) and while I don’t get that same experience from behind a screen, I love hearing how the info on the site has helped other parents out. Plus, being able to discover amazing companies like Islabikes and WOOM is icing on the cake! Both companies are headed by amazing people who are really dedicated to helping kids get on bikes. When you get your WOOM, I’d love to hear how you like it 🙂

          • No worries, I found them :). The comments sections holds any comments that have links in them to try to eliminate spam on the site. I approved them and they should show up shortly. In the meantime, I’ll respond below, but if I miss anything, let me know!

  • Briana T.

    Hi Natalie, My daughter is 2.5 years old with an inseam of 14.5″. She’s a tall toddler but she only weighs 28lbs. I want to purchase her a balance bike (this will be her first one) but I want to get one she can have a few years (at least until she is 4). I was trying to decide between the Muna and the Yedoo Too Too. But on Amazon I also saw the Kinderbike laufrad — http://www.amazon.com/NEW-2015-KinderBike-Laufrad-Balance/dp/B00PHJIQ5K/ref=pd_sim_sbs_21_2?ie=UTF8&dpID=416-Ti%2BldYL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=03K1T19T5GYFNJ3X1BQ9 . Do you have any information on the KinderBike Laufrad? I couldn’t find a review on it, on your site. Any help/advice in choosing my daughters first balance bike would be super helpful (willing to pay up to $200, for a good solid first bike)! Thanks!

    • The KinderBike is a great bike and I have reviewed it, which you can find here, http://www.twowheelingtots.com/kinderbike-laufrad/. The review is not linked to directly to the site due to some complains I had from KinderBike. The bike itself is great though and sounds like it would be a great fit for your daughter.

  • MeMa

    Hi Natalie, thank you for all the work on this fantastic website. The information is so useful and helpful. I wish that I would have found this site earlier. My grandson is almost 3, average height and weight. Mostly rides on dirt road. He has a hand me down strider that has not worked well for him, some falls. After reading the info on your site, it appears that this may be due to the tires. I would like to get him a new bike. I was thinking the Saracen or Muna Pro mini, or Scoot Dimension. I would appreciate your thoughts. Also blue bike if possible but color choice is not an absolute decision maker. Thanks for your help!

    • Glad to help! All three of the bikes you mentioned are great bikes for him. The Muna Pro mini and the Saracen both have knobby tires and the Scoot Dimensions you can upgrade to knobby tires. If he really wants blue, I would go with the Muna Pro mini in blue, but I believe the Saracen and the Dimensions have wider handlebars, which will be better for him as he gets older. I actually haven’t seen the Muna Pro in person (only the Muna), so I can’t attest to it’s quality, but I assume it is good like the Muna. My preference between the three would be the Dimensions first, the Saracen and then the Muna. Hope that helps!

  • Ohm Culpepper


    Your site is amazing and I appreciate all of your recommendations! My son is turning 5 next month and will be graduating from his next month and will be graduating next month from his balance bike (Ridgeback Scoot). I have my choices narrowed down to the Spawn Banshee 16″ and Commencal Ramones 16″. Leaning towards the Spawn but it will be $400 after shipping and I can get the Ramones for around 240 online which includes shipping. I don’t mind spending the extra money if the Spawn is truly that much of a better bike. In reviewing specs they are similar, with my biggest question being will the Spawn be a lot easier to pedal with the 28t chainwheel vs the 32t on the Ramones? We live in hilly neighborhood and want him to get around as easy as possible. I find a lot of personal reviews out there on the Spawn but not many on the Ramones that attest to the ease of pedaling. Thank you in advance for your advice!

    • I actually just ordered a Commencal 16″, so in a couple days I will able to give you a better opinion on the bike. If you live in an hilly area, the chainring is going to make a huge difference, so it sounds like based on that alone, the Spawn is going to be better. My 4yo son is currently testing out a lot of 16″ bikes and those with larger chainrings are a lot of fun because they can go faster, but they are more difficult to start pedaling and more challenging to ride up hills. I think a 32t chainring is pretty big for a 16″, so I’ll see how it goes. I may forget to comment again once we get the bike, so feel free to add a reminder to the thread sometime in the next two weeks (the bike probably won’t get here until next week).

      • Ohm Culpepper

        Thank you! That’s kinda what I was leaning towards so I took your advice and ordered the Spawn. Looking forward to getting it in!

        • Awesome. Please let me know how you like it!

  • Marki

    Hi, I am looking for help in making a decision on which type of bike would be best for my daughter. She’s 5 years old and 3’10” (tall for her age, long legs) but isn’t what I would call “coordinated” (lol). She has very minimal experience with bikes and so I am unsure what I should get her. Would a balance bike be better to help her gain confidence and such? If so, what size do you suggest?

    • I would go for a larger balance bikes. Kids her age can learn to balance on regular bikes with the pedals removed, but the bike is going to be heavier and harder for her to learn on. Balance bikes are much lighter than pedal bikes, so they are easier to learn on. They are also simplified, so that there is no pressure to learn to pedal as well as balance. For her, I would look at the Stampede Charger 16″ (http://www.twowheelingtots.com/tykesbykes-charger/) and the Ridgeback XL (http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ridgeback-scoot-xl/).

  • Stephanie Mullins

    Hi there, Natalie.

    My soon to be 4 year old says he is ready for pedals. He does fantastic on his balance bike and I think he will be good to go with pedals soon. I was set on the BYK 250. He is 43″ tall, but only has an inseam of 16.5, which made the choice for the BYK over the Woom and Islabike easy. However, I saw on the BYK website that it is only recommended for 36-41″. Would the BYK 250 work for him or should we consider the Woom or Islabike, even though they are a little tall?

