Small, mighty and coaster brake-free, the Joey 2.5 is a great choice for eager little pedalers. Comes with training wheels and a push bar! All the details covered in our review.
Joey 2.5 Bike Review
BEST FOR: Young riders ready to tackle two wheels with or without training wheels.
SEAT HEIGHT: 16.5″ – 18.25″
WEIGHT: 14.8 lb.
TIRE SIZE: 14″
BRAKES: Dual Hand, no Coaster
- Longer wheelbase for increased stability
- Upright geometry for easier balancing
- Push bar and training wheels both included
- Coaster-brake free
- Only 1.75″ of seat height adjustments
- Single-pivot brakes versus v-pull
Joey 2.5 Kids Bike – Results of our Test Rides
Small and capable, the Joey 2.5 is a great little bike for young, eager pedalers ready to tackle two wheels. Coming standard with training wheels as well as a push bar for parents, the Joey 2.5 is also an affordable choice for kids who have not yet learned to independently balance a bike. Our young testers loved the Joey and found it to be easy and fun to ride!
With NO coaster brake (a RARE find for a bike this small – we’re not quite sure how they got away with it!), the Joey is especially a great bike for those littles one still learning how to pedal.
Coaster brakes are problematic for young riders because while learning to pedal, most kids accidentally pedal backwards when they lose their balance on the bike. Upon doing so, the coaster brake activates, which leads to an unexpected fall and usually a crash. With no coaster brake, the Joey is a great bike to learn to pedal on.
Another perk of the Joey is that it comes with a push bar which allows parents to help keep their kids upright when the are learning to balance and pedal the bike! Significantly better than holding the back of the seat, the push bar often gives young, hesitant riders the extra confidence they need to take on two wheels! If your child has already mastered a balance bike, this push bar would not be necessary.
Included Push Bar on the Joey 2.5
The Joey 2.5 is best-suited for ages 3 and 4 and has a seat height ranging from 16.5″ to 18.25″. The recommend inseam of a child depends on how the child plans on using the bike (with or without training wheels). Our 41″ tall 3-year-old boy tester with an 18″ inseam fit great on the bike, but the bike offered little room for growth. We recommend referring to our kids bike sizes chart for help on ensuring the right bike size for your child.
Without Training Wheels: For young riders ready to balance and pedal, the Joey would be a best fit for those with an inseam ranging from 16″ to 17″. With an inseam equal to or just under the seat height of the bike, the child would be able to touch the ground with both of their feet, which is necessary to help them start and stop the bike as they are learning.
With Training Wheels: With training wheels, kids don’t need the ability to touch the ground with their feet during starts and stops, so their inseam can be much less than the seat height. A child with an inseam ranging from 15″ to 17″ would be able to ride the Joey with training wheels.
With Push Bar: Because the push bar mounts to the seat post, the seat cannot be lowered all the way down when the bar is attached. The minimum seat height on the bike with the push bar attached is 18″. Although parents are able to help balance the bike, to be safe, it is best if the child can touch the ground with both feet while they are on the bike. This means that kids with an inseam of 17.5″ or higher would be best suited for riding the Joey with the push bar.
The Joey 2.5 provides a relatively upright geometry to help kids gain and maintain balance while on the bike. The frame design of the bike also positions the rider lower on the bike (closer to the rear tire) than many bikes at this price point and below. Sitting lower on the bike creates a low center-of-gravity design to increase stability at lower speeds.
When compared to the somewhat similar 14″ Royalbaby H2, the Joey has a much lower center-of-gravity and was preferred by our testers.
Geometry of Royalbaby H2 versus Joey 2.5
Weighing only 14.4 lb., the Joey 2.5 is mid-range for a 14″ bike but is certainly lighter-weight than other 14″ bikes at its price point. As a comparison, the popular Raleigh MXR 12 weighs 17.3 lb. and the higher-end Commencal Ramones 14″ weighs 15.6.
