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  1. #1
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    Upgrading Strider?

    My 3 yo has been riding the trails for almost a year now, and I'm looking to replace the EVA wheels with a wheelset with pneumatic tires, and possibly add a hand brake. They sell a set on the Strider website, but I wanted to see if anybody knows about better options out there. Googling has failed me. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    or... you could get him a bike? Not trying to be rude just sayin.

  3. #3
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    Yes. He/she is ready for a pedal bike. No kids I've taught on a Strider has been on it that long before moving to a pedal bike.

  4. #4
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    Congratulations to your 3 year-old! A year on the strider is great... I assume (s)he is having a grand time. My 3-year-old just finished a year on her strider as well, and graduated to her "pedal bike" about a month ago. The best part for me is the brakes. She just couldn't stop so well with her feet on the ground, and trying to retrofit brakes on the strider was a losing proposition... just not worth the effort for the amount of time she would have needed it.

    First off, I agree with the others... I would look into a pedal-equipped bicycle at this point. After that long on the strider, whether you put wheels and a brake on it or not, I suspect your child will be more than ready for something with pedals. My daughter certainly was... and she's VERY small for her age (5% in height).

    Which brings us to the 2 concerns at this point... price and size. Finding a bike that will fit a small child can be HARD. My daughter has a Spawn Cycles Gremlin, although I had to swap out the seat for one that was about 1" lower than the stock seat... unless your child is puny like mine, you probably have about a half-dozen good options: Hotrock 12, Spawn Furi (renamed Gremlin), and the Islabike 12" are the most well-known. There's a new company called Cleary that has some interesting bikes as well, though I haven't know anyone that got one.

    If price is a factor, I would look for a used Hotrock 12; you should be able to find one for not much more than the new wheels and brake conversion would cost you. Plus, if you don't have another little one somewhere, you should be able to sell the strider for something decent, I expect.

    Let us know what you think... is there some reason (besides price, which is totally understandable) you think upgrading the balance bike is the way to go? Every child's different, so there may be something we're missing here.

  5. #5
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    I will throw in my two cents, but obviously not worth much.

    We were in your shoes last fall. We bought the pneumatic tires and extended seat post from Strider even though our son was ready to pedal. He loves the off-road tires, as he calls them, and they do make the bike park a bit safer for him, but in hindsight we should have just bought a Spawn then.

    We have a Spawn Banshee on the way and I could not be more excited. I have no doubt he will keep playing with the Strider for a while, but I wish we had just bought the Spawn last year... Or if really motivated for a balance bike, saved the money from the tires and seat post and just upgraded to the 16" Strider that actually has handbrakes or another balance bike with handbrakes (like one made by Spawn Cycles or Cleary Bikes).

    In case you can't tell, in our experience when our son's riding got to the point that he needed the pneumatic tires, I think he also really would have benefited from brakes...

    Good luck. We did and still (at 3 years old) do love our Strider.

  6. #6
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    To directly answer your question, I looked for alternatives to the Strider version for the tires but couldn't find any.

  7. #7
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    Yes, thank you everybody, he has a 12" Hotrock that he's been pedaling since December, but he's too small to put his feet down. He just turned 3 in May and is a little small for his size. I even swapped the strider and hotrock seatposts to get it a little lower for him.

    He's pretty comfortable with the pedal bike, but it's going to be a while before he can ride a pedal bike on actual mountain bike trails with rocks and roots and hills etc. When he gets a little bigger, I've definitely got my eye on Spawn and a couple of the others, but want to make things a little easier/more comfortable in the meantime.

  8. #8
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    He was riding the Strider by the time he was 2, and using a pedal bike at 2.5. When we're out on the road cars slow down to look or give him thumbs up, and roadies cheer him on when they go by.
    His skills are far greater than his size and age would seemingly allow, and that's thanks to all the threads I've read on this board. This has been a great resource.

  9. #9
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    Honestly, I would just buy a LikeaBike/Kokua Jumper LIKEaBIKE Jumper. You can put a front brake on it (they sell one)

    We bought a second hand one when our son was 2.5, like your son he had already been riding a pedal bike for 7 months, but still used the balance bike for stuff he couldn't so on the pedal bike.

    Now at 3.5 he still uses the balance bike for practising jumps and tricks, so worth every penny.

  10. #10
    CJH
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    My boys are turning 6 and 5 in the coming weeks and still spend a lot of time on their Striders. If I take them with me when I go hiking they actually prefer to take their Striders vs. walk or ride their bikes if the trail is at all technical.

    They also used their Striders to learn a skill they were trying to transition to on their bikes, whether it be simply standing, riding over a fallen tree limb or going over a ramp.

    So on that same note, I regret not figuring out some sort of hand brake system for them for their Striders or possibly looking for a different balance bike that had them. Did they need one to stop their Striders? No, but it would have been just another skill for them to learn before transitioning to their pedal bikes.

    We're past that point now and I have no idea how I'd go about putting a brake on a balance bike but I wanted to post and offer my support of what you're wanting to do.

    There is this article about a Specialized balance bike with a disc brake.

    Project Bike: Danish man builds son coolest balance bike ever | Mountain Bike Review

  11. #11
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    I absolutely love that project.

  12. #12
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    Just to be this way, the bike looks cool, and maybe sometime in the future that little man might used the brakes, but as things stand. There is no way that child can reach or use the brakes, and that rear tire has seen no brake use.

    a Child that has found he back brakes is going to use them, well. and back tires do not last long.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProjectMayhem View Post
    Honestly, I would just buy a LikeaBike/Kokua Jumper LIKEaBIKE Jumper. You can put a front brake on it (they sell one)

    We bought a second hand one when our son was 2.5, like your son he had already been riding a pedal bike for 7 months, but still used the balance bike for stuff he couldn't so on the pedal bike.

