Balance bikes are intuitive to grab and go, making them ideal for kids up to 7 years old. They help toddlers develop balance and coordination before stepping up to trying a bike with pedals and straightforward maintenance. Also known as glider bikes or run bikes, they are designed as bikes without pedals and training wheels, so you need to push off with your feet to move. Their lower saddle also gives a secure feeling to toddlers so that they can gain Independence must earlier.
They are a better alternative as their first bike as they are very lightweight and are easier for toddlers to understand. Kids intuitive grab them and start riding, so you need to make sure they grab their helmet too. If you are looking for the best balance bikes for your toddler, I would like to highlight the best pedal-less bikes on the market to help you narrow down your research, so let’s dive in:
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Our recommended balance bikes:
Strider – 12 Sport Balance Bike
Strider is a reputable manufacturer known for its high-quality options at reasonable prices. You can find great balance bikes designed for every aged, from 18 months up to adults. I like that they have a wide range of color options to choose from, so picking a balance bike that your little one will love is an easy task. The 12 sport balance bike is an ideal option to invest since it will will your kid make its first steps into bikes before attempting to ride with pedals. It like that the bike is lightweight so not only your kid will not feel overwhelmed but you will also be able to carry it quite easily.
The bikes feature a steel frame that ensures great durability, plus the seat and handlebar can be easily adjusted without the need for tools. This is vital as you will be able to make small adjustments as your kid grows taller. Overall, this is a great option that will provide countless hours of fun with minimal investment. This is not the cheapest option on the market, but I think that it is definitely worth having a closer look before making up your mind. This is ideal for anyone looking for great value for their money.
Retrospec Cub Kids Balance Bike
The Retrospec balance bike is another great alternative for your little one. It has a fantastic design for its price and can be found in various colors to choose from. This is a lightweight option that has a beautiful and sleek frame that you either love or hate. For its price, this is a really impressive balance bike that anyone looking for one should check out before making up their mind. It is ideal for children 2 to 5 years old, and since it has an adjustable seat and handlebars this is a great investment for many years to come. Despite its low price, this balance bike features air-free tires that ensure a smooth ride for your little one.
I would consider this a great birthday present that any kid would love as a first bike. It is a great option that will allow your little one to improve balance and eventually transition to a bike with pedals in the future. Overall, this is a lightweight option that is easy for a kid to maneuver around, meets all the safety standards, and can be found at a reasonable price. You can’t go wrong investing in a bike from Retrospec, so make sure you check them out while researching.
Schwinn Skip Toddler Balance Bike
Schwinn is another well-known manufacturer with plenty of balance bike alternatives on the market that are worth checking out. This balance bike is quite affordable, and despite its low price, it is very well made. It is available in plenty of color variations to choose from, so if your little one likes vibrant colors, you will easily find one that they would love to ride on. This bike features 12″ wheels, so it is ideal for riders around 2 to 5 years old. I like that Schwinn equipped the bikes with air-filled tires vital to ensure a smooth ride for your child.
Many parents will appreciate how lightweight and compact this bike is, you can easily store it for transportation plus your kid will be able to handle its weight without worries. The bike also features an adjustable seat, so you can easily adjust it to the rider’s height without the need of tools. Overall, if you are looking for a balance bike for your little one this is a worthy investment that will allow to improve their balance. It is easy to steer and handle for kids, so they won’t feel overwhelmed, making their first bike an enjoyable experience. Even though this is not the cheapest option on the market, it is well built and will provide countless hours of fun, so worth having a closer look before you commit to a balance bike for your kid.
Things to consider when buying a balance bike:
Most people wonder which is the right age to buy a balance bike and things to look for or avoid when buying the first runner bike. I want to highlight some factors that will help you narrow down your research and answer any possible question, so let’s have a look:
When it comes to balance bikes, there is no one-size-fits-all alternative. The runner bikes can be found on various sizes to choose from, so it is vital to pick the right size based on your child’s height. The bike size is determined by the tire size and the height of the seat, so based on your kid’s age you can narrow down your research to the most appropriate tire size.
The most common tire is 12,” and it is ideal for kids from 18 months up to 2 years old. If you are buying a balance bike from a preschooler, you will most likely need to buy a larger one. Kids around 3 to 5 years old will find 12” or 14” the best fit. Finally, you can find models that feature 16” tires that are ideal for 5 to 7 years old kids who are not confident to ride a bike with pedals.
Weight and tire types
You might have already noticed that balance bikes differ in weight, so it is wise to keep one that is not too heavy for your child. The weight of the bike is affected by the type of tires that are used. Keep in mind that air tires tend to be heavier than foam tires, so if you are not interested in investing in pricier lightweight models, foam tires are your best bet.
If you like to invest a little more for your next purchase, you can easily find very lightweight models yet use air tires. Ideally, it would be best if you were looking for a balance bike that is not heavier than 20-30% of your kid’s weight, as it will have a hard time pushing it, especially when incline.
The most common options on the market feature foam tires, as this is a great way to have a high-quality balance bike while keeping the cost low. They are great for rides over the pavement, but they are far from ideal for even surfaces. If you are looking for a budget-friendly option, you should start your research from models with foam tires, especially if you are interested in upgrading in the future.
The second alternative is that of air tires which are a great upgrade to foam tires in you are ready to invest a little more. The air tires are great for all terrain surface since they provide better balance making them quite versatile. The air tires will also provide better cushion since they are able to dampen bumps your kids will run over. The main disadvantage of air tire is that they are not puncture proof, so they will need to work from you to maintain.
The most common options on the market are made from wood or metal. A metal frame will be made of steel or aluminum, and both a great option to consider. The type of metal will influence the bike’s weight since steel frames are heavier than aluminum alloys, yet steel frames have a higher weight capacity. Look for models that are made of metal but are still lightweight for your kid to ride.
The wooden balance bikes might be popular, but the truth is that I would advise you to avoid them unless you are ready to invest a little more for a durable one. There are plenty of wooden models that, to keep the price down, manufacturer make compromises that result in less durable models.
It is quite common for balance bikes not to have brakes, designed so that kids use their feet to slow down or stop. While brakes are optional, some parents may opt to balance bikes that feature a handbrake on their kids’ handlebar.
Having a handbrake is a great option to consider, especially if your kids are around 2 years old. Kids around 2 or 3 years old will be able to use a handbrake in conjunction with their feet, which can be quite handy on inclines or rough surfaces. After all, this is great training before they step up to a pedal bike.
Some balance bikes on the market come with turning limiters and footrests. It comes down to personal preference, but it can be a decisive factor for some parents. The turning limiters, for example, are designed to block the handlebar and prevent sharp turns. Finally, the balance bikes grips are something to consider when making your purchase, as you need to pick a model that feels comfortable to handle. Some models come with rubber grips that feature protective bumpers. These are a great feature that can be quite handy to have, so keep that in mind while researching for the best option for your kid.