A top-notch, well-built bike perfect for beginning riders likely to advance to more adventurous riding such as curb jumping or pump tracks.
Seat Height: 18" - 26"
Weight: 14.9 lb.
Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy
Tire Size: 16"
Brakes: No Coaster Dual Hand
Gain Ratio: 3.8
Wheelbase: 730 mm
Available Online: Yes
Slick, fun, and fast, the Prevelo Alpha Two 16″ kid’s bike will quickly turn any child into a bike enthusiast. Built on a lightweight, low center-of-gravity frame, with Tektro dual-hand brakes and no coaster brake, the Prevelo Alpha Two is a phenomenal first ride for kids in 4T or size 5 pants or experienced riders in 3T pants.
With an ideal combination of a lightweight, low-step through frame, waist-high handlebars and a low-center of gravity design, the Prevelo was a joy to ride. Our confident, but not adventurous, 5-year-old tester eagerly rode it up and down mild hills and on paved and light gravel trails (we didn’t have a chance to try it out on groomed trails but we don’t doubt that it would excel there as well). Feeling how fast the bike was, he even extended his ride just to run some speed tests on the bike. 🙂 (And now, he wasn’t going 39 mph, but he certainly thought he was!)
Our six-year-old tester was equally enamored with the bike. Although he is a better fit on the larger Prevelo Alpha Three 20″, he loved the quick and nimble ride of the 16″ and quickly began trying out tricks with the bike (top middle picture below).
Prevelo Two 16″ Kid’s Bike in Action
Weight and Geometry
At just under 15 pounds, the Prevelo Alpha Two is one of the lightest 16″ bikes on the market. Our testers both felt uninhibited on the Alpha Two and wanted to ride faster, and longer are were willing to be more adventurous. In addition to its low weight, the Prevelo has a low center-of-gravity design that makes it easier to balance. Compared to lower-end bikes, the bottom bracket (where the crank arms attach the frame of the bike) is closer to the ground, which allows the rider to sit lower to the ground which lowers the overall center-of-gravity of the bike.
With a low bottom bracket and low-rise handlebars, the Prevelo Alpha Two offers comfortable – not too relaxed and not too aggressive – riding position. Compared to other higher-end bikes, the Prevelo Alpha Two is mid-range in overall body position, making it a great bike for beginning riders who are likely to progress to more advanced, adventurous rides (i.e., curbs, groomed trails, pump track). A bike with an upright position, like the WOOM3 is best for timid riders while a bike with a more leaned-in aggressive position, like the Cleary Hedgehog, is better for riders likely to tackle curbs, basic trail riding or pump tracks.
Prevelo Alpha Two Body Position vs. WOOM3 and Cleary Hedgehog
Seat Height: The Prevelo Alpha Two 16″ comes with two seat posts which allows the seat to range from 18″ to 26″ as it comes with two seat posts. We tested out the bike with a 5-year-old with a 19″ inseam and a 6-year-old with a 21″ inseam. The 5-year-old fit on the Alpha Two perfectly with the seat height set to 21″ (he is an experienced rider) and the bike fit him perfectly with room for growth. The 6-year-old experienced rider set the seat post to 24″ and while he enjoyed riding the bike, it was slightly too small for him. As a result, we believe the usable seat height range for the Alpha Two to be 18″ to 24″. The Alpha Two is, therefore, a best fit for experienced riders (those who have already mastered a pedal bike) with an inseam of 15″ to 21″. For beginning riders, who are transitioning from a pedal bike, the Alpha Two is a best for kids with an inseam ranging from 18″ to 20″. The smaller range for beginning riders is to allow for more room growth on the bike once they master pedaling.
16″ Bike vs. 20″ Bike: Compared to the Prevelo Alpha Three 20″ bike, the 16″ is smaller, but both our 5 and 6-year-old testers were able to ride both bikes. The seat height of the Prevelo Alpha 20″ ranges from 20.7″ to 25.5″ which significantly overlaps with the seat height range of the Prevelo Two which is 18″ to 26″. As a parent, it’s important to remember that just because a kid can technically ride a bike, it may not be the best fit for him. So which size bike is best for your child? As explained below, we found the 16″ to be the best for kids with an inseam ranging from 16″ to 20″ and the Prevelo Three 20″ to be best for kids with an inseam of 20″ to 24″.
