Young kids care about three things in a bicycle: (1) it has to look cool, (2) it needs to be easy to ride, and (3) it should perform well on all kinds of terrain (pavement, dirt, grass, rocks, mud, etc). The Stampede Sprinter 14″ delivers on all accounts.
We recently reviewed the Stampede Sprinter 16“, and while I thought it was a great bike, I have to say–the Sprinter 14″ is even better. Designed for kids in the 3 to 5 age range, it looks great, it handles well, and it is fast on pavement and sturdy on trail. In addition to all the things kids care about, it also checks the boxes for criteria that parents care about: the price is good, the parts are durable, and it comes with a freewheel hub (no coaster). If you are looking for a fantastic 14″ bike, at a price that you can (mostly) stomach, check out the Stampede Sprinter 14”.
Review in a Nutshell
- Freewheel hub (no coaster)
- Dual handbrakes with easy-to-pull levers
- Great price
- No steering limiter
- Tricky assembly/setup
Price and Where to Buy:
- $239 at StampedeBikes.com
Stampede Sprinter 14″ Detailed Review
Geometry, Weight, and Sizing
The geometry of the Stampede Sprinter 14” is just about perfect for a young child. Compared to the 16” Sprinter, the 14 has upswept bars to encourage better control and confidence. The frame geometry has a nice balance between aggressiveness and stability–making it ideal for kids to learn on, but also to rally once they have the pedaling thing figured out.
The Stampede Sprinter 14” weighs 16 pounds. Compare this to a big-box store bike that can easily weigh 30 pounds. The lighter weight of the Sprinter makes it more enjoyable, safer, and faster for young riders. That said, it still a few pounds heavier than some of the more expensive 14” bikes; so if you have a particularly small child OR budget is no object, then you could go even lighter.
As for sizing, the Sprinter 14 fit my 4.5 year old in 4T pants just about perfectly. This is interesting because he has outgrown pretty much all of the rest of his 14” bikes. He has also been riding the 16” Sprinter, which he can handle but is a bit more challenging than the lithe 14” Sprinter.
The minimum standover height is 16” and the minimum seat height is 18”. Make sure to measure your child’s inseam before ordering the bike. The bare minimum inseam length is 16” and the closer they are to 18” the more comfortable they will be–especially if they are new pedaler.
Unlike adults, young kids don’t have “terrain-specific” bikes. They want to be able to ride to the ice cream shop, power across the grass at the playground, and hit up the pump track–all one on bike. This is where the Stampede Sprinter 14” really shines. The tires hit a sweet spot where they are beefy enough to handle dirt trail, but slick enough to be ridden on the street. Similarly, the rest of the bike’s build is capable enough to be ridden in any terrain.
Freehub and Dual Handbrakes
It is hard–though becoming increasingly easier–to find a 14” kids bike without a coaster brake. There are a lot of reasons it is better to forgo a coaster and start your child on a pedal bike with a freehub. For a full list of these, read this article on coaster brakes versus handbrakes.
Fortunately, the Stampede Sprinter 14” comes standard with a freehub (no coaster), and dual handbrakes. The hand brake levers are easy-to-reach and easy-to-pull for young kids.
The price of the Stampede Sprinter 14” is the big attraction of this bike. The quality to price ratio on this bike is unparalleled. No, it doesn’t have the same brand-name components that some higher-end kids bikes offer or their featherlight weight, but if you find it difficult to stomach spending $400 on a bike that will only be ridden for a year or two–Stampede is the answer to your needs.
Quick-release seatpost, internal cable routing
It is the little things that end up setting a bike apart. In this case, Stampede has shown their attention for detail with a quick-release seatpost and internal cable routing. The quick release seatpost allows you to easily raise (or lower) the seat position without having to both with tools. The internal cable routing keeps things clean and tidy, and keeps your child from getting scratched on zip-ties or brackets.
There aren’t a lot of things to pick at on the Sprinter, but my biggest quabble was the ease (or lack thereof) of assembly. My husband assembled the 16” Sprinter and had complained about the assembly, and this time, it was my turn to assemble the 14” bike. I had the exact same issues he had–the bike doesn’t come with all the tools required for assembly, and the brakes took quite a bit of time to adjust. None of this is a big deal–just plan on spending 30 minutes or so getting the bike dialed in.
The other minor con on the Stampede Sprinter 14” is the lack of a steering limiter. This didn’t concern me much on the 16” bike, but one would expect more kids riding the 14” bikes to be new to pedaling. A steering limiter prevents kids from over-rotating the bars. This is handy when kids are just learning to pedal, and have enough to think about rather than also focusing on steering.
Out of all the 14” bikes we’ve tested, the Sprinter 14 has the best bang for your buck. If money is no object, go with one of the more expensive, super-lightweight bikes like the Woom 2. But for most of us, for whom money is most certainly an object, the Sprinter 14 is a nice little package at an affordable price.
For our full comparison of 14″ kids bikes, check out the Best Pedal Bikes for Your 3 to 5 Year Old.
The Stampede Sprinter 14” is a capable, high-quality, and affordable bike for your 3 to 5 year old. It performs equally well on-road and off, and will withstand any abuse your pre-K kiddo can throw at it. We give the Sprinter 14” two thumbs up–one for price, one for rideability.
- $239 at StampedeBikes.com