    Thank you for your input.

    • With a 16.5″ inseam, he will outgrow the E-250 pretty quickly, so I would consider a larger bike. With a 16.5″ inseam, if you want maximum use out of the bike, you will want a bike with a minimum seat height of at least 16″, but preferably around 17″. When sitting on the saddle of a bike, a well-fitted bike will allow the rider to touch the ground with just their tippy toes. As a result, the minimum inseam can be almost 2″ higher than a child’s inseam. With their first pedal bike, however, balance bike graduates need to be able to stop with their feet, so it is essentially that they can touch the ground with almost their entire foot. Since kids generally stop with their toes, they don’t need their whole foot, but for timid kids, being able to touch with their heels, helps them feel more comfortable and at ease on a pedal bike while they are learning to pedal. As a result, instead of the ByK, 250, I would look at the WOOM2, which will provide him more room for growth while still allowing him to almost touch his whole foot on the ground.

  • dahnkedj

    I’m interested to see a review / comparison of the Kokua Liketobike 16 to the woom 3 and Cnoc 16. I have 2 likabike jumpers and love the platform but my oldest is ready to move up to a 16″ peddle bike. She’s used to the body position of the Jumper which is much less upright than I think she’d be on a woom3. This points me to either the cnoc or liketobike. I also would prefer a freewheeling hub, which is why I’m interested in the liketobike, but I respect two wheeling tots reviews and comparisons and wondered if there might be some information coming on that bike before I make a decision. Thanks!
    Daughter – 42″ tall and 18.5″ inseam
    She’s been riding the Jumper for almost 3 years with a handbrake

    • I have not seen the LiketoBike in person, but based on its pictures, its geometry is more aggressive than the WOOM3 like you pointed out. The WOOM3 is an amazing bike, but if your daughter is an aggressive rider, then I would consider the LiketoBike. Currently we are testing out a lot of different 16″ bikes and it is pretty clear that kids who like to go over jumps, curbs, etc. prefer the bikes with a more aggressive body position while the more timid riders prefer the WOOM3 or Isalbikes.

  • john

    Hi, what do you recommend for a 30 month old boy? He wears between size 2T and 3T and he has never tried any bikes yet. I am looking for any bike balance or pedal or regular bike for his age and one that will last until he is 4 to 5 years old. I am not looking for expensive one and my budget is up to $150 max. What do you recommend and what type of bikes? thank you

  • Trevon Albertson

    Hi! Great site. I’m in a crunch with deciding what balance bike to get for my almost 3 year old in October. I want to get a balance bike that will last to train her and possibly two more kids at a younger age until they reach the pedal bike stage. I’m wanting to spend the least I can for quality, longevity and warranty. Strider Sport, FirstBike, Kinder, Stampede, etc.?


    • If your kids are in the higher percentiles or at least above 50% for height and weight, I would go with the Stampede. Of those you listed, that would be my top choice for all the categories you listed. If your kids are around 50%, I would go for the Kinderbike or the FirstBIKE (with FirstBIKE being my first choice). Lastly, I would go with the Strider as I don’t believe the tread on foam tires will last through three kids and replacing them is around $35.

  • Michelle

    Hello. I’ve ordered the charger 16″ for my 4 and 6 yr old to learn balancing. My 4 year old is 32lbs, 40.5″ with a 17″ inseam and my 6 yr old is 45lbs, 49″ with a 22″ inseam.

    My 6 yr old has gotten pretty discouraged on his huffy 16″ bike and it’s definitely too small. With the training wheels on its pretty unstable making turns and going over curbs and it’s quite heavy so he can’t balance at all without the training wheels. I’m going to have to encourage him to try the balance bike (I’m hyping it up while we wait for it to arrive this week) so I’d like to get him a geared bike so he can handle a few hills once he masters balancing. My 6 yr old loves orange and he likes the look of the Pello Rover 20″ and the blue/green guardians more than the Wooms. Have you finished your testing yet of the Pello? It seems like it has lower seat height so it won’t last as long as the other 20″ bikes? Also, we’re in a mildly hilly area if that makes a difference so we’re open to other suggestions too in a similar price range ($400-450) since I really want him to have a great bike so he like biking. I’m not too concerned about outgrowing it in a year since his younger brother can use it.

    Also, looking for a better 16 in for my 4 yr old who loves blue. It looks like the Woom 3 is sold out until September, which may be ok since he will probably take a while to learn the balance bike. The stampede was my first choice until I realized its min seat height. However, if I wanted something sooner in blue, would you think the spawn banshee or ridge dimensions to be the better bike for a beginner? Any other suggestions?

    • Glad to help and hopefully I answer all your questions (and feel free to remind me in comments if I miss one). Starting with the Pello, I must say that they are amazing bikes. This last week we had a 5yo tester ride the Rover for several miles without complaining. There certainly were some small hills to go up and down, and he cruised up and over them without a problem. His regular bike is a Specialized, so he wasn’t even comparing it to a cheap bike. If you live in an area with a lot of hills, I would considering getting a geared 20″. It can be challenging for a 6yo to shift a bike, but in most cases, you can help them gear it properly before and after a hill. With time they will eventually get it. The WOOM4 or the Guardian 7-sp are both under $450. With a 22″ inseam, the Guardian 7-sp will provide him the most room for growth with a maximum height of 28″, but with the WOOM and the Pello only 0.5″ lower, I wouldn’t make that a major deciding factor. Which which I chose for him? Honestly, they are all great, but I would start with the WOOM simply because it is lighter. Next, I would go for the Guardian, because the braking system is simply amazing. The Pello, however, is a better overall build than the Guardian in terms of components, so I wouldn’t discount it either. If you think he needs a lighter bike, I would go for the WOOM, if he is less coordinated and would benefit from a simplified braking system, I would go for the Guardian, if you plan on riding on multiple surfaces (dirt, pavement, etc.) I would go with the Pello as it has beefier tires than the others.

