Balance bikes are a really neat innovation when it comes to teaching your kids how to ride a bike. Sure, many people prefer to use training wheels on a normal bike, but the balance bike is quickly becoming more popular. Simply put, they do a great job at teaching your kids how to balance on a bike and it gets them accustomed to some of the main features present on a bike. However, finding the right one with all of the necessary features for an affordable price can be challenging. This is why we’re here today, to help you find the best balance bikes. We want to help you make the best choice for your child, so let’s get right to it.
Our Selection of the 10 Best Balance Bikes:
We have got a great selection of the top 10 best balance bikes for you to take a look at right here, so let’s not waste any more time and get right to it.
This is definitely one of the best, if not the very best balance bike around. It comes with all of the qualities that you would expect a balance bike for a child to have. First off, we all know that children are not very gentle with the things they touch, which is why the Strider Sport Balance Bike is made with a very durable steel frame.
Even if your kid drops the bike or somehow crashes it, it won’t just fall apart. That being said, even though the frame is made of steel, it is actually a hollow lightweight model. This is useful for children because it’s not like you want them lugging around dozens of pounds of steel. Being both lightweight and durable is a combination you should always look for with a balance bike for kids. Speaking of durability, the cartridge bearings on the Strider Sport Balance Bike are about as rugged as can be.
Another thing that is very lightweight on the Strider Sport Balance Bike is the wheels. They don’t add too much weight to the overall design, yet they are about as rugged as can be. The wheels are puncture proof wheels, which means that they won’t pop, nor do they need to be pumped up. It’s the perfect solution for a child’s first bike. The Strider Sport Balance Bike is specially designed for kids between 18 months and 5 years old. This particular balance bike can grow with your child, which is why it comes with fully adjustable handlebars and an adjustable seat. As your child gets bigger, simply raise the handlebars and the seat to accommodate him or her.
To protect your child from getting injured while learning how to ride, the Strider Sport Balance Bike also comes with some special safety measures too. It features padded handlebars, which is completely necessary on these things. Even if your child falls forward, at least it won’t hit its teeth or head on rock hard handlebars thanks to the ample amount of padding present.
Moreover, the patented frame design is specially made so that your child will not injure itself on the frame in case of a fall. Kids don’t know how to ride bikes yet, which is why this is so important. On that same note, while it does not have much to do with safety, the seat is also padded, thus adding a certain level of comfort to the equation. Also in terms of comfort, the Strider Sport Balance Bike comes with foot rests, making life just a little bit easier for your toddler.
For all of you parents out there, you will be happy to hear that the Strider Sport Balance Bike does not require any tools to assemble. You should be able to put this balance bike together in a matter of mere minutes. Furthermore, making any adjustments on this bike, such as for the seat or handlebars, does not require any tools either, thus making your life a whole lot easier too. When it comes to balance bikes, we would definitely say that this is a top contender for the number one spot.
Available at Amazon.com
This is another really neat option to go with in terms of balance bikes. Now, the Woom 1 Balance Bike is not quite as versatile as our top option in a number of ways, but it does also have some features which the Strider seems to have forgotten about. The Woom 1 Balance Bike is ideal for children between 18 months and 3.5 years of age, which is a pretty wide timeframe. It is still a prime option to go with, especially when your child grows. The Woom 1 Balance Bike does come with an adjustable seat which can fit children up to 39 inches in height, which they are typically at when they are around 3 – 3.5 years old. However, unlike the number one Strider model, the handlebars on the Woom 1 Balance Bike are not adjustable for height.
On the other hand, a big bonus that you get with this particular balance bike is that it has rear brakes. Yes, your kids are still using their feet to propel themselves with this balance bike, but having a pair of brakes to stop when things get rough is never a bad idea. Moreover, it will get your children used to have to use breaks to stop, which is great for when they start riding a real bicycle. It’s great for helping to reduce the risk of an accident due to not knowing how or when to use brakes.
