Parents, are you looking to teach your child how to balance before they ride a bike? Balance bikes are the best way to teach them how to balance. These bikes are amazing because they make sure your child learns how to balance and steer without the complications or distractions of learning how to pedal.
Today I am going to share with you the 5 best brands of balance bikes of 2017, including their pros and cons. I will also discuss product reviews and their important features to make sure that you have the best product for the right price to ensure that your child has the best balance bike that will keep them safe.
Training wheels are a thing of the past. It’s time to get with the times and get your child a balance bike. Balance bikes are effective enough to skip the training wheel and tricycle stage! Want to know how?
Balance bikes come without pedals. The first thing that comes to riding a regular bike is balance. When you have all the things that come with a regular bike then it can be overwhelming to a young child. Balance bikes are made for all children 1½ up until they are 5. Children learn how to steer and ride without being afraid of falling. When they get that feeling they will fall, they can simply place their feet on the ground, stabilizing them.
Top Balance Bike Comparison Chart
Parents, do you remember how when it came time for you to learn how to ride a bike? Training wheels made it hard to turn a corner and it also made the first day without them attached to your bike nerve-wracking because that was the only way you knew how to ride a bike. With a balance bike, your child will be able to steer and turn a corner with ease and their first day on a regular bike will be easier because they will know how to balance.
Different brands of balance bikes are made out of either metal or wood and come with padded seat, footholds, and gripped handlebars. All balance bikes have airless tires so that your child can learn on any terrain, whether it be in your driveway or at a local park. The great thing is balance bikes are lightweight! Your child can carry it anywhere without being afraid that it’s too heavy to move.
There are many balance bikes made for any child, especially those with special needs. Anyone can ride a balance bike as long as they can walk. There are no worries of pedaling and they can stop the balance bike with their feet. They learn more quickly when focusing on one thing at a time.
With different brands, you have to take your time and figure out which one is the best. You have to avoid seats that sit too close to the handlebars because children love to lean forward when they run. You have to avoid the large gap between the rear tire and the seat because this can throw the child off balance.
To ensure that you are getting the correct balance bike for your child you have to allow room for growth. Most balance bikes fit a child for at least three years before they are ready to learn how to ride a regular bike. A properly fitted seat should allow your child’s knees to bend slightly and allow them to be able to glide without any hindrance.
Do not get a bike that weighs 30% of your child’s weight. A ten-pound bike can be difficult for a twenty-five-pound child to maneuver but not a thirty-five-year-old child. Athletic children may be able to move with a heavier bike but you need to listen to the 30% weight rule so the child can learn with ease.
Now the tires are based on which terrain your child will mostly ride on. There are various treads for different locations. Balance bikes have five different tire selections; hard plastic, foam, rubber, air, and big apple.
Hard plastic tires, although the lightest, are the lowest quality. There is no traction or cushioning, but instead suitable for indoor use only. Foam tires provide limited traction and cushioning. Balance bikes with foam tires can be ridden on paved surfaces, but smooth surfaces can be dangerous if there turn sharply. Foam tires can wear down after a lot of use. Rubber tires are puncture-proof but are only available on two balance bike brands. Rubber tires provide traction and cushioning better than foam tires but not better than air. With air tires, there’s cushioning and traction. It also safe to ride practically anywhere; smooth surfaces and paved areas. From curb jumps to bumpy terrain, air tires are the most reliable. Big apple tires are wide profile air tires, made only for the athletic types of balance bikes. They are designed only for skate parks. There are extra traction and cushion that comes with the tires.
As for brakes, most balance bikes go solely on the rider’s feet to stop them. Some balance bikes offer hand brakes to save you, parents, from buying more shoes. At the age of 3 children should be able to have enough hand-eye coordination to operate a handbrake and allow safer stopping. If you plan on your child riding the balance bike for many years, we would suggest that you invest in a balance bike with a handbrake so they can have the knowledge when they begin to ride a regular bike.
Many balance bikes do not have footrests because they aren’t a need. When children ride a balance bike and push themselves to glide, their instinct will be to lift their feet. Some balance bikes do have them because some children feel like they need to have a footrest and will focus on where to put their feet instead of learning how to balance and steer. It’s best to keep one on hand. Footrests should sit underneath the seat and not affect their walking.
Bearings depend on how smoothly and how fast a balance bike moves. Sealed bearings keep water, dirt, and dust from entering the bearings and wearing them down. Bearings that have less friction make a happier child because they can go fast without much effort.
When you look at balance bikes you have to decide between frame materials; metal, composite and wood. Metal bikes are either aluminum alloys or steel, playing a factor in the weight of the bike. Aluminum alloys are lightweight and rustproof but only used in name brand bikes. Steel frames are found on less expensive balance bikes, however, it makes a heavier bike and isn’t rustproof. Composite balance bike frames are made of fiberglass, meaning you won’t have to worry about rust or paint chipping. These frames make a lighter weight but offer a higher weight capacity. Composite bike frames can bend or flex when used by an older or taller rider, but that shouldn’t be a concern because they will be riding a regular bike by then. Wooden balance bikes are environmentally friendly but less adjustable than your metal bike.
