Balance bikes are the best way to teach toddlers to start riding. Balance bikes can be used by toddlers as young as 18 months without as opposed to most bikes in the market. My children learned how to ride out of curiosity through the balance bike. This is one of the reasons that my riding community and I have taken the time to research on the best gliders or ‘striders’ as we call them out there. Most parents are concerned about the nature of balance bikes because they do not have any foot rest. Others are concerned that they do not have balancing wheels. Balance bikes will do away with pedals and training wheels at the same time. This teaches the child the main basics of riding which is focus and balance. Tricycles are awkward and will affect the learning process while training wheels will give a false sense of balance. Balance bikes teach children to balance at an early age graduating to cycling on standard bikes much faster without the assistant of the parents. Here are some of our best of the best picks that you can work with.
BEST OF THE BEST: Cruzee UltraLite Balance Bike (Ages 1.5 – 5 Years)
The Cruzee toddler’s balance bike easily came up as one of the best options due to its dedication to getting the child learning. The bike is built using anodized aluminum and also boast to be one of the lightest in the world. This we could not prove, but the bike weighs 4.4lbs which are impressive. This makes it one of the safest options we have especially when it comes to toppling ver. Chances are the bike will lean on the child’s foot, and a heavy bike will easily hurt the toddler. The lightweight also boosts the confidence of the toddler when it comes to control and speed. You also get flat free foam tires with soft rubber that will roll over any obstacle easily. The axle is low profile with an amazingly comfortable saddle for the child. Our test kids loved this bike especially because of the maneuverability Besides the ergonomic features. The design is also classy and a welcome addition besides your road bike.
SECOND BEST CHOICE: Strider – 12 Sport Balance Bike (Ages 1.5 – 5 Years)
The Strider came in easily second/. Strider toddler bikes have been in the market for the longest time and have developed bikes worth noting. This bike was created to outlast the toddler allowing riding up to 5 years. Gliding is one of the best ways a child will learn handling bikes much bigger than themselves at an early age. The bike took us about 5 minutes to assemble with a 5mm wrench that came with the package. You also get EVA polymer flat free tires and a frame footrest. The wheels are absolutely light which a safety feature is whenever a toddler falls over. The seat is adjustable with upgrades which can be used by much heavier kids. The seat is well padded for heavy riders, and one of the most interesting things is that we go access to the Strider community. Apparently, they organize adventure camps for kids in the community for fun.
THIRD BEST CHOICE: Strider – 12 Classic Balance Bike (Ages 1.5 – 3 Years)
The bike came with features very similar to our second choice. One of the reasons, of course, being because they both are from the Strider community. The bike is well designed and light enough to roll over any obstacles. The wheels are made from EVA polymer which is also flat free. The frame comes with the Strider logo for aesthetic value too. The kids also loved the fact that the seat was adjustable which made it possible for slightly taller toddlers to glide with the bike. This also means that much older kids can use the bike. The seat is also heavily padded for extra comfort during rough rides. The Strider community provides the extra benefit of being part of a community. The kids also get the opportunity to interact with others on in-house sporting events.
FOURTH BEST CHOICE: Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike
Our fourth best choice was the Chicoo bullet. Other than the catchy name, the toddlers seemed to enjoy the light weight features on this bike. Lighter bikes are easy to ride when it comes to speeds. They are also safer for toddlers since they will be falling over frequently before learning the art of balance. Heavy bikes will bring about an injury is such situations. Kids up to 55lbs were okay with the ride thanks to the heavily padded seat. The rubber tires are also punctured resistant properties allowing all year round riding. The seat is height adjustable as the toddler grows in height. You can also lower it enough for the shorter ones to have their feet comfortably on the ground. The handlebars are made of rubber for an extra grip and ergonomic enough for comfort. The bike is mostly preferred by kids aged 3years due to its ability to conform to any height.
