Wooden Balance Bike

Balance bikes have a huge range of features, and one of the decisions to be made when choosing the best balance bike is the type of frame component.

Introduction

Your main choice will be to choose between a wooden frame and a metal frame, which will comprise of steel or aluminium. This guide is going to look into wooden balance bikes in some detail, the features and advantages of wooden balance bikes as well as some recommended models.

Advantages of Wooden Balance Bikes

​The first advantage of wooden balance bikes is that they look great and kids love them. Wooden balance bikes can be painted in all colours and in funky, stylish and fun designs. 

Wooden balance bikes are also environmentally friendly with most bikes made from birch plywood. This material is favoured as the birch is very light but also very strong and durable, so this is essential for bikes that might see some heavy use over a couple of years.

A third advantage of wooden balance bikes is that many of them have spoke less wheels so there is less chance of little fingers and toes getting trapped. They are also easy to manoeuvre and great fun!

Disadvantages of Wooden Balance Bikes

Although wooden balance bikes look great, they are not as close in appearance to a real bike. If your child would prefer a sleeker and sportier model then you may want to look for a steel or aluminium bike instead.

Wooden balance bikes will also generally have a much smaller range of heights on the saddle so they are not as adjustable as metal balance bikes. This means that they may not last as long as your child may outgrow the bike if they have a growth spurt. Wooden balance bikes will also generally have a higher starting height for the saddle, so if you are looking for a balance bike for a 2 year old you might be better looking at our recommended models for this age group.

Some might be concerned about a wooden balance bike warping, but this should not be a problem as long as you don't leave the bike out in the rain!

Product reviews

Kiddimoto Wooden Balance bikes

One of the leading manufacturers of wooden balance bikes are Kiddimoto, who offer a range of balance bikes for children from 2 to 6 years.

Kiddimoto Kurve

Their bikes are made of natural birch plywood and are sourced from managed forests so you will be doing your bit for the environment if you choose one of their bikes.

The most well known model from Kiddimoto is probably their Kiddimoto Kurve bike (pictured). This is available in a whole range of fun designs, including Pastel Dotty, Union Jack and Skullz. 

The Kiddimoto Kurve is recommended for children aged between 3 and 5 and is priced at around £75.

Prince Lionheart Wooden Balance Bike

Prince Lionheart is another brand of wooden balance bikes, and they are also made from birch plywood so they are light and strong.

Prince Lionheart balance bike

Prince Lionheart balance bike

The Prince Lionheart balance bike has a stylish and sporty appearance, with comfortable rubber grip handlebars, the makers name across the side and the racing number 73 on the front of the bike.

The bike is less expensive than the Kiddimoto Kurve and is generally available for between £50 and £60.

Jiggy Wooden Balance Bike

If your budget for a wooden balance bike is less than £50, then a great option is the Jiggy Wooden Balance Bike.

Jiggy Wooden Balance Bike

This bike has a great retro style, with a red, blue and white design running throughout including the handlebars.

The birch plywood frame is lightweight, and the padded seat can be adjusted between 34cm and 38cm height.

The soft plastic handlebars feature safety ends, and the wheels have inflatable tyres with a blue infill.

This is a really popular bike that is available for just over £40, with an optional stand available for just £5 extra for easy storage.

Boppi Wooden Balance Bike

An alternative wooden balance bike costing less than £50 is the Boppi Wooden Balance Bike.

Boppi Wooden Balance Bike

Boppi Wooden Balance Bike

This brightly coloured bike is really lightweight and will really stand out in the playground!

It has EVA foam tyres so they can't be punctured, and saddle height starting at 35cm. This means it might be a little too big for 2 year olds, but perfect for children learning to ride between 3 and 5

The Boppi Wooden balance bike is the best value of all of the bikes we have mentioned here, and is available for around £30.

The most important factor to consider when you are choosing the best balance bike is the fit for your child, but there are definitely pros and cons to buying a wooden balance bike.

At the end of the day, it will come down to personal preference, the style and design as well as the frame. There is a great choice of bikes out there to suit everybody!

Balance bike bolts

Balance bikes are equipped with a huge range of features these days, and the most important factors in your decision on buying the best balance bike will be determined by the type of frame you prefer, which sort of tyres and many other factors including the age of the child, style of bike and if the bike has a brake (or not).