      For a blue 16″ bike, both the Spawn Banshee and the Dimensions are great bikes, but are both designed for a less timid rider. The Dimensions has a higher gain ratio, which is great for going fast, but does requires more effort to get going. My 4yo can ride it without a problem though, so it certainly isn’t hard, but does require more effort than bikes with lower gain ratios. I haven’t had a chance to test out the Banshee, but it does have a slightly more aggressive position than the WOOM. If you want a great beginner bike in blue though, the Banshee is going to be your best bet.

  • Suzie G

    Hello, Sorry to bother you but I don’t see an answer here. My son has Marfan syndrome and is extremely tall for his age and I’m having trouble finding the right bike for him. He’s only 26 months but is 40.5 inches tall and roughly 35 lbs and it seems that the bikes designed for a 2 years old’s dexterity and skills are way too small but the bikes designed for a 4 year old (roughly his size) are too heavy. To complicate things we’re in Canada and not all of the bikes area available for me to order. Would you be able to provide a couple of choices you feel are best suited for his size? Much appreciated.

    • Glad to help. Your are right in that finding the right combination of features for your son is going to be a challenge. My first pick would be the Ridgeback Dimensions 14, as it is lightweight and has 14″ tires versus 12″ tires, which will provide him more room for growth. The bike, however, is pricey at $299 and I’m not 100% sure that it can be shipped to Canada. I would contact Ivan at WeeBikeShop to see if he would be able to ship one out to you. He also sells the Saracen Freewheel, which would be another option, but they are currently out of stock. If he cannot ship to Canada, I would actually considering getting a pedal bike and have him use it as a balance bike. Norco’s new kids bike line is lightweight and widely available in Canada. If there is a dealer close to you, I would take your son in and have him stand over the 14″ Ninja (or Blaster). He will likely be able to touch the ground with his full foot, which you will need if he is going to use it as a balance bike. If it fits and it is in your budget, ask the shop if they would be willing to remove the crankset for you so that he can use it as a balance bike. Removing just the pedals is also an option, but the crank arms can get in the way. Using this method, it is possible that he will outgrow the bike frame before he can use it as a pedal bike, but it will ensure that he will get a properly sized balance bike.

      • Suzie G

        Thank you so much for your reply. This is exactly the kind of information I needed because my head was spinning not knowing how to help him. I really want him to be able to all the normal things that kids do and sometimes it gets a bit tough and confusing. I had considered removing the wheels from a normal bike but wasn’t sure if it was a good option. I truly appreciate you taking the time to help me. Sending you big internet hugs!!!

        • You’re welcome :). That’s exactly why I made this site, to help out parents like yourself.

  • SB

    Hello, I wanted to thank TWOWHEELINGTOTS for the incredible service they provide to parents. My wife and I have a very short (<2 SD below the mean) 4.75 year old healthy dreamboat of a boy named Roman who mastered his Dutch PUKY run bike with 6" wheels for the last 2 years. When it came time to graduate to a pedal bike we tried a couple of the smallest hand-me-downs that came our way. Essentially, they were cheap, ergonomically ill-fitting, heavy and not that attractive to be honest. It's easy to tell if a bike has poor construction but heck in this era of childhood overindulgence we thought "whatever, it's just a kid's bike that he'll outgrow". What a wrong mentality to have for something your child cherishes, enjoys doing, keeps them fit and ultimately needs to keep them safe while having fun. So…after a lot of research the reviews on TWT's sealed our intention that we needed to source him the proper bike which turned out to be one of the highest quality products I have come across: the CLEARY 12" Gecko. Today I bought him a Green one and he has mastered the lean angles, pylon slaloms, the hand breaks and more. He just loves it and right away (well…after I made sure it was geometrically properly set up which takes some trial and error with your child) we could tell it was the "right bike". Cleary simply makes one of the best conceived, designed, constructed, tested and sold kids' bikes on the market. Period, full stop. THANKS TWT and thanks Cleary for the best quality time a Dad could ever spend with his son.

    • And this is why I started this site, music to my ears. As you discovered, the difference between the standard kids bike and a REAL kids bike is huge. Year by year less and less kids are out riding and while there are a lot of factors involved, not one seems to questions to crappy kids bike market, which clearly plays a role. I have talked with the Cleary guys many times and their passion for riding is demonstrated in their bikes. Glad you found them as well as the Gecko, it is the truly the best 12″ bike on the market. Happy riding!

  • Jennifer

    Hello – thanks so much for your wonderful site. We just bought a Woom2 for our daughter who started at age 1 on a Chillafish, moved to a Skuut, and is about to turn 4. I think we are excited as she will be 🙂 We would never have found a good 14″ bike without your site and after trying her on several bikes in bike shops we were amazed at the attention to detail and proper sizing of the Woom. It even has holes in the forks for a rack! I have a question for you or anyone else who is on here. Where can we buy a decent saddle for a 4 yr old? We just picked up a used Adams Trail-a-bike and the saddle the previous owner had on it is 135mm x 230mm long and is way too big for her. The saddle on her new Woom is great, but I checked and they don’t sell it separately. The Trail-a-bike takes a 25.6 seat tube. Any suggestions on who sells these small child specific parts? Thanks!!

