LAST UPDATED: October 5, 2019
Best Balance Bikes: Learn to Ride In Style
Learn to balance more efficiently with these fun and unique balance bikes
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON October 5, 2019
A balance bike is designed to teach children how to ride a bicycle without training wheels and pedals. They use their feet to push along the bike. They are lightweight, compact, and easy to move. If you’re a parent who likes biking, a balance bike allows you to ride next to your kid while he or she scoots alongside you. Here are the best balance bikes to consider for your active child.
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Benefits of Balance Bikes
- Balance. The main benefit of balance bikes is that they teach children to balance on two wheels, which is the first step of learning to ride a pedal bike. Once they master riding a balance bike, children can learn how to use a hand brake and skip training wheels altogether.
- Confidence. Another great thing about balance bikes is that they boost children's confidence. Because they learn to balance on two wheels all on their own, children feel more confident about cycling without support.
- Safety. Balance bikes are very safe and allow children to learn how to balance without tipping over. They are much more stable than tricycles and other similar options. Because balance bikes don't have pedals, kids can focus on keeping the balance and avoid countless falls.
- Outdoor play. Balance bikes also promote outdoor play. They keep children occupied for hours, allowing them to cycle in the backyard and learn new things. With them, children are less interested in digital distractions and spend more time being physically active.
Types of Balance Bikes
Balance bikes differ according to the material used for frame construction. The first ones were made of wood and mostly used as toys. These days, they are designed to provide safety and stability, teaching children to balance before getting on a pedal bike.
The main benefit of this type is the extra stability they provide because of the heavy frame. Parents also love how modern wooden balance bikes look. However, they are more challenging to carry and prone to weather damage.
This type refers to balance bikes with aluminum or steel frames. Both materials provide excellent durability because they are sturdy and don't wear out quickly. They also ensure comfort and stability during every ride. However, steel frames are heavier and sturdier than aluminum ones. The former type is lightweight and easier to carry around.
Although made of plastic, these are also incredibly durable. The main benefit is the lightweight design. Plastic frames are sturdy yet lightweight, making balance bikes easy to transport and store. Also, they are easy to assemble and even children can lift them on their own.
Strider was founded in 2007 and is located in Rapid City, South Dakota. The company designs first-class bikes for children of all ages. It strives to provide comfortable rides with all-terrain bikes that can suit a wide range of preferences. The Strider Sport Balance Bike is our top pick when it comes to balance bikes.
Retrospec is a popular company based in Los Angeles. Because it has an innovative team passionate about outdoor adventures, Retrospec prides itself with an impressive collection of outdoor gear. It produces everything from children's bikes to foam rollers and goggles. The Retrospec Cub Kids Balance is one of the company's most popular products on the market.
Schwinn was founded in 1895 in Chicago. It all started when German-born mechanical engineer Ignaz Schwinn traveled to the United States to pursue his dreams. After the first series of Schwinn bicycles, the company quickly gained immense popularity and has remained well-rated among customers ever since. The Schwinn Balance Bike is one of the top solutions for children who are still learning to cycle.
Balance Bikes Pricing
- $40-$70: At this price point, you can find small balance bikes for toddlers and lightweight ones for older children. Budget-friendly products might be more prone to damage and less durable, but they are still stable, safe, and beneficial.
- $70 and up: For some extra cash, you can get balance bikes that are suitable for children of different ages and built to last. They mostly have adjustable seats for growing children, sturdier frames, and puncture-proof wheels.
The first thing to consider is the overall weight of the balance bike. It should not be more than 30 percent of your child's weight. For example, if your child weighs 30 pounds, a balance bike can weigh 9 pounds or less. It's a safety concern, so surebe to calculate the weight correctly. Also, lightweight balance bikes are easier to master, handle, and carry.
You’ll also want to consider the seat height before the purchase. It's essential to choose the correct size of a balance bike, so a child can learn how to balance correctly. A bike that’s the wrong size can be dangerous to ride and might frustrate little ones who are trying to learn a new skill.
To get a proper bike that ensures safety and ease of use, measure your child's inseam. Pick a balance bike that has a seat in the same height, so your child can reach the ground and slightly bend the knees. A seat should be one inch lower than the child's inseam, and preferably, have an adjustable feature. This way, you can move the seat up as your child grows.
Balance bikes come with wheels in a wide range of sizes. Wheels can have from 10 to 14 inches and more. There are even some types that measure up to 20 inches, and they are designed for older children.
A 12-inch balance bike is the most common, suiting children who are 24 to 36 months old. If you want to teach your toddler how to balance, the one that measures 10 inches would be a better fit. On the other hand, wheels that measure 14 inches are perfect for older children.
