**The Stampede Bikes has gone out of business and the Sprinter 14″ is no longer available.**
Tough enough to take a beating from kids, and sturdy enough to handle mild all-terrain surfaces, the Stampede Bikes Sprinter 14″ is a versatile starter bike for the price. With dual handbrakes, no coaster brake, and wider handlebars for a wider base, the Sprinter is built like a small mountain bike ready for adventure.
Size and Seat Height
The Sprinter 14 is small enough for a newly 4-year-old rider in size 4 pants to ride as well as a 5-year-old in size 5 pants. The seat height ranges from 18″ – 23″ and is best suited for first-time pedal bike riders with an inseam of at least close to 18″ and experienced pedal bike riders with an inseam of 16″ to 20″ (to allow room for growth). Riding ability should be considered when setting seat height.
Beginner Riders Should Set Seat Height Differently than Experienced Riders
For our experienced 5-year-old tester in size 5 clothes with a 19″ inseam, the Sprinter 14″ fit him, but offered much less room for growth than the Sprinter 16″. As a result, we would recommend the Sprinter 16 for experienced riders with inseams greater than 19″ and the Sprinter 14 for those less than 19″ (experienced and beginner).
Performance and Weight
Having only ridden a pedal bike for a little over a month, our 4-year-old tester was at first turned off by the weight of the Sprinter 14 (16 lbs.) as compared to the lighter Cleary Gecko 12″ she had been riding (13 lbs.). At this age, 3 pounds can be a lot! But once she got up and got moving she quickly fell in love with the bike. Being slightly too small for the Cleary Gecko, the additional space and wider handlebars offered by the Sprinter gave her more confidence and overall stability. Her original hesitations towards the bike quickly faded into smiles as she began to race our 5-year-old tester who was riding the Sprinter 16.
For our 4-year-old tester, the Sprinter has a more upright position than the Cleary Gecko 12″ (shown above) but is slightly more leaned forward than the Priority Start 14″ (discontinued) and the ByK-E250. An upright position is particularly important for a first-time pedal bike rider as kids are more likely to be comfortable on a bike in which their body weight is centered over their hips (like on their balance bike). The Sprinter provides an upright position while still allowing a slight lean to more easily tackle jumps and curbs once a child is more comfortable on the bike. Very timid riders would likely be more comfortable on the more upright woom 2 or the ByK, but average and more advanced riders would do well with the Sprinter’s position.
Sprinter 14 Has a Slightly More Aggressive Body Position than Other 14″ Bikes
The dual handbrakes were easy to use and easy to adjust. We were able adjust them really close to our 4-year-old tester’s hands to ensure no problems with her braking. The Sprinter is also coaster-brake free, which allows young riders to naturally pedal backwards when learning to pedal, without coming to a quick and unexpected stop.
Easy-Pull, Small-Reach Brake Levers
The Sprinter has a low 3.28 gain ratio, which allows a rider to start pedaling the bike with little resistance. Lower gear ratios allow new riders to quickly gain speed, making it easier to balance the bike, which helps to build their confidence. Gain ratios of 14″ bikes typically range from 2.8 to 3.6, while 16″ bikes range from 3.0 to 4.5. With a 3.28 gain ratio, the Sprinter is low enough to allows kids to begin to pedal faster, but is also high enough to allow them to gain more speed as they get older. In comparison, the Cleary Gecko 12″ has a gain ratio of 2.97 which helped our 4-year-old tester learn to ride a bike, but greatly limited her maximum speed once she mastered pedaling, which lead to some frustration for her.
The Sprinter 14 has several other features to make it better adapted for small riders. The seat is smaller and narrower than traditional bike seats, making it better suited for smaller frames. The front axle bolts are also covered to prevent potential scratches on little legs at an age and experience level where falls are more common.
The Sprinter is heavier and wider than other 14″ pedal bikes, but is better adapted for beginning riders to advance to more adventurous riding such as leaned turns and non-paved paths. Really timid or petite kids will likely do better on the lighter and more upright Priority Start 14 or the ByK E-250, while average weight kids or those with more adventurous personalities will likely prefer the ease of which Sprinter’s wider stance and the more aggressive position that allows them to go down curbs and practice tricks.
The Sprinter 14 is an amazing starter bike for mid-weight kids with at least an 18″ inseam as well as a fun, adventurous bike for experienced riders with an inseam of at least close to 16″. The seat height ranges from 18″ to 23″, making it suitable for taller 3.5-year-olds to shorter 6-year-olds. Its wider handlebars provide a stable base better suited for little zoomers chomping at the bit to take off and ride.