I am always on the lookout for items that are sustainable, not only to save money but also to reduce waste. So when it came to searching for the ultimate bike for my boys, I really wanted something that would grow with them. I was on the lookout for something that I could easily teach them how to ride a bike with confidence that also had longevity. The SmarTrike Xtend convertible balance bike seemed to fit the description. The concept behind it is an all-in-one balance bike, a pedal bike and also a larger bike that grew with your children. Making the shelf life of this product much longer than a standard first balance/pedal bike.
- Lightweight magnesium (8.2kg)
- Extendable frame (105.5-108cm)
- 2 disc brake
- Adjustable handlebar (height and position)
- Adjustable seat (height 44-56cm)
- 14” rubber air wheels
- Maximum weight of child – 50kg/110lb
- Suitable from 3-6 years (fits a child’s inseam from 47-59cm)
What we liked
The simple innovative convertible design means the bike would grow from a learning balance bike to a pedal bike. We didn’t need to buy multiple products that did exactly what the SmarTrike Xtend did. Which was the main feature that prompted us to purchase the SmarTrike Xtend over other bikes on the market.
The bike is well built, durable and pretty solid in our eyes. It managed to overcome the rough usage, crashes and tumbles from our boys. The extendable magnesium lite frame was an added bonus feature. Coupled with the ability to adjust the seat and handlebars meant that it would fit our children for several years to come. All that was needed to make adjustments was an included allen key. Assembly from balance bike to pedal bike only took minutes to complete. Minor length and height adjustments literally takes seconds to complete.
#JasperBean commented that the ride was smooth and comfortable. I guess this was thanks to the air tires that provided better traction and buffering from the lumps and bumps on the roads and paths. We noticed that the bike also had brakes at the front only. Which we were fine with as this allowed for the most effective stopping power. However, we did have to teach #JasperBean to brake carefully and not too hard in case it may topple him over head first. It would have been nice if there were also rear wheel brakes to regulate speed and when there is not enough traction, but this was not a deal breaker for us.
What we didn’t like
For a balance bike, it is pretty big and heavy. This was a compromise that we were willing to overlook since longevity was what we wanted and children grow pretty quickly anyway. However, as a starter balance bike, your child might find it a bit heavy to lift up and get tired more quickly. Other than that, when converted into a pedal bike, the pedals are also a bit narrower than standard ones, but doesn‘t affect it’s performance per se.
The paint work on the bike isn‘t great either. A few falls and rough handling did cause the paint to scrape off.
From Balance Bike to Pedal Bike in under 5 minutes!
Performance as a Balance Bike
The upright position was most natural for them to steer the bike. It was comfortable and smooth. #DD who was 2 years old at the time had some issues balancing due to the weight, but then again, this bike is geared for 3 years+. The weight of the bike made it a bit more difficult to maneuver and easier to fall. #JasperBean on the other hand had no issues balancing with both legs up in the air and whizzing pass walkers and scaring neighbourhood wildlife in the local park.
Performance as a Pedal Bike
Review from #JasperBean was that it was a smooth and enjoyable ride. The extendable frame meant that a more tailored fit for the child’s height was more easier achieved. Due to its smaller size 14“ wheels, it wouldn‘t ride as well as bigger pedal bikes. As it incorporates a balance bike as part of its design, it is larger than most balance bike wheels. I wouldn‘t anticipate the SmarTrike Xtend to be a long term balance bike option. As a convertible balance to pedal bike, it performed significantly better than a standard, cheap toy store bike. As mentioned earlier the pedals are slightly narrower than standard pedals, which is okay. But for longer extended rides, a wider pedal would be more comfortable and easier for their little feet.
Depending on the size and confidence of your chilld, I would guess that they would at least be on the balance bike for 6 months+. However, #JasperBean only used the balance bike feature for 3 times before he requested to have pedals added. Much to our surprise, he was riding and pedalling along before I even said “Go!”. Just to prove that not only was he confident in riding the SmarTrike Xtend as a pedal bike, he also managed to ride his other 16 inch pedal bike without any problems. Something he wasn‘t able to do prior to using the balance bike feature of the SmarTrike Xtend. Therefore the feature of the balance bike wasn‘t used as long as I had expected. But I’m equally thrilled that this has helped him learn how to ride a proper bike so quickly!
I guess the balance bike will be used more extensively by #DD since he falls more into the age bracket that the SmarTrike Xtend targets.
While “in-1s” are a great selling point, they rarely perform equally as well as intended. However, the SmarTrike Xtend exceeded our expectations of it being a balance bike AND pedal bike. It really did a great job in allowing my children to confidently learn to balance AND pedal shortly after. Although it has its flaws, it performed pretty much its intended purpose seamlessly in our eyes. The unique ability to extend the frame meant that an older/bigger child was able to ride the bike quite comfortably. This is definitely a great idea and selling point from SmarTrike. We highly recommend the SmarTrike Xtend if you have an older toddler/child who is just starting their balance bike journey. This is a very cost effective, good quality bike that will easily last several years and build their confidence on a pedal bike.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this review and do pop back for more of our adventures.
Love as always,
I have not received any compensation for writing any of my product reviews. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. . All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the developing company, and/or its affiliates, in anyway.