    • Yeah, glad you found the site 🙂 As for a seat similiar in size to the WOOM3, that is going to be tricky. There are a lot of kids saddles you can find, but not any that are preschool-sized. In addition to the saddle post, you will need to check to see how the seat is attached to the post. If it is like the typical kids bike, then you will need a youth saddle like this, http://amzn.to/2a29uni, but if it is attached on rails, you will need a seat like this, http://amzn.to/2a7mWKB (which is too big).

    • Kels

      Sorry I already posted, I think I messed up discus, but you might be able to get one from stampede bikes. Their extra-long seat post comes with a saddle and you can choose either the fixed balance bike seat (not what you want) or an adjustable youth saddle, which I think is on rails and could be moved over. They might even sell it to you without the post-t’s only $15 anyway. Might work. https://stampedebikes.com/product/extra-long-post-and-saddle/

      • Oh, great call! Thanks for posting, I didn’t even think of that!

  • Katie

    Hello – I am in the market for a new balance bike with hand brake for my 3 yo. She is 36″ tall and has a 15 inch inseam. She has a beautiful wishbone recycled edition bike with the trike option. She has been riding since 2 and is on 2 wheels now and loving every moment. Lately she has been choosing the old norco 64 a friend gave us because of the steering limiter on her wishbone. She has an inner dare devil and while the wishbone is always first choice for a neighbourhood ride the norco corners much better and whips around the pump track. I am hoping to find her a new balance bike without the steering limiter that has good air tires for trails and a hand brake for stopping as well as having room to grow and hopefully last us a while. We are in Canada but are vacationing in Washington state and Oregon (definitely hitting the islabike fit store to try out a CNoc 14 pedal bike. We may be ready soon) so we can potentially have a USA only bike shipped to our hotel.

    • Katie

      Also … I am thinking ridgeback demension 12 (does your 14 review apply and do you think we could get her on the 14? She is in 4T pants but 3T tops 29 lbs) or Saracen or scoot or kinder bike lafrad. I am open to suggestions I may have missed.

      • Hey Katie, I hope you get this message before you take off, if not sorry! I would absolutely try to hit up the Islabike store first to see how she does on a pedal as she might just be ready. If she isn’t, then the Dimensions 12 would be a great fit and a bike that she would certainly love. If you expect her to start pedaling come Spring, then I would go with the Saracen or Kinderbike for now since it likely won’t get much use before she moves up in the Spring.

        • Katie

          Thank you so much we haven’t left yet! One more question. In your experience once kids are pedaling so they tend to go back and forth between their balance bike and pedal bike just for the fun of it? I concerned that the smaller kinderbike laufrad (which we tried out locally) would be out gown when she still wanted to ride it. But I do suspect she will pedal soon enough and don’t want the investment of te dimension if generally kids leave the balance bikes altogether once pedaling.

          • I’ve found that most kids do go back and forth for at least a couple months, especially if they are used to riding their bikes on jumps or over curbs. It generally takes a couple months for kids to be 100% confident on their pedal bikes, so they tend to go back to their balance bikes when being adventurous.

          • Katie

            Thank you!

          • Katie

            Thank you thank you thank you for the help from your site and messages. We went to the islabike fit store and my daughter was just big enough for then the Cnoc 14 small. We brought it home Tuesday evening and after 2 circles around the cul de sac she is now pedalling on her own no training wheels just riding amazing!

          • Yeah, that’s awesome! Isn’t it amazing how quickly they can pick up on riding? Plus, nothing beats that smile of confidence after they finally get it themselves :).

  • Shachi Thakkar

    Hi, I’m looking for advice on a bike for my 6 year old daughter, as well as my 4 year old son. She is 47 inches tall and has an inseam of 22 inches. She currebtly rides a balance bike (tykesbykes 16inch charger) and is now ready for a pedal bike. I’m thinking the woom4 20inch or the stampede sprinter 16inch. Which one would you recommend? She loves her balance bike and goes pretty fast. She is not timid but she is not super adventurous either. I want her to enjoy riding and get comfortable/master the pedal bike before introducing her to gears, etc. Our son is 4 years old and currently rides a 12 inch tykesbykes balance bike. We could pass on her bike to him in a year so atleast two kids would use it, depending on what we end up purchasing. his inseam is 18.5 inches and he is 40-41 inches tall and I think even though he is younger, he is ready for a pedal bike too. What do you recommend for both? Thank you for helping out and having such a great website with fab reviews!!

    • Shachi

      Daughter weighs 42lbs and son weighs 36-37lbs. I will confirm their current weights tomorrow and update here if needed. Thank you!

      • Glad to help! For your daughter, you have a lot of good options :). The WOOM4 is a great bike, but it currently only comes with gears. The gears don’t have to be used however, so she could ride it and simply not use them. If you don’t plan on riding on any hills where gears would be needed, I would probably stick to a bike without gears as it will be cheaper with less maintenance. The Islabikes CNOC 20 would be a great choice as it is lightweight at 15 lb. and is very comfortable to ride. It is pricey at $419. A more affordable option would be the Guardian 20″ single speed (http://amzn.to/2ausyOu). It is heavier at 20.2 lb. but it has an amazing braking system that allows kids to brake much faster and safer than traditional braking systems (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SC_S5CHlhQ). Our testers LOVED just how fast they could stop on the Guardian. For a lighter bike, I would go with the Pello Reddi for $349, which comes in at 17 lb. It has a more relaxed positioning than the Guardian and is made with top end components (http://www.pellobikes.com/bike-shop/rover-20). If you are on a tighter budget, then I would go for the ByK 450 ($289). Weighing in at 19lb. is a great bike for the price. It is much more of a road bike than the others, but all of our testers loved riding it.

