Skip to content

Ridden & Reviewed: Specialized Hotwalk

March 27, 2012

Ok. Let’s clear this up right now. I didn’t actually ride the Specialized Hotwalk. Ok. Maybe I sat on it and coasted down the driveway, but it would be a stretch to say that I rode it. Still, I did pull it out of the box, build it, and give it to my daughter for her second birthday. And now that’s she’s finally tall enough, we’re riding and “racing” the Hotwalk all over Austin.

Learning to ride. The Specialized Hotwalk is a grat teaching tool. Photo Credit Brett Buchanan.

The Specialized Hotwalk is designed as a child’s entry to two-wheeled freedom. It is a balance bike—also sometimes called a scoot bike—because the means of forward motion is the kid pushing the bike along with their feet; there is no drive train (think Fred Flintstone in his car).  The goal of the Hotwalk is to teach balance and to show the child that forward momentum and the centrifugal force of the wheels spinning is what holds them up. Pedaling is a secondary skill learned once balance is mastered. As a child gains confidence in their scooting, they naturally pick up their feet and start to perfect the balance required to learn to ride a bike. Most kids starting on a balance bike never use training wheels, often saving many weekend hours of frustration for child and parent alike.

The Hotwalk is a balance bike, designed for the smallest riders. Photo credit Brett Buchanan.

Specialized has really thought out the Hotwalk. To start with, the Hotwalk, like many of their adult bikes, sports an A1 aluminum frame and an alloy fork making for a nice lightweight bike for true beginners.  And, unlike many other kids’ bikes out there, the Hotwalk has aluminum rims and Rhythm Lite Sport tires—like what you might see on mom or dad’s bike.  These are real wheels and tires.  And because Specialized is at the forefront when it comes to fit with their Body Geometry concept, the Hotwalk has an easily adjustable bar, comfortable grips, and a wide but short saddle for those sporting less core strength than us big kids. That makes it easier for little ones to stay perched on the bike.  And for kids that have the balance down and are scooting quick and picking their feet up as they feel the breeze rush past, there are even little foot platforms where pedals on a “big kid bike” might be.

Of course, Spring is a time when many of us get on bikes and get rolling again.  But not every child getting on two wheels for the first time this Spring is small enough for the Hotwalk. Some kids will need a bigger bike simply because of the fact that they are taller.  To help make the assessment Specialized has devised a simple chart—much like a “you must be this tall to ride this ride” sign at an amusement park—that can help narrow down the choice of which size bike might work best for a given rider.  Bear in mind that it is a guideline and a child’s natural ability and affinity for trying new things will also allow them to maybe ride a bike that’s a size up from what they may “really” ride.  Remember too that for riders with less experience, a smaller bike lowers the center of gravity and allows parents to do things like put the saddle extra low and once pedals are removed to basically make a “big scoot bike” of sorts.  (I speak from experience here—I didn’t learn to ride until I was 10 and this was how.)

What size bike should I ride? Specialized helps make it easy.

The Hotwalk let’s the littlest cycling enthusiast start enjoying riding almost as soon as they can walk.  My daughter thinks of her bike as a bike, as do I.  Sure it doesn’t have pedals and brakes and other parts.  But when we’re riding around the neighborhood, or pinning our race numbers on at the Driveway, my kiddo is riding just like me, and that’s sure to help make her a passionate rider for life, which is something I want for her.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. mawster permalink
    May 2, 2012 9:03 pm

    We too have a hotwalk, my 3 year old daughter is loving it.

    But the lack of brakes is a real issue I find. Speed puts her off a little now, she can go faster where the ground slopes, but will not since she has trouble “braking” with her feet in a smooth, controlled way that makes her feel in control and confident. So this hampers development, I feel.

    Other than that, great bike – super light, good looks.

    • djcurtin permalink
      May 3, 2012 1:10 pm

      Mawster: Thank you for reading!

      Since my daughter is new to the balance bike, and is really just getting the scooting down, I had never thought about this. I can see my daughter, a cautious kid, not liking the sensation of going to fast to “brake” too.

      I guess if that occurs I’ll try to keep the seat a little low so as to make it as easy as possible to get her feet down. And maybe we’ll stick to the flatter part of the driveway!

      Thanks for the comment, and have a great day!

