My eldest child is 5 and already on her 4th bike. She started off with a mini balance bike, then got a bigger one, before learning to pedal on a small pedal bike and eventually starting on her 20” pedal bike that will hopefully see her through a few years.
Such a procession of new products is a bit painful in terms of money spent (although hand-me-downs have helped), but also in terms of her getting used to a new ride every time. Tackling this absurdity is a wonderful company called LittleBig Bikes.
Founded in Ireland in 2014, LittleBig Bikes offers a bike for kids that grows with them from approximately 2 to 7 years.
Ingeniously designed by round-the-world cyclist and engineer Simon Evans, the LittleBig is assembled in Ireland, uses quality materials and comes with an extended warranty (on the frame and fork) of 5 years. The idea is that with the same components in different configurations, you can easily adjust not only the saddle height but the distance between the saddle and handlebar as your child grows.
The fact that the LittleBig offers the “big” balance bike mode also means that it is a great option for kids with special needs who find coordinating balance, pedaling and steering more of a challenge. As they grow, they can carry on using it without pedals, while giving them the look and feel of a proper bike.
We tried the LittleBig in green. I was very keen to test it with my 3-year-old – as the LittleBig could potentially replace the need for 3 bikes as he learns to pedal.
When I unpacked the LittleBig, I was pleased by its look and quality. It’s solid, well made and with lovely bright colours. The wheels are significantly bigger than my son’s current Puky bike’s though – they are two very different beasts.
How easy was it to put together?
It was a great relief that the instructions were super clear and that all required tools were provided. The website also has some additional video instructions that are really useful if you get stuck. But the printed leaflet was very clear. I had put it together in under 10 minutes.
Do you like the look of the LittleBig bike?
I think the look is really nice. It’s sleek but with pleasingly bright colours. The central frame is quite chunky, so it might seem a bit big for those just starting out. My son loved the look of the bike and couldn’t wait to get on.
What age is the LittleBig bike suitable for?
The company says the LittleBig bike is suitable from as young as 2 (in small balance bike mode), to 7 years, so a fantastic span of five years. The website also has a detailed guide on measurements and advice on what age/height each mode is suitable for, so it’s easy to get the sizing/age right.
I did think that maybe – with its 14” wheels – the bike might be a bit overwhelming for toddlers closer to 2 years. However, the brand makes the point that as the saddle can be very low (minimum inside leg measurement required is 37cm), the bigger wheels actually help with a more comfortable ride.
What I really love about the bike is its adjustability. The company even provides an optional short seat-post (£6) that you can use in pedal bike mode. It reduces the minimum leg length required from 51 to 47cm, which is great if you want to give your little rider a try at pedals earlier. I will certainly be giving it a go with my 3-year-old.
How easy is it to ride the LittleBig small balance bike?
My nearly 3-year-old loves scooting around on his little Puky balance bikes that weighs a feather-light 3.5kg. In the past, he has rejected larger balance bikes (we also have a Raleigh Skedaddle that has 12” wheels), dismissing them as “too wobbly”.
So I was worried I might not be able to do this review due to toddler refusal. However, he absolutely loved the LittleBig and couldn’t wait to jump on – and as soon as he got on, he was off. The LittleBig bike seemed very easy to manoeuvre, and has a great centre of gravity, so my son enjoyed it a lot. It was a joy to see – I don’t think he will be going back to his mini Puky.
What did your little one think of the LittleBig balance bike?
My son loved the LittleBig balance bike – he whizzed around on it like a pro and I cannot wait to try the pedal bike version with him.
What did you think of the wheels?
The wheels are really impressive, well-cushioned and suitable for multi-terrain. At 14 inches, they do seem quite big. My son looked quite funny on the LittleBig, with the wheels seeming a bit over sized, but he didn’t mind at all – not sure how a smaller 2-year-old would take to it though.
How easy is it to convert the LittleBig from balance bike to pedal bike?
