Balance Bikes – A Summary
In this article, I’ll review what a balance bike is, compare balance bikes with training wheels and tricycles, and tell you my recommendation for which balance bikes to check out.
Bonus: I’ll also share some vids of my son JeeHo using his balance bike over time so you can see the progress he’s made. Be sure to check him out doing his ‘look, ma, no feet’ trick.
What is a Balance Bike
A Balance Bike is basically a two-wheeled toddler bike that does not have any training wheels to help the child balance.
Here’s a pic.
The purpose of a balance bike is to teach the child to learn how to balance on two wheels without ever using training wheels.
Your goal in using a balance bike is to bypass the training wheel stage and the tricycle stage and speed up the process of moving on to a standard bicycle with pedals. A Balance bike forces a child to balance in order to ride – kind of like survival of the fittest, eh?
I can tell you a balance bike works – even better than I expected!
Check out these videos…
Balance Bike in Action
My son JeeHo on his balance bike last year.
JeeHo on his balance bike this year.
What is the best age for a balance bike
We started our son JeeHo at 2 years old but you could start them as early as they can walk if you wanted to. The earlier you start them the better.
How do you teach a child to ride a balance bike?
- Step 1 Put them on the bike.
- Step 2 Adjust the seat so their feet can touch.
- Step 3 Tell them to Go, Go, Go.
- Step 4 Watch them have a blast.
Balance Bikes Vs Training Wheels
Again one of the main purposes of the balance bike is to skip the training wheels stage. Why is this so important?
- Because using a balance bike teaches them to balance (thanks, Captain Obvious) while using training wheels actually down-regulates the child’s ability to learn how to balance on a bike (not what you want).
- Training wheels provide a false sense of security on a bike. Balance bikes teach them how to be confident on a bike.
- (Important) Here’s a little-known benefit – balance bikes teach your kids how to manage TURNS more efficiently while using training wheels decreases this ability because the training wheels just don’t allow your kids to turn that easily. With a balance bike your kids will learn how to do sharp, real-life turns, but with training wheels, they are forced to make wide, unrealistic turns. This was a real problem for our first son Jax (who used training wheels and not a balance bike), but it wasn’t a problem for our second son JeeHo (as you saw in the vid above).
Balance BIke vs Tricycle
As we talked about above, you can start a child on a balance bike very young – pretty much at the time you’d normally consider buying a tricycle, you can put them on a balance bike. Quite frankly there is no reason to buy a tricycle (other than perhaps nostalgia) when you can buy a balance bike instead.
- A tricycle is slow and steady. A balance bike is fast and cool.
- As with training wheels, tricycles delay your child learning balance. A balance bike forces them to learn balance.
- Even worse than training wheels, a tricycle forces those wide turns. A balance bike helps your child learn how to balance ‘through’ the turn.
Balance Bike vs Scooters
This is really like comparing apples and oranges. In the case of a scooter AND a balance bike, both teach balance, but in different ways. There are such a wide variety of scooters it’s hard to make a worthwhile comparison of these two so we’ll forego that for now. We own a wide variety of scooters, bikes, etc. Although it’s totally off subject and definitely does not teach balance, one of our favorite ‘razor’ scooters of all time is (3 wheel scooter).
Our Experience with a Balance Bike
To say we’ve been happy with our decision to try a balance bike is an understatement. Seeing JeeHo race around the neighborhood is so cool. It’s really surprising to see how fast he can go on his balance bike – he regularly keeps up with the bigger kids on their bikes and that makes him feel so cool.
Also, JeeHo has developed so much confidence on his balance bike and that was an unexpected benefit.
Should you buy a Balance Bike?
Do you really have to ask? This is a no-brainer. YES, you should buy a balance bike. They are so cool.
Recommendations for Balance Bikes
Here is my top pick for balance bikes – as with ALL products I recommend, we actually own/use this item.
The Kazam balance bike was super easy to put together, has held up well over the years, and has proven to be a great value. You can’t go wrong with this bike.
If you want to compare it vs other bikes, here’s a link to few more to consider on Amazon – of particular note are the ones by Strider and Cruzee.
Do YOU own a Balance Bike?
What’s been your experience?
Do you have any tips to share?
I’d love to hear what you have to say.