Shred the daycare with Specialized’s £999 / $999 Hotwalk Carbon balance bike

‘Ultimate First Bike’ for the two-year-old who has everything

Specialized Hotwalk Carbon balance bike

Specialized’s latest bike is called the Hotwalk Carbon and it has a carbon frame, carbon fork, carbon wheels and a carbon bar. It’s claimed to weigh just 2.1kg / 4.63lbs complete, and it costs £999 / $999.

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If that sounds like pure fantasy, the catch is that it’s a balance bike aimed at children from 18 months to four years old.

Specialized Hotwalk Carbon: balance bike bling

While even Specialized describes the Hotwalk carbon as “extra special and a little bit ludicrous”, the bike is not a joke or a one-off – it’s a real product you can order right now.

The brand says it set out to build the “ultimate first bike” and the Hotwalk Carbon offers “unprecedented ride quality”.

Making the bike as light as possible was central to the design because, as Specialized puts it, “kids deserve bikes that are light, responsive, and easy to maneuver”.

To minimise mass, this diminutive machine has a carbon frameset made from the brand’s FACT 9r grade carbon, and it rolls on tiny 12in carbon rims – a first as far we’re aware – wrapped in Rhythm Lite tyres that are designed to work on tarmac and dirt.

Child riding the Hotwalk Carbon
After years of scowling roadies, the Hotwalk Carbon press shots are refreshingly cheerful.
Specialized

The bars are carbon too and they’re apparently 38 percent smaller in diameter than standard adult bars to cater to the Hotwalk Carbon’s target audience’s tiny paws.

The Hotwalk Carbon comes in one size and is designed to fit new riders up to a height of 35in / 88cm.

With a rider weight limit of 40lbs / 18.1kg, this might be the first bike ever made that I’m officially too heavy to ride at 53kg.

Specialized is keen to emphasise that it’s absolutely safe for kids, though, noting that the Hotwalk Carbon was designed by the team behind such bikes as the 2021 Tarmac SL7 and Stumpjumper.

The brand says it was necessary to design an entirely new test for the bike to validate the low rider weight limit.

Although it’s certainly a premium model (the standard aluminium Hotwalk costs £139 / $175), it might be notable that the Hotwalk Carbon doesn’t carry an S-Works designation.

Also, current flagship Specialized models such as the S-Works Tarmac SL7 and S-Works Aethos are made from carbon the brand calls FACT 12r, while second-tier models are FACT 10r. Given that the Hotwalk Carbon is designated as FACT 9r that leaves room for even more exclusive halo models down the line.

Specialized wouldn’t be drawn on this (I did ask), but I won’t be remotely surprised if a £2,000 S-Works Hotwalk appears within the year.

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Are you a two-year-old with a windfall to burn? A parent looking to give the fruit of your loins the edge at the balance bike crits? The Hotwalk Carbon is available to buy now.