Handlebar grips are one of the first safety features on a balance bike. Rubber grips with knobbed ends protect your child’s hand when they bump into a wall or the ground when they fall. All balance bikes have handlebar grips, but not all have knobbed ends. Some balance bikes have turn limiters to prevent your child from making a sharp turn and falling.
Last but not least, covered bolts. You want to keep your child from scraping their legs when they glide or fall. Rounds, covered, and recessed bolts are a must. Exposed bolts can protrude and can interfere when your child rides a balance bike.
Below I have added some links that may help jump your balance bike decision that will make outside time more enjoyable. It will also ensure that your child learns how to ride with confidence.
Balance Bike Reviews
With 15 colors to choose from and Amazon’s top rating of over 1200 reviewers giving it a 4.7 out of 5.0 rating, this is clearly the winner in our books. Add to that the affordable price point and this deal is sealed! The design is engineered so that the center of gravity is close to the ground and we love that it’s a maintenance-free product that adds value right there! Yes, that includes air-free tires which add safety and hassle-free convenience. It’s made for children 20 months to five years, and of course, it has an adjustable seat post and handlebars. It’s important that this bike is CPSC compliant (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission).
The Cub balance bike requires very little assembly and its high-tensile strength steel frame and for is nearly indestructible. While that may be true regarding impact or usage, we’re a little concerned about potential rusting issues which are common with children’s bikes. There are some options for balance bikes that won’t rust, but the cost goes up accordingly.
- Top-rated durability
- Sealed bearings that prevent dirt and debris slowing the bike down
- Really great bike for a reasonable price
- Paint scratches easily
- A fall can loosen the handlebars
- Not the lightest option
Because of the price point, this bike is not for everyone, but if you can cough up the cash, you’ll have the best the industry offers. Made by one of Germany’s leading bike manufacturers this RUKY excels in durability and safety features. It’s made for kids older than 3 years of age and the aluminum frame brings this bike to another level of quality. The aluminum offers lighter weight and increased rust-resistance while the spoked wheels and air-filled tires offer comfort beyond a “normal” balance bike. As expected, the seat and handlebars are both fully adjustable and the seat has a carry handle. There’s a footboard and the bike itself has an exceptionally high ground clearance.
The maximum weight capacity is 55 pounds and while the age suggestion is 3 years and older, you could use the height suggestion of kids from 3 feet to 4 feet tall as well. The seat height adjustment is from 15 to 19 inches, and for safety reasons, there is no steering angle limit on the handle bars.
- No tools for the seat adjustment
- German made
- The standard seat is hard plastic
- Is up to 3 times more expensive than other competing options
This EZee Glider Kids balance bike is made for 1-year-old to 4 years old. This balance bike comes in orange and black colors. There are removable footrests to improve your child’s balance. No tools are needed for seat height adjustment! Speaking of seats, these are padded for comfort. It provides the lowest and safest balance bike speed. This balance bike comes with rear hand brakes to make sure your child stops safely without damaging their shoes. The handlebars are spaced far enough so there is room to lean forward. There are black knobbed handlebar grips to keep your child’s hands safe. It’s all on a steel frame to ensure durability. Covered bolts, but not recessed. This balance bike has air tires or foam tires, depending on the year it was made. This balance bike weighs 13 pounds. Easy assembly, taking only 15 minutes. Reasonably priced.
- Removable hand brakes teach the child how to use brakes later on
- Solid build
- Helps the child learn quickly
- Front handlebars stick
- Seat wobbles if not tightened correctly
- Zero-turn limitation
This balance bike has 5 colors to choose from; red, pink, orange, blue, and black. The frame is made of aluminum and has a 14″ to 20″ seat height. Scoot is made for children 3 years old to 6 years old. This balance bike includes 2 seats one which adds an extra 2 inches in height. Between the 2 seat posts, you’ll get a 14″ to 20″ height range. The seats are padded, comfortable, and easily adjustable. As you can see the seat is slightly tilted to teach children how to sit upright on a regular bike.
The tires are air-filled which provides cushioning when they ride on rocky terrain The tire rims are aluminum, which proves to be safer and sturdier than plastic rims. This model comes with a very nice upgrade over a lot of other brands in that it has handbrakes and thick-knobbed hand grips. This bike only weighs 11.3 pounds. There’s a long and detailed description of the bike at AMAZON.
