The Prevelo Alpha One is one impressive (and tiny!) bike for the smallest and most eager balance bike graduates. With high-end components, sophisticated, yet kid-specific design, 14 inch tires, and durability to last through several kids, you’ll be wishing you were small enough to ride it.
This wicked little pony is the bike that one of our own Baby Bike Testers learned to pedal on, so it certainly holds a special place in our hearts. But is it right for your little rider? Read the review below to see how this 14 inch bike compares to other top brands.
Prevelo Alpha One Overview
BEST FOR: Adventurous and confident balance bikers who are transitioning young to a pedal bike
SEAT HEIGHT: 15.6″ – 17.5″
WEIGHT: 14.4 lb.
BRAKES: Tektro Dual Hand, Coaster (freewheel kit available)
- Low center-of-gravity for better balance
- Lower rise handlebars make shifting weight around a breeze for adventurous riders
- Responsive, easy-pull, dual-hand brakes
- Top quality components
- Lightweight, low step-through frame
- Freewheel kit available to remove coaster brake
- Only 2″ of seat height range limits room for growth
- Coaster brake (can be removed with a freewheel kit)
Prevelo Alpha One Review – Results of our Test Rides
We’ve had several kid bike testers rock the Prevelo Alpha One over the years. From brand-new balance bike graduates, to experienced pedal bike riders, one thing was always the same. They were all ecstatic to ride Prevelo’s 14 inch bike.
Our Baby Bike Tester started young on a balance bike, and was ready to make the transition to a pedal bike a few months before her 3rd birthday. As an aggressive balance biker, she was confidently dominating the pump track and skatepark, and had definitely become a balance bike master.
We opted to start her pedal bike journey with the Prevelo Alpha One because its slightly more aggressive body positioning would continue to encourage her growth as an adventurous rider.
With the freewheel kit installed to remove the coaster brake and allow for back pedaling, the process of learning to pedal was pretty easy. Kids small and young enough to ride the Alpha One may have a little difficulty learning to pedal forward, so you may need to help them a bit with this skill.
With a little practice and this super simple hack, Baby Bike Tester was successfully pedaling on her own at 2 years and 10 months old. Who was more excited – her or her mama?? Well, you can probably guess that one. She was pedaling furiously around the neighborhood in no time, with mama sprinting with the GoPro behind her.
Then it was just a week or so before she was ready to tackle the skatepark and try her balance bike tricks on her pedal bike!
Sizing Ideal for Young Balance Bike Graduates
With a seat height range of 15.6″ – 17.5″, the Prevelo Alpha one is one of the smallest 12″/14″ bikes we’ve seen, and is made for the youngest and smallest balance bike graduates. A 2″ range of seat height adjustability is a bit narrow, especially at this price point. Other high-end 14″ bikes, such as the woom 2 have about 3″ of seat height range.
The Alpha One, like all Prevelo bikes, boasts a premium quality frame and components, so while it may not last a single child too long, it will surely last through several children. (As it already has for us!)
If your child’s inseam is at least 17″, you should consider sizing up to Prevelo’s 16-inch Alpha Two. With a seat height range of 17″ to 25″ it will provide much more room for growth.
For a size reference, here is Baby Bike Tester maxed out on the Alpha One in mid-September, on the left. On the right she’s on the Alpha Two in early October, with the seat slammed all the way down to the collar.
Prevelo Alpha One vs Alpha Two
If you’re unsure which size is best for your child, consult with our kids bike sizing guide. Every child is different! In our case, our toddler is very tall. As a result, she transitioned from the Alpha One to the Alpha Two within about two months.
If we had not already had the Alpha One waiting in our garage for her (used by friends and cousins previously), I would have purchased the Alpha Two instead and kept her on a balance bike a little longer.
Prevelo Alpha One is Lightweight
Weighing in at only 14.4 pounds, (or 13.45 pounds with the freewheel kit installed), the Prevelo Alpha One isn’t the most lightweight 14″ bike on the market, but it’s pretty close! Its light weight makes it super easy for small kids to get it started and to maneuver.
Outside of the realm of high-end kids’ bikes, 12″/14″ bikes often weigh over 60% of a child’s body weight! For reference, the very popular RoyalBaby Freestyle 14″ weighs almost 22 pounds!
Heavy bikes make it very difficult for a small child to move without great effort, and also prevent a child from riding confidently and independently. Lightweight bikes cost more, but are worth every penny if you can afford it.
Our 3-year-old girl tester (seen above) had already been riding a small (and very heavy!) 12″ pedal bike, but had been struggling to get it started with each ride because of its weight. (I lifted it up, and seriously, it was well-proportioned for a 3-year-old but weighed a ton!)
The moment she got on the Alpha One, she pushed off the ground balance-bike-style, glided with ease, and began pedaling. She was all grins and actually refused to get back on her old bike when I requested to see her ride it! Lightweight bikes really are worth the higher price tag!
Geometry and Body Position – Perfect for Adventurous Riders
The images below show one of the primary reasons why a bike like the Prevelo Alpha One is so much more expensive than any 12″ bike you’re going to buy from a big-box store.
