The Kent Torpedo is the first electric bicycle that I know of designed specifically for children. And it’s so much fun (even for me as a full-fledged adult) that it surely won’t be the last one.
Now before I start getting disgruntled comments, let me start by saying this isn’t a small motorcycle – it’s a pedal-assist e-bike. You have to pedal.
Yes, it has a motor. But the motor only adds assist when the rider is pedaling. If the rider stops pedaling, the assist also stops.
So make all the wisecracks you want about “kids these days,” but the fact of the matter is that a pedal-assist e-bike may just help draw kids away from addicting screens and back out onto a bike, pedaling away to their heart’s content.
With a fun e-bike like this, kids that may have never expressed an interest in cycling could be hopping onto the saddle and discover the joy of life on two-wheels. And at just $498, it’s easier for parents to afford than a typical adult e-bike.
To see how much fun the Kent Torpedo e-bike is, check out my video review below! Then keep reading for my complete thoughts and testing (yes, I rode it too!).
Kent Torpedo kid’s e-bike video review
Kent Torpedo – what’s it packing?
The Kent Torpedo isn’t a powerhouse. The motor is only a measly 180 watts. But for kids, that’s plenty. All it’s doing is adding a bit of a boost – the kid still has to pedal. When it comes to an e-bike designed for children, this is exactly what I want to see: light assist, not a mini-motorcycle.
Its 24V 5.2Ah battery is adorably small yet provides up to 15 miles (25 km) of range if the kid keeps it in low power mode.
Of course, all the fun is in going fast in high power mode, though that drains the battery quicker. The medium power mode seems like a nice happy middle ground.
The 39.4 lb (17.8 kg) e-bike isn’t light, but the helper motor makes it feel lighter than it is.
The bike is built on a steel frame and sports 20″ wheels. My 7-year-old nephew struggles to touch the ground while my nearly 9-year-old nephew fits on the bike easily. The fact that younger kids can’t fit on it is probably a good thing. Kids should be a certain age before they are mature enough to handle the extra power of an e-bike, even a low-power one like this.
Their 32-year-old uncle (me) also fits on the bike with the seat all the way up, though it’s admittedly a bit small for me. For reference, I’m 5’7″ (170 cm) and 155 lb (70 kg).
Of course, the e-bike isn’t designed for me – the weight limit is only 100 lb (44 kg). But that didn’t stop me from putting some healthy miles on it before letting the kids do their thing. I mean, I’ve got to test it first and make sure it’s safe… right?
With a front suspension fork that isn’t much to write home about but still works just fine, the bike is somewhat sporty. We built a classic front yard ramp and had fun seeing who could get the most air.
I could. It was me.
The V-brakes similarly aren’t incredibly high quality, but then again, they work just fine. This is a $498 kids e-bike after all – not a $17,000 S-Works for lycra-clad dads.
While the battery seems to last for a while on low power mode, high mode drains it quicker. I asked Kent Bicycles about the possibility of buying spare batteries to swap in and make for a longer ride, and they’re looking into offering them on their website.
If they can swing it, I 100% recommend grabbing a second battery. It’s about the size of a small water bottle and easy to stick in your bag when the family goes on a ride. It can help your kids ride even longer, extending that family Sunday ride even further than 15 miles (25 km).
Even if the battery does run out, the e-bike simply turns back into a pedal bike. Talk about convenient!
Without the battery, the Kent Torpedo is easy enough to pedal, though it will definitely feel a bit heavier than a typical kid’s bike. The geared motor doesn’t provide any extra resistance other than adding a couple pounds of needless weight. There’s also a 6-speed shifter that makes it easier for kids to climb hills in the proper gear, even without electric power. If the battery does die on a ride, the shifter definitely makes it more manageable to pedal.
Closing thoughts on this kid’s e-bike
Ultimately, this little e-bike definitely impressed me. As a bike, it’s well made. It held a 155-lb adult flying through the air, even though I was half expecting a pedal to snap off on my repeated landings. But no, the thing is overbuilt for its ratings, just like Kent’s lawyers surely insisted that it should be.
As an e-bike, it works great for providing enough of a confidence-boosting electric push to make kids feel like they can conquer anything. I see its best use being to pull kids away from screens and back outside. We need more kids growing up in the streets and cul de sacs of their neighborhoods like I did when I was young. Grumble grumble, something about “the youths, these days.”
Even if this takes some kids off of pedal bikes and puts them on e-bikes, I’m not terribly worried about it because, for the last time, this is a pedal-assist e-bike. You still have to put in the effort; it just helps you do it for longer or to go faster. In that case, the kids are doing just as much pedaling as they did before, but now, they have more wind in their faces as they do it.
But I still say its best use is for the kids who aren’t really riding bikes that much. This is an incredibly fun way to get them back in the saddle, getting exercise, and smiling the whole time. Just be sure to put a helmet on them!
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