Though a hand brake isn’t of much use (and indeed we’ve even found it to be an occasional hindrance) to a beginner-level balance biker, once a child gets the coordination and the basics of “striding” down, a kid-size hand brake does become a desirable safety option. You learn the balance, then you add brakes, and then pedals.”, In his 2004 book Bicycling Science, MIT engineering professor David Gordon Wilson wrote: “It’s hard to see how training wheels can inculcate any of the desired balancing habits, unless they are off the ground.” Instead, he suggested “the commonsense idea of having those learning to ride a bicycle adjust the bicycle’s seat low enough to plant their feet on the ground and practice by coasting down gentle, grassy slopes.”, John Bradley, former editor in chief of VeloNews, phone interview, August 25, 2017, Watts Dixon, owner of Revolution Cycles, columnist for Dirt Rag, and father, phone interview, August 26, 2017, Ryan McFarland, president of Strider Bikes, phone and email interviews, August 30, 2017, Katie Bruce, director of marketing and communications for the National Sporting Goods Association, email interviews, September 27, 2017, Toby Hill, managing editor of Bicycle Retailer, phone and email interviews, September 27, 2017, Ivan M. Altinbasak, owner of WeeBikeShop, email interviews, November 7, 2017, by Eric C. Evarts, Rik Paul, and Jack Smith. If our top pick is sold out, or if you want the cushioning and traction of rubber tires, particularly for indoor riding, REI’s Co-op Cycles REV 12 Kids’ Balance Bike is an excellent choice. (It’s also hard to find in the US.). We’ll continue to monitor the situation, an ingenious system that allows you to flip the midpoint of the frame, utilize its 50 percent credit trade-up program, owner of Revolution Cycles, columnist for Dirt Rag, and father, director of marketing and communications for the National Sporting Goods Association, The Best Bike Racks and Carriers for Cars and Trucks, The Best Bike Racks for Small Homes and Apartments. We’ll continue to monitor the situation. A nicely narrow Q factor—the distance between the cranks—keeps a child's legs from splaying out while on the pedal and allows them to generate power more easily. Wood frames and steel frames tend to be heavier than plastic and aluminum frames. Critical Cycles Cub No-Pedal Balance Bike eliminates the hassles of constant maintenance and stays faithful to its vision of being safer, smarter and easier. The pedal assembly arrives in a box that advises parents not to open it until your child is ready to pedal. It’s readily available from and highly reviewed on Amazon. I also emailed with Ivan Altinbasak of WeeBikeShop and Woom’s Dave Norris. Balance bike. So how does the Banana Bike compare? Once kids have mastered striding, it’s time to attach the pedal setup, which like everything else Strider, is extremely clever. To maximize the chances that your kid will come to enjoy balance biking, Strider’s McFarland, bike guru John Bradley, and fellow Wirecutter editors recommend the following. And rest assured that the balance bike is actually better than training wheels for teaching your child to ride a bike! A properly fitted balance bike can enable children to balance on two wheels even as young as 18 months and is a fun first step toward learning to ride a bike. TOP CHOICE: There are many great options out there, but my ultimate top pick is the Strider 12 Sport balance bike. They also offer the opportunity to engage in non-weight-bearing, cardiovascular exercise. The basic, skateboard-style cartridge bearings also worked fine as soon we loosened the axle nuts slightly. Balance biking gives small children the chance to build the coordination, balance, leg musculature, and confidence that they’ll need for pedal biking. While its air tires, alloy wheels, and standard ball-bearing headset make it, at 9 pounds, heavier than the Strider Sport, the REV 12 also features thoughtful kid-specific design elements like a low top tube (same as the Strider 12 Sport at 8 inches) and a seat height that is adjustable by 5 inches, which while still good is 4 inches fewer than the Strider. For our testing subjects, we enlisted our friend’s adventurous little kids, including 2-year-old Elle, 6-year-old Luke, and 7-year-old Fleet here in Charleston, South Carolina. Once they can balance, they learn to use a hand brake and, finally, learn to pedal, skipping training wheels altogether. This is an important safety feature for hilly terrain, but we’d love to see a hand brake option. They also host balance bike races for children and create bikes for people with special needs. 