Kids, this is for you. Really. This bike is for you even if you can’t read this, which is very likely. So if your eyes are sending any pertinent information to your brain right now you should take this magazine to your dad, point at the picture and start screaming that you want one. That is exactly what I would do if I was your age.For the parents out there, I have no idea how you think or what is going on inside your head. I can’t imagine owning anything I can’t put away in the garage or leave unattended for weeks at a time. But I do know motorcycles. And this little OSET is a way for you to do your offspring a favor. It is the perfect first bike. And I’d wager it could be used to do more than just teach Junior or Juniorette how to ride.
The OSET Spider 12.5 is a very small motorcycle. At just 51 pounds and with a minuscule 15.5-inch seat height (all of 25 inches to the top of the handlebar!) it is tiny. It makes a Honda XR50 or a Yamaha PW50 seem big in comparison, especially in weight. It is, after all, not only a motorcycle; it is also a toy. And a mind control device.Built around an electric motor and a sturdy chassis, this little machine is about as silent as an electric blender running half-speed. It is built to take a thrashing. After all, company owner Ian Smith (OSET is named after his now eight-year-old son Oliver Smith with Electric Trials to complete the acronym) wanted something he wouldn’t have to be fixing much, could ride in the backyard and in close-by parks and was essentially plug and play. No exhaust gas, no hot pipe or muffler and no gasoline smell. You can ride it indoors! Charging takes about six hours when the battery is drained. And run time is anywhere from about 45 minutes if it were doing MX full speed (a rarity with small kids) but a more common two to four hours when just tooling around like most of our laboratory rats did in testing. And then with about two additional hours on the charger it was good for another few hour session before giving it an overnight hookup. One can expect the battery to easily outlast a youngster’s attention span-even for something as fun as a motorcycle. Intermittent all-day use at the campsite is not out of the question and a second set of batteries is just $60. OSET also offers a larger 16.0 version of the Spider, available in both 24v and 36v configurations.
Here is a list of the outright advantages. First it is a real motorcycle, not a plastic toy. It is built from a mismatch of bicycle-spec stuff and some parts seemingly made for tractors. Perfect for destructive kids. It is light for a powerful motorcycle and even the smallest of kids seem able to pick it up. The power can be trimmed to almost nothing for the first-timer or the yet-too-young-to-control-the-wrist type. There is no starting or stalling. It is strong enough to lug around a full-sized adult, I know, I rode it though I don’t really fit. The seat (or area where the seat should be, after all it is a trials bike) is very low and lets the little ones’ feet touch the ground. Since the setup is a trials bike and therefore a standing trials riding position, it will teach kids a riding technique which is good for balance. The suspension seemed to actually work and help absorb bumps. It has a removable key so you can shut it off with confidence. Lastly, it is small enough to be thrown in the trunk of a car or even the back seat by a small woman (hopefully your wife and the mother of your kids).
Now there are some things that one might consider to be issues, but none of them are serious. Starting with the silence. Although there is a bright red LED battery condition display, if you grab the throttle with the key on, the bike can shoot out and go! Like all electric bikes the max power and torque are available at the lowest rpm, so the hit right off the bat is instantaneous and sudden. Kids used to the slipping automatic clutch of most gas-powered minibikes will take some time to get used to it. But first-timers, especially when the power control is turned down, get right along with it, and it teaches them respect for the throttle. Learning the brakes is another dimension with kids, and I don’t have that kind of patience. But the motor is a rare earth-neodymium magnet design that has a slight braking effect when there is no power, so they’ll eventually stop. It goes about 14 mph, gearing limited. The grips are almost full sized in diameter so small hands might be making a stretch to get a grip; luckily the brake levers (both front and rear are on the handlebar) adjust in so they are close. And the turning radius is a bit wide, but that stopped more than a few fall-overs from dreaded over-steer, an issue even we professionals still have. There are black widows in the bike’s graphics and some kids are scared of spiders. The worst thing about this bike is that kids seem to cry unexplainably when you take it away from them unless you promise ice cream. Now hopefully you haven’t written off the OSET because of its trials looks and design. Because a good portion of top off-road riders come from a trials background. Trials teaches the skills you need to ride safely, efficiently and because of all that, fast. I know you are concerned that your son or daughter might grow up and want to compete in trials and wear spandex tights instead of wanting to be the next Ricky Carmichael in a more masculine multi-colored and logo-cluttered pair of so-called leathers. Don’t worry. They will, like all kids, do exactly what you don’t want them to do right about the time you don’t want them to be doing it. By then supercross will have flaming alligator pits and jumps over a helicopter’s spinning blades. What does that have to do with anything? Well, OSET is a great, most likely the best, learning bike and the trials-based skills it makes easier to learn are precision techniques. Just what the 2030 SuperMegaCross champion will need to have. Along with years of practice.
But the real reason your three- to five-year-old kid, up to about 46 inches tall, needs one of these is that it is a tool for you to use in rearing a good offspring. No, not to be the next motorcycle riding champion, but rather a good citizen. One of these is a great reward for proper behavior. It is a bond in family time since it would be foolish if not downright illegal for you to let a young one off alone on one of these! And, believe it or not, eventually it will make a much better rider, driver and operator of mechanical devices out of anyone who gets to spend some time on it. At $949 it is a deal, the best electric motorcycle I’ve sampled and easy to sell to someone when outgrown. I wish I were four years old again, even if I still act like it. Oh, and with that CPSC Lead Ban looming you might want to think about one of these quickly, you never know how the government is looking to control your kids.
|OSET SPIDER 12.5|
|Seat height||15.5 in.|
|Seat-to-footpeg distance||7.5 in.|
|Ground clearance||6.8 in.|
www.osetbikes.com. Go there for tons of great videos and more information.
Ryan GoodwinRyan had ridden a Yamaha PW50 one time before and said the OSET was pretty easy to ride sitting down. The throttle seemed a little touchy, then he got smoother the more he rode it. He said, “It didn’t feel like a ‘real’ motorcycle.” The front wheel seemed to wash out a little when his weight was too far back (butt on rear fender).After about 30 minutes, he was riding slower and starting to stand up most of the time. Then he started looking for small logs and tree roots to ride over and thought it cool he could get the front wheel in the air when he rode over them.I think it would be great to have an OSET since he could ride it near our house. I am sure his skill level would increase rapidly by riding more often and the skill of standing up while riding is key to being a good off-road (or trials) rider. At his age, that could be better than an occasional trip to the desert with a bike like a PW50. On the other hand, as he gets older, I could see him riding in the desert with his older brother and me where he would need a different bike to go trail riding on (and could be refueled easily if he rode a lot).Told by Scott Goodwin for son Ryan, age 5
John Surmon“Dad, I want ride my mooo terrr cycle…Rrrrmmmm Raaaaaaaa…I want ride the whoops.”
“Dad, hold my fender please.”
“Go hast! ” (Hast = Fast, John has trouble pronouncing the letter “F.”)
“Dad, is it on?…”
“Yes, John, the key is on you are ready to go.”
“I love my motorcycle”
“I don’t like spiders.” (Referring to the black widows on some of the stock OSET graphics)
I ask, “Would you like to go to the desert next weekend and ride?”
John replies, ” NOW?”
“No John, not now. Next week.”
John says, “Now!” again.
“Hey dad where’s my moo terr cycle?”
“Jimmy has it. He is testing it for Dirt Rider”
“Yes John, he has it now.”
“I want ride my moo terr cycle, dad. Now?”
“You can’t ride it right now John”
John starts crying…….Told by San Felipe Bob Surmon for son John, age 3