        For your son, if he is ready to pedal, then I would get him a bike as well. There are TONS of options in the 16″ category, so it really depends on your budget and where you plan on riding (neighborhood, paved trails or all-terrain). My son is a similar size and of all the bikes he has tested this summer he prefers the WOOM3 and the Islabikes CNOC 16. The Pello Revo is another great option as is the Dimensions 16. Seeing as you have had good experiences with the TykesBykes (now Stampede Bikes, same company new name), I would also check out their new Sprinter 16 (http://amzn.to/2auttid). It is bigger and heavier than the others, but is very stable and is a great bike for the price. For a first bike, the others I mentioned are going to be easier to get started on, but if they are not in your budget, I would go for the Sprinter. Lastly, if he is really timid and bike with a more upright position, the ByK350 is also worth considering (http://amzn.to/2aREUzT).

        • Shachi Thakkar

          Thank you SO much! Love your detailed response!

  • Betsy

    Hi Natalie! What an awesome sight you have built…incredibly helpful. My just turned 8 year old daughter is newly off training wheels and is ready to move on from her 20 inch bike. Looking for a good next option for her. She is 54 inches tall, 69 pounds and an inseam of 26 inches. She’ll use it for bike trails (paved for the most part) and just around town. She isn’t a great/strong pedaler yet…hoping it’s because her bike us too small. Our local bike stores offer Trek and Specialized for the most part, but open to other options. Thanks got any suggestions!

    • Glad to help! There are many great options available, so I’m sure I can help you narrow down your choices. In addition to the bikes listed on the site (http://www.twowheelingtots.com/pedal-bikes-comparison-charts/), checking out your local bike shop is also worth considering. Many of the bikes I have listed are going to be lighter and have lower minimum seat heights than the bikes in the shops, so I would be sure to have the shop weight any bike your are considering buying. For online bikes, with a 26″ inseam, the Islabikes BEINN 24″ is a great all-around bike that does great on trails as well as on single-track mountain trails. It was my daughter first “nice” bike and we saw her quickly go from lagging behind during family rides to taking the lead. The WOOM5 is another great bikes which is similar to the BEINN and comes in multiple colors:). Beyond those two bikes, 24″ bikes tend to get more complicated with shocks, which just add weight and aren’t worth it for the average rider. Actually, I believe both Trek and Specialized have 24″ bikes without shocks, but the components on them are likely to be less quality than those on the Islabikes and the WOOM. Hope that helps!

  • Amanda Botha

    My daughter who is 4 and 45 inches loves her strider bike and grew out of her 12″ bike the day she got it. She was able to ride with no training wheels immediately. After much reasearch with the help of your reviews and feedback ~ I was wondering if you think the Guardian 20″ single speed would be a good purchase for her. I was going to get a 16″ bike, however I feel like she will outgrow it super fast, but don’t want to frustrate her with a bike that is too big.

    • It really depends on her inseam as well as her confidence level. A 20″ bike is significantly larger than a 12″. Kids have certainly made that transition, so it is doable, but more hesitant kids will really struggle with the much larger size. Aggressive kids who are ready to take on any bike in front of them generally go fine. As long as she has at least a 20.5″ inseam, then the Guardian single speed is certainly worth looking at, if her inseam is shorter, I would wait.

  • John Harmon Colvin

    I can’t seem to find much on the Norco Ninja 16 as a first bike (for the new/timid rider). Any thoughts? Looks like I can get it locally, but would have to order it. Hotrock 16 is the other option available around town and the top of the price range.

    • We tested out the Samurai this summer, which is the Ninja but with higher-end components on it and it was great. My son much preferred the Norco over the Specialized as it was more stable for him. The Ninja does have a coaster brake on it, but if the Samurai is out of your price range, I would go for the Ninja over the Hotrock.

  • Charlie Cundiff

    I’m looking to add a handbrake to my son’s 16″ Hotrock. Where can I find one for little hands?

    • Great question. Did you local bike shop now have any on hand? If you prefer to buy online, this set from Amazon has worked for many parents, http://amzn.to/2cXEiKs. It’s certainly not a high-end brake set, but for kids, who weigh less, it should be fine. It also has an adjustable reach for smaller hands.

  • Leonie

    Your site is so helpful, thank you. I wonder if you can help me with uk balance bikes? I recently got a Nicko mini intending to give to my 20 month old for Christmas. She has a 27cm inseam so fits it now (seat height 23-27cm). I’m wondering whether it’s worth starting straight away or is she a bit big for it? Alternatively I can wait til she’s a bit bigger and go for something such as a rothan. Many thanks.

    • She can certainly start now, but she will outgrow the bike pretty quickly. It will fit her now as the seat height of the bike should be set 2.5cm down from her inseam. In six months, she will likely outgrow the bike, so I would start as soon as you can. Once she outgrows the bike, you can then move up to a larger balance bike.

  • Shevaun

    Thanks so much for your thorough site! I’m hoping you can help me. My daughter is newly three and will be getting a bike for Christmas. I’m trying to decide between the Kinderbike Mini and Laufraud. Her inseam is about 13.5″. Ideally, I’d like her little brother to use it in 2018 – he will be two that April.

