Last year Phoebe was very kindly asked to join the ‘I’m a little SmarTriker team’ and she was sent a SmarTrike Dream 4-in-1 Trike in her favourite colour to put through its paces.
We’ve been fans of SmarTrike for a number of years as Jack got one for his first birthday, but boy have they evolved for the better. Jack’s SmarTrike 3-in-1 Zoo was fab and he adored it but the SmarTrike Dream 4-in-1 really is in a different league and I can see Phoebe using it for many more months to come.
The SmarTrike Dream 4-in-1 is a fun trike that grows with your child, converting from a secure baby tricycle to an independent trike and as the name suggests, there are four stages:
Stage One: Starting at 10 months, your baby can take a ride ‘stroller-style’ strapped in the tricycle seat whilst parents control the steering. There is a foot rest to give your little one a comfortable place to put their feet whilst their little legs are too short to reach the pedals and the seat has a high-back support to make it a more comfortable ride. There is also a safety harness and a removable safety bar that totally surrounds your child, keeping them secure in their seat.
Stage Two: At 18 months the backrest can be removed but parents can still push and control the trike.
Stage Three: At 24 months the trike becomes a training tricycle. The safety bar is removed, the footrests can be flipped up and the pedals are folded out so your little one can learn to pedal.
Stage Four: At 30 months you can remove the parent handle, switch the navigator button and the product becomes an independent trike that your little one can pedal by themselves.
Phoebs is now 21 months, but we are still in Stage One as she has grown rather attached to the high back support!
Although the trike comes in many parts, assembling the SmarTrike Dream 4-in-1 Trike was actually pretty straightforward thanks to the clear, easy to follow instructions. This was a godsend as I had a very excited little lady by my side waiting very patiently for me to slot it all together so she could go on her maiden voyage!
Dream Touch Steering //
The most noticeable improvement (compared to the Zoo), and the feature I’ve been most impressed with, is the ‘Dream Touch Steering’ with super swivel wheel technology. The SmarTrike Dream 4-in-1 really is a dream to push and it’s incredibly responsive and easy to manoeuvre, even with one hand. The lightest of touches enables you to push the trike in the direction you wish to go in and thankfully this can’t be over-ridden by your little one unless you switch it to allow your child to be in control (see ‘Wheels, Footrests and Pedals’ below for more info on how to do that).
The parent handle is also telescopic which is perfect for Andy and I as we are different heights.
The SmarTrike Dream 4-in-1 has two great storage spaces. Firstly it has a zippable printed parent bag which is attached to the handle that’s the perfect size for all your parent essentials (phone, purse, keys etc.) and there is also a detachable ‘tipping bucket’ on the back that is ideal for storing larger items such as toys and nappy clutch bags.
Sun canopy, toy phone and cup holder //
The SmarTrike Dream 4-in-1 has a removable, adjustable sun canopy that is perfect for brighter days when you need to shield your little one from the sun. It’s a decent size ensuring good coverage, it’s just not overly effective on a windy day as it flips up.
Attached to the trike by a piece of string so it can’t get lost, the toy phone is a huge hit for younger children and is great for your little one to play with as you travel around. The cup holder is also a lovely addition and is perfectly placed for Phoebe to access her drink herself when she’s thirsty.
Wheels, Footrests and Pedals //
The shock-absorbing rubber tyres have built-in springs for extra comfort and having tested the SmarTrike Dream 4-in-1 on various terrains including gravel, grass, tarmac and muddy pathways, it has coped admirably on every surface.
The fold-down footrests come in very handy in ‘Stage One’ to give your little one a comfortable place to place their feet when their little legs are too short to reach the pedals. As your child grows and wants to use the pedals, the footrests can be flipped up out of the way.
Ingeniously the pedals can either be detached in a ‘freewheeling’ mode or they can be engaged and used properly by simply pushing and pulling the ‘clutch’ on the front wheel.
As you can see on the photo above, the ‘clutch’ (the cream disc at the centre of the wheel) has been pulled out ensuring that the pedals have detached from the wheel to prevent them from spinning when I push the trike. This is a necessity at Phoebe’s age as she doesn’t have the coordination yet to keep her feet on the pedals as they spin round and could end up hurting herself. When she’s old enough to learn how to pedal properly, the clutch can simply be pushed back in to engage the pedals.
Just above the wheel on the mudguard above, you can also see a red navigator button. This is the button you need to use for a quick, easy transition from ‘stroller mode’ to ‘trike mode’. The video below demonstrates how it works, but in a nutshell when your little one is ready to take control of the steering, pressing this button and spinning the front wheel engages the handlebars enabling them to control the movement.
Similar to a pushchair brake, there is a parent footbrake on the left hand side of the tipping bucket which works a treat, even on an incline. It’s a brilliant safety feature and gives you that extra reassurance that your little one is as safe as can be.
Our SmarTrike adventures
Although the SmarTrike can be used in all weathers, as it has no protection from the elements, I tend to favour a buggy when it rains. However when the weather is fine, Phoebs loves nothing more than popping out for a stroll in her SmarTrike. The padded seat ensures she’s comfortable and it’s made our shorter journeys such as trips to the park and library much more enjoyable, as the upright seat position gives her a better vantage point to see what’s going on in the world and she isn’t restricted as much as she is in her pushchair.
Overall, I’m really happy with our SmarTrike Dream 4-in-1 and I look forward to watching it grow with Phoebe through the different stages. It’s not the cheapest trike on the market (the SmarTrike Dream 4-in-1 retails at around £99) but it really does have all the features you would want in a trike and that makes it excellent value for money.
The SmarTrike Dream 4-in-1 comes in a variety of bright colours and patterns to appeal to your little one and you can purchase the SmarTrike from a number of high street and online retailers including Argos, ELC, Mothercare and Amazon.
I’m looking forward to many more adventures with Phoebe and her SmarTrike so keep your eyes peeled for more posts over the coming months as Phoebe progresses through the different stages.
What do you think of the SmarTrike Dream 4-in-1? Does your little one have one?
Disclosure: We were sent the SmarTrike Dream 4-in-1 for the purpose of this review, however all opinions and photographs are my own and I’d still rave about it even if i’d paid for it!