5 out of 5 stars with 621 reviews. It isn’t the lightest balance bike on the market, but at just 6.7 pounds, it should be light enough for even a toddler to control. Their knees should be at a nice bend in order to properly use the bike. Fantasía por fuera y casi vacío adentro. Strider Sport 14" Kids' Balance Bike. That’s why they land on our lists of the Best Gifts for 3 Year Old Boys and the Best Gifts for 4 Year Old Boys. It can stand up against the weather, and it is very lightweight. Thus, the Strider wins over the Banana Bike LT Balance Bike and remains the undefeated best balance bike. Why? Foam: Won’t go flat, but don’t have as much traction or cushion as air-filled tires. Many kids need a little encouragement (and flat, paved terrain) to get into balance biking. Final assembly consisted of fitting a couple of nylon bushings that comprised its super-tough and simple steering headset, then tightening the quick-release levers that raise and lower the seat and handlebars. If you prefer a more traditional bike, check out our list of best tricycles. But the rear drum-style hand brake didn’t work well and weighed the bike down unnecessarily. For some children, they can start riding a baby/toddler balance bike around 9 months of age. After all this—and after consulting with fellow parents and industry professionals—we’re judging the Strider 12 Sport as the best balance bike for most kids (and their parents). Tires typically range from 10 inches to 16 inches in diameter. Depending on what age your child is, and how you plan to use the balance bike, you may have different priorities. Strider 12 classic no-pedal balance bike. With a background in safety and health, I am very safety-conscious, especially when it comes to products for my child! An included Allen wrench removes the single Allen bolt that secures the footrest. You can get your kid started with balance biking as young as 15 months with a light bike with a low seat so they can simply sit, hold the handlebars, and walk around. Final Thoughts Suitable for kids between the 18 months and 5 years old age range, this lightweight bike is easy to adjust and handle.. Tricycles and other bikes can be helpful for pedaling but not necessarily for balancing. And while the Rev 12 is relatively light, it’s not as light or easy to heft as the Strider, particularly its front half (owing to its heavier headset and wheels), and kids will be lifting by the handlebars to shuffle it into position. These Fred Flintstone-powered criteriums were, not surprisingly, the brainchild of Strider founder and avid motocrosser Ryan McFarland. The Bixe 16″ Pro Balance Bike is a great lightweight choice for older kids who are not yet ready to ride a traditional bike or just want to have some fun on a balance bike. Should they need encouragement or help, simply walk alongside them or give a gentle hold onto the back of their shirt. Cruzee claim the OvO is 'the lightest balance bike in the world'. They weigh nearly the same, with the Strider being a wee bit heavier. But feature-wise, you’ll get more for your money from Co-op. I’m a lifelong mountain biker who raced, put on races, and worked as a bike mechanic during my college days in Athens, Georgia, and wrote about road and mountain bikes and bike racing for VeloNews, Bike, and The New York Times (parent company of Wirecutter) early in my three-decade journalism career. So here’s where the Strider strides far ahead: it has footrests and it has way more adjustability options. The foam tires were quite slippery. It features the same, simple nylon headset assembly as the 12 Sport, but because the handlebar itself is curved, its angles are thus adjustable like the bars on a BMX bike. I also spoke to Toby Hill, who was then the managing editor at Bicycle Retailer magazine, to get an idea of where the kids bike market was headed—and got additional wisdom on the topic from Marissa Guyduy, a spokesperson with the NPD Group, a consumer research organization, and Katie Bruce, then the director of marketing and communications for the National Sporting Goods Association. The seat also has a neat little “grab handle” at the back for when the grown-ups need to give it a lift. This can mean striding for a few years. Shop the baddest balance bike on the block. With most bikes around this price, you’ll likely compromise on weight, component quality, ease of assembly, and/or geometry. Like the Strider, the REV 12 also lacks a rear brake, but unlike Strider they don’t offer a rear brake option. Cub balance bike helps your tiny cyclist learn without the training wheels. In case, if you’re in hurry this is the Best Balance Bike for Kids on Amazon. Along with the also impressive but more expensive LittleBig 3-in-1, the Strider 14x Sport comprises half of a tiny market in 14-inch bikes that easily convert from a balance bike to a no-compromises first pedal bike. The wide, air-filled tires make balancing easy. They both have a padded seat and foam tires. Pint-size cyclists are able to zip, cruise, and coast without any nasty falls. Its short, 76 mm crank arms and high gear