Balance bikes are a really neat innovation when teaching your kids how to ride a bike. Sure, many people prefer to use training wheels on a standard bike, but the balance bike is quickly becoming more popular.
Simply put, they do a great job teaching your kids how to balance on a bike, and it gets them accustomed to the main features present on a bike. However, finding the right one with all the necessary components for an affordable price can be challenging. To help you find the best balance bikes. We want to help you make the best choice for your child, so let’s get right to it.
Best Money can Buy
With an adjustable seat and handlebar, footrests, puncture-proof tires, and a well padded handlebar and seat, the Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike is the best balance bike for kids that money can buy.
Why Choose a Balance Bike?
Those of you who believe a balance bike is the way to go can just skip through this section, but if you are still in two minds between getting your kid a balance bike, a tricycle, or a pedal bike with training wheels, read on.
A balance bike is so much safer than your other options. Tricycles are slow and fall over easily on uneven surfaces. With no pedals, kids can focus on their balance and act quicker when they feel the bike begins to topple. Once they move over to a bigger, pedaled bike, they already know how to balance, reducing the countless falls associated with learning to ride a bike.
But remember, no matter how old your child is. It’s a good idea to teach them the dos and don’ts of bicycle safety before they get out on the road.
While the initial costs may seem more, one balance bike can replace the need for a tricycle and a 12″ bike with training wheels. 12″ Bikes are not useable without their training wheels, so many parents end up buying a 16″ bike anyway. Balance bikes also have a better resale value.
Gets Kids Outdoors
With so many digital distractions, today’s kids seem to stay in the house and have no reason to play outside. With a bike that they feel confident about, the kids will nag you to take them for a ride. With a balance bike, toddlers can easily cruise on sidewalks at moderate speeds and get exercise instead of strapped into a stroller. Children don’t get tired as quickly as when they have to walk, and balance bikes are lightweight enough to carry easily when not in use.
Easier Switch to Pedals
Children who grow up on balance bikes are quicker to switch to pedal bikes. Many will change at three years versus 5 or 6 years of age using training wheels. Because they know how to balance, these kids are also confident and won’t be looking for the security of extra wheels to stabilize them.
Our Selection of the 10 Best Balance Bikes:
We have a great selection of the top 10 best balance bikes for you to take a look at right here, so let’s not waste any more time and get right to it.
1. Strider – 12 Sport Balance Bike
The Strider is one of the best, if not the very best, balance bike around. It comes with all of the qualities you would expect a balance bike for a child to have. First off, we all know that children are not very gentle with the things they touch, which is why they made the Strider Sport Balance Bike with a very durable steel frame.
Even if your kid drops the bike or somehow crashes it, it won’t just fall apart. Even though the frame is steel, it is a hollow, lightweight model for children. Being lightweight and durable is a combination you should always look for with a balance bike for kids. Speaking of durability, the cartridge bearings on the Strider Sport Balance Bike are about as rugged as can be.
Another thing that is very lightweight on the Strider Sport Balance Bike is the wheels. They don’t add too much weight to the overall design, yet they are durable. The wheels are puncture-proof, which means they won’t pop, nor do they need to be pumped. It’s the perfect solution for a child’s first bike.
They designed the Strider Sport Balance Bike for kids between 18 months and three years old. This particular balance bike can grow with your child, which is why it comes with fully adjustable handlebars and an adjustable seat. As your child gets bigger, simply raise the handlebars and seat to accommodate them.
To protect your child from getting injured while learning how to ride, the Strider Sport Balance Bike also comes with unique safety measures. It features padded handlebars, which are completely necessary for these things. Even if your child falls forward, at least they won’t hit their teeth or head on rock-hard handlebars.
They made the patented frame design, so your child will not injure himself on the frame in case of a fall. While it does not have much to do with safety, the seat is also padded, thus adding a certain comfort level to the equation. Also, in terms of comfort, the Strider Sport Balance Bike comes with footrests, making life just a little easier for your toddler.