  2. Des permalink
    July 27, 2012 5:20 pm

    I read this while doing my research:
    “The average toddler and preschoolers does not have the hand coordination to pull a hand brake lever and generally always use their feet to stop. In fact, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, most children under the age of five generally do not have the hand strength or dexterity to use hand brakes. So while a brake does come in handy for older riders, it is not essential for younger riders as they will rarely use it.”

    • djcurtin permalink
      July 27, 2012 5:51 pm

      Des: Interesting. Thank you for sharing, and thanks for reading!

    • Marcus Widerberg permalink
      July 27, 2012 9:35 pm

      Interesting research! My daughter has since the review I posted above moved on to a crescent snotra standard 12″ pedalbike with handbrake and coasterbrake. I am confident that she would have advanced quicker with a handbrake on the balancebike, to instill confidence – like the highly recommended islabikes rothan.

      Btw, here is my review of the hotwalk:

      She seems to work the handbrake of the crescent snotra nicely, she is still 3 years old. Her islabikes cnoc 14″ is arriving next week – they only have handbrakes and no coasterbrake, afaik.

    • November 30, 2012 7:04 am

      The consumer product safety commission needs to re-do their research. I bought some bolt on brake bosses added v brakes with Avid 5s brake lever. The key is in the brake lever. This lever has a modulation adjustment that allows my 2 y/o son to pull the lever in with two fingers. Check out the video of him locking up the rear wheel. If you listen closely you can even hear the chirp

      • djcurtin permalink
        December 4, 2012 8:04 pm

        That is a really great video of your son! He looks quite happy and content on his bike! Many happy rides!

  3. September 17, 2012 12:44 am

    My daughter is about two and a half. She always likes riding in the Co-Pilot seat and always wants to ride. As an incentive to get her potty trained I told her I would buy her a bike of her own if she went five days without an accident. Never doubt the resolve of a toddler. Six days later she was the proud owner of a shiny new pink Hotwalk. I happened across this article when I was looking around for information on the scooter type bike. She is getting used to it pretty well. Surprisingly she has picked up the concept very well and after a few tries she has managed to coast very short distances. Though her cautious side, which I wondered if she had one, took over and she put her feet down. The point about a hand brake makes sense. The first instinct for her is to go with the feet. She hasn’t crashed yet but I am waiting. She gets faster on every round she goes. I noticed on another coaster that there was a handle attached. Has anyone seen this for the Hotwalk? I am very tall and to be honest it would be awesome to help her along and give her some confidence though I am sure that she will have this licked in no time without my help.

    • djcurtin permalink
      September 19, 2012 1:37 pm

      What a great potty training reward! The gusto that kids tackle things always amazes. There are some handles that you can buy to attach to any bike, but they typically require a section of seat post to attach to, something that might not be possible for the smallest balance bike riders with low saddles. Happy riding!

  4. November 30, 2012 7:22 am

    If would like to bolt up some brakes on the push bike. I ordered the brake bosses from and the Avid brakes and lever from local bike shop. If I could change one thing it would be to buy the shorter v brake arms.
    /Users/thecaptain/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Originals/2012/Jun 25, 2012/IMG_3052.JPG
    /Users/thecaptain/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Modified/2012/Nov 29, 2012/IMG_3906.jpg

    • djcurtin permalink
      December 4, 2012 8:05 pm

      Thanks for the tip for those interested in such modifications. Bear in mind that frame modifications could alter or void a manufacturer’s warranty. Happy riding!

    • May 21, 2017 5:26 am

      A rolling stone is worth two in the bush, thanks to this arteilc.

  5. November 30, 2012 7:49 am

    Pictures won’t post. If anyone can help me with posting pics I will. Otherwise email me and I will be happy to send you some pics.

    • djcurtin permalink
      December 4, 2012 8:06 pm

      Thanks again for sharing!

  6. Ali permalink
    December 2, 2015 12:20 pm

    Does anyone know what weight the hot walk is?!

    • djcurtin permalink
      December 2, 2015 7:16 pm

      Just put one on the scale! 9 pounds, 6 ounces (4.25 kilograms).

  7. December 18, 2015 12:48 am

    COLD-FX Clinical Trials

    Years of innovative study and clinical trials have that
    200 mg of COLD-FX twice daily:

    Enhanced the body’s first line of defense: the
    Natural Killer (NK) and Macrophage immune cells.
    Boosted production of cytokines which are critical to trigger the body’s second line of defense,
    the T-lymphocytes.
    Reduced the relative risk of recurring colds and flu.
    Reduced the severity and length of cold and flu symptoms.

    Was safe and well-tolerated.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: