More and more parents are discovering how balance bikes are safer and easier than tricycles or training wheels when it comes to teaching children how to ride a bicycle. The rise in the popularity of balance bikes has also seen more and more brands and models hitting the market. Unlike normal bicycles, as soon as a child is proficient at walking they are able to ride a balance bike.
Although balance bikes are easy to ride and a lot of fun for children, it is very important that the saddle height is adjusted properly. Improper saddle height not only makes it harder for the child to ride the balance bike, but will also have a negative impact on their enjoyment. Here are some handy advice for making sure that the saddle height of your child’s balance bike is optimal.
Determining The Proper Saddle Height
The proper saddle height for a balance bike will obviously depend on the height of the child who will be doing the riding. Ideally, both of the child’s feet should be flat on the ground when sitting on the bike saddle. For faster, and easier, movement the child’s legs should be bent at a slight angle when riding the bike. With the proper saddle height your child should first be able to walk with the bike, then run and eventually glide as they become more proficient and confident about their abilities.
For a more scientific approach, measure the inside leg length of your child. Then adjust the saddle height so that it is at least 3 centimeters (1.18 inches) less than that measurement. This will allow the child to get on and off the bike with ease and sit comfortably.
The Benefits of Adjustable Bike Saddles
While there are a few balance bikes on the market that doesn’t feature adjustable saddles it is better to opt for models that do as you have more benefits. Not only will you be able to adjust the saddle to a comfortable height for your child, but can continue to make adjustments as the child grows taller. As children grow up and gain confidence with their balance bike they might also prefer to go off-road riding with, which requires adjustments to the seat. In such a case the seat should be adjusted to allow more bend in the knees of the child for better control. Some balance bikes, such as the 12 Classic by Strider, even supports optional extra-long seat posts that can make the bike suitable for children up to 5 years old instead of the standard 18 month to 3 years range. This extends the longevity of the balance bike well beyond those like the Ybike which has no support for seat adjustments.
Performing The Adjustments
With most balance bikes adjusting the saddle height is an easy process that can be done without any prior knowledge. The procedure for making the adjustment will vary depending on the make and model of the balance bike. Wood balance bikes, such as the Diggin Active Skuut tend to be the most challenging to adjust as you need an allen wrench to remove the bolts holding the seat. The saddle can then be raised or lowered before reattaching it with the bolts.
With balance bikes such as the Schwinn or KaZAM Classic, you only need to loosen the bolt, slide the saddle post up or down and then then tighten the bolt again to make the adjustment, which is slightly easier. The balance bikes that are the easiest to adjust are ones like the Tykesbykes Charger, which features quick release seat posts that allow for near instant adjustments.
Always make sure that the saddle is properly fastened after making any adjustments. Most saddle posts will include special markings that indicate the minimum or maximum height it can be adjusted. For safety reasons stick to these markings as disregarding them can compromise the safety of the balance bike. It is also a good idea to double-check that the saddle height is correct and the saddle is connected tight enough before each time your child uses the bike.