The LittleBig is a bike that grows in stages with your child as they learn to ride a bike. It starts off as a balance bike, transforms into a taller balance bike, and then finally, you add pedals. The bike grows with the child for about five years, from ages 2–7.
Q: In your founding story, you talk about how you noticed kids in the bike shop naturally jumping onto balance bikes and zooming around the shops, but all too soon parents had to come back to buy a bigger bike. Is there a specific Aha! story that triggered this inspiration for the LittleBig?
After discovering the benefits of the balance bike, I was standing in the bike shop next to the selection of kids bikes which were all lined up in order of size.
I noticed how the only difference between the balance bike and the pedal bike is they are a bit smaller and have no pedals. My brain pinged, as I figured out how I could make a bike that could transform between all the bikes that were in front of me.
Q: What was the biggest design challenge you faced when constructing the LittleBig?
My biggest design challenge was to make the LittleBig easy to switch between its three modes, while also functioning properly as a balance bike and pedals bike. And to top it off, it has to look cool. Part of the reason I designed the LittleBig is because there are so many bikes out there that seem to be thrown together without any consideration.
Q: What are the benefits of a child using a balance bike versus a bike with training wheels?
Balance bikes enable the child to develop their balance and steering with the comfort of having their feet near the ground. Once kids have mastered their balance, they have a pretty seamless transition to pedaling. I know of kids who have progressed to the LittleBig’s pedal mode after only a couple of weeks on the balance bike!
By contrast, training wheels don’t teach a child how to balance, so the sudden transition from being supported to unsupported can cause crashes and loss of confidence. It’s like teaching a toddler to walk with crutches, then suddenly taking them away.
Most kids bikes with training wheels are also really heavy so are difficult to pedal along, lift and maneuver. On top of that, stabilizers are noisy, tip over on uneven surfaces, and as one wheel usually bends upwards, it causes the child to lean the wrong way when turning.
Q: LittleBig helps the world to be a little greener by reducing material waste and the number of times a child needs a bike replacement. When designing the bike, what else did you keep in mind to help ensure that the design itself was also environmentally friendly?
As the LittleBig is designed to last for five years, it needed high quality parts that would last as long as the 3-in-1 frame. These parts work better and last longer than the stuff you’ll find on normal kids bikes.
Everything is fully serviceable at a local bike shop or by a decent home mechanic, ensuring that the LittleBig will keep riding smoothly for many years. Even when the child finally grows out of the LittleBig, it should still be in good enough condition to be passed on to another lucky kid.