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Could have been great, however, major flaws exist - Updated - Tricycle destroyed.
on November 2, 2013
This could have been such a fantastic tricycle, but, the flaws bring it down. First, it is primarily made of plastic. If you have a rough and tumble boy this thing is not going to last long with it's plastic wheels, plastic pedals, plastic seat, plastic canopy frame, plastic everywhere.
Farther, the pedals almost hit the ground while the wheel is pointing straight forward. In a turn the do hit the ground. What designer would design a tricycle where the pedals hit the ground? Seriously! This is such a basic design flaw I question the integrity of the entire tricycle and the Radio Flyer brand now.
Since the tricycle is mostly made of plastic it is extremely lightweight. Which many people might think is a good thing, however, it isn't and I'll explain. If you place a 25 pound child on a tricycle that weighs in at much less you have a very high center of gravity issue - an accident waiting to happen as the tricycle hasn't any serious weight to it to prrevent a heavy child from toppling over. Again, we have very poorly thought out design here.
The front wheel has a locking/unlocking mechanism so that you can lock the pedals so the child can pedal along or unlock the pedal to prevent the child from propelling themselves. The pedal always free spin backward regardless of the locking position, so the child can not pedal in reverse. This is likely a safety feature, however, I find it more of an annoyance as the kid can not learn to operate his tricycle in reverse and back him/herself out of corners and such. In addition, the tricycle we received has the LOCK and UNLOCK symbols painted in reverse; the lock symbol is actually in the unlock position and the unlock symbol is actually in the lock position, which makes it very confusing. Again, here we see very bad quality control from Radio Flyer.
The assembly is overly difficult for the average parent in my opinion. The instructions are typical picture type assembly instructions without much explanation. It is very easy to assemble the rear axle assembly incorrectly the first time and once you hammer on the tension rings they are next to impossible to remove. Very poorly thought out assembly procedures from Radio Flyer. This tricycle is very FLAT PACK in design. Radio Flyer practically offers up nothing pre-assembled. DO NOT buy this tricycle unless you are somewhat skilled at assembly as you will get very frustrated. I think, for example, that the rear axle assemble with wheels should be pre-assembled for customers as it is technically difficult and prone to assembly mistakes and is not easily taken apart once the tension rings are hammered on. Very poor product testing by Radio Flyer.
The seat is not adjustable in anyway vertically. It has three positions horizontally, via removing two bolts and re-bolting it again in different holes on the seat mounting plate. But there is no way of adjusting this seat height wise, which is rather annoying. Again, we see the cheap design and quality issues of what the Radio Flyer brand has become.
Anyway, the tricycle is what it is, but it certainly is not a tricycle your rough and tumble boy is going to grow with. He will, in all honesty, likely break this thing long before he grows out of it. This is nowhere near the quality or durability of the 1960's or 1970's tricycle you grew up with and drag around and threw down the stairs 50 or 60 times and still got on it and rode it. This is a very cheap plastic knock off with serious design and quality flaws made to look like a quality tricycle.
My wife and I are pretty disappointed with this tricycle and will avoid the Radio Flyer brand from now on. For now, our son will simply play on this thing until it is completely destroyed which won't be long.
----------------- UPDATE (10 months on) ------------------------------------------
This tricycle is wrecked. My son, who is very rough with toys, destroyed the canopy within a week, has destroyed the steering, the wheel locking mechanism won't stay locked now, the rear compartment has broken off, the parent steering handle doesn't work (it just spins and doesn't engage since the internal connection is broken), one peddle arm is bent so the peddling, if it worked, is wonky. In addition, due to the high center of gravity and the inability to brake (the peddles free spin backward regardless of which position they are in), my son has crashed this thing more times than I can remember. This is especially true of turning in corners. If you have a boy you might consider that this tricycle handles extremely poor in corners at any speed higher than normal peddling speed. My son, being a dare devil type, likes to go downhill on this thing, and this thing is 100% guaranteed to topple over and send your kid flying onto his face as soon as they attempt to steer it at any sort of speed. So much so, that we do not allow him to ride this tricycle for this one reason alone, never mind everything breaking on it. Boys will be boys and this is not a good trike for boys in my opinion. He was able to peddle it fast enough to topple over in corners, never mind when he attempted to go downhill like Evel Knievel, which ended up more Super Dave because of the inability of this trike to handle any sort of curve. Also, we live on a sloped area and even if the parent is pushing the trike along at a reasonably slow pace the tricycle would fall over on to it's side if the ground was inclined. There have been times when my wife would be pushing this thing along and the BAM! The boy is laying on the pavement because the trike fell over sideways without warning. So, unless you live on a pancake expect many sideways falls.
My son has grown tremendously in the last year and is now over 40 pounds. His weight alone makes the tricycle too dangerous. As I mentioned before this trike is far too light, due to it mostly being made of plastic. Just him getting on and off the trike is a danger as his body far outweighs the tricycle. Needless to say, the trike is in the garbage now. And I've resorted to looking on eBay for properly made toys (e.g. original Tonka trucks, etc) (circa 1960's 1970's) for my son that can stand up to abuse a 2-3 year old boy can dish out.
These flimsy plastic toys are too much hassle for the type of kid I have. I find myself having to constantly trying to get my son to tone down his playing so as not to destroy these plastic toys, which I feel is wrong. The toy should be designed for the kid. A parent shouldn't have to constantly tell their kid to restrain themselves to be able to interact with a toy. I don't want to discourage my kid from exercising like mad, and being rough and having fun. He's a well behaved, well mannered boy while in pre-school, at strangers houses, etc. But, when it's time to play, he pays hard and he plays long and these sorts of toys simply can't stand up to it.
The best analogy I can think of at the moment is if you think of the older metal tricycles a lot of us grew up on, especially those from the 50s, 60s and 70s, which were so tough they survived to be hand-me-downs, as Sherman tanks, then this thing is more like a daisy flower.
Durability is rubbish.
Quality is rubbish.
Safety is flat out dangerous unless you have an extremely timid kid who hates any kind of speed and you live on a totally flat space void of any inclines.
Entertainment value will be inversely proportion to how rough your kid is. If you kid does nothing and hates going faster than 1/2 mile per hour and enjoys grandma pushing them along while they look at the clouds in the sky then they'll love this thing. If your kid plays very hard like mine and for hours at a time continuously non-stop, then this thing will be a huge disappointment. And that gets to the heart of what this tricycle really is. It really is a stroller, which some minimal interaction for the kid. But, in no way, in my opinion, is this anywhere close to being a proper tricycle. It shouldn't even be called a tricycle in my opinion. It really is a three wheeled child stroller for grandma to push the kid around the park sidewalks on, providing those sidewalks are really flat.