To help your child learn how to ride even better, the Woom 1 Balance Bike comes with footrests. This means that your kid can put his or her feet up, thus getting them used to gliding along with no feet on the ground. In other words, these footrests can go a long way in teaching your child to balance, something they will have to do on a real bike. The long wheel base on this model is another feature that will help your child balance easily.
Furthermore, the frame on the Woom 1 Balance Bike is specially designed to be safe for both young girls and boys to use. It’s specially made so that in the event of a fall, the chance of your child smashing off of the frame is minimized. Also, the frame is made of lightweight aluminum. The aluminum build makes the Woom 1 Balance Bike fairly lightweight and durable at the same time. That being said, it is actually slightly heavier that our top contender, the Strider. We do like how the Woom 1 Balance Bike has padded and comfortable grips specially made for toddlers, but it could also have padded handlebars the whole way across, which it does not.
Something that we do like about the Woom 1 Balance Bike is that it has high quality air filled tires. Yes, some people prefer tires that don’t require pumping and therefore cannot be punctured, but those do not replicate the real life feeling of biking. These air filled tires may require some pumping every now and then, but they help to absorb bumps and impact much better than the alternative. Simply put, they are a little more comfortable to use.
Available at Amazon.com
Our number three spot for the best balance bikes is taken by the Cruzee UltraLite Balance Bike. As you might be able to tell from the name of it, it’s big number one selling feature is that it is extremely lightweight. The whole thing comes in at only 4.4 pounds, making it one of the lightest, if not the lightest balance bike on the market today. This is pretty useful for a couple of reasons. First off, it is easier for your kids to balance and use their legs to stay upright when there is less weight involved. Second, if your child does fall, at least there is not some huge and heavy frame coming down on them.
The reason why the CruzeeUltraLite Balance Bike is so lightweight is because it is constructed using special anodized aluminum. This type of aluminum is very light, but also very durable. It may incur a couple of scratches, but even some big and nasty spills won’t break it. Moreover, the aluminum build of the CruzeeUltraLite Balance Bike is actually rust proof, which is really useful in case your child leaves the bike outdoors during a rainstorm. Lightweight durability is definitely a top selling factor here. You can easily carry the CruzeeUltraLite Balance Bike once your child gets tired, something that parents definitely appreciate.
You might also like how when you buy the Cruzee UltraLite Balance Bike for your 18 month old child, you won’t have to buy another until they are older than 5. This is because this particular model is specially designed to fit kids anywhere from 18 months to 5 years of age. It does this by providing your child with the ability to raise the handlebars and seat as he or she grows. The seat can be raised by up to 8 inches and the handlebars can be raised by up to 5 inches, thus keeping up with your quickly growing bundle of joy. It does not even require any tools to make these adjustments, which is an obvious bonus for any parent out there.
The Cruzee UltraLite Balance Bike is also a safe and comfy option to go with. It features low profile bolts so there are none of those shots to the ankles. Both the handlebar grips and the seat are well padded for comfort. All of the frame edges are rounded to make sure that there is nothing pointy that can injure your child, something that is important no doubt.
Furthermore, with the Cruzee UltraLite Balance Bike, you get footrests too. Once again, this is ideal for helping your child get the hang of biking without their feet being on the ground. We do like the puncture proof tires on this model. They are pretty hard and don’t do a fantastic job at absorbing jolts and bumps, but they won’t ever go flat and they don’t require any pumping either.
Available at Amazon.com
Now, this model is a little different from the 3 previous ones we have looked at. While the overall design and features are similar to the first 3 balance bikes, the big difference is in the size of the Scoot XL Balance Bike. While the other models looked at so far have been for children no older than 5 years old, this one is intended for kids between the ages of 4 and 8. In other words, the Scoot XL Balance Bike is a little bit bigger than the Cruzee, Strider, and the Woom 1.
