Is This the World's Fanciest Balance Bike?

Sep 8, 2017
by Mike Kazimer  
Dexter Lanza Custom TFR Kickster 9.9

There's no shortage of fancy kids bikes out there, but Larry Lanza, a bike shop owner in Cairns, Australia, took things to a whole new level with the Trek Kickster 9.9 he created for his son Dexter. It's an exercise in excess, with a pint-sized carbon fork, carbon rims, carbon hubs equipped with ceramic bearings, and a Trek Factory Racing red paint job. If this is what Dexter's first bike looks like, just imagine what he'll be riding once he graduates to a bike with pedals.


Dexter Lanza Custom TFR Kickster 9.9

Dexter Lanza Custom TFR Kickster 9.9
Dexter Lanza Custom TFR Kickster 9.9

Dexter Lanza Custom TFR Kickster 9.9
Dexter Lanza Custom TFR Kickster 9.9

Dexter Lanza Custom TFR Kickster 9.9
That's one lucky kid.


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143 Comments

  • + 551
 I bet that kid thinks his bike sucks compared to some other kid's plastic bike shaped like a dragon
  • + 51
 Doesn't even have fenders and a plastic motor.
  • + 63
 my son says my ibis hd3 is china "fake" no good coz its made of plastic and he says his giant balance bike is the real thing hahaha
  • + 55
 @tevaru: wow, sounds like you taught him a lot of negative stereotypical shit about chinese manufacturing.
  • + 51
 @tevaru: Your son thinks like an American.
  • - 4
flag OffshoreLA (Sep 9, 2017 at 6:48) (Below Threshold)
 Sorry meant an up vote, awesome comment!
  • + 15
 @krazieghost Its a FACT that China produces more low quality knock off garbage then high quality products.
  • + 23
 This is to please the adult buying it, not the kid.
  • + 4
 You have to be a fellow parent with that comment. Made me LOL in a quiet restaurant
  • + 11
 @gooutsidetoday: Why are you on your phone at a restaurant??
  • + 16
 @wpplayer18: to look at pinkbike, duh
  • - 1
 Or you could just pickup a Strider Pro...
  • + 4
 Where the hell do you get mini riding gloves????
  • - 25
flag whoozh (Sep 9, 2017 at 18:29) (Below Threshold)
 It looks like a carbon fiber bike from the mid 90's. The carbon weave look is so old school. Looks like crap imo. Id be embarrassed to see my son ride that. Plus it says trek. I'd leave it to Santa Cruz to make a very awesome run bike.
  • + 2
 Needs a dual crown option
  • + 1
 @tevaru: poor u... u have to ride Ibis
  • + 1
 @mfairpac: In case this is a legit question - My son is 4 and women's size XS road bike gloves fit him well. They are fingerless, so easier to get on and off of him, also they have more palm padding. I highly recommend them.
Falling down on the pump track he will usually land on his hands and get gravel embedded in them, which puts a damper on his fun factor. Having the gloves really helps him be able to have small wipeouts without drama.
  • + 1
 @tevaru: Jeez, that is awesome. XD
  • + 1
 Dude I want some carbon dragon shaped fenders!
  • + 1
 It's not even pink or purple, nor does it have unicorns!
  • + 183
 Looks like a session
  • + 3
 Hahaha. You beat me to it. Too funny!
  • + 15
 looks like a dentist.... some day
  • + 139
 Is it longer, lower and slacker than the previous year?
  • + 17
 "Do you even drift, son?"
  • + 4
 SO enduro
  • + 106
 10" ain't dead
  • + 3
 IS2000 ain't dead too. When you're rolling on your brake rotor doesn't necessarily mean your Enve rims (or Bontrager here) have failed.
  • + 18
 3 months later its a yard ornament and he's back to Yo Gabba Gabba. Ask me how I know,. But seriously any balance bike will do. My kiddo got one at 1yr. never had training wheels. We did HyMasa in Moab this week. hes 8
  • + 21
 He wouldn't dare to make a Specialized one.
  • + 1
 @chyu: haha awesome!
  • + 2
 @owlie: thats awesome, i got my kid one for Christmas last year and in the past month he finally started to get interested in it and now he is starting to glide with his feet up, he's not yet 2.
  • + 45
 People spend a lot of money on ridiculous things for their kids. (myself included) But, I’ve never regretted one dime I’ve spent on bike-related stuff for my kids. I’m currently standing in my garage, listening to the radio, drinking a beer, looking at:
Puki four-wheel ‘bike’
Specialized Hot Walk balance bike
Commercial Ramones balance bike
Spawn Yoji pedal bike.
Two MacRide bike seats. (One a warranty replacement AWESOME company!)
Not to mention three helmets, gloves and a pair of Smith goggles.

All for two boys under four years old that don’t even ride that much.

