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 a few of our own 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: 14.8″ – 19.3″
WEIGHT: 13.3 lb. (with freewheel installed)
BRAKES: Tektro Dual Hand, Coaster (freewheel kit available)
FRAME: Aluminum Alloy
GAIN RATIO: 3.7
WHEEL SIZE: 14 inch
- New 2023 model has more room for growth than most other 14 inch bikes
- 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
- Very tight knee bend at minimum seat height (true for all tiny bikes)
Prevelo Alpha One Video Review
Want to watch our little grom ride a pedal bike for the very first time? Watch our video review right here! Note: This video is for the previous model of the Prevelo Alpha One. Specific specs mentioned may no longer apply to the 2023 model.
Prevelo Alpha One Review – Results of our Test Rides
Note: The Alpha One has been updated for 2023. The red bike shown in this review is the updated 2023 model. The silver bike is the previous model.
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 is always the same – they are all ecstatic to ride Prevelo’s 14 inch bike.
Our 2-year-old tester (shown on the sliver bike) 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.
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, this little one 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
An increased size range was a major focus of the updates made to the 2023 Prevelo Alpha One. Featuring a lower minimum seat height and a higher maximum seat height (14.8″ – 19.3″), this little Alpha now boasts about 4.5″ of seat height range. Other high-end 14″ bikes, such as the woom 2 have about 3″ of seat height range.
With a minimum seat height of 14.8″, the updated 2023 Prevelo Alpha One now has the lowest seat height of any of the 12″/14″ bike we’ve tested, and is ideal for the youngest and smallest balance bike graduates. (The Cleary Gecko was previously the smallest at 15.25″).
We have not yet tested the 2023 Alpha One with a child small enough to need the minimum seat height, and who can also ride a pedal bike. As a result, we cannot currently speak to the experience of pedaling with the Alpha at its new super low minimum seat height, but will update this review as soon as we do.
Can Be Used as a Balance Bike First
With such a low minimum seat height for a pedal bike, but also lower handlebars (the woom 2 and Pello Romper have higher-rise bars), the Alpha One’s geometry is a good option for kids who still need a little time on a balance bike before they are ready to pedal. Simply take the pedals off, and little ones can learn to balance and maneuver the bike before also adding in the complication of pedaling.
Here you can see our 36″ tall petite 3-year-old tester with the saddle set to its minimum. She has a decent knee bend to allow for a comfortable running stride, and the reach to the handlebars is natural and easy.
More Room For Growth on the High End
While the older model Alpha One maxed out at a seat height of 17.5″, the 2023 model raises that almost 2″ to 19.3″. Paired with slightly higher handlebars than the older Alpha, this new Alpha is a pretty good fit for kids on the higher size range. Our 3-year-old tester below is 40″ tall and has the saddle set to 18.9″.
Alpha One or Alpha Two for Taller Riders?
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 17.25″ to 25″ it will provide much more room for growth.
For a visual size reference, here is our 2-year-old on the 2021 Alpha One on the left. The saddle is set to 17.5″, which was previously the max seat height. On the right she’s on the 2021 Alpha Two about 3 weeks later, with the seat slammed all the way down to the collar at 17″.
While the geometry of both of these bikes have changed in the 2023 models, the sizing comparison remains relevant if you’re trying to decide between the Prevelo Alpha One and Two.
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 skipped the Alpha One, kept her on a balance bike a little longer, and purchased the Alpha Two.
How Do They Get the Seat That Low (and High)?
Traditional bicycle design and geometry limit how low a saddle can sit on the bike’s frame. On the 2023 Alpha One model, Prevelo made several significant design changes to allow for that super low 14.8″ minimum seat height to pair with a much higher max seat height (19.3″).
Lower Minimum Seat Height
(1) Frame Hugger Saddle: The underside of this proprietary saddle is over an inch slimmer than a typical saddle, which allows it to sit much closer to the bike’s frame. The seat post and saddle are one piece, eliminating the much bulkier railed-saddle design.
(2) TallClamp: This taller clamping system creates space for the quick release clamp to open and close, despite how low the saddle is sitting on the frame.