One of the features often overlooked is the bolts that hold the bike together, and if they are exposed, recessed or covered.

Exposed bolts are common on many metal balance bikes, and although this means that the bolts are easy enough to access and adjust if required they can prove a slight concern. This is because exposed metal bolts can get scratched over time, and if they are very prominent this means that they can scratch the inside of the child’s leg while riding.

This problem is avoided with recessed bolts, which are often found on wooden balance bikes such as the Prince Lionheart Balance bike. The bolts on this style of bike are hidden away within the wooden frame of the bike so they are out of sight and don’t cause any hindrance to the rider.

Another advantage of balance bikes with recessed bolts is that they are out of the way if the child has a fall. Small children will sometimes fall directly on top of the bike during a fall, so exposed bolts can cause an injury so this is not a problem with bikes with recessed bolts. This also applies to balance bikes with covered bolts.

Bolts are an essential feature of balance bikes as they hold the entire bike together. Although recessed and covered bolts do help to prevent injury in the event of a fall, there are many excellent metal balance bikes with exposed bolts that don’t hinder the performance of the bike.

Best budget balance bike

Chicco Red Bullet Balance Bike

Balance bikes are an essential item in the playground, at the park and looking good for young children these days, and the good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great quality bike. The cheaper bikes may not have all of the bells, whistles and luxury features of more expensive models – but you can still get hold of some great bikes for prices ranging from £25 – £30 and upwards.

We love a comparison table on this website, so we have provided the table below to highlight three of the best budget balance bikes available on the market today.

PictureFramePrice
Chicco Red Bullet balance bike
Chicco Red Bullet balance bike
Metal£26.99
Jiggy Wooden Balance Bike
Jiggy Wooden Balance Bike
Wooden£34.99
Boppi balance bike
Boppi balance bike
Metal or Wooden£27 - £32

Our first recommendation is the Chicco Red Bullet Balance bike, which is incredible value as the bike is generally available for just under £30.

This is a great option starter bike for children aged between 2 and 3, as the lightweight nature of the bike (weighing just 2.7kg) and the low saddle height means that it is easy to handle for smaller children. The Chicco Red Bullet Balance bike is equipped with a metal frame and features an adjustable seat and handlebars.

If you would prefer a wooden balance bike in this price range, then look no further than the Jiggy Wooden Balance bike. This bike has a retro style, and although it is much heavier than the Chicco Red Bullet balance bike it is made from birch plywood so it is great for the environment and the saddle can be adjusted between 34cm, 36cm and 38cm. Another benefit of the Jiggy Wooden Balance bike is the inflatable tyres.

 

A final option is the Boppi balance bike, which is available as either a metal or a wooden bike.

The metal bike features a lightweight tubular frame which weighs in at 3kg, so although this is slightly heavier than the Chicco Red Bullet bike it is very well balanced.

Both the metal and wooden Boppi balance bikes feature EVA foam tyres, so this means they are easy to maintain and excellent for younger riders. Boppi balance bikes are available for under £30 which makes them a very good choice for a budget balance bike.

These models show that you can find a great quality balance bike on a limited budget, although if you can stretch your budget to £50 and above then you open up the choices to a greater range of bikes including Bike Star, Stompee and even a Strider. Don’t forget you will also need to invest in a safety helmet as well if your child is going to be out on the pavement or cycling on tarmac.

We hope this helps you choose the best budget balance bike, and if you are shopping by age group then check out our recommendations for the best balance bikes for 2 year olds, 3 year olds or 4 year olds.

 

 

How long should a balance bike last

It is well know that balance bikes help young children to learn the essentials of balance and steering before they graduate to pedal bikes, but how long should your balance bike last for?

Most children love their balance bikes, but as they are usually in the hands of youngsters between the ages of 2 and 5 then they can expect to experience plenty of wear and tear, being thrown to the ground and ridden into obstacles along the way!

The rate of progress will vary from child to child, but if they get their first bike between the ages of 2 and 3, then a good quality model should last them for up to 2 years to the point where they are confident on the bike and ready to progress to a larger model.

We have already looked at the differences between wooden and metal balance bikes on this site, as wooden balance bikes do have a reputation for warping or losing shape – especially if they are left out in the rain. However, as long as you take good care of the bike and store it indoors or in a safe place such as a garage or a shed then there is no reason why a wooden balance bike shouldn’t last as long as a metal balance bike.

