The Prince Lionheart is another wooden based model joining the likes of Smart Gear. Similar to its competitors, this bike targets the 2 to 5 year old age group, uses a birch wood frame that makes it light weight, can be purchased for under $100, and promises to teach the child how to balance and steer without using pedals first.
When comparing the three main wooden models the Prince Lionheart is the lightest weighing in at approximately 10 pounds. In terms of weight it can carry, it can withstand up to a maximum weight of 65 pounds. It also features a simple design consisting of a saddle, handlebar, wheels, frame, and does not include any fancy accessories. This model has won several awards such as the Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice awards.
The bike is manufactured by a family-owned and operated business based in Santa Maria, California. Started in 1973, the company’s first product was a handmade rocking horse. Today, the company sells a wide range of juvenile items. They believe in creating useful, reusable, and high-quality products which includes their Prince Lionheart. With so many companies cashing in on the balance bike craze, how does the model compare to others? This overview will hopefully provide you with this answer.
The next sections of this page are dedicated to the top features and main benefits a young rider should find if they decide to go with this choice.
Similar to many of its competitors, it is built using birch wood as the basis for its frame. Apart from the wheels, saddle, and hand grips, the entire bike is constructed out of wood. Birch wood is a favorite among designers as it is lightweight, flexibility, and that is can be reused. It is also relatively strong (but, obviously, not as strong as metal alternatives).
Unlike its main competition in the wooden frame market, the it is not coated with a protective finish. For instance both the Smart Gear and Skutt use a non-toxic lacquer coating has been applied to the exterior for more protection from outside elements. Therefore, it is highly recommended that the Prince Lionheart remain protected from mother nature when not being used.
Adjustability, Adaptability and Reusability
- Adjustable seat only – Only the seat is adjustable. It offers three to four different height positions. Adjusting the seat will take a little effort as a tool like a wrench is required to unfasten four bolts that need to be removed before being adjusted. Unfortunately, no other part on this model can be changed, or modified. The handlebars are locked in place. The lack of, or limited, adjustments that can be made on wooden bikes make it easier for the child to outgrow it.
- Adaptability – Again, the ability for the model to be modified is very limited. Both the saddle and hand grips are one-size fits all which can make it difficult, and uncomfortable for older, and bigger, children. Further, it may not be the best for more aggressive riding. In other words, riders may have a difficult time attempting to perform fancy tricks. The Prince Lionheart is simply a balance bike that aims to assist the child with balance and coordination (the ultimate goals anyway).
- Re-usability – With the frame and components constructed out of birch wood, everything – apart from the rubber tires – can easily be disposed and recycled when the product is longer in use. Birch wood is a renewable resource which is why the Prince Lionheart is an eco-friendly option for parents.
- Wheels – Comes standard with wider 12” pneumatic rubber tires. It has wired spoked wheels whereas its competitors – Smart Gear and Diggin Active Skuut – come standard with spoke-less wheels. Spoke-less wheels are considered more safe, preventing the chances of children’s feet or legs from getting caught.
- No Footrests or Brakes – This model is not equipped with footrests or brakes, and neither are both items available separately for purchase. The use of footrests, or brakes, is not viewed as necessary by some parents. Some argue that the footrest poses a safety hazard to the child as it can cut into their running ability. Also, having brakes might give the child a false sense of security, causing the child to rely on the brake.
- Recessed Bolts – The recessed bolts keep both parent and child from getting scratched. Since there are bolts in the bike’s construction, parents could need to use their Allen wrench time and again. The bolts will need to be re-screwed once in a while since time and use can loosen them.
- Lightweight – The birch wood makes this bike an easy product to carry for both toddler and parent. Should the child fall, he / she can easily pick it up and continue.
- Eco-friendly – Again, for eco-conscious parents the Prince Lionheart keeps the earth in mind. When no longer needed, the bike’s wood can be recycled – perhaps reused again to make another similar one.
- Price – The bike’s price is similarly matched to the Smart Gear Classic and the Diggin Active Skuut. They cost less than others in the market, because they are simply starter models and don’t offer many fancy features. For some parents, that is all what’s needed.
- Durability – The wooden frame and tires are not meant to last a lifetime. They are susceptible, like other wooden based bikes, to wear and tear unlike their metal bike counterparts. Although similar to all bikes, the tires are likely to wear and deflate over time, so they need constant maintenance, and air pumping.
- Lack of Adaptability – Since some children may outgrow the bike quickly parents may consider the limited modification options as a drawback. Some parents, particularly those with more than one child, want products that can last through each sibling and accommodate for the different sizes of each child. Also, some parents want the option of footrests and brakes to install. Currently, the Prince Lionheart does not provide the option of purchasing those parts separately.
Prince Lionheart Balance Bike
Overall, there aren’t a huge amounts of differences between the Prince Lionheart and their competitors. Aside from the aesthetic difference in design, it is another wooden bike for parents to choose from. Many great reviews have been already mentioned on the product page and it ranks among the best available. It is designed to help children learn to ride by helping them develop their balance and coordination skills. And for a wooden bike, it sounds like it does a great job at it!