It's one of those "givens" of raising a child – as they get older, you have to get them bigger and more advanced bicycles. That can get a bit costly, so Irish entrepreneur Simon Evans designed an alternative. His LittleBig Bike can be converted from a small balance bike to a larger one, and then to a pedal bike.

The LittleBig starts out as a balance bike with the equivalent of a 12-inch frame. It has front and rear rim brakes, but no drivetrain.

As the child gets bigger, however, the curved-down back end of the bike's aluminum frame is pulled off, flipped over, and reattached. That back end now curves up, plus the longer end of the double-ended seat tube is now on top. The result is a gain of 100 mm (3.9 inches) in saddle height and 50 mm (1.9 inches) in saddle-to-handlebar reach. Of course, the seat post can also be raised within the seat tube.

Once the child is ready to start pedaling, a separate pedal/crank unit is inserted into the bottom end of the seat tube, and joined to a single sprocket on the rear hub by a chain. The LittleBig is now a 16-inch pedal bike.

According to Evans, one of his bikes should be able to suit a child's needs for five years, from ages 2 to 7. His team is now taking preorders, and plans to begin shipping LittleBig Bikes direct to customers as of Nov. 29th. The bike itself comes in three colors and is priced at €195 (US$247), while the pedal/crank attachment goes for an extra €45 ($57).

The sizing-up process is demonstrated in the video below.

For another approach to a bicycle that your kid won't grow out of right away, check out Orbea's Grow bike.

View gallery - 3 images