Prevelo Zulu One- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Prevelo Zulu One

    After much debate, I bought a Prevelo Zulu One for my son's first pedal bike. I appreciate greatly all the good advice I received on this forum. As a way to give back, I'm creating this thread for my review/experiences with the bike as there isn't nearly as much info out there as there is on alternatives like the Spawn bikes.

    The bike arrived yesterday and I'll be building this weekend, so I have no special info yet, but to preface everything, these are the advantages/disadvantages I saw of the Zulu One vs. the Yoji, which was what I nearly bought.

    Perceived advantages of the Zulu One:
    1. Sizing - this is obviously personal, but my son was between the 14 and 16 in Yoji. The Zulu One is a bit more spread out seeming of a bike than the Yoji 14, so I hope he will be able to ride it a bit longer than the Yoji 14. He wasn't quite big enough for the 16 without modifications. When I get him on it, I'll get some photos to show fit/size. Obviously this is based on the individual, so it could be a downside for others.

    2. Hydraulic disk brakes vs. rim brakes - this is the most non-subjective comparison. I would basically always rather have disk brakes than rim brakes and I hope that they will be easier for him to learn how to modulate. At 30lbs, I can't imagine that the rim brakes wouldn't have had the power to lock the wheels, so power is less an issue, but the hydraulic disk brakes should let him brake with two fingers even given his not so strong little hands.

    3. More forgiving mountain bike geometry - The HTA is 66 degrees on the Zulu One vs. 72 degrees on the Yoji 14. That means that he's less likely to find himself flying over the bars, especially as he progresses from parking lot to trail with little imperfections. For a first bike, I like this geo more.

    4. Classier colors. They finish looks classier and more premium than the Spawn paints appear (at least online)


    Perceived advantages of the Spawn Yoji 14/16
    1. More BMX geometry - few things are more fun than messing around on a BMX bike. It's not nearly as forgiving, but it would likely be really good for skill building once he passes the very beginner phase.

    2. Price - the Yoji is cheaper, but it's not as much cheaper as the $370 vs. $460 list prices suggest. The more expensive Zulu One is shipped for free, while the Spawn charges $40 for shipping, so it's a $50 difference rather than close to $100.

    3. Colors - for a kids bike, I like the loud colors of the Spawn bikes better.

    4. Cassette hub vs. freewheel on the back. It's easier to change the gearing on the Spawn, esp. if you want to change it more than can be accomplished via chainring (which they both are ok for).

    Prevelo Zulu One-img_20190411_180339.jpg

  2. #2
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    This is what is inside the box. It was packaged nicely. As you can see, it ships with a really high seat post and wheel with a coaster brake to comply with US law on kids bikes and brakes. The wheel/tire is actually off the Alpha One with a coaster brake. A second wheel with a freewheel and mtb tire are included as is a shorter post.

    Prevelo Zulu One-img_20190414_083307.jpg

    Assembly was pretty easy. Install the bars on the stem. Take off the coaster brake wheel and replace it with the included mountain bike wheel. Switch the seat from the long to short seat post. The only thing that took some fussing was getting the chain onto the freewheel's chainring. There are sliding dropouts, but things were just long enough to fit (and because of the chainring guard, you couldn't take the chain off there before sliding the rear wheel all the way forward to put it back on). Anyway, I eventually got it on so I assume I was just being dumb for a minute.

    The brake calipers weren't perfectly aligned with the disks, but the adjustment was easy. The levers also have adjustable reach though it wasn't infinite. The levers are currently placed pretty close to the grips and so are positioned for four finger braking. I'll probably move them inward if my son seems like he can reach with two fingers are he gets the hang of things. The brakes seem to have good power, so I thing even his not so strong hands would be ok there.

    Here's a picture of my son on the bike. He's hard to measure as he never stops moving, but he's in 3T pants. My best attempts to measure him are that he is 38 or 38.5 in tall with a 15.5 (+/- .5in) inseam. The seat is slammed here and he's on the nose of the saddle as he stands.

    Prevelo Zulu One-00000portrait_00000_burst20190414092031520.jpg

  3. #3
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    We didn't put the pedals on right away. He rode around as he does on his Strider bike to get comfortable and see how the brakes worked. He really liked pulling them, though how to feather is apparently not an innate skill.

    Here's a comparison pic with the Strider 12 in. As you can see, the wheelbase on the Zulu One is notably longer and the minimum seat height is notably higher.

