Perfect mid-range bike for kids aged 2.5 and up. Extended seat post is provided, but makes the seat too tall for the bike's wheelbase.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Seat Height: 13" - 18.5"
Weight: 8.5 lb.
Brakes: Hand Brake
Tire Size: 12"
Grips Bumper: Yes
Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy
One of the first balance bikes widely available in the US, KinderBike has often been considered one of the innovators of modern balance bikes. Developed in Germany in 2004 and brought to the United States in 2005, KinderBikes changed the game by offering bikes with aluminum frames, air tires, a hand brakes and lifetime warranties. Although packed with features, the KinderBikes are still moderately priced and are often available for around $100. While we previously expressed some concerns with KinderBikes, we’ve recently had a chance to review their newer models and they did not disappoint. From their fully-adjustable seat (move up and down and front to back) to their height-adjustable handlebars, we’ve rated the KinderBike Laufrad Mini “Highly Recommended” for toddlers aged 18 months and up and the Laufrad “Highly Recommended” for kids ages 2.5 to 3.5. As icing on the cake, all new 2015 KinderBikes come standard with an extended seat post that extends the seat range on the Laufrad to 13″ to 22.5″ and the Mini to 11″ to 20″.
Available in four different models, the KinderBike series has something for everyone. The Mini and E-Series (essentially the Mini but with foam tires) are designed for the youngest riders and have a minimum seat height of 11″. The Laufrad is larger than the Mini and has a minimum seat height of 13″. When tested with various aged kids, between the two, we had no problems fitting the bikes on kids aged 2 to 4. While the Laufrad was the most universal, only the Mini was able to fit our small two-year-old testers in size 24 months clothes. The fourth model, the Morph, is a convertible bike that is due out this Spring.
Compared to other bikes in the $100 price range, the lighter weight of the KinderBikes was especially noticed by our preschoolers. Having ridden several balance bikes over 10 lbs., our four-year-testers was particularly nimble on the Laufrad and thoroughly enjoyed having a hand brake at his disposal. Two pounds heavier than the Strider and less than one heavier than the FirstBIKE and Islabike, the weight of the Mini was a concern for one of our two-year-old testers. Weighing only 25 lbs., he preferred a lighter balance bike to the Mini, however, our other 35 lb., two-year-old testers, loved the Mini and preferred it to the 10 lb. Schwinn he was previously riding.
Having tested the bikes on several kids, the adjustability of the KinderBikes was especially convenient. While the quick-release seat adjust helped to alter the height of the seat, the ability to adjust the angle of the seat helped to provide a more comfortable ride for kids at various skill levels. Confident runners are more comfortable on with a seat slightly angled down (which allows them to lean forward) while walkers prefer a leveled seat (which helps them maintain their sense of balance). While common in pedal bikes, the ability to adjust the angles of a seat is not amongst balance bikes.
Compared to the similarly priced Strider, the KinderBike Mini is heavier, but has air tires, a hand brake, an aluminum frame, a lifetime warranty and a lower step-through height.
For preschoolers, the TykesBykes 12″ and the KinderBike Laufrad are also similar in price and size. Although they both have a minimum seat height of 13″, the TykesBykes frame is larger overall and has larger-profile tires. The handlebars of of both bikes are also height-adjustable, but the TykesBykes cannot be lowered as far down as the KinderBikes.
Compared to the higher-end Scoot, the Laufrad is noticeably smaller in size. While the Laufrad’s seat is able to lower an inch more than the Scoot’s, is it also smaller, shorter and narrower (handlebar width) than the Scoot.
Due to previous reports of difficulty getting ahold of KinderBike’s customer service, we decided to contact them ourselves (not as Two Wheeling Tots, but as an “unknown customer”) to see if we could get some help with one of our bikes. Our first attempt to reach them via their contact form on their site was not successful. After several attempts of filling out their form, we were unable to get past the four letter security code (even though we know we filled it out correctly). Next, we called the number listed on their site, (888) 666-9310, and left a message. Within 45 minutes, they returned our call and were extremely kind and helpful. So in the end, we found their customer service to be very helpful, but reaching them did require calling them versus via email.
For $100, the KinderBikes are easily one of the best bikes in their price range. The Mini is great for larger toddlers while the Laufrad is a perfect starter bike for preschoolers.
By: Natalie Martins
Last Updated: January 24, 2017
FTC Disclosure: Two Wheeling Tots was provided a Kinderbike Lafraud and Lafraud Mini from Kinderbike to help facilitate this review. All opinions are our own, and no monetary composition was provided for this review.