When you're teaching a kid how to ride a bike, you don't really want it cluttered with distractions that make it hard for them to master the most important part: balancing on two wheels. That's why many consider a balance bike to be a great introductory ride, and the ZumZum looks to be about as simple as a bike could possibly get.
Made from just three pieces of birch plywood and a couple of wheels, the ZumZum still manages to be steerable and promises a comfortable ride for even a couple of passengers. But in lieu of shock absorbers on the forks, the bike's frame is made from a curvaceous bent strip of plywood so that it absorbs bumps and other small obstacles all by itself. The ZumZum even has an NFC tag buried in the handlebars to access information about its owner and warranty via a smartphone. Subtle, but handy.
The first 200 backers of the ZumZum's Kickstarter campaign can pre-order the balance bike for just $150 with delivery expected sometime in March of next year. And while that seems expensive for a bike without brakes, pedals, or a chain, the full retail price is expected to be closer to $250, so the early bird deal is considerably cheaper. As with any Kickstarter it's backer-beware, though, but since the ZumZum is already well past the prototype stage, there doesn't seem to be too much risk here. [Kickstarter - ZumZum via designboom]