Reviewed by: Amelia
Price (MSRP): $499
Best Use: Multi-Use
Where to Buy: Prevelo Bike Site
Testing Location: Mountain biking trails in Wyoming and Montana
Testing Environment: All conditions
Prevelo Bikes are the newest lightweight bikes built specifically for kids on the market. They aren’t just a scaled down version of adult bikes, but instead with intentional kid-friendly geometry and components.
P (age 6 and wearing a size 5t pant) has been riding the 20″ Alpha 3 extensively over the past 6 weeks with great success. As noted in many of our biking posts, a light, great-fitting bike really does make a huge difference for small kids. While P could technically still be on a 16″ bike, he is an eager and proficient rider and was more than ready for gears this summer. He was limited on many of our rides by a single speed and frustrated by that. Also, at only 38 pounds, he needed a bike that was not going to weigh nearly as much as him.
The Alpha 3 weighs 18.9 pounds. In comparison, the Kona Makena and Trek MT 60 both weigh 25 pounds….nearly as much as him and way too much bike to handle on serious rides and hills (which we do plenty of!)
The Alpha 3 excels on paved trails, roads and light trail riding. While beefier tires would help make it a little more serious trail-worthy, the Kenda Small Block Eight Pro work great on most terrain, especially for kids riding this size of bike.
The bike has a low center of gravity, but requires the rider to lean forward in a more “aggressive mountain-bike stance”. Because P is an experienced rider, he had no trouble at all with it, but it may be more intimidating for a child just getting used to gears and a larger bike. That said, the stance allows him to be a more active rider too, and he is able to quickly change his position as he bikes for more power and strength.
The shifters on the Alpha 3 are trigger shifters, which means to change between gears the child is either pulling with a finger to shift up or pushing with their thumb to shift down. While many families prefer an easier gripper shifter (which basically means they are shifting with the twist of a handlebar), our kids tend to like the control of a trigger shifter. Their dad also thinks using a trigger shifter is a good skill to have from an early start. It did take a few rides for P to get the hang of it and remember which way to gear up or down, but he never struggled with reaching them, despite his more petite hands.
The Alpha 3 boasts 8 gears, which P has become more proficient with taking advantage of with lots of practice and some guidance from us. The goal is for him to use his gears to his advantage for up AND down hills and longer, 10-20 mile rides.
The Alpha series bikes (Alpha Zero – Alpha 4) come in only a silver color. While it’s a great gender-neutral color, it does cause some issues for kids who are motivated by bright colors of their choice.
What we love:
– Very lightweight coming in at 18.9 pounds
-Easy reach brakes means small hands can safely activate
-8 gears to help propel kids into more serious riding
– Low center of gravity
– Slightly aggressive stance required that encourages active riding
-Low stand-over height (20.7 inches)
What we aren’t so crazy about:
-Only available in one color
-A high price tag (though only slightly higher than other comparable lightweight kid bikes on the market)
-While it doesn’t affect P/us, the trigger shifter could be problematic for some kids
The Bottom Line:
The Prevelo Alpha 3 in an excellent, lightweight bike, great for kids transitioning to a larger ride with gears
Q- You mentioned your child had experience using Grip Shifters. Did this make it easier to understand the process of shifting between low and high gears? Your child does look small on the 20″ bike, but by the looks is experienced as you mentioned. Great review by the way.
A- Maybe a little bit….but I didn’t see a huge difference in his understanding between the two of them! And thanks! Hope it was helpful!
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Prevelo generously provided us this bike for testing in order to facilitate this review. However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own.
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Thursday 2nd of February 2023
I've been thinking about whether to get a 20" bike before Spring - our 40 lb 5 year old only started riding with pedals last September but from day 2 he could fly on his 16" Cleary. If we lived in a flat area I think it'd work for the rest of this year, but we live in a very hilly town which really limits riding day to day without gears. I've zeroed in on the Alpha 3 because of its low standover height and light weight - thank you very much for your detailed review!
Friday 3rd of February 2023
So thankful it was helpful!
Saturday 26th of February 2022
Thanks so much for this review! Our six year old is a small guy, weighing in at around 38 lbs as well. This really helped me decide on a bike!