Best Balance Bikes To Teach Your Child To Ride

best balance bike reviews

Balance bikes are designed to help your child learn balance and confidence before graduating to a bike with pedals.

We’ve looked at 31 balance bikes and covered more than 115 hours of research and testing to create this review which leads us to recommend that the Strider 12 Pro stands out as the best balance bike for kids. This balance bike has loads of useful features and scored the highest with us and our product testing panelists.

Top Pick:

1. Strider 12 Pro Balance Bike

Strider 12 Pro Balance Bike
  • Performance
  • Settings/Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Durability
The Strider 12-Pro receives positive comments in balance bike reviews. This particular model boasts a lightweight aluminum frame making it the lightest Strider toddler bike. It is lighter than the Strider 12-Sport. As far as balance bikes for toddlers the Strider 12-Pro is the most advanced with its goal being for the child to learn and improve balance at a young age. This specialized balance bike provides a safe, easy, and natural transition to a pedal bike later on.

Settings and Features
The Strider 12-Pro comes with a standard seat post best suited for children 18-36 months. It also includes and XL seat post which will extend use to children 36-60 months as long as they do not weight more than sixty pounds. This balance bike for toddlers has an improved padded seat and handlebar pads. The seat height and handlebar height can both be adjusted without the use of tools. Handlebars are toddler sized to improve grip.

Performance
The Strider community has changed the experience of learning to ride a bike for children. These specialized balance bikes relieve the fear of falling. The frustration of learning to pedal is also eliminated.

Pros
The Strider 12-Pro is great for toddlers to learn on
Use as early as eighteen months

Cons
Not suitable for children over sixty pounds
When the seat is completely lowered the bar can get in the way

Ease of Use
The Strider 12-Pro Balance Bike performed well whether the child was walking it or coasting with it. Coordination and balance were both improved for all ages. The balance bike will last a child until they are five years old provided they don’t exceed sixty pounds. The bike is lightweight and easy for parents to transport when traveling. The aluminum frame is durable and will withstand wear and tear produced by a toddler.

Durability
The bike is lightweight and easy for parents to transport when traveling. The aluminum frame is durable and will withstand wear and tear produced by a toddler.

Dimensions
21.8x15x33.2 inches

Ship Weight
8.42 pounds

Warranty
This balance bike comes with a warranty for 12 months.

Specialized balance bikes for toddlers like the Strider 12-Pro offer children as young as eighteen months the ability to improve their coordination and balance. Balance bikes offer a better option than frustrating traditional tricycles. Toddlers do not have to push heavy pedals or fear to fall off a balance bike. This prepares them for more traditional pedal bikes as they get older. The 12-Pro is lightweight and offers extended seat range so children can use it up to age five.

Price: $149
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Why our reviews are trustworthy

I have covered balance bikes here ever since I was considering one of my little boy (I just got him one of our best drones for kids) and we decided to write this review. Since then, we have logged many hours of research and testing (having fun with our kids). We’ve looked at a large number of types of balance bikes to compile this review.

Did you know that the first balance bike was invented in the 19th Century by Karl Drais and was called the “Dandy Horse”.

We always keep up to speed with reviews from other noteworthy companies that also test or review products, such as, Rateitall, Which? and Netmums. Then we do our own testing ourselves and with members of our consumer product testing groups to provide their feedback through our extensive product testing programs.

*This review covers top balance bikes on the market before and since the last time we created this guide.

Our Other Top Picks:

Strider – 12 Sport (Best balance bike for older kids)

 

 

 

Dimension 12″ (Best balance bike for off-road)

 

 

 

Radio Flyer Glide N Go (Best budget balance bike)
 

Who should get this

Anyone who is keen to teach their child how to ride a bike while fostering confidence and independence at the same time.

Most of us learned to ride a bike with the help of stabilizers. With a balance bike this is a thing of the past. Because balance bikes are designed without pedals, the child can focus on the tricky balance and steering, meaning by the time they are ready for a larger bike it’s all second nature already.

Sounds great, but which is the best balance bike for your little one?

Well, to hopefully save you time, stress and maybe a few bucks, I am sharing with you the results of our research and testing.

How we began the selection process

We started by compiling a list of all of the top rated balance bikes for sale in high street stores and online. We then scoured literally, thousands of reviews to be able to bring you the most helpful information on the best balance bikes for toddlers.

There are so many variables to get right:

The materials used, the size and weight, the speed, the type of tire, the versatility and any extra features or accessories. There are many types of balance bike out there, and choosing the right one for your child’s needs is essential to making a winning purchase.

Size and weight, it’s important to consider the height of the seat, the weight and the amount of leg space. Remember, your child will grow and to get the best bang for your buck you’ll need a versatile bike that will grow with your child..

Among balance bike there is some variety in the type of tire. Options available often include pneumatic, rubber, rigid plastic, EVA foam and “Fat Boy”, otherwise known as Big Apple. All have their advantages and disadvantages, for instance pneumatic are generally thought to be the most versatile but are prone to punctures whereas foam tires will never pop but do have some traction issues.

Usability. Balance bikes are designed to be easy to use. The child simply used their feet to propel them along instead of pedaling.

Extra features, these can include back brakes and footrests, although there is some debate about whether these are more of a hindrance than a help. Essential accessories include safety gear such as helmets, elbow and knee pads and of course the good, old bell.

Materials, most balance bikes are constructed from steel or aluminum, however some models are built from wood.

Warranty, most of these products come with a standard one year warranty. However, there are some that  come with extended warranty that will give you some longer extra protection. You can also consider buying extra warranty time for some of the more expensive balance bikes.

Following many days of reading everything from scientific papers, and manufacturers product specifications to consumer reviews (plus one or two heated debates between us all), we were able to get the list down to the top 7 balance bikes we finally selected to be tested.

best balance bike reviews

How we tested them

The job of a good balance bike is to teach your child confidence and balance. This year we tested the balance bikes making sure everyone was protected with a Schwinn Youth Intercept Helmet, we spent a long time testing different balance bikes for ease of turning and sturdiness before we decided on the ones for the tests.

We selected our parents with children from our product testing programs and then sent out the bikes with the helmets for them to test at home, and also got the balance bikes ready for our in-house panelists, including some of our own children (who loved them by the way!).

Once everyone had their balance bikes to test, each panelist started by noting down the build quality, size, materials, features and other basic statistics for them. Then everyone got to work and tried out the bikes on a variety of surfaces, from grass to asphalt. This process was repeated several times for each bike across all of the panelists.

After a couple of weeks the testing phase was up, we had finished testing all the bikes and the panelists scorecards were stacked up ready to be analyzed.  We eagerly awaited the results, so we would know what the ranking order of the top rated balance bike was, and after a couple of days they were ready.

We then looked at the prices and found our preferred picks were not always the more expensive ones. Though, mostly with these products, you tend to get what you pay for.

Other Picks to Consider:

2. Chicco Red Bullet Balance Bike

Price: $43

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If you are looking for the best balance bike for your kids, Chicco red bullet bike could be the best choice for you. This bike helps children to learn how to balance when riding a two wheel bike at a quick rate. The bike has an adjustable seat, and therefore your kid will be able to use it for an extended period. In other words, Chicco is a bike that helps young children to quickly learn how to ride a real bike in a short time.

Pros

Padded saddle seat

Comfortable handle

Price

Cons

Soft tyres

Prone to scratches

Materials

The bike is designed with light materials such that the kids were able to pick it up and carry when it got stuck somewhere while riding. Featuring a frame made of high-grade and durable steel, rubber tyres and aluminum rims.

Features/Extras

The bike has inflatable tires, so you will not need to pump the tires all the time. And also, the bike has handlebars that can be adjusted and great hand grips.

Flexibility

The bike is easy to adjust making it easier to ride the bike comfortably. This is an advantage as the children tended to use the bike for a longer period.

Ease of Riding

The bike helps the child to gain balance without the worry of having to pedal. We found that this helped the children to focus on the balance and pick it up easier.

Durability

The aluminum frame is very durable, as are the puncture-resistant tires.

Dimensions: 23.8 x 10.1 x 6.5 inches

Shipping Weight: 8.3 pounds

Warranty and Support

A warranty can be ordered from the manufacturer’s customer service and is for 12 months.