It is a really good option to go with for children who might be a little late out of the gate in terms of learning to ride a bike. It’s always a good idea to go with a balance bike before trying a real bicycle, no matter how old the child is. That being said, the Scoot XL Balance Bike does allow you to adjust the height of the seat anywhere from 16 to 22 inches, thus allowing the bike to grow with your child as he or she gets bigger and older. You don’t even need any tools to raise or lower the seat, which is convenient for both kids and parents alike. The seat itself is also well-padded to add a certain level of comfort for your child’s behind.
Your children will love the fact that the Scoot XL Balance Bike comes in 5 different colors, so they can choose their favorite, plus it comes with some neat decals too. Your child will feel like a racing rock star on his or her new Scoot XL Balance Bike. What you might like is that the decals are actually underneath the top layer of paint, thus making this model very easy to clean and wipe down without ruining those oh so cool decals.
As kids get older, they tend to get more reckless and destructive, which is why the Scoot XL Balance Bike features a really sturdy aluminum frame. The frame is strong enough to withstand the punishment your child will put it through, but also lightweight enough to not get in the way. In case your child does fall, at least the bike itself is not very heavy. The Scoot XL Balance Bike is a little heavier than some of the other models we have looked at, coming in at close to 13 pounds. However this is unavoidable seeing as it needs to be larger to suit bigger kids.
To help your child learn to use brakes and avoid accidents once they get on a real bike, the Scoot XL Balance Bike comes with a rear braking system. The brakes are routed through the frame itself, so the cable will not get in the way of a fun day on the bike. The Scoot XL Balance Bikecomes with nifty inflatable tires. They help provide your child with good grip, plus they are ideal for absorbing bumps too. Even better is that they are puncture resistant, so sharp little objects won’t flatten them.
Available at Amazon.com
This particular balance bike is a good mix between the first 3 options we looked at and the number 4 option. The Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike is intended for children between the ages of 3 and 7 or 8, depending on how fast your child grows. In other words, it is a little bigger than first 3 options, but also a little smaller than the number 4 option. This balance bikes stands at about 23 inches from the ground, making it a slightly larger option than most others. At the same time, the frame on the Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike can withstand children of up to 55 pounds in weight, thus making it ideal for some fairly large kids.
It’s more than big enough to help train your child to ride a bike by the time they should be on a full blown bicycle. The frame itself is fairly lightweight, which is surprising seeing as it can actually hold up a fair amount of weight itself. Being lightweight makes it easy for your kids to use, safe in case they fall, and easy for you the parent to carry around when your child is done biking for the day. However, even though the Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike is very lightweight, it is still more than durable enough to stand up to anything that your child might place in its way. Falling down will certainly not break this bike, which is a big deal when it comes to destructive little boys that can’t ride bikes too well.
Something that you might appreciate about the Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike is that it grows along with your child. Both the seat and the handlebars on this model can be adjusted for height, which means that you don’t have to buy a new balance bike as soon as your child grows a couple of inches. Kids grow really fast, so this is definitely a very useful feature. What is also useful is the integrated foot rest where the pedals would usually be. This footrest is ideal for teaching your child to balance and ride a bike without having their feet placed on the ground.
The tires on the Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike are also ideal for small kids, especially for indoor riding. They are solid, hard, and puncture proof. So, while they don’t provide the best grip or shock absorption, they don’t require any pumping and they will definitely never pop. In terms of comfort, the Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike comes with a really well-padded seat and soft handlebar grips so your child can ride all day long without getting uncomfortable.
Available at Amazon.com
One of the features that you might really like about this particular balance bike is that putting it together is about as easy as can be. It only comes with 5 separate parts and all you need to assemble the Teddy Shake Balance Bike is an Allen wrench, which actually comes included in the packaging. It should take you no longer than 5 minutes at the very most to put this balance bike together. Saving time is always a big deal for parents, which is why this model is a prime option to consider.
Something else that you as a parent might really like about the Teddy Shake Balance Bike is that it comes with a full 3 year manufacturer’s warranty. Kids are rough and yes they break stuff all of the time, but at least you get an awesome 3 year warranty with the Teddy Shake Balance Bike, so if something does break, at least it will not cost you any extra money.