    Now at 3.5 he still uses the balance bike for practising jumps and tricks, so worth every penny.
    Ok, stay focused people. I have a balance bike, I have a pedal bike. I am looking for a source to buy 12" wheels/tires. Not another pedal bike, and not a $250 balance bike from England. Sheesh.

  14. #14
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    My 5 year old still uses his Specialized Hotwalk- but I agree you should think about buying your kiddo a pedal bike. The money you spend on upgrading the Strider would go a long way towards the new bike. We were on a pedal bike since a week after he turned 3- I point that out because he literally grew out of his 12" pedal bike in slightly less than a year- so you'll likely be selling your 12" pedal bike rather quickly unless you have a second child for it. So then you're sinking money into a balance bike then a 12" pedal bike then boom it's time for a 16 inch bike.

    The balance bikes are far more than a stepping stone. We use ours as an indoor toy, it's funny watching my son scoot around and try little "track stands" on it, and dropping off the stair from the kitchen to the family room.

    Also, as mentioned before, it is great on walks- sometimes it is more fun for him to just chill on the balance bike at a walking pace than to pedal pedal pedal wait wait wait pedal pedal on the bike when I'm walking the dog. Extends his range considerably too over walking with me.
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  15. #15
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    Sorry, I was suggesting it might be the cheaper/better option to get a used balance bike that already has the features you are looking for.

  16. #16
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    I think everyone pretty much covered everything and you made your viewpoints or goal pretty clear. So won't bother giving my thoughts on that matter.

    If I recall correctly when I was looking into a replacement wheel for a balance bike a couple of months ago, I came across posts where people mentioned using a wheel that they bought from a local hardware store (I think they specifically mentioned harbor freight) to use. Can't remember the exact details though and not sure if it'd work for your situation.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProjectMayhem View Post
    Sorry, I was suggesting it might be the cheaper/better option to get a used balance bike that already has the features you are looking for.
    Sorry dude. After 8 replies of "just get him a pedal bike" I was turning into this guy:

    But you're right, I'll keep an eye out for one that already has it. Although balance bikes are pretty rare in my area and tend not to depreciate much.

  18. #18
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    No problem, but what about a pedal bike...?

    Seriously though, I will say that I moved my son up to 16" wheels just before he turned 3, and what a difference it makes in terms of the bumpy trails he can ride.

  19. #19
    scn
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    Universal cycles carries the Strider pneumatic tires

    Universal Cycles -- Strider Alloy/Pneumatic Replacement Wheel

    If the link doesn't work, search by company on the website under Strider Sports

    I believe they are $49 for the set (not individual wheels). I purchased a set for my son when he was small and they provided noticeably more traction.

  20. #20
    CJH
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    Quote Originally Posted by b.r.h. View Post
    I absolutely love that project.
    I assume he used a 110mm disc hub. From looking at my son's Strider and Hotrock 16 I'd guess you'd have to do considerably more "shaving" of the hub than the 5 mm suggested in the article.

    I'm going to order one of those U-shaped V brake adapters from Dan's Comp for the Hotrock 16. I'll mount a V brake to it and temporarily tie it to the stays on one of our Striders and see if there is any chance of it fitting.

    There are also the bolt on adapters but it appears the stays on the Strider are much too large in diameter for those.

  21. #21
    CJH
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    I bumped another thread for you that I stumbled across today. The brake adapter plate from Dan's Comp is no longer listed on their site so I won't be able to see if it fits on a Strider.

    Here's the thread I bumped.

    V Brake Install on Specialized Hotwalk Balance Bike

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by b.r.h. View Post
    Yes, thank you everybody, he has a 12" Hotrock that he's been pedaling since December, but he's too small to put his feet down. He just turned 3 in May and is a little small for his size. I even swapped the strider and hotrock seatposts to get it a little lower for him.
    Yeah, I totally understand... that's why I was wondering if we were missing something. My daughters are both very small for age (5% and 10%), and finding a decent bike that they can reach the ground from the saddle was REALLY tough. Especially since most bike manufacturers list standover height for a child's bike, and not seat-to-ground height, which to me is the important thing for someone learning to ride!

    My first daughter (at 3.5 years) was just fine on a stock Spawn Gremlin... my second daughter (at 3.0 years) needed an extra inch, so I swapped in the saddle/seatpost from her Burley MyKick balance bike. Buuuut... you already have the hotrock 12, and I can't see any plausible reason to replace it with another equivalent bike!

    If you do manage to get handbrakes on the strider, I'd love to see how you manage it... it looks pretty challenging on the one we have. I do like the idea someone else had of looking for a used balance-bike with brakes to replace the STrider in your situation. That definitely has some possibilities.

  23. #23
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    I went ahead and ordered the strider brand pneumatic wheels. My main goal is to give him some cushioning, and it sounds like there aren't really any other options out there for 12" wheels.

    He does fine dragging his feet to stop, but if I figure out a way to add a hand brake it will give him practice, and make the transition easier when he's ready to step up to a 16" bike. I'll definitely post it up if I do though.

  24. #24
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    You did the right thing. I purchased the strider Pneumatic wheels as well as there were no better wheel options i could find. Now my son's strider is much more capable. As he learns to ride his hotrock, he still prefers to ride the strider when all the kids are playing on bikes. I prefer it too as he doesn't need as much attention.

  25. #25
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    I agree that the pneumatic wheels are much nicer and much more capable. When we received ours, my husband said the bike really should have come with them. Although they do add about 2 pounds, I was too hard on them earlier. For a smaller rider, they are definitely worthwhile.

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