The adult-targeted High Roller, which comes with an extra-cushy seat made with 4 inches of plush foam, goes for $599.99.
(USA TODAY) -- Still miss that Big Wheel trike that your mom sold in the yard sale - decades ago?
Nostalgic grown-ups now have a head-turning adult option: the High Roller.
the Big Wheel for kids, which sells for $59.99, the adult-targeted High
Roller - which comes with an extra-cushy seat made with 4 inches of
plush foam - fetches a cool $599.99. And, yes, it comes complete with a
bell and handle-bar tassels.
But it's not Jakks Pacific, the
current owner of the Big Wheel brand, that's making the adult-size
version. At least, not yet. Jakks tells USA TODAY that it, too, plans
to roll out an adult-targeting Big Wheel. But that one, for about $400,
won't be available until 2014, says Ron Cohen, president of the Kids
Only division of Jakks Pacific.
Until then, tiny High Roller USA
is the company behind the adult three-wheelers. The giant trikes are so
low to the ground that they're arguably too dangerous for most folks to
even consider riding anywhere but on the sidewalk. "Cars in the street
might not see you," says CEO and designer Matt Armbruster.
then, the 45-year-old entrepreneur says he's already sold his first 300 -
and plans to sell at least another 1,000 this year. His sales pitch:
pure nostalgia for the trike that changed the suburban landscape after
it rolled out in 1969. "We may call it High Roller, but every kid born
after 1969 calls it a Big Wheel," says Armbruster.
nostalgia, another growing trend could propel its sales: adult play.
"There's an interest in introducing more 'play' into our already
stressed lives," says trends guru Janine Lopiano, partner at Sputnik.
"As adults, we don't allow ourselves to experience the creative energy
that play releases in us."
High Roller recently earned the dubious distinction of being named to The Worst Things for Sale
blog. "Childhood joy was more about exploring a world of endless
possibilities and less about your material possessions (like Big
Wheels)," the blog said.
"That might be true," says Armbruster, who laughs-off the blog's comments and prefers to revel in the free publicity.
a kid, Armbruster recalls blasting his way through three Big Wheels
before moving on to bikes. "I just wore them all out," he says.
his passion never wore out. As a student at University of Colorado, in
1991, he founded an annual Big Wheel rally - a night-long fund-raising
rally across local bars and restaurants. Twenty years later, the annual
event attracts hundreds of participants.
Folks at the rallies kept
asking Armbruster where they could get adult-size Big Wheels. He
couldn't find any either, so the aerospace engineer quit his job to
design them himself. He raised $89,000 through Kickstarter and found a
manufacturer in Taiwan to make them.
"High Roller has taken over my life," he says.
target: men 35 to 45. Some grandparents have ordered High Rollers
for their adult children, he says, so they can ride along with their Big
"Everyone wants to tell me their Big Wheel story," he says. "I'm happy to listen."