The Best Wooden Balance Bikes


If you are just starting to teach your toddler or small child how to ride a bike, a balance bike could be a very beneficial investment. For those who may not know what a balance bike is, a balance bike is usually much smaller than an average bike and has only two wheels and no pedals. However, these rules are not set in stone and vary between the different bikes and their manufacturers. You can use balance bikes to teach a child as young as 18 months how to balance correctly on the two wheels.

Top Pick
Kinderfeets Kids Balance Bike

This wooden balance bike is handmade from Birchwood and has EVA airless tires and an adjustable, cushioned seat. The seat is also washable.

Why Buy A Wooden Balance Bike?

Once your child masters the balance bike, they can move over to a regular bike. A child as young as three can transfer the skills they have learned to a regular bike. With any luck, little parental help will be needed. But why go for a wooden balance bike instead of the traditional metal ones?

Wooden balance bikes are much more environmentally safe, and the higher-end wooden frames can last for many years when taken care of. However, bear in mind that cheaper wooden bikes fall apart much faster. Though the wooden balance bikes aren’t as adjustable as their metal counterparts, the environmental-friendly aspect is a definite plus. Some companies have included more customizable elements to their bikes, as you will see on this list. If you decide to go the wooden balance bike route, definitely invest in a good one. 

Why not a tricycle or training wheels?

A lot of people had probably used training wheels and tricycles when they were small. You probably even did. So, what’s the big deal about them? Why are balance bikes considered to be superior?

Balance bikes are much safer than traditional tricycles. How so? The three wheels make the bike much more complicated and awkward for little ones to maneuver. They are also much easier to tip over on uneven or angled surfaces. Balance bikes are designed for the child to focus on balancing. Therefore, they are more prepared for a loss of balance and are less likely to fall. That will make for fewer scrapped knees and injuries.

But what about training wheels? Some people believe that training wheels significantly delay a child’s ability and overall desire to learn how to ride a bike. Keep in mind that balance bikes are designed to teach a child how to ride a bike while balanced. Training wheels are designed to teach a kid how to ride while unbalanced. Bikes with training wheels generally tilt to one side, which creates a false sense of balance.

To ride without the training wheels, a child must “unlearn” how to ride unbalanced and learn how to ride while balanced, which a balance bike would teach them to do. A balance bike teaches your kid what to expect from a traditional bicycle. Training wheels “hold your child’s hand,” so to speak, and don’t teach them anything.

A Word on Safety

Please ensure that your child is wearing a bike helmet at all times. The majority of children in the emergency rooms are there because they were not wearing the needed safety gear. 

If you want to protect more than just your child’s head, consider investing in some knee guards, elbow guards, and bike gloves; this will help soften the fall if your little one topples over. For just incase, make sure to know a few first aid practices to help you heal those sore spots.

Everything You Should Consider When Buying a Wooden Balance Bike

This may seem trivial to those who don’t have children, but parents know that buying a toy for their child is not a matter to sneeze at. Parents want to be sure that the toy is safe and will not cause any accidents. They also want to be sure that the toy will be the best fit for the child and the best value for money. 

If you are still feeling overwhelmed after viewing all of these products, here are some tips and tricks to help you pick out a good balance bike.

Tire Size and Seat Height

Size is probably the most crucial factor to consider when purchasing a balance bike. Tire size and seat height should both be considered when determining the right bike for your child. View our guide on how to select the best-sized bike for your child.

Tire Size:

Most balance bikes typically have 12-inch tires, while 14″and 16 inch tires are popular for taller kids. 10-inch tires are available for starter balance bikes; however, kids outgrow these quite quickly.

Seat Height:

The seat height is the most accurate way to tell if the balance bike will fit your child. A child’s feet must hit and push off the ground while they are sitting on the bike. A proper seat height should also allow for a slight bend at the knee, allowing room for growth.

Bike Weight

The first important thing to know about weight is you don’t want the bike to weigh more than 30% of your child’s weight. Keep in mind that the more fancy features on a bike, the heavier it may be.

Balance Bike Geometry

Since balance bikes are all about learning to balance and they favor the act of running and gliding, the child will naturally want to lean forward. Therefore, they will need the room to do so. Poorly designed balance bikes will limit a child’s ability to lean by creating minimal space between the seat and handlebars.