You will be happy to hear that the Strider Sport Balance Bike does not require any assembly tools. You should be able to put this balance bike together in a matter of mere minutes. Furthermore, making any adjustments on this bike does not require any tools either, thus making your life a lot easier. When it comes to balance bikes, we would say that this is a top contender for the number one spot.
Reasons to Buy the Strider – 12 Sport Balance Bike
2. Woom 1 Balance Bike
The Woom 1 Balance Bike is not quite as versatile as our top option in many ways, but it has some features that the Strider seems to have forgotten about. The Woom 1 Balance Bike is ideal for children between 18 months and 3.5 years of age, which is a pretty wide time frame.
It is still an excellent option to go with, especially when your child grows. The Woom 1 Balance Bike does come with an adjustable seat that can fit children up to 39 inches in height, which they are typically at when they are around 3 – 3.5 years old. However, unlike the number one Strider model, the Woom 1 Balance Bike handlebars are not adjustable for height.
On the other hand, a big bonus you get with this particular balance bike is rear brakes. Yes, your kids are still using their feet to propel themselves with this balance bike, but having a pair of brakes to stop when things get rough is never a bad idea. Moreover, it will get your children accustomed to using breaks to stop, which is great for when they start riding an actual bicycle. It’s excellent for helping to reduce the risk of an accident due to not knowing how or when to use brakes.
The Woom 1 Balance Bike comes with footrests. Meaning your kid can put their feet up, getting them used to gliding along with no feet on the ground. In other words, these footrests can go a long way in teaching your child to balance, something they will have to do on a real bike. The long wheelbase on this model is another feature that will help your child balance easily.
They designed the Woom 1 Balance Bike frame to be safe for both young girls and boys to use; it’s made of lightweight aluminum so that in the event of a fall, to minimize the chance of your child smashing off of the frame.
The aluminum build makes the Woom 1 Balance Bike relatively lightweight and durable at the same time. It is slightly heavier than our top contender, the Strider. We like how the Woom 1 Balance Bike has padded and comfortable grips specially made for toddlers, but we would prefer if it had padded handlebars the whole way across, which it does not.
Something that we do like about the Woom 1 Balance Bike is that it has high-quality air-filled tires. Yes, some people prefer tires that don’t require pumping and therefore cannot be punctured, but those do not replicate the real-life feeling of biking. These air-filled tires may require some pumping now and then, but they help to absorb bumps and impact much better than the alternative. Simply put, they are a little more comfortable to use.
Reasons to Buy the Woom 1 Balance Bike
3. Cruzee UltraLite Balance Bike
Our number three is the Cruzee UltraLite Balance Bike. As you might tell from its name, its number one selling feature is that it is incredibly lightweight.
The whole thing comes in at only 4.8 pounds, making it one of the lightest, if not the most lightweight, balance bike on the market today; this is pretty helpful for a couple of reasons. First off, it is easier for your kids to balance and use their legs to stay upright when there is less weight involved. Second, if your child does fall, at least there is not a huge and heavy frame coming down on them.
The CruzeeUltraLite Balance Bike is so lightweight because they made it using special anodized aluminum. This type of aluminum is very light but also very durable. It may incur a couple of scratches, but even some big and nasty spills won’t break it.
Moreover, the aluminum build of the CruzeeUltraLite Balance Bike is rust-proof, which is helpful in case your child leaves the bike outdoors during a rainstorm. Lightweight durability is a top-selling factor here. You can easily carry the CruzeeUltraLite Balance Bike once your child gets tired, something that parents appreciate.
You might also like how when you buy the Cruzee UltraLite Balance Bike for your 18-month-old child, you won’t have to buy another until they are older than five because they designed this model to fit kids anywhere from 18 months to 5 years of age.
It does this by providing your child with the ability to raise the handlebars and seat as they grow. The seat has a height of 8 inches, and the handlebars a height of 5 inches, thus keeping up with your quickly growing bundle of joy. No tools are required to make these adjustments, which is an obvious bonus for any parent out there.
