Admittedly, the Bentley balance bike that we had the pleasure of test riding would likely never have crossed my path without it having been introduced to me. It would have required that I Google-d “luxury toddler balance bike.”
If I had, this bike would likely be at the top of the list. It has a disk brake and a sleek molded bike frame. This kids bike is fast and glistening, which usually attracts some kind of attention at the bike park.
The Bentley balance bike was by far the most new, exciting thing that my toddler has received this year. The grip from the rubber tires has significantly boosted his confidence with faster speeds and he rides it any chance he gets.
While we still have a ways to go with learning about hand braking, this bike is equipped with the highest quality parts you will find on any bike in this size. And it looks cool too.
Review in a Nutshell
- Stable with faster riding
- Inflatable tires offer more traction
- Lightweight alloy frame
- Single disk break
- Internal cable housing
- Adjusting the disk brake properly is difficult
- Reduced seat height adjustment
Price & Where To Buy: $495 at BentleyTrike.com
Designed to be both beautiful and functional, this bike is also an exceptionally stable ride for a young rider. The wheelbase is slightly longer than the Strider bike we upgraded from, which contributed to a significant change in the way my toddler balanced. His strides became much longer and he started taking corners much faster almost immediately.
Though the frame itself is a bit bigger than your average toddler balance bike, the stand over height is about the same. The saddle is able to be dropped down quite low and can accommodate riders as young as 18 months old, though some sites list the recommended age as 3+, my 2 year old fits on just fine. Additionally, the seat post is adjustable to your child’s growth for many seasons.
Alloy Frame and Aluminum Rims
Though this bike looks quite beefy, it is actually extremely lightweight thanks to the magnesium alloy frame. This frame is sleek and moulded; designed in partnership with Bentley Motors Limited and made to withstand the test of time.
The maximum rider weight is approximately 77 pounds, meaning my child will be able to ride this bike while he gains an additional 40 pounds. That’s years of use for us, which makes it an exceptional investment for kids gear, even though the beautiful sparkle paint will likely not last as long.
In addition to the alloy frame, this bike is equipped with 12” aluminum rims and spokes. This makes for a stronger wheel to support the rear disc brake and also adds to the overall design quality of the bike. You can feel the moment that you pick this bike up that it is well built and ready to withstand whatever a toddler may throw at it.
Durable Hybrid Tires
Out of the box, this bike comes equipped with sleek, hybrid inflatable tires and the improvement in the ride quality with this feature is immediately apparent. Because this bike does not have any suspension, I am able to run the tires a bit lower when we ride on the dirt, giving my child not only additional traction, but also a bit of impact reduction.
Unfortunately and as with most compact tires, inflating these tires is a bit of a challenge. The squeeze between the spokes is too tight for your average pump head, so you will need to either replace the tubes with angled stems in order to inflate the tires or have a pump with a smaller head in order to fit between the spokes.
Rear Disc Brake
There are many aspects of this bike that catch your attention, but many are immediately impressed with such a formidable disc brake on such a minuscule frame. It is eye-catching, which adds to the overall appeal and matches the design quality of this bike.
Beyond looks, this brake is powerful and ready for action. It is cable initiated and adjustable to fit your child’s small reach.
The brake contains the only moving parts outside of the wheels spinning and setting up and adjusting the brake calipers took some time. Even after an hour or so, it still wasn’t quite right.
The margin of error, meaning the gap between the rotor chirping or not chirping with each wheel rotation, is tight. Attempting to adjust the brake in my living room with inadequate tools and poor lighting wasn’t enough. A proper stand, rotor truing tool, and a pad/rotor alignment tool would come in handy with set up.
The smaller your child’s hand, the more narrow the margin of error. But, once set up, the brake initiates quite easily.
My child is able to begin practicing his braking skills and with the pace in which he is learning to ride on this bike, as well as the high rider weight limit, it is important to have a brake that will keep up with his speeds.
From the hand brake, the brake cable travels down through internal housing, preventing the collection of debris and improving the look of the bike. The Artek brake caliper pads are easily replaced and fully adjustable, making setup much easier.
As expected with the high quality design of the frame, the saddle is generously cushioned, stitched together, and printed with Bentley branding. The saddle is moulded plastic and is directly mounted to the alloy seat tube. There can be no adjustments made to the saddle position or angle and is a major drawback at this price point.
The amount of saddle height adjustment is also reduced by the moulded design of the frame. Because the seat post cannot pass through the bottom of the frame, the seat height adjustment is reduced to a minimum.
This is a disappointment because the height of the saddle doesn’t seem to be adequate enough to adjust to the needs of older riders. I expect at some point both the saddle and seat post would need to be replaced, as the child approaches the maximum rider weight.
Initially, I was most impressed by the look of the bike, having been accustomed to the generally bright and gender specific colors of most children’s products. The moulded frame, Bentley saddle, and rear disc rotor look cool and plenty of people stop and stare when we’re out at the park.
Immediately following, I was impressed by the cost. It surpasses the cost of your average balance bike by several hundred dollars, due principally to the Bentley branding, but credit should also be paid to the general quality of the materials. That said, there are plenty of high quality balance bikes (like the Woom 1) available without luxury branding at much more affordable prices that include adjustable seats.
Bottom-Line: Great Choice If Money Is No Object
The Bentley Balance bike is beautiful, robust, and ready for all sorts of on and off road adventures. Nearly every inch of this small bike is crafted with the kind of detail and consideration that you would expect in a product designed by Bentley and is sure to turn heads.
The sleek rubber tires make for fast rides and sharp turns at the bike park and the saddle makes for a comfortable day on the trails. You would be hard pressed to find a similar quality balance bike in this size with a disc brake option. While it is certainly not the most expensive balance bike on the market (see Specialized Hotwalk Carbon), it is priced nearly double above the average balance bike currently on the market.
Expect many years of use out of this bike due to its wide user weight range and well built components. It is sure to not only get your kid excited to get out for a ride with its shiny disc rotor, but also will keep your kids riding as they enjoy the added luxurious details that only Bentley would design.