July 24, 2008

Thank You, Target, May I Have Another? Elmo LikeABike Knockoff


So maybe Target was just testing the waters when they steamrolled Like-A-Bike last year with their own $50 made-in-China knockoff. Because not only are they back, they're expecting you to pay ten bucks more for the Elmo version and to thank them for the privilege.

Elmo's Beginners Bike, $60 [target.com, thanks (?) dt reader seth]
Don't let me catch you buying this Elmo rig, but Shopping at Target via this link gives Daddy Types a little kickback. [target]


These bikes are dangerous because when children have to stop their body moves. And when it happens within the wrong position they hurt themselves because their tooth will touch ELMO. In Germany already happended a lot of tehse accidents and children lost their teeth

I read the same thing on a site with recommendations on what to watch out for when buying a 'loopfiets'.
The image image attached to the steering wheel (elmo or other sesame street character) makes the bike unsafe because kids can bump their chin/teeth into it when they stop.

I try to avoid buying licensed character merchandise whenever I can on principle, anyway.

I bought our daughter a LikeABike and she loved it and was able to teach herself how to balance and ride a bike relatively quickly.

I also bought the Target knock-off when it was on clearance for $25. Aside from its industrial/home-made look, my daughter found it heavy and in has some serious pinch points around the steering and wheels and unfinished edges.

Like many things in life you get what you pay for.

We have a 'firstbike' for my son - it's not made out of wood, but made of a very sturdy kind of plastic. It fit our budget better then the LikeABike ;-) - it is strong and light and is the best toy we have bought him so far. My son tried a 'skuut' while visiting my sister and that one is much heavier.

I think weight, safety of the design and the quality of the bike saddle are really important.

ugh. nice rims tho...

I'm actually curious about your "on principle" comment. I can see some people's concern about large, money-grabbing corporations, but doesn't buying a licensed Elmo product help CTW? Sure, most of the money will be going into Target's pockets, but I imagine the licensing fees help CTW keep Sesame Street on air?

not sure what manager mom's principle is, but we mostly have a "TV stays on TV" policy. As for Sesame Workshop [formerly Children's Television Workshop, formerly Children's Educational Television Workshop], after their decisions to let licensing and product sales priorities drive content [e.g., Elmo, Abby Cadabby] and to override the recommendations of the AAP [e.g., Sesame Beginnings], I think they don't deserve any special treatment; they're just another kid TV and merch producer now.

Greg, agreed. Sesame shouldn't get a free pass to license at will. Maybe it's because of the word "workshop" or because it's on public television or because 'it was on when we were kids so it can't be that bad.' It seems I'm always hearing parents say, "I don't like characters plastered all over products but Sesame Street is OK because there are no commercials." Wake up parents! Sesame Street IS a commercial. Same with Dora and Thomas and all the others. The marketers figured out that instead of (or in addition to) selling a few 30 second ads that hook our kids on a specific product, they can spend the entire program hooking our kids on a brand that can be slapped on EVERY product. Let the kids sit in front of Elmo for an hour plus a day and then take them to Target. Which bike do you think they're going to want?

Man, that must be why I got a DaddyTypes t-shirt instead of a plain ol' t-shirt. Darn that DaddyTypes brainwashing ;)

According to their 990, in 2006 Sesame Workshop made $46 million from licensing. Compare that to the $31 million they made from content distribution (selling their shows). Their new characters are driven by the requirements of licensing because that's where the money is. They also have over $250 million in net assets (securities mostly).

a firstbike is one of the best bikes for children that fits a lot of budgets

And if you wish available with a brake (the best and safest brake) not necessary in the beginning but later the children learn an extra skill

I avoid characters on toys, clothing, etc, because I think they look bad. Shopping for clothes for my kids, I'll often see something very nice looking, but it has some kind of logo or graphic or cartoon character on it. It often creates a visual mess.

Where did people get their firstbikes? I can find them in the UK and Switzerland and Australia, but not in North America.

bokoobikes dot c o m

The agent for the US decided to name them bokoo bikes in stead of firstbike

Jan, thanks for the tip on Bokoo. It turns out that if you want a balance bike from Target.com but don't want to look at Elmo, you're in luck: http://www.target.com/Bokoo-Bike-Learning-Red-Silver/dp/B0019K7QW0

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