Something that both you and the kids will like about the Teddy Shake Balance Bike is that it is as light as a feather, or at least as close as it gets to being a featherweight. Being lightweight is fair important for any balance bike, because the lighter it is, the easier your child can hold it and balance, plus it won’t hurt as much if your child falls with the bike on top of him or her. Of course, being lightweight also means that it is easy for you to carry around once your child gets tired of riding it for the day.
Even though the Teddy Shake Balance Bike is very lightweight, it is also just as durable. The hollow metal frame ensures that bumps and crashes won’t break the whole bike. Moreover, this balance bike is coated with a special anti-rust layer that will keep it from degrading even in cold and wet climates. We always like to see a balance bike that is both lightweight and durable at the same time. To help you save money, the Teddy Shake Balance Bike is also fully adjustable in terms of both the handlebars and the seat. This bike is suitable for kids as young as 2 years old and can still fit them when they are as old as 6 years. Both the seat and handlebars can be raised by several inches to grow along with your child, thus helping you save money and giving your child as much enjoyment out of one bike as possible.
Your child can easily put his or her feet on the footrests on the Teddy Shake Balance Bike. Once again, this is great for learning how to balance without actually having feet on the ground. Moreover, the tires on this balance bike are totally airless. They don’t have the best traction or shock absorption, but they do just fine for indoor riding. Also, this means that you never have to worry about flat tires or having to pump them up.
Available at Amazon.com
The FirstBike Cross Balance Bike is a very unique balance bike option to consider, but being unique does not make it a bad thing. It just has a couple of features that we have not really seen on other models up until now. First off, the frame itself is made out of very strong materials. The special way in which it is built means that it is extremely lightweight, flexible, and durable too. It has the ability to flex, which is great for absorbing shocks and impact, yet it will never flex so far as to break. The fact that this frame is lightweight, durable, and flexible all in one is a big bonus indeed.
Another feature you might be happy with when it comes to the FirstBike Cross Balance Bike is that it has limited steering. This may sound like a bad thing, but for kids it is really a beneficial aspect. In other words, your kids can only move the handlebars so far in any given direction. They can’t move it too far to the left or the right, thus preventing sharp turns and crashes from occurring. It is a very simple yet effective safety addition to this bike. Speaking of safety, the FirstBike Cross Balance Bike also comes with a rear drum brake. Getting kids used to having a brake on the bike is essential to success when it comes time to ride a real bike. The brakes on this particular model will help them do just that, plus it will allow them to stop in case some kind of hill is involved.
When it comes to comfort, the FirstBike Cross Balance Bike has lots of that too. The handlebar grips are well padded with rubber so that your child’s fingers are always comfy, plus they help to provide a good non-slip gripping surface too.
Also in terms of comfort, the special horse saddle shaped seat brings even more of it to the table. The seat may not have all that much padding, but the shape of it ensures that your kids will never slip out of the seat and fall down. This helps make the FirstBike Cross Balance Bike both a little more comfortable and safer too. Speaking of the seat, so this balance bike can grow with your child, the seat can be moved up by a few inches, making it a good long term balance bike option.
The wheels on the FirstBike Cross Balance Bike are inflatable pneumatic tires. We do like these because they allow for great traction on the ground as well as shock absorption too. That being said, they do need to be pumped up every now and then. For all of you parents out there, don’t worry about assembly, because that is done in a heartbeat. There are only a few parts to put together, and that can be done in a matter of minutes.
Available at Amazon.com
There is no denying that Schwinn makes some truly awesome bicycles and fitness gear. This manufacturer with its origins in Germany has been pumping out reliable and high quality products ever since their creation. They have not failed to deliver a quality product in the Schwinn Balance Bike. One of the factors that adds to the quality of this bike is the hollow metal frame. The frame on this balance bike is just like on a real life adult bicycle. It’s really durable, it’s made of metal, and it is hollow and lightweight too.