    Prevelo Zulu One-img_20190414_105702.jpg

    The biggest difference is the weight. The Zulu One isn't that light. It's listed at 16 pounds and I believe it. The strider is somewhere between 6 and 7 I think. Still my son did fine pushing it up hills to coast down, you could just tell that it was more work to push a bike that was more than half his weight. When it tipped and was kind of sitting on his foot, it was also harder for him. He didn't have too much trouble when riding it, but he was definitely push biking more slowly than he does with the Strider due to the weight and greater rolling resistance of the tires. If I had infinite funds, I might actually get a set of the Alpha tires for when he's just learning to pedal.

    Speaking of just learning to pedal: He wanted the pedals on. I put them on. He was a bit confused by them and wanted them off. I took them off. He wanted them on again a few minutes later. I put them back on. He was a bit confused and wanted them off. We'll keep working on that.

  4. #4
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    I can't figure out how to embed, but here's a gif of him testing on his favorite extreme downhill run.

    https://imgur.com/a/03dq2MC

  5. #5
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    Great choice! Looks like Prevelo did a nice job on that bike. Thanks for the write up!

  6. #6
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    Three month update: Short version: The bike is still performing very well. I might be tempted to change to slightly faster rolling tires. I love the brakes and the HTA.

    My son has recently figured out how to ride with pedals. He isn't strong enough yet to pedal up much of a grade (and doesn't know how to stand up to pedal yet), so we're mostly restricted to flats. If I were buying a bike just for pavement, I'd go with faster rolling tires, as I think that would give him a but easier of the time starting from a stop. I've considered switching the tire from the Alpha One rear wheel (that came on the bike so as to be law compliant) onto the Zulu One. It has smaller knobs and lower volume. But I'm not sure it's worth it. My son likes to ride through grass, dirt, etc. and gets a bit of use from his knobbies.

    The disk brakes have been great. They aren't grabby at all and that's been really helpful as my son isn't exactly a master of modulation yet.

    I really like the head tube angle for the bike's purpose. Given that my son likes to grab his brakes a bit abruptly and to try to run over obstacles, it adds a level of forgiveness.

    The quality seems great. After 3 months, the only way you could tell the bike isn't new is from some scratching on the end of the cranks and break levers as my son tends to let if fall down to the side after making runs. I do still think they could have shaved a pound off of it. A 30-45lb rider could take this thing to Rampage and it would come out just fine and I don't think many kids that size are generating that much force.

    This is obviously nothing new, but as everyone here says: A rear freehub is pretty essential for a little kids bike. My son definitely does the slight backpedal to stabilize himself thing and with a coaster brake he'd be stopping the bike.
    Last edited by MarcusBrody; 07-11-2019 at 08:14 AM.

  7. #7
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    One year update:

    Really everything that I wrote in the last post holds. i never changed the tires, but he got stronger so it wasn't an issue. The gear ratio is still a bit much for him on a lot of hills, but it seems a good compromise. I've kept the seat low and he can now stand and pedal when he hits hills (yelling "stand up pedal power!").

    He rides light trails with us now at times, and I really like the head angle for that. It's less BMXy, but more forgiving. He's only gone over the front once (from getting off balance and turning his bars back and forth to compensate and over doing it). he can only really ride downhills/flats on dirt, but on a bike trail he'll ride 3-4 miles now and be nonplussed (he's about to turn 4).

    The lone issue we had was the brakes rubbing a tiny bit (after a dog leash had gotten sucked into the wheel I think). It took me a bit longer to get things adjusted than I'd expect with my bike. I think possibly because it's easier to have things slightly misaligned int he horizontal dropouts than with a thru axle. But I finally seem to have gotten it right after maybe 4 attempts and things have been perfect ever since. The thing is built like a tank. I do still think that they could have found a way to take half a pound or a pound out of it and never had to worry about riders sized for the bike breaking it, but the thing seems like it would weather a bomb hitting it and that's great for little kids.

    The bar is rather low. This works well when your kid is little, but as he gets bigger and starts standing up, it seems like a little bit more rise might be nice. I contacted Prevalo. They didn't have any riser bars that would let us continue to use the small grips, so suggested that maybe I try a riser stem (but noted that you'd need to lengthen the hydraulic cables if you went much higher). I haven't tried it yet, but I might. I'm thinking that my son will make it through this summer on the bike, then next year he'll be ready for a larger one.

    Overall thoughts: We're really pleased with it, our son is becoming a pretty good rider for a sub-4 year old, and the bike has helped him accomplish that.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Prevelo Zulu One-kaibike2020.jpg  


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