My kid (20 months) is getting very interested in tricycles and after checking in the local store it looks like Kettler Kettrikes are the Lexuses of the tricycles and that is why they charge a rather outrageous $180-$220 for the top of the line models.
The reason for this post is that Kettler makes 4-5 very similar models and I had to compare very brief marketing PDFs and search the web to figure out what is different and which of the features are important to us.
A few notes:
- Prices below are pulled from Amazon, but it looks like they are pretty much the same everywhere (including local stores). For example Air Navigator is either $220 with free shipping or $200 with $20 shipping (searched Froogle and Ebay)
- If air tires are NOT important to you — get regular Navigator: it is $30 cheaper and has adjustable seat (ability to adjust seat position is different from frame adjustment)
- If air tires are important — get Air Navigator: you get all the features of Navigator plus air tires, but loose adjustable seat positions. The downside is that air tires might get punctured and it is another headache to deal with.
- Things that are important to us:
- Parental control system + rear-wheel steering — locks handlebars into place for parental guidance and steering with pushbar.
- Rear bucket for carrying snacks/toys
- Auto-Freewheel – allows children to rest their feet on the pedals while parents guide them with the optional pushbar. There are a number of reviews on Amazon that complain about this feature.
- Ability to adjust the frame so that tricycle grows with our child
- Things we are not sure about
- Air tires — not sure if it makes a big difference, but we are very happy with our stroller that has inflatable wheels, so I guess it is a nice to have. The downside is that air tires might get punctured/deflated and it is another headache to deal with.
- Adjustable seat back position — Air Navigator doesn’t have that and I am not sure how important it is.
- Dual rear wheel handbrake — Air Navigator doesn’t have it and I am not sure what is the benefit unless you want your child to learn drifting. I also don’t think that young kids have the coordination to release the handlebars to break.
This website has good descriptions of features and prices that are in line with the rest of the stores. They also offer more models than what is available on Kettler’s website (probably discontinued models): http://www.toys-that-last.com/tricycle.htm
Note: there are a number of reviews on Amazon that praise “auto freewheel” functionality while child is too young to pedal, but also claim that children are having issues learning how to pedal b/c of that feature. They also complain about cheap plastic material on wheels and slippery pedals.
There are a lot more positive reviews than negative, but still worth reviewing: Navigator, Air Navigator (specifically this one). Quite a few people (including Physics PhD) suggest getting it in the store to save the headache of putting it together as it doesn’t seem to have good instructions.
|Parental Control System||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|# of frame positions||5||4||5||5||5||4|
|# of back seat positions||n/a||4||4||n/a||4||4|
|Tipping rear bucket||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Rear wheel handbrake||No||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Seat Belt included||No||No||No||Yes||No||No|