The position of the seat on the frame is essential. A good balance bike has a small gap between the rear tire and the seat when in its lowest position. A poorly made bike has a large gap which makes the bike harder to control.

Tire Types

The type of tire will determine the overall smoothness of the ride and whether or not it can hold its own on various surfaces. The five basic balance bike tires are air, foam, rubber, plastic, and big apple.

Air Tires

Air tires provide the most cushion and traction. Air tires are widely considered to be the overall best choice. Keep in mind that air tires generally add about 3 to 4 pounds of weight to a bike.

Foam Tires

Foam tires are cheaper, lighter, and will never go flat on you. However, their traction is more limited when compared to air tires. Foam tires also tend to wear much faster. Be prepared to get new tires more often.

Rubber Tires

Like foam tires, rubber tires are also puncture-proof. However, rubber tires will provide much more traction than foam tires. You may have a more challenging time finding rubber tires since they are less common than foam and air. Rubber tires are considered better than foam tires but still don’t match air tires when it comes to traction.

Plastic Tires

Plastic tires are the lightest of them all and the lowest of quality. They provide no traction and are only suitable for indoor use.

Big Apple Tires

These tires are also known as “Fat Boy” tires. They are wide-profile air tires that create more traction. These are probably the most expensive out of the bunch.


When it comes to riding a balance bike, the primary way to stop will always be your child’s feet. However, you can use hand brakes to prevent injury and prepare your child for a regular bike. Around the age of three, a child should have enough hand/eye coordination to use a hand brake. Once they get used to the hand brake, the child will coordinate with their feet to stop safely. The skill will not have to be relearned on a regular bike.

Turning Issues

Some balance bike companies put turning limiters on the bike to block the handlebar and front wheel from completing a full revolution, preventing sharp turns and keeps the brake cable from getting twisted. Some claim that this makes the bike safer, while others say that it prevents kids from learning proper steering techniques.

There are pros and cons to turning limiters; however, the overall effect on a balance bike is minor. It is ultimately up to you, the parent, and what you think will be best for your child.


As stated before, most balance bikes do not come with footrests. However, some companies include them for the new rider to feel safer. Footrests are not needed on a balance bike at all. But if you insist on having one, make sure that they are appropriately designed and don’t hit the back of the child’s calf while riding.

Footrests may be a better option for younger balance bike riders. Most companies that put footrests on their balance bike gear that particular bike towards younger riders.

Wheel Bearings

The bearings of a bike determine how fast and how smoothly a tire spins around the axle. Sealed bearings have a rubber seal around them that stops water other unwanted materials from getting into the bearings. A bike with sealed bearings will get less friction when spinning. Less friction makes for a smoother ride and allows the child to use less force when controlling the cycle. However, sealed bearings will result in a higher-priced bike. But if a bike has sealed bearings, it will more than likely be a higher quality balance bike.

Hand Grips

Many of the bikes on our list have included special hand grips to prevent scrapped hands. A rubber grip will protect your child from when the handlebar runs into a wall, trees, or anything else encountered on the ride. Be sure that your child’s handgrips also have protective bumpers.

Concealed Bolts

In time, if the bolts on your bike become exposed, they can become scratched and can also scratch your child’s legs when riding; this will be very uncomfortable and can even be painful for your child.  Covered, rounded, and recessed prevent this from happening. It is a fact that exposed bolts are the most common issue on most balance bikes.


Now that we covered everything from the top balance bikes on the market to the crucial elements of a good balance bike, we hope that you feel more confident about purchasing one for your child. Wood is the most environmentally friendly of the balance bike frames and is sure to make mom and dad happy about that. Your child can learn to be environmentally conscious at an early age. Not to mention, balance bikes, in general, are typically considered to be much safer than tricycles and training wheels.

Aside from frame materials, it is important to remember that the height of the bike is an essential element when choosing the right balance bike for your child. The height of the bike will determine whether the bike will fit your child or not. Other important things to consider (besides price) are the make of the tires, the geometry of the bike, and whether or not to go with footrests. No matter what features you choose, many of the bikes on this list are award-winning and will be an excellent investment for your child. With the skills your child will learn from their balance bike, they will be riding a traditional bike in no time.

Parents, when purchasing a balance bike, please keep in mind the needed safety features, the size of the bike, and the overall weight limit of the rider.

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