Its light weight certainly helped our 4-year-old tester easily ride the bike up and around various obstacles in the neighborhood. As a new rider with only two months under his belt, starting and stopping the bike, especially on uneven surfaces, is still a bit of a challenge and doing so with a lightweight bike helps to ease the process.
Very unique for a 12″ bike, the Joey has dual hand brakes and no coaster brake! The lack of coaster brake is a huge benefit for young riders as they learn to pedal and navigate the bike. When learning to balance a bike, kids naturally pedal backward when they lose their balance.
On a bike equipped with a coaster brake, pedaling backward leads to an unexpected stop versus helping them regain their balance. Without a coaster brake, kids can pedal backward to regain their balance and then forward again without concerns of unexpected stops.
Without a coaster brake, however, it’s important that kids know how to use a hand brake before they ride the bike. If your child has never used a bike with handbrakes, be sure to have them walk next to the bike and practice activating the hand brakes before their first ride.
Also be sure to teach them to always brake with both handbrakes at the same time or with only the right brake lever. Just braking with the left lever can potentially cause the bike’s front tire to lock up, then causing the rear tire to come off the ground and the child being bucked off the bike. Placing a colorful piece of tape or ribbon on the right brake lever can help kids remember which brake lever to use.
Single-pivot brakes on the Joey 2.5
The brake mechanism on the front and rear tire of the Joey are single-pivot brakes versus v-pull. Single-pivot brakes are typically much more finicky than v-pull brakes and can be a challenge to properly align and keep aligned. Upon assembling the Joey, the brakes did need a good amount of tweaking to properly work, but once we go them aligned, they worked fine. If you’re unfamiliar with adjusting single-pivot brakes, any local bike shop would certainly be able to help you out.
The Joey also features a threaded headset that has an additional inch of height adjustment. While minor, raising the handlebars can help maintain the rider’s upright position on the bike as they grow.
As mentioned previously, the Joey comes with a push bar that mounts to the seat post of the bike. While mounting to the seat post allows the push bar to easily come on and off, the push bar does raise the minimum seat height of the bike to 18″.
Be aware that if the seat post collar (the black clamp at the base of the seat post) is not properly tightened prior to using the push bar, the push bar can cause the child’s seat to twist as they ride.
Joey 2.5, Royalbaby H2, and ByK E-250
Joey 2.5: Small and coaster-brake free, the Joey is best for young, timid riders who would benefit from getting a little extra help from mom and dad with the push bar. As the most affordable of the bunch, the Joey 2.5 is also a great deal!
Royalbaby H2: The 18.25″ minimum seat height of the H2 is equal to the maximum seat height of the Joey, so even though they are both 14″ bikes, the H2 fits taller kids. Although the H2 has better components than the other bikes, it also has the highest center-of-gravity, which isn’t ideal for young riders.
ByK E-250: With a minimum seat height of 15.7″ (almost an inch lower than the Joey 2.5), the ByK can accommodate younger and shorter kids, but also comes with a push bar for parents. The ByK also has 2.5″ inches of seat height adjustment, so it offers more room to grow. Unlike the other bikes, the ByK does have a coaster brake which can slow a child’s ability to learn how to pedal and balance a bike.
If you’re interested in other 12 inch and 14 inch options, check out our list of 10 favorites!
RoyalBaby H2 Comparison
|RoyalBaby H2||Joey 2.5||ByK E-250|
|Seat Height||18.25″ – 20″||16.5″ – 18.25″||15.7″- 18.1″|
|Weight||15.2 lb.||14.8 lb.||14.4 lb.|
|Brakes||No coaster||No coaster||Coaster|
RoyalBaby H2 Bottom Line
The Joey 2.5 is a solid choice for young riders ready to start off on their pedal bike journey without the worry of a coaster brake slowing them down. Coming standard with training wheels and a push bar, the Joey is also a great choice for those not quite ready for two wheels. With only 1.75″ of adjustment on the seat height, the longevity of the Joey is limited and kids will likely only properly fit the bike for a year or so.