Conclusion

This bike is suitable for kids who are starting to learn how to ride as it helps them learn how to balance and be able to ride other real bikes quickly. Also, the bike is quite affordable as well.

3. kaZAM v2e

Price: $64

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kaZAM balance bike is a great bike that is designed to train small kids how to balance when riding a bike. The bike is uniquely designed without peddles and therefore the only thing that the kids have to learn using this type of a bike is how to balance. As we all know the difficult part of learning when it comes to riding a real bike is balancing and peddling is quite easy.

So, if your child wants to learn how to ride a bike, consider buying him or her kaZAM balance bike as it will help them learn how to use other bikes. The bike is quite easy to step as it is made with a patented footrest design.

Pros

Comfortable to ride

Easy to assemble

Durable

Cons

Heavy

Materials

This balance bike features a durable, steel frame and puncture resistant foam tires.

Features/Extras

The bike is designed with a patented footrest which makes it easy and comfortable to ride. It is also suitable for kids who are five years old. KaZAM’s footrest is positioned at the place where pedals are placed, and hence this helps the kid to find their center of gravity very easily. The tires of the bike are inflated, and you will not require pumping air anymore hence making it easy to maintain and durable as well.

Flexibility

The bike is designed with an adjustable seat and handlebar, allowing you to adjust it to the size of your child.

Ease of Riding

The bike is extremely easy to use and the footrest provides comfort as well as stability.

Durability

The steel frame is very hard-wearing, as are the puncture-resistant tires.

Dimensions.

Wheel Diameter: 12-inches.

Weight: 8lbs.

Warranty

The bike comes with a guarantee of 12 months, and this guarantees you that the bike is of high quality.

Conclusion

Apart from buying a bike that is easy to balance when riding, you also need a bike that your kids will use for an extended period. Well, the kaZAM v2e is easy to use and durable as well. All around it is one of the top balance bikes to buy.

4. Joovy Bicycoo

Price: $104

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For beginning cyclists who are hoping to ease their way into the bicycle world, this balance bike could be the perfect fit. Unlike many other bicycles that have heavy steel or wooden frames, this bike has a aluminum frame. The aluminum is much more lightweight, but it does not sacrifice anything when it comes to durability. It can easily last for years to come, even with constant use. The tires are also made of good, durable material. They are pneumatic and can be reinflated time and again, so kids do not have to worry about their tires running flat. In addition to the tires being made of such a durable material, the tires are also nearly two and a half inches wide, so they help to provide support for novice riders.

For those who will be learning to bike on bumpy trails or roads, the suspension design of this bicycle can prove to allow for a much smoother ride than many other bikes. The rear brake’s wire is threaded through the body of the bicycle, so unlike many other bikes where the brake wire can often become entangled, you do not have to worry about that inconvenience when riding this Joovy Bicyoo.

Pros

Aluminum frame is lightweight and durable

Tyres are heavy duty

Sleek design won several European awards

Cons

Can seem a little expensive

There is no front hand brake

Materials

Aluminum frame and puncture resistant EVA tires.

Features/Extras

Rear hand brake and footrest for safety and comfort. Free tool kit included.

Flexibility

This balance bike has adjustable handlebars and seat so it grows with your child.

Ease of Riding

This bike is designed with ease of riding in mind. Its lightweight frame is perfect for beginners, and its seat and handlebars are very easy to adjust.

Durability

The aluminum frame is very durable, as are the puncture-resistant tires.

Dimensions

33.5 by 16.25 by 21.5 inches

Shipping Weight

8.75 pounds

Warranty and Support

A warranty can be purchased with the Joovy Bicyoo. The company has unparalleled customer service.

Conclusion

Since the Joovy Bicyoo is designed with children in mind, the most important qualities are its ease of use and its durability. Every precaution has been taken with this bike to ensure that any young child will get several years of enjoyment from it, while at the same time ensuring that each rider is as safe as can be, thanks to the wide tires and the lightweight frame. The only downside to this bike is the price.

5. Scoot 12″ Balance Bike

Price: $199

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The Ridgeback Scoot Balance Bike is a definite step up from the competition. It can be difficult to find the best balance bike since there are so many options on the market. The Scoot approaches the balance bike market from a new angle by being bigger than normal, to fit preschoolers of any age. Like other balance bikes, the Scoot has no pedals to allow children to primarily focus on balance and steering. Unlike other balance bikes, the Scoot has a brake for the rear tire, a safety feature other bikes may not be equipped with.

Pros

Handbrake for the back tire, on the left handlebar

Listed for children 3-6 years old

6” seat adjustment

Extra wide handlebars

A bit heavier than other balance bikes

Available in 6 colors- Red, Blue, Black, Pink, Orange, and Silver

Cons

No place to rest feet while gliding

Materials

The Ridgeback Scoot Balance Bike’s frame is made of 6061 aluminum. Which is an alloy that is commonly with high-quality mechanical properties. The tires are made of rubber with aluminum rims.

Features and Extras

This balance bike comes with two different seat posts, which is what allows the bike to fit a wider range of kids. The bike comes equipped with a fun bell. This bell can be taken on and off the handlebars as necessary. The brake is provided as a hand brake on the left side of the handlebars. The brake is internally routed to connect to the rear wheel.

Flexibility

This bike adapts very well to the inevitable growth of children. There are two seat posts, a taller one and a shorter one. This allows for 6” of adjustment room for the seat alone, from 14” to 20”. The handlebars can be adjusted between 21” and 23”. There is also a third seat post sold separately that extends the seat height to 23”.

Ease of Use

A child uses their feet to move the bike forwards or backward. To go faster, they have to speed up their walk and pick their feet up to glide. The Scoot has an easy to use handbrake on the left-hand side of the handlebars. The brake is styled similar to handbrakes on bicycles.

Durability

The aluminum frame is durable due to the high-quality alloy used. The rubber on the wheels is heavy duty to prevent punctures.

Dimensions

Weight: 11.3 pounds

Wheels: 12” diameter (There is a Scoot XL Balance Bike that has 14” wheels.)

Seat Range: 14” to 20” (23” with the post that is sold separately.)

Handlebar Height Range: 21” to 23”

Age Range: 3-6 years old

Warranty

Lifetime warranty through Tikes Bikes.

Conclusion

The Ridgeback Scoot balance bike stands apart from the rest of the competition. This balance bike can be used for years. With the vast range of adjustability, this bike fulfills the promise of fitting 3 to 6-year-old toddlers. This bike is heavier and built with the characteristics of a normal bike, down to the width of the handlebars. Younger toddlers did not have an issue with mobility despite the weight. Overall, this bike is perfect for any young children, if your happy with the high price tag.

6. Tauki Balance Bike

Price: $68

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A balance bike is a two-wheeled bicycle without pedals that is designed for children 18 months to 5 years old. Finding the best balance bike for a child can be an important step in their development. The Tauki balance bike is free of pedals and training wheels that allow young children to learn steering and balance. They are safer to learn to ride on than a regular bike. Without having to focus on peddling, children can direct all their attention on balancing and steering.

Pros

Heavier than competitors balance bikes, which adds stability

High-quality tires with non-slip treads

Four color options: Pink, blue, lime green, red

Cons

No brakes

Materials

The Tauki balance bike has a frame made of high-grade steel and the tires are pneumatic rubber. It comes with sealed cartridge bearings.

Features and Extras

The customer is only required to attach the seat post and handlebar. The rest of the balance bike comes in one well-connected piece. No pedals, training wheels, or crankset. The balance bike comes with a portable pump for the tires and hardware tools. These tools are specifically for the assembly of the bike.

Flexibility

The handlebars and seat are both adjustable. Customers can purchase a bike for a small child and not need to buy a new one when they grow.

Ease of Use

A balance bike is not complicated. To use, the child simply needs to push to move forward and pick their feet up to glide. The lack of pedals allows for the child to simply focus on balance.

Durability

This bike is durable due to the frame being one piece and steel. The heavier weight of the bike adds to stability.

