Review: Frog Tadpole kid's balance bike

As an avid cyclist it was important for me to get something for my son that would have 'serious cyclist' written all over it. When Matt (i.e. Admin to all the Hubbers, and my neighbour) asked if I would be willing to write a review for the Frog Tadpole balance bike, it seemed a perfect option.
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The Frog Tadpole was great for my little guy. It had all the real bike components on it you could ever hope for in a balance bike. It had proper lock-on grip handles, a Tektro brake lever with a real V-brake in the rear, a quick release seat for height adjustment, rubber tyres with tubes, and spoked wheels. Not to mention the fact that it was a welded alloy frame and fork.

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Other little touches include a 1 1/8" headtube and press-fit headset with an alloy stem and alloy riser handlebars. The fork even has an offset in it. The cable guides, too, are neatly placed underneath the down (top?) tube and out of the way in case the inevitable crash happens.

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The simple fact the seat can be adjusted backwards and forwards, allowing for reach adjustment was a nice touch. The seat itself is also soft and comfortable. The rubber tyres made it suitable to insert sealant to prevent punctures, so some 'off-road' meandering was possible. All in all it weighs about 4kg - plenty light enough for my 2 1/2 year old toddler son to be able to lift.

My son climbed on and I soon realised if I was to join him I was going to have to ride my bike alongside him, a fathers dream! I was taken aback by how quick he learnt to balance with little to no falling over, and he very quickly was zooming around quickly. The bike assisted with decent sized wheels and wide enough handlebars to maintain a steady balance.

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My one concern is in terms of price. At R1,600 it seems to far exceed the price of most of its steel framed competitors that we have looked at. It's worth mentioning that most of these other options do not have the same quality components that the Frog Tadpole has nor are they as light as the alloy Tadpole. However, considering the time limit in which this kind of bike would be suitable for my toddler, price is a determining factor. There's only so long before a kid will outgrow a balance bike and want some pedals underneath their feet. The Tadpole is designed for children 2-4 years old.

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More colour options would be great too and some careful thought into finishing touches, as we had a problem with the brake cable sticking out, so much so that it actually scratched his leg. This would possibly come down to who put the bike together, but it really is something that should be looked at.

All in all barring cost it really is an excellent user friendly bike for the little one. Included with it is a free 5 year warranty on the frame and forks and 2 years on all other parts.

Words: Matthew Martin




7 Comments

Tumbleweed, Mar 31 2014 10:03

Nice one! Dig the pic of the kid!

fanievb, Mar 31 2014 10:05

i love the pick of the little guy all kitted out an ready to roll!

Tractor, Mar 31 2014 05:34

Does alloy or steel really make that much of a difference for a balance bike? It's all about having fun and learning new skills at that age.

Rata Del Spruit, Mar 31 2014 06:50

These balance bikes are an amazing concept, kids pick up riding so quickly and effortlessly without any instruction. I'd just say that the one advantage the Strider has over this bike would be the way the wheel stay is shaped as a footrest and includes a bit of grip tape there. It encourages the kid to tuck their feet up when they start balancing and even stand on them and pump when they get more advanced.

Sarnicoview, Apr 01 2014 03:49

As the owner of a group of preschools, and keen cyclist, I have bought a number of balance bikes in the past, with a view to getting kids on bikes without the parents having to teach them. 2 negatives from my perspective.

Having tubes in the tyres is a pain, as they are very difficult to pump up with such a small wheel. Rather have solid wheels. The kids do ram them into each other and objects, causing punctures.

Would be awesome to have a slightly bigger version for 4-6 year olds. In a preschool, pedals would be a problem, as they catch on stairs, tyres, ankles, etc, whatever is in the playground. But the smaller bike is too short for some of my older kids.

Big positive, is that ALL the kids who leave my schools post 4 years old, CAN ride a bike!!

Rata Del Spruit, Apr 03 2014 10:31

As the owner of a group of preschools, and keen cyclist, I have bought a number of balance bikes in the past, with a view to getting kids on bikes without the parents having to teach them. 2 negatives from my perspective.

Having tubes in the tyres is a pain, as they are very difficult to pump up with such a small wheel. Rather have solid wheels. The kids do ram them into each other and objects, causing punctures.

Would be awesome to have a slightly bigger version for 4-6 year olds. In a preschool, pedals would be a problem, as they catch on stairs, tyres, ankles, etc, whatever is in the playground. But the smaller bike is too short for some of my older kids.

Big positive, is that ALL the kids who leave my schools post 4 years old, CAN ride a bike!!


Which preschools? I think some fellow cyclists may want to send their kids there.

Neg, Aug 09 2016 06:48

Where can i get one of these? 

regards