FIFTH BEST CHOICE: KaZAM v2e No Pedal Balance Bike
We had to feature this bike because it came with a foot rest. This was an ideal addition for kids that did not like the idea of keeping feet in the air during the glide. The more adventurous ones preferred the top four for the very same reason. The foot rest bike as also preferred by parents that were concerned about their kids not having a place to rest their feet at fast speeds. The Kazam also came with adjustable handle bars and seats which made it easy for kids older than four years to coast. The tires are also Eva polymer flat free with light wheels. This bike has the added advantage of helping the toddler focus on balance as soon as the bike starts riding downhill. The footrest is set where the pedals would be naturally.
WHY TRUST ME?
Besides being a religious rider, I have had two children that have grown with a passion for bike riding. I am also in a community of riders that have brought up their children in our ways some of whom are now all grown up. One of the main reasons that this list came up is because children will struggle with learning how to cycle in their formative years. We realized that tricycles and training wheels were the number one reason why most kids took very long to learn how to ride. Riding on a tricycle or training wheels is not as fun as most parents will tend to think.
Training wheels will provide the child with a false sense of balance since the bike is always supported. The bike also leans on one side, and the toddler will not take the time to balance the bike it since it is safe to ride like that. This becomes a problem when the training wheels are removed. The child will not be able to balance the bike o the two wheels. The tricycle is cumbersome to pedal due to the position of the pedals. It is also awkward to ride thanks to the position of the toddler through the ordeal. It does not teach balance and easily topples over when running over obstacles. The balancing bike is all about training and having fun while at it. A child that is afraid to fall over will walk along on the bike till they feel comfortable enough to lift their feet. The fact that the foot rest is absent on some models makes the wary of falling. This triggers their ability to balance making the learning process shorter. They will soon be cruising downhill with the feet in the air increasing their sense of balance. It will then be easy to transition to a bike with pedals. Starting with a bike with pedals will shift their focus to pedaling. Pedaling without learning to balance is what causes toppling over for toddlers. The balance bike allows them to concentrate on the most important aspect of riding before moving to the easier aspects.
IS THIS GUIDE FOR ME?
This is for every parent or guardian that wants their toddler to learn how to ride a bike. Despite the fears of many parents, the balance bike is the best option when it comes to teaching kids independence in riding. Toddlers that have spent time using balance bikes are often more confident as compared to those that use training wheels and tricycles. They are also more comfort on the road. Using a huge bike with training wheel will not necessarily help your baby to learn better. Some gliders will come with adjustable seats and handles allowing your kid to grow along with the bike. Contrary to the belief of many, there are balance bikes that come with foot rests. These are a welcome addition for those that still want their children to have one. There are also those that are designed similarly to scooters for extra comfort. The normal balance bike will be the bike of choice if your goal is to have you kid off the training wheels and tricycles fast. You will not need to have to train them much later by clutching to the bike. Falling then will be more embarrassing and painful for the kid. This is the best transition to a bike that is much bigger for the child.
HOW I PICKED THE BEST BALANCE BIKES
Picking the best bike involved physically testing them with toddlers. It also included testing them physically by exposing them to realistic conditions besides inspecting them. We also considered some features including the pricing, weight, handlebars, saddles, versatility and longevity. The wheels and the tires were also a part of the main lines of thought. We also watched the toddlers ride them and considered their maneuverability over time. The toddlers loved those that came well designed as well as light enough for them to lift, push and eventually ride. We also spent some time researching online on the references of most of the parents besides talking to those that were already using them. It was apparent that balance bikes are a hit among the modern-day parents and the kids loved every bit of them. We also considered the different ages in the bracket we offered and how each bike fitted as the toddlers grew. Some bikes became unusable to height issues while others adapted to the weight and height of the toddlers as they grew. This was an important aspect since the parents were not interested in buying more than one balance bikes as the child grew. Those with adjustable handles, seats, and frames were preferred to a compared to fixed ones.
