My Mother