This is really everything you would expect on a full sized adult bike, but just shrunk down for the Schwinn Balance Bike. Light weight and durability are 2 things you should always look out for when getting your kid a balance bike, which is exactly what you get with this model from Schwinn. It’s lightweight, so your kids won’t have a problem lifting it up, and if it falls on them, well at least it won’t hurt too much. Also, being durable has its obvious benefits when rowdy kids are involved.
In terms of comfort, the Schwinn Balance Bike definitely brings a lot of that to the table. It comes with an extra-large and really well-padded seat to make sure your child’s behind doesn’t get painful. At the same time, to ensure that you don’t need to buy a new bike the second your kid grows an inch or two, the seat can be adjusted for position. The seat should be adjustable enough so that the Schwinn Balance Bike is ideal for kids up to 5 years old, depending on their size. Back to the comfort thing, the handlebars are equipped with soft rubber grips, which is a standard thing, yet beneficial no doubt.
To help make things a little safer for your child, there is a certain amount of padding located on the center of the handlebars. In case of a fall or trip, the padding will prevent your child’s head from smashing off the handlebars. We do like how the Schwinn Balance Bike comes with inflatable tires. These tires may not be totally puncture proof and they do need to be inflated, but they do also come with certain benefits. The ability to absorb a certain amount of impact and providing good tire to floor traction are the 2 main benefits here. Also, to get your child used to balancing without feet, the Schwinn Balance Bike does come with footrests so your kid can get the hang of balancing. They simply lift their feet up onto the footrests to accomplish this.
As for the parents, you should not worry because the Schwinn Balance Bike is about as easy to assemble as it gets. It only comes with a few separate parts that need to be put together, which is easily done in just a few minutes.
Available at Amazon.com
This is definitely one of the more unique balance bikes out there at this time. The Strider Youth Balance Bike is intended for children 6 years and up, as opposed to other balance bikes which are meant for decidedly younger children. In fact, this one is so large that anybody up to the age of 16 can fit on it. Any person up to 187 pounds can comfortable use the Strider Youth Balance Bike, which is a little different we must admit. If you have a child that is late out of the gate and needs to learn to ride a bike at an older age, the Strider Youth Balance Bike might be a good beginner option to go with. Most balance bikes will not be big enough for a 10 year old child, let alone a 16 year old, but this one certainly is.
The seat can be adjusted just like on a normal bike. As you child grows, simply move the seat up so that the bike can grow with them. It does not even require the use of tools to move the seat up, which is yet another added bonus. The seat itself is fairly large in order to make it comfortable, which is also true thanks to the ample amount of padding which it has. More or less, it’s like a normal bike seat on an adult bike, with just a little more padding for comfort.
In terms of getting your child used to an adult bike, the Strider Youth Balance Bike does come with some useful features. First off, it comes with both front and rear brakes, just like on an adult bicycle. Most balance bikes either don’t have brakes or only real brakes, but in order to get children accustomed to adult bikes, the Strider Youth Balance Bike has both the front and back. Not only is this beneficial for getting kids used to adult bikes, but it’s simply safe too. Kids need to be able to stop, pedals or not.
Speaking of the pedals, of course the Strider Youth Balance Bike does not have any, but it does have footrests in the shape of pedals. This will get your child accustomed to having pedals on the bike, and at the same time allows them to practice their balance by getting their feet off of the ground. Also, just like on an adult bike, the Strider Youth Balance Bike comes with inflatable pneumatic tires. They are fantastic for providing good grip on the ground, plus they can absorb some shock and impact too. The downside is that you need to pump them up on occasion, but that’s no big deal.
Since the Strider Youth Balance Bike does closely resemble an adult bike, it will require some assembly, more than most other models. Now, that being said, it’s still not all that hard or time consuming to put this model together, but just a little more than other models we have looked at.
Available at Amazon.com
This final option on our list may be the last one, but it still comes with lots of benefits and neat features. First off, we love the look of this bike and we think that your little boy or girl might too. Simply put, it’s a really stylish and sleek bike that catches the eye without question. Something that helps to make this bike ideal for children learning to balance is the fact that it is equipped with fat boy tires. In other words, the tires are a full 2.5 inches thick, making balancing much easier than with smaller tires. On that same note, the tires are inflatable, which means that you will have to pump them up every now and again. That being said, inflatable tires are useful for absorbing impact, for providing good traction, and for getting children accustomed to real bicycles.