Our tester on the left looks so natural and comfortable on the Prevelo, especially compared to our tester on the right who’s riding a 12″ Huffy. Our Prevelo rider is sitting “in” the bike, rather than being perched on top of it.
Her arms are extended at a length that’s both comfortable and maximizes her ability to control her steering. The length of the Prevelo is far more stretched out than the Huffy, giving the rider adequate space for comfort, growth, and maneuverability.
All of this is a result of Prevelo’s laser focus on kids! All their bikes are designed specifically for kids and are built with kid-specific parts. Shockingly, most kids’ bikes aren’t actually built like this, with the kids’ bikes being more of an afterthought for a bike brand who also sells adult bikes.
Comfortable, but slightly leaned forward body position
Being designed for the youngest and smallest balance bike graduates, the Alpha One’s bike geometry places the child in a comfortable, mostly upright body position. This position is the most natural for young riders who are just learning the ropes and is common with high-end, kid-specific bike brands, like woom which is seen below (red bike in the middle).
The Alpha One’s handlebars are lower than the woom 2’s, which is perfect for aggressive and adventurous riders. This allows them to lean in for speed, and more easily shift their weight around.
The Cleary Gecko (on the right), is meant for the same size rider as the Alpha One, but places a child in a very leaned-forward, very aggressive position. While the Gecko is a high-quality bike, it’s actually too aggressive for most kids.
Dual Handbrakes, Coaster Brake, Optional Freewheel Kit
The Prevelo Alpha One features Tektro front and rear v-brakes with small reach brake levers. While it comes with a coaster brake (required by frustrating, antiquated laws!), you can buy an optional Freewheel kit to remove the coaster brake. We highly recommend getting rid of that coaster brake!
We started Baby Bike Tester on the Alpha One with a coaster brake and she found it very difficult to get the bike started. After about a week of frustration, we swapped out the back wheel with the freewheel kit. It made all the difference in the world and she quickly picked up the art of pedaling.
Alpha One Features Dual Hand Brakes and Internally-Routed Cable
All-terrain Tires for Any Adventure
The Kenda 14″ x 1.5″ tires with tread suitable for varied terrain, coupled with a gain ratio of 3.7, make the Alpha One suitable for basically any terrain your tiny rider may want to tackle.
Kenda 14″ x 1.5″ Tires are Suitable for Varied Terrains
Within a month of learning to pedal, Baby Bike Tester was dominating very mild singletrack in Bentonville, and rocking wood features at the bike park! The tire tread and gain ratio were perfect for all her off-roading adventures.
Optional 2-Speed Rear Wheel
As a single-speed bike, the Prevelo Alpha One’s 3.7 gain ratio is a great middle ground gearing for young, new riders. But if your little one would benefit from higher gearing to gain faster speeds, you should consider the 2-speed auto shift rear wheel ($110).
This wheel’s standard gain ratio is still 3.7, but when the rider hits 6 mph, the wheel automatically shifts to a gain ratio of 5.1. This higher gain ratio would be beneficial for little speed demons who will be covering longer distances on mostly flat terrain. If anything, it will help them keep up with their older siblings!
Ease of Assembly
The Prevelo Alpha One comes 95% assembled. All you’re required to do is install the handlebar, seat post and pedals. I assembled it myself in a matter of minutes, while my neighbor waited outside with her child who was eager to ride it. As an added bonus, as is typical with other high-end bikes, the Prevelo comes with all the tools you’ll need for the minimal assembly.
The Prevelo Alpha One comes in three colors – silver, purple and their newest color – blue!
Comparison of Small Bikes
There are very few bikes on the market that have a minimum seat height as low as the Prevelo Alpha One to accommodate the tiniest riders. Here are your three best options.
Prevelo Alpha One: 14″ tires, high-end components, upright body positioning, a lightweight aluminum frame, and a freewheel kit to remove the coaster brake make the Alpha One a winner in our book. Our one reservation is the narrow 2″ range of seat height adjustability. – If your child has not used a balance bike, be sure to check out Prevelo’s Alpha Zero balance bike.
ByK E-250: A more budget friendly option, but the components aren’t nearly as high-quality and the bike only has a coaster brake – no freewheel kit.
Guardian Ethos 14: Guardian’s SureStop braking system makes learning to master braking easier for kids. With just one brake lever that activates the rear and front brakes, it’s a no-brainer. The Guardian’s higher handlebars and less aggressive tires make it best for neighborhood riders.
Cleary Gecko: Not recommended. As mentioned above, this bike has a very aggressive body position that is uncomfortable for most riders. Its very small size makes its lifetime with your child limited. In our experience, kids rarely fit well on this bike past 6 months of use.
Bottom Line on the Prevelo Alpha One
Our young tester’s refusal to get back on her old bike pretty much sums it up. The Prevelo Alpha One is loved by kids because it’s made specifically for them!
Its light weight, kid-friendly design, and top-notch components makes it a joy to ride and makes the transition from a balance bike to a pedal bike seamless. As one of the smallest pedal bikes we’ve seen, it should be high on your consideration list for your very small balance bike graduate.
With lower handlebars and all-terrain tread tires, the Alpha One is particularly suited for adventurous and aggressive young balance bike graduates.