Balance bike what? That’s what I would have said before moving next door to the Sporty McSportersons. Who are lovely, really.
My neighbours have two young boys, one just exiting out of the toddler stage and one still mucking about in it. When we moved into the neighbourhood, the very first spring – I watched their little guys on what looked like some sort of running bike. A very small bike with no pedals.
Those kids LOVED their balance bikes. Had them out on our crescent every day. Bonus points going to the fact that our crescent has a gentle slope which makes for some really great gliding and balancing practice.
Which is what balance bikes are all about. I’m fully sold on the notion that they do indeed help develop a toddler’s independence, sense of balance and prep them for learning how to ride a bike with pedals when the time comes. Skipping the training wheels altogether. (I watched our said neighbours 5 year old do it last fall.) After all – what’s the trickiest part about learning how to ride a bike? Pedalling or balancing? Exactly.
The only thing you should be wondering about now is whether or not to go with wood, steel or aluminum. Spokes, or spoke-free. Brakes or no brakes. Foam, rubber, no-air or air tires. You’re going to start to look for ball-bearing specifications. I know, right? Remember that not all balance bikes are one-size-fits-all! This should be one of your biggest considerations, next to price and safety.
And of course, always always always put a bike helmet on your kid every time they go out to ride!
Top Reviewed 1 of 18Take advantage of my hours of research in looking for a balance bike for my own kid with these top rated picks!
All Hail The Warmth, Function & Beauty of Wood 2 of 18I distinctly remember around Christmas-time, coveting a particular convertible wooden balance bike, that also came with a hefty price tag. Little did I know how vast my options were, or the difference in durability when it came to comparing brands.
ZÜM-CX Balance Bike 3 of 18Made of sustainably harvested birch-wood, with rubber hand-grips and rubber air tires. Adjustable seat going as low as 12 inches and as high as 17 inches. Padded vinyl seat for added comfort. A great choice for tots from 18 months right up to 5 years of age! Several 5 star customer reviews on Amazon.
Available via Amazon, $59.45
Diggin Active Skuut Wooden Balance Bike 4 of 18Made with birchwood with 12-inch pneumatic rubber pressurized tires. Adjustable seat heights, recommended for toddlers 2-5 years old. Several 4 star reviews on Amazon. Comes in pink and red.
Available via Amazon, &78.99
Prince Lionheart Balance Bike 5 of 18100% birch wood frame with adjustable seat height and solid rubber handgrips and 12" rubber air tires. 4 stars.
Available via Amazon, $72.99
Janod Wooden Vanilla Scooter Balance Bike 6 of 18Cute style and function! An extremely light low-rider, this one is for toddlers as young as 1 years old. If they can walk (or waddle), they can use this!
Available via Amazon, $84.99
Kinderfeets Balance Bike 7 of 18This is the only wooden balance bike on the market that features a footrest strategically positioned where pedals would normally be. It's also the only one that comes in a variety of colours painted with chalkboard paint - a neat little perk for the kiddos. We chose this one for the low price point compared to other wooden balance bikes of this caliber, because there are no spokes and the seat is adjustable, washable and cushioned. I particularly like the no air no maintenance biodegradable tires and the low instep. Abby at 21 months could still use it.
Available via Big Cartel with Free Shipping! >>> $109
See what the Toy Man has to say!
Early Rider Lite 12 8 of 18This one is built for younger toddlers (20 months and up). Made with marine-grade birch, sealed ball-bearings and "fat-boy" tires. Comes in a variety of styles and price-points.
Learn more and find links to purchase via Two Wheeling Tots
LikeABike Midi Balance Bike 9 of 18This balance bike is ideal for the tall or older toddlers as the seat features 5 adjustable positions from 17.3-22". It's made of strong, laminated birch wood with a comfy cotton seat.
Available via Amazon, $200
Wishbone 3 in 1 Original Bike 10 of 18This is the one that I've had my eyes on since Christmas. Since then, with all of recent my research - as you know - I've now gone with something else. It's not that this one isn't still amazing - it was a matter of price. If my toddlers were younger I might have gone with this to benefit from it's transformative ways fitting little ones as young as 1 year in the low-rider, 3 wheeler version. So. If you are an active family with a little one just about to turn 1 year, this is the perfect chocie in my eyes - you'll end up spending this amount on ride-on toys and balance bikes if you are into that sort of thing.
