What is a Balance Bike?
The best balance bikes are small, two-wheeled, bikes without pedals. They teach toddlers and small children how to ride a bike.
Additionally, they teach toddlers how to balance (whooop!) and catch themselves before they fall. They’re a replacement for tricycles, training wheels, and other stabilizers.
They are also known as:
- Pedal-less bikes
- Glider bikes
- Run bikes
What is the Point of a Balance Bike?
They teach toddlers how to ride a bike. Adults can push them, the kids can run and glide, or just walk around and roll down hills.
They offer an extremely easy way to help your kid develop the balance it takes to ride a bike.
For kids scared to ride a bike, it offers them a way to hold the handlebars and walk to get used to the feel of a bike.
What Age is Best for a Balance bike?
Children age 18 months up to five years can ride balance bikes. When a child turns five, they’ll probably want to switch over to a bike with actual pedals. For children, I recommend mongoose mountain bikes for their affordability and durability.
Later on, I discuss our favorite bikes by age.
How to ride a balance bike
Typically, they’re intuitive for kids to ride. Most of the time, they don’t need much guidance.
However, to ride, kids sit on the saddle, hold the handlebars, and walk forward just like regular walking. When they master this, they can begin to run and glide, or go down hills with their feet up.
In no time at all, your child will be ready for the real thing.
Are Training Wheels bad?
Training wheels don’t teach kids the proper way to maneuver a bicycle. For the most part, bikes are steered by shifting and leaning with body weight, not by using the handlebars.
Training wheels and other stabilizers don’t allow for children to maneuver the bike like this, and teach them to steer by turning the handlebars. This might cause your kid to crash later on if they try to turn too fast.
Can I Use a Regular Bike as a Balance bike?
It is possible to remove the pedals, crank and chain off a normal bike and convert it to a balance bike. However, we recommend only doing this for older kids.
For young children, a normal bike will be too heavy, and the seat will be too high. Balance bikes are designed specifically to solve these problems.
Best Budget Balance Bikes of 2020
Kids Club Balance Bike
This by far the most affordable option on our list and our favorite for young riders under 2 years old. The bike doesn’t come assembled, but it’s very easy to put together. It’s handlebars rotate a full 360 degrees, allowing for more playing. The tires are foam, and don’t need to be inflated.
Weight: less than six pounds
Age Range: one to two-year-olds
Cons: very small. It also doesn’t have a break option like some of our other choices
Bixe 16″ Balance Bike
The Bixe balance bike is phenomenal for taller kids as its seat lifts up to 22″ off the ground. Bixe is a great brand, they allow returns on their products if anything is wrong with no questions asked. Additionally, Bixe offers a 12″ option for smaller children.
Weight: 11 pounds
Age Range: five and up
Cons: tires need to be inflated