March 12, 2007

Skuut: Suspiciously Like A LikeABike, But With Huge Balls

likeabike_vs_skuut.jpg

Knockoffs of the Like-A-Bike are nothing new. Remember, Kokua, the German manufacturer who invented it, got the idea of a pedal-free cruiser from the Draisienne, a nearly-200-year-old ancestor of the modern bicycle. And at a made-in-Germany premium price of $279, there was a lot of room for Chinese undercutting once the concept had proved out.

There's the PedoBike. There's the $50 Target version. There was even the brazen Bugabike, a knockoff with a copycat name.

But the Skuut takes the art of the knock-off to a whole new level. For one thing, it's probably the baldest copy of LikeABike out there, though it's only available in one size and color. The real balls, though, come from Skuut's promotion. Launched last year, they rather boldly hyped their product, not as a cheap (or even just a cheaper) alternative to a 4-year-old product, but as a brand new innovation. And the baby media appears to be going along.

Cookie Magazine, published a company who should know from knockoffs and edited by a bunch of NYC moms who should know better, featured the just-launched Skuut a "best gift idea for 3-4 year-olds" last December. [Granted, buying a $90 Skuut would leave more money for buying those Marc Jacobs slingbacks, but what kind of bizarro universe is it when a Conde Nast magazine trumpets a cheap knockoff over an original?]

Even more amazing, though, are Tom Vacar the KTVU [San Francisco] consumer reporter, who runs the annual "Great American Toy Test," which apparently didn't need to vet the Skuut for originality before awarding it the Top Ride-on Toy in 2006, and Stevanne Auerbach, PhD, aka Dr. Toy, "for many years one of the nation's and world’s leading experts on play, toys, and children's products," who did the same thing.

Though it IS television [Fox, even] and self-syled expert/talking heads, I'll go ahead and assume for a moment that no playola or consulting fees traded hands for these awards. But how can someone claim to be an industry expert on ride-on toys and honestly say they hadn't heard of or seen the LikeABike at all before Fall 2006?

It kills me because based on her resume, Dr. Toy should be the patron saint around Daddy Types. She developed the first education marketing program for Creative Playthings back in 1968, and as an education official, she says, "she approved the first grant for the Children's Television Workshop, 'Sesame Street'." But she also apparently picks her toy award winners by watching the local news, so go figure.

So what's the punchline here? Media and experts serve their own purpose, which may only occasionally overlap with your own? Parent-run start-ups should take care not to miss or price itself out of mass market, mass media publicity stunts? If you start with a 200-year-old design, you better not base your business model on intellectual property rights? Or the Chinese can make a wooden bike for a helluvalot less than the Bavarians?

LikeABike by Kokua
Skuut by
Previously:
LikeABike: Extreme Retro
Two Wooden Bikemakers, Both Alike In Dignity
Ouch. Target LikeASteamrollers LikeABike

23 Comments

I wonder if the $160CAD one a local store told me they were getting in soon is one of the above or yet another one? They told me it was from Germany and about half the price of a Like-A-Bike, so who knows. There are probably a ton of different wooden bike makers over there if it really is a traditional design in that country...

When I get more info I'll let you know; if it's really the price they expected I'll probably just buy it on the spot...

[maybe the Pedobike, but they're like mushrooms now. -ed.]

We're still looking for a Puky for our kid.

I actually like the aluminium likeabike version over the wooden one, but I haven't seen it in person. Would love to hear from actual (parent's of) users what they prefer: original over copy, aluminium over wood, etc.

The wooden version of the LikeABike has nicer design asthetic to it. Plus, your kid can ride it indoors without fear of scuffing the floors or walls.

The metal one is nice. My daughter didn't like it because "its for boys". Also, have actual spokes, means that eventually after a few drops or run-ins with a wall or two, the tires will need to be trued. Also, the metal version is designed for "jumping", hence the model name, "Jumper".

Sure they got balls. But let's face it, $300 for a kid toy is obscene. We bought the skuut and love it. Attractive and well built. Both my kids have learned on this thing. Copies are in every industry- it's called a free market economy. It's too bad for those who are first on with a concept, but the market is big enough for several players. Likeabike needs to drastrically reduce their price, or add more value. Get over it.

I had never even heard of LikeABike before I found the Skuut. Whether it's a knock-off or not, marketing makes a product, and Skuut seems to be doing that quite well in the US.

