August 23, 2005

Two Wooden Bikemakers, Both Alike In Dignity

In fair Brooklyn where we lay our scene,
From mid-nineties grudge break to new mutiny.
and so on and so forth, you know the rest.

Bloods and Crips. Sharks and Jets. Hell's Angels and, um, another equally big, scary biker gang. LikeaBike and PedoBike.

pedobike.jpglikeabike_forest.jpg

Apparently, while we naive Americans slumbered in ignorance, assuming that the LikeABike [above, right]was the only pedal-less cruising bike for kids made the old-fashioned way, in the Old Country, of fine hardwoods, German grandparents were sending other makes of wooden bikes to their kinden in the Neue World, specifically Brooklyn.

And those kinden were putting their kinden on said bikes, getting all sorts of favorable reactions, and then signing up to import them from Germany to sell at a slightly lower price than Likeabike's.

The PedoBike [above, left] is made by Holz-Hoerz, a wooden educational toys and equipment company, who bills it as "the ORIGINAL of all wooden walking bikes for children," dating all the way back to 1892. Or 1992, but whatever, since they both have roots in the earliest bike designs around, from the early 19th Century. [Or at least that's what LikeaBike claims. Hmmm....]

The PedoBike is "the only vehicle of its kind," while the LikeaBike bills itself as "unique." Obviously, neither are either. Their products, their Brooklyn roots, and even their founding myths are remarkably similar. I just hope volks on both sides will put down the rhetoric before someone gets hurt.

pedobike_skis.jpgMaybe if we all learn to appreciate each pushbike's unique properties--the LikeaBike is rather more streamlined and pared down, while the PedoBike has a whole raft of optional accessories, including a basket, a personalized nameplate, ski attachments [!] a bottle/bottleholder [!!]--we can prevent Park Slope from descending into wooden bike gang warfare.

And then perhaps someday, the scions of these two rival clans, young Josef von LikeaBike and Julian von PedoBike, will meet at German Club and become fast, inseparable friends. Or maybe they'll challenge each other to a bike-off to the death, and it ends horribly for all involved. Either way, pull up a chair, this oughta be good.

The "Original" PedoBike, $229 [woodenbike.us]
the "Unique" LikeaBike, $279 [likeabikeusa.com]

7 Comments

"Hell's Angels and, um, another equally big, scary biker gang." The Outlaws or the Bandidos where who you were looking for.

Our friends' kid has a LikeaBike and it's fantastic. At 3 years old, she zips around!

I didn't think i could afford two, so I found this non-wooden version made by Kettler, also German for the walking bike purists...
http://maukilo.com/product+kettler-8718-000.html

Any word on whether they are as cool, despite beign a third of the price?

It turns out that there are quite a few companies that produce these "push bikes" in Europe and Scandinavia - and now there is one in the US as well. [blatant self-promotion approaching] We've just picked up the Rolli-Rider, the first domestic alternative that I've found. If a competitive racing circuit develops I'll have to sponsor a team...

In Germany there are more than 30 brands of walkingbikes for kids
Every second child has a walking bike
There are good ones and bad ones
But the most important thing is the saddle. If that is bad (and most of them are) the child does not like to play with it. It has to be like a banana.

Because it pushes the child when cycling stronger in the saddle, and the child felt more safety, and it is more convenient. A normal saddle is like a bike jong horse the child is sitting also.

So be careful when you see a "wrong saddle"; the price might be ok.

Thanks [you mean elongated? or curved? or both? Sounds like it should cradle the kid as they sit, which probably means curved/contoured. -ed.]

these bikes are great. here's video of my 2 year old on a like a bike. I totally recommend them.

Yeah, great bikes. The price tags are completely absurd on ALL. I don't have that kind of money and even if I did I would refuse these brands out of mere principal. Plywood and wheels. I likely will make my daughter's push bike. Upscale marketing and premium price positioning because it looks Danish and because people will pay any price for their dear little squirt. I love my kids but come on. Gross.

Good luck. If you do make one, I hope you'll share the parts and plans--and the cost/time required, so the next guy can decide what to do, too.

Like-A-Bikes began as premium products and were made in small batches in Germany, one of the most expensive labor markets in the world. Skuut figured out that they could get push bikes by the containerload from China for $14/ea, which, given the wholesale and retail markups, means $79 is about as cheap as they could be. Until Target came along.

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