LIST OF THE BEST BALANCE BIKES FOR 2 to 4 YEAR OLDS
- Cruzee UltraLite Balance Bike (Ages 1.5 – 5 Years)
- Strider – 12 Sport Balance Bike (Ages 1.5 – 5 Years)
- Strider – 12 Classic Balance Bike (Ages 1.5 – 3 Years)
- Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike
- KaZAM v2e No Pedal Balance Bike
FEATURES OF THE BEST BALANCE BIKE FOR 2 & 4-YEAR-OLDS
Balance bikes are not pricey which is why they are the best way to start. Unlike a real bike, these will cost way less. It is possible to get a balance bike for $20 to $50 depending on where you are looking. The fact that they do not dig into the pocket makes them a good transitional tool for parents that want their toddlers to learn to ride fast. Parents that are keen on riding will want to be able to ride with their children as soon as possible. It will also help them past the embarrassment of toppling over when they are much older and learning how to ride. The pricing of the bike will depend on the brand and the accessories the bike comes with. They can also be purchased both online and from stores. It is unlikely to make mistakes with these as compared to purchasing a road bike which is more complicated. All you need to know is the size and follow charts that will indicate the size you need for your toddler before making a purchase. Buying from a store will, of course, be more suitable as you will have the opportunity of measuring up your toddler against what is available. The toddler will also have the opportunity of picking what they like best.
The weight of the bike determines drivability. Heavy bikes are naturally much slower than lighter ones. The weight of the bike is also determined by the materials used to build the frame. The weight of the wheel is also determined by the materials used to build them. The tires also need to be light enough if you are looking for a light brand. The same applies to balance bikes. Light balance bikes are much easier to handle for the toddlers. They are also faster when it comes to coasting and gliding downhill. These are mostly made of aluminum which is very light. The tires also need to be light enough with foam tires. Foam tires are lighter than rubber ones. The weight of the bike also determines the safety of the toddler. A toddler will more often than not fall with the bike. This includes having the bike fall over them A light bike will not cause injury as compare to one built from heavier materials. The child will also feel very confident riding on a bike that is lighter. The fact that they can control it boosts their confidence. Lighter bikes will also not get damaged easily. Aluminum frames are free of corrosion and dents which ensure that the bike lasts for a very long time.
Bike frames determine the overall weight of the bike. Some of the lightest frames in the industry are carbon fiber and aluminum. Titanium is also used but without any extra advantage other than prestige. Balance bikes need to be light enough to allow ease of rolling on the road. They also need to be lightweight enough to avoid hurting the toddler when they topple over. Most balance bike frames are made of aluminum which carries the best features ate the end of the day.
Balance bike tires are made mostly of rubber and foam material. These are also punctured free. The weight of the tires determines the overall weight of the bike. It also determines how fast a bike rolls on the road. The type of material used determined longevity and the ability to ride over obstacles. The foam material is light and flat free which allows the bike to roll over anything the toddler chooses. It also allows the toddler to glide fast and easily without losing grip on the track. EVA polymer material is built to last and provide lightweight features to tires. The material also lasts for a very long time. The fact that it is flat free means that the child can ride on any surface without damaging them. The wheels also determine the weight and bulk of the bike. Lightweight wheels are recommended for the tires. It is important that you take the time to inspect the type of tires the bike comes with before making a purchase.
Toddlers grow fast, especially between 1 and five years. A bike that will not handle this growth will most likely be unfit. Balance bikes that come with seats that can be adjusted are best suited for toddlers. This is also a welcome addition if you have more than one toddlers. Seat adjustment allows the seat to be lifted or lowered depending on the ride. Some bikes come with seats that are higher than the toddler while others much lower. The feet of the toddler need to touch the ground without having to be too bent. Both feet need to rest comfortably for the ride to be stable. Seat adjustment allows you to increase the height of the seat as the toddler grows. This keeps the comfort level standard as the child grows. This, of course, has to work hand in hand with the handle bars. It is wise that you graduate your child to a normal bike the moment they outgrow a balance bike. The seat adjustment mechanism needs to be friendly enough. Investing in the wrench that does the job is wise instead of having to go to a bike store for this every other month. Some bikes will allow kids as old as five years to coast comfortably while others will only work for four-year-olds.
