Schwinn Krate EVO 16 Inch Bike Review

Half Retro, half modern, Schwinn’s new Krate EVO bike is one unique ride that our testers all loved! From its cool banana seat to its slick rear tire and front shock, the EVO is an interesting bike that may leave parents scratching their heads in wonder. But let us assure you that it will have kids lining up to ride it!

Having tested out over 80 different bikes over the last 10 years with a vast assortment of kids, I can honestly say that the Schwinn Krate EVO is one of the most memorable bikes I’ve ever tested. Read the review to find out why!

6 year old riding Schwinn Krate EVO kids bike down the sidewalk

QUICK LOOK

Schwinn Krate EVO 16 Inch

RATING: Recommended

MSRP: $169

BEST FOR: Neighborhood riders who want a soft, plush and super stylish bike for cruising their hood

SEAT HEIGHT: 20.25″ – 23.75″

WEIGHT:  24.45 lb.

TIRE SIZE: 16″ (only size available)

BRAKES: Rear coaster

TRAINING WHEELS: Included

PROS:

  • Comfortable, elongated banana seat
  • Eye-catching retro design
  • Slick rear tire provides a smooth ride
  • Kids LOVE it – like ridiculously love it

CONS:

  • Heavy!
  • Allen wrench required to adjust seat height
  • Only 5 seat heights options
  • Slick rear tire has minimal traction on loose surfaces
  • No hand brake, only coaster

Schwinn Krate EVO – A Modern Take on Classic

In all my years of testing, I have never had a large group of kids knock at my door begging to ride a bike that was WAY too small for them. And then the Schwinn Krate EVO came along. Who knew a bike (not just any bike, but the cheapest bike in garage full of kids bikes) could be loved – no… adored – so much.

If I had to sum up our testers’ experience with the Krate EVO, it would only take two words – pure bliss. Not just the “simple pleasures of a riding a bicycle bliss”, but the gather all your friends in the neighborhood so they can watch you ride this “sweet new bike” bliss.

As a kids bike pro, I admit that I was a bit confused by their reaction. But after spending several days watching in wonder, I think I understand the mysterious pull this bike has on kids.

9 year old popping up the curb on Schwinn Krate EVO kids bike

Who is this bike for?

Before we jump into the details of the Krate EVO, I want to be clear about who we believe this bike is best for. Yes, it’s suuuuper cool, but it’s certainly not for everyone. With a heavy build and a slick rear tire, the Krate EVO is a best fit for neighborhood riders. That is, kids who typically stick to riding around the block, over to their friend’s house, or to the local park with their family.

The Krate EVO is NOT a great bike for those who plan on doing longer rides, or for petite riders in general. At 24.5 lb. it is simply too heavy of a bike! Although well-built, its components are lacking compared to other kids bikes you could buy.

The EVO is also not ideal for those who want to ride off pavement, even though it has a shock. That shock is more for looks than anything.

8 year old popping a wheelie on Schwinn Krate EVO kids bike
8-year-old on the Krate EVO

Seat Height Range and Design Are Highly Adjustable

The Krate EVO is only available in one size with 16″ tires. The seat height ranges from 20.25″ – 23.75″, making it ideal for kids with inseams ranging from 20″ – 24″ for those riding without training wheels, and kids with 18″ to 22″ inseams for those riding with training wheels. For more info on inseam measurements check out out Kids Bike Size Guide.

Schwinn recommends the bike for ages 3 to 7, but due to the tall minimum seat height compared to other 16″ bikes and its heavier weight, we would recommend it for ages 4 to 6.

As you will see in the rest of this review, older and taller kids can certainly ride the Krate EVO (and our older riders are OBSESSED with it!), but we wouldn’t recommend buying the bike for kids older than 6 (or maybe a smaller 7 yo).

The beauty of the EVO Krate, however, is that if you do buy the bike for your 6-year-old, its unique design will allow you to get 2 or maybe 3 years of riding out of it, which is unheard of for a 16″ bike. (More on that below!)

Schwinn Krate EVO Performance – Results of our Test Rides

The Krate EVO is a direct (okay… with many branches along the way) descendant of Schwinn’s classic and unforgettable Krate series of bike. Popular for decades, Schwinn set out to create a modern day version of the beloved Krate.

Original Schwinn Krate kids bike in yellow
Original Schwinn Krate Kids Bike

To bring back the old look, the Krate EVO features the good ole banana seat, a sissy bar (the handle-like bar on the back of the seat), a wide smooth “motorcycle” type rear tire, and….. a shock? So we aren’t so sure how the nostalgic/shock combination makes sense, but honestly, it doesn’t matter. The strange combination worked like magic for our neighborhood kids.