- Teaches children posture
- Decals under the topcoat of paint for an easy cleaning
- Built to last
- Uncovered bolts
This balance bike, weighing only 11 pounds, has summer green, cotton candy pink, and fire truck red colors. There are rubber tires on an aluminum rim. This balance bike is made with reduced friction ball bearing to make sure your child can glide fast. There are covered bolts. MyKick has tool-free adjustable handlebars and an adjustable padded seat, colored to match the bike’s sturdy steel frame. The handlebars have knobbed rubber grips. The bike holds up to 50 pounds. The wheel size is 12 inches. MyKick is made for children 3 years old and up. There is a 3-year warranty on this balance bike!
- Rubber tires allow great traction on dirt
- Well built and sturdy
- No turning limiter
- Covered bolts tend to wear down and scratch up easily
The Radio Flyer Guide & Go balance bike is only available in red and there’s a ringing bell included on the handlebar for added fun! Made for 2½ to 5 years old, this balance bike includes a seat that adjusts as your child grows. The handlebars are situated far enough so the child can lean forward as they ride. There are red handlebar grips that aren’t knobbed but will still keep your child from hurting their hand if they run into a wall or fall. There are no footrests. The tires are made out of foam, ensuring to be maintenance free as they use this bike for years. Recessed bolts come with this balance bike, which is a must to keep your child from scraping their legs. The frame is light-weight steel and sturdy. The bike weighs 6.6 pounds overall. The frame height is 20 inches. 1-year limited warranty. Adult assembly is required.
- Reasonable price
- Perfect for beginner riders
- Easy assembly
- Handlebars need tightening daily
- Tires are more rubbery than plastic
This FirstBIKE street balance bike comes in light blue, red, green, pink, and purple. It’s one of the best-looking, coolest designs on our list! The recommended age is 2 years old to 5 years old. The frame is composite, but high strength and flexible enough to absorb shock. The tires are air-filled and are ideal for off-road riding. The seat is shaped to prevent the child from slipping off. FirstBIKE has an adjustable seat to grow with your child. This balance bike includes hand brakes as well. This balance bike has recessed bolts so your child is safer when they ride or fall. If they are ever to fall this bike is guaranteed to make it to where it’s not a rough fall. There are knobbed handlebars as well. The overall weight of the bike is 8.6 pounds. Some adult assembly is required.
- Turn limiter built in so there isn’t sharp turns happening and causing falls
- Handlebar grips don’t slide off
- Intimidating for a shy kid
- Seat comes loose after a few rides
The Strider is an excellent, solid choice for your 18-month to 5-year old child. It features a 12-20 inch inseam and adjusts with no tools. Future upgrades include a foot brake and heavy-duty tires. The whole deal weighs only 6.7 lbs and its “mini-grips” allow your little one’s hands to firmly grasp the handlebars.
Strider is proud of the quality testing they put their bikes through, and their puncture-proof tires along with a sturdy welded steel frame are proof of their durability. As usual, we at Sportconsumer.com don’t just look at what the manufacturer says about their product, or what Amazon’s promotion says. That would, of course, be all positive and it’s not really an accurate, fair review. We look at forums and user comments/feedback, and in doing so with the Strider, we noticed something curious. Out of a possible 5-star rating on Amazon, no product we’ve ever evaluated which had over 10 reviews, has ever received more than a 4.5-star rating, and most are less. The Strider 12-sport has over 800 comments and so far has a rating of 4.8 out of 5. That’s the highest rating of any product ever. Read more about the specs and all the good stuff HERE!
- Easily assembly
- Sturdy build
- Lasts longer than most balance bikes
- Overpriced according to one owner, since the tires were more plastic than rubber
This Prince Lionheart balance bike comes only in one color. This balance bike is made for children 2 years old to 5 years old. The minimum weight is 20 pounds and the maximum weight of this bike is 65 pounds. The frame is made out of birch wood. The tires are air-filled, allowing the bike to absorb the shock when they ride on a rocky terrain. These balance bike tires are 12 inches. There’s a height adjustable and padded seat. The handlebars are appropriately spaced and have knobbed rubber handlebars. There are recessed bolts on this bike to ensure that your child will not hurt themselves. This balance bike has no footrests, but that makes it more fun to glide for the child. Assembly required. A 1-year warranty is included.
- Tools for assembly are included in the box with the bike
- Customer service is easy to reach
- Reasonably priced compared to other balance bikes
- Too big for a two year might have to make a self-made notch
- Not weatherproof
Final Thoughts & Recommendations
Parents, as you can see, there are many products to choose from. You have to decide the right brand you feel is the best and have your child pick out a color they like. There are balance bikes with footrests and some that don’t have them. Some balance bikes have seats that adjust as the child grows. More often than not there are knobbed handlebars. Turn limiters aren’t a must, but they make sure your child is safe when they turn. You have to decide based on weight differential too, but do not forget the 30% rule. It may seem overwhelming, but it’s something you have to decide before you purchase the safest, yet most fun balance bike for your child. Soon your child will be riding a regular bike with ease and confidence!