Sports psychologist Dr. Josephine Perry recently got the chance to review the new Hoy Napier on behalf of her nearly 2 year old daughter. As a cyclist who can always find an excuse for needing just one more bike, the realisation that she now gets to buy them for her daughter too was joyous.
Harriet is almost two so she is starting out on the HOY Napier. A gorgeous blue balance bike that costs £110 at Evans. A review from a nearly two year old is not the easiest thing to write when their favourite words are ‘cheese’, ‘more’ and ‘shoes.’ So I’ll write this review on her behalf!
Fortunately, because Harriet often spends Sunday mornings watching us racing at triathlons or being pushed in the running buggy round Richmond Park she is getting pretty good at the word ‘bike’. And her face lights up as she shouts it out when her HOY Napier escapes the garage and gets wheeled into the garden. To begin with her favourite part was the bell – running down the hallway to ring it. Now she has mastered climbing over the bar and can push herself along, Chris Hoy will be pleased to hear the bell has taken second place to the bike itself!
She is at the age where she wants to do everything that we do so letting her copy our cycling passion is brilliant. But, I’m definitely on the nervous end of the scale when it comes to helping her take risks, so from my perspective I really like that the HOY Napier feels really steady, strong and high quality. It also helpfully comes ready built so they are able to get on it and go with just a couple of screws being tightened. This reduced my anxiety too.
While Harriet treats her bike like a toy (probably a lesson for us all in keeping some perspective) it feels like a serious piece of kit. It looks a bit BMX-y and has the robustness to go with that. When it gets flung on the ground when a butterfly needs chasing, or a dog comes past and needs waving at, the robustness shines through. The rubber ended handlebars take all the force without damage.
The wheels also seem robust – and the tyres pretty tough. The bike seems like whatever the little one can make it though it will too – and it will keep her comfortable. There are also a few touches (such as angled valves of the tyres so it is easier to attach a pump to the tiny wheels) that make it clear that even though it is a balance bike for toddlers it has been designed by a real cyclist.
Despite the robustness it is light enough (under 6kg) to take out with you and not dread having to carry it home if the little one gets too tired. It even has a grab rail behind the saddle which makes carrying easier.
The bike is designed for 2-5 year olds (height of 85-110cm). Ours at almost two and 87 cm is on the small side for it. She does have long legs though so can sit on the saddle. If she was more in proportion she would struggle to touch the floor. Starting early doesn’t seem to be a problem though as it is such a sturdy and well-built piece of kit that it will grow with her – hopefully straight onto a bike with pedals. And the robustness means she’ll grow out of it long before any parts would need replacing. I imagine you’d feel comfortable passing the Napier onto future children or friends knowing it will be suitable and safe.
The only down side we can see is that the white handlebars and the white saddle don’t stay white for long – but nothing stays white for long when a two year old is around! With this bike the 2 year old doesn’t stay around for long either. My main trouble now is keeping up with her. Maybe I need another bike for that…