Strider 14x Convertible Balance Bike
Starts off as an adjustable balance bike with 14" air tires and easily converts to a pedal bike.
RATING: Highly Recommended
BEST FOR: Taller 3-year-olds to 5-year-olds who have not yet mastered a balance bike.
SEAT HEIGHT: 15" – 22"
WEIGHT: 12.5 lb.
15" – 22"
Pros & Cons
- Larger 14" air tires
- Good upright geometry for beginners
- Cushioned, ergonomic seat
- Foot platforms allow for gliding and tricks in balance bike mode
- Heavy for a balance bike
- No hand brake, coaster brake in pedal mode
- Very short crank arms in pedal mode make it difficult for taller riders to pedal and balance
A balance bike that easily converts to a pedal bike, the new Strider 14x 2-in-1 bike is a great option for older preschoolers who have yet mastered a balance bike yet, but who are likely to transition to a pedal bike soon. With a seat height range of 15″ to 22″, it is best suited for tall 3-year-olds to 4-year-olds. Average sized 5-year-olds (kids in size 5 clothes) easily fit on the bike in balance bike mode, but will quickly grow out the pedal bike mode.
With a $209 price tag, the 14x isn’t cheap, but considering it works as a balance bike as well as a starter pedal bike, it can be a great investment for many families. The 14x fills the role of a larger balance bike and a starter pedal bike. Converting from a balance bike to a pedal bike, the 14x prevents parents from buying a smaller 14″ or 16″ pedal bike to get their kids started riding and then later buy a larger 16″ once they outgrow their starter pedal bike. It also allows kids to completely skip training wheels.
The Strider 14x is significantly larger than the Strider 12″. The tires and the frame are both much larger on the 14x. The Strider 12″ (all models which have the same frame and tire size) is best suited for ages 18-months to 3 years. The Strider 14x is best for taller 3-year-olds to 5-year-olds or smaller six-year-old (up to about 20″ inseam to allow room for growth). The minimum seat height on the Strider 12″ is 11″ and is 14″ on the Strider 14x.
Strider 14x vs. Strider 12″ (Sport & Classic)
Balance Bike Mode
As a balance bike, the Strider 14x shines. With a handlebar and seat post that easily adjust, the bike was easily adjusted to fit our main 5-year-old tester with a 19″ inseam in size 5 clothes. Weighing 48 lb., our tester didn’t even flinch at the 12.5 lb. weight of the Strider 14x as he happily put the bike to work around the neighborhood. From speed races to rams and tricks, the balance bike gave him the confidence to try out tricks he was previously hesitant to try out.
Five-year-old on Strider 14x in Balance Bike Mode
In addition to the larger frame and tire size, our 5-year-old tester especially loved the seat and footrests. The seat on the Strider 14x is very different from the seats their mini-seat or even the XL seat available on the Strider 12″ bike. Slightly longer and thickly cushioned, the seat provides great support and comfort for older and often heavier riders. The extra cushioning from the air tires along with the seat certainly played a role in helping our tester in overcoming hesitations of going down taller curbs.
The footrest, however, was his favorite feature. Rather simple pegs or place to rest his heels, the platform footrests on the Strider 14x easily accommodate any portion of the foot to allow for various position.
Strider 14x Padded Saddle and Footrests
Strider recommendation for the 14x is ages 3 to 7 with an inseam of 16″ to 23″, but based on our experience we would recommend it for inseam length of 16.5″ to 20″. With a 19″ inseam, our 5-year-old tester fit great on the balance bike, but as we will point out later, was almost too big for the pedal bike portion. We also had a chance to the test the bike out on an almost 3-year-old tester with a 15″ inseam. As per Strider’s recommendations, we expected the Strider 14x to be slightly too big for her, but it was much too big. In addition to the seat height, the handlebars, even in their lowest position, were way too high. As a result, believe the Strider 14x is best for taller 3-year-olds to 4-year-olds with a 16.5″ inseam.
