Words & Photos by Sean Cochran

As a bike industry lifer, I didn’t expect to be reviewing a Prevelo ZULU Two kids mountain bike. I’ve spent the last decade pouring over bike-build details and customizing my own dream machines year in and year out, but now that I’ve got a 5-year-old son who’s outgrown his balance bikes, I was looking for something to take him to the next level. Longer, lower, slacker are terms we’ve all come to discuss at nauseum in mountain bike design, but what if we applied these same concepts to developing confidence inspiring, fun, and safe kid’s bikes. Prevelo has taken on that challenge. Like many bike companies, Prevelo was born in a garage, by a tinkerer looking to build a bike to suit a specific niche not supported by bike the greater bike industry.  Where the story diverts from the prototypical bike story, is this was not a bike for the tinkerer himself, but rather his young sons. As the father of a spirited 5-year-old myself, I was excited to see if the kid specific design would allow my son’s riding ability and passion to grow.

FRAME AND FEATURES: With the ZULU Series, Prevelo offers a full range of kid’s hardtail mountain bikes for ages 3-13 years of age. Beginning with the 14” ZULU ONE and growing to the 26” ZULU FIVE. All frames in the Prevelo ZULU Series are built from strong and light custom formed 6061 aluminum tubing. Gravity Trail Geometry designed with a 66-degree head angle and confidence inspiring low and narrow geometry optimized by wheel size to keep the riders center of gravity low, balanced and in control. Internal cable routing keeps the cable management nice and tidy, and the cockpit is optimized by size to ensure proper fit for each rider.

Each Prevelo ZULU model comes built with custom length HEIR cranks featuring an ultra-narrow Q-factor to ensure small riders a more comfortable and efficient ride. With the pedal efficiency optimized it’s extremely important to ensure the bike has plenty of stopping power. The adjustable reach TEKTRO hydraulic disc brakes offer powerful performance for those massive skids every kid enjoys. The off-road inspired spec continues with oversized tires inspiring confidence over rough terrain and offering additional cornering grip.


ZULU TWO: At five years old and 41.5” tall, the ZULU TWO seemed to be the perfect option for my son and what this review will be based upon.  For additional options visit the Prevelo website.

Each ZULU model offers a few unique features based upon the specific needs of the age/size of the rider, the ZULU TWO is no different. Anyone that’s observed a child for more than a few minutes can seemingly attest to the fact kids destroy nearly anything in a matter of minutes.  Due to the nature of children the ZULU TWO has been built with BOXT rear chain and seat stays paired with BMX track style forged dropouts to shroud the rear axle.  Combined this adds additional stiffness and durability to the frame for the inevitable toss of the bike.

Beyond the custom geometry and crank length, the ZULU TWO comes with two different length seat posts, ultra small diameter grips and short reach brake levers complete a package optimized for small riders, but still allowing for room to grow.

OPTIONS: With the level of thought put into each aspect of the ZULU TWO it comes as no surprise that there are multiple levels of customization on offer.

The options include:

  • HEIR 16 suspension fork: 60mm travel air fork with adjustable rebound, lockout and compression.
  • HEIR Footport Alloy pedals featuring safety domed pins keeping shins scrapes at bay. Available in multiple color options.
  • Rider name lettering printed and installed prior to shipping.
  • Custom colored grips to ensure the bike is dripping in the rider’s favorite color.

OUT OF THE BOX: You can find Prevelo dealers scattered about the US and UK to test ride or purchase pre-assembled bike.  They also offer a consumer direct option through their website and each bike is professionally assembled before being boxed and shipped.  Our bike arrived within one week of ordering and needed only to have the handlebars, seat post and pedals installed with the appropriate tools provided in the box.  Our test rider was happily pedaling within ten minutes of the bike arriving on our doorstep.



From the moment the box was dropped on our doorstep, my son’s excitement level was palpable. Having outgrown not only the size of the frame, but also the capabilities of his first pedal bike, he was looking forward to getting a ‘real’ kids mountain bike.

As stated earlier, the bike was easy to assemble straight out of the box, with only the handlebars, seat post and pedals needing to be installed.  Within just a few minutes my son was ripping hot laps in front of our house with a huge smile on his face.  After the initial test ride of the bike, it was clear the seat was a little too high for comfort, especially if we were going to tackle some tougher trails, and the second, shorter seat post that is provided with the ZULU TWO proved to be extremely valuable addition. Utilizing the tools provided in the box, we quickly swapped the seat post, and the fit was dialed.

Compared to his previous bike, the position was noticeably more stretched out, but also more balanced on the bike.  The new geometry combined with the ultra-small diameter grips and short reach brakes levers allowed him to feel comfortable immediately proven by his sprint down the driveway into a rubber melting 15-foot skid in the street.

After a few more laps in front of the house it was clear that it was time to head to the local skills park and trail center to see how his new bike would handle some more adventurous terrain.

We first started at a pump track my son is quite familiar with, and I could immediately see his confidence continue to grow.  Pumping and cornering ever faster, he hammered out lap after lap shouting, ‘I love my new bike’. The progression continued as we ventured over to the dirt jump progression lines where he fearlessly pedaled down the drop in and through the three jumps that make up the beginner line.  On his previous attempts at these jumps his front wheel would fly high into the air and inevitably smash down onto the knuckle of the table, but this time the balanced geometry of the ZULU TWO was immediately noticeable keeping his bike level with both wheels leaving the ground landing with his weight evenly distributed.  As he sprinted back to make another attempt, he looked at me and gleefully shouted, “Dada, I got both wheels off the ground!”  The initial impressions of the bike were quite good for both father and rider.

Prevelo Zulu two close-up action

With confidence at an all time high, we continued to explore the skills park and local trail system over the following weeks. Riding both familiar trails and new trails as skills and confidence grew.  Eventually riding up to seven miles in one go with a few pit stops for snacks and nature breaks.

During this time, it became very apparent that this bike was truly designed from the ground up for kids allowing them to progress and explore trails like never before. A balanced weight distribution combined with the oversized tires allow for great traction while cornering and a few saves when line choice was questionable. The longer, lower, slacker design approach inspired confidence and improved handling of the bike, but it can also have its pitfalls.

When tackling more rocky or technical terrain younger children still tend to try to pedal through them which can lead to pedal strikes and the occasional crash due to the low BB height.  Also, in this terrain the steering of the front wheel can be a bit sluggish due to the slack head angle leading a younger rider to struggle to navigate obstacles in the trail. Overall, the benefits of the Gravity Trail Geometry far outweigh any of the perceived downsides and the downsides will be minimized as a young rider’s skills improve. It’s also possible with the upgrade to the HEIR suspension fork some of these problems could be mitigated.

After nearly a month of riding 4-5 days a week the bike is showing little wear and tear. A few too many sweet skids in the driveway have the Innova tires looking a little warn, the inevitable scratch from laying the bike down a bit to aggressively or the occasional crash, but overall, we’re looking forward to our continued exploration deeper into our trail system and on to more difficult terrain aboard the Prevelo ZULU TWO.

The Wolf’s Last Word

The Prevelo ZULU TWO is a thoughtfully designed kids mountain bike that will allow your child to progress quickly and confidently leading to ultimate trail fun. A rugged, yet lightweight frame featuring Gravity Trail Geometry, well curated spec, extra seat post and loads of additional options will serve your child (and many more down the road) well for years to come.

Price: $549
Weight: 17.2lbs

We Dig

My Kid Loves it
Allows for progression
Balanced geometry
Ability to be upgraded
Thoughtful design elements

We Don’t

Tire spec, wears quickly
Some may not want to spend this much


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