July 28, 2021

TDmonthly Magazine

August 2005 | Vol. IV - No. 8

Taking the Wheel

By Kate Staron and Leslie Birdwell
August 2005

"We don´t carry motorized cars; we like to provide kid-powered toys." —Sally Cashiwa, Timbuk Toys
Although the NPD Group reports that last year’s toy vehicle sales dropped nearly 9 percent, some say the trend is reversing. Leading the pack in sales for many small retailers are ride-ons that promote exercise and don’t take up much shelf space.

“We’ve seen an increase in ride-on sales this year,” says Meghan Block, manager of Terri’s Toy Box in Seattle, Wash.

One reason may be that as the nation seeks a solution to the childhood obesity problem, ride-ons offer a healthy option. According to the Toy Industry Association in a 2005 Toy Fair press release, “with childhood obesity in the spotlight, it should come as no surprise that toy manufacturers are launching new products that focus on physical activity.”

Wendy Hammond, buyer at the Hub Hobby Center in Richfield, Minn., agrees with the trend and notes that stocking battery-powered ride-on vehicles almost isn’t worth it, although they have sold two battery-powered John Deere ride-ons by Peg Perego U.S.A. (ToyShow) recently. Hammond says that someone in the market for a battery-powered ride-on is probably headed to Wal-Mart anyway. These vehicles also present a stocking issue since they take up a lot of space, even for Hub Hobby’s 14,000 square feet.

While big stores dedicate an aisle or more to motorized vehicles, many independent stores prefer a different set of wheels. “We don’t carry motorized cars; we like to provide kid-powered toys,” says Sally Cashiwa of Timbuk Toys in Denver, Co.

Smart retailers target a younger audience as well, helping kids to become active before they can even walk. A line of high-quality rockers by Mamas & Papas Ltd. that includes lions, snails and zebras as well as traditional rocking horses moves quickly off of store shelves.

“These sell out immediately, every time we get a shipment in,” says Karen Barwick, owner of Boomerang, a toy store in New York City. “The snail is the best seller of the rockers we carry.”

Still, no matter how fast a ride-on sells, presentation plays a key role, stresses Hammond. At Hobby Hub, potential buyers may take a spin on the Trikke but not on the Flybar, and most items are kept up out of the way with a display model in the window.

“If you leave things out,” explains Hammond, “you don’t know where in the store they might wind up.” That includes the humble Red Baron Bi-Plane pedal car, another good seller for Hub Hobby.

What follows are more details on some popular kid-powered ride-ons.

Trikke 5 by TRIKKE TECH INC.

Trikke 5 by TRIKKE TECH INC.The Trikke 5 vehicle is scaled down for riders ages 7 and up. Small enough for kids to enjoy around the neighborhood, the 100-percent-aluminum Trikke 5 is durable enough to handle the demands of freestyle riding teens. Collapsible and compact, the Trikke 5 is an excellent way to get kids out of the house and into an exciting activity that´s as much fitness as it is fun. 6/12/2007 (MSRP: $119.00; Age: 5 to 9)

PlasmaCar® by PLASMART INC.

PlasmaCar® by PLASMART INC.The Original PlasmaCar continues to intrigue and fascinate. Powered by kid power; no batteries, gears, or pedals needed. Just sit, put your feet up, and turn the steering wheel to propel yourself forward. The patented safety seat design places riders in a safe, comfortable position and minimizes tipping. Moves up to 6 mph on any smooth, flat surface. Supports up to 220 lbs. Visit to see all the wonderful colors available.
— In a March 2015 survey, two out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that Plasmacar is a best-selling outdoor toy.
—  As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.5 out of 5 stars from 122 reviews on Cons: Does not work well on surfaces that aren't completely smooth.
— This top-seller in specialty stores earned a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award for its distinctive aerodynamic design and ease-of-use. TDmonthly believes it has the potential to become a classic due to its fresh, contemporary appeal and application in a child’s formative years.
Awards: 2012 Parents Choice Awards Recommended, 2009 Green Parents List Check Mark, 2009 Top Action Figures and Toys for Toddlers, 2009+2008+2005 The National Parenting Centre Seal of Approval, 2008 iParenting Media Toy Award, 2008 Fat Brain Toy Award Active Play, 2006 TIA Outdoor Toy of the Year - Specialty Toy of the Year, 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, 2005 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, 2005 Dr. Toy Best Vacation Products, 2005 Creative Child Seal of Excellence, 2001 International Patent Fair, Hong Kong Gold Medal 6/28/2005 (MSRP: $69.99; Age: 3 and Up)

Retro Rocket by RADIO FLYER

Retro Rocket by RADIO FLYER This retro-styled rocket from a well-known name offers the added fun of space sounds, vibrating motor action, and working lights. It also features a storage area under the seat.
-- This toy was included on the Parents Choice 2004 Holiday Gift Guide.
-- It was a 2005 winner of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award; it was rated a “Top-Rated Big Ticket” item and a “Top-Rated Gender-Free Product.”
-- This rocket was a best seller on popular sites such as in March 2005, and can be enjoyed by children 10 months and up. It was an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award Winner 2004 and a Parent´s Choice "Recommended" Award Winner 2004.
 3/21/2005 (MSRP: $65.00; Age: 0 to 3)


Red Baron Pedal Bi-Plane by AIRFLOW COLLECTIBLES INC. This steel ride-on vehicle has custom-made wheel parts and a padded seat and, even better, a propeller that moves when the plane is pedaled. It comes with an extra wing with struts, custom decals, a sealed ball-bearing drive, high-traction tires and non-slip pedals. Some assembly is required. The wing span measures 45” by 35”.  6/28/2005 (MSRP: $525.00; Age: 2 to 10)

Stanley Snail Rocker by MAMAS & PAPAS LTD.

