Long gone are the days of starting your child off with a tricycle or some other single-use bicycle. Now, they need to begin working on their balance and their riding skills with a bicycle that will grow with them. This is where the LittleBig Bike comes into play.
This bike starts out as a simple balance bike – no training wheels needed. And then, as your child matures and is able to handle a bike with more advanced features – you can add the drivetrain. We had three different sized riders with different abilities get on the bike and take it for a spin.
Designed For Kids Aged Two to Seven
In the past, kids started out with the aforementioned tricycles and then progressed to small two-wheeled bikes with stabilizers or training wheels on them. As their balance got better, those training wheels were raised up slightly, and then more so, until they could be taken off. Thanks to the LittleBig Bike, these introductory stages are skipped over. Kids learn to balance on two wheels right away.
What Comes With The Bike
The bike comes with all the tools you will need to assemble the bike and convert it from a balance bike to a pedal bike. There is a wrench for the rear bolt-on axle and properly sized hex keys. When in its balance bike configuration, a plastic dust cover can be placed over the rear chain ring.
It’s Not Just A Kids’ Bike – It’s A Transformer!
These helpful videos were created by LittleBig Bikes. They take you though the assembly of the bike and how to go through its configurations.
Little Balance Bike
Big Balance Bike
Adding The Pedals
The First Stage – The Little Balance Bike
The LittleBig Bike comes already set up for kids ages two and three. This is the balance bike stage. There are no pedals and there are no stabilizers either. Instead, your child uses their feet, which should be flat on the ground when they are in the bicycle’s seat, in order to propel themselves forward. While it’s common for kids of this age to use their feet as the brakes, which works just fine, because they won’t be able to move at a high rate of speed, the LittleBig Balance Bike actually comes with front and rear hand brakes. The creator of the bike, the LittleBig Company, believes that kids this age can learn to use hand brakes fairly easily. And, it’s true! One of our test riders had never used hand brakes before. With a little instruction from his dad, the little ripper was braking safely and evenly.
The Second Stage – The Big Balance Bike
Once your child gets taller, it’s time for the second stage of the bike. This is also a balance bike stage, but it’s set up for slightly older kids, usually those age four and five. The back section of the frame is one of the ingenious ways in which the bike grows with your child. All that you need to do is flip that back part of the frame and move the seat to the (new) top section. This provides more vertical height and pushes the seat back slightly so that there’s a longer reach for the handlebars.
The Third Stage – The Big Pedal Bike
Finally, when your child is ready for something even more advanced, pedals, the bike easily converts to accommodate them. There’s a separate pedal and crank assembly that can be attached to the bike. You don’t even need to break the chain! Since the hand brakes are already included, you just have to add this one section and then your child has a mini mountain bike that they can use to cruise along the trails.
Simon Evans – Engineer, Inventor, And Founder Of Little Big Bikes
Simon was kind enough to spend a few minutes on the phone with us and talk about his invention. When asked about the inception of what lead to the LittleBig Bike, he said:
“I used to work in a bike shop and I remember one day very specifically. On our sales floor there was a balance bike, then a 14-inch bike, and a 16, and an 18, and a 20. And they were all lined up. I thought, ‘Why do you have to buy all these different bikes?’ Why couldn’t you just have one bike that adapts?
This was the ‘light bulb’ moment that went off in my head. I knew what I had to do. I didn’t know exactly how I was going to do it, but I knew what I wanted to do.”
Specifications And Features
Because the LittleBig Bike changes sizes with your child, there are three different sets of specs for it. Starting with the minimum saddle (seat) height, at stage one, it’s at 14 inches, then it moves up to 18 inches and 19.5 inches at stages two and three.
The maximum saddle height is at 18 inches in stage one, and then 22 inches for stages two and three. Another important measurement is the wheelbase. It’s at 27.5 inches in stage one. Stages two and three are the same here – 26.8 inches.
Wheels on the bike are sized at 14″ and the bike weighs 11.25lbs as a balance bike and 14.55lbs set-up as a pedal bike.
LittleBig Bike Size Chart
|Little Balance Bike||Big Balance Bike||Big Pedal Bike|
|Min Saddle Height (inches)||14||18||19.5 (or 18" with optional short seatpost fitted)|
|Max Saddle Height (inches)||18||22||22|
|Top Tube Length (inches)||13.5||15.5||15.5|
|Head Angle (degrees)||66||70||70|
|Seat Angle (degrees)||78||70||70|
The LittleBig Bike is available with or without the additional pedal and crank attachment. You can also buy that attachment separately. You also have your choice of bright colors, including flame red, apple green, electric blue, and sparkle pink. The company even sells helmets on their website to match (or not match) your kid’s next bike.
Lovingly designed and hand-assembled in Ireland, the LittleBig Bike company does their part to ensure your young riders get off on the right foot when they become a part of your #mtbfamily.
The bike features a quick-release seat collar.
The pedals are fastened to the seat tube with these 2 bolts
Front and rear hand brakes.
The front/rear portion of the frame is fastened here.
Getting Around On The LittleBig Bike
All our riders enjoyed the bike because it put them in control right from the start. Each mode of the bike was suited to each riders’ abilities.
We did our best to get one young lad to pedal on his own for the first time, but the pedaling was just not happening during this show-and-go impromptu session. There is absolutely no pressure with this bike though! We just converted it back to a balance bike and the young ‘un enjoyed riding the bike up and down the sidewalk.
Your Child Could Use A Bike That Can Actually Grow Along With Them
If you want to pass your love of mountain biking on to your children, do your best to start them off at an early age. The LittleBig Bike is an excellent option for learning the initial skill-set that a child will build on for years to come. You won’t have to worry about buying a new bicycle every year since this one will grow along with them. These bikes are designed to last, too. When your children outgrow the Big Pedal bike, it can easily stay in the eco-system via resale or being handed off to another young rider.
When WIRED labels your invention as “genius”, you’re in pretty good shape. Ireland’s Simon Evans has come up with a kid’s bike that that is superbly functional, and good looking. It would make Artemis Fowl green with envy. The design of the bike allows it to be enjoyed for multiple years by the same rider who will grow several inches. As a parent of a growing pre-teen and high schooler we hope Mr. Evans’ next endeavor will be applying his learnings to larger bikes.