Big Wheel-Inspired Trike for Adults Brings Nostalgia, High Price Tag

The new 'High Roller' was designed by a 45-year-old former aerospace engineer who never outgrew his love for the childhood toy

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Steve Z Photography

Your childhood ... in adult size.

If you were a child any time in the last four decades, odds are you rode a Big Wheel, the low-riding plastic trike named after its iconic front tire. Unfortunately for adults who never quite moved on from their tricycles, the Big Wheel has thus far been restricted to those small enough to fit in its cockpit.

Now one Colorado company is helping grownups re-live their Big Wheel memories. High Roller USA has developed what amounts to an adult-sized Big Wheel, complete with handle-bar tassels and a bell. The price for this dose of nostalgia? $599, almost twelve times the cost of the kids version.

But for High Roller CEO Matt Armbruster, these childhood memories are priceless. The 45-year-old former aerospace engineer told USA Today that he loved Big Wheels so much as a kid that he founded an annual Big Wheel Rally while studying at the University of Colorado. As the resident Big Wheel expert, Arbruster was frequently asked by rally-goers — hundreds of which attend the event every year — where an adult-sized Big Wheel could be found.

Arbruster searched high and low, but came up empty. Rather than live in a world without adult tricycles, he quit his job and began designing the High Roller. A Kickstarter campaign yielded $89,000, and the founder now predicts he will sell at least 1,000 more of the trikes during 2013. (He’s sold 280 of them so far.)

“High Roller has taken over my life” Arbruster told USA Today.

The Big Wheel brand’s actual owner, Jakks Pacific, appears to have been caught offguard by the High Roller’s surprising demand. The company is planning to release its own adult Big Wheel sometime in 2014 for roughly $400. Until then, Armbruster has a virtual monopoly on the throw-back toy’s market.

One question left unanswered is how to pacify your children when they see a six-hundred dollar trike under the Christmas tree with their parent’s name on it. We recommend giving them a similarly extravagant toy transport, such as this $900 Porsche pedal car, to take some of the edge off. Just pray they don’t ask for the adult version.