Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat. If “price is no object” is not something you would utter when selecting your child’s first bike, then the new Specialized Hotwalk Carbon is not for you. Fortunately, Specialized makes a very nice, high-quality balance bike already in the Hotwalk that is affordable, well designed, comes in four different colors.
But for those who want nothing but the best for their child; a bike that makes use of Specialized’ top designing talent even though it’s just a kid’s bike, the Hotwalk Carbon is the one.
Proportionately, carbon kid’s bikes make a lot of sense. Smaller riders are usually lighter, so heavier bikes made from aluminum or steel are often a larger percentage of their body weight. That can make learning how to ride more difficult, and at worst, cause kids to become so discouraged that they don’t want to ride at all.
Or at least, that’s what parents who are thinking of buying a Hotwalk Carbon will be telling themselves.
Built using FACT 9r carbon fiber, this is the same carbon you’ll find on high end road and mountain bikes for adults. Yes, there is even lighter carbon that Specialized uses, but let’s not get too crazy here.
To ensure every possible gram has been cut, the bike also features a carbon fiber handlebar and 12″ carbon rims. Those rims are wrapped in Rhythm Lite tires to provide grip both on and off-road. The grips included on the bars are 38% smaller in diameter for little hands, and feature wide grip ends to protect all that beautiful carbon when junior inevitably throws the bike to the ground.
Compared to the aluminum Hotwalk, the Hotwalk Carbon does not include a foot rest. Specialized says that this is due to the Carbon version focusing on weight, and wanting to offer a streamlined design that is better suited for kicking along.
Of course, Specialized wouldn’t let something of this caliber leave their doors without proper testing. But since they’ve never built something quite like this before, they had to design a new test to certify the bike to their 40lb weight limit rating.
The result is a stunning balance bike that tips the scale at just 4.63lbs / 2.1kg. But it’s also priced at $999. For reference, that’s just over five of the standard Specialized Hotwalk bikes. But that’s not the point, now is it? Specialized wanted to build the lightest balance bike that they could – and the Hotwalk Carbon certainly fits the bill.
Offered in a single size, the Hotwalk Carbon is recommended for children from 18mo to 4yrs, and up to 35in. Ideally, for children able to balance while toddling around with an inseam of 15-18″.