A few weeks ago, we celebrated Little Ones first birthday. We had a small party and had a lovely few days, but one of the more difficult tasks was deciding what to get him for a present.
The age of 1 seems to be a funny time for toys and activities. Most of the really cool stuff is usually for age 3+ whereas a lot of baby toys that are suitable from birth or 6 months are a little too simple now to occupy Little One for any length of time.
A little too young still for shape sorters and activities that require a bit more thought and a little less hitting, we were really racking our brains to find a present that would be really useful and suitable for his age.
After a couple of brief shopping trips and ‘in-store trials’ we found the Smart Trike.
The most appealing thing for us was the versatility of it. We went for the 4 in 1 Vanilla version which starts off essentially as a 3 wheeled pushchair. Baby is strapped in and has a guard rail. The steering and pedals are deactivated so steering and speed is controlled entirely by the person pushing and Little One just enjoys the ride.
The second stage sees the harness removed and perhaps control of pedaling returned to the child. Stage 3 removes the guard rail and gives steering control back to Little One while keeping the big handle at the back for parental control and Stage 4 removes the handle leaving you with a proper trike suitable for a 3 year old.
At £59.99 we this did feel like an expensive present for a first birthday, but the longevity of the product means that this will give us around 3 years of service and immediately gives Little One a new perspective on walks and he will slowly start to take the controls. Little One absolutely loves this trike. As soon as we put him in, he instinctively reached for the handles and tried to steer himself, he cottoned on after a few walks that he can’t control where he goes, so now he hold his arms out and tries to grab anything that we go past.
Assembling the Trike was a bit of a different story however. My husband is usually pretty good and logical about assembly and isn’t fazed by the most complicated of Ikea flat pack furniture, but this thing had him flummoxed. The basic assembly of the frame is pretty straight forward; most of it is click lock and the instructions are pretty clear. The problems came when trying to assemble the front wheel and steering mechanism. Because of its multi-functional approach to steering there is a very specific way to assemble the front wheel and the instructions don’t show clearly enough where everything goes. We got there eventually but there were occasions where we were concerned we had a faulty product or had broken something in the process. I can’t explain in words exactly how we got it to work, if you are having problems, feel free to write to me and I will get my husband to explain in more detail.
I have read reviews and heard from friends that the steering doesn’t work and that you have to tilt the trike onto its back wheels to turn it. This definitely isn't the case and we have had no such problems and the steering is, in-fact, really easy and light. You literally just turn the handle left or right (while moving forward) and it goes exactly where you want. I am guessing that other people’s problems with steering might be related to the same issues we had with assembly or how they have the wheel catch set.
Other features include a UV sun shade, (this is good but if it gets too windy becomes a bit annoying) a storage box on the back wheel axel and, what Smart-trike describe as a ‘Trendy Parent Bag’. This is useful, but I will let you make your own decisions on the ‘trendiness’...! It's a great addition though, because it means you can go out for a walk without needing to take a bulky bag with you. The seat has a long back support and comfortable padded shoulder straps.
We have tried it on a few different terrains and I can confidently say that grass and tarmac are fine. It is not really suitable for stony paths or ‘off-roading’ as although it has rubber shock absorber tyres, it can get a little shaky.
In all this has been a great purchase for us, Little One loves it and we can’t wait to get him started on steering and pedaling when the time comes.
There are many different colours and styles of Smart Trike available, details of which can be found here. We purchased our Smart Trike from Argos for £59.99.
*We were not paid or sponsored to write this post. All opinions expressed are our own.