Another beneficial aspect of the Joovy Bicycoo Balance Bike is that it has a very durable and lightweight aluminum frame. It’s light enough to make it easy for your kids to use, but also durable enough to withstand a serious amount of punishment, both things which kids who are learning how to ride a bike definitely need. Kids take time to learn how to ride a bike, so the bike in question needs to be able to grow with the child. This is why the Joovy Bicycoo Balance Bike has a seat that can be adjusted for height, making this model ideal for kids up to 4 or 5 years old, depending on their size.
The Joovy Bicycoo Balance Bike does also come with a rear brake. This is useful for safety reasons of course, but also for getting your child used to having brakes period. It’s an important thing to get the hang of. Finally, the Joovy Bicycoo Balance Bike does not require very much assembly, which is a big time saver for you parents. It will only take 10 minutes or so to fully assemble the Joovy Bicycoo Balance Bike.
Available at Amazon.com
Why a Balance Bike is Good for Your Child
Those of you who are already convinced that a balance bike is the way to go, can just skip through this section, but if you are still on two legs between getting your kid a balance bike, a tricycle or a pedal bike with training wheels, read on.
A balance bike is so much safer than your other options. Tricycles are slow and fall over easily on uneven surfaces. With no pedals, kids can focus on their balance and act quicker when they feel the bike topple. Once they move over to a bigger, pedaled bike, they already know how to balance, reducing the countless falls that are usually associated with learning to ride a bike.
Also Read Our “Child Bicycle Safety – The Do’s and Dont’s” Guide.
While the initial costs may seem more, one balance bike can replace the need for a tricycle and a 12″ bike with training wheels. 12″ Bikes are not really useable without their training wheels, so many parents end up buying a 16″ bike in any case. Balance bikes also have a better resale value.
Gets Kids Outdoors
With so many digital distractions, kids of today seem to prefer to stay in the house and have no reason to want to play outside. With a bike that they feel confident on, the kids will nag you to take them for a ride. With a balance bike, toddlers can easily cruise on sidewalks at moderate speeds and get some exercise instead of being strapped into a stroller. Children don’t get tired as quickly as when they have to walk, and balance bikes are lightweight enough to carry easily when not in use.
Easier Switch to Pedals
Children who grow up on balance bikes usually are quicker to switch to pedal bikes. Many will already do the switch at three years, versus 5 or 6 years of age using training wheels. Because they know how to balance, these kids are also confident and won’t be looking for the security of extra wheels to stabilize them.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing The Right Balance Bike for Your Child
Even the best balance bikes sometimes get bad reviews for one simple reason: the parents choose a bike that is wrong for their child. There are many child-oriented factors that you need to consider when getting a balance bike. That being said, there are also many other factors which you need to consider before getting a balance bike, things which affect both you and the child. Let’s talk about all of the main considerations you need to make before deciding on a balance bike.
Your child’s age is an important consideration when choosing a bike. Don’t just go for the bigger model with the notion that he will “grow into it.” A bike that is a good fit for your bike will boost his confidence right from the start. A bike that is too small will make it hard to use, just like one that is much too big. Your child’s age needs to match the size of the bike.
For younger children (3 and younger) it is imperative that you choose a lighter bike that the child can handle. For this reason, wooden bikes are usually better suited for older children, while lightweight metal bikes are great for toddlers from 18 months upwards. Brakes would be wasted on a younger child and it can get in their way. The older your child is, the more features you can allow the bike to have. They might not understand the concept of brakes when they are 2 years old, but a 4 year old can certainly get the hang of it.
If you are planning on buying a balance bike online, be sure to measure your child’s inseam length (from the ground to crotch). When on the bike, your child needs to be able to stand with his feet flat on the ground, walking forward. If your child cannot reach the ground with his or her feet, you have got yourself quite a serious problem. The whole point of the balance bike is so that your kids can have their feet on the ground.
