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by Iain Treloar
July 22, 2020
Electric bikes are here to stay. That’s increasingly apparent in the road and gravel categories, and it’s firmly established in the mountain bike space.
But Spanish MTB brand Mondraker has just broken important new ground, because they’ve released an e-balance bike, designed for shredders aged from three to eight.
It’s pretty wild. It’s very silly. It’s also kinda cool – in a “I want one, but also, no way in hell am I letting my kid on one” way.
Named the ‘Grommy’, Mondraker’s e-balance bike is available in two sizes – based around 12” and 16” wheels – which are good for toddlers and up. At the heart of the design is a 250 watt brushless motor controlled by a throttle – because pedal assistance doesn’t work when there’s no, uh, pedals.
That throttle has three modes of increasing terror: ‘Balance’, with a maximum speed of 8.1 km/h (5 mph); ‘Fun’, which maxes out at 12.1 km/h (7.5 mph); and ‘Advanced’, at a eye-watering 17.7 km/h (11 mph). It can also be run as an analogue balance bike – but where’s the fun in that?
It’s not clear from Mondraker’s press release whether there are any parental locks on the modes, so there’s a chance that a recent-baby can boot it into Advanced mode themselves. Even if that’s not the case, I think it’s worth flagging that three-year-olds are still pretty wobbly, with limited risk- and spatial-awareness.
Depending on which mode it’s being fanged around on, the battery has a run time of between 40 and 60 minutes, with a charge time of an hour.
That battery, naturally, adds a bit of weight to the Grommy, although Mondraker say they’ve done their best to keep it light. With an aluminium frame and fork, a rear mechanical disc brake, and 21 mm-internal aluminium rims and tyres with a decent amount of tread, the Grommy 12 tips the scales at 7.5 kg (16.5 lb). The Grommy 16 comes in at 8.5 kg (18.7 lb).
As a proportion of the body weight of its child rider, that’s a little hefty, but it’s also somewhat impressive given what Mondraker has packed into a small package.
And while the Grommy is admittedly blurring the lines between a bicycle and … not a bicycle … it’s at least a lot lighter, safer, cleaner and quieter than a pee-wee motocross bike, which plenty of motorsports-oriented families get their kids onto without any hand-wringing. So, that’s something?
The Grommy 16 has the fittings for a front disc brake; on the Grommy 12, it’s just the rear brake.
Speed is controlled with this throttle.
The battery pack holds enough charge for 40-60 minutes of spirited shredding.
The aluminium frame and fork helps keep the weight down (somewhat).
There’s a little footrest for little feet.
Mondraker expects the Grommys to come in at €749 (international pricing and availability TBC), and has backed the release with a rad video that gives me heavy M83 vibes, and some atmospheric photos. Well played, Mondraker.
Now, I suppose I should step out of the way for the comments section to go wild. Four (entirely valid) pre-approved themes of discussion you can start with are outlined below:
1. This is dangerous for young children!
2. Childhood obesity is on the rise, and this doesn’t help!
3. This is a tiny motorbike, not a bicycle!
4. This will create e-waste!
Aaaand … go.