(3) Pushed Forward Bottom Bracket: The bottom bracket (where the pedals connect to the frame) is placed slightly in front of the seat tube instead of directly underneath it. This allows for the child to extend their legs slightly more in front of them as they pedal, instead of directly down. This creates more space for legs without raising the seat height, and provides enough room for legs to pedal when sitting at a super low seat height.
2023 Prevelo Alpha One vs. Previous Model
Higher Maximum Seat Height
(1) Pushed Forward Bottom Bracket: With the bottom bracket placed in front of the seat tube, this allows the seat tube to extend down past the bottom bracket, creating more length for a longer seat post.
(2) Thru Tube: The seat tube is open at the bottom, allowing the seat post to be inserted farther into the frame than is standard.
NOTE: Realistically, this higher maximum seat height could also be achieved by providing an additional, longer seat post. However, due to the design of the one-piece Frame Hugger Saddle, you would need a new seat post and saddle, which would significantly increase the cost.
Prevelo Alpha One is Lightweight
The Alpha One, like all Prevelo bikes, boasts a premium quality, lightweight aluminum frame and components. Weighing in at only 13.7 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.
One of our 3-year-old girl testers 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
Designed for the youngest and smallest balance bike graduates, the Alpha One’s bike geometry places the child in a slightly leaned forward body position. This position is comfortable for confident young riders who are just learning the ropes, but are likely to be adventurous.
The Alpha One’s handlebars are lower than the woom 2’s, which is often preferred by aggressive and athletic riders. Here you can see how our 40″ tall rider looks maxed out on the woom 2, and almost maxed out on the Prevelo Alpha One.
She is just slightly more leaned forward on the Alpha One, but her arms are placed significantly lower on her body compared to the woom 2.
This updated 2023 Prevelo model has a smaller cockpit than previously, in large part due to the upright seat tube angle which doesn’t create much more room as the seat height is raised (because it’s being raised almost straight up vs. up and angled back over the rear tire). Above, you can see how upright the seat post on the Alpha One is compared to the more angled woom seat post.
The Cleary Gecko 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 a bit too aggressive for many kids.
High-Quality Dual Handbrakes
The Prevelo Alpha One features front and rear v-brakes with small reach brake levers and small diameter grips.
While it comes with a coaster brake (required by frustrating, antiquated laws!), you can buy an optional Freewheel kit to remove the coaster brake (back pedal brake). We highly recommend getting rid of that coaster brake!
We started our 2-year-old 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. Being able to pedal backwards made all the difference in the world and she quickly picked up the art of pedaling.
Because brand new pedal bike riders typically back pedal a lot, the free wheel kit also allowed her to keep her momentum going when she back pedaled, instead of being stopped in her tracks by a coaster brake.
Kenda Small Block 8, All-terrain Tires
The Kenda Small Block 8 14″ x 1.5″ tires have a tread suitable for basically any terrain your tiny rider may want to tackle. Within a month of learning to pedal, our 2-year-old (now 3!) grom was dominating very mild singletrack in Bentonville, and rocking wood features at the bike park! The tire tread was perfect for racing through the neighborhood, as well as all of her off-roading adventures.
All 2023 Alpha models now feature wider tire clearance. Front and rear tires can be upgraded to tires up to 2.1″ wide at purchase for $49.
Gain Ratio (Gearing)
As a single-speed bike, the Prevelo Alpha One’s 3.7 gain ratio is a great middle ground gearing for young, new riders. It’s easy to get started pedaling, but also provides enough oomph to gain and maintain speed on straight aways.
As with all 12″ and 14″ bikes, once a child masters the pedal bike and gains high levels of confidence, the small wheels and lower gearing do limit a child’s ability to keep up with older siblings, so keep your family bike ride expectations in check. 🙂
Ease of Assembly
The Prevelo Alpha One comes 95% assembled. All you’re required to do is install the handlebar 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 four colors – silver, pink, blue and red.
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. (The woom 2 has a higher minimum seat height of 16″.)
Prevelo Alpha One: 14″ tires, high-end components, semi-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. 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 has a coaster brake – no freewheel kit.
Cleary Gecko: This bike has an aggressive body position that isn’t ideal for most riders. Its very small size makes its lifetime with your child limited.
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.