There have been few toys that have drawn neighborhood jealousy as much as the Rollplay Nighthawk NexGen we’ve been testing. It’s an incredibly fun electric ride-on toy with a powerful 24V battery that powers a single rear wheel and is steered by your child by leaning side to side.
The Rollplay Nighthawk NexGen is a toy that intrigues your imagination from the moment you lay eyes on it. With its fold-out handlebar design and exciting almost manta ray-inspired design, kids can’t wait to get their hands on it. It’s meant for kids 6 years and older and can hit a top speed of about 6.5 miles per hour. But if the speed gets to be too much, you can pull up on the emergency brake right in front of you to slow down.
The Rollplay Nighthawk NexGen features a low-riding design with a foot throttle, allowing kids to drive easily while feeling confident and safe holding the handlebars. Underneath the handlebars are wheels that hit the ground if you lean all the way to the side, which helps increase the kid’s stability and confidence they won’t fall while also allowing them to take tight turns really easily.
The Nighthawk NexGen folds really easily with the touch of a button and weighs just under 20 pounds. It’s a great size and weight to be able to throw in the trunk and take with you to the park or a friend’s house. There’s one rear wheel powered by the 24V motor, and it has a skateboard truck and 2 skateboard-style wheels in the front that pivot to allow turning.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been playing outside with friends more often these days, even in below-freezing temperatures. The neighborhood kids have been having a blast taking turns with the Nighthawk NexGen, riding it up and down the block, taking slick turns, and even riding one- (or no-) handed. One of our neighbors actually had to order one for their kid because he loved it so much.
It’s a beautiful thing when a toy is as exciting to play with as it looks. The Rollplay Nighthawk NexGen delivers on the cool winged design with an exciting, daredevil experience for kids 6 and up. I assume the older and heavier you get, the less speed you’ll get out of the 24V battery; however, the group of 6- and 7-year-olds who have been playing on it can’t get enough. My wife was also able to ride on it, though I’m sure that’s not recommended.
The battery lasts a lot longer than I thought it would, which is another advantage. We haven’t run into an issue yet where the Nighthawk NexGen had run out of battery while the kids played, even in freezing temperatures where battery life is expected to be poor. There’s a power button that glows red while powered on and a three-level LED battery indicator. I’m told that when it hits one bar, that means it’s time to recharge; however, I haven’t seen it at one bar yet, even after a solid hour of play.
The only downside we’ve found is that the flag that’s included is pretty flimsy. The flag is a great idea since the Nighthawk NexGen is very low-profile, and it’s easy for fast moving cars not to see it since it’s so low to the ground. However, literally the first time we used it while trying to get situated on the seat, my daughter slipped backward and broke off the end of the removable flag pole with her backside. It was not the end of the world, though it would be nice for the flag to be a bit more sturdy. Also, while we would have loved it to have variable speeds, the harder you push the pedal, it appears there is just one speed.
As you can tell from my review, we’re big fans of the Rollplay Nighthawk NexGen in our house, and we would recommend it to anyone with kids in this age range. It’s a well-designed, portable ride-on that is a blast to ride. While there’s a slight learning curve to figure out how to balance and turn, my 6-year-old figured it out in a matter of minutes, and then she was carving up the streets. It folds small enough to fit inside a trunk, so it’s easy to travel with as well.
The Rollplay Nighthawk NexGen sells for $179.99; it is available from Target, Walmart, and Academy Sports.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Fun, exciting design; Powerful engine for speed; Genius way to control for tight, fast turns; Easy to learn; Good battery life; Foldable design for portability
What Needs Improvement: Strength of flagpole; Could use variable speeds the harder you press the pedal