Spring has sprung and with it the desire to be outdoors. Enter the tricycle. A toddler’s first taste of freedom – real freedom. Self propelled, wind in your hair freedom.
Enter Kettler tricycles. It’s one of the best values out there: a great trike for a good price. The specific tricycle that warrants our attention is the Kettrike Navigator – with plastic wheels and no rear steering. It comes in standard red, blue and yellow or, if you’ve got a princess to please, a girly purple one with flowers and whatnot.
The tricycle comes with a seat belt to keep squiggly bodies firmly in place. This being one of a toddler’s first experience on something that he or she can actually pedal himself, a seatbelt is a very good thing. Also, there is a pushbar that comes out of the back so a parent can push the thing when those little legs get tired. Or, as the case may be, if those legs are not yet long enough to push the pedals all the way around.
A really nice feature of almost every Kettler model is that the pedals are pressure sensitive. So if the tyke wants to rest her feet on the pedals, they stay in one place and don’t rotate. Once she’s old enough (and long enough) to put pressure on the pedals and actually turn them, they will power the tricycle.
There is also a “Parental Control Steering System” feature which allows you to lock the front wheel in place. If you are pushing the tricycle and your young one is not experienced at steering, being able to lock the front wheel is a must. Since we got the Kettler a few months ago, the safe confines of the local park has been the only place we feel comfortable unlocking the front wheel.
The Kettrike Navigator without rear steering seemed like a good balance of features and price. You can choose to have rubber inflatable tires, though we opted not to because we knew from experience we would be lax in inflating them time and again. That and the fact that our two and a half year old won’t be “off roading” anytime soon.
After much testing of the rear wheel steering – which makes it easier for the parent to steer the tricycle using the pushbar, we ultimately opted against it. The rear wheel steering cost extra and didn’t seem to be that easy to do. Besides, the model without rear wheel steering is quite easy to maneuver in most situations.
Overall the Kettler Kettrike Navigator is a fantastic choice. Kettler tricycles are certainly not the cheapest option out there, but they are built like tanks so you know it will last for years.