Kidvelo Rookie 12 – First Look
New brand Kidvelo has just launched their first bike, the Rookie 12, and we've got our hands on one to give it a once over! The brand may be new, but the owners have been in the balance bike game since the beginning, so we're very excited to get our hands on this little bike.
We've been getting in built-up and checking it out for this 'first look', before getting some real-world testing for a full review coming soon.
SPONSORED CONTENT: The writing of this article has been paid for by Kidvelo. The opinions and photographs in the article are all our own.
Bike Model: Kidvelo Rookie 12
Child age: 18 months – 4.5 years (Could be 5 years dependant on height)
Inside Leg: 31 - 48cm
Warranty: Lifetime on frame
Date of review: November 2021
We Like: A lightweight bike with great geometry, a competitive price and available now!
Who are Kidvelo?
Kidvelo Bikes are a new brand, but the owners are far from new to the balance bike world. These bikes are designed by the former Strider Distributors in Australia and the UK, and they have a huge amount of experience with balance bikes and getting kids on bikes.
They have poured all their knowledge and experience into making their ultimate balance bike, the Rookie 12 which aims to get kids riding bikes and putting smiles on faces...
"A child’s first bike is far more than just a bike. It opens up a window of adventure and exploration, an independent transport method and hopefully a love of the outdoors and exercise. We take the responsibility, of your child’s first two-wheeled experience, very seriously." (Kidvelo)
The Kidvelo range is growing fast. As a new brand, they have sensibly aimed at the core balance bike market with a classic 12-inch wheeled bike.
For most children this will be their first balance bike and an important starting point for any child's cycling career.
A quick look around the KidVelo website shows us they have two other bikes in the works, a 14-inch and 18-inch wheeled version of the Rookie 12 named, you guessed, the Rookie 14 and the Rookie 18 respectively.
Both these bigger bikes are coming next year, but for now, the great news is that the Rookie 12 is in stock now, which, given the state of the bike industry at the moment is good news for consumers!
Kidvelo looks like they are going to make waves in the kid's bike market, so are definitely one to watch out for.
The Kidvelo Rookie 12
Weighing in at 2.93 kg, the Rookie 12 is certainly a lightweight bike. This is about as light as you will get on a 12 inch wheeled balance bike without spending a fortune and is perfect for small riders to be pushing around as their first bike.
There are going to be comparisons to Strider, as Kidvelo are very open about the fact they used to be distributors for the brand.
However, I will start by making it clear that they are VERY different bikes.
With a different frame shape, construction and proper air-filled tyres on the Rookie, comparing the two will not achieve very much.
The Rookie is a quality piece of kit, which is evident straight from the box and the gleaming paint job and thin tubes give it a premium appearance.
With those skinny tubes, anyone who has a 'thing' for classic steel bicycles (that'll be me then) will be smitten with it's appearance. It is however made of 6061 Alloy, which keeps it so light!
A quick look over the components shows that the quality extends to bits you can't see, including sealed bearings on the wheels and a proper headset which will keep things spinning and turning for miles and miles.
The 12-inch wheels have air-filled tyres that will give comfort and grip.
The grip tape on the foot rests is a nice touch, giving space to rest little feet when their confidence grow!
The Rookie 12 comes in a choice of four colours- Green, Blue, Red and Pink. If the Blue is anything to go by, the other colours will look great in flesh too!
Kidvelo offer a lifetime warranty on the Rookie which gives peace of mind and confidence to use the bike for multiple children!
The price for the Rookie 12 is £120 and they offer free UK delivery.
First impressions of the Rookie 12
There is a lot to like about the Rookie 12, not simply the classic aesthetic of a skinny tubed bicycle. There is a solidity to the bike despite its lightweight and there is an attention to detail that isn't always noticeable at first glance.
The frame is curved with no edges or tubes that may catch on fast-moving legs, and small touches like the smooth-ended wheel bolts or the absent valve caps (choke hazard) add to the whole package.
The frame dips low between the wheels which looks like it will keep the centre of gravity low, and also allows for the seat to get really low but is also has a nice long seat tube so the inevitable growth of children is catered for easily.
At the front of the bike, there is a nice high, handlebar, which in my experience improves confidence for little riders. There is also a spacer under the stem so they can be raised or lowered by an inch.
The handlebars have a rise to them, which allows for some rotation back or forward to further fine-tune the fit of the bike.
Elsewhere on the bike, we've got a nice set of footrests integrated into the frame which have the addition of grip tape to keep little feet in place.
Footrests like these are always a good idea so when the confidence grows they can scoot along then coast with their feet tucked up out the way. It also works when pushing them along too, when legs get a bit too tired...
Other small touches include the padding on the stem to take the sting out of any close contact with a lumpy bit of metal, and it's nice to see a bell come with it too, always a winner for my kids.
If I'm going to get picky, which is my job after all, I'd love to see some tidier welds on the fork. While the frame looks very neat, the lower welds on the fork look a little agricultural in comparison. This will have no impact on strength or function, but hey, it's good to strive for perfection!
I think from the look of the bike, it's going to be a lot of fun to ride.
Assembling the KidVelo Rookie 12
Assembling the bike was easy, with just a few steps to work through with the aid of a clear manual.
Tools are included and the main jobs are attaching the front wheel and handlebars which are clearly communicated with the instructions. After that, the seat can slot into place and be adjusted to the correct height with a quick release.
Do make sure you follow the instructions in the manual, as you also have to tighten the stem bolts underneath the neoprene cover and you might miss these otherwise.
Measurements of the Kidvelo Rookie 12
The saddle height on the Rookie 12 goes down to a very low 30cm and up to an impressive 44cm giving a very big range of sizing.
The handlebar height is 56cm and can be brought up to 58cm with a spacer under the stem.
The front end of the Rookie is definitely taller than other balance bikes I have used, but I believe that higher handlebars are a good idea on balance bikes, and kids bikes in general.
Kidvelo Rookie 12 Summary
From the strong style and paint job through to the attention to detail, I'm a big fan of the Rookie 12.
The lightweight frame and modern, confidence-inspiring geometry should make for a fun ride and allow for small riders to progress and experiement with their cycling.
With its competitive price, warranty, quality and availability, I think Kidvelo are onto a winner.
What next for the Kidvelo Rookie 12?
So, as much as I may like a bike, the real judge of this will be our test team riders.
I'm keen to know if they get on with the higher front end?
Will the bike give them so much confidence I become a nervous wreck just watching?
Will the frame still look so shiny after a winter with a 3-year-old?
If you sign up to our newsletter then we'll let you know in a few months when our rider review is complete.
Editor Update July 2022: The full rider review of the Kidvelo Rookie 12 balance bike is now complete