Balance bike tires come in five different types, so you can choose a perfect one according to your preferences. EVA tires have a hard rubber foam, which means they are puncture-proof, durable, and lightweight. On the other hand, air tires are quite heavy and prone to damage. They do, however, allow for excellent traction and absorb bumps better than foam.
Big Apple tires are wide and large, providing more cushioning and comfort. They are very efficient and durable. Rubber Honeycomb tires are the most versatile ones. They provide great traction and prove to be very durable. Solid rubber tires also offer excellent traction but have no cushioning, which means they are less comfortable.
- Footrest. Footrests on balance bikes are handy but not necessary. Children who are learning to balance instinctively know when and how to lift their feet. They don't need footrests, especially because they get in the way during rides. Still, if you think your child should have a footrest, make sure to pick the one that is properly positioned.
- Assembly. Balance bikes should be easy to assemble. They should come with clear instructions and all the necessary tools and accessories, so all parents can put them together in a matter of minutes. Quality balance bikes come with all you need for assembly and don’t require professional help.
Best Balance Bikes Reviews & Recommendations 2020
Strider offers a versatile balance bike to help your child learn how to cycle. With the adjustable seat and handlebar, the model is suitable for children who are from 18 months to 5 years old. That means the bike has an inseam of 12 to 20 inches and can follow the growth of your child.
The bike weighs 6.7 pounds and features a heavy-duty steel frame. The material is sturdy and incredibly durable, so your little one will certainly ride the bike for many years. Furthermore, it has puncture-proof tires and built-in footrests, just in case.
All in all, this is a quality balance bike that has much to offer in terms of quality and support. The mini grips allow for a firm grip and great control. They are also very comfortable for little hands and ensure enjoyable rides.
The only drawback to a reliable steel frame is the weight. The bike is quite heavy, and it might be challenging for children to pick it up when necessary. Also, the plastic tires are lightweight and grip the surface well, but they are not as durable as rubber ones. You might need to replace them now and then.
If you're looking for a budget-friendly yet stylish balance bike for your little one to practice cycling, Retrospec might be an excellent option. This model is suitable for children who are from 20 months to 5 years old and ensures excellent stability and enjoyable rides.
The bike has a sturdy and durable frame, yet it's quite lightweight. Children can easily get on and off the bike and pick it up on their own. The materials are maintenance-free, and the parts are super easy to assemble. Additionally, the seat and handles are adjustable, so your child can ride the bike for several years. All in all, the bike improves balance and boosts confidence. Along with being safe and easy to ride, it's also very stylish. Your little one can choose one from five designs and enjoy rides even more.
One thing to keep in mind with this bike is that the tires are made of foam. They are prone to damage and might wear quickly on asphalt or get punctured on rough terrains. Another issue you might have is with the seat and handles. They are difficult to align, and the handles tend to stay higher than the seat, which proves to be a little uncomfortable.
Schwinn is a reliable company that has a lot to offer to its customers. Here, we have a high-quality balance bike made for children who are 2 to 4 years old. With durable construction and stylish design, the Schwinn balance bike proves to be one of the best choices on the market.
The thing that makes this model special is a strong steel frame and 12-inch air-filled tires. The quality frame makes the bike highly durable, and the robust tires allow for better control and mobility. A low center of gravity also ensures easy handling.
The bike is fairly lightweight and has an adjustable seat and handlebars. Parents love how portable and easy to store it is. The chrome finish over the handlebar is also a nice touch because it prevents scratches and rusting. As if that isn't enough, the bike comes in a variety of colors, so your little one can choose a perfect model.
However, the assembly part might be a little challenging. Although the parts are easy to put together, the included instructions are rather vague. The other two minor gripes are the thin padding on the handlebar and the overall quality of the rubber grips. They might loosen a bit over time.
This is another stylish and reliable model that accommodates children who are up to 5 years old. The KaZAM balance bike is ideal for little ones learning to cycle, especially those who lack confidence. With a step-in footrest, the bike is safe, follows growing children, and meets all their needs.
The best thing about this balance bike is a sturdy and stylish design. First of all, the item features a durable frame that can withstand quite some abuse and still last. Secondly, the bike comes in three cool colors for all children's preferences.
When it comes to the parents, they love the adjustable seat and handlebar. The quality materials are low-maintenance and the bike is easy to assemble. Overall, the KaZAM balance bike provides a lot of features to keep kids comfortable and ensure safety during rides.
However, keep in mind that this bike might be too large for younger children. Some parents complained about it being unsuitable for one-year-olds, so make sure to take the inseam measurement correctly. When it comes to the construction, the only drawback regards plastic wheels that are prone to damage and wear quickly.
