A wicked first bike for your all-terrain rider, the Pello Romper stands ready for action. With knobby, cushioning Kenda air tires, no coaster-brake and dual-hands brakes, the Romper will easily take your little one from basic single-track to the skate park. We’ve covered it all in our Romper review!
Pello Romper Review
RATING: Highly Recommended
BEST FOR: Balance bike graduates in tall 3T or transitioning to 4T pants. With knobby Kenda tires, the Romper is ideal for all-terrain riding, but the added weight of the tires may be limiting for timid riders.
SEAT HEIGHT: 17.25″ – 21.25″
WEIGHT: 15.9 lb.
BRAKES: Dual Hand with Coaster
- Thick and knobby Kenda air tires are perfect for all-terrain riding
- Tektro dual handbrakes
- For ultimate responsiveness in steering, built with a sealed cartridge bearing Cane Creek headset
- Higher gearing allows kids to gain more speed with each pedal stroke
- Larger frame and higher handlebars allow for more room for growth for taller or larger-framed kids
- Coaster brake can be removed with Pello’s $20 freewheel kit
- Bigger tires add weight – may be an issue for timid riders
Pello Romper Review – Results of Our Test Rides
From Kenda tires and Tektro brakes to Cane Creek headsets and lightweight aluminum frames, Pello Bikes ooze quality. Dreamt up and designed by a dad who couldn’t find a quality bike for his son, Pello Bikes went above and beyond creating a good bike. They created a new standard for US bike manufacturers.
Taking notes from successful European kids’ brands, Pello was designed from the ground up around the smaller proportions of a child. Built with “Ride Right” geometry, their bikes combine high-end components with child-specific geometry. Strong and mighty, the Romper is an incredible bike for eager preschoolers who will be tackling various terrains.
Weighing in at 15.9 lb., the 14″ Romper has been a sheer delight for our four-year-old testers to ride throughout the years. Wearing 4T clothes and with a 18.5″ inseam, our most recent girl tester was able to fit on both the Romper and the 16″ Pello Revo but found the smaller and lighter Romper easier to handle for most rides.
From paved bike trails to gravel roads and single-track, the Romper did not disappoint. On paved rides, our riders have happily kept up with the older kids in the pack, while on single-track and gravel, the knobby tires have provided much-needed grip for these uneven terrains.
The Pello Romper 14″ is designed to provide a seamless transition from the Pello Ripple balance bike. (Ripple has an inseam range of about 12.5″ to 17″.) The Romper’s seat height range of 17.25″ – 21.25″ makes kids with inseams in this same range a great fit. (First-time pedal bike riders need to have feet flat on the ground while they are sitting on the bike.)
Our 4-year-old tester on the left has an inseam of 18.5″. Because she’s already a very experienced pedal bike rider, her seat is raised to 20.25″ so that she’s on tip toes while seated and her legs have better extension on the pedals. While she fits great on the Romper, since she is an experienced rider, if we were buying her a new bike, the larger 16-inch Pello Revo would likely be a better option as it provides more room for growth.
Her 3-year-old sister on the right has an inseam of 15.5″. While many 14″ bikes are small enough for most 3-year-olds, the Romper is a larger 14″ bike and may be too large for a 3-year-old if your child is on the shorter side.
Our younger tester below (on the right) is on her tip toes while on the Romper. This seat height would not be ideal for a child transitioning from a balance bike to a pedal bike because they don’t have the ability to stop safely with their feet to regain balance. She should stay on her Ripple balance bike a little bit longer!
On the other hand, the Romper’s larger frame (wheelbase 28″) and higher handlebars allow for more room for growth for taller or larger framed kids as compared to smaller 14″ bikes. As a reference, the woom 2 has a minimum seat height of 16″ and a wheelbase of 25″, and the Prevelo Alpha One has a minimum seat height of 15.6″ and a wheelbase of 26″.
Frame & Geometry
The mid-rise handlebars of the Romper place riders in a comfortable, but not too relaxed, body position. This allows for easier balance and more natural control. While “aggressive” bikes tend to have a more leaned-in, aggressive body position, we’ve found that most high-end 12″ and 14″ bikes keep kids upright. Even mountain-bike specific brands like Spawn don’t have an aggressive body position for these little riders.
At this age, kids are just learning how to balance and pedal at the same time. They’ve got a lot to worry about! We believe it’s beneficial to keep a young, beginning rider in a more upright position (which feels more natural) with the option to lean in if they choose. A bike with an aggressive body position forces a child into a more aggressive position 100% of the time, which is not ideal for most beginning riders.
