As there are already balance bikes made from metal as well as wooden ones, it should come as no surprise that there are plastic ones available too. One such plastic offering is from YBIKE and considering the construction material, it has very little in common design-wise with a typical pedaled bike. While many balance bikes mimic the design of pedaled bikes in order to help smooth the eventual transition, the YBIKE looks more like a toy motorcycle than anything else.
There are obviously plenty of advantages to using durable plastic for the construction of the balance bike, but if you are looking for a more traditional design, the YBIKE balance bike is probably not the right choice. Let’s take a look at what sets this bike apart and help you decide whether you should add it to your shopping list.
YBIKE Balance Bike Unboxing
The box in which the YBIKE arrived wasn’t very big and I was glad to find the bike in a mostly assembled condition when I opened it. There are a few bits and pieces to fasten and tighten, but the instructions are clear and there is very little chance of messing things up. The main frame already has the rear wheel attached so you basically just have to connect the front wheel to the fork and then attached that to the frame.
The whole process literally takes a few minutes and an Allen key as well as wrench is included in the box to save you from having to bust out your own toolbox. The bike is very light with the whole package weighing in at something like 8 pounds. My test model was orange, but the YBIKE is also available in blue, pink and green. This is nice as kids can pick their favorite color and if you buy more than one each child can have their own color to avoid confusion.
I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about a plastic balance bike, but the YBIKE impressed me with the durability of the plastic. It is made from quality material and not the cheap, hollow stuff that usually breaks after one or two uses. The plastic construction brings the weight down a lot compared to other bikes, but I do have a few concerns.
First the height of the seat is not adjustable as it is molded directly to the frame. For a slightly higher price you can buy a wooden or metal bike with adjustable seat that can keep up with the growth of your child whereas the YBIKE will become too small after a while. The YBIKE balance bike is already very low to the ground so don’t expect your child to be riding around on it for too long before the need for a larger bike arises. Because the seat is made from plastic, it is also not as comfortable as a padded seat, something which my daughter made very clear to me after playing with it for a few hours.
The YBIKE is relatively safe thanks to the plastic construction and it even has two rear wheels for extra stability. The rear wheels are covered to prevent clothes or anything snagging in them while riding, but I did notice my daughter bang her heels into the cover a few times because it protrudes a bit. She soon learned to compensate for this, but it’s worth keeping in mind. Since the purpose of balance bikes is to teach kids how to maintain their balance I’m a bit concerned about the dual rear wheels.
They are very stable and allow the bike to stand upright when not in use, but I’m not so sure how much they help teach a child about balance. Safety conscious parents will love the fact that the bike is much harder to fall from than a typical two wheeler, but children might struggle a bit more when making the leap to a pedaled bike.
The YBIKE also features a steering limiter which feels like overkill to me, considering how stable the bike is already. My daughter struggled to make turns with the bike when riding it inside because the turning arch was so wide thanks to the steering limiter. While on the topic of driving it inside, because the bike is made from plastic it makes a loud noise when driven over wooden floors and the hard plastic wheels can also do a number on your laminate flooring.
While I like the fact that the plastic wheels don’t have any spokes where tiny fingers can get jammed into, the tires do limit the speed of the bike quite a bit and make it harder to roll which can frustrate some children. On the plus side, since the bike is made almost entirely from plastic it can weather the elements pretty well and as long as you don’t leave it outside in the baking sun it should last you quite a while.
Pros & Cons
There is a lot that I like about the YBIKE, but there is just as much which makes me a bit hesitant to outright recommend it, so let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons for comparison.
- The bike is lightweight weighing in at only 7.7 lbs and made from quality, durable plastic
- Easy to assemble
- Very stable thanks to the two rear wheels
- Performs well on uneven surfaces thanks to larger wheels
- Steering limiter for extra safety and stability
- Compact enough to take anywhere
- Very easy to clean
- The plastic seat is uncomfortable and impossible to adjust for growing children
- Not as good as other balance bikes when it comes to teaching balance
- Rear wheel covers protrude enough to hit a child in the heels while riding
- Steering limiter restricts the turning ability of the bike
- Plastic tires slows the bike down and can cause damage when used indoors
The YBIKE might be a good option for parents that want to transition their child to a pedaled bike quickly or who have children with younger siblings that can benefit from the bike once it is outgrown. The inability to adjust the seat and handlebars really count against the balance bike as children grow up so quickly and you will soon be left with a bike that is too small. Other than that it is a pretty good bike that will provide children with hours of fun.