It’s been a long road to get to where we are today, and the journey has been filled with amazing experiences and interesting people from all around the world. When first introduced, Strider Balance Bikes broke the mold when it came to teaching kids how to ride. Our method has gone on to produce confident riders who have developed a passion for riding on two wheels. Having taught millions of children how to ride, we know Balance Bikes are the best way to start, but we also really wanted to create a product that would help children complete the learning process.
When we first sat down to develop the 14x, we knew that pedals would be incorporated; we just weren't sure how. For years, we’ve stressed the point of not rushing into pedaling. Learning how to balance is still the core fundamental of learning to ride. Simply put, pedaling is just one of many methods of propulsion. So, we began designing the 14x Sport the way we thought the bike should be designed. The 14x Sport you see today is not at all what we first designed. The final version of the 14x Sport is better than our initial design in every way. Why? Because we learned to modify our opinions about what a bike should be by listening to our biggest fans: the kids.
For years, we’ve stressed the point of not rushing into pedaling.
We gave some riders a chance to test the first version of the 14x out and see how the newest addition to our Strider line-up performed. What we learned was that the kids instinctively knew what improvements to make. By observing the kids on the 14x prototypes in the Strider warehouse, we were amazed by what we were seeing. There were certain aspects of the riding process that kids had no problem with, but there were others where we saw them consistently struggling.
For example, we noticed that some of the children were having trouble pedaling. Not that they didn’t understand the function of pedaling, but it was literally hard for them to pedal. To solve this problem, we made the crank arms on the Easy Ride Pedal Kit shorter. When testing the bike with the shorter crank arms, our test riders were pedaling around the warehouse with ease and confidence; the difference was night and day.
Before they were pedaling, the riders were trying to gain enough momentum to use the pedals. To do that, they needed to be proficient in striding. Striding around a normal set of pedals, however, is a difficult task. After watching the children struggle with striding around the wide pedals, we created our narrow, Stride-Around Pedals. With the addition of the narrow pedals, children were easily able to gain momentum and continue to propel themselves with the pedals attached. Even as a pedal bike, the 14x Sport offers a truly dual method of propulsion: striding or pedaling.
Strider Balance Bikes are naturally low to the ground, which means they have a low center of gravity. A low center of gravity on an object typically means that the object is more stable. As we watched the test riders cruise around with the pedal kit attached, we realized that their confidence wasn’t quite as strong as it was when the bike was in balance mode. This fix actually came as a result of some of the other adjustments we had made. The narrow pedals and shorter crank arms allowed us to put the bottom bracket exceptionally low to the ground. The result? The Easy Ride Pedal Kit still provides plenty of ground clearance but keeps the 14x Sport’s center of gravity close to the ground, which keeps the child’s confidence high.
Footrests. Prior to pedaling, one of the things we quickly learned by observing our test riders is that they were constantly looking for a place to rest their feet while they were striding along on the 14x in balance bike mode. Not only was it important to add a place for riders to put their feet, but the footrest also becomes an integral part of the learn-to-ride process. Having the footrest positioned where it is helps riders with stability and confidence. It also helps prepare them for resting their feet on pedals once they’re attached.
After we made these tweaks, we had another round of test riders come in and try out the 14x. None of the children in the test group had ever ridden a pedal bike before. Some of the children had experience on a Strider Balance Bike and some had never ridden any kind of bike at all. The Strider warehouse echoed with cheers from parents and staff as we watched children learn to ride a bike within an hour. We saw kids as young as three years old who had never ridden any kind of bike in their lives become pedaling pros. These riders weren’t riding slowly with arms jerking left and right, trying to keep their balance while they pedaled either. These young kids were riding like they had been doing it for years – almost like they were born with the skills needed to ride!
We set out to design the best children’s pedal bike possible. With the help of our test riders, we’ve developed the 14x Sport into a bike that provides the complete learn-to-ride process. From balance to pedals, this bike will give your child instant riding success.
While we were on the right track with the first iteration of the 14x, the test riders we brought to the Strider World Headquarters were the real innovators of the bike. The test riders humbled us as they reminded us that sometimes we need to step back and listen to them. We’re so excited to have had the opportunity to learn from our eager young test riders, and we’re proud to present the 14x Sport. This bike was designed around the rider’s ability to progress through the complete learn-to-ride process. It is truly a whole new way to learn how to ride, and allows riders to experience instant success at a younger age. However, the 14x Sport wouldn’t be what it is today without the help from our biggest fans: the kids.
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