Smart Gear Balance Bike Review

Baby and children products manufacturer – Smart Gear Toys is now a part of the balance bike competition. Their goal is to protect environment, and produce eco-friendly and innovative bikes for toddlers and up. They maintain high standards in their production and comply with the safety rules and regulations set out in the United States and Europe. One of their models called the Classic balance bike is made of renewable wooden construction and non-toxic materials.

They entered the market with their own line called Smart Balance Bikes, including designs such as Bubbleicious, Chopper, Skyrider, Flame, Floral Hearts, Spring Fever and Classic. Their line is the least expensive option, but may also be the least durable compared to their competitors. Their Classic Balance bike helps the child learn balance and develop coordination skills before moving to a pedalled bike.

 

Eco-Friendly

Just like Little nation balance bike company Smart Gear has an eco-friendly motto. Their Classic Balance Bike is made of renewable and safe sources – birch wood, non-toxic paint, and formaldehyde glue. Even the packaging is made from recycled paper, and the printing is from water-based ink. The birch wood makes the frame lightweight.

 

Safety

The company pro-actively tests their products to make sure they comply with safety regulations, and that they can’t cause any serious injuries. The design of the Classic complies with all safety regulations as well.

This bike has a limited radius steering wheel, which basically prevents a child from turning the handle too far left or right and prevents the falling.

Many bikes have a footrest as a super feature, but many bike manufacturers consider it as a possible safety-hazard. These get in the way of the child’s space when riding and cause injuries and scratches. The Classic bike is not equipped with it and eliminates possible injuries.

The use of non-toxic materials, such as non-toxic paints and lacquer, and formaldehyde glue make sure not to expose children to dangerous chemicals.

The Classis is equipped with a unique carry handle, which allows the child or parent to handle the bike easily and assist their child while riding.

The tires are spoke-less and enable easy riding without having to worry about getting caught in the wheel.

Tires

The spoke-less, air rubber tires provide cushion for the rider, which is not the case with foam tires. These come with long fill valves for easy and secure air pumping.

 

They are also suitable for both paved and non-paved surfaces.

 

Adjustability or Adaptability

The seat height on this bike is adjustable and it ranges between 11 and 17’’. This means that this bike accommodates the physical changes of your child as they grow. But apart from this, there are no further modifications of the bike. The bike is not equipped with footrests, brakes, wider seats and other parts that can be useful when the child outgrows its standard features. The company doesn’t offer the ability of buying additional accessories or parts. Finally, this bike is not ideal for children with more riding experience or adventurous children who like to perform tricks on bikes.

 

Pros

The company’s goal was to create an eco-friendly design of the bike. The materials used are renewable birch wood and non-toxic paints and lacquer.

Safe-Conscious – the bike is not equipped with a footrest which is a safety concern, it has a limited radius of the steering wheel, preventing jack- knifing, and the wheels are spoke-less – they prevent the child’s leg from getting trapped.

Lightweight – The bike is very light and easy for children to handle and carry around.

Price – it offers a good quality riding experience for the price compared to some of its competitors

Cons

Lack of adjustability or adaptability – this is the type of bike children quickly outgrow. Although the goal of this bike is to assist children in the learning process and help them develop balance and coordination skills, it would also be nice to have it until the child grows up. It does accommodate their physical changes, but not their riding experience. This bike doesn’t accommodate more adventurous and experienced riders. They will quickly outgrow this bike since they won’t be able to perform tricks on it. An ability of purchasing additional accessories would be nice.

Durability – although eco-friendly, the materials used are the drawback of this bike. The birch wood used is not very durable. Since it’s not marine grade wood, it’s not waterproof and can’t withstand weather elements. Also, the paint, although non-toxic fades after some time. The exposed bolts can rust as well. This bike has to be maintained properly if you wish to use it longer.

Overall, the Smart Gear Classic Balance Bike is an excellent and affordable balance bike option. It should be commended for its decent price point, quality and durability. It has an eco-friendly, birch wood frame and decent quality –most such balance bikes have a starting point of $100, which is a pretty high price for a bike that the child will eventually outgrow. But fortunately there is the Smart Gear Classic as an affordable option amongst the other balance bikes in the market. It’s not fancy, but it serves its goal of helping the child transition into a pedalled bike. The Smart Gear Classic may not be the ideal choice for parents who are looking for passing this bike to another child, unless they take extra effort to maintain it.

What to take on your cross county bike adventure

If you are planning on a biking trip, you will need to know what to take with you in your backpack..  For a long-term biking trip (1 month+) you will need specific items that will be useful for your trip. Here I will list the items that I found most useful on my two month bike trip to Thailand and Cambodia. Remember some of these items are what I found useful, so it may not be useful for everybody.

