Even though it usually costs $30 more than the Strider, we liked the bike’s Strider-like geometry, its ease of assembly, light weight, wheel setup, and relatively low price, as well as REI’s reputation. Many kids need a little encouragement (and flat, paved terrain) to get into balance biking. Unless they’ve started out with a ride-on toy car or scooter or push trike they may not pick up the bike and just go. Several parents told me that even if their kids have a balance bike, they simply don’t use it. Other parents, often with active, athletic kids, say they do great on balance bikes, and they find them to be an incredibly useful tool in learning how to ride a bike.
Our least favorite part of the 700 Series was the extra time and effort we put into the assembly. This bike comes less assembled than others we’ve tested, and all the additional features take longer to assemble during the initial unboxing. However, this is a one-time task, so we wouldn’t base our final purchase decision on this factor. Also, its above-average weight means it doesn’t feel the most nimble, huffy electric bike but we found it easily maneuverable in most situations. Ultimately, we were impressed by the power, range, comfort, smooth ride, and included features of the 700-Series, not to mention the competitive price. Like the Strider 12 Sport, the REV 12 features a very low step-in height of 8 inches—a key aspect for a balance bike—and its seat height is adjustable between a very respectable 13.5 and 18.5 inches.
It is a little too heavy for most bike racks, and it can be challenging to load it into the back of a truck or move up a flight of stairs. While the 4-inch wide knobby tires are great for tackling a wider range of surfaces, they feel sluggish on the pavement and make the handling response feel more delayed. Beyond those concerns, it is a great option for riders who want fewer limitations on where their electric bike can take them. If you don’t, the Ride1Up 700 is likely the better option and will save you money. The design of the frame has a seat farther back with a lower center of gravity for an upright riding position. Riding in this position will keep your back and other joints protected from aches and pains caused by long-distance rides.
We were impressed right off with the beautiful paint job and flawless welds on the Woom’s super-light aluminum frame. The smooth-rolling rubber tires have just enough knobbiness to grip in the dirt. Axles are secured to the bike via a set of rounded, recessed Allen bolts and recessed huffy mountain bike mounting points that make it essentially impossible for a child to snag a pant leg on or suffer a bruise from in a wipeout. After determining that at least one Strider bike would be a final pick, I also spent an hour on the phone with Strider inventor Ryan McFarland.
Specialized’s Hotwalk is a solid bike, but for $175 it offered no hand brake, and the boys’ version had an unnecessarily high top tube. A nicely narrow Q factor—the distance between the cranks—keeps a child’s legs from splaying out while on the pedal and allows them to generate power more easily. Woom is recalling all of its Woom 1 bikes (our upgrade pick) made between 2018 to 2021 for a problem with the handlebar stem.
Larger motors generally produce more torque, accelerate faster, and easily support higher speeds. Hub-drive motors are located in the center of one of the wheels (typically the rear wheel) and transfer power directly to the wheel where it is mounted. These are more affordable, easier to maintain, and do not add as much wear and tear to bike components.
Of course, the nature of its folding design and smaller wheels means it doesn’t have the same composure as the larger wheeled, non-folding competition. In 1949, Huffman Manufacturing produced its first children’s bike and basically invented training wheels, adopting the tricycle technology that dated from the 1860s. Regularly, Huffy pioneered new models of bicycles, though it was often similar bikes made by competitors that became better known. The rear shock absorbs the vast majority of the vibration when the rear wheel passes over rocks or roots.
The 14x’s closest competition, the hybrid LittleBig, which is manufactured in Ireland, sells its 3-in-1 model as a hand brake–equipped balance bike and offers its freewheel pedal/sprocket assembly as a stand-alone option. In the US, huffy mountain bike North Carolina’s Glide Bikes does the same thing with its 12-inch Mini-Glider. The 14x Sports sold in non-US markets (keeping up with international bike standards) will, in fact, feature a freewheel and linear-pull hand brakes.
The medium-long wheelbase of 24 inches (comparable to that found on the Strider and the Banana) gives the bike nicely stable handling. There’s also plenty of space on the rear fork for your child to prop up their feet if so inclined. To mimic the approach of Strider, you could also add a couple of strips of grip tape to the rear fork. The SRAM Code R hydraulic disc brakes on this bike are far from our favorite, and the non-e-bike specific Fox 36 Rhythm fork also leaves a bit to be desired. The only information immediately available to the rider are the LEDs on the frame’s top tube showing the current support setting and remaining battery life.