Dimensions

Weight: 11.02 pounds

Wheels: 12-inch diameter, 2.25 inches wide

Weight Capacity: 55.12 pounds

Seat Range: 12.6 to 15.75 inches

Handlebar Height Range: 19.49 to 20.47 inches

Child Height: 25-34 inches

Child Weight Cap: 55.12 pounds

Measuring

Measure the child’s inseam in inches while they are wearing shoes. Add an inch for seat height.

Warranty

One year limited warranty through Tauki

Conclusion

The Tauki balance bike is high-quality, stable, and perfect for teaching children the basics of biking. The frame is one piece of steel, and the assembly is limited because of the one piece frame. It was super easy to attach the handlebars and seat. The Tauki balance bike is considered a heavier balance bike which means it’s stable and safe. This is a great bike for teaching children under 5 the gist of cycling.

7. Strider ST-2

Price: $134

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Are you planning to introduce your kid to bicycle riding? Well Strider ST2 is one of the best options for a beginner. Strider balance bikes help the child learn how to balance and control a two-wheeled bike hence making them among the best balance bikes.

The bike is suitable for toddlers as they get to find out how to balance and coordinate a bike hence building their confidence and can also help them quickly learn how to ride a standard bicycle. Why? The tricky part when learning how to ride a bike involves knowing how to balance and coordinate, therefore if you teach your kid how to do these things at an early age, they will not have difficulties riding other bicycles as peddling is quite easy.

Pros

Designed in a lightweight steel

Low center of gravity

Cons

Handlebar grips, are prone to wear and tear.

Materials

The bikes are made with durable welded steel frame and handlebars. The tires are also puncture-proof all terrain tires which have sealed bearings and a 5/16 inch steel axles.

Features

The bike has launch pad footrests useful for grinding and learning advanced riding skills. The bike is also designed in lightweight hence making it easy for toddlers to balance.

Flexibility

The handlebar and the seats of the bikes are adjustable to fit the riders who have a height of 33 to 40 inches. The saddle can be adjusted from 11 to 16 inches from the ground. Therefore if you are looking for a bike that will offer your kid comfort while riding then buy Strider ST2

Ease of Use

The bike has adjustable handlebar and saddle which makes the kid to be comfortable and learn how to use the bike without difficulties.

Durability

The bike is made with welded steel frames and handlebar that makes it durable. Also, the tires are puncture proof.

Dimensions

Weight: The bike weighs less than 7 pounds.

Warranty and Support

The bike comes with a one year warranty against the manufacturing defects.

Conclusion

Well, from the above listed balance bike reviews, we can say that this is one of the best balance bike that every parent must consider buying their kids as a starter bike. The bike is equipped with all the best features that guarantee your child security and ease to learn as well.

Balance Bikes – A Buyer’s Guide

While there are certainly a lot of balance bikes for toddlers and older children, choosing the best balance bikes among them is not exactly easy to do. You can spend hours reading through balance bike reviews online, and still not get the full weight of all of your options regarding size, general features and overall quality.

There are a total of 11 things to really consider when choosing a balance bike for your child:

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Geometry
  • Types of Tires
  • Types of Brakes
  • Turning Limitations
  • Foot Rests
  • Bearing Options
  • Frame Composition
  • Grip Options
  • Bolt Options

Size Choices

This is the single most important factor to consider when you are choosing the right bike for your child. Don’t’ be fooled by the one-size-fits-all mentality that suggests that any make and model of balance bike is ideal for any age/size of child. Consider the fact that there are 18 month olds that are looking to learn to ride a bike, and school children learning the art of balance. Both of these children could not use the same bike, it just isn’t practical. To help you better understand your options here, you should consider these two focal points: size of tires and height of the seat.

Tire Size – the most common choice that you will see for balance bikes is the 12” tire. You will find that for larger preschoolers and grade school children, you might consider your larger options like the 14” or 16” tires. You should be aware that tires can go down to even 10”, but your child is likely going to outgrow this size quite quickly.

Seat Height – While you might look to the size of the tire to determine the general look of the bike regarding its size, the real test is going to be the adjustable height of the seat. You might find that there are some bikes that simply do not allow your child to ride them comfortably for one reason or another. Essentially, you are looking for a seat that can adjust to around an inch below the inseam measurement of your child. This will allow him/her to place their feet on the ground and push off, as well as be seated in a comfortable position on the balance bike.