As with anything in life, you tend to get what you pay for so if you decide to buy one of the budget balance bikes at the cheaper end of the market then it is likely that the bike will have reached the end of it’s life by the time your child has finished with it. If this is the case, then please make sure that you dispose of the balance bike in an environmentally friendly way!

More expensive and better quality balance bikes should stand the test of time, so there is a good chance you will be able to hand the bike down to younger brothers, sisters or cousins. The better bikes may even retain some value for resale.

As long as you make sure that you choose the best size bike and a style that you child enjoys – then almost every balance bike will get your child confident on two wheels and they will have great fun at the same time!

Balance bike seats

Not only do balance bikes come in all shapes, colours, materials and sizes – so do the seats on the bikes so we thought it would be useful to prepare the Ultimate Guide to Balance Bike seats to help you in your search for the best balance bike.

Most balance bikes will have a triangular shaped seat, and the material of the seat and the amount of padding provided will often depend on the cost and overall quality of the bike.

Chicco Red Bullet Balance Bike
Chicco Red Bullet balance bike

Many bikes towards the lower end of the price range will have a hard plastic seat, so although these types of seats are very durable they don’t provide much comfort for the rider. A good example of this is the Chicco Red Bullet Balance Bike, which is one of the best value balance bikes available at around £30. Although it does not have a huge range of features, it is great for younger children just learning to ride and it is one of the smaller balance bikes available.

Some of the more expensive bikes towards the higher end of the market will offer various layers of foam padding, which does make the ride more comfortable although will usually increase the cost of the bike. The Specialized Hotwalk Balance bike includes a padded seat and there are models available for both boys and girls. These bikes are more expensive at around £110 but have a high specification and a great range of features.

We must not forget wooden balance bikes, which will usually come with a wooden seat! One of the main disadvantages of wooden balance bikes is that the seat does not usually have as large a range of heights as metal bikes, although they are more environmentally friendly and look great as well. Check out the Mongoose balance bike which has an eye catching design!

Some balance bikes now also offer U-shaped seats, which will help the rider to stay on the bike  – especially if they are freewheeling downhill when they might be likely to slide off a plastic seat.

The material and shape of the seat is just one aspect to consider when you are buying a balance bike, and perhaps a more important factor is the actual height of the seat and the range of heights available. Check out our Balance Bike Seat Height Guide here!

Balance bike bag

There are plenty of accessories available for balance bikes, so even once you have decided upon the best size, colour, model and type of balance bike – there are plenty of ways to make your child’s ride even more enjoyable and stylish!

Some manufacturers offer a great range of accessories to complement their bikes, and if you are looking for a balance bike bag then the Puky Learner Bike Bag is a great option.

Puky balance bike bagThis bag fits all Puky balance bikes, and it clips securely into place so the rider can keep everything they might need during their ride to hand. These items could include a water bottle which could come in useful during hot summer rides, extra clothes if they get muddy during their ride or just their favourite toys they like to carry around with them everywhere!

The Puky Learner bike bag will set you back around £20 and is available in several colours so there should be a bag to match the bike that you decide upon.

 

This bag also comes equipped with a built in carry strap, so this means that the bike will be easy to transport if the child has had enough of riding for one day and is getting tired. The strap means that you can easily carry the bag over your shoulder, and this in itself will usually cost almost £10 so it is well worth investing in the bag as well.

 

janod balance bikeThis Puky Learner bike bag clips easily to the frame of the bike (as pictured), but some other bags will clip to the front of the bike. The Bikloon racing balance bike is an excellent wooden balance bike with a stylish red design, and the price of the bike at around £60 also includes a bell and a detachable bag which can be attached to the handlebars. This will provide easy access to everything in the bike, although some children may find it a distraction when they are first learning to ride.

You may not have thought of a balance bike bag as an accessory when looking for the best balance bike, but these bags look great and will give the child even more independence if they have somewhere to store everything they need while they are out and about without having to rely on Mum and Dad all the time!

Riding balance bikes in winter

The clocks have gone back and the sunny days of summer and autumn are behind us, but hopefully the colder weather and shorter days are not stopping you and your family from getting out on your balance bikes!