It features low-profile bolts, so there are none of those shots to the ankles. They padded both the handlebar grips and the seat for comfort. The rounded frame edges ensure that there is nothing pointy that can injure your child, which is essential, no doubt.
Furthermore, with the Cruzee UltraLite Balance Bike, you get footrests to help your child get the hang of biking without their feet being on the ground. We do like that the wheels are puncture-proof on this model. However, they are pretty hard and don’t do a fantastic job at absorbing jolts and bumps, but they won’t ever go flat, and they don’t require any pumping either.
Reasons to Buy the Cruzee UltraLite Balance Bike
4. Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike
This particular balance bike is a good mix between the first three options we looked at and the number 4 option. The Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike is intended for children between the ages of 3 and 7 or 8, depending on how fast your child grows. In other words, it is a little bigger than the first three options but also a little smaller than the number 4 option.
This balance bike stands at about 23 inches from the ground, making it a slightly larger option than most others. At the same time, the frame on the Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike can withstand children of up to 55 pounds in weight, thus making it ideal for some reasonably large kids.
It’s more than big enough to help train your child to ride a bike by the time they should be on a full-blown bicycle. The frame itself is relatively lightweight, surprising, seeing as it can hold up a fair amount of weight itself. Being lightweight makes it easy for your kids to use, safe in case they fall, and easy for you, the parent, to carry around when your child is done biking for the day.
However, even though the Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike is very lightweight, it is still more than durable enough to stand up to anything that your child might place in its way. Falling will certainly not break this bike, which is a big deal for destructive little boys who can’t ride bikes too well.
You might appreciate the Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike because it grows along with your child. You can adjust the seat and the handlebars on this model for height, which means that you don’t have to buy a new balance bike as soon as your child grows a couple of inches.
Kids grow fast, so this is a handy feature. What is helpful is the integrated footrest where the pedals would usually be. This footrest is ideal for teaching your child to balance and ride a bike without having their feet placed on the ground.
The Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike tires are ideal for small kids, especially for indoor riding. They are solid, hard, and puncture-proof. So, while they don’t provide the best grip or shock absorption, they don’t require any pumping, and they will never pop. In terms of comfort, the Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike comes with a well-padded seat and soft handlebar grips so your child can ride all day long without getting uncomfortable.
Reasons to Buy the Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike
5. Teddy Shake Balance Bike
One of the features that you might really like about this particular balance bike is that putting it together is about as easy as it can be. It only comes with five separate parts, and all you need to assemble the Teddy Shake Balance Bike is an Allen wrench, which comes included in the packaging. It should take you no longer than 5 minutes at the very most to put this balance bike together.
Something else that you as a parent might like is the full 3-year manufacturer’s warranty. Kids are rough, and yes, they break stuff all of the time, but at least you get an incredible warranty with the Teddy Shake Balance Bike, so if something does break, at least it will not cost you any extra money.
Something that both you and the kids will like about the Teddy Shake Balance Bike is that it is as light as a feather or at least as close as it can get. Being lightweight is relatively crucial for any balance bike because the lighter it is, the easier your child can hold it and balance, plus it won’t hurt as much if your child falls with the bike on top of them. Of course, being lightweight also means that it is easy for you to carry around once your child gets tired of riding it for the day.
Even though the Teddy Shake Balance Bike is very lightweight, it is also just as durable. The hollow metal frame ensures that bumps and crashes won’t break the whole bike. Moreover, they coated this balance bike with a special anti-rust layer that will keep it from degrading even in cold and wet climates. We always like to see a balance bike that is both lightweight and durable at the same time.
To help you save money, the Teddy Shake Balance Bike is also fully adjustable in terms of both the handlebars and the seat. This bike is suitable for kids as young as three years old and can still fit them when they are as old as five years. Both the seat and handlebars can be raised by several inches to grow along with your child, thus helping you save money and giving your child as much enjoyment out of one bike as possible.