    Would she be okay with the Mini next year (2017) (I’m assuming she could graduate to a pedal bike after one summer with the balance?) or would that be too small for her? If the Mini would be too small, I’m guessing the Laufraud would be too big for my (then) two-year-old?

    • It really depends on how tall your son is. If he is on the taller end, I would go with the Laufrad. With a minimum seat height of 13″, he should be able to fit over the seat when he is in 2T pants. If he is on the smaller side, I would go with the Mini so your son would be able to fit over it when he is ready. As for your daughter, some kids are ready to transition to a pedal bike after one summer, while some are not. Often times kids are physically able, but just don’t show any interest for several months. As a result, I wouldn’t absolutely count of her transitioning after one summer, which is why I would get the Laufrad, unless your son is petite.

  • Ben Weaver

    Thank you for this wealth of information provided!! My wife and I are currently planning on buying a 12″ for our son,…and soon after, our daughter:) I was pretty set on Cleary Gecko, however, what are your thoughts on the https://www.prioritybicycles.com/products/thestartcb Priority Start 12″? My wife and I are avid cyclists, road/offroad. The features of the Priority; belt, and “easy-go” tires, are nice, but NOT a selling feature for us. Rather, size, weight, and brake lever reach are most important. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, thanks so much Two Wheeling Tots!! Ben in Lancaster, PA

    • Glad to help! I haven’t actually had a chance to see the Priority Start 12 in person, BUT I do know that Dave, the owner of Priority Bicycles is an amazing guys and stand by his bikes, so if you had any problems with it, you wouldn’t have any issues. That being said, the Gecko and the Priority are VERY different in terms of geometry. The Gecko in long and low and the Priority is shorter and higher. In addition, the Gecko has a freewheel while the Priority has a coaster. Which bike is best really depends on how you plan on using it. If your son is a balance bike whiz already, he won’t need training wheels and would learn best on a bike with a freewheel. If he has yet to use a balance bike, I would actually recommend to start there before you purchase a 12″ bike. A balance bike will be much more fun for everyone as kids can ride them longer and in more places than bikes with training wheels. If you do plan on using training wheels, than the Priority would be a good bike. If you don’t, I would also consider getting looking into a 14″ bike versus the small 12″ Gecko as it will provide more room for growth. Gecko is pretty small and kids generally outgrow it within a year, while a 14″ can get close to 2 years. Hope that helps!

  • J Lambert

    Do you have any thoughts on Tire Liners for kids bikes or other puncture/flat prevention? We live in an area where this is a major problem. I think this would be a very interesting bit of content to add to your site for all parents.

    • Great idea! We have actually never used tire liners on kids bike, but we have on adult bikes, we should look into that thought. Currently, considering how many bikes we have come and go, we prefer to stick to tire sealant. It is cheap, easy to use and has essentially prevented flats on all our bikes. Here’s how to use it if you are not familiar with it: http://www.twowheelingtots.com/how-to-apply-tire-sealant-to-bike-tires/.

  • Crystal

    I was wondering why you don’t have any reviews on the Rock it balance bicycles by Sun bikes? Three local bike shops I called from three different cities (I was visiting family on a road trip) carried Sun balance bicycles and the Pre. I originally had my heart set on the stampede charger, but due to shipping inavailability for our time frame, we went with the Sun bicycle. My three year old likes it but wondering why there aren’t reviews for it. Thanks. This website was invaluable in guiding my choices.

    • I haven’t had a chance to see a Sun Bicycle bike in person, but I have heard great things about them. I’d love to hear what you like about them.

  • Scandimom

    Hi Natalie,
    I LOVE your site. It’s extremely informative and user friendly. Thank you for doing all the research so “us” parents can benefit from it. My almost 2.5 year old son is tall 38″ but only has a 14″ inseam. He can wear 2T and 3T pants. He’s an all around bigger kid (30+ pounds). I’m struggling between the Yedoo Too Too, Scoot 12″, and Stampede 12″. I want something that he can still grow into, but is lightweight and will be comfortable for him now. We live in CA, so he’ll be using it year round. Thanks!!

    • Yeah, glad you found the site :). All the bikes your mentioned would be great choices, but I would go with the Scoot first as it provides the most room for growth. Since you live in Cali and can ride year round, he could get away with a smaller bike. The Too Too would be better if he has a smaller frame and the Charger if he has a larger frame. The Charger 12 has much wider handlebars than the Too Too, which makes it more suitable for larger frames.

  • Abby

    I am looking for a good bike for my 6 year old grandson. He is 6, is 45″ tall and has a 19.75″ inseam. He already rides a bike pretty aggressively, but has totally outgrown his 12″ bike. He doesn’t really have any off road places to ride, but does cut through the yards in the neighborhood and we do have hills here in Louisiana. The 20″ bikes we’ve tried are way too big… they don’t even look close to his size. There aren’t any bike stores around us for him to try out better quality bikes, so we’ve only had the bikes at Wal Mart to test for sizes. There are so many options, I was hoping you would help me to narrow the decision down some.

    • Glad to help! There are several smaller 20″ bikes that would fit him just fine, but they are pricey. The Islabikes CNOC 20 ($419) and the Pello Reddi ($349) are both excellent smaller 20″ bikes that would be perfect for him as they will fit now and still provide plenty of room for growth. If you prefer a less expensive bike, I would go with a larger 16″ bike, such as a Commencal Ramones.