It’s really easy to convert the LittleBig. I watched the online instruction videos once, and managed to convert the LittleBig straight away. I was putting off trying to add the pedals as I was nervous about the chain, but it couldn’t have been easier.
It is so clever how the transformation from little to big bike gives your child a higher saddle and longer arm reach, and how the option of pedals makes the transition to pedalling so much easier.
How lightweight is the LittleBig?
The LittleBig is heavier than quite a few starter balance bikes. In balance bike mode it weighs approximately 5kg, so that’s quite substantial – especially when your kid is just starting out and will leave you to carry the bike more often than not.
However, as your child gets older and you enter pedal bike mode, the LittleBig turns out to be quite lightweight. In pedal mode, it weighs only 6.6kg, so it’s lighter than many competitors. For example, the Pinnacle Koa bike with 14” wheels weighs 7.1kg, or something like the Dawes Princess bike weighs a whopping 9.8kg. Having a lighter frame – which is made of high grade aluminium, makes life easier for both child and parent.
I also noticed a handy CarriBob Shoulder Carry strap on the LittleBig website, which I might invest in for ease of lugging around.
Does the LittleBig feel sturdy, is it durable enough to be passed on to a younger sibling?
Yes. The LittleBig feels well designed, sturdy and as though it can withstand a lot of bashing around as your child learns to ride. I am pretty sure I would be able to pass it on once my little one has outgrown it. It was designed to last.
Tell us about some of the other components
The LittleBig is made of high quality materials. It is made from 6061-T6 aluminium (I am told this is top notch and used for top-end adult bikes), a lightweight pivotal saddle, alloy rise handlebar and forged alloy BMX-style stem. The brakes are V-brakes suitable for small hands.
Is the LittleBig easy to take along?
The bike is easy enough to put in your car boot. It is also still light enough for a parent to carry it for a little while, although I will definitely be investing in the shoulder carry strap.
However, if your little one is just starting out on his balance bike adventure, the LittleBig is definitely not one to sling across a pushchair handlebar. Now that my son has moved onto the LittleBig, I will miss the days when I could store his Puky balance bike in my buggy’s basket. However, the fact that it turns so effectively into a bike for older kids is a worthwhile trade-off.
How easy is the LittleBig to store?
The LittleBig doesn’t have a kickstand so you need to prop it up to store it. However, size-wise, it’s on a par with other bikes. We store them in a tiny space in our shed or under our stairs. And as it’s so light, it’s really easy to lift and store quickly.
What’s in the box?
Pedal and crank attachments
Any accessories you can buy?
Short seat post (£6)
Pedal and Crank attachment (£50)
Replacement tyre (£9)
Spare inner tube (£5)
What would you have liked to have known?
It’s worth remembering that this bike in balance bike mode is not the smallest on the market.
Is it good value?
Yes, I think the LittleBig is a brilliant investment. If you think that you can spend that – and much more – on a good first pedal bike, the fact that your child can use the LittleBig for potentially 5 years is brilliant – and it will save you a lot of grief when teaching them to pedal.
Would you recommend the LittleBig?
I would definitely recommend the LittleBig bike – what a fabulous biking companion for any little rider.
A little bike packed with brilliant design. I love the idea that one bike can accompany my child on his entire learn-to-ride journey, before being passed on to siblings or friends. It has a great design, so I am sure the LittleBig will last. I will be getting rid of two balance bikes and my daughter’s hand-me-down Islabike Cnoc 16, and replacing them with the LittleBig. We are all looking forward to the next step and teaching my son to pedal on it – I am sure he will have an easy time! And it’s such a relief to not have to think about the next time I will have to buy a bike – five years is a while away.
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Child age (approx)
2 years to 7 years
Dimensions & Weight
37-45cm (Little mode), 47-55cm (Big mode), 51-55cm (Big pedal mode or 47 with optional short seat-post)
Multi-surface air tyres
High grade aluminium frame
Three modes to take your little one from balance bike to pedal bike