LIKEaBIKES are based upon the design of the 19th century walking machine, or “Hobby Horse”; a device that resembles a bike without pedals. Adapted into a children’s toy, LIKEaBIKES allow children to learn to play while acquiring a sense of equilibrium and can eliminate the necessity for training wheels in the future. These “learner bikes” teach balance and control at a much earlier age than traditional pedal bicycles with balancing aids. Most LIKEaBIKES and accessories are products of handcrafted German ingenuity and are constructed from durable Birch and Beech plywood, cultivated from sustainable forests.
In 1997, the first LIKEaBIKE was developed and tested. This model, named Race or Racer, received the German toy design award, "Spiel-Gut" (Good-Play) award, that signifies this LIKEaBIKE has been tested with children and examined by experts with a positive result. Along with being an award winner, and the first LIKEaBIKE, the Race was also the first “learner bike” ever invented. As contact throughout Europe increased and a consumer base grew, LIKEaBIKE began yearly productions on new models, one per year, as well as accessories.
The original concept of making a wooden bike without pedals for small children was developed by Rolf Merten who designs and manufactures LIKEaBIKES in his Roetgen Germany based factory, KOKUA. And although the idea is German-born, the name Kokua is a Hawai’ian word meaning “in harmony”. Rolf believed that traditional pedal bikes with training wheels gave children a false sense of security and although they allowed children to learn how to pedal, they did not learn how to balance. LIKEaBIKES provide the skills necessary to develop balance before they need to learn how to pedal and because of that, increase motor skills as well as boost children’s confidence.