The Hot Wheels Big Wheel is a favorite toy for many toddlers and very young children. The Big Wheel has seen many changes over the years, but its fundamental design has remained a familiar icon for childhood fun for many generations.
Brief Big Wheel History
Louis Marx Toys introduced the original Big Wheel in 1969. The toy was an instant success, and other versions were soon to follow. In 1972, another toy company called Carolina Enterprises released the Hot Cycle, a product similar to the original child's riding machine introduced by Louis Marx Toys.
Louis Marx Toys and Carolina Enterprises merged during the later half of the 1970s to create Empire Industries. By then, the Big Wheel was a staple for a child's collection of toys. The company closed its doors in 2001, but the toy has been revitalized and redesigned by Empire Toys, a facet of Alpha International, Incorporated.
Among the most appealing aspects of the toy is its outstanding safety reputation, making it one of the top selling toys of all time. The Big Wheel sits low, with a relatively wide girth. The design is stable, with incidence of toppling over close to nil. This child's ride-on toy is far safer than bicycles and tricycles, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission.
In spite of the ride-on toy's excellent reputation for safety, some precautions should be practiced when using this type of toy.
- Always supervise children riding any Big Wheel toy
- Do not allow children to ride near motorized vehicles
- Avoid play near swimming pools or other bodies of water
- One rider at a time
- No bare feet
- No riding on streets
- Avoid steep hills or slopes
- Avoid using near steps
Children using the wide wheelbase construction are less likely to topple over, but there are some risks, especially if a child is left unattended. Using precautions and setting rules for safe play can significantly reduce the risk of injury.
Hot Wheels Big Wheel
The Hot Wheels Big Wheel is an offset of the original child's ride-on toy. A few different versions of the Hot Wheels style have been developed, each offering unique features and designs.
- Hot Wheels Xtreme Cycle is a riding toy that has been discontinued. The product features a power brake, an element that was first introduced in the 1970s. Few Big Wheels offer this feature. Suitable for ages four and older.
- Hot Wheels Extreme Cycle is another discontinued toy. This ride-on features smooth rear "slick tires" for big powerslides. Suitable for ages three to eight years.
- Hot Wheels Powerslide is a sleek version that has a relatively thin construction reminiscent of a traditional tricycle. The riding toy sits low and features the readily recognized large wheel in its front end. Suitable for ages four and older.
- Dynacraft Hot Wheels Tricycle merges the Big Wheel style with thinner construction similar to a traditional tricycle. The ride-on toy sits low and has a large rubber wheel in its front. Suitable for children two to five years, according to the manufacturer, but people who bought the item suggest it is more appropriate for children at least four years of age.
Hot Wheels Lights and Sounds Trike
The Hot Wheels Lights and Sounds Trike is a product offered by Fisher Price. This ride-on toy is inspired by the original Big Wheel but it features a modern twist to the classic. The tricycle has the basic low-riding design with thick, plastic construction suitable for children two to six years of age. Along with the low-ride design are newer features including:
- Blinkers that flash
- Electronic handlebar
- Motor sounds
- Three-position "grow with me" seat
- Wide wheelbase
- Non-slip pedals
- Easy grip handlebars
The Hot Wheels Big Wheel ride-on toy has mixed reviews depending on the product. The Xtreme designs have been discontinued, and some of the consumer feedback may give insight into why. Problems with the Hot Wheels Xtreme Cycle include:
- Poor construction
- Breaks very easily
- Front tire rings come apart easily
- Body cracks easily
Reviews for the discontinued Hot Wheels Powerslide include:
- Front tire smaller than expected
- Sturdy metal construction
- Replacement parts are difficult to find
- Must use hand breaks
- Back peddling does not slow the tricycle
- Can be challenging to assemble for some
Reviews for the Dynacraft Hot Wheels Tricycle include:
- Safe to ride
- Sturdy construction
- Parts are easily replaced (although some reviews say that parts are difficult to find)
- Age requirements are wrong
- Back tires wear out easily
Reviews for the Hot Wheels Lights and Sounds Trike include:
- Seats are easy to adjust
- Does not drain batteries quickly
- Many different sounds
- Variety of music
- Keeps child's interest
- Durable construction
Different models of the Hot Wheels Big Wheel have unique features that make them stand out. Among the items offered, as well as those no longer offered, the Hot Wheels Lights and Sounds Trike appears to be the most appealing. Ironically, this model is the least like the original Big Wheel of the lot.