Children love to get outdoors whatever the weather, and we have already looked at the major health benefits of balance bikes which include regular exercise and social bonding. This means that you need to wrap up warm and get out on your bike even if it is cold and wet outside!

You should take some extra precautions to using balance bikes in the winter as opposed to the happy days of shorts and t shirts in the summer. If it does get very cold and icy, then it may be best to leave the bikes indoors for a few days to try and prevent accidents due to skids and tumbles on icy pavements.

If you think the pavement and the playground has the all clear from ice, then there should be nothing to stop you from enjoying your family outing to the park as normal. However, there are some extra precautions that you should take as you should make your child and the bike as visible as possible during the gloomy winter days. This means wearing reflective clothing and adding lights and reflectors to the bike.

It is also worth giving your bike some routine safety checks before the winter really kicks in. This can include making sure that the wheels and handlebars are tightly in place and that all of the various nuts and bolts are secure. If your bike has pneumatic air tyres, you should also make sure these are fully pumped up.

It goes without saying that you should also make sure that everybody wraps up well to stay as warm as possible during the winter months. Children riding balance bikes should wear safety gear such as helmets and knee pads as normal – they will of course need to wear a coat although some people find that very bulky coats can get in the way of a good bike ride. A good quality fleece may be the best option.

Whatever the weather, come rain or shine, balance bikes are a great way to have fun so we hope that you enjoy yours over the forthcoming winter weeks and months!

Health benefits of balance bikes

There are many benefits of balance bikes that we have already outlined here on this website. These include a safe way to learn to steer and balance to get a child ready for a normal pedal bike. A balance bike will also provide a great deal of independence for children, the extra confidence that comes with riding a balance bike and not to mention the sheer enjoyment of racing away from Mum & Dad! If you go out on the family walk with a balance bike then your child will be able to travel much further than if they were walking and it is a lot more fun for them than being pushed in the buggy.

ST4 Strider Balance BikeThere are also numerous health benefits to balance bikes, as riding will provide a great work out. Children love balance bikes so much that they will want to explore as far as possible, so this will include running up hills and exploring parks, towns and villages. They can be out for hours on their bikes which means they will be burning off lots of calories!

 

Get outdoors

Balance bikes will get children in to the great outdoors and away from computer games, tablets and the television, thus reducing the amount of time they are sitting around so there will be a lower likelihood of them becoming overweight and decreasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Exercise

It goes without saying that activity and exercise is beneficial for children, and some of the major benefits include a leaner and fitter body and the development of stronger muscles and bones. Regular exercise will also help children to sleep better (which is also good news for parents), and should help to improve their general outlook on life.

Social bonds

Balance bikes can also help to develop social and family bonds, as slightly older children will want to get out on their bikes with their friends and longer walks as a family are a lot more fun than sitting around watching TV.

We all know that it is no fun being trapped inside on a rainy day – so balance bikes provide the perfect opportunity to get out and run off all of that excess energy that children always seem to have! Happy cycling!

Best bike after Balance bike

Once your child has been riding a balance bike for a while and mastered the arts of steering and balance, they will eventually grow out of their balance bike and be ready to move on to a ‘normal’ pedal bike.

There is such a huge range of pedal bikes for younger children in the market that we won’t try to review or recommend all of them, but there are some general tips and advice that it may be worth bearing mind when you are looking for the next bike for your child.

No stabilisers or training wheels!

The first rule is – Don’t worry about stabilisers or training wheels! These were all the vogue in the 1980’s (before balance bikes were invented), but after mastering a balance bike the last thing that your child needs is help to keep their balance.

The main differences they will find between the balance bike and the ‘normal bike’ is the action of pedalling and the fact that pedal bikes will probably be heavier than a balance bike. This means that you should probably be looking for a bike that is light enough for them to handle, and of course the same rules regarding saddle height will also apply to balance bikes. Check out our guide to balance bike saddle heights here, so make sure that their feet can be flat on the floor and it is a comfortable ride.

It can be tempting to buy a much larger model as a first pedal bike in the hope they will grow into it, but if the bike is too heavy and cumbersome and the rider can’t operate the pedals this could result in a backwards step. There are plenty of bikes to suit all sizes and children’s pedal bikes will usually start from as small as 12 inch wheels – which is a similar size to many balance bikes.

