Balance bikes are great for getting kids to learn those first skills in getting their balance while riding something with two wheels. Read on to find out the best balance bike for kids, toddlers and even older kids on the market in 2016.
- 1 What is a balance bike?
- 2 Which balance bike to choose?
- 3 Best balance bike for kids – my reviews
- 4 Best balance bikes for toddlers
- 5 What about a balance bike for older child?
- 6 Balance bike with pedals
What is a balance bike?
A balance bike essentially looks just like a normal bike, except that they are missing one thing – pedals. The idea is that without needing to worry about pedals getting in the way, and by being small and manoeuvrable, kids can jump on a balance bike and wheel themselves around. In reality there’s no teaching involved and it’s a natural process. Eventually once they are used to the bike and how it works they’ll naturally start lifting their legs as they go and keeping their balance easily.
Since keeping balance while riding a bike is the biggest problem, balance bikes help to overcome this with ease. When ready to progress to a regular bike it will be so much simpler, less scary and with hopefully less falling off!
Since balance is the biggest obstacle that you’ll come across when learning to ride a bike, some people believe that forgoing bikes with stabilisers is the best option and this is where a balance bike will come in. Stabilisers get your child out and about but they really don’t help with the balance issue and let’s face it, getting your kids to learn to ride is often our main objective – ok fun comes in to it too!
Which balance bike to choose?
Options of kids balance bikes have increased lots since my two were younger which I’m really pleased to see as we loved our little wooden balance bike that we had.
First thing is to take in to consideration the age of your child. The majority of balance bikes for sale at the moment are targeted to the small child stage and will be suitable from the age of 2. Most of these bikes will suit through ages 3, 4 and in some cases up to 5 years old. Don’t worry, there are also bikes suitable for kids up to age 12 on the market these days (and adults too!).
Check out whether the seat height and handlebar height can be adjusted to suit your child as they grow – some of the wood balance bikes might not have much movement in this area.
Also think about whether you’d like to have a brake on the bike too. Balance bike with brakes are available as are bikes that can covert in to regular pedal bikes too.
Have a think about what you want in terms of features and then you can take a look at some of the designs available!
Best balance bike for kids – my reviews
Chicco Bullet Balance Bike
Best budget balance bike
One of the best sellers in the UK at the moment, and for good reason, is the Chicco Bullet. If you’re after a cheap balance bike that is from a reputable brand then this is the one for you. It’s basic, lightweight, but still with adjustable seat and handlebars. It’s a perfect first bike! It comes in Red as shown above but you can also get a nice pink version too.
The age range suggested is from 3-5 although reviews have suggested that for some larger 4 year olds it may be a bit too small, so do measure your child before purchasing. Overall though it’s a brilliant bike for little kids.
Strider 12 Classic No-Pedal Balance Bike
I’ve included this bike here even though it could be a contender for the best toddler balance bike, because it has such a wide age range that it’s suitable for and didn’t want you to miss it if I put it in the toddler category!
You can use this balance bike from the age of 18 month all the way up to age 5. It’s a lightweight and well built bike from a trusted brand. There’s even seat extension posts that you can buy separately if you have taller children and need a bit more height.
Overall it’s a fantastic little bike, a perfect first balance bike – available in a few different colours too (blue, purple, green and red).
Boppi wooden balance Bike
Best cheap wooden balance bike
The Boppi Bike is a lovely little balance bike that is not only wooden but also really lightweight, has puncture proof tyres and an adjustable padded seat.
What I particularly like about this one is the range of colours and patterns it’s available in – there’s really a huge choice!
This bike is suitable for 2, 3, 4 and up to 5 year olds and is suitable for both indoors and out – it’s a great first balance bike.
Kettler Speedy 12.5-Inch Balance Bike
The Kettler Speedy bike is suitable for ages 2 – 4 and is the only one in this section that includes a brake so if you’re worried about hills and getting kids used to using brakes this one would be a good choice.
Apart from the obvious lack of pedals it has a real look of a proper bike to it. I love the colours of this bike too – as well as the pink shown it comes in a few other colours that will be suitable for both boys and girls.
Again the bike has height adjustable seats and handlebars making this last a while.
Kiddimoto Kids Kurve Wooden Balance Bike
You might think that wooden balance bikes are more suitable for the younger child, but this one by Kiddimoto is suitable up to the age of 6.
What I really love about this bike is that it’s such a fun style. It comes in all sorts of colours from the pastel dots on the image here, to a union jack style, to a police bike. It’s got a lot going for it in the looks department!
It has a padded seat that is also adjustable, but no adjustable handlebars if that’s a concern for you. It’s a lovely bike and probably one of the best wooden balance bikes out there.
Best balance bikes for toddlers
If you’ve just jumped to this section, do also check out the bikes in the ‘kids’ section, particularly the Strider bike which is suitable from 18 months all the way up to 5.
Wooden balance bike by deAO
I love wooden bikes and we had them for our kids many years ago now. Although they tend to be a bit heavier (although still light enough for a child) than some other bikes I think they also are much sturdier and are a nice item for kids to use.
This wooden bike is suitable for ages 2 – 5 and does have a height adjustable seat, but not handlebars. It’s made from birch wood and is extremely sturdy.
Early Rider Lite 12″
This is a special little bike and if you’re wanting to invest in something that has a beautiful design then this one could fit the bill nicely! Although it is one of the more expensive bikes I’ve picked out it’s still very reasonable for what you get.
The bike is handmade in the UK which is always great and it has a host of features:
It has adjustable seating and dual steering which means you can have it restricted or unrestricted. When it’s restricted it means it can’t turn as fully and so might be safer and less likely to make your child fall if they can’t turn so sharply.
It’s suitable for ages 1.5 to 3 years.
WishBone 3 in 1 Bike Ride on
Another amazing bike that is firmly in the premium category and definitely a lovely bike for very young kids is this one from WishBone. It’s actually a 3 in 1 ride on which means that the use is extended as it’s suitable for very little ones when it’s in ‘trike’ mode and has the three wheels in use. When the child gets older you can change it to a classic two wheeled balance bike, and when they are older still you flip the frame and it extends the size. It’s really a very clever design and makes it a worthwhile investment.
Suitable from 12 months
What about a balance bike for older child?
If your child hasn’t mastered the art of riding a bike at a younger age and you’d still like to give maybe a large balance bike a go for them to increase their confidence then don’t worry as there are still some options for you.
Strider Youth 16 Sport No-Pedal Balance Bike
This no pedal bike is perfect for ages 6-12 so whether you missed the window while your child was younger, or if they simply got too big for their old balance bike and wanted a new one, this bike would be great. It’s also good for children with special needs as it can grow with them and be a bike they can use for a long time if pedals might be too much to contend with.
It has a 16″ frame, adjustable seat height and adjustable handlebars. It also has brakes as well so can get kids used to using those.
It comes in blue and red as in the picture.
Balance bike with pedals
perhaps you’re looking for a 2 in 1 balance bike with removable pedals? They aren’t so common, but you can get them!
Muddyfox / Muddy Paws 14″ 2 in 1 Grow Bike / Balance Bike
This bright orange bike from Muddyfox is a balance bike with pedals to add at a later date when your child has mastered the balancing and riding.
It’s just like a regular bike with brakes, adjustable handlebars and seats and it also has a chain guard to protect feet and clothes while riding.
It’s suitable for ages 3-5 years and if you’re concerned about how long your child might want the balance bike part then this would be a good compromise to get them on to regular biking when ready.