Although Vilano has a couple of pure balance bikes, like the Ripper, that impressed me due to their affordability and durability, this 2 in 1 product goes for a completely different approach. A major concern when buying balance bikes is always “will my child actually enjoy the bike” and “how long before my child outgrows the bike and wants something with pedals.”
Vilano believes that they have come up with the ideal solution by creating a balance bike that can easily be converted into a pedal bike when the child is ready to move up. It is an interesting idea for sure, but let’s have a look at how it works in practice.
Since this 2 in 1 bike comes with a lot of extra components not normally found on a typical balance bike the box in which it ships has quite a hefty weight to it. Fully assembled to bike still weights more than ten pounds though which makes it one of the heavier ones on the market. However, it is a bit lighter without the pedals and training wheels which is how it will be used initially in any case. Although recommended for ages three and up, this bike has a maximum rider weight of 50 lbs and I think it would work fine for kids aged between two and six, depending on their size of course.
When it comes to assembly this bike is also a little trickier to put together than a straightforward balance bike. I recommend first fully assembling the whole bike with pedals and all to make sure that you got all the required components and that everything works correctly. You can then remove the pedals and other stuff to convert it back to a balance bike. It might be tempted to not bother with the pedals and other components until they are needed, but by then it will probably be too late to get a refund or replacement if you discover something is not working as intended.
When it comes to features this bike wins hands down compared to the other balance bikes from Vilano and indeed a couple of other manufactures as well. It might be affordably priced, but they definitely didn’t’ skimp on the extras. The most important feature of course is the ability to convert the bike from a balance bike to a real bike by attaching the included pedals. This means that should your child decide that they are ready to move on to a pedal bike you don’t have to spend even more money purchasing one. This is quite a saving and also means that you’ll have a bit of cash left to buy other accessories such as a helmet without breaking the bank.
Like other Vilano bikes the seat and handlebars of this one can easily be adjusted. The bike is relatively bike, so there is less chance of kids outgrowing it too fast. One feature that puzzled me a bit is the inclusion of training wheels. Seeing as the purpose of a balance bike is to teach kids how to ride without the need for training wheels their inclusion seems a bit superfluous. I suppose it can be a confidence booster for very little children to keep the training wheels on when used as a balance bike, but overall I wouldn’t really bother with them. The bike also includes a brake, which is unnecessary on a balance bike, but very useful when they move on to a pedal bike.
My favorite feature on this bike however is the pneumatic tires. There just offer a more cushioned and comfortable ride for kids and won’t fall apart as easily as rubber tires after heavy use. In addition you also get better traction and it makes the transition to a pedal bike much easier. Of course, you will have to teach your child to avoid sharp objects or you will be spending a lot of time repairing punctured tires, but this is something they should know for when they start riding a petal bike in any case, so it is good preparation.
Converting the bike
Pros & Cons
Vilano did a great job with creating a bike that is both versatile and practical. Buying a balance bike and a pedal bike down the line can be costly, but somehow the manufacturer managed to combine both in one affordable package. Check out my list of pros and cons below to see what you can expect from this bike.
2 in 1 Balance Bike Kids Pedal Bicycle Pros
• Includes all components needed to convert it from balance bike to pedal bike.
• Adjustable handlebars and seat
• Tires are pneumatic
• Includes a hand brake
• More affordable than buying a balance bike and pedal bike
• Sturdy construction
2 in 1 Balance Bike Kids Pedal Bicycle Cons
• The bike is a bit heavier than standard balance bikes.
• The included training wheels are a bit unnecessary.
• Assembling the bike is more complicated than a standard balance bike.
• Pneumatic tires can be punctured and might require patching.
• Calibrating the hand brake during the initial setup is a bit tricky
This 2 in 1 balance bike is really useful for parents who don’t want to spend a ton of money on something that will be obsolete a few months down the line. Thanks to the ability to adjust the bike and turn it into a pedal bike it delivers outstanding value for money. Just bear in mind that this is still a budget priced bike and it is not going to be as durable as dedicated balance bikes that are many times its price.