Photos courtesy of Kasper Albrekt.
When Kasper Albrekt decided to get a balance bike for his almost-two-year-old son Jakob, he had trouble finding one that got him excited. And rather than settling for stock offerings, he took matters into his own hands, building his potential future world champ the S-Walk—a one-of-a-kind, tricked-out balance bike that’s sure to be the envy of the playground.
Jakob Albrekt gets set to drop in on his custom S-Walk at a bike park near his home in Aarhus, Denmark.
Starting with a stock Specialized Hotwalk he bought from WeBike, in Aarhus, Denmark where he works, Albrekt stripped the bike down and sandblasted its tiny frame and fork. From there he began the customization, powder coating it matte black, welding on a rear disc brake mount, customizing the fork, and pretty much upgrading everything he possibly could.
“I could not find a kickbike, that was really nice,” explained Albrekt. “So I decided to convert a Specialized Hotwalk to an S-WORKS.”
S-WORKS is Specialized’s moniker for its high-end race or “works” products, and judging by the photos, we’re pretty sure Albrekt’s bike qualifies. But as simple as the little bike looks, it necessitated quite a few modifications to get the high-end bits to work.
To get a disc brake on the bike, not only did Albrekt have to weld a brake mount on the frame, he had to shave down the hub end caps, shrinking the width 5mm so the caliper and rotor could squeeze between the narrow stays. With less than 2mm between the frame and rotor, the disc rides almost as close to the stays as it does to the brake pads.
The rear wheel uses the Hotwalk’s stock tire and aluminum rim, but Albrekt laced it up with Union triple-butted titanium spokes that he shortened and rethreaded to fit the diminutive diameter. He then used every-other hole of the 32-hole Tune-branded hub, halving the spoke count to work with the 16-hole rim. He finished the wheel with red-anodized aluminum spoke nipples and a shortened and rethreaded Shimano XTR skewer.
To fit the front wheel Albrekt “only” needed to spread the fork blades to accommodate the wider front hub—in this case a WTB Grease Guard model. Not content to use the heavy, stock quill stem, he cut off the fork’s 1-inch threaded steerer tube and welded a non-threaded version in its place.
A Tange DX8 1-inch threadless headset makes for silky turning while the bike’s Specialized S-Works XC 500mm carbon bars are proportionately cut to give two-year-old Jakob plenty of leverage. They’re held on by a red anodized Tune 1-1/8-inch stem that’s been shimmed to work with the 1-inch steerer.