2020 Schwinn Krate EVO kids bike in blue
NEW Schwinn Krate EVO

There’s just something about that banana seat

Long and comfortable, the main highlight of the Krate EVO with all of our testers was the banana seat. They not only loved the look, they loved the experience of riding with the seat as well!

In addition to being well-padded, the long seat is also functional as it provides plenty of space for kids to position themselves on the bike. Whether you want to lean in towards the front of the seat to aggressively go after a jump…

6 year old riding Schwinn Krate EVO kids bike in the street, leaning in to get aggressive
5-year-old on the Krate EVO

…or sit up and lean back to cruise, the 12.5″ long banana seat happily obliges and performs great in both circumstances.

6 year old riding Schwinn Krate EVO kids bike casually down the sidewalk

The long seat also allows kids who are much too tall for the bike to ride it quite comfortably. By sliding all the way back on the seat, our taller and older testers were able to comfortably pedal the bike without cramping the cockpit of the bike (the distance between the seat and the handlebars).

Cramped cockpits severely limit the longevity and usability of a bike as kids’ knees often end up hitting the bike’s handlebars when turning. But the extra space provided by the banana seat prevents the cockpit from being shortened. In fact, this worked so well that we’re honestly wondering why they ever did away with them! The seat alone provides years of additional growth that traditional bike saddles don’t offer.

In fact, the 16″ Krate EVO was well loved by our 9-year-old tester who properly fits on a 24″ bike! Even with an inseam 4″ taller than the maximum seat height, the banana seat allowed him to move his body several inches farther back from the pedals, thereby allowing for a decent pedal stroke and decent-size cockpit on an otherwise tiny bike.

9 year old riding Schwinn Krate EVO kids bike down the sidewalk. With his bum scooted back on the seat, he has plenty of room to ride.
9-year-old on the Krate EVO

Tires – Slik Schwinn for Coolness Factor and Smooth Ride

Another win for the Krate EVO in the eyes of our testers was its 2″ wide, flat, and smooth Schwinn Sting-Ray Slik rear tire. Originally released in the mid-60’s, the Sting-ray Slik not only looks ridiculously cool (in both a good and bad way), it received rave reviews from our testers.

Flat treat Schwinn Sting-Ray Slik rear tire.

“This bike rides sooo smooth!” Flat (with zero tread), the Sting-ray Slik tire does exactly what it was intended to do – provide a smooth and stable ride for paved surfaces. It also makes for amazing skid marks!

Flat treat Schwinn Sting-Ray Slik rear tire in motion.

The Front Shock – Looks Cool but isn’t Necessary

The shock on the Krate EVO is heavy and not really necessary, but kids love it – especially aggressive neighborhood riders who love jumping. From curbs to simply popping a wheelie, the shock does provide extra cushioning and some extra bounce to help get the front tire off the ground.

9 year old jumping off curb with Schwinn Krate EVo kids bike

Adjusting the Seat Height is Challenging

While comfortable and surprisingly resourceful, the banana bike seat design does make it more challenging to adjust the seat height on the bike. In order to support the long seat, the seat is also attached to the sissy bar on the back to the bike. In order to adjust the seat, the rod that travels between the sissy bar and the plastic housing at the bottom of the seat must be removed.

The bolt that adheres the rod is designed for an Allen wrench, but we preferred to hand tighten the bolt so that we could easily loosen it without tools. We never had issues with the bolt coming loose, but for those super aggressive riders, it certainly never hurts to be extra cautious and use a wrench to tighten it.

Banana seat adjustment rod on Schwinn Krate EVO bike

Once the bolt is removed, the quick adjust seat post collar also needs to be loosened. With the bolt and the quick release loose, the seat can be raised or lowered. Due to the need for the rear of the seat to be attached to the sissy bar, the seat can only be adjusted to one of five pre-set seat heights. While not ideal, due to the ability for kids to move back farther on the seat to extend their reach to the handlebars, we didn’t find the limited seat height range to be problematic.

Bottom Line – Kids LOVE the Schwinn Krate EVO!

Much to our surprise, we love the Schwinn Krate EVO! From its unique styling to its comfortable ride and longevity of fit, the Krate is sure to remain a favorite amongst our neighborhood pack of testers. While certainly not for everyone (it’s too heavy for really young, timid riders and not ideal for riding off pavement), it’s a blast to ride around the neighborhood and will certainly help spark or reignite your child’s love of riding.

FTC Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this review.  No monetary compensation was provided for this review, however, the reviewed product was supplied by the manufacturer or distributor to help facilitate this review. All opinions and images are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC.  All content and images are copyrighted and should not be used or replicated in any way. View our Terms of Use.

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