Ridgeback Scoot XL

Balance Bike Review

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With a larger frame and tire (14") than the Scoot, the Scoot XL is perfect for taller kids too big for a 12" but not yet able to manage a 16" bike.

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Product Specifications

MSRP: $209

Recommendation: Exceptional

Seat Height: 16" - 22"

Weight: 11.6 lb.

Brakes: Hand Brake

Footrest: No

Limiter: No

Tire Size: 14"

Grips Bumper: Yes

Bolts: Exposed

Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy

Review

Not to big, not too small, the Ridgeback Scoot XL is the perfect bike for older preschoolers or grade schoolers who have yet to learn how to ride a pedal bike.  The Scoot XL is geared towards kids aged 4 to 8 who have no biking experience at all, who have only used training wheels (and can’t get rid of them), or who have outgrown their small balance bike but don’t yet have the desire or confidence to move up to a pedal bike.

2017 Updates

The new 2017 Scoot XL has been updated with whimsical graphics, a re-positioning of the brake lever to the right side (per US standards) and also comes with touch-up paint for the rare scratch or chip.  The weight of the bike has also been reduced from 12.5 lb. to 11.6 lb.

Updated Scoot XL Features

Larger Balance Bikes: The Purpose

Larger balance bikes, such as the Scoot XL, are designed for older/taller kids who have yet to master a pedal bike without training wheels.  While the majority of 4 to 8 year-old’s have the skill level to transition from a balance bike to a pedal bike or the confidence to finally remove the training wheels, some kids do not.  The Scoot XL is the perfect solution for kids stuck in the transition gap.  The Scoot XL is typically a child’s first balance bike, but can also be an upgrade for taller preschoolers with a smaller balance bike who are not yet ready to transition to a pedal bike.

4 and 5-year-old riders on the Scoot XL Balance Bike

Scoot XL with 4 and 5 year old riders.

Another option for kids having difficulty transitioning to a pedal bike is to remove the pedals from a bike and have the child use the bike as a balance bike.  While this method typically works just fine for athletic and/or eager riders, it is not a feasible or fun solution for many kids.  Pedal bikes typically weigh at least double the weight of a balance bike, making them much harder to balance and maneuver.  In addition, by the time kids are ready to add the pedals back on the bike, they are often too big for the bike or quickly outgrow it.

Lastly, even for kids who have already mastered a pedal bike, they typically return back to their balance bikes from time to time.  Pedal bikes are fast, but they are very challenging for young riders on jumps, curbs and on winding dirt trails with uneven surfaces, all areas where balance bikes excel.

Scoot XL Size

With a 14″ wheel, the Scoot XL is perfectly proportioned for kids who are too tall for a 12″ bike yet too short to handle the longer reach required by a 16″ wheeled balance bike or pedal bike with training wheels.  For young kids learning how to glide on a balance bike, the sizing of a bike can greatly increase or decrease their rate of their progress.  Too small and they can’t properly lean in to gain speed or balance, too big and they can easily get overwhelmed because large bikes are hard to steer as their handlebars are often too high.  As one of few 14″ balance bikes, the Scoot XL provides plenty of room for growth for preschoolers in at least 4T clothes without being too big.  For some hesitant preschoolers in 4T, the smaller and lighter Scoot may be better.

4-Year-Old in Size 4T Fits Best on a 14″ Balance Bike vs. a 12″ or 16″

4 image collage of 4-year-old in 4T clothes on different balance bikes. The Stampede Charger 12" has a frame that is too small for him, the Ridgeback Scoot has a medium bike frame and fits him well, the Scoot XL is the best fit, and the Stampede Bikes Charger 16" has a larger bike frame and taller handlebars that are too big for him.

 

Frame and Seat Height

While other brands that offer a 14″ balance bike simply put a larger tire on a frame designed for a 12″ bike, the Scoot XL frame is actually larger than the Scoot, as it is designed to fit an older child.  Like the Scoot, the Scoot XL’s frame is built with sturdy 6061 aluminum alloy and is strong enough to hold an adult!  The larger, taller frame of the Scoot XL better compensates for longer inseams and a seat range of 16″ to 22″.  Our tall 6-year-old in size 7 clothes had no problems comfortably riding on the Scoot XL.  The handlebar height on the Scoot XL is also adjustable.

Tire and Frame Size Difference Between Scoot and Scoot XL

Visual size comparison of Scoot vs Scoot XL bikes side by side without riders and also with riders.

To put the XL’s sizing claims to the test, we had two kids on both ends of the Scoot XL’s size range – a 6-year-old tester in size 7 clothes and a 4-year-old in size 4T clothes – take the bike out for a ride. Both were able to handle the bike beautifully without any complaints. For kids in 3T whose parents expect them to grow quickly, the Scoot XL is still slightly too big (the handlebars are too high), but is manageable for really athletic kids.

The Scoot XL is a Perfect Fit For Kids Aged 4 to 8

Collage of 4 different sized kids on the Scoot XL: 2-year-old in 3T clothes (too big for this guy!), and fits nicely on 4-year-old, 5-year-old, and 6-year-old in size 7 clothes

Tires

Riding through snow, mud, and dirt, the knobby tires on the XL easily maneuver over hills and jumps. In addition to performance, the knobby tires on aluminum rims provide an older, more mature look to the bike that both of our testers appreciated.

Brakes and Grip Bumpers

The internally-routed brake cable, easy-pull hand brake, and soft rubber grips with thick protective bumpers add additional appeal to the bike for both parent and child.  Unlike previous years, the 2017 Scoot XL model has the rear brake lever mounted on the right-hand grip side versus the left-hand grip.  In the US, rear brake levers on pedal bikes are mounted on the right side, while the front brake levers are mounted to the left side. With the brake mounted on the right side on a balance bike, kids instinctively learn to brake mainly with their rear brake, versus mainly their front brake which could cause them to crash.

Scoot XL’s Easy-Reach Brake Components

Collage of the Scoot XL's easy-reach brake components: the brake lever, the internally routed brake cable, and the v-brakes.

Bottom Line

The Scoot XL is the perfect balance bike for taller preschoolers or grade schoolers who have not yet transitioned to a pedal bike.  With very few 14″ balance bikes on the market, the Scoot XL is the perfect balance bike for kids stuck in the transition gap between a small balance bike and a pedal bike.  With a minimum seat height of 16″ and a max of 22″, the Scoot XL is sure to be a success with kids in size 4T to 8 clothes.

MSRP: $209

By: Natalie Martins

Last Updated: February 5, 2017

FTC Disclosure: No monetary compensation was provided for this review. For many, but not all reviews, products are provided by the manufacturer or distributor to help facilitate the 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 Amazon.com and weebikeshop.com.