If you’ve got the cash for ‘ridiculous’ bike purchases (or not, I don’t REALLY have the cash for it...) go for it! It’s better than an Xbox, PS4, or anything else not bike.
  • + 10
 Agreed! I have four kids. Between their bmx race bikes, play bikes and mtn bikes we have a full shop but it's awesome. Seeing them ride around and enjoy biking is the best!!
  • + 3
 @jeremiahwas random question—I actually ordered a MacRide during their Kickstarter campaign; unfortunately, due to some production delays (maybe you saw all of that via their site), I'm still anxiously waiting.

My kids are now 3 and 5 (were 1 and 3 when I placed my order!). Both now ride (toned-down) trail w/out stabilizers, but the point would be to take them down trails they're not quite ready for...though especially the 3-year-old...they howled with laughter in our smaller seat, but it's just too sketchy given their current sizes...

In your experience, how much "growing room" does your 4-year-old have???

Is it worth waiting out this delay?

They look amazing...I'd hate to miss out on an additional riding toy...

Thanks in advance!
  • + 0
 And the cycle of gluttonous consumption continues
  • + 4
 @emsley: Mac ride is a joke as far as I am concerned. I was on the original kickstarter as well, and typical kickstarter things were delayed

I get that, but then the product that was eventually sent out was shit. Before Glen even announced the recall I found cracks forming on the clamping mechanisms (poor design using cast alloy on something that flexes that much) and responses I got back about design modification (appropriate materials) were not answered properly.
  • + 2
 Thankfully my daughter has grown into the nice Giant Trance XW my wife ride one time. If I had a son instead I would have had to paint it. No regrets!
  • + 1
 @onemind123: Funny - I had the opposite experience with my original Mac-Ride. The original prototype never showed any signs of wear/cracking over hundreds of mile of legitimate, technical trail use and the revamped version (that arrived 2 weeks ago) looks like they've upgraded to address the manufacturing and materials problems - time will tell.

I'm riding it with an ~almost~ 4 year old who weighs ~45lbs and, while it forces my knees a bit wide on the climbs, it brings joy to me every single time I'm riding with my son. We'll go out for legitimate 3+hour technical rides with proper technical descents. Truly awesome and can't recommend it enough, especially given the revamped materials/manufacturing. Honestly, I can pop short wheelies and ride almost as if he's not there on the vast majority of terrain, albeit adding some training weight for my rides Smile
I'm planning to use mine for at least another 6-12 months depending on if my son becomes too big (I'd say he's slightly above average for height and weight) - right now his size works quite well - but I need to be in flat pedals and on a large/XL bike with a dropper. My wife on a medium bike can't do it because her knees are forced too wide.
  • + 3
 My kids are now 21 & 26. Started them Young on bikes. Both are now Sou-Chiefs and still, go for rides when they can. My daughter made my Proud my breaking up with a young man, because he like playing PSgames.
Spend the money, watch the smiles that will be memories. Then when you are older, they still will say. Hey Dad, coming into town, want to go for a ride.
Hell Fricken Yeah.
  • + 1
 My 6yo son leaves his super nice haro bmx bike on the neighbors lawn, rides it through every puddle, every bit of mud and just doesn't care about it. It cost me the same amount as a full sized bmx.

I feel like i should have bought him a crappy $60 walmart bmx. He wouldn't know the difference and my ulcer wouldn't bleed when i saw him trashing it. He'd also appreciate a nice bike when he finally got one.
  • + 1
 @onemind123: thanks for the reply...

After reading a couple of their updates and emails, my gut told me that they just don't get it. It's not THAT hard to get manufacturing right...sorry, but it really isn't these days.

They botched my order several times, stating that I was amongst the 2nd round...but many of us 2nd-rounders got lost on the mix and weren't sorted in the stated appropriate time-frame(S).

FRAMES. Plural. They adjusted a ship date to me so many times that I've lost count.

Anyway, I got so married to the idea of the platform, because it IS a good idea. The execution, however, has been abysmal.

I work amongst many small businesses, and run/own a few myself. Proper-small, with only a few people doing a bit of everything. And never have I seen so many problems happening so consistently.

At some point using "bad luck" runs out as a believable excuse and you just have to admit that you don't know what you're doing...and moreover, it's (sadly) apparent that you aren't learning from your mistakes.

Anyway...

@aschohn thanks for sharing that info. That's what I had HOPED would work out with that seat, and why I've been so patient along the way. No other seat on the market can claim so much potential...though maybe we're seeing one of the main reasons?!
  • + 1
 @emsley: I’m not sure how big they can be to use really. I only recently got the updated version which they sent out for free.
There are only a couple concerns I have to keep in mind when using it.
1. Watch out for turning the bar as a tight turning radius can put the shifter into their leg.
2. On dips on the descents - be aware their little arms and necks aren’t as strong as yours so there always the chance of them hitting the handlebar or stem. I’m pretty careful though, as one should be.