Bixe offers a unique balance bike that weighs only about 4 pounds. It's a quality model that features an all-aluminum frame and foam tires for ultimate control and comfort during rides. With it, your little one will glide over different surfaces and learn to balance in a breeze.
The bike has an adjustable seat that goes from 11 to 17 inches in height. The handlebars also extend from 20 to 24 inches. That ensures your little one can ride the balance bike for many years and have fun and practice before getting on a real one. Furthermore, the bike is safe, secure, and easy to handle. The assembling part is quick and simple, and the only tool you need is the wrench included in the package.
The bike does have a couple of drawbacks, though. Firstly, the seat lacks cushioning. It's a little uncomfortable and you might need to buy a seat cover separately. Secondly, the footrest is in an awkward position and gets in the way during rides. That might require more effort during certain maneuvers and cause your child to lose patience.
The Yvolution bike is designed for little ones who need help with learning how to cycle. It's a stylish item that accommodates children who are from 18 months to 4 years old. It helps them develop motor skills, coordination, and boost their confidence. Overall, it's a great bike that comes in four fashionable colors.
The Y Velo Yunior is a unique bike that allows children to ride with two wheels before switching to a single one. The wheels are easy to put together in a single one, so you can switch between modes whenever necessary. Another great thing about the bike is that it features an aluminum frame. It proves to be sturdy and lightweight at the same time, providing excellent stability and control. Additionally, the seat adjusts from 11 to 14.17 inches to suit growing children.
However, it seems that the bike is too large and heavy for younger children. Those who are 1 to 3 years old might find it challenging to push or pick up the bike on their own. The seat is also somewhat hard. It lacks cushioning and might be uncomfortable for extended use.
The Gomo balance bike is designed for children of different ages and proves to be very safe and comfortable. It accommodates little ones who are from 18 months to 5 years old, ensuring enjoyable rides and easy balance learning. With the capacity of 60 pounds and an adjustable seat that goes from 12 to 17.5 inches, the bike is just perfect for children learning to cycle.
Overall, the seat has quite some features to offer to the little riders. First of all, it has a turn limiter for more steering control. Secondly, there's a convenient footrest for more fun during the first foot-free ride. Additionally, the bike has a steel frame, yet it weighs only 6.4 pounds. That means it's easy to handle and maneuver as well as highly durable. Still, the company stands behind its products and offers a two-year warranty just in case you run into any issues.
The main drawback of this bike is that it has hard plastic tires. They are incredibly slippery and your child might fall while riding over some surfaces. You'll have to pick the terrain carefully. Some buyers also complained about the design of the handlebar. It twists and won't stay fixed all the time, so it might require some modifications and DIY work.
Last but not least, Glide Bikes offers a quality bike built for older children. With a 16-inch wheel, the model is ideal for children who are 5 years old and up. Overall, the Glide bike is built to ensure safety during every ride, build skills, and provide more confidence.
The bike features a seat and handlebars that are easy to move up and down, according to your child's needs. There's even a hand brake to give your child more control and a kickstand to keep the bike in an upright position. It's also important to mention a steel alloy frame and air-filled tires. These parts make the bike extremely lightweight as well as durable.
Still, there are a couple of drawbacks to keep in mind. For example, the bike might be a little difficult to assemble. Some of the parts might give you some extra trouble. Also, the kickstand is not the best quality, and the seat needs more cushioning. You might need to buy a seat cover to make the bike more comfortable for your child.
- Always ensure your child wears a helmet when riding a bike. They should also wear elbow and knee pads for extra safety.
- Keep a close eye on your child when he or she is riding the balance bike. While it may be considered a training bike, it can still be dangerous and a child can get hurt.
- Balance bikes come in a variety of colors and styles. You can more than likely find one that is your child’s favorite color to make them happier.
Q: How do I know what size bike I need?
A: Measure your child’s height and match it to the bike manufacturer’s guide to see what it recommends. For the best results, measure your child’s inseam. Measure from the ground to the seam of his or her pants to get the exact height for the bike.
Q: How do I take care of a balance bike?
A: Make sure you properly maintain the balance bike to keep it safe for your child. Check the adjustable seat and handlebars, and wipe away any debris. Routinely check to make sure all of the bolts are tightened. Also, for tires with air pressure, make sure they have enough air in them.
Q: Do balance bikes have to be assembled?
A: You may have to do some sort of assembly when it arrives. However, many come pre-assembled or have the handlebars already constructed. If you have trouble, you can consult the internet for guidance or take the bike to the nearest bike shop.
To help teach your child how to ride and balance on a bike, consider the comfortable and sturdy Strider Sport Balance Bike.
Or you may like the budget-friendly Retrospec Cub Kids Balance, which comes in different colors and offers excellent control for growing children.