  • Tara

    Natalie, I just read all about buying a child’s first pedal bike (for my 4-yr-old for Christmas) on your site, and was pretty excited about the Priority Start F/W…until I clicked over to their site and discovered they are sold out until next spring. So I moved on to the Early Rider…also sold out. Then on to the Woom… also sold out. The only ones on your Exceptional list that appear to be currently available are the Islabikes and the Spawn Banshee. After reading about the differences between hand brakes and coaster brakes, I’m not so keen on the Islabikes having the coaster brake (same for the Pello). Maybe it wouldn’t be a big deal? I don’t know. And the Spawn appears to be one that you haven’t reviewed, am I correct? So I’m feeling stuck. My 4.5-yr-old has been on a Wishbone balance bike (the earlier wood version) for a long while — he began riding it around the house when it had 3 wheels and long ago transitioned to 2 wheels and goes all over the neighborhood on it (and that bike gets LOTS of attention and compliments). He has loved that bike; but we’ve noticed that lately he hasn’t really been interested in riding it and prefers to just walk when we go for walks around the block rather than riding as he usually would. Since he has begun talking about wanting a pedal bike, we are thinking that he has lost interest in the balance bike because it has become a bit “boring” at this stage. I believe he does still enjoy it – especially riding through water puddles 🙂 …but it does make sense that it has lost some of the challenge since he’s been really good at balancing on it for a long while now, and we’re just going on sidewalks around the neighborhood (he rides while we walk), it’s no real challenge, nothing new for him at this point perhaps. If he hadn’t asked for a pedal bike for Christmas AND if the balance bike wasn’t losing its appeal already, I’d be inclined to wait for one of those I mentioned to be back in stock. But that could be a long wait. The REI website says the Early Rider will be back in stock, but it’s not clear to me if it will be available before Christmas; and it’s super pricey as well. I haven’t measured my son yet, but he is in 4T pants. Up to this point, we’ve mainly been on paved surfaces – around our community and at a local park where there are gravel/dirt paths (minimal, though) and grass. However, I imagine as he continues to grow, we might be more likely to join him on bikes of our own and perhaps try mild dirt/paved trails (Mommy isn’t so adventurous!). Any suggestions?? Do you think Dave at Priority is such a nice guy that he’d want to build a bike for a 4-yr-old who just wants a pedal bike for Christmas? 😉

    • Sorry about all the bikes being sold out! It certainly makes things more complicated. For the coaster brake, in our experience, it will certainly delay kids learning to balance a pedal bike, but once they master it, the coaster brake rarely becomes a problem. This summer our 4yo in 4T pants learned to ride on the Islabikes CNOC even though it had a coaster brake. It did take him months to master it though, as the coaster brake was a problem. The lightweight and the geometry of the bike really helped him feel comfortable, which is why I still highly recommend the CNOC.

      As for the Spawn, I haven’t had a chance to review it yet, but I have only heard great things about them. Another bike reviewer I trust was able to compare the Spawn to the Islabikes although different, he though both were great bikes.

      So what to do? If they are in your budget, I would go with the Islabike if he is more timid, but since you plan on doing some all-terrain riding at some point, I would go for the Spawn. The Pello Revo is also an excellent option as it has wider tires than the CNOC. My son in 4T rode the CNOC and the Pello Revo this summer, so I have no doubt that they would fit your son.

      • Tara

        Well, I ended up finding the Early Rider available on Amazon through another vendor and ordered it, but today I received an email saying they cancelled my order because it’s out of stock (though it clearly showed it was in stock when I ordered on Amazon). So I scurried over to the Wee Bike Shop page to see if they happened to have them in stock yet, and they do, so I just ordered through them and am hoping that this time we really will receive it! REI also conveyed to me that they are expecting more in stock at their warehouse on Dec 14, per the manufacturer’s estimate; they pointed out that this is what they are expecting, but it may or may not work out that way, and once the bikes are in stock they will ship out soon after. That was too nebulous for me at this point, since I want to have it by Christmas. But…I’m just mentioning that here in case it might help any other parents who are on the lookout for the Early Rider Belter. They could check their local REI for availability, and if sold out there, perhaps there will be more available soon. But at least for now, it appears that Wee Bike Shop is the best option – and I was able to search for (and find!) a coupon code for Wee Bike Shop, which helped! And be aware that an order placed on Amazon for this bike may or may not result in you receiving a bike!

        For any off-road biking with the Early Rider Belter, do you think it would be necessary to change out the tires?

  • Samantha Hagan

    Natalie, I have been researching on your site for the past week or so and you have done so much work to provide information for families, thank you! We’re buying the first bikes for 3 of our kids, none of which know how to ride a bike yet or used a balance bike. My 8 year old daughter is 49 inches tall with a 24.5 in inseam and is very coordinated, I’m thinking of the 20 in Guardian for her. My almost 6 year old son (size 5 in clothes) is 45 in tall with a 19.5 inseam but he is not very coordinated, any suggestions under $300? Finally, my 3.5 year old is 37 in tall with a 13.5 inseam and wears 3T clothing (a petite child, a little over 30lbs) and we’re definitely wanting a balance bike. The 3 year old has some low muscle tone that definitely effects his hands (currently in OT), any suggestions on a bike for under $200. I’m just unsure on whether or not he should have a hand brake, his had strength is improving from therapy. Also, we live in AZ so riding will be year round 🙂 Thank you so much for your help!

    • Ahh, sorry for not responding earlier, you comments appears to have been lost in the mix. Assuming it has been a month, you have already made your purchases, but I would happy to help out if you still need some guidance. To quickly answer your questions though, the Guardian would be a great choice for your 8yo, for your 6yo I would look at bike 16″ such as the Stampede Bikes Sprinter, which sells for $250. Lastly, for your 3yo, a lightweight bike is going to be key. Being in 3T clothes I would consider the Cruzee if you are sticking to pavement and the Too Too if you plan on riding on all-terrain surfaces.

