Kettler Sprint Balance Bike Review

3 August 2010

Balance bike lifestyle  low res

A few weeks ago I was sent a Kettler Balance Bike to review for the Back to School month on PlayPennies. I was really excited about it, I’m on the market for some kind of transportation for my child as she ventures to school for the first time and I’m not really sure what she’ll enjoy, and what will work.

So far we’ve tried out a scooter and she really enjoyed it, but she hasn’t quite gelled with it as well as I’d hoped and it isn’t right for the long uphill hike to school every morning. What we need is something that will not exhaust her before she even gets to the gates! And that I can keep up with, obviously. I’m not cut out for running up hills at 8am.

SPRINT_Air_Prinzessin_8718_200The bike arrived in an enormous pink box. We got the Sprint Air Princess bike and my child was nearly faint with excitement. I was dreading the assembly, if I am honest. I can put things together alright but I always worry that it’s not tight enough and that it will come undone while she’s using it.

However, this bike assembled in ten minutes flat. I had to double-check the box to make sure I hadn’t missed anything because it was so easy. The instructions are simple pictures and most of the parts are solid. The only instruction they didn’t have was how to install the balance spike but it was pretty self-explanatory.

The bike is aimed at kids two years and older and retails for £59.99.  It's sturdy and well made and is definitely very good quality. The paint gleams efficiently, the metal used to make the frame is very strong (I sat on it to check), and the extras, like padded handles and a comfy seat, are really good quality.

RUN_Air_Fly low resThat said, I just don’t get it. I don’t. I showed the bike to friends and family and they didn’t get it either. Yes, it’s supposed to get your children to learn how to balance on two wheels. Yes, it’s adorable and zippy and fits neatly into small spaces. But why have a bike that teaches them to ride on two wheels and not include any pedals?

I mean, surely it’s easier to learn how to ride a bike if you have pedals? Or is that just me? As far as my daughter is concerned the bike is a complete no-no. Once I’d built it, we went outside to the park for her to test drive it and she was terrified. She struggled to move it forward without taking both feet off the ground and, because the momentum was so limited, her balance was immediately compromised.

Why can’t I make it go forward, mommy?” she asked me, “Where are the pedals?”

Out of the mouth of babes, I think. Look, the idea sounds good enough in theory and, I’m sure, there are many parents whose children will find these bikes to be very useful. However, for almost £60 I want a bike with pedals and training wheels.

SPRINT_Air_RacingAnd finally

While the quality of the Kettler Air Princess Balance Bike is undeniable, and the range of colours really lovely, this feels like more of a gimmick than a necessity.

1 comment

  • LynleyOram
    Absolutely love pedal less bikes. LOVE them! Got one for my son when he was two. Both my nephews had theirs when they were that age too. It takes a while to get the hang of it, that's for sure. We 'rode' it to nursery and back everyday and it wasn't long before I didn't have to carry it or stoop to guide him at all. About two weeks does it I think. The thing is, they learn to balance all on their own. They scoot along quite fast - my son gets a really good speed up. And gliding just comes naturally after a while. Both my nephews went straight from their pedal less bikes to their pedal bikes without stabilisers. The bike just does what most children do naturally anyway when they first start, which is to push themselves along with their feet, use feet as brakes, and use feet to steady themselves. The bike has been an absolute lifesaver for me. Especially during that crucial 2 to 3 year age, when they won't go in the push chair anymore, but walking is a nightmare as they stop to look at every single little thing! The bike keeps them going forward. And teaches them to be aware of their surroundings as they'll inevitably be ahead of you, so you get them to learn to look for streets and stop before going across. Amazing how quickly they'll pick that sort of thing up when they're on a bike, and totally bizarre that while he could do it when on the bike, when on his own two legs it was a different story!

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