In our tests, the 20″ was too much to handle for our 5-year-old in size 5 clothes with a 19″ inseam as it required him to stretch out considerably to reach the handlebars. The shifters for the gears and overall larger size were also unnecessary for him as he generally sticks to basic neighborhood riding. For kids like him, the 16″ is definitely the way to go.
For our adventurous 6-year-old rider in size 6 clothes with a 21″ inseam, the Prevelo Alpha Three 20″ was a much better fit as he easily reached the handlebars eagerly rides the bike whenever he gets a chance.
Prevelo Alpha 16″ and 20″ Sizing Comparison
The Prevelo has a gain ratio of 3.8, which places it on the higher-end of the gain ratios for 16″ bikes. Lower gain ratios make it easier to start pedaling, which makes them better for beginning riders but does limit the top speed of the bike. Low gain ratios also make the bike easier to pedal up a hill. Most 16″ bikes are made with a lower gain ratio to help beginning riders start to pedal easier as well as gain speed faster. Bikes are much more stable at higher speeds, so reaching faster speeds more quickly is ideal for beginning and especially timid riders.
Higher gain ratios are harder to get started pedaling and can take a couple of seconds longer to reach more stable speeds, but once they get going the rider has the advantage of reaching a much higher top speed than on a bike with a lower gain ratio. The Prevelo Alpha Two’s gain ratio is on the higher-end, so it’s best for riders willing to power through the first few seconds of pedaling for the reward of faster speeds on the other side. For our 5-year-old tester, the gain ratio certainly wasn’t too high as he LOVED being able to gain more speed on the bike and had no problems going up small hills and jumps around the neighborhood.
Tackling Mild Hills with Prevelo’s Higher Gain Ratio
Cranks & Chainguard
One of our previous concerns with the Prevelo Alpha Two was the chainguard, but Prevelo has solved the issue and all bikes are now shipped with a properly mounting chainguard.
Prevelo Alpha Two Chainguard
Prevelo’s Tektro brakes stop quickly and efficiently. Our testers had no problems reaching or activating the dual handbrakes. Coaster brake free, the Prevelo allows beginning riders to naturally pedal backward when losing their balance while allowing more experienced riders to properly position their pedals before take off.
Prevelo Alpha Two Easy Reach Tektro Handbrakes
Prevelo Alpha Two vs. Cleary Hedgehog vs. WOOM3
Prevelo Alpha, Cleary and WOOM’s 16″ bikes are all amazing. With all three bikes at our disposal for several months, we can honestly say that you really can’t go wrong with any of the bikes, but they are uniquely different. While all the bikes perform flawlessly around the neighborhood, each bike excelled slightly better in distinct situations.
Prevelo Alpha Two: Wide handlebars make it more “mountain bike” style as it provides a wider base for the hands. Their set up is ideal for adventurous young riders who are ready to hit the pump track, single track, or every curb between the park and your house.
Cleary Hedgehog: A slightly more aggressive geometry combined with its lower gain ratio of 2.88 makes it better for adventurous kids who are either riding around hills or are planning on hitting basic single track with mom or dad. The Cleary also has the ability to lower or raise the gain ratio within the range 2.56 to 3.54 to adjust for hills or flat rides.
WOOM3: The upright position makes it ideal for timid riders or those who are hesitant to start riding. The WOOM3 is also a great all-around bike for the average rider who is planning on riding around the neighborhood or paved bike trails. Fined tuned from top to bottom and backed by years of research, WOOM bikes pioneered the upright positioning for beginning riders and is a tried and true favorite for our testers.
The Prevelo Alpha Two 16″ bike is an exceptional top-quality bike that any child would love. Best for young riders with a lot of ambition, the Alpha Two is sure to take your child from beginning wobbles to a little shredder.
By: Natalie Martins
Last Updated: August 29, 2017
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.