Wooden and plastic balance bikes have their advantages, but if you are the proud parent of a child that wants a “real” bike then something like the Chicco Red Bullet is probably a good option. The bike looks almost just like a just like a pedaled bike, only without the chain and pedals, which will please kids who want to ride a bike just like the one that their older siblings might be using. The Red Bullet is also surprisingly affordable compared to other balance bikes, but there is more to it than just a cheap price, so let’s take a closer look.
Popping open the box revealed a bike that was shipped in four pieces and assembly was for the most part pretty straightforward. I say for the most part, because the wrench that is included in the box is a real pain to use. I struggled adjusting the seat and in the end had to go fetch a real socket wrench from my own toolbox to finish the job. It is certainly doable with the included wrench, but it is not a lot of fun struggling. Once the assembly was over and done with I showed the bike to my daughter and she looked very impressed with the slick ride. Weighing in at just less than 10 lbs the bike is not the lightest that I have ever tested, but it is lighter than some of the bigger models and my daughter had no trouble moving it around on her own.
While the design of the Red Bullet is actually pretty straightforward and without too many bells and whistles, the color scheme makes it very eye-catching. It is quite a compact little bike, so even with the adjustable seat it is something that children will outgrow faster than some of the other balance bikes on the market. It is a great little starter bike for kids eager to jump in the saddle, but be prepared to upgrade to something bigger sooner than later. The frame of the bike is very solid and although it might pick up a few scratches if not handled carefully it would take a lot to actually break anything.
I’m not a big fan of foam tires as it offers much less resistance than inflatable ones as well as a much bumpier ride. Parents that regularly have to break out the puncture repair kit will probably appreciate them more, so if your kid is prone to driving into spots they shouldn’t these tires are an advantage. The bike has a padded seat, which according to my daughter is very comfy and the handlebars also come with rubber grips. I noticed that the handlebars seem to be a bit wider than a few of the other models that I have tested and this translates into easier steering.
Because of the straightforward design of the bike there isn’t a whole lot that I can criticize or praise really. There aren’t a whole lot of extras, but for the price I didn’t really expect any. The only thing that I would have liked to see changed about the Red Bullet is some better tires with more grip and a way to adjust the seat a bit more so that the bike is usable by older or taller children. It is certainly a durable little bike and I have seen it being used by older and heavier children without breaking, but the taller the child the more uncomfortable the ride becomes. The tires could have been a bit more durable, but there is no risk of flats and it is better than the hard plastic ones that provide even less cushioning. If your child is going to spend a lot of time riding the bike indoors your floors won’t endure the abuse that rubber or plastic tires can inflict which is a definite plus.
Overall Chicco didn’t try to do anything too fancy or exotic with this bike and it works in their favor. It is a cheaper option without looking cheap and your child will want to ride this bike everywhere that you go.
Pros & Cons
Due to the price, size and durability of the Chicco Red Bullet Training Bike I would put it squarely in the entry level class of balance bikes. It is a great little bike for beginners to find their confidence and learn the ropes before moving on to something bigger or even a pedaled bike if they are good enough. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons to see what you are up against when considering buying one of these bikes.
Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike Pros
- Priced very affordably
- Sturdy design and easy to assemble
- Eye-catching paint job
- Looks like a “real” bicycle
- Comfortable seat and handlebars which can be adjusted
- Wider handlebars provides better steering control
- Foam tires means no worries about thorns or other sharp objects causing punctures
Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike Cons
- The wrench included in the package is not that great for assembling the bike
- Foam tires means a bumpier ride and less traction
- Small bike size means kids will soon outgrow it
- The paint job is not very scratch resistant
If you are on a tight budget and your child wants a balance bike that looks like the pedaled bike of an older sibling then the Chicco Red Bullet is the answer to your prayers. It is a straightforward, no thrills bike, but this doesn’t mean that kids won’t love it. Chicco did a great job with the paint color as it is instantly attractive to both boys and girls plus it makes the bike look a lot faster than what it really is. There are a few small concerns about the size of the bike and the choice of foam tires, but overall it is a decent offering for the price.