Getting A Good Measurement – You might think that taking a measurement should be easy to do, but this trick should take all stress out of the equation. Place your child with their back against the wall. Have them squeeze a book in between their legs and move it up until it is against their crotch. After leveling the book, measure the distance between the top of the book to the floor.

Heaviness/Weight – You have to consider the weight of the balance bikes that you are choosing because if your child isn’t able to maneuver it easily, it isn’t going to be a helpful thing for them to have. A good rule of thumb is to not exceed 3/10 of your child’s weight. You should keep this in mind about bikes with all of the bells and whistles too, as they are going to be heavier than simpler models. You can have all of the features without all of the weight, but this custom creation is going to be costly.

You should put a high premium on the weight of the bike that you are choosing, even if that means that you have to consider omitting some possible features on a new balance bike. You should adhere to the 3/10 rule, as this will provide your child with a bike that they can easily maneuver and move around with.

Geometry/ Design – Through the various stages of using balance bikes, children have to be able to run and glide with the bike. Many models though, have a design flaw that significantly limits the amount of space in between the handlebars and the seat. This leaves little space for running in between these two points. When looking for a well-designed model of balance bike, you should look for something with adequate space in between the seat and the handlebars.

You might also consider the look and functionality of the seat position. A higher seat (large space in between the seat and the rear tire) makes the bike more difficult for new riders to control.

Tire Options – You have to think of the tires as the thing that determines the way any balance bike is going to function and ride. Another factor to consider when you start thinking about tires is the traction that you are hoping for on various surfaces. There are give primary types of balance bike tires that you can choose from:

  • Air

These are deemed to most as the best all-around tire option that exists for this kind of bike. While you have different tread options that you can choose from, mostly any tread with this kind of tire will be sufficient for its purpose. All terrain surfaces are best tackled with knobby treads. You should invest in some tire sealant, as air tires are prone to punctures and leaks.

In terms of added weight, the air tires will likely add three or four pounds to the overall weight of the balance bike. While this makes the bike heavier, this is often worth it for the smoothness and comfort of the ride that you get.

  • EVA Foam

You will find that this tire option can save you money, weighs less and cannot go flat. While they are often as common as you will see air tires, they have a couple of drawbacks. They provide little comfort and even less traction. While they are often sufficient enough for pavement riding, they tend to lose traction on nearly every other kind of terrain balance bikes might go on.

  • Rubber Tires

Puncture proof tires certainly sound nice. While the foam tires are also puncture proof, these rubber options offer a slightly better tire in regards to shock absorbing (honeycomb design) and traction. These are not very common to see however, and still pale in comparison to the air tires.

  • Hard Plastic

While these tires are the lightest of all the kinds of tires labeled here, they are also likely the worst in terms of overall quality. There is little to no traction available with these tires on any surface, they offer zero cushioning, and are only recommended for use indoors.

  • Big Apple Tires

Big Apple tires (also called Fat Boy tires) are air tires with a wide profile. This design offers better cushioning and traction, which makes it suitable for more advanced riders looking to do tricks and jumps with their balance bike.

Brake Options

For any kids balance bike, the primary stopping power is going to come from the feet of the rider. Now, there are features that include hand brakes. This helps to save some of the soles of the shoes the rider wears, and helps to prepare the rider for riding a normal bike in the future. It is suggested that a child has the appropriate hand/eye coordination for hand brakes when they are 3 ½ years old.

Once they have learned this skill, it isn’t something that needs to be taught when they move from a balance bike to a regular bike later on. While you might not want a toddler using a hand brake to get stopped, it might be a worthwhile investment if you intend him/her to use the specialized balance bike you have purchased for several years to come.

The general design of these hand brakes will vary from one bike model to the next. Higher end options often have brakes that are easier to use, while lower end models have brakes that require small hands to stretch far to make use of the brakes. A good way to test the effectiveness of the brakes is to attempt to apply the brakes with your pinky finger.

This will simulate the strength of a small child. Whatever ease or struggle you find with this test is relative to the ease or struggle your child will have when using it. To increase safety all around, you should run all the brakes to the rear tire and have them used with the right hand.