The child will spend more time in the saddle than any other part of the bike. The saddle then needs to be comfortable. An uncomfortable saddle will also hurt the child over a period. The best saddles are padded well enough to provide a cushioning effect during riding. Unlike normal bikes, these saddles will not come with suspensions. The reason for this is because of the weight of the child. Saddles should be able to handle up to 60lbs without causing any shock to the child’s body. The best saddles are heavily padded and designed to hold a child from 18 months to 5 years comfortably. They should also be comfortable enough to avoid slipping and wobbling. Having to change a saddle with time will cost money. It is wise to ensure that you find out the weight of toddler that your bike can carry so as to switch to something more comfortable with time. Some bikes will only handle up to 40lbs which is okay if your child is within the weight bracket. Bikes that handle more are tougher and allow for a higher seat adjustment and handlebar adjustment. The fact that a child will lift both legs when coasting means that the weight of the whole body will be on the sit bones. The seat will need to support the child’s weight without it being painful.
The toddler will also spend a lot of time holding onto the bike handle bars. Unfriendly handlebars will damage the palms of the hands with time. It is for this reason that you ensure that you go for soft rubber handle bars that are ergonomically shaped. The handle bars also need to allow for adjustment as the child grows in height. Bikes with adjustable seats will also have adjustable handle bars. This will be convenient as the child grows. Bikes without this will need to be discarded, and a new one bought. Handlebars provide support while riding and so they also have to be sturdy. The material used to make the frame will more often than not be the same one sued for the handle bars. They are also one of the first parts of the bike to absorb impact in case the bike falls over. A good handle bar will handle rugged handling over time without wearing out.
Balance bikes will not often come with footrests. There are a few exceptions in the market for parents that feel that their toddlers need them. Footrests come in handy when the child gets tired of coasting with their legs lifted. Most of the bikes that come with these are also refers to as scooter bikes. Some bikes will have small ones where the pedals should be while others will have entire foot rests such as those of a scooter. Preference will purely determine the choice of the bike.
The fact that a toddler will use the bike means that design is everything. Children will not often think of the function as much as they will think of design and looks. They will also compare their bikes based on how pretty or cool they look. This is the first thing that will attract them to an item no matter how usable or unusable it is. Most balance bikes will look good, but the toddler will go for the best look. Girls will often have a different taste as compared to boys. It is common to find the same bike with different vinyl so as to appease a larger crowd. Despite this, you as a parent needs to ensure you pick hat works best on the road. The fact that they can be customized is a good thing. You, however, will not need to if you pick a bike that appeases the child from the beginning.
DETAILED REVIEWS OF THE BIKES
PRICING: This is a reasonably priced bike if you are looking for value for the price. You can also find it online or at toddler stores.
WEIGHT: The bike weighs as little as 4.4lbs which is lighter than all the options we have on this list. This also makes it very fast and safe. The light weight features ensure that it is easy for the toddler to maneuver when pushing or gliding.
TIRES: You get foam tires that are light and flat free. The tires allow rolling over any obstacle without puncturing or getting stuck. The wheels are also light weight.
SEAT ADJUSTMENT: The seat is adjustable allowing the child to grow along with the bike. The adjustment mechanism is also easy enough for any parent to do it at home. The adjustment mechanism allows the seat to be lowered and also lifted depending on the height of the toddler.
FRAME: The frame is made of aluminum which is light weight. The material is also iodized and corrosive free for longevity. It does not dent easily on impact which is an added advantage.
SADDLE: The saddle is wide enough to accommodate toddlers of varied weight. The bike can hold toddlers weighing up to 60lbs despite the weight.
HANDLEBARS: You get adjustable handlebars for the growing toddler. These mostly adjust upwards. The handles are also soft rubber for extra comfort for the child.
FOOTREST: The bike does not come with a footrest.
PRICING: This is one of the most reasonably priced balance bikes in the market for its brand. Strider has been in the market providing great products, and this is no exception.