Get ready for pedals

It may take some time for your child to get used to pedalling, so be prepared for a couple of falls and it may be worth practising on grass to start with. A smaller child may struggle with the extra leg strength required for pedalling, but it shouldn’t be long before a good balance bike rider masters the pedals and then there will be no stopping them!

One other thing about balance bikes is that they keep their value very well, so as long as the bike is not too battered after a couple of years of riding then you should be able to sell on your model – especially if it is one of the higher value brands.

Best balance bike for 3 year old

Kiddimoto Kurve Pastel Dotty

Now we are really talking! This is the age when there is nothing to stop children getting on their bikes, learning to ride and really finding their independence! Although some  2 year olds might be reluctant to start using balance bikes, and many 6 year olds will have grown out of balance bikes, most 3 year olds should be raring to go!

This means that there is a huge range of models available for children aged around 3, so it would be  impossible to fit them all into this review. We have selected our favourite 5 models and listed them in the table below, so you can see the sort of bikes that are available when you are looking for the best balance bike for 3 year olds.

ImageFramePrice
Early rider classic
Early rider classic
Wood£90-95
Puky Balance Bike LR1
Puky Balance Bike LR1
Steel£70
Adventure Zooom balance bike
Adventure Zooom balance bike
Aluminium£82 - £125
Kiddimoto Kurve Pastel Dotty
Kiddimoto Kurve Pastel Dotty
Wood£60

By the time your child is approaching their 3rd birthday, they will probably be too big for one of the smaller balance bikes we featured in our reviews for the best balance bikes for 2 year olds.

This means they will need a bike with a larger seat height, so if you aim for a model starting at around 35cm this should be about right. You need to make sure that the lowest setting of the seat is around 2.5 – 3cm lower than the inside leg of the child so that they can get on and off the bike comfortably. As long as the seat is adjustable (which it will be on most models), then a good quality bike bought at this age should see them right through to their first pedal bike. We have more details on seat height in our Balance Bike Seat Height Guide.

One of our favourite models for 3 years olds is the Stompee Balance Bike, which is featured in the table above. The Stompee balance bike has the appearance of a genuine mini mountain bike, with chunky pneumatic tyres and a stylish finish. It also looks great with alloy wheels and a large padded seat, and as Stomp specialise in off road motorbikes then this bike should be able to stand the test of whatever most energetic 3 and 4 year olds can throw at it!

Another great option is the Puky LR1 Learner bike. Puky provide models for children of all ages, but we find that the Puky LR1 Learner bike is perfect for this age group.

The lowest seat height of this bike is 34cm, and it is also different from some other models with the low platform which makes it easier for smaller children to get on and off the bike.

If you would prefer a wooden balance bike for your 3 year old, then there are several options in this category. A top of the range model is the Early Rider Classic, which is high quality wooden balance bike, with a range of superb features and a stylish fire emblem on the frame.

The seat height of the Early Rider Classic starts at 31.5cm, and it weighs in at 4.25kg which means that it will be able to support riders right up the age of around 5.

The Early Rider Classic will set you back around £100, so if your budget doesn’t stretch this far but you would prefer a wooden balance bike then there are several other options including a Mongoose Balance bike at just over £50, or the Jiggy Wooden Balance bike which is available for around £35.

Other best selling models to highlight in this range of bikes are the Kiddimoto Kurve and the Scoot balance bikes. The Kiddimoto Kurve range of balance bikes are beautifully designed wooden bikes with a range of styles including Pastel Dotty, Police and Fire. These are very different from the Stompee, Puky or Early Rider models – and you may have seen them featured on Dragons Den!

Kiddimoto Kurve bikes are available from around £50, and have a seat height between 37cm – 39cm. This is not as wide a range of some of the other models which is a drawback of wooden balance bikes.

Finally, if you can stretch your budget to around £100 and would prefer an aluminium balance bike then we would recommend the Scoot balance bike. This is a stylish and high quality bike that caters perfectly for 3 year olds, and it even comes with 2 different seat posts so you can switch between them as your child grows. The Adventure Zooom balance bike is another option in this price range, and these bikes compare very closely in terms of style, features and price.

These are just a few of the models available, so there is plenty of choice for the best balance bike for 3 years olds looking to get on their bike and explore the world. We have featured many more on this website, so happy riding!