After Charlie's first experience on two wheels testing the Hoy Bikes Napier he was full of the joys of cycling and it was obvious from his immediate reaction: "I'd like an orange one." Cue the Pinnacle Tineo Balance Bike, possibly the most orange thing available on Planet Earth. With the youngest road.cc contributor's demands placated, it was on with the testing...
The Tineo props up Pinnacle's vast range of bikes across all disciplines and is designed as a first step into the world of cycling. Pinnacle being an Evans Cycles house brand gives you peace of mind that you're in the hands of an outfit that knows a thing or two about bikes.
A balance bike is all about learning and developing confidence on two wheels and the Tineo has a good range of features to get your youngster rolling: adjustable saddle and bar, a rear brake, a footplate, and even a limit lock to stop the bar from spinning. As requested by his nibs, the test version we had was bright orange with black finishing kit. All in all a pretty cool looking bike.
The Tineo is suitable for young riders between the ages of two and five, but size is a more important indicator when it comes to kids' bikes. The height range for the Tineo is 85-110cm, with the saddle and bar height both adjustable. Charlie started with everything at its lowest setting, but this has been raised slightly over the few months he's been using the bike.
The frame is made from Pinnacle 6061 aluminium, and it's robust but not too weighty for small bodies to heave around. The thick down tube provides most of the strength, with a thinner top tube spanning across to the seat tube for extra support. Both the down tube and top tube sweep down low, creating an almost 'step through' style frame so it's easy for little 'uns to get on and off.
At the bottom of the frame is a built-in footplate, a small ledge that riders can rest their feet on as confidence grows and they start to pick up speed and balance for longer distances. Charlie's confidence hasn't quite reached that stage, but it's good to have it there for when he progresses.
The steel fork does add a bit of heft, but with the whole bike tipping the scales at 4.9kg it's not overly heavy. There are certainly lighter balance bikes, but with the steel fork, built-in footplate and a brake thrown into the mix it was never going to be the lightest bike out there.
At the steering end, the 440mm-wide alloy flat bar has a slight sweep backwards, with black grips and wide rubber rims on both ends to help stop small hands slipping off. And, of course, there's the most important feature on any toddler's bike: a bell.
The Tineo also has the added bonus of a rear V-brake, by no means a 'must have', more of a 'nice to have'. Charlie paid very little interest to the lever at his early stage of riding, and in fact it's too much of a reach for his small fingers to grab. But the brake is something that will become useful for more confident and speedy riders, especially as they progress towards a proper pedal bike. Introducing youngsters at an early age to something that's a vital component of a bike's set-up certainly can't do any harm.
A 30mm quill stem holds the bar in place, combined with a headset with proper bearings, something you don't always find on a balance bike. There's also a useful limit lock on the bar, meaning your little one can't spin the bar or oversteer, a handy feature to prevent spills as they're getting used to the bike.
The saddle is black plastic with a padded top and an integrated seatpost. There's a really handy grab handle on the back of the saddle which is good for either supporting your child as they gain confidence in balancing by themselves, or for carrying the bike when their legs start to get tired (or they get bored).
Finishing off the mini-build, the 12-inch wheels have an alloy rim with steel spokes, and chunky tyres absorb the lumps and bumps they get scooted across. The tyre valves are angled, much like on pushchair tyres, making it slightly less fiddly to attach a pump. And like the headset, the hubs also feature decent bearings, a good indication that the bike will last a while, so it'll be good for passing to a younger sibling, or selling on at a decent price.
The Tineo comes in three colours: orange, lime green or purple, all with black finishing kit. It retails at £90 (currently discounted to £81), available exclusively through Evans Cycles stores or website. That's roughly in the middle of the price range for a balance bike, and with features like the rear brake, footplate, and decent quality bearings, it's really good value. Let's face it, the period of time your nipper is going to be using a balance bike is relatively short, so it's good to know this bike should still be in good working order and hold its value once you've finished with it.
A really impressive bike as an introduction to cycling, with features that will help guide kids towards a proper pedal bike
road.cc test report
Make and model: Pinnacle Tineo Balance Bike
Size tested: Orange, one size
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Tineo is a balance bike aimed at children from 2-5 yrs old. Evans says: "The Tineo is a tiny Pinnacle for those first scooting steps. Children can develop confidence in their balance while moving with a lowered foot-rest frame design and there's a rear brake to help them slow down."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Frame: Alloy 6061
Rear Brake: Alloy V-Brake
Brake Levers: Tektro JS352-RS Alloy Lever
Handlebars: Alloy 25.4mm, Width: 440w, Back sweep: 10 Degree
Stem: Pinnacle 25.4mm, quill stem: 30mm
Headset: 1-1/8" caged ball bearing
Grips: Velo grips
Rims: Alloy 12 Inch, 16H
Front Hub: Pinnacle loose ball bearing
Rear Hub: Pinnacle loose ball bearing
Spokes: 14G, Steel plain gauge
Front Tyre: Rubber 12"x 2.125"
Rear Tyre: Rubber 12"x 2.125"
Tubes: Rubber 12"x1.75 Schrader with bent valve
Saddle: Pinnacle with grab handle
Seatpost: Integrated with Saddle
Seat Binder: Single bolt
Weight: Approx. 4.9Kg
A solidly built bike that will stand up to the rigours of heavy use.
Really good, and has a range of features that will help riders across a range of abilities.
The aluminium is pretty lightweight, and although the steel fork and extra features like the brake and footplate add a bit to the dial on the scales, overall the weight is low enough for a child to manage.
The Tineo falls somewhere in the middle of the balance bike price range, but the features included make it good value for money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well. Easy to use, looks good and has a great range of features.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The footplate and brake, as well as the build quality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not much really, possibly a lighter fork would be a minor plus point.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, definitely
Use this box to explain your score
The Pinnacle Tineo gets a nine from me and Charlie. It's a great bike for introducing a child to cycling: it's good looking, fun to ride, easy to use, and has features that help at different phases in a child's development on the bike. The price is pretty wallet-friendly too.
About the tester
Age: 29 Height: 5'10" Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: KHS Flite 100 Singlespeed/Fixed, Genesis Equilibrium 20 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,
Oli has been a road.cc staffer since day one. He's the graphic design and photography force behind the site, and has got a keen eye for good quality, well designed cycling kit. You'll find him on his bike everyday whatever the weather, he's got a penchant for a steel frame and has had 'fit mudguards' on his To Do list for nearly 6 years now. Likes: cold toast, gin, rugby. Dislikes: fitting mudguards.