Available via Amazon, $231
Metal/Aluminum and/or Composite 11 of 18Apparently there are some die-hard aluminum bike lovers who scoff at the notion of a wooden bike. As rough as my toddlers are, I have a tough time imagining that they would need an aluminum bike of professional caliber. Apparently though, there is such a thing as toddler BMX'ing.
Radio Flyer Glide & Go Balance Bike Red 12 of 18A gorgeous little pre-bike for those who love this brand and great deals! Keep in mind that while the seat is adjustable, it's still only recommended for toddlers aged 30 months to five years.
Available via Amazon, $59.99
STRIDER ST-3 No-Pedal Balance Bike 13 of 18Specifically made for younger toddlers, the bike's seat can be adjusted to as low as 11 inches. I was caught between choosing this one and the Kinderfeets bike before I made my final decision.Very well reviewed everywhere I looked, the Strider has a ton of 4.5 star customer reviews on Amazon. Made of ultra-light aluminum, this bike is easy to maneuver with footrest they can rest their feet on as they get more confident and can balance while coasting! Comes in a wide array of bright, glossy colours.
Available via Amazon, $79.99
KinderBike Laufrad Run Bike 14 of 18Rated "the best", by the New York Times, this pre-bike is a great choice for those who aren't bothered by the spokes, cords and brakes. Featuring air tires on metal rims, a super light-weight aluminum frame that comes in four models, this bike will truly fit any and all toddlers. (Depending on the model you choose). Also? You can get a pedal conversion kit once your child is ready for that. Can't beat all of those perks at such a low price. Comes in blue, red and green and silver.
Available via Amazon, $95
Joovy BicycooGT Balance Bike 15 of 18A modern looking, sporty choice. The frame is made of lightweight aluminum, height adjustable seat and refillable 12" pneumatic tires for added suspension. This is another balance bike that comes with a break, although there are less spokes for feet or hands to get caught up in.
Available via Amazon, $199.99
Read the review from <a href="
Two Wheeling Tots
Baby Jock Edition 16 of 18The porsche of balance bikes. Also probably the lightest bike out of them all - given its (indestructible) composite frame. There are so many features associated with this bike, I'm surely going to miss one, but I'll give it a whirl. Includes a 'steer limiter' (to avoid jack-knifing), rear drum brake, removable lowering kit making it safe for toddlers under 2 and it comes in 5 different models!
Available via Amazon, $159.99
Read the review from Two Wheeling Tots
LIKEaBIKE Jumper 17 of 18The jaguar? The ferrari? Of pre-bikes. I don't even know which of those cars is more expensive than a porsche - if at all, but considering what most of y'all are willing to shell out for a stroller I'd say you could at least check out how awesome this bike is. The Jumper comes equipped with a unique steering limiter to prevent jack-knifing, which can be removed for more advanced riders. A light weight aluminum frame, and adjustable rear suspension. Two seat poles: a short one and a long one guarantee maximum adjustability with each seat pole being adjustable in itself. Fitted with a cushy, embroidered saddle. Another great feature are the 12-inch lightweight alloy wheels fitted with Schwalbe Big Apple tires with puncture protection and a reflective trim. Why, might you ask would a toddler need a bike like this? Well - if you are a parent who doesn't own 1 or more ridiculously expensive strollers, I shall supply you with some answers without giving you a sideways look.
Check out the review (plus video of toddlers BMX'ing) via Two Wheeling Tots
Available via Amazon, $269
Seriously 18 of 18I've read enough reviews on these bikes to ascertain that a lot of the disgruntled comments came from parents stating that the bike didn't fit their little darlings. Even though all of the bikes have measurements listed. Don't people read anymore? I mean, espeically when they are spending their hard earned dinero? Go with a bike that measures 1 inch lower than your toddler's inseam.
This Bike Sizing & Materials Listing Chart is a must see too!
Don’t forget the bike helmet, click here for a great selection!
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