WEIGHT: The bike is lightweight with an aluminum frame for the purpose of speed and safety.
TIRES: You get EVA polymer tires with soft foam that is flat free. The tires are ideal for rolling over obstacles easily beside fast speeds.
SEAT ADJUSTMENT: The seat is adjustable allowing you to reset it from the custom height. You can lower it if the toddler is shorter in height or increase its height as the toddler grows.
SADDLE: A soft padded saddle that absorbs shock while offering the much-needed comfort while riding for the toddler. This is provided by padding and a long-lasting build.
FRAME: You get an aluminum frame that is lightweight and sturdy enough to withstand impact and corrosion. This is ideal for high speeds and safety in case of falling over.
HANDLEBARS: The handle bars are adjustable as the toddler grows in height. The handles are also made of soft rubber which is ideal for long hours of riding.
FOOTREST: The bike does not come with a footrest.
PRICING: The strider classic balance bike is well priced considering the perks you get with the purchase.
WEIGHT: The bike is lightweight thanks to an aluminum frame and polymer tires. This enables it to glide faster downhill and easier to push uphill.
TIRES: The balance bike comes with EVA polymer tires that easily roll over obstacles and also contribute to the lightweight features of the bike.
SEAT ADJUSTMENT: The seat is adjustable for toddlers that are taller or shorter. This seat is ideal as the toddler grows up working for ages between 18 months and five years.
SADDLE: The bike comes with a comfortable saddle that is shock absorbent allowing for long hours of riding without getting sore. The extra padding also makes the bike ideal for kids that are about 60lbs in weight.
HANDLEBARS: The handlebars are adjustable allowing the toddler to use the bike even as he or she grows taller. This works in tandem with the adjustable seat making it possible for toddlers up to the age of 5 years to work on the bike.
FOOTREST: The bike does not come with a footrest.
PRICING: The bike is well priced for one of its quality and build.
WEIGHT: Lightweight features added by the presence of aluminum as the main component. The bike also comes with light weight tires which are needful for good speeds and safety. Heavy bikes are likely to cause injury on impact or when kids fall over with them. This also makes it easy to maneuver for the toddler.
TIRES: Polymer tires that are flat free allowing good roll over obstacles and rough terrain. The tires are also lightweight.
SEAT ADJUSTMENT: The set is adjustable for most toddlers. The settings can also be lowered if the toddler is too short.
SADDLE: The saddle is well cushioned to absorb any impact on the body. It is also well built to allow long hours of fun.
HANDLEBARS: Adjustable handlebars that allow the toddler to grow along with the bike. The soft handles provide an excellent grip without bruising the palms.
FOOTREST: There is a no foot rest.
PRICING: The bike is reasonably priced with many features making it worth its value.
WEIGHT: It is a lightweight option for ease of maneuverability and gliding downhill. It also makes it easy for the toddler to ‘scoot’ uphill.
TIRES: The tires are made of lightweight foam that allows eased of rolling and gliding over obstacles. They are also flat free for the longevity of use.
SEAT ADJUSTMENT: You get an adjustable seat that allows the toddler to use the bike for as long as five years without having to buy another one.
SADDLE: The saddle is well padded for shock absorption and long hours of nonstop fun.
HANDLEBARS: The handlebars are also adjustable even as the toddler grows in height. This works hand in hand with the adjustable seat.
FOOTREST: The bike comes with a comfortable footrest where the pedals should be. This allows gliding with feet placed on the bike. It is a comfortable option especially for children that do not like their feet hanging loose.
Using balancing bike is the best ways to teach a child balance and the intricacies of riding a normal bike. Skipping the pedals and the training wheels altogether helps the toddlers focus on balance and the fun that comes with riding a bike. This is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to learning riding independently. It is recommended that you pick a bike that will allow the toddler to ride till he or she is four years old. This means picking one that has an adjustable seat and handle. Using one with a foot rest does not hurt the learning process either.