Pedal Bike Mode
The Strider 14x works great as a beginning pedal bike. Considering kids who use the pedal bike mode of the Strider will already be familiar and comfortable on the bike, the transition should be relatively smooth and painless. With narrow pedals, to easily allow kids to run to gain speed before pedaling, and with a lower bottom bracket to create a low center-of-gravity for easy balancing, the Strider 14x has some great features as a beginning pedal bike.
Five-year-old Tester on Strider 14x in Pedal Bike Mode
Although already experienced on a pedal bike, our five-year-old had no problems using the pedal-bike mode, but being more experienced on a larger 16″ bike, he was not impressed by the pedal bike mode and only rode for a short period of time. The Strider’s extremely short 76 mm crank arms (the arm that connects the pedal to the frame of the bike) were too awkward for him to use as compared to the typical 100 t0 110mm crank arms. For a beginning rider not used pedaling (assuming they have not used a bike with training wheels before), the small crank arms shouldn’t be as much as an issue. We do believe, however, that the shorter crank arms will be problematic for any aged child with an inseam greater than 19″. Longer crank arms provide a wider swing and allow taller riders to get more leverage on the pedal. Increased leverage makes pedaling easier and also helps provide a wider base for balancing.
For beginning riders, the Strider 14x’s coaster brake or back pedal brake could be problematic. While learning to pedal, bike kids naturally pedal backward when the feel like they are losing their balance. With a coaster brake, pedaling backward automatically activates the brake, which unexpectedly stops the bike and usually causes the child to fall. Frighten the child, this can often make them hesitant to get back up on the bike and try again. If a bike does not have a coaster brake, kids can pedal backward without activating the brake, allowing them to keep their momentum, regain their balance and continue riding.
The gear ratio of the pedal bike portion is 4.09, which is on the higher end of the range for first pedal bikes. Higher gear ratios take more effort to get the bike going from a stop but require less pedaling to reach higher speeds. For really timid riders, a lower gain ratio closer to 3.0 to 3.5 is best, but considering kids using the Strider 14x will already be familiar and comfortable with the bike, the higher gain ratio likely won’t be a problem.
Adding the Pedal Assembly
Converting from the balance bike mode to the pedal bike mode is very easy and can be done in less than 10 minutes. With one Allen bolt, simply remove the footrest and insert the pedal assembly. The plastic covering on the rear cog also needs to be pulled off to allow the chain to wrap around. The rear tire does not to be removed to install the pedals. Strider provides very clear instruction on how to add the pedals. A size 6 Allen wrench is provided to fasten the pedal assembly, but you will need to have a size 5 Allen wrench to adjust the handlebars and a Phillips screwdriver to install the chainguard.
Strider 14x Pedal Bike Assembly
There are very few convertible 2-in-1 balance bikes on the market, but there are several larger balance bikes that are designed for older riders.
LittleBig Convertible Bike, $240: With seat height ranging from 14″ to 21″ the LittleBig is slightly smaller and is also a pound lighter. The LittleBig is also built with higher-end components and is coaster brake free, with dual hand brakes. Hailing from Ireland, the LittleBig also cost $30 to ship to the US, so it is a jump in price from the Strider 14x.
WOOM 1 Plus, $269: The WOOM 1 Plus does not convert to a pedal bike, but it an amazing lightweight balance bike for taller riders. At under 10 lb. it’s very lightweight for its size and it incredibly easy for kids to balance. Its color-coded dual handbrakes train kids on how to safely brake before they transition to a pedal bike and the removable footrest provides an additional layer of fun.
The Strider 14x is a great bike for older preschoolers who have not yet mastered a balance bike. Best suited for older/taller 3-year-olds to 4-year-olds the Strider 14x will provide them plenty of use as balance bike and beginning pedal bike. For kids who already have balance bikes, we believe they are better off transitioning to a 16″ pedal bike where they will likely get more use out of it than the Strider’s 14″ pedal bike.