12.28.2008

Smart Cycle Stupidities, A Review

Let me preface this by saying that the Smart Cycle has been extremely well received by the boys. They have put many miles on it since it got put together and connected up to the TV.

But one might expect that something called Smart would, you know, actually be smart. From design to use. And the Smart Cycle comes up short in a number of areas that make me question how much use testing was done on it before it was sent to production.

Here are the Smart Cycle's stupidities in my ever-so-humble opinion:
1. Lack of memory - there is no way to save settings for multiple riders so it is, essentially, a clean slate every time you turn it off and on.
2. No AC adapter - batteries are wasteful and expensive. This seems like a no brainer.
3. The recessed seat knob adjustment - it is annoying to try and change the seat often as we have to with two different sized kids using it and the recess makes it alot more annoying.
4. The seat adjustment - there's no easy way to tell where the hole is, no clicks, no guides, no nothing, its just hit and miss, alot. Stupid.
5. The On/Off Switch Location - my younger son has decided that the power switch is part of the game and he turns the bike off regularly which means we have to do the whole stupid choose a car, choose a color and a horn again and again and again.
6. Cartridge seating - unless the cartridge is seated perfectly, which is tough for a youngster to do, the game will not work. It should be easier to get in there.
7. No resistance pedaling - this seems almost dangerous for young knees, there is literally nothing slowing down pedaling. It would be nice and smart to be able to dial up a bit of resistance on the machine.
8. Not all biking - there are several activities on the bike that don't involve pedaling at all, just the joystick and buttons. What's the point of these?
9. Its huge - our living room is now dominated by a toy bicycle tethered to our television. And there's no way we're putting a tv in the boy's room.
10. Lack of tutorials - there are few instructions, just pedal and learn how to learn as you go.

So, what's good about the Smart Cycle?
1. Kids learn to equate pedaling and exercise with playing.
2. Kids ride miles and miles without even noticing it.
3. The games require different skills and does not ding kids for not doing it right.
4. The cartridges can all be added to a keychain so they are harder to lose.

That's about all I can think of for now. I like the Smart Cycle and am really happy that we were given it by grandma but it seems like they rushed it to production without testing it out enough or they'd have realized some of the design flaws and been able to fix them. Unless they are thinking they'll do those in the 2nd generation and all the current owners will upgrade to it. That's not likely to happen in this house.
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