What you need: 

 The Essentials

These are the absolute essentials that you will need in order to go on a bike trip. Without these, it is unlikely that you will get very far.

  • Passport – Without it you can’t leave the country..
  • Ticket – Don’t forget your plane ticket!
  • Travel Insurance – In case any accidents happen abroad, its better to be safe than sorry!
  • Money – Depending on how long you are planning to travel for, you will need to evaluate the amount of money you will need on your trip.

 Documentation

Some important things that you may need to carry with you in your bag. Although may not be needed but can be very useful so you never know when you might need these items, its best to have them in your bag just in case.

  • Travel Insurance – In case you may lose your items or have accident and need medical care.
  • Photocopies of your passport – You might need these to apply for your visas or for rentals abroad, its always good to have spare passport photos too!
  • International Drivers Licence – If you want to rent a car or bike abroad you will need to take a licence
  • Student Card (If you have one) – Very useful, as many places offer student discounts.. look out for them!

 Clothing

It is important to keep in mind that you want to be traveling as light as possible. Some items are often best to leave at home as they add extra weight to your bag and more than likely won’t be useful for your trip. So make a list and decide what you will need and keep in mind that some essentials you can buy while you’re abroad.

  • Underwear – Enough for a week
  • Socks – Enough for a week
  • Bra/Bikini (If you’re a girl)
  • Shorts – Bring 2 or 3..
  • Jeans – You only really need a pair of jeans, not often will you wear them in hot countries.
  • T- shirts – Bring about 4-5 T-shirts.
  •  Long sleeve shirts – 1 or 2 will be plenty, you might need them in case of mosquito’s or when visiting temples
  • Jumper/Fleece – You may need to take one..
  • Light waterproofs – It rains in almost every country, so it’s wise to take some light waterproofs.
  • Shoes – You will need good shoes, maybe 2 pairs. Choose wisely as you will have to walk a lot on your travels.

 Toiletries

Again, it is important to keep in mind that you will need to limit what you take on your trip. Toiletries can take up a lot of room in your bag and can add extra weight so choose carefully. Here’s a list of things that you may want to take.

  • Towels – Towels take up a lot of room in your bag, so if you can, buy a micro fiber towel.. they’re smaller and are as effective as a normal towel.
  • Toothbrush – A simple toothbrush will be fine.
  • Soap/Shampoo – Take small bottles.. remember you can buy these things abroad.
  • Deodorant – Again, only take a small bottle if you can..
  • Nail Clippers – If you’re going for a long time, you will need to clip your nails!
  • Insect Repellent/ Bite Cream – Common problem.. insects are annoying!
  • Medical Kit – Bring a small one with bandages and other medical aids that you will personally need.

Gadgets

The least important but probably the most important items in your bag will be your gadgets! Everyone uses gadgets in this modern age whether you’re bored on the bus or plane and need a laptop or tablet to watch movies or read a book to keep you occupied or using your laptop or phones to video call your family back at home.

  • Mobile Phone – If you take an expensive phone, be careful with it.. as it might get stolen. Its wise to bring a cheap normal phone, just to make calls.
  • Laptop – There’s WiFi almost everywhere.. a laptop may be useful.
  • USB stick/ Memory Card – If you take a lot of pictures, it takes up a lot of memory, so bring a usb or memory card to back up your data.
  • Plug Adapter – You’ll need one of these.
  • Waterproof watch – Very useful to have a watch. Just a simple waterproof one will be fine, no need to have your Rolex on your travels..
  • Camera + Equipment – Most people like to take photos and videos for memory of their trip.. So bring your camera gear, and have a suitable case for it.

Other Useful Random Items

  • Sunglasses – If that’s your style..
  • Travel Book – Lonely planet books are great if you don’t know the place.. Just quick information and guide with you at all times.
  • Sewing Kit – Your bag, shirts, trousers, shorts or anything else may rip.. you might need to fix that.
  • Tape – You never know when you might need some tape..
  • Pen and Paper – Always useful to carry pen and paper around with you, you may need to write things down for memory.
  • Waterproof cover for bag – Your bag is essentially your home on your trip.. look after it!

You may now travel the world on your bike!

Remember, there may be things that you personally would take that I have missed out on the list.. But if you do forget anything, at least you have the absolute essentials and also remember that you can also buy things on the road. So there’s no need to make your bag unnecessarily heavy for yourself. And remember to prioritize the things that you NEED.. not the things that you WANT..

Of course you will need a bike. But more on that later