Your child can easily put their feet on the footrests on the Teddy Shake Balance Bike. Once again, this is great for learning how to balance without having their feet on the ground. Moreover, the tires on this balance bike are airless. They don’t have the best traction or shock absorption, but they do just fine for indoor riding. Also, this means that you never have to worry about flat tires or have to pump them up.
Reasons to Buy the Teddy Shake Balance Bike
6. FirstBIKE Cross Balance Bike
The FirstBike Cross Balance Bike is a unique balance bike option to consider, but being unique does not make it a bad thing. It just has a couple of features that we have not seen on other models up until now. First off, they made the frame itself out of solid materials. The unique way it is built means that it is incredibly lightweight, flexible, and durable. It can flex, which is great for absorbing shocks and impact, yet it will never flex so far as to break. The fact that this frame is lightweight, durable, and flexible all in one is a big bonus indeed.
Another feature you might be happy with when it comes to the FirstBike Cross Balance Bike is limited steering; this may sound like a bad thing, but it is a beneficial aspect for kids. In other words, your kids can only move the handlebars so far in any given direction. They can’t move it too far to the left or the right, thus preventing sharp turns and crashes from occurring. It is a straightforward yet effective safety addition to this bike.
Speaking of safety, the FirstBike Cross Balance Bike also comes with a rear drum brake. Getting kids used to having a brake on the bike is essential to success when riding a real bike. The brakes on this particular model will help them do just that, plus it will allow them to stop in case some kind of hill is involved.
When it comes to comfort, the FirstBike Cross Balance Bike has lots of that too. The handlebar grips are well padded with rubber so that your child’s fingers are always comfy, plus they help to provide an excellent non-slip gripping surface too.
The special horse saddle-shaped seat brings even more of it to the table in terms of comfort. The seat may not have all that much padding, but the shape of it ensures that your kids will never slip out of the seat and fall. Helping make the FirstBike Cross Balance Bike both a little more comfortable and safer too. The seat can be moved up by a few inches, making it an excellent long-term balance bike option.
The wheels on the FirstBike Cross Balance Bike are inflatable pneumatic tires. We do like these because they allow for great traction on the ground and shock absorption. They do need to be pumped up now and then. For all of you parents out there, don’t worry about assembly because that is done in a heartbeat. There are only a few parts to put together, which you can do in a matter of minutes.
Reasons to Buy the FirstBIKE Cross Balance Bike
7. Schwinn Balance Bike
There is no denying that Schwinn makes some genuinely fantastic bicycles and fitness gear. With its origins in Germany, this manufacturer has been pumping out reliable and high-quality products ever since its creation.
They have not failed to deliver a quality product in the Schwinn Balance Bike. One of the factors that add to the quality of this bike is the hollow metal frame. The frame on this balance bike is just like on a real-life adult bicycle. It’s durable, made of metal, and it is hollow and lightweight too.
Everything you would expect on a full-sized adult bike but just shrunk down is what you can expect from the Schwinn Balance Bike. Lightweight and durability are two things you should always look out for when getting your kid a balance bike, which is what you get with this model from Schwinn. It’s lightweight, so your kids won’t have a problem lifting it, and if it falls on them, well, at least it won’t hurt too much. Also, being durable has its obvious benefits when rowdy kids are involved.
In terms of comfort, the Schwinn Balance Bike brings a lot to the table. It comes with an extra-large and well-padded seat to make sure your child’s behind doesn’t get painful. At the same time, to ensure that you don’t need to buy a new bike the second your kid grows an inch or two, you can adjust the seat for the position.
The seat should be adjustable enough so that the Schwinn Balance Bike is ideal for kids up to 5 years old, depending on their size. Back to the comfort thing, the handlebars come equipped with soft rubber grips, which is a common thing, yet beneficial no doubt.
