Mondraker's Grommy "e-balancebike" is a motorcycle in all but name
Ah, balance bikes. My two-year-old is hoofing around on one right now. An early introduction to cycling that can give a kid a bit of confidence on two wheels before introducing the complication of pedals. What that thing needs, says Spanish company Mondraker, is a dirty big electric motor. And thus, we meet the new Grommy e-balancebikes, which come in 12-inch wheel versions for 3-5 year olds and 16-inch versions for your 5-8s.
Both get a 250-watt brushless mid-drive motor, a 4-Ah battery good for 60-odd minutes of riding, a twist throttle, disc brakes and a set of footboards and chunky fat tires. There are three power modes, with the highest topping out at 17.7 km/h (11 mph), or a bit faster than you can sprint on most treadmills.
Let's call it what it is: a small, suspension-free motorcycle, and probably vastly illegal for your munchkins to tool around the neighborhood on. Let's also admit, if you rocked up to the park on one of these babies you might just be the coolest kid on the block, until people discover your personality or little Jimmy gets a particularly sick new Beyblade.
This might be the first "balance bike" after which jumping on a pedal-powered BMX you might feel like you've downgraded. And since these things will retail from a starting price of €749 (≈US$880), you might be right. Enjoy a very 80s video below.
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Good to see another player in the game, which I would have hoped brought down cost. But it looks like these are just as, if not more, expensive.
So one day I pushed my bike over to a nearby subdivision that had one dead end, curvy, slightly downhill street. After pushing up to the top end, I got on and pushed off, NOT PEDALING, so that gravity provided propulsion.
When I got to the bottom I had balance. Adding pedaling was easy because balance had "clicked" as an automatic process I no longer thought I had to try to actively manage.