Hoozar Balance Bike – First Look
Hoozar! If you don't recognise this name it's because Hoozar are a brand new entrant in the wonderful world of kids' bikes.
Here at Cycle Sprog we do love a new bike brand launch and we're very excited to have been sent one of their balance bikes for a 'first look'.
The Cruz 12 inch balance bike is Hoozar's first product to hit the market and offers a lightweight and affordable balance bike that has features commonly associated with more expensive models.
We're going to take a closer look at the balance bike, as well as learn a bit more about the brand itself.
SPONSORED CONTENT: The writing of this article has been paid for by Hoozar, however the words and photographs in the article are our own.
Hoozar Cruz Balance Bike
Bike Model: Cruz 12" wheel balance bike
Child age: 1.5 years to 5 Years
Inside Leg: 30cm to 46cm
Warranty: Lifetime warranty for frame and forks and 1 year warranty for other parts
Date of review: June 2022
We Like: competitive price, low weight, "all the features" including a rear brake
Who are Hoozar Bikes?
Hoozar Bikes is a new, family-run kids bike business based in the UK. Apparently, it doesn't matter too much how you say the name but Hoozar is all about the fun and expression of joy that young people have on their bikes. Hoozar! Huzzah! Huzzar? It's all good.
Hoozar is run by a Buckinghamshire based husband and wife team who enjoy cycling in the nearby Chiltern Hills. They've watched as each of their three children has enjoyed riding their balance bike.
This made them want to bring a balance bike to the market that was great value but with the features (including rear brake) that are usually found on higher priced balance bikes.
They've spent several years researching the best (and worst) bits of the balance bikes that were currently available, with the aim of hitting that sweet spot - a top range specification with a mid range price point.
"Our mission is to make children happier and healthier through real world experiences and adventures."
Introducing the Hoozar Balance Bike
The Hoozar balance bike makes its claims very clear, and proudly states it's one of the lightest balance bikes out there at just 3.2kg. (If you're not sure why this matters think how hard it is for a young child to lift and manoeuvre a heavy object).
As well as an impressively low weight, the Cruz has a lot of features. Rather than a minimal balance bike with only the basics, it has pneumatic tyres, a footrest, rear brake, stem cover, bell and steering damper.
This all means Hoozar are claiming it is the UK's lightest 12" balance bike for a 2-year-old with a footrest and brake (not every balance bike has a saddle that goes as low). We're struggling to think of another balance bike that has the same specification and is lighter- but I'm sure you'll let us know if there's something we've forgotten!
Hoozar also offer a lifetime warranty for frames and forks and a 1-year warranty for other parts plus a 30-day ride happy guarantee.
Whilst all this is impressive, we think that the real selling point of the Hoozar Cruz 12 could well be its price.
Let's not beat about the bush - we're suffering a cost of living crisis and all looking to save money where possible, but hopefully without compromising on what we're getting for that money.
Coming in at £137 with free UK delivery the Hoozar is certainly much cheaper than the price of the premium kids bike brands like Islabikes (Rothan 12 - £200 / 3.1kg) and Frog Bikes (Tadpole - £225 / 4.17kg) both of which are also fitted with a rear brake.
Price wise, the Hoozar is more comparable to the best of those balance bikes without a brake but with proper pneumatic tyres and quality components (Kidvelo Rookie 12 - £130 / 2.89kg and Hornit AIRO -£139 / 2.95kg).
This price point vs specification equation is immediately going to make the Hoozar Cruz a balance bike to consider if you're in market for a £120 - £150 balance bike with a rear brake.
Specification of the Hoozar Cruz 12 Balance Bike
Out of the box, the Cruz is certainly lightweight. 3.2kg is a competitive weight and light enough for young or small riders to start riding easily and enjoy having independence over the bike.
If the bike looks comfortingly familiar, that's because the team at Hoozar have studied established frames and parts and taken the best bits from other balance bikes. Clever! This explains how they've managed to bring this bike in at such a low cost.
The Hoozar Cruz 12 therefore has wheels and a headset that use 'proper' bearings found on full-sized bikes, which combined with air filled tyres (rather than solid ones) mean a comfy ride regardless of terrain.
I like the steering damper, particularly for very small riders, as it helps to prevent the bike "oversteering" at slow speeds when the handle bars turn too far. Coupled with a headset protector for any unforeseen bumps Hoozar have ticked the box for reducing the risk of a small person riding fast on a two wheeled machine.
The Hoozar is fitted with an ergonomically designed scooped seat which helps the rider propel themselves forward, as well as child size handle bar grips with buffers at the end to prevent scrapes if your little one does end up tipping the bike over onto one side.
The foot platform is simple, and a nice touch for those riders with confidence to freewheel more easily, or stash their feet while you push them along (top tip, don't teach your kid this, your back will thank you).
Now, let's talk about the rear brake.
Brakes on a balance bike tend to split opinion, for two main reasons. Firstly they add cost, and secondly younger children tend not to use them.
Well, Hoozar have firmly squashed the cost complaint. They're using a Tektro rear brake, designed for small hands, which is used on other balance bikes at a higher price point.
If you're buying this balance bike for a small child, don't expect them to use the brake straight away - it's far easier to stop using your feet.
But as your child's motor skills develop, having a rear brake can come in handy. Firstly, they can stop wearing through the soles of their shoes which is a relief, and secondly they will start to develop the braking skills needed for moving onto a pedal bike (at which point there's two brakes to master).
Assembling the Hoozar Balance Bike
The bike required minimal assembly to get it up and running and comes with a couple of allen keys and some comprehensive instructions.
All that's involved is tightening the stem and saddle plus our one needed the tyres pumping up a bit.
If you do get overwhelmed by the process there is a poster for colouring in on the other side, but maybe that's for the kids...
The box also comes with cut-out instructions to make cones from the cardboard so you can get the kids on a slalom course and practising some skills. Nice touch!
Measurements of the Hoozar Balance Bike
Getting the tape measure out, the saddle height goes down to 30cm and up to 43cm, which is a nice low start height for younger children whilst giving plenty of growing room.
A quick release mechanism makes it easy to keep pace with your growing child.
The handlebar height is 49cm and can't be adjusted as there aren't any spacers under the stem, but I've not found this to be a huge issue on balance bikes.
One last thing to mention is that the Cruz 12 comes in a choice of 3 colours - "Hot Red", "Pop Pink" and "Blazing Blue".
Hoozar Balance Bike Summary
Overall, the Hoozar Cruz 12 balance bike represents a very competitive new option in the balance bike category.
It's got virtually all the features you can find on premium and midrange balance bikes, including a low weight, pneumatic tyres, footrest, rear brake, steering damper and proper bearings.
All this is combined into one value for money package with a decent warranty and free UK delivery.