Yes,it’s taken a while for them to get their act together but I’ve looked at it for what it is - a married couple had an idea and tried to make it happen, learning as they went. I liked the idea enough to roll with it. Keep in mind, they offered a refund after the recall. I could have just gotten my money back but stuck with them.
  • + 1
 @emsley: www.dolittle.co.nz Do Little bike seat has worked great for me.
  • + 32
 What, no dropper post?
  • + 17
 But you can fit a bottlecage!
  • + 3
 @etga6657: enduro specific?
  • + 23
 Carbon fibers and excess all around, it same crappy tires as every other kid in town.
  • + 11
 I made this one a few years back for a friend, its on it's second hand me down now and set to move on to the third soon. I reckon it's probably still the lightest balance bike out there ;-)

www.instagram.com/p/5MvHh_FImz/?taken-by=swarfcycles
  • + 3
 Tubeless but no air. This is what WC DH needs Wink . I don't know any kid around here who's had training wheels. Every kid gets on of these (though typically steel or short glass fiber reinforced plastics), blasts around and then passes it on. None of my kids got theirs new and they've probably been owned by a couple of other kids by now. Loads are low so the good ones really last forever. Some rust here and there just like my own mtb but still good for a couple of decades.
  • + 1
 @vinay: I rode training wheels for a couple of days. They're really... Bad. Balance bikes are where it's at.
  • + 13
 Waiting for the e-bike version
  • + 23
 With sram pigeon
  • + 4
 @RedBurn: SRAM pigeon! I love it!! Too funny
  • + 7
 My rear hub exploded one day and I was unable to pedal, but could still coast. I removed my pedals, slammed my saddle and stridered the16km home on trail and gravel road. I gained a whole new respect for the little ones in my neighbourhood.
  • + 5
 When I found out we were having a kid I couldn't wait to get a balance bike. At the time I was riding a commencal meta and thought it would sweet to get a commencal ramones 12". I went to my local bike shop and had a look at the commencal, it was nice but felt a bit heavy. I picked up the balance bike next to, a cruzee and it was super light. When I went home I compared weights and did a few comparisons with adult bike to rider weight ratios. If the average male rider weighs 180 lbs and a decent bike comes in at about 30 lbs then the bike is 16.7% that of the rider. I looked up the Cruzee and Commencal weight, 4.4 lbs and 9.9 lbs. if the average 2-1/2 year old boy weighs 30 lbs then the Cruzee is 14.6% and the commencal is 33% that of the riders weight. That's like the average adult male rider trying to ride a 57.5 lb bike. I think I would have struggled to get into biking if I started on a bike that heavy. I took the obvious choice and bought the Cruzee and have zero regrets. Our son rides it every single day and loves the freedom it gives him.

Basically what I'm getting at is to really consider the weight of the balance bike when you want to get one for your own kid. And just as a disclaimer, I have zero affiliation with Cruzee, I'm just a super happy customer. My 2.5 year old son can already 'ride' his bike at jogging pace and cruise down hills with his feet up, I don't think it'll be long at all until he's faster than me.
  • + 11
 Woah, hold on. We're having a kid?
  • + 1
 Do you not remember the versus or banshee screams with monsters coming in at 50+ pounds?!
  • + 11
 "Struggled to get into biking if I started on a bike that heavy"? I got into biking riding a Super Cycle Hooligan that was literally 50% of my bodyweight. Same with all my buddies. It was the only thing our parents could afford. Your two and a half year old doesn't give a flying **** about how heavy his bike is lol.
  • + 7
 @paradiseburning: you nailed it! My two year old just wants a f*cking bike right meow! He tries pushing my 30+ pound darkside around.
  • + 3
 Carbon frame balance bikes have been available for a few years. My fave (non-carbon) balance bike is this little "S-Walk" with a rear disc brake: reviews.mtbr.com/project-bike-danish-man-builds-son-coolest-balance-bike-ever

Whole thing is kind of silly but dad's gotta have fun too I guess.
  • + 1
 Was just about to post that link! It's a work of art
  • + 1
 Really good looking!
  • + 7
 Sons of Dentistry
  • + 6
 Horizontal rear dropouts, more thought went into his bike than mine.
  • + 4
 Why would you not want thru axles?
  • + 5
 What's the head angle on this beast?
  • + 5
 No dropper? thats a deal braker for my kid...
  • + 3
 If you really loved your kid you would have used a carbon stem. Teaching them that alloy is acceptable at a young age is just bad parenting...
  • + 6
 I love it!
  • + 1
 What would be really useful, is a guide for kids mtbs with a more level scope of the needs of the average pinkbiker buying the first or second bike for their kids. Instead we're 'treatet' with these out of reach bikes
  • + 2
 That is one sweet frame design for a balance bike. If it has some flex in the chainstay, it might help provide some cushion for baby nutz.
  • + 1
 I used to work for Trek and I gotta say I can't wait until they are out of the MTB game. They are just so off point with so many bontrager products and tech decisions idk how they expect to survive.
  • + 4
 That kid looks done. With. Your. Shit.
  • + 5
 Totally necessary-
  • + 5
 no 1440 no care
  • + 1
 The long travel model comes out in 2019. It has a huge 40mm of travel up front and 35mm in rear. It comes in 10in and 16in wheel sizes.