ratio translate to a lack of top speed that you’d find on, say, a bigger BMX bike. “What they have learned [pedaling] will not serve them when they need to balance,” he said. We are mom-supported. They both have a padded seat and foam tires. In that case, any balance bike should do well to suit your needs. Because the training-wheeled bike was so tall, I ditched the training wheels and removed the seatpost, taping the seat to the top tube so Fritz’s feet could rest on the ground. A good balance bike helps little kids develop the coordination and confidence they’ll need to ride a pedal bike—things they won’t get with training wheels. Unless they’ve started out with a ride-on toy car or scooter or push trike they may not pick up the bike and just go. Like many engineering entrepreneurs, McFarland has fanatically followed the behaviors and traits of his consumers—in this case, parents and kids from toddlers to second graders to special-needs kids of all ages, for whom he’s built larger balance bikes. This was the first balance bike I had ever seen with my own eyes. The Strider 12 Sport’s functional design carries over into its very lightweight plastic wheels and foam rubber tires that never need inflating. We break down which is best here. If our top pick is sold out, or if you want the cushioning and traction of rubber tires, particularly for indoor riding or bumpy surfaces, the REI Co-op Cycles REV 12 Kids’ Balance Bike is an excellent choice. As far as geometry and weight, the 14x Sport is meant for older kids, from the late 3s up to 6 or 7. 1 Strider Sport Balance Bike 2 Retrospec Cub Kids Balance Bike 3 Banana Bike Lightweight Balance Bike 4 Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike ... For us, this sturdy and versatile balance bike by Strider is simply the best of the bunch. In addition to being light, it features a very low step-through height—the height of its main, or top, tube—of 8 inches. The Cub has a seat range of 12.5″ to 16″ is suitable for kids in 24-month to 3T pants. The Strider 12 Sport balance bike is my overall top pick because it is suitable for a wide range of ages, is relatively lightweight, and is one of the only bikes to include a handlebar pad for added protection. After 30-plus hours of research and testing, we think the Delta Cycle Michelangelo Gravity Stand is the best bike rack for storing bikes in limited-space homes. The tire valve stems also feature child-resistant valve caps—which you push down to turn like a child-safe lid on a bottle of pills—to keep your toddling tyke from mistaking them for raisins. More than a good balance bike, it’s an ideal bike for learning the pedal basics. Ideally, it is best for a child’s bike to weigh no more than 30% of their weight. Note: You may also see wide air-filled tires. After spending 30 hours testing 13 pedal bikes, we’ve picked the fun, no-fuss, Co-op Cycles REV 16 Kids’ Bike as the best first pedal bike for most kids. The Strider 12 Sport is also reasonably priced for all that it offers. If you’re buying a balance bike for a toddler, look for tires on the lower range (10 or 12 inches). Schwinn Balance Toddler Bikes, 12-Inch Wheels, Beginner Rider Training, Multiple Colors 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,945. These wider tires help make balancing even easier. Pneumatic tires have tubes in them and copy the same design that you find on adult bicycles. The standout feature of the Cruzee is the weight. Experts told us it’s not worth it. And stay off the hills until the child is a solid glider and knows how to put their feet down to stop and/or operate their hand brake. English (US) Trek’s Kickster offers similar features and geometry as the Strider 12 Sport, but costs more. Bradley is fanatical about riding with Max and observing his young cycling habits with the eye of a scientist. This made it the third-lowest of our test bikes and well-suited for a 2-year-old. We looked at 20 bikes in the under-$100 price range and decided that the best budget bikes for most kids is the steel-framed Banana Bike LT V2. It’s available in two colors: pink or blue. Cheaper balance bikes can make fabulous gifts. Giant’s Pre is on a par in most respects with the Co-op REV 12, including the price, but it’s available only in bike shops, making it harder to find. They are an alternative to bikes with training wheels, and some are recommended for kids as young as 18 months old. You can also get a cheaper version of this bike – the Strider 12 Classic – which will last only until about 3 years of age. While our younger tots gravitated toward the Strider and its narrower handlebars, our bigger testers liked the added stability of the Co-op’s slightly wider bars (16.5 versus 14.5 inches), and we appreciated the ability to change the handlebar angle with an Allen wrench. These are key because when most kids transition from a