The Strider is the most popular balance bike in the US, and its big brother the Strider 14x follows in its footsteps as an affordable larger balance bike… with a twist! Not only is the Strider 14x a bigger balance bike for older toddlers and preschoolers, but it can be used as both a balance bike and a pedal bike!
A Strider bike with pedals? You heard it right! The Strider 14x Sport easily converts from a balance bike to pedal bike, making it a great choice for older preschoolers who may be advancing to a pedal bike more quickly. However, be aware that the small pedals don’t make it ideal as a long-term pedal bike.
Read all the details about where the Strider 14x balance bike shines, and where it falls a little short in our full review below.
Strider 14x Balance Bike Overview
RATING: Highly Recommended
MSRP: $149 (w/o pedal kit), $49 for optional pedal kit
BEST FOR: Taller 3-year-olds to 5-year-olds
SEAT HEIGHT: 15″ – 22″
WEIGHT: 12.5 lb.
- Larger 14″ air tires
- Comfortable, 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
Strider 14x Sport Video Review
Want to see the Strider 14x in action as a balance bike and pedal bike? Interested in exactly how you attach those pedals? Watch our video review right here!
What Strider Bike Can You Add Pedals To?
Let’s start with what everyone really wants to know… it’s a balance bike AND a pedal bike? YES! The Strider 14x is the only Strider bike with pedals! (Yes, that means you cannot add pedals to the smaller 12 inch Strider bikes.)
While this set-up doesn’t work for everyone, it can be a great investment for many families. The Strider 14x is available as a balance bike ONLY ($149), or you can opt to buy the additional pedal upgrade ($49).
With the pedal attachment, the 14x allows parents to save a bit of money by skipping on the purchase of an additional small pedal bike once their child has mastered the balance bike. This makes it an interesting option for older preschoolers who have not mastered a balance bike yet, but who are likely to transition to a pedal bike soon.
2-in-1 products are rarely equally awesome at both things. For the Strider 14x, the balance bike is great, but while the pedal bike isn’t our favorite, it gets the job done. More on that below!
Sizing – Strider 14x Sport vs. Strider 12 Sport
The ability to add pedals is not the only reason to buy the Strider 14x over the Strider 12. Even if you’re just interested in a balance bike and will never buy the pedal kit, it’s important to realize that the Strider 14x is designed for an older and larger child.
The 14x is significantly larger than the Strider 12 – the wheels, frame, and handlebars are all bigger to better accommodate a older child’s larger frame. The Strider 14x has 14 inch wheels, while the Strider 12 has smaller 12 inch wheels. The minimum seat height on the Strider 14 is 15 inches, while on the Strider 12, it’s 11 inches.
The Strider 12 inch (all models) 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-olds.
Strider 14x as a Balance Bike
In balance bike mode, the Strider 14x shines. While the smaller Strider 12 has foam tires, the 14x boasts air tires. Air tires offer much better traction and cushioning, which can be especially helpful for older riders who tend to get more aggressive and want to experiment with speed and curb jumping.
The Strider 14x also has a considerably longer frame as compared to the standard Strider, which provides more room for taller kids to lean in to run comfortably. With a handlebar and seat post that easily adjust in height, Strider has made it easy to get a good fit as your child grows.
All in all, as a balance bike, the Strider 14x is a great bike for older or taller balance bike riders. From speed races to ramps and tricks, the Strider 14x gave our 5-year-old rider the confidence to try out tricks he was previously hesitant to attempt.
In addition to the larger frame and wheel size, our 5-year-old tester especially loved the seat and footrests on the 14x. The seat on the Strider 14x is very different from the seats on smaller Strider bikes. 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. Many balance bike footrests are poorly designed and awkward to use. But the platform footrests on the Strider 14x easily accommodate any portion of the foot to allow for various positions.
What Size Child is the Strider 14x best for?
Strider recommends the 14x for ages 3 to 7 with an inseam of 16″ to 23″. Based on our experience, we recommend the Strider 14x as a balance bike for 3 to 5 year old kids with an inseam length starting at 16.5″ to about 20″.
