The perfect mix of road warrior and basic all-terrain cruiser, the Alpha Four is built with kid-specific geometry for a precise, comfortable fit. Trigger shifters can be challenging riders with small hands or those with developing hand/eye coordination.
Seat Height: 25.8" - 31.2"
Weight: 21.2 lb.
Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy
Tire Size: 24"
Brake Type: V-Brakes
Speed/Shifters: 8 sp/Trigger
Chain Ring: 32t
Geared Bike Type: Street/Light Trail
Gain Ratio: 2.2 - 6.8
Wheelbase: 968 mm
Available Online: Yes
Following in the footsteps of Islabikes, WOOM and others, Prevelo bikes are designed specifically for kids. Far from a mere scaled down version of an adult bike made with off-the-shelf components, Prevelos are designed for kids using kid-specific geometry and parts. Built on lightweight frames, with a lower bottom bracket for a low center of gravity, in the words of our tester, the Prevelo Alpha Four truly offers a “smooth” and comfortable ride.
Weight and Geometry
With his first ride on the Prevelo, our 8-year-old tester in size 10 clothes was in love. From paved bike paths to compacted dirt trails, he felt at home on the Prevelo. The lightweight frame helped him easily cruise up and down hills. Weighing 75 lbs. and with the Prevelo weighing in at only 21.2 lbs., the bike is just under 30% of his body weight, which is the ideal percentage often hard to achieve for kids’ bikes. As a comparison, the similarly sized, equipped, and priced Trek Kids’ Neko is 3.5 lb. heavier, weighing 33% of his body weight.
An ambitious rider, the low bottom bracket height of 9.9 inches provides a lower center-of-gravity, helping our tester maintain his balance when shifting his weight around corners. In addition, child-specific components provide for a narrow Q-factor (essentially width between pedals) of 6.5″, preventing leg splay and allowing our tester to get maximum power of on each pedal stroke. The custom made crank arms are absolutely straight, with no bend, to maintain the low Q-factor. Lastly, a minimum seat height of 25.8″ allows kids as young as 7 years old to ride a 24″ bike. More in-depth explanations of the importance of a low bottom bracket and a narrow Q-factor can be found in our article What to Look for When Purchasing a Child’s Bike.
The Alpha Four has a Shimano ALTUS 8-speed drivetrain with a gain ratio ranging from 2.2 to 6.8. Unlike WOOM and Islabikes, Prevelo has trigger rather than grip shifters. While there are pros and cons to each system, for kids old enough to ride a 24″ bike, it really comes down to personal preference. Grip shifters require kids to twist the shifter forward or back to shift, while trigger shifters require kids to use their pointer finger to shift up and their thumb to shift down. In general, although triggers require less effort to engage than grip shifters, kids need either a lot of practice or good hand-eye coordination to comfortably shift with a trigger shifter.
Tektro front and rear v-brakes smoothly bring the Alpha Four to a stop. With a small reach, they were easy to pull and activate for young hands,
While there are multiple factors that determine the geometry of a bike, the height of the handlebars plays an important role. The Alpha’s handlebars are set slightly slower on the frame of the bike, which requires the rider to lean forward more to reach the handlebars. While we wouldn’t classify the Prevelo as an aggressive bike, the rider’s position on the bike will make it less comfortable for timid riders.
Prevelo Alpha vs. Prevelo Zulu
Prevelo bikes offer two lines – the base Alpha, for everyday riding and light cross-country, and the Zulu, for advanced trail riding. The Alpha line is available in sizes ranging from a balance bike to a 24″ kid’s bike, and the Zulu is only available in 20″ and 24″ bikes. The Alpha line has a shiny aluminum frame with a matte black fork, while the Zulu bikes have a matte gray frame with a black suspension fork.
The Prevelo Alpha series is an exceptional line of bikes for eager young riders. Lightweight with a low-center-of-gravity, the Alphas are fun and easy to ride. With trigger shifters and a lower handlebar, the Alpha Four is best suited for eager riders, aged 7 to 10, ready to tackle whatever trail lies in front of them.
By: Natalie Martins
Last Updated: May 30, 2016
FTC Disclosure: No monetary compensation was provided for this review. Prevelo Bikes provided products to Two Wheeling Tots LLC to help facilitate this review. All opinions and images are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC and should not be used or replicated in any way. Two Wheeling Tots LLC is an affiliate of Prevelo Bikes and all included links to Prevelo are affiliate links.