Specialized Hotwalk

Balance Bike Review

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One tough and rugged bike that will last through several kids. Great for any rider, but best for off-roading preschoolers.

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Product Specifications

MSRP: $175

Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Seat Height: 13.5" - 17"

Weight: 9.5 lb.

Brakes: No Brakes

Footrest: Yes

Limiter: No

Tire Size: 12"

Grips Bumper: Yes

Bolts: Exposed

Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy

Review

Highly Recommended for ages 2.5 and up

Specialized is biggest bike name in the balance bike industry. Staying true to their high standards, the Hotwalk is built as tough as their mountain bikes and will last your family for generations. While built tough, the bike only has a two-inch adjustment on the seat post and does not have a brake.  To aid in tricks and coasting, the Hotwalk also has an integrated footrest at the base of the seat post.

Pros: Quality build, mountain bike geometry (for optimal balancing), quality air tires, cushioned seat

Cons: minimal seat adjust (13.5″ to 17″), no brake

The current version of the Hotwalk is available in a boys and girl edition.  The girl’s version has a lower step-through height, but they both have a minimum seat post height of 13.5″ and a max of 17″ and weigh 9 lbs. 8 oz.

 Sizing

Specialized Hotwalk set at its highest seat post height of 16″.  Due to the geometry of the bike, Specialized purposely set its seat post low to ensure every rider would experience precision handling created by a low center of balance.

Hotwalk’s footrest was designed for kids to rest their feet while cruising downhill or doing tricks off a jump.  Being located at the base of the seat tube, it does lessen the running space for kids, but is only a problem for really young riders.

Kids in size 5 are too big for the Hotwalk as the smaller wheelbase limits their ability to get a full stride.  Kids just barely in 4T can fit on the Hotwalk, but it is a tight fit and the seat post is more than maxed out.

Specialized-sizes-BB-to-16'

Bottom Line: One tough and rugged bike that will last for generations.  Great for any rider, but best for off-roading preschoolers.  If you like the rugged nature of the Specialized, but not the price tag, I highly recommend checking out Stampede Charger 12″ and 16″ balance bikes.  Their quality is top notch, they come with a hand brake and often sell for around $99.  Another option for preschoolers would be to purchase the Specialized 12″ Hotrock (See Why You Should Never Buy a 12″ Bike! (With One Exception)), and have the bike shop remove the crank set.  Removing the crankset is not recommended for toddlers however as the frame is simply too tall.

 

 

Helpful Reviews from other sites:

Specialized Hotwalk vs. Strider at MTBR

Hotwalk Review on MTBR

 

MSRP: $175

By: Natalie Martins

Last Updated: December 29, 2016

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. The majority of, but not all, links provided are affiliate links. Two Wheeling Tots LLC is an affiliate of Amazon.com, Backcountry.com, Chain Reaction Cycles.com, Cruzee.com, REI.com, bikeshophub.com, prioritybicycles.com, guardianbikes.com and weebikeshop.com.

  • Karthik

    In the quicklook, it is mentioned that the hotwalk is 9.5lbs. But in the table it shows as 8lbs. Could you please clarify the correct weight of the bike? My daughter who is 2.5yrs and about 22lbs, tried it in a cycle store and she liked it. But I felt that the bike was a bit heavy for her. The store guy gave two models to try out, one was an older used model which seemed to be lighter than the new 2015 model. It would be very useful if I knew the weight of the bike. That would help us to decide whether to go with this or maybe woom 1 or islabike rothan. Thanks.

    • Thanks for pointing out that discrepancy. To be honest, with the new models, I’m not 100% sure as getting the exact weight from Specialized is always a challenge, but I’m quite sure if you called the store back, they could weigh the bike for you over the phone. I will try to call my local shop tomorrow to find out for you as well. Sorry for the confusion.

  • amanda

    Hi! we are deciding between the hotwalk and the cruzee. My son is just turning 3. He is in 2T clothes, and is tall, but thin. We tried the hotwalk in the store and he was a little unsure, but I am not sure if that is about the weight or that he just didn’t really know what to do (he put his feet up and let me push him around :)) I like the idea of the cruzee since it is so lightweight, but I worry that he has basically already outgrown it. Any recommendations?

    • Almost all kids are unsure about balance bikes from the start, so don’t let that worry you. Some kids pick them up right away, while others take weeks. If he is in 2T clothes, he will probably be a better fit on the Cruzee if he is lightweight. If he is in the higher percentiles or average, I would go with the Hotwalk. Another great option to consider is the Too Too. It is lighter than the Hotwalk and also has air tires and a hand brake. Here’s our review: http://www.twowheelingtots.com/yedoo-too-too/.

      • amanda

        Thanks so much for the response!! Based on your reviews and comments across the site we are going with the Too Too. Thanks so much again!

  • Kaleigh Ayn

    Hello,

    So I am looking at balance bikes for our soon to be 2 year old. She is on the small size he inseam is about 11 inches. I was leaning towards the strider but found out one of our local bike shops does this program if you buy a specialized bike you pay full price for the first one but can turn them in as the child grows and get full dollar amount towards your next specialized bike and they donate the used bike to kids. Just not sure what our best option is. It will mostly be road/sidewalk use.

    • Wow, that a great program! If you daughter can fit on the Hotwalk, then I would certainly consider it, but if she is petite, it is likely going to be too big for her. The Hotwalk is a great bike, but it does not have a handbrake, which will help save her shoes as she gets older. The other downside to Specialized bikes is that their 12″ an 16″ bikes only come with coaster brakes (back pedal brakes), which can prevent balance bike graduates from quickly picking up on pedaling. Like adult, kids naturally pedal backwards when trying to regain their balance and a coaster brakes doesn’t allow them to do so and instead unexpectedly stops them in their tracks, which leads to falls and bruised egos. With time, a coaster brake won’t be a problem, but they aren’t ideal. In the end, if you want the best bikes, I wouldn’t go for the deal, but if you want a deal and want to help a local business, then I would go for it :).