Balance bikes start at a height of 11 inches from the ground, but others start as high as 14 to 15 inches. If the highest seat setting is shorter or equal to your child’s inseam measurement, you need to look for a higher bike. That being said, if the bike is too small, your child will not really be able to get their feet up onto the footrests comfortably. This can be a problem when it comes time to lift up the feet in order to learn how to balance properly.
As you can tell from our reviews, we look at balance bikes for all ages. Now, some kid start earlier an some start really late. The point is that if you have a 10 year old child using a balance bike, you need to make sure that you don’t get one that is only suited for children up to 5 or 6 years old. Not only will the balance bike be way too small and not work right, but your child won’t be comfortable on it either.
Also Read Our “What Size Bike Does Your Child Need?” Guide.
Obviously you need to choose a balance bike that will suit your child’s personality, and then I am not only talking about color and style. If your child is a bit timid and hasn’t had any bike experience, it is better to go for a light bike with the least extra features (such as platforms, kickstands and handbrakes). Always keep the main goal in mind: your child needs to have fun while learning balance and coordination. In other words, you do want to leave some choice to your child. After all, you don’t want to get your little boy or girl a balance bike that they don’t like the look of and don’t like using. It needs to look attractive and feel safe to them.
Your child obviously does not know how to ride a bike yet, which is why you are getting a balance bike. This is why you should definitely look out for some safety features. Yoou don’t want your child crashing and injuring themselves. There are a couple of features that can prevent crashes and some which make them less serious when they do occur.
First off, a balance bike with limited handlebar motion is a good thing to consider. Limiting how far to the left and to the right the handlebars can move is wise. It stops the child from yanking them too far in either direction and thus it can be a big factor in stopping crashes from happening. Second, you want to look for a bicycle that has brakes. Now, like we mentioned before, a 2 year old might not get the concept of the brakes, so you can leave them out. However, a 5 year old will definitely understand the concept. So, if you want to get your child used to having brakes for real life big boy bikes, having a balance bike with brakes is a big bonus.
There is also the fact that your child will be able to stop the balance bike when on a hill or incline, a big safety factor no doubt. Finally, you will want to look out for handlebar padding. Handlebars can be dangerous and they do lead to head and mouth injuries. To stop your child from getting seriously hurt when his or her head inevitably comes into contact with the handlebars, a nice thick layer of padding is definitely something you want to have.
The next important thing to look out for before making your purchase is what kind of tires the balance bike in question has. This is something we will touch on again a little later, but there are some key things you should keep in mind here. The main difference we want to look at right now is between hard and soft tires. By this we mean tires that are made of solid plastic and are not inflatable, or tires made of rubber which are inflatable. Inflatable tires are better for providing traction with the ground and for absorbing bumps, but they can pop and they do need to be inflated regularly. On the other hand, hard plastic tires will never pop and don’t need to be inflated, but they don’t absorb bumps well, nor do they provide your child with very good traction.
The footrests are another crucial thing to look out for. Not all balance bikes come with these footrests, but they certainly should. The footrests are essential for teaching your child how to balance without their feet being on the ground. If there is a slight slope or your child has some speed going, they can pull their feet up and place them on the footrests, thus getting them used to balancing. We would definitely recommend going for a model with these included.
Ease Of Assembly
Simply put, you don’t want to spend forever assembling the balance bike. These things are meant to be easy and simple, which goes for the assembly process too. Most balance bikes you order online will come in multiple pieces, but usually no more than 5 or 6. You definitely want to look out for a model that has as little separate parts as possible, thus removing the need for a long assembly period. Moreover, there are balance bikes that can be put together without the use of tools, which is of course another big bonus.
Kids can be quite destructive, especially when learning to ride a bike. Falls happen and things can break. Even if your child is not rough with the balance bike, having a good warranty is definitely something to look out for. Some of the cheaper models only have a 90 day or 6 month warranty, while some balance bikes can have as much as a 3 year warranty. If you have a child that plays rough, a good warranty is a must have.
