There are a million and one posts on the best baby gear to purchase for your kiddos, so I won’t bore you with another list (although I used many of said lists when determining what to buy for our son at various ages, and many were super helpful!). However, a gift he got for Christmas in 2020 has turned out to be one of the very best baby/toddler items we own. Meet the Doona Liki Trike.
It’s a take on a traditional tricyle, in that it starts out as a strictly “parent-controlled” rider (for a 10-18 month old) when your little one is too little to manage it alone, and then evolves as they grow until it eventually turns into a full-fledged bike that they can ride and control themselves (somewhere around 2.5-3 yrs old). For reference, Jack is just over two, and about ready to start pedaling it himself (Mama’s gotta buy a helmet for him first!).
We originally bought it because once we arrived in Arizona in November of 2020 Jack started to hate riding in his stroller. I was looking for something that gave him a little more freedom to see everything around him, and would make him feel like a big kid. We actually bought this first, but the wheels were so ridiculously noisy that we felt like we were waking up my parents’ entire neighborhood when we took him out for early morning walks in it, so it was quickly relegated to an indoor toy. Then I saw the Liki Trike on Julia Berolzheimer’s Instagram story and after doing a little research, decided to ask my Mom to buy it for him for Christmas (aren’t grandparents are the best!).
He took to the Trike quickly, we loved the flexibility it gave us with him, and the rest is history. Now we take it everywhere – the farmer’s market, Home Depot, the park, the aquarium, Trick-or-Treating – this thing has logged a lot of miles. At this age, Jack is too little to reliably walk around places by himself. I mean, literally, after 5 minutes of walking this kid wants to be carried around like some sort of Arabian Prince. And our stroller is so bulky and cumbersome that we avoid lugging it around if we can. So the Trike is the perfect compromise.
I’ve listed my pros and cons below, and they are all pretty straightforward. The one and only major negative, and it’s actually mentioned in many of the reviews on Doona’s site, is that the parent steering bar doesn’t turn as smoothly as it otherwise could. I think the best way to describe it would be a little stiff. And for a $200+ rider, the steering almost feels a bit cheap. It hasn’t been a huge problem for us though, and the pros of the Trike definitely outweigh this con (we’ve found that if we’re on terrain that is exacerbating the steering issue, we just raise the front wheel up and do a “wheelie” until we’ve cleared the problem area).
Hopefully Doona will address this particular issue and by the time we have another kid old enough for his/her own Trike, they will have released version 2.0!
Ok, so back to what compelled me to write about a kid’s tricycle in the first place. If it wasn’t clear from the previous paragraphs, one reason is that we (including Jack!) love this thing so darn much. But the other reason is that LITERALLY any time we go ANYWHERE with our Trike, people comment on how cool it is and ask us where we got it. This isn’t particularly strange – I’m always asking other parents about toys, clothes, and other baby items when I see someone out in public using or wearing something I like. However, the strange thing about people asking about our Trike, is that we have never, not once, seen another kid with a Liki Trike out in the wild. Not one! And we’ve owned it for almost a year and a half.
I have thought a lot (probably too much) about this and I just can’t figure it out. We haven’t lived in obscure parts of the country (we’ve had it in Louisiana, Arizona, Ohio, and Georgia and have never seen one in any of those states). Additionally, we HAVE seen several of the Doona stroller/car seat combos, so it can’t be that people don’t know about the Doona brand. Why the Liki Trike seems to be such a secret is truly baffling!
The predominant theory I have is related to the price point. Because the Trike is relatively expensive (it starts at $249 and there’s a $299 and a $349 version), it’s not going to be in every family’s budget. However, going back to the Doona stroller/car seat – that combo is $549(!). I see people using that thing everywhere and I would argue that it has a shorter lifespan. The stroller/car seat can be used with an “infant” up to 35 lbs (which would be a pretty big infant). At 26 months old, Jack is 30 lbs and he would definitely NOT fit into that Doona car seat. On the other hand, the Trike feels like it will last much longer. It is designed to grow with your kiddo and Doona’s site says that it can be used with kids from 10 -36 months. So I’m hopeful we’ll get our money’s worth!
The marketing geek in me has also noticed that despite visting Doona’s site many times during the writing of this blog post, I’ve yet to be retargeted with an online display or social media ad. And we all know how immediate and relentless digital ads are – so perhaps Doona doesn’t rely heavily on digital marketing to promote this particular product. Perhaps their products have such a high price point and they lean more on word-of-mouth, but man, this seems like a missed opportunity. FWIW, I did see that they are running ads on Google, but when I searched on anything generic instead of branded keywords (think: “cool tricycles for toddlers” vs. “doona trike”) I didn’t see an ad from them.
Bottom line is, if you’re looking for a fun alternative to a stroller or wagon, and you’re able to make a bit of an upfront investment for something that will last several years (and can be handed down!), I’d highly recommend the Liki Trike. I’m pretty positive your little one will love it.
- The coolest looking tricycle I’ve seen – it will give your toddler much better street-cred than that lame old stroller you’ve been toting him/her around in.
- Folds up into a teeny tiny compact size, and it comes with a little backpack carrying case that is perfect for storage and travel.
- Grows with your kid which makes it a nice long-term investment!
- Cup holder – crucial for water bottles and snacks.
- Canopy – sun protection is a must, people!
- Optional storage bag that attaches to the steering column for extras like your keys, toys, phone, etc.
- Despite the nice storage bag, it doesn’t have as much storage space as most strollers.
- Your kiddo can’t nap in it – cue the cute little bobbing head that startles them awake when they try to though!
- Steering is iffy at times, but you’ll learn the quirks and get the hang of it pretty quickly.
- Safety straps are just ok – a car-seat-like chest harness would definitely help, but we abandoned these fairly quickly so it wasn’t an issue.
- No option for more than one kid to ride at once (or more realistically, be pushed).
- They don’t make one in my size.