Pello Romper vs. Spawn Yoji
To accomodate for taller arms and torsos as kids grow, the handlebars of the Romper can be angled slightly outwards. If a child is petite and starting on the Romper at the minimum seat height, you may want to tilt the handlebars slightly towards them. In the image below, you can see how rotating the handlebars for a child has a mild effect on their body position and the amount of room they have to maneuver on the bike. It really comes down to personal preference and comfort level.
Pello Romper’s Rotating Handlebars
With a 3.7 gain ratio, the Romper is geared on par with other high-end bikes its size. With the woom 2 and the Prevelo Alpha One also at 3.7, this mid-range gearing allows developing riders to quickly gain speed. Gaining speed quickly on a first pedal bike is essential because it’s so much easier for young riders to balance a faster moving bike as compared to a slower moving bike.
The 3.7 gain ratio will also allow riders to gain more distance with every pedal stroke to help them keep up! Additionally, 3.7 is low enough to allow kids to tack moderate inclines without too much difficulty.
A lower gain ratio, for example 2.97 on the Cleary Gecko, makes is super easy to start pedaling, but then limits your top speed pretty drastically. Bikes with a lower gain ratio will have kids spinning their legs like mad to go anywhere.
Knobby to allow for traction on all surfaces, and wider to allow for more cushioning, the Kenda K50 14 x 2.1″ tires on the Romper are the largest of those on other high-end bikes with aggressive-tread tires. The Spawn Yoji‘s tires are 14 x 1.9″, while the Prevelo Alpha One’s tires are 14 x 1.5″.
The larger tires add weight to the bike but allow for more aggressive riding. Visually, the tires also lend the Romper more of a “mountain bike” look than a “road bike”.
The 2019 model of the Pello Romper now comes equipped with dual Tektro mini v-pull brakes for even better stopping power. (Previous models only had a rear brake.) Like all bikes this size (based on CPSC regulations), the Romper also comes with a coaster brake (back-pedal brake). Luckily, Pello offers a freewheel kit for just $20 that allows you to easily remove the coaster brake.
We do not love coaster brakes because they make it more difficult for riders to learn to pedal. Additionally, for kids who will be tackling more aggressive terrains, coaster brakes can cause unexpected stops and interrupt the flow of the ride.
For the ultimate responsiveness in steering, each Pello is built with a sealed cartridge bearing Cane Creek headset. Sealed to prevent dust from limiting movement, the headset keeps the handlebar and front tires firmly aligned, even after falls, and will surely keep the steering smooth and resistance-free for years to come.
The Romper’s saddle is padded and child-sized, while its proprietary custom-built crankset has a low q-factor (a narrower distance between the pedals) to facilitate Pello’s “Ride Ride Geometry”.
Romper vs. Revo
A 14″ bike is the first pedal bike for some children, while a 16″ bike is the first pedal bike for others. It all depends on how old and how tall a child is when they make the transition to a pedal bike without training wheels.
If your child is on the Pello Ripple balance bike (or similarly sized balance bike), the 14″ Romper is a great first pedal bike once the balance bike has been outgrown. The 16″ Revo would be a great first pedal bike for a child that started on a larger balance bike and transitioned a bit later.
The Revo is also a great second pedal bike for a child that rode a smaller 14″ bike like the Prevelo Alpha One or woom 2. Our tester below has been regularly riding the 14″ woom 2 and is now ready to transition to the 16″ Revo.
Compared to woom and Prevelo, who also design narrower, lighter-weight kid’s bikes, the Romper stands out with a larger frame (longer wheelbase, higher seat height range) and wider, knobby tires. While the wider tires increase the overall weight of the bike, they allow the bike to ride on all-terrain conditions.
Pello Romper Comparison
|Feature||Pello Romper||Prevelo Alpha One||YeeToo|
|Pello Romper||Prevelo Alpha One||woom 2|
|Seat Height||17.25" - 21.25"||15.6" – 17.5"||16" - 19"|
|Weight||15.9 lb.||14.4 lb.||11.2 lb.|
|Tires||12 x 2.1||12 x 1.5||12 x 1.5|
The Pello Romper is a wicked first bike for your all-terrain rider. With knobby, cushioning Kenda tires, the Romper is ideal for paved trails, dirt trails, gravel trails, or the skatepark. The added weight of the tires may be limiting for petite or timid riders.