Kids shorter than this will struggle with the seat height and the higher handlebars. Additionally, at 12.5 lbs, the Strider 14x is heavy for a balance bike, so younger, lighter riders will have difficulty managing that weight.
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.
Strider 14x as a Pedal Bike
As a standalone balance bike the Strider 14x retails for $149, and with the pedal attachment it retails for $199. With a $199 price tag, the 14x isn’t cheap, but it does fill the role of a larger balance bike and a starter 14″ pedal bike. While it works decently as a beginning pedal bike (much better than a cheap Walmart bike!), it does have some limitations which we’ll discuss below.
Why the Pedal Bike Doesn’t Work Long Term
Adding pedals to the balance bike takes just about 10 minutes. In our experience, because kids who use the pedal bike mode of the Strider will already be familiar and comfortable on the bike, the transition is relatively smooth and painless.
The pedals and crank arms of the Strider 14x pedal assembly are intentionally small and narrow to allow new riders to continue to easily run to gain speed before pedaling (just like they did while in balance bike mode).
While great for helping kids get started, the short crank arms of the Strider 14x do limit the lifetime of the Strider 14x as a pedal bike. With crank arms of just 76 mm compared to the 100 – 110 mm of other bikes this size, pedaling the bike gets awkward quickly.
Once kids get comfortable pedaling, they want to ride faster and try to pedal the bike really fast. Due to the short crank arms of the bike, however, the full revolution of the pedals is so small that kids’ feet often fly off the pedals when their pedaling picks up speed!
Based on our testing we believe that the shorter crank arms will be especially problematic for any 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.
As a result, while the Strider 14x is a great bike at helping kids transition to a pedal bike, don’t expect your child to comfortably ride the Strider 14x as a pedal bike for very long, especially with taller kids with an inseam greater than 19”.
Does the Strider 14x Have Brakes?
The Strider 14x does not have a brake in balance bike mode. In pedal bike mode, it has a coaster brake. While Strider 14x bikes in Europe have handbrakes, they do not have handbrakes in the US.
For beginning riders, the Strider 14x’s coaster brake or back pedal brake will be problematic. While learning to pedal, kids naturally pedal backward when they feel like they are losing their balance.
With a coaster brake, pedaling backward automatically activates the brake, which unexpectedly stops the bike and causes a child to lose their momentum or even fall. 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.
Gearing is High
As a single speed pedal bike, the Strider 14x consistently remains in just one gear. The gain ratio is 4.09, which is on the higher end of the range for first pedal bikes.
Higher gain 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 as much of a problem.
How Do you Add Pedals to the Strider Bike?
Converting from balance bike mode to 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 wheel 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 chain guard.
Comparisons – Strider 14x vs. Other Large Balance Bikes
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 a seat height ranging from 14″ to 21″ the LittleBig is slightly smaller and is also a pound lighter. The LittleBig is built with higher-end components and is coaster brake free, with dual hand brakes. Hailing from Ireland, the LittleBig also costs more to ship to the US, so it is a jump in price from the Strider 14x.
Bixe 16, $89: The Bixe 16 does not convert to a pedal bike, but is a great choice for those on a budget who need a larger balance bike. It is the most affordable 16″ balance bike on the market, but it does have a taller minimum seat height than most.
Strider 14x Comparison
|Features||Strider 14x||LittleBig||Bixe 16|
|Model||Strider 14x||LittleBig||Bixe 16|
|Weight||12.5 lb.||11.2 lb.||12 lb.|
|Seat Height||15 - 22"||14 - 21"||18.25 - 22.4"|
|Brakes||Balance Bike - None|
Pedal Bike - Coaster Only
|Dual Hand - Balance and Pedal||None|
Strider 14x Balance Bike – Bottom Line
The Strider 14x is a solid-quality balance bike for kids starting their balance bike journey a little later. Best suited for older/taller 3-year-olds to 4-year-olds, the Strider 14x will provide them plenty of use as a balance bike and beginning pedal bike.
For kids who already have a balance bike, we believe they are better off transitioning to a 16″ pedal bike where they will likely get more use out of it than Strider’s 14-inch pedal bike.