[are you serious, or just saying that because you sell their product? They definitely did was LikeABike didn't, which was tap into the Toy Industrial Complex for its awards, but even that is still pretty much a local CA/Bay Area thing. I think the reality is, an $82 bike is automatically going to reach a lot more people than a $279 bike. I'd guess you wouldn't have considered carrying the original version at that price. -ed.]

We decided to get the likeabike jumper for our boy after taking him to the store to check them out - he wasn't so fond of the wood. It really is the perfect bike for a toddler and I am constantly telling other parents where I got it!

Fantastic Design
These bikes are great. here's video of my 2-6 year old on a Buga-bike. I totally recommend them.
Buga-bike by Sabamba ltd 1999.
(VIDEO)Buga-bike bicycle for toddlers
It really is the perfect bike for a toddler and I am constantly telling other parents where I got it!

[where you got it? You mean China? If I weren't about to do a direct takedown of your knockoffery, I'd delete this PR spam in five seconds. -ed.]

"your kid can ride it indoors without fear of scuffing the floors or walls."

Murat: The Jumper does no more damage than any of the wooden models- they all have the same "floor saver" hand grips..

"Also, have actual spokes, means that eventually after a few drops or run-ins with a wall or two, the tires will need to be trued. Also, the metal version is designed for "jumping", hence the model name, "Jumper""

Murat: Our son has been abusing his Jumper for exactly a year and the wheels are as true as when we bought them. The ability to straighten them is an enhancement, not a negative. Also, the Jumper is not designed for jumping. Who expects a three year old to perform BMX style jumps? It simply has a suspension system to make it easier to handle by helping keep both tires firmly on the ground.. Also, we've checked our Jumper by itself without protection, on overseas flights. It's indestructible. And what a joy for Reis to be quiet and happy zipping around the airport terminal while we wait for our flight. Heaven.

Many thanks to this blog's owner for posting such a great variety of LikeaBike related articles and information. I'll definitely be back.
My wife and I are engaged in personalized direct selling of all LikeaBike products from our home in Rhode Island. Our site is fairly new (a blog disguised as a site, actually- low budget) BUT it's biggest distinction is that it gives you the most detailed descriptions and photographs of the product line you will find anywhere. While most other retailers post a single picture and a price, we offer more. I don't post this with the expectation that people will be driven to our site to buy bikes. I really just want people to be more informed. The above remarks which I've addressed hopefully prove this. Our main business is direct sales, mostly at USA Cycling bike races which we attend- I'm a cat 2 racer myself who also sponsors a racing team.
Anyway, I hope this message isn't rejected due to self promotion. I've been racing bikes for 20 years, and I'm not in the children's bike business for the money. If I was, I wouldn't have a full time job in construction management!
Regards,
Murat
www.WeeBike.com
PS: Three of the top six Google Video search results for LikeaBike (including No 1)feature our son Reis.

Sir, after a trip to Taiwan I bought a likeabike for $290, after a trip to Taiwan I bought the same likeabike for $49,-, I do not know the Bugabike. After your remark I checked their site. Which says that you only need one bike from 2-6 years which is not the case with likabike. If I would have known I would have bought a Bugabike, but I didn't see it in Taiwan.

Continue to make fools of other people and to criticize other companies, it is all in your honor. I often read this blog, this is the first time it really made me mad. Just look at the site of Bugabike, they received several awards, and in Europe they have sold over 10000 Bugabikes in 2007. And you??

[Like-a-Bike's own strategy to stay expensive by producing in Germany is not my concern. And you can get as mad as you like, and put as many links to Bugabike in as you like. It won't alter the fact that Bugabike knocked off its design from Like-a-Bike and its name from Bugaboo, and produces the things for $12 in China. If it's unpleasant to point that out, I'm sure the Bugabikers can take comfort by taking their $370,000 profits as $1 bills and rolling around in them. As for me, I'm doing just fine, thanks. -ed.]

Sir, I had bought a likeabike for $290, after a trip to Taiwan I bought the same likeabike for $49,-, I do not know the Bugabike. After your remark I checked their site. Which says that you only need one bike from 2-6 years, which is not the case with likabike. If I would have known I would have bought a Bugabike, but I didn't see it in Taiwan.

Continue to make fools of other people and to critisize other companies, it is all in your honor. I often read this blog, this is the first time it really made me mad. Just look at the site of Bugabike, they received several awards, and in Europe they have sold over 10000 Bugabikes in 2007. And you??

