LittleBig Review: Balance Bike & Kids Pedal Bike in One
Imagine a bike that could grow with your child. Rather than purchasing an expensive balance bike only to buy an expensive pedal bike a few years (or a few months) later, this one bike could do it all. Your child could go from scooting to pedaling all on their single trusty steed.
This is what Simon, a cyclist and engineer from Ireland, imagined and he brought the bike to life. His brainchild, the LittleBig, is a 3-in-1 bicycle that converts from a little balance bike to a big balance bike to a pedal bike.
Review in a Nutshell
- Long useful life
- Durable construction
- Dual handbrakes
- Internally routed cables
- Wide, pneumatic tires
- The appropriate age range may not be as large as advertised
Price & Where to Buy:
- $240 at LittleBigBikes.com
LittleBig Detailed Review
How it works
The rear end of the little big bike is able to “flip” in order to grow with your child. This allows it to go from little balance bike to big balance bike (or big pedal bike). The conversion itself is easy. There are two bolts to loosen, you flip the frame, and then retighten the bolts. The seat post also has to be removed and flipped to the other side of the frame, but this is made easy thanks to a quick release seat collar. The whole thing takes about 5 minutes.
The conversion to pedal bike is also easy. The pedal/bottom-bracket combo attaches to the bottom of the frame. There is also a 1″ spacer above the stem which allows the handlebars to raise and adds in the comfort level of your child as they grow.
To see the whole conversion from balance bike to pedal bike, watch our video review above.
Frame and Components
From first glance, it’s clear that the LittleBig isn’t just a toy–it is a real bike with all the bells and whistles to boot. Whether in balance bike mode or pedal mode, kids will benefit from the beefy pneumatic tires, easy-to-operate dual hand brakes, and sealed bearings.
The frame is made of lightweight 6061 aluminum, and even with the “flippable” design it proves to be durable and well-made. The fork is steel which ensures that it will withstand any abuse that an aggressive pre-schooler can throw at it.
LittleBig as a Balance Bike
The LittleBig really shines as a balance bike, and has all the things we look for in a high-end toddler bike: dual handbrakes, pneumatic tires, and an aluminum frame.
Although dual handbrakes aren’t a must-have on a balance bike, I certainly prefer them. They allow kids to begin working on braking skills at a young age (kids are usually capable around 2.5 years old), and for aggressive riders, brakes add an extra element of safety while saving the toes of your child’s shoes.
We also love that the LittleBig bike offers pneumatic tires. Cheaper balance bikes often come with foam or plastic tires that are awesome for riding around the house, but don’t work so well in real-world conditions. The LittleBig bike allows toddlers to begin adventuring beyond the living room, and the tires perform well on pavement, gravel, grass, and mud.
With it’s 14″ wheels and a 14″ minimum seat height, this is a balance bike best suited for kids in AT LEAST a 2T pant, and will be more comfortable for pre-schoolers in a 3T or 4T pant. The weight (11.2 lbs) is a bit heavy compared to smaller balance bikes, but is easily handled by pre-schoolers.
While the LittleBig balance bike is ideal for 3 and 4 year olds, if you are looking to introduce your 18 month old to a balance bike, they will be better suited by a 12″ balance bike like the Woom 1 with a low-standover and super low weight.
LittleBig as a Pedal Bike
Once your kiddo has mastered balancing, coasting, and braking, it may be time to add pedals to the mix. Fortunately, for kids who are already comfortable on a balance bike, learning to pedal is usually easy and quick. (For help, read our article on teaching a child to ride a pedal bike).
The LittleBig offers neither training wheels nor a coaster brake–which we love. Because kids have already learned to balance and operate handbrakes while still in balance bike mode, neither are necessary. For more reading on why we discourage both training wheel and coaster brake use, read these articles:
The LittleBig has 14″ wheels, and as a pedal bike, has a minimum seat height of 18.5.” As such, it will be most comfortable for kids in 4T pants or with an inseam height of about 18.” While LittleBig markets the bike as fitting kids up to age 7, I would caution parents against expecting the bike to last that long. If your child is just goofing around in the driveway, it might be okay–but by age 5 or 6 a child will be far better served by a 16″ or even a 20″ bike.
Shipping to the U.S.
The bike is sold only through LittleBig directly, and is shipped from Ireland worldwide. Shipping to the U.S. costs $30. We found that shipping was fast and efficient, and we had the bike in hand within a week. Not bad.
LittleBig Comparison to the Strider 14
There aren’t many bikes that are comparable to The LittleBig. In fact, it is only recently that it has had any competition at all. The Strider 14x is a newly introduced bicycle from the popular balance bike manufacturer that converts from balance bike to pedal bike. It lacks many of the nicer features of the LittleBig, however: no dual handbrakes and cheaper parts. The nicer components on the LittleBig do come at a price; with shipping, the LittleBig is more expensive than the 14x.
|Bike||Price||Wheel Size||Brake Type||Seat Height||Frame Material||Tire Type||Bike weight|
|LittleBig||$240||14″||Dual handbrakes||14″-21″||Aluminum||Air||11.2 lbs|
|Strider 14x||$209||14″||Coaster||15″-22″||Steel||Air||12.5 lbs|
For pre-schoolers who are likely to begin pedaling soon, the LittleBig bike is a smart buy. It saves parents the hassle and expense of buying a balance bike only to have it traded out a few months later for a pedal bike. It also prevents the temptation of skipping a balance bike and resorting to training wheels instead. Thanks to high-quality components and a durable frame, the bike has a long useful life and the ability to withstand not one but two or more kids next in line.