The Skuut Balance Bike is an eco-friendly model designed for children ages 2 to 5. On this page we provide a review which looks at the top features and how people feel about it. Balance bikes aim to teach a child balance and coordination prior to riding a conventional (pedaled) bike. Currently available under $100 (it goes further down to $70 on sale), the Skuut’s wooden frame and classic European design makes it one of the most attractive (or classic looking) models available.
It has won numerous awards in the United States and was one of the first wooden balance bikes introduced in the U.S. Since then however many other companies have created their own version of a wooden balance bike, however many still believe in the Skuut and hence why we have kept it in our Top-5 list from our homepage. Currently this model faces competition from the likes of Prince Lionheart Balance Bikes, and Smart Gear Toys’ line. At the forefront, the Skuut delivers in terms of providing the rider with a great experience but still suffers some of the regular issues found in wooden bikes (i.e. susceptible to wear, and easier to damage).
A look at the Features and Advantages
The Skuut is designed and manufactured by the U.S company named Diggin Active. The company is run by three sports enthusiasts – Nathan Keker, Jenny Stern, and Phil Neal. They began a journey into the toy manufacturing business back in 2006 to encourage children to stay fit and love sports. As a result, Diggin Active’s mission statement is to develop toys that expose children to various types of sports, create toys that are fun, and non-intimidating. Hence the invention of a non-pedaled bike line.
In addition to their mission statement, Diggin Active is a strong participant with raising environmental awareness. With every unit sold, the company plants a single tree.
The frame is made out of birch wood and finished with lacquer veneer coating. For a secure construction metal bolts are used to keep all of the parts in place. The use of birch wood makes the Skuut one of the more eco-friendly products available in the market. Its competitors like the Smart Gear and Prince Lionheart also use birch wood. The use of birch wood keep it light enough for a toddler to carry and in this case comes in around 11 pounds.
Despite being eco-friendly, the wood (just like any wood exposed to the elements) is susceptible to wear and rot. The lacquer veneer finish does not guarantee full protection from rain, snow, dust or wind. Proper wood maintenance is required if parents want to keep it going for many years.
- Wooden Frame – Similar to the Smart Gear and the Prince Lionheart, the Skuut’s ability to adjust to different size ranges are limited. In the current version only the seat is adjustable. The lowest the seat height currently can be set is at 13″ while the highest is around 17″. Adjusting the seat height is not easy, and may take a longer time than usual as the bolts need to be removed before the seat height can be modified.
- Customization – Compared to other models in the market, the ability to customize or change the bike to meet a child’s specific needs, are marginal. For example, if the seat is not wide enough, or if the handle grips are too thick for the child’s hands, it does not have alternative parts to accommodate those different needs.
There are several safety features that are included such as:
- Steering Limiter – To prevent over steering or jackknifing, the Skuut has a limited turning radius
- Spoke-less Wheels – The spoke-less wheels prevent children’s feet, legs or laces from getting caught, or trapped
- Non-toxic Materials – The lacquer veneer finish is non-toxic, which is meant to be safe for both the environment and children.
Since tires affect the riding experience, it is important to examine the type of tires used. The Skuut comes with a pair of standard 12″ pneumatic rubber pressurized tires. For best shock absorption most tire manufacturers recommend a psi of 20 to 25. The tires on the Skutt however are capable of withstanding pressure of up to 40 psi. Most consumers typically prefer air based rubber tires as they allow for better flexibility and better grip on slick surfaces. They tend to be better at shock absorption which in turn provides better handling when used on rougher terrain like rocks and gravel.
This is different from some of their competitors as they prefer to employ puncture-free foam tires as they believe they provide for easier maintenance. These foam tires however are not normally as flexible, and tend to slip more on non-paved surfaces.
- Award-Winning Bike – Parents can be comforted that the Skuut has received numerous awards from organizations like: The Oppenheim Gold Seal Award, Dr. Toys 10 best active products, The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval, and The Toy Man Award of Excellence. This provides parents with an increased peace of mind that the product they are purchasing has been reviewed by several safety-conscious organizations.
- Eco-Friendly – For environmentally-conscious parents, the Skuut’s wooden frame and non-toxic lacquer finish are attractive features.
- Spoke-less tires and Limited Radius Steering – Ensures that the child is safe while handling the bike. The space in between the spokes on conventional bikes can become a safety hazard as children’s feet can get caught. The Stuuk’s tires are do not include these spikes. Meanwhile, the limited radius steering decreases the chances of a child crashing in the even he, or she, loses control of the bike.
- Poor Durability – One of the more common complaints against wooden frame balance bikes is their potential to warp. The wood is obviously not not marine grade so exposure to rain, snow, dirt, gravel, etc. can decrease the longevity of the bike.
- Frequent Maintenance – The Skuut can require constant care, which parents can easily forget about. The bolts need to be re-screwed often as constant use loosens them. As mentioned earlier, the wood is not waterproof, so either parents need to take an extra step and waterproof the frame, or they’ll just have to remind the child to keep the bike out of the rain. Parents should note, that the one-year warranty becomes void if the manufacturers suspect the purchasers have not maintained the bike properly.
- Straightforward Balancing Bike – This should not completely deter the parent from purchasing the Skuut but children looking for a more advanced bike capable of doing more tricks should properly consider a different model. Aside from the adjustable seat, the Skuut does not offer many other opportunities of purchasing additional accessories to allow the bike to grow as the child grows.
For about the same price as its competitors, the Skuut is more than likely going to make your child very happy. Its numerous prestigious awards gives it a slight edge over its competition in the wooden market.