Project Bike: Danish man builds son coolest balance bike ever

Shop guy turns Specialized Hotwalk into ‘Mini Me’ S-Works kickbike

How To Kids

The brake is a Formula R1 with titanium mounting bolts, and the cable has enough length for a barspin in each direction. Albrekt finished off the bike with a custom cut vinyl “S-WALK” decal that mimics the gloss-on-matte look that’s become so popular on stealthy carbon frames of late.

Though it doesn’t seem like there’s much more to do, Albrekt says he’s got a couple more upgrades in the works. When his son’s hands are bigger, he’ll switch to lighter, thinner foam grips, and he’s in the process of turning an aluminum handlebar into a custom 22.2mm seatpost, complete with CNC’d clamp head and titanium hardware. When complete, Albrekt expects the bike to weigh 8.5 pounds.

Albrekt’s S-Walk started life as this stock Specialized Hotwalk.

While Albrekt admits the project might seem excessive, he chalks it up to an exercise in mechanical creativity as much as rewarding parenting.

“My kid loves it,” he says. Hard to argue with that. With Albrekt being such a fan of Specialized we wouldn’t be surprised to see Jakob on the Hardrock XTR—a real production kids bike that features a Shimano XTR drivetrain and a RockShox SID fork. Even so, we’d bet Albrekt already has upgrades in mind.

Custom S-Walk Balance Bike Specs
  • Frame: Specialized Hotwalk Aluminum with custom disc brake mount
  • Fork: Specialized with custom 1-inch thread lesssteerer, 100mm wheel spacing
  • Paint/Graphics: Custom matte black powdercoat/gloss vinyl decals
  • Brake: Formula R1, titanium mounting bolts
  • Rotor: Hope Mono M4, titanium mounting bolts
  • Front Hub: WTB Grease Guard, 32-hole (16 used)
  • Rear Hub: Tune front hub shaved to 95mm width, 32-hole (16 used)
  • Spokes: Union titanium, triple-butted, custom shortened
  • Nipples: Red-anodized aluminum
  • Skewers: Shimano XTR, shortened and rethreaded to fit
  • Rims: Specialized aluminum 12-inch
  • Tires: Specialized Rhythm Lite 12 x 2.0
  • Handlebar: Specialized S-WORKS carbon xc low-rise, 500mm wide.
  • Stem: Tune 50mm, 1-1/8-inch (shimmed to 1-inch), titanium bolts
  • Headset: Tange DX8 1-inch threadless

Editors note: Attempts by the author to get adopted by Albrekt went unacknowledged.

About the author: Don Palermini

Chicago-born Don Palermini became a cycling-based life-form in the sixth grade after completing a family road bike tour of his home state. Three years later he bought his first mountain bike to help mitigate the city's pothole-strewn streets, and began exploring the region's unpaved roads and trails. Those rides sparked a much larger journey which includes all manner of bike racing, commuting, on- and off-road bike advocacy, and a 20-plus-year marketing career in the cycling industry that landed him at his current gig with Santa Cruz bicycles. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, his four favorite words in the English language are "breakfast served all day," together in that order.

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  • Rasmus says:


  • Joules says:

    that seems like an awful lot of work for something that’s going to get used for maybe a month.

  • Nicholas says:

    Why not just weld your own balance bike at that point?

    I doubt the kid’s hand strength is enough to operate that brake securely.

    Some people have too much money.

  • James Guest says:

    It’d be a whole lot cooler if it didn’t have the big S stamped on the head tube.

  • Jeremy says:

    I smell a lawsuit coming. You don’t even think about messing with that company.

  • Rick says:

    Way to send a message Dad!

  • Loll says:

    This is a great example of what you should not do if your lady friend tells you she wants to get into mountain biking.

  • David says:

    I expect a letter from Specialized’s lawyers any day now

    • SB says:

      I think they have bigger fish to fry. I am pretty sure you can do whatever the hell you like on your own bike. Albrekt is not trying to market, sell or patent this.

  • Huw says:

    Looks amazing. Needs a smaller brake lever though – no chance that kid’s going to reach it when he needs it!

  • Soybean0422 says:

    Awesome!!!!!!!! Love it!

  • JB says:

    Specialized even featured this. They’re not bullcrap animals that will sue an act of love of a father to his kid like the way you morons think.

  • Paddy says:

    Props to all the cynical crybabies out here – we need to teach talented craftsmen who build awesome things for their children a lesson. And that is lesson is ‘don’t share your work with the mountain biking community – they’re a bunch of negative crybabies with too much time on their hands.’

  • JamesB says:

    My daughter now has 2 balance bikes both bought on the same day by different people as presents, one a lot cheaper than the other. She uses both now she can reach the floor on both and one is not really any better than the other. However, she could use one before the other due to the size. I like the bike which has been put together in the article, but for a balance bike I am not sure it was worth the effort. Now my daughter is 15 months and starting to be stable on the balance bike I have just bought a 14 inch peddle bike which I have changed the seat, post and cut the frame to lower the ride height (she can’t touch the floor yet but can just touch the peddles). I can’t wait to see what he does with the peddle bike. It was hard to workout which bike to even buy, as these bikes weight a lot and it seems that the sizing of the bikes are worked out differently. Which is really the most important factor but when they are so small obviously weight is also a big consideration.

  • S says:

    Balance bike tuning seems to be the new trend: 😀

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