Turning Limitations

Turning limiters are loved and hated, depending on the person you are asking. Basically, this feature prevents a set of handlebars from making full rotations. This limits the tangling of brake lines and keeps the balance bike from making too sharp of turns.

While some people feel that this functionality could limit a child learning how to properly steer a regular bike, it certainly shouldn’t be a make or break for your decisions regarding a model. You should typically avoid highly limited models that greatly reduced the turning radius, and perhaps opt for an elastic limiter which has a light correction funtion and can later be removed for regular bike functionality.

Foot Rests

You will find that the majority of balance bikes do not have foot rests simply because it isn’t necessary to have them. While there are instances in which a child might benefit from having them, foot rests more often provide a distraction to the purpose of the balance bike. Instead of being concerned about learning to balance themselves and properly steer, footrests often encourage a child to focus more on the placement of their feet.

The bulk of footrests that exist are a hindrance and poorly designed. They often interfere with the footwork of the child, and results in them hitting the foot rest multiple times. A well designed footrest allows a child to support their heels, and keeps the rest out of the stride of a child’s feet when on the ground.

Bearing Options

Most people aren’t thinking about bearings when they are purchasing a balance bike for their children, but it is something you should consider. This determines the smoothness and speed of the tire on the axles. Sealed bearings block debris and water from getting inside, resulting in a smoother ride for a longer time. While these bikes are easier to use for your child, sealed bearings are often deemed a premium feature. To get a bike with them, you are going to pay a little more.

A balance bike model might say it has a sealed hub. This means that it also has sealed bearings.

Composition/Bike Frame Materials

There are all kinds of materials that could make up various balance bikes for kids. The most common of the options is metal, but there are also wood and composite frames as well. Aluminum is among the best possible materials to choose from, and wood could be the worst possible choice. Composite isn’t a bad choice, but after a while it tends to flex under the weight of growing children.

Metal bikes are typically alloys of aluminum or steel. Aluminum tends to be a choice in the higher end balance bikes, while steel is a material more common to the cheaper models. Steel tends to be heavier and rust-prone, while aluminum is generally very light weight and unlikely to rust. Be mindful that unless it is specifically stated that it is aluminum, a metal bike will be steel.

Wooden balance bike options are eco-friendly but have a lot less options than metal bikes. The more expensive wood bikes might last several years with the proper care, but the lower end options are very prone to quickly falling apart.

Composite frames are comprised of a glass fiber and nylon composite which offers a very light frame with the ability to handle heavy weights. The composite frame will not rust, but it might bend/flex with a larger rider. Typically a rider will have moved on to a regular bike before the flexing on a composite balance bike gets noticeable.

Grip Options

You might not think that grips are all that significant of a choice to make when it comes to choosing a bike for your child, but this is a major safety feature to consider. Rubber grips with the knobbed ends protect a child’s hands from walls, trees and the like. It will also protect their hands should the bike fall over. While all bikes will be sold with grips, not all of them are sold with grips featuring bumpers. These protect your child and should be an easy choice for you to make.

Bolt Options (Recessed, Rounded and Covered)

You should consider your options regarding investing a little more in specialized balance bike offering covered and recessed bolts. These are often rounded off as well. You will find that exposed bolts, although the most common of the options available to you, are often a cause of injury to your children when they begin to become scratched from use.

Sources:

1 Look ma, no pedals! Balance bikes hit Canada The Globe And Mail – Jan 17th 2018

2 South Dakota man sells training bikes for tykes Bloomberg Business Week – Dec 29th 2017

3 Teaching Kids To Ride Sheldon Brown – Feb 7th 2018

4 Brimstone and Bicycles New Scientist – Dec 17th 2017

5 Karl Drais in Baden-Baden Hans-Erhard Lessing – Jan 29th 2018

6 Bicycle tires – puncturing the myths BikeRadar – Nov 18th 2017

7 Round Up: Grips and bar ends CycleScheme – Feb 9th 2018

8 Cornering on a Bicycle; Master centrifugal force on curves Adventure Cyclist – Feb 24th 2018