There is a certain amount of padding located in the center of the handlebars. In case of a fall or trip, the padding will prevent your child’s head from smashing off the handlebars. We do like how the Schwinn Balance Bike comes with inflatable tires.
These tires may not puncture-proof, and they do need to be inflated, but they also come with certain benefits. The ability to absorb a certain amount of impact and provide good tire-to-floor traction is the two main advantages. Also, to get your child used to balancing without feet, the Schwinn Balance Bike does come with footrests.
As for the parents, the Schwinn Balance Bike is about as easy to assemble as it gets. It only comes with a few separate parts that need to be assembled, which is done in just a few minutes.
Reasons to Buy the Schwinn Balance Bike
8. Strider – Youth 16 Sport No-Pedal Balance Bike
The Strider is one of the more unique balance bikes out there at this time. The Strider Youth Balance Bike is intended for children six years and up. This one is so large that anybody up to the age of 16 can fit on it.
Any person up to 187 pounds can comfortably use the Strider Youth Balance Bike, which is a little different, we must admit. If you have a child that is late out of the gate and needs to learn to ride a bike at an older age, the Strider Youth Balance Bike might be a good beginner option. Most balance bikes will not be big enough for a 10-year-old child, let alone a 16-year-old, but this one certainly is.
The seat can be adjusted just like on a regular bike. As your child grows, simply move the seat up so that the bike can grow with them. It does not even require tools to move the seat up, which is yet another bonus. The seat itself is relatively large to make it comfortable, which is thanks to the ample padding. More or less, it’s like a standard bike seat on an adult bike, with just a bit more padding for comfort.
In terms of getting your child used to an adult bike, the Strider Youth Balance Bike does come with some valuable features. First off, it comes with both front and rear brakes, just like on an adult bicycle. Most balance bikes don’t have brakes or only have rear brakes, but to get children accustomed to adult bikes, the Strider Youth Balance Bike has both the front and back. Not only is this beneficial for getting kids used to adult bikes, but it’s simply safe too. Kids need to be able to stop, pedals or not.
Speaking of the pedals, of course, the Strider Youth Balance Bike does not have any. Still, it does have footrests in the shape of pedals, allowing your child to get accustomed to having pedals on the bike, and at the same time, it will enable them to practice their balance by getting their feet off the ground. The Strider Youth Balance Bike comes with inflatable pneumatic tires. They are fantastic for providing a good grip on the ground, plus they can absorb some shock and impact too. The downside is that you need to pump them up on occasion, but that’s no big deal.
Since the Strider Youth Balance Bike closely resembles an adult bike, it will require some assembly, more than most other models. Now, that being said, it’s still not all that hard or time-consuming to put this model together.
Reasons to Buy the Strider – Youth 16 Sport No-Pedal Balance Bike
9. Joovy Bicycoo Mg Lightweight Eco-Friendly Training Balance Bike
This final option on our list may be the last one, but it still comes with many benefits and neat features. First off, we love the look of this bike, and we think that your little boy or girl might too. Simply put, it’s a stylish and sleek bike that catches the eye without question.
A beneficial aspect of the Joovy Bicycoo Mg Lightweight Eco-Friendly Training Balance Bike is its durable 100% recyclable one-piece magnesium frame. The new aluminum frame absorbs 16 times more shock and vibrations than the previous Bicycoo Balance Bike we had listed. It’s light enough to make it easy for your kids to use, durable, and robust enough to withstand a serious amount of punishment, both things that kids who are learning how to ride a bike need.
On that same note, the tires are Whitewall 12” rubber tires with no-flat technology and excellent suspension, which means that they are puncture resistant. The tire is designed to support the bike and child in a puncture until you can fix it.
Kids take time to learn how to ride a bike, so the bike in question needs to grow with the child. This is why the Joovy Bicycoo Mg Lightweight Eco-Friendly Training Balance Bike has an adjustable handlebar and seat height. The minimum seat height is 12 inches off the ground, making this model ideal for kids 18 months and up, depending on their size.
