The Bubblicious Balance Bike seemingly has it all: a robust, yet girly design that is ecofriendly. If you want to do your bit for the environment while your daughter is having fun and getting some great exercise, this is the bike to get. Like other balance bikes, the Bubblicious from Smart Gear Toys gives your child the opportunity to develop the necessary skills for riding a bike while boosting her confidence. Just like Bubbles, one of the Powerpuff Girls the bike seems to be inspired by, it is a sweet, ditzy design that packs quite a punch. But before you head right to the store, it is wise to do some research first, comparing the bike to your other options before making a decision.
Unboxing and Assembly
When unboxing this bike, the first thing that caught my eye is how much effort the manufacturers went through to ensure that it is eco friendly to the last detail. The carton packaging is made from recycled paper and water-based ink is used for the printing. This construction, however, didn’t seem to make the packaging any less sturdy and the bike arrived in perfect condition. As this wooden balance bike ships in pieces, we had to put it together using the tools provided in the package, but the whole assembly literally only took me about 5 minutes.
Luckily the seat was already at the right height for my daughter, as it comes pre-assembled to the base. I do foresee problems for people who have to adjust it though, as the screws were fastened very tightly, which is a great thing if you want to ensure a reliable ride, but not so great if you have to loosen it in order to raise the seat. The last thing you want to do is to strip the thread of the screws, making life difficult if you have to fasten it again.
Bubblicious Balance Bike First Impressions
My daughter was thrilled when she saw the bike for the first time. She loved the pink color and immediately thought the crossbar would make a nice canvas for some of her favorite stickers. It took a lot of convincing to stop her from customizing it and she was not impressed at all at the idea that we were merely testing the bike. To me, the design looked very robust and I think it would be a great confidence booster for kids to know they don’t have to sit on a flimsy thing with two wheels.
I also like the fact that it is so lightweight and it has a built-in carry handle, making it easy for grown-ups to carry. The bike is painted in a glossy pink, bubblegum color, but as the paint is also eco-friendly, I am not too sure that it will withstand being left outside in the sun and rain too often. The same goes for the bike. Knowing toddlers and how rough they can be, a wooden bike is definitely more vulnerable to wear and tear, chipping and scratching than a metal bike.
Getting onto the bike it was immediately apparent that this is a fairly tall bike. It just barely fit my two-year-old daughter at the lowest seat setting. Unlike other balance bikes that I have seen that are suitable from 18 months upwards, this bike is definitely for the slightly older child, but it will grow with the child up until 5 years of age.
Safety-wise I am pleased to report that I didn’t see any sharp, protruding edges and I love the spokeless design of the wheels that ensures that no feet, shoelaces, or clothing can get trapped in it. The tires have a tough tread that gives the bike a good grip on the road, making it unlikely for your kid to slide out with the bike. The steering wheel has a limited steering radius, which is a great thing as it prevents the bike from jackknifing and any resulting crashes. But no matter how safe the bike, there will always be falls and crashes, which is why I always ensure that my daughter wears a helmet and kneepads when biking.
Although my daughter is a fairly experienced rider as she owns a balance bike of her own, it usually takes her some time to adjust to a new bike. However, the learning curve of the Bubblicious Balance bike seems to be quite small as she was going full speed very quickly and had no trouble maneuvering the bike. She did complain about the fact that this bike doesn’t have a footrest where you can place your feet, so she had to dangle it in the air if she wanted to coast. Examining the bike after a couple of rides, I could see that some of the Allen screws have started to loosen, so it would require you to tighten them every week or so.
My daughter was very impressed with how comfortable the bike is. This can be attributed to the fact that it has air tires instead of foam, as well as a cushioned leatherette seat and rubberized handle grips. But comfort comes at a price: air tires are more likely to get punctured and the leatherette seat will eventually crack over time. If this was my daughter’s bike, I would definitely ensure that it is stored indoors all the time, away from moisture and direct sunlight to ensure a longer product life.
Pro’s & Cons
Bubblicious Balance Bike Pros
- Robust construction inspires confidence to help develop balance and coordination
- Pretty, girly bike, very customizable
- Can accommodate toddlers of between 2 to 5 years of age (maximum weight 60 lbs)
- Eco-friendly wood harvested from a replenishable source, non-toxic paint
- Body with incorporated carry handle
- Comfortable air tires and seat
- Safe design, good steering, and grip on the road
- Fairly small learning curve
Bubblicious Balance Bike Cons
- More vulnerable to wear and tear
- Not suitable for younger, shorter toddlers
- Very gender-specific
- Screws need to be tightened all the time
The Bubblicious Balance Bike is a beautiful bicycle for a young girl. It is both robust and comfortable, but also a bike that will require some maintenance. There are way more pros to this bike than cons, but you will need to live with the fact that it will probably only be a one-kid bike, and not a very suitable hand-me-down, especially not if your second child is a boy.