balance to a pedal bike, they’re hardwired to use their feet as brakes—especially if their balance bike didn’t come with hand brakes. Both have solid metal construction. TALLER PRADO BIKES Camuflaje vs realidad. Airless, durable tires make for a … But if you are looking for a balance bike for a toddler, it is worth it to spend a little more for a lightweight bike that is suitable for their height and can last you several years. The tires are also wide (2.5 inches), which makes it easier to balance. Balance bikes are a helpful and fun toy that can teach kids how to balance at an early age. Many experts we spoke with agree that training wheels render a bicycle little more than a dangerously tippy four-wheeled tricycle and don’t teach a child to balance. Obviously, this is based on average heights. My 8-year-old son, Fritz, is obviously out of the age and size range for this guide, but at 51 inches tall and 55 pounds (and with an avid love of local singletrack on his 20-inch mountain bike), he could still rip around on several of the bikes on their highest settings and had plenty to say about how even the smallest bikes handled. Without having to worry about using pedals correctly and steering with a handlebar, a child can focus on balancing only and get a hang of that concept before moving onto pedals. It has some great picks for infants or smaller kids, too. The Strider tires are 1″ larger than the Banana Bike. A great thing about balance bikes is that they give young riders a sense of confidence. Read on to see my other top picks! But, the frame is well-engineered, and the range of height adjustability for the handlebars is substantial and adequate for the seat (about 3 inches). So how does the Banana Bike compare? The zeitgeist of these races is nicely captured in this story and video by The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay, “The End of Training Wheels,” who describes a cross between Sesame Street and Mad Max. For this guide, I interviewed John Bradley, formerly the editor in chief of VeloNews magazine and before that, an editor at Outside magazine. If you are looking for a bike for a four or five year old, they will do better with larger tires (14 or 16 inches). Like its smaller cousin, the 12 Sport, the 14x Sport offers key features, in this case a low step-in height, of 10 inches; a long, stable wheelbase of 28.5 inches; a bottom bracket that’s only 5.8 inches high, lowering the center of gravity; and a remarkable seat height range of 15 to 22 inches. The Strider 12 arrived well-padded and protected in its box. Best Balance Bikes for Young Toddlers - 1 to 2-Year-Old. Our experts advise that learning to ride a bike has changed over the years (no more training wheels) and balance biking is the first step. Don’t transition your kid to a pedal bike until they’re ready. The bike also arrived with its headset a bit too tight, making it notchy when you turned it. You can get your kid started with balance biking as young as 15 months with a light bike with a low seat so they can simply sit, hold the handlebars, and walk around (or at an even younger age, with Strider’s rocking horse attachment, which only works with the 12 Sport). The balance bike is a two-wheeled pedal-less bike that children push along on their feet. The material is a lot of what determines how heavy the bike is. When sitting, the child should be able to put their feet flat on the floor, and nearly all the child’s weight should be on the saddle. With Strider’s excellent step-by-step instructions (here’s a video), buildout was a simple, 10-minute matter of slipping on a few nylon washers at the headset, sliding on a self-aligning clamp, and inserting and tightening the handlebar assembly. Price can be a big factor in any purchase you make. It is most important to focus on seat height and make sure your child doesn’t have to extend their legs in order to touch the ground. Banana Bike LT Balance Bike vs Strider Balance Bike. Ease them in—even if that means simply standing there for a mere 30 seconds until a scooter, butterfly or sippy cup provides a new distraction. If you’re looking for a balance bike for an older child who may only get 1 or 2 years of use out of it, I think the lower end models may be perfect. The Strider is the undefeated champion thus far. It is suitable for kids from 18 months of age, all the way up to 5 years of age. They also may have foam wheels, allowing a child to easily ride and learn without having to worry about tire pressure. Strider. This is desirable for a more customized fit and will help keep your child’s knees clear of the handlebars as legs lengthen. At just 4.94 pounds, it is easy for a toddler to maneuver and shouldn’t hurt them should they fall while riding it. