Balance bikes are all the rage, and autumn is a great time of year to get your children out on their bikes riding through the fallen leaves and searching for conkers!
Balance bikes allow children to learn the principles of balance, steering and braking before graduating to a proper pedal bike. There is a huge range of bikes available that cater from toddlers as young as 18 months all the way to balance bike experts as old as 11 or 12!
We will be bringing you the best balance bike reviews in 2016 and beyond, and this starts with our Balance Bike Guide below which shows some of the most popular models available. We have included a picture, the seat height, some of the specifications and a guideline price. This should provide a good start to looking for the best balance bike!
Ultimate Balance Bike Guide
|Picture||Bike||Saddle height||Weight||Frame Material||Price|
|Strider 12 Classic||28cm - 40cm||2.9kg||Steel||£66|
|Bike Star Classic||35cm - 42cm||5.0kg||Steel||£50 - £55|
|Stompee||35cm - 45cm||4.2kg||Steel||£44 - £49|
|Chicco Red Bullet||32cm - 38cm||2.7kg||Steel||£25 - £30|
|Puky LRM||29cm - 40cm||3.54kg||Steel||£50 - £55|
|Adventure Zooom||34cm - 51cm||5.5kg||Aluminium||£80 - £100|
|Early Rider Lite||29.5cm - 38cm||3..25kg||Wood||£90 - £100|
What is a balance bike?
If you are in your late 20’s or 30’s and bringing up your first child, then the chances are that you may not have heard of balance bikes before you started doing your research and came across this website!
Back in the 80’s and 90’s, it was a rite of passage for children to learn to ride on traditional bikes with stabilisers or training wheels – cycling around the park under the encouragement of Mum and Dad before the big day when the wheels were removed and you wobbled off triumphantly down the road.
However, although this method helps children learn to steer and brake, studies have shown that because the stabilisers provided a safety net to stop the bike from toppling over then children did not learn to balance and as soon as the wheels were removed a crash was almost inevitable.
The modern day balance bike was designed to solve this problem, and it is a simple design as a normal bicycle but without pedals, a chain or stabilisers. The child should be able to sit comfortably on the saddle and be able to walk the bike to learn to turn, glide, stop and start with their feet flat on the floor. Check out our balance bike seat height guide for more information on how to measure your child and match the best balance bike for them.
This teaches the child how to balance on the bike, and it won’t be long before they build enough confidence to control the bike through turns and manoeuvres that is not possible with a traditional bike fitted with stabilisers.
Balance bikes are lightweight, easy to transport and have revolutionised the way that children learn to ride bicycles. They are also clean, easy to maintain and provides hours of fun and entertainment. They also provide a great excuse for all of the family to get out and do some exercise.
How to find the best balance bike for you
The comparison table above should provide a good starting point for you to compare the main features of some of the more popular balance bikes.
There are lots of factors to consider when you are choosing the best balance bike, and among the most important things to look at are the saddle height, the frame composition (ie wood, metal or aluminium), the type of tyre (usually air or foam) and a whole range of other factors!
Every child will also have varying requirements – so a 2 year old girl that is just starting out will have very different requirements than a 4 or 5 year old boy that wants the very latest and sleekest model.
The core balance bike market is for children from 2-4 years old, as by this age most children will be confident on their feet and ready to start exploring the world on two wheels. However, there are some bikes that are aimed at toddlers as young as 18 months, and these models will usually either have a low platform for the child to rest their feet on as they scoot along, or a step through frame which makes it easier to mount the bike.
The best examples of these models are the Puky LRM Learner Bike or the Bike Star Starter Bike, both of which offer the low platform. If you prefer the step through frame, then the Weeride Starter Bike is a great option.
A much larger range of options opens up for children aged 2, 3 or 4. You can buy the latest in lightweight technology and a great example of this is the Adventure Zooom balance bike. Alternatively, there are beautiful wooden bikes from manufacturers such as Kiddimoto and John Crane– or variations on balance bikes such as scooters or motocross styles. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are literally hundreds of different balance bikes available for this age range.
By the time your child reaches the age of 5 or 6 then they will probably be ready to move on to ‘proper’ pedal bikes. However, a couple of manufacturers have recognised that some children are late starters, and others like to take their balance bike skills to a new level and perform tricks and stunts that are just not possible on heavier pedal bikes.
Strider are probably the market leaders in balance bike for older children with their signature models being the Strider 12 Classic or the Strider 12 Sport. There are even national competitions arranged for kids to show off their tricks!
However, the Kiddimoto Kurve Middi is also a fabulous choice if you prefer a wooden bike and their Union Jack and Pastel Dotty versions are available in this size.
There are balance bikes to fit every budget, with the best value bikes such as the Chicco Red Bullet coming in at around £30, and top of the range models such as the Early Rider Alley Runner costing close to £150. There is a huge range of bikes in between these models!
Once you have decided on the best balance bike, then there is a whole range of accessories available to compliment your child’s ride. One essential purchase is a kids bike helmet, and other gadgets include bells, carry bags and riding gloves.
Best balance bike reviews
You will find reviews of many balance bikes on this site, but as there are so many bikes available we thought it would be useful to provide an overview of 5 of the most popular models around
Strider are market leaders in balance bikes, and the Strider 12 Classic gets our vote as one of the most versatile and best quality bikes around. One of the main selling points is the fully adjustable saddle height, and the minimum height of just 28cm means that it is suitable for the youngest riders from just 18 months old. The seat can be adjusted right up to 40cm, so this means it will grow with your child as they become confident on a bike.
Other features include a classy design, EVA puncture proof tyres and it is also very lightweight at just 2.9kg. You really can’t go wrong with the Strider Classic balance bike for around £60.
The Stompee Balance bike provides great value for just £44, and is designed in the style of a miniature mountain bike with a host of off road features.
The bike features pneumatic (air) tyres, along with a steel tube frame and alloy wheels which really do give it a stylish appearance that fits in with the overall quality of the bike.
The minimum seat height of the Stompee Balance bike is 35cm, which means that it isn’t suitable for the youngest of riders, but a great choice if you are planning a few rides off the beaten track!
This is one of the smallest bikes on the market, weighing in at just 2.7kg so this means that it is perfect for younger children age between 2 and 3 who are just learning to ride. This is a great age to buy a balance bike, and you can check out our guide to best balance bikes for 2 year olds.
The red metallic frame gives stylish appearance, and the seat height starts at 32cm. A great value balance bike will get your child in the saddle!
Puky have a great range of balance bikes so it is difficult to focus on just one of their models. The Puky LRM Balance bike is perfect for 2 year olds with a step through frame, a special learner bike saddle and safety handlebars.
The next model up is the Puky LR1L Learner bike, and although this is slightly more expensive at £65 this is a direct competitor for the Strider Classic although features a low platform and pneumatic tyres. There is also a kick stand to stop the bike being thrown on the floor so much!
All of the models mentioned above comprise a steel or metal frame, but there is also a great range of wooden balance bikes available! One of our favourite models is the Early Rider Classic, which is a simply superb balance bike with a range of features and a stylish design.
The Early Rider Classic is quite an expensive option at around £100, so the Early Rider Lite is also available which is a lighter bike so it is suitable for younger children. It is also cheaper as available for around £80.
Now that you have seen the options and reviewed our top picks for the best balance bike on the market, its up to you to pick what meets your needs, is in your price range, and overall help your child get on their bike. Although it hasn’t been a hot summer, there should still be plenty of opportunity to get out in the park and to do some cycling!
As you know, new bikes are being launched all the time so we will try to keep you up to date with the latest models. Or if you feel like we missed a superior bike that needs to be included on the list, then please let us know.