This is also something that we will touch on again later on. However, simply put, you want a bike with a durable yet lightweight frame. Hollow aluminum or steel make for great choices, as both are fairly lightweight, making them easy for your child to use. They don’t have to lift too much and if they fall, at least they don’t have a heavy bike falling on them. Being lightweight is definitely a huge selling point with these balance bikes.
Best Balance Bikes Construction-Wise
Let’s quickly take a look at what a good balance bike consists of.
Balance bikes vary widely when it comes to frame size, with the smaller frames. Smaller frames are nice and lightweight for younger kids, while larger frames with an extra-long seat post are more adjustable.
The main difference between the best balance bikes and your cheaper models is the geometry of the frame. Many toy manufacturers of cheaper balance bikes will not spend much time on research and this is a factor that many parents tend to overlook. The geometry of the frame will determine the child’s balance and how easy it is to control the bike. High-end balance bikes usually encourage a better center of gravity due to the seat being placed a bit farther back. This leaves more room for the kids to lean forward will running with the bike.
When it comes to materials, you will likely have a choice between metal, wood and composite frames.
Metal bikes are either from steel or aluminum alloys. Steel frames are heavier and can hold a heavier rider, but are often vulnerable to corrosion. Aluminum bikes are lightweight but can usually only holds a maximum weight of about 75 pounds.
Wooden bikes are more eco-friendly, but often not as adjustable as metal and are not as long lasting.
Composite bikes have a lightweight frame, but it has a higher weight capacity and are rust resistant.
Balance bikes come in one of 5 different types of tires, each with its own pros and cons, weight and cost considerations.
- EVA tires are filled with a hard rubber foam, making it look and feel a lot like a regular tire. This makes these types of tires puncture proof, and allows them to maintain their shape for several years. EVA tires are also about half the weight of that of air tires, making them a great option for smaller toddlers.
- Standard Air tires make for a more comfortable ride as they absorb bumps better than foam. They also have better traction, but are heavier. You also have the hassle of having to have a tire pump ready for when they deflate and punctures can be a real headache. Balance bike tubes can usually only be replaced by the bike manufacturing company, so it may be hard to try and get a replacement in your area. Add tire sealant to greatly reduce these concerns.
- Fatboy tires are larger, with a wider profile than standard air tires, increasing the air capacity. Thanks to the extra air, these tires offer better cushioning and are great shock absorbers. These tires are usually only found on your high-end bikes such as the LikeaBike and Early Rider models.
- Rubber Honeycomb tires are fairly new on the market, but are the most versatile. These tires offer the same great traction you get in air tires, without the risk of deflating. These tires are however only found on a small selection of balance bikes.
- Solid Rubber tires are also a new design. These tires have great traction, but offer almost not cushioning, making them less comfortable than air tires. These are great for shorter rides.
Also Read Our “The Different Types of Balance Bike Tyres” Guide.
Handle Bars and Steering
The steering range and height of the handle bars vary between the different balance bikes. Opt for a bike with lower, adjustable handle bars for smaller riders. The grips are also a very important safety feature: a grip with a rubber knob at the end will protect the child’s hands from chafing on walls and also protect the hands from hitting the ground when he falls.
Some balance bikes also feature turning limiters, which prevent sharp turns and keep the bike from jackknifing during a fall, limiting injuries.
Check the bolts and other parts before buying a balance bike. Components will usually either be metal or plastic, of which metal is simply more durable and reliable. Protruding bolts can cause scratches and injuries, so rather opt for a bike with recessed or covered bolts.
You have a wide range of options when it comes to choosing the best balance bike for your child. In the end your main considerations would be durability, comfort and how well the bike suits your child. There are also a couple of other factors to keep in mind such as easy of assembly, the warranty, and safety features too. At the end of the day, as long as you keep all of these things in mind, you really can’t go wrong when selecting the right balance bike for your child.