If you want a balance bike for your child that is lightweight, rolls silky smooth over any surface, loaded with quality components and backed by company focused on youth bikes; the Prevelo Alpha Zero is for you.
Prevelo is a newcomer to the kids bike market but is already becoming our favorite. The Prevelo Alpha Zero redefines what a balance bike should be. A bike loaded with so many features, it leaves you speechless. It was great to finally get our hands on a Prevelo to get a firsthand feel for what made these bikes so great. We were provided a bike from Prevelo and our little tester, Ella took it to the test.
We un-boxed our Alpha Zero and were pleasantly surprised out how it was near fully assembled. It was a matter of just installing the handlebars with 4 bolts with the provided allen wrench. Another first for us was seeing an owners manual that had easy to understand assembly instructions. Granted there wasn’t much assembly required, the manual also included literature on Bike Fit, Pre-Ride Check, Basic Bike Safety and Maintenance & Care which further addressed the checking and alignment of the brakes.
Not to worry though, our brakes were properly aligned and the tires were filled properly straight out of the box. Which is nice when you have an eager child looking over your shoulder in anticipation of riding their new bike. One other thing to note is the proper packaging which protected the beautiful violet paint on this bike.
As we were pulling the bike out of the box, we recognized the lightness of the Prevelo Alpha Zero. This was made possible by the custom formed frame made from 6061 aluminum and the aluminum alloy fork. The weld quality was superb based upon our visual inspection; although it would be difficult to structurally test the welds, you can get a good idea of the quality by the appearance and the consistency of the welds. We have tested a lot of lower-end bikes in the past and you would be surprised at the amount of weld splatter and inconsistent welds. It was evident that this particular balance bike frame was built to withstand whatever punishment your child can dish out.
Bikes in this quality range will also have quality components; the Alpha Zero features aluminum handlebar and stem, tektro aluminum v-brake with easy reach lever, aluminum wheels with Kenda tires and a quick-release for the child-appropriate sized saddle. Internally routed brake cables, rounded axle bolts are other features we liked about the Alpha Zero.
We are critical of the size of saddles on balance bikes because they need to be size appropriate to allow a child to straddle, kick freely and cruise with their feet up comfortably. Smaller size saddles make it easier for children to straddle the bike and walk with it as they build up the courage to ride it. The saddle height is also easily adjusted with the quick release.
Prevelo Alpha Zero in Action
We had a lot of fun testing out our Alpha Zero. While testing this bike we were also testing out the Eastern Pusher. Naturally, Ella was more attracted to the Prevelo. We tested the bike on hard surfaces, gravel trails and some light obstacles. Ella was recently introduced to balance bikes this spring. By the time she was on her third to fourth ride, she was already using the hand brake – pretty cool for a petite girl with small hands. The sloped areas of the trail encouraged Ella to pick her feet up for longer glides on the bike which helped increase balance-ability and confidence. The brakes feature the short reach hand brake and requires minimal force to operate.
I was happy with the performance of the rubber tires in contrast to the EVA foam tires we were testing on the Eastern Pusher. The added traction of the Alpha Zero came into play when Ella rode on the treated timber bridges and dirt trails. The image above shows Ella on the dirt trails. You will notice that here arms are extended and elbows are not overly bent; this is the ideal fit for a balance bike and is due to the distance between the handlebars and saddle. We feel this balance bike could handle aggressive riding; real trail riding. The bike would benefit from more aggressive tires if trail riding becomes more routine.
You will also notice her legs are slightly bent and her body is in a natural forward leaning position – both are important for rider experience and safety. Some cheaper bikes will have an inadequate distance between the seat and handlebars which limits the free range of the child’s legs when scooting. The design of the Prevelo is very well-thought. We like the reverse-mounted brake with the internally-routed cables; this protects them from damage and the possibility of coming out of being centered. You can find a great how-to article on adjusting direct pull v-brakes here. We recommend a parent periodically regularly check the condition of the braking system.
Sizing and Weight
With all the features this bike has it is remarkable how it is still one of the lightest bikes we have tested. The bike weighed in on our scales at 8.5 lbs. The Alpha Zero meets the demands of both quality conscious parents that also demand a very lightweight bike. Weight is everything when it comes to smaller, petite riders. It improves their sense of control and the ride quality improves as well especially when off-road. The only other bike that was lighter at this quality level was the Woom 1. Ella was easily able to pick up the bike as you see below.
The Alpha Zero doesn’t have the largest range in seat adjust-ability but feel this could be accomplished with a longer seat post. Though, longer seat posts do not work well when in the lowest seat setting because the post will bottom out. The Alpha Zero will generally fit children with inseams measuring 12.5″ to 15.6″ and taller.
|A Wheel Size||12″|
|B Wheelbase||22.9 in / 581 mm|
|C Effective Top Tube Length||11.6 in / 295 mm|
|D Head Angle||67°|
|E Seat Tube Angle||69°|
|F Chain Stay Length||8.9 in / 225 mm|
- Seat Height: 11.5″ – 14.5″
- Bike Weight: 8.5 lbs
- Brakes: Rear V-brake
- Footrest: No
- Steering Limiter: N/A
- Tire Size: 12″ Aluminum Wheels
- Type of Tire: Air-Filled Kenda Tires
- Grips with End Bumpers: Yes
- Bolts: domed Head/Rounded
- Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy
At $199.95, the Alpha Zero is on par with other quality balance bikes. At this price point, the Alpha Zero has the features one would expect. Highly durable and full of features; the Alpha Zero is worth the price. We would like to see additional color options; which may be in the works seeing that they did add purple to their offering for 2018. The only complaints I had with this bike were cosmetic and that was in relation to the matte black paint on the fork. We laid the bike on its side 2-3 times and the paint easily scratched on the fork. Granted if the bike stayed scratch-free and and not dirty from riding it would of meant we didn’t use it enough. Prevelo has some cool add-ons that allow you to personalize their bikes; frame decals, custom colored handlebar grips, bike bells and more.
Stay -tuned for our 4 week follow-up review on the Prevelo Alpha Zero.