Bugabike has been recommended by your fellow physiotherapist for the quick re-education for kids, age
2-6 years, after an accident, where the feet are concerned or a broken leg. Until today we receive several e-mails from parents to thank us, who where stunned about the fact that their child, after an accident, learned to walk again quickly, much sooner as planned.

Just got a Skuut delivered and am very disappointed - out of the box there is about half an inch side to side movement on both wheel rims. Does anyone have a better experience with the Skuut?

Got a Skuut but sent it back - the wheels were both way out of true. Got a Kettler Sprint instead. Cost more than a Skuut - but still less than half a LikeABike. The Sprint works well.

Bought a Skuut and the wheels are not true. My kid rides the snot out of it anyway. It's a great tool for learning but not an heirloom piece.

We are having trouble communicating with Skuut regarding our balance bike orders. Emails are not returned, no one answers the phone and messages are not returned. At this point we are very frustrated with the company because we, as well as many of our customers, have been waiting months to receive our order. We are not accepting new orders until this is resolved, and those with current orders have the option to cancel by calling xxx-xxx-xxxx. Please have your order number handy to expedite the process. We are very sorry for the inconvenience and will do our best to keep our customers happy.

My company has sold the Skuut since Oct 2006. Our son, who is now 4.. learned to ride a bike at 3 when we bought a Skuut to test.
We tested several that I see on the market with many differnt names and they all failed our tests(or shall I say my sons). One even came apart in 3 days and nearly broke my sons nose when the ft wheel vibrated off.

Wood bikes need to be checked just as any other bike does. Our Skuut was used though all seasons including a Maine winter. What can I say? My son enjoys his that much!

I've sold several hundred and have seen two come back. Of those two.. one the child took no interest and the other the parent didn't like the smell of the bike.

They are made in China not Germany
They range from 82.00 to 89.00 (Canada find a retailer who offers free shipping:)

Test it for yourself

I had no idea that there were so many learner bikes out there i just read a review about the Skuut and it seems like it is a much cheaper version of the likeAbike...but then again, the article mentions like 3 other similar learner bikes...all different prices...so i am not sure where to draw the line between price and quality

just for the information, I purchased a [different knockoff brand that periodically PR spams on this thread despite repeated warnings and deletions] for my son this yr.. our older daughter (almost 5) is the one who's been riding it around the house. We LOVE it= in basically 1 month she has really developed balance that will help her ride her big bike soon!!" thank you [lameass knockoff artists], i like the idea. [which you didn't come up with] Prof D.Martin

[ed. note: this comment has been edited in accordance with DT's commenting policy.]

Crikey please consider buying a little bmx and remove the cranks and pedals. When the little one gains confidence coasting around the yard re-apply and watch the xgames golds cometh. For full instructions see westozbmx.com

Just to informe you the production of the like a bike from Kokua come from China now, and not from German.

[the aluminum LIke-A-Bike Jumper is made in China. the wooden bikes are all still made in Germany. Also, I deleted your multiple posts and your promotional links, and even though you used false names and a fake email address, I have left this one comment intact. -ed.]

i basically agree with this post, but the fact remains, my kid would not have a balance bike if the only option was a $279 dollar one. skuut's afford ability puts into the hands of more people. it is a fantastic design, and builds confidence in 2 and 3 year olds. we adore ours, and feel it is worth all $90 we spent on it.

Early to bed
Early to rise
Work like heck
and advertise?
Skuut got the worm.

My 3 yo used it for a few weeks and then graduated to real bike.
I removed the peddles on the 5 yo boy's bike after he tried to use the little Skuut. One hour later I put the peddles back on and he has not stopped riding. The idea alone was worth $90 to me. I didn't have to run behind him to keep him from falling.


My little daughter would love this Skuut bike very much. This is easy to learn their own. The Seat is adjustable, so kids of all ages can use! This would great bike for toddlers.

Google DT


Contact DT

Daddy Types is published by Greg Allen with the help of readers like you.
Got tips, advice, questions, and suggestions? Send them to:
greg [at] daddytypes [dot] com

Join the [eventual] Daddy Types mailing list!


Archives

copyright

copyright 2014 daddy types, llc.
no unauthorized commercial reuse.
privacy and terms of use
published using movable type

advertisements