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. This shouldn’t be a problem on streets and sidewalks, but if you venture onto grass, you will lose traction. The Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike hides prodigious design beneath a veneer of simplicity. If the seat is set at the lowest height, the handlebars should be, too. Best Balance Bike for Young Toddlers Strider 12 Classic Balance Bike. Although it suits kids up to 55 pounds, the seat only adjusts 1.25 inches, which really isn’t a wide range. While the steel-framed Banana Bike LT V2 offers what we consider two of the most important features for beginning kids—low stand-over height and light weight—at a very affordable price, it took longer than 45 minutes to get it truly dialed out of the box. The Bammax is made for babies and toddlers so it makes sense that it’s much lighter than the Strider. We did in-depth research and listed best one below. ASWEETS. $89.99. He was far too young to coordinate with the bike’s coaster brake, so naturally, he’d just put his feet down and the pedals would crash painfully into his feet and ankles, occasionally leading to wipeouts. Typically, too, training wheels encourage parents to buy bikes far too big for their kids. They’ve created a terrific booklet that goes with the 14x that not only explains the how and why behind teaching your kid to go from striding to pedaling but also includes a few games you can play along the way to make the process as fun and natural as, well, riding a bike. The 14x’s closest competition, the hybrid LittleBig, which is manufactured in Ireland, sells its 3-in-1 model as a hand brake–equipped balance bike and offers its freewheel pedal/sprocket assembly as a stand-alone option. We also tested the budget Kazam v2e, which features the lowest step-in height of any bike we tested, at 6 inches, and a wide, comfortable footrest. The child should be fairly upright while seated on the bike and holding the handlebars, neither leaning back or hunched over the handlebars. The bike is nonetheless handsome, and it performs well once it’s dialed in, allowing a kid to start and stop comfortably, ride easy or hard and fast, and to bail without issue in the inevitable wipeout. It fit our 6-year-old and 3-year-old just fine, too. This video compares and reviews the Strider Balance Bike against the Schwinn Balance Bike. The 14x also features smooth and shock-absorbing air-filled, semi-knobby tires on lightweight 16-spoke alloy rims. A few years ago, when my son was 2 and way too excited to ride his too-big pedal bike, I fashioned it into a balance bike by unscrewing the pedals and duct-taping the seat to the top tube. Watch the product video on the Strider balance bike to compare your child to the children in the video and the recommended height range suggested. With an adjustable seat that can go as low as 11 inches, the Strider 12 Classic is a stellar option for the youngest, smallest aspiring riders. If you go Kazam, choose the air-tired v2s. There are certain things to consider when looking for a balance bike for your child, such as adjustability, how heavy it is, and, of course, cost. Prado Bikes. Like our 12 Sport, the 14x arrived nearly constructed. Balance biking also gives small children the chance to build the coordination, balance, leg musculature, and confidence that they’ll need for pedal biking—all things they won’t get if you start them on training wheels. It’s one of the top-selling bikes out there and we see why: It was easier to assemble than almost all of our other picks, features a wider range of size adjustability than our other bikes, and hits an affordable price. After testing 13 of the most popular balance bikes on the market, we decided the Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike combines the best of all things: kid-friendly, high-grade design; affordability; wide availability; proper geometry; and very little we didn’t like. This ultra-lightweight option works well for babies and toddlers. Most balance bikes have some adjustability – usually both in the handlebars and the seat. A helmet is a must to protect your child’s noggin, so check out our best toddler bike helmet list. Our experts agreed: Spend less than $110 on a balance bike, and you'll have to make some trade-offs. We also liked the full-length handlebar pad, for when bunny hops go awry. Cub’s easy-to-climb frame is constructed from lightweight high-tensile steel and features a miniature city comfort saddle for easy riding (and balancing!). The seat should be at least an inch below the child’s crotch and the handlebars should be around tummy height with the child standing. Several parents told me that even if their kids have a balance bike, they simply don't use it. It can be used for years with its adjustable capabilities and it offers the best bang for your buck. Foam and rubber tires will wear more quickly. The recommended age for riding a balance bike really depends on your child’s capabilities.