  • Meredith P

    I absolutely LOVE this website. Thank you for doing such awesome work! Do you or anyone else reading this know if air tires are readily available and interchangeable on the bikes with foam tires? My issue is my 2 year old son has a short inseam (11″inseam, 33″ tall, 28 pounds) and my budget is limited. The inexpensive, lightweight bikes for his size only come with foam tires. I would like to get a high quality, lightweight bike (like Strider or Cruzee) so that will fit him for years and i only have to buy him one. But i plan on riding him on trails and i would love to switch him to air tires as soon as money becomes available. 1. Is that something that can be done easily? 2. Is it cost effective? and 3. How much do air tires increase the weight? TIA

    • Thanks, glad to help! The ONLY bikes that I know of that allows you to easily swap between foam and air tires is the Strider. You cannot swap out tires on the Cruzee. Strider sell their air tires separately from their bikes, so you would have to buy them in addition to the bike.

  • Andrea Elizabeth

    Looking for advice on bike trailers (we have just one child right now, hes just about 2). Husband and I used to bike when we were young with our families, but haven’t done much as adults. Looking to get back into it for family fun.
    As far as bike trailers to purchase. I am stuck – hoping for advice. We really like the Burleys. Specifically the honey bee (but only because of the stroller capabilities) and the Encore (more options for a stroller/jogger). Hoping to use trailer mostly for day/short ventures. How often do people “stroller” once you reach your destinations? Would we be better off buying the cheapest burley (bee…no stroller capabilities) and just tucking an umbrella stroller in the back for our day trips in case we stroll (park, zoo, there are many stops along the bike trails in the city close to us). How often do people really use an encore or a honey bee as their everyday stroller as well??

    Thank you in advance! I have used your site tremendously over the last week.
    We would use ours mostly for just bike trailers in town, while camping, to run errands in our country town….How do trailers handle on packed gravel?

    • Glad to help! I’ve found that most people generally use trailer and stroller options on different outings. They leave the house with one or the other, unless they are going on vacation and need both. There are those families that plan on specifically ride to a location and then use it as a stroller. If you plan on running errands, this feature will be essential if you want to take the stroller into the store. If your child is old enough to walk around on their own or IF you are good with a small umbrella stroller once you arrive, then the ability for the trailer convert isn’t essential. An umbrella stroller will fit in the back, BUT it will stick out out the top, so you will have to strap it to the roll bar.

      Lastly, the Encore would be your best bet if the packed gravel is in rough shape. The suspension makes a big difference for rough rides. The Encore also the trailer to turn into a true stroller with 4 wheels, versus a small stroller wheel attached to the trailer arm, like on the Honey Bee.

      Hope that helps!

  • S J

    Hi there. I have a question about the suitability of the Woom 1 for older preschoolers now that Woom will soon be offering an extended length seat post for this bike. I have a 2.5 year old who is 34.5″ tall with a 13.5″ inseam and is already a competent glider (on a tiny balance bike he has recently grown out of). I was planning on purchasing a Too Too for him to use until he is on a pedal bike, but don’t like the brake sitting above the frame as he tends to rest his feet there. I’m considering the Woom 1 as an alternative and am wondering if based on your experience with this bike you feel that the geometry will allow it to be comfortable for older preschoolers now that there will be an extended length seat post? Thanks for your feedback.

    • I actually wasn’t aware that they are going to start offering an extended seat post. If he is already a confident rider at 2.5, then he will likely move up to a pedal bike at age 4. My son outgrew the WOOM1 when he was in 4T pants, with the extended seat post I can assume that a child in size 5 would still be able to ride on the WOOM1, but it would still be small since the handlebars don’t extend. If you are worried about the brake being in the way, I believe you will be save with the WOOM1.

  • Heather

    Looking for an all-in-one trailer/stroller (not jogging) for our summer vacation. My highest priority is the ability to bike to our destination and then easily release the trailer and convert it to the stroller. Anyone have experience with the Burley honey bee or can recommend a similar option?

  • Sandy

    Hi Natalie,
    Thank you so much for your amazing website! Based on your previous recommendation for the Frog balance bike my daughter is now ready to upgrade to pedals and I’m thinking of these options 1) Spawn Banshee, 2) Woom 3, 3) Clearly Hedgehog with the curved handlebar, 4) Pello Revo (with reservation due to the coaster brake), 5) Commencal Ramones (with reservation due to weight),
    We’ve been camping a lot lately, so some trails are involved and I wanted to get a bike that was versatile since our city roads and side walks are pretty banged up. She likes to go fast on her balance bike; but I don’t know if that’s considered aggressive but she does like bumping into sidewalks and running over things. We’d like for her to get on some longer paved trails (once she learns) without having to spin her wheels too much. Which would you recommend for a first 16″ bike? She is almost 4, 42″ tall, 17.5″ inseam, and fits in 5T pants.

  • Kels

    Noticed the norco 12 in isn’t on your chart for the little bikes. One of our favorite shops carries them. I’d suggest it as a good under $200 option. It’s got very similar geometry to the hotrock and is light. Only $179.

    • I agree, it needs to be added. I have been really impressed by Norco’s child’s line, especially compared to other brands carried in bike shops. I’ll put it on the list to be added.

      • Thanks Pal

        Here’s another customer impressed with the Norco brand. Specifically the Norco 14. The frame is beautifully built and the components are good quality.