The Joovy Bicycoo Mg Lightweight Eco-friendly Training Balance Bike comes with an easy-grip rubber handlebar with bearings and an integrated footrest. Finally, the Joovy Bicycoo Balance Bike does not require much assembly, which is a big time-saver for the parents. It will only take 10 minutes to fully assemble the Joovy Bicycoo Mg Lightweight Eco-Friendly Training Balance Bike.
Reasons to Buy the Joovy Bicycoo Mg Lightweight Eco-Friendly Training Balance Bike
Construction of a Good Balance Bike
Let’s quickly take a look at what a good balance bike consists of:
Balance bikes vary when it comes to frame size. Smaller frames are nice and lightweight for younger kids, while larger frames with an extra-long seat post are more adjustable.
The main difference between the best balance bikes and your cheaper models is the geometry of the frame. Many toy manufacturers of more affordable balance bikes will not spend much time on research. The frame’s geometry will determine the child’s balance and how easy it is to control the bike. High-end balance bikes usually encourage a better center of gravity due to the seat being placed a bit farther back, leaving more room for the kids to lean forward while running with the bike.
When it comes to materials, you will likely have a choice between metal, wood, and composite frames. Metal bikes are either from steel or aluminum alloys. Steel frames are heavier and can hold a heavier rider but are often vulnerable to corrosion. Aluminum bikes are lightweight but can usually only hold a maximum weight of about 75 pounds. Wooden bikes are more eco-friendly but not as adjustable as metal and are not as long-lasting. Composite bikes have a lightweight frame, but it has a higher weight capacity and is rust-resistant.
Balance bikes come in one of 5 different types of tires, each with its pros and cons, weight, and cost considerations.
- EVA tires are filled with rigid rubber foam, allowing them to be puncture-proof and maintaining their shape for several years; this makes them look and feel a lot like a regular tire. EVA tires are also about half the weight of air tires, making them an excellent option for smaller toddlers.
- Standard Air tires make for a more comfortable ride as they absorb bumps better than foam. They also have better traction but are heavier. You have the hassle of ensuring a tire pump is at the ready for when they deflate, and punctures can be a real headache. Only the balance bike manufacturer replaces the tubes, so it may be hard to try and get a replacement in your area. Add tire sealant to reduce these concerns significantly.
- Fatboy tires are larger, with a broader profile than standard air tires, increasing the air capacity. Thanks to the extra air, these tires offer better cushioning and are excellent shock absorbers. These tires are usually only found on your high-end bikes, such as the Like a Bike and Early Rider models.
- Rubber Honeycomb tires are reasonably new on the market but are the most versatile. These tires offer the same great traction you get in air tires without the risk of deflating. These tires are, however, only found on a small selection of balance bikes.
- Solid Rubber tires are also a new design. These tires have great traction but offer almost no cushioning, making them less comfortable than air tires. These are great for shorter rides.
Handle Bars and Steering
The steering range and height of the handlebars vary between the different balance bikes. Opt for a bike with lower, adjustable handlebars for smaller riders. The grips are an essential safety feature: a grip with a rubber knob at the end will protect the child’s hands from chafing on walls and also protect the hands from hitting the ground when he falls.
Some balance bikes also feature turning limiters, preventing sharp turns and keeping the bike from jackknifing during a fall, limiting injuries.
Check the bolts and other parts before buying a balance bike. Components will usually either be metal or plastic, of which metal is simply more durable and reliable. Protruding bolts can cause scratches and injuries, so instead, opt for a bike with recessed or covered bolts.
You have a wide range of options for choosing the best balance bike for your child. In the end, your primary considerations would be durability, comfort, and how well the bike suits your child. There are also many other factors to keep in mind, such as ease of assembly, warranty, and safety features. At the end of the day, as long as you keep all of these things in mind, you really can’t go wrong when selecting the right balance bike for your child.