Specialized are catering to the smallest market in the world – the one for kids from up to 88 cm. The Specialized Hotwalk Carbon balance bike gives even the youngest riders access to pro-bike inspired technologies. But is this kids’ bike as quick as it looks?
Specialized are well known for making full use of pioneering technologies in their flagship bikes and for bringing never before seen features to market. The new Hotwalk Carbon balance bike isn’t an exception. Developed by the same team responsible for the new Stumpjumper (read review) and Tarmac SL7 (read review), the Hotwalk Carbon sports details that can be traced back to Specialized’s road and gravity models. The frame is constructed from the same Fact 9r carbon used in numerous high-end road bikes from the US brand. The fork, bars and even wheels are also carbon, meaning that the Hotwalk Carbon weighs only 2.1 kg. In addition, Specialized’s Body Geometry department also got involved with the bike, adapting the contact points to suit kids’ ergonomics. The saddle is designed to minimise rubbing and the bars are 38% thinner than on an adult bike, to help small hands hold on better. The bike will be available from 3rd December and is suited to riders from 18 months old and up to a rider weight of 18.1 kg. Your kids will only have to call it a day when they’re 88 cm tall, or approximately 4 years old, at which point you’ll have to move up to the next size S-Works bike. 😉
The components of the Specialized Hotwalk Carbon
Specialized reached deep into their bag of tricks for the spec of the Hotwalk Carbon, creating many of their own high-end carbon parts specifically for the bike. Even the Rhythm Lite tires have a particularly lightweight casing to keep the weight as low as possible. Only the seatpost is aluminium, meaning this time, our unequivocal tuning tip is to upgrade to a carbon seatpost. The Hotwalk Carbon has neither brakes nor footpegs because it’s all about your kid getting to grips with balance and steering. For the time being, the bike will only be available in the Satin Chameleon/Carbon finish, though an unverified source told us that the engineers at Specialized are working on further colour combinations, like Hello Kitty white/pink or Barney the dinosaur purple. The bike’s special feature, a practical carrying loop, is hidden under the saddle in case the rider decides riding home on their parent’s shoulders is preferable
Frame Hotwalk Fact 9r Carbon
Fork Hotwalk Fact 9r Carbon
Stem 3D Forged Aluminum 35 mm
Handlebar Carbon 400 mm
Grips Specialized, slip-on 19 mm
Wheels Hotwalk Carbon
Tires Rythm Lite 12 x 2,0″
Saddle Hotwalk Carbon
Seat post Alloy 22.2 mm
The geometry of the Hotwalk Carbon
The Specialized Hotwalk Carbon comes in just one size that is suited to riders between 18 months and 4 years old. With a head angle of 68° and a seat tube angle of 73°, the Hotwalk carbon is around 2° slacker than the Tarmac SL7. In our estimation, that should mean good control even at a neck-breaking top speed of 6 km/h.
|Head tube||70 mm|
|BB height||100 mm|
|BB Drop||55 mm|
|Top tube||277 mm|
|Seat tube angle||73°|
The Specialized Hotwalk Carbon joins the ranks of a long list of ultimate dream bikes from Specialized. Whether Specialized have missed the mark with a full carbon balance bike or whether the low weight makes particular sense here will be a matter of opinion. Even though we’re still young at heart, unfortunately, we’re too old to be able to test the bike ourselves. As soon as our up-and-coming little bikers have learnt to talk properly, we’ll be sure to update you with a review.
More information at specialized.com
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Words: Rudolf Fischer Photos: Specialized