The Trek "Mini Slash"

(It is also available on project 1)
  • + 3
 Next week they'll add a boost rear axle.
  • + 1
 I don't have any kids that I know of, so I gotta ask: how does this work? Does it have pegs like a dirt bike or does little dudes legs just dangle?
  • + 12
 They start by sitting down and you drag them around by the handlebars. Then they get a little bigger and they can walk the bike around. Soon they are flying down the sidewalk butt on the seat kicking it Flintstone style. A few years later they are better then you'll ever be.
  • + 2
 Some have a wee platform like 90ies bmx frames used to have on the toptube but feet are mostly flailing, pushing or brake-draging most of the time so plattform or pegs are good to have but not mandatory.
  • + 1
 Right on.
  • + 2
 On the Strider bike, they put their feet on the stays to coast.
  • + 4
 Is it boost compatible?
  • + 2
 Nice XC balance bike Razz
Here is the first bike of our kids:
fotos.mtb-news.de/p/2105485?page=4
Less carbon, more DH
  • + 1
 yes. just yes.
  • + 3
 This makes me want to knock up my wife...

So long "pull and pray"...
  • + 3
 Learn from others mistakes...not everyone needs to reproduce. Think about the traffic!
  • + 2
 Why when it's so easily avoidable? People have gone to extremes, bending over backwards to make it so you don't have to have kids.
  • + 3
 For the kids dad who has everything!
  • + 5
 Except for common sense
  • + 1
 Found a Kuahara 12 inch bike minus the guts on the side of the road. Used another free 12 inch front wheel for the rear wheel. 4.5 kg. What does this weigh?
  • + 3
 When they do a 29er i'm having it.
  • + 1
 The Early Rider bikes in the Hope Academy with Hope specced parts or the Woom 1, that has a steering limiter and an actual rear brake.
  • + 2
 Don't be surprised though if the kid asks for a maxed out 10k+ bike when he grows up.
  • + 1
 It's the best way to put the kid to do good at school: "Now you need to have a well payed job to make big money to but expensive bikes and bike parts, son!"
  • + 1
 I hope Trek doesn't sue for trademark infringement.
Unless this guy works for Trek? Article unclear.
  • + 1
 Set me up with that wheelset for the strider I just put together for my kid!
  • + 1
 This bike has more carbon on it than Luke's lol @turco999 @theminsta @BakerDusty
  • + 2
 Can we get an adult version?
  • + 1
 I don't even have kids ... but this seems like a labour of love. Good on him!!! That kid will be a shredder one day.
  • + 2
 Straight steer tube would be a deal breaker for my boy. Smile
  • + 2
 Now tell me that carbon rims have no future in MTB
  • + 2
 Wheres the dhf 10x 2.5s??
  • + 1
 Such a rad little bike and my little buddy Dexter is a great kid. Love it ????
  • + 2
 What? Another new standard?
  • + 3
 Does it come in 29 inch?
  • + 1
 What does it weigh....whats the geo?! Is there going to be a head to head test of balance bikes?
  • + 1
 But they NEED it in 3 wheel sizes, then + size!
  • + 1
 Be great when he grows in a few months and needs a bigger one ????
  • + 1
 So much cooler than any other e-MTB article that I've ever seen.
  • + 0
 *any of the* (autocorrect)
  • + 2
 I'd ride that.
  • + 1
 Common...It should have at least the electric support
  • + 1
 Zelvy was first. And better Smile
  • + 2
 Weight?
  • + 1
 Can you fit a water bottle on it?
  • + 2
 Deathgrip!
  • + 1
 There is more carbon in that bike than in mine!
  • + 2
 dumb
  • + 1
 What's the little thing under the stem?
  • + 1
 reflector mount that looks like it could be the same as the stem mounted computer/light mount that they have on their adult bikes.
  • + 2
 Shuttle hook.
  • + 1
 The perfect bike for the dentist's son ??!! hahaha
  • + 0
 there are less expensive options available i'd be more inclined to purchase
  • + 1
 PF BB would've been a deal breaker... Oh wait!
  • + 1
 That thing prob costs more than my bike.
  • + 1
 Brownie!
  • + 1
 12" for life!
  • + 1
 FAT bars!
  • + 1
 Must be a slow news day!
  • + 1
 YGBSM
  • + 0
 Where are the pedals??
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