Stanley Snail Rocker by MAMAS & PAPAS LTD. This colorful rocker is made of soft velour fabric, wooden handgrips and footrests. It plays the song “You Are My Sunshine” as baby rocks back and forth. The seat is 12” from the floor, and the rocker is 27" long by 14” wide by 20" tall.  6/28/2005 (MSRP: $99.00; Age: 1 and Up)

Jalopy Pickup by C & N REPRODUCTIONS

The Jalopy Pickup is brand new to the market. It is constructed of heavy gauge steel with 9 ½” diameter tires to make pedaling easier. The paint is non-toxic powder coat with real wooden sideboards. It is toy safety tested and approved. The Jalopy Pickup is 38” long, 17” wide and 21” high, and is suitable for children as young as 2 ½. There is some adult assembly required. 6/1/2005 (MSRP: $149.00; Age: 3 to 6)


Pink Princess Trike by AIRFLOW COLLECTIBLES INC.Made of high-quality steel, this is a replica of the 1936 Sky King, which now sells for more than $3,000. The trike is 26" high and is finished in powder-pink lead-free paint with chrome insignias. The tires are made of solid rubber. It comes with an adjustable spring seat, working light, reflectors, sealed ball bearing and rubber handle grips. Some assembly required. 7/29/2005 (MSRP: $249.00; Age: 3 to 6)

Classic Rock & Bounce Pony by RADIO FLYER

Classic Rock & Bounce Pony by RADIO FLYERLaunched in summer 2005, this little horsie is made using a patented rubber bounce suspension that provides a safe, quiet ride. A removable "safety saddle" lets the toy grow with its rider. Parents will appreciate that the fabric body is removable and washable. The toy also features easy-grip handles and squeezable ears that make a crinkling sound, fun for kids as young as 9 months. The Rock & Bounce Pony does great at the Children’s General Store in New York City, said general manager Michael Stone. "This product's done extremely well for us," Brian Simms, vice president of sales for Radio Flyer, told TDmonthly. "It has great gift-giving appeal and we've seen fourth-quarter sales ramp up as a result." Not only will Radio Flyer be continuing this item for 2006, said Simms, but they're considering developing a series with unique features, such as longer plush, specifically for the specialty toy market. 7/29/2005 (MSRP: $60.00; Age: 0 to 3)

Kettrike Happy Navigator by KETTLER INTERNATIONAL INC.

Kettrike Happy Navigator by KETTLER INTERNATIONAL INC.This is the world’s first tricycle equipped with a rear wheel steering system. Loaded with many unique, patented features, the pioneering Happy-Navigator makes it easy for mom or dad to effortlessly guide the trike into any direction, just like a stroller. This tricycle also grows with the child and makes riding safe and fun for many years. 4/22/2005

The Flybar 1200 by SBI ENTERPRISES

The Flybar 1200 by SBI ENTERPRISESThis mechanical bouncing machine includes a newly developed spring system that creates a sensation similar to that of jumping on a trampoline. This updated version of the classic pogo stick introduces a new generation of kids to hopping fun, propelling them into the air higher than they were able to go with the original toy. It is suitable for a weight of 120 to 250 pounds.
— “SBI makes a great pogo stick and they are doing really well right now here with 9- to 12-year-old boys,” Karen Fox, owner of Woodbury Mountain Toys in Montpelier, Vt., told TDmonthly.
— "We’re selling a ton of pogo sticks by Fly Bar," Patty Meyer, owner of Meyer's Toy World/USA Baby, told TDmonthly. "The pogo sticks are a surprise, but I think it might go to the obese kid news we’re hearing, as well as the get back-to-basics, and this is one of those items."
— SBI invented the pogo stick back in 1918 and brought out the multiple award-winning Flybar 1200 in 2004. “We wanted to come out the gate with the best showing,” David Jargowsky, principal of SBI, told TDmonthly. “The 1200 is a high-performance model … People can jump six or seven feet, do backflips, tricks, etc.” Starting in June, the Flybar 800 for kids 80 to 180 pounds will be available. Right now, “The retailers who sell Flybars steadily say they have kids coming in all day, staring at the 1200, waiting for the 800.” Jargowsky said that many 800s have been presold and they expect a six-to-one or eight-to-one sales increase over the adult-sized 1200. 12/7/2004 (MSRP: $379.00; Age: 14 and Up)

The Flybar 400 by SBI ENTERPRISES

This powerful and updated version of a pogo stick is made especially for smaller kids. Like the Flybar 1200, it gives a trampoline-like sensation to the rider. It is suitable for a weight range of 80 to 120 pounds. THIS PRODUCT IS STILL BEING DEVELOPED AND IS NOT YET AVAILABLE. 7/29/2005 (MSRP: $149.99; Age: 8 and Up)

The Flybar 800 by SBI ENTERPRISES

shipping in March 2006 — this powerful and updated version of a pogo stick is made especially for smaller kids. Like the Flybar 1200, it gives a trampoline-like sensation to the rider. It is suitable for a weight range of 80 to 180 pounds. 7/29/2005 (MSRP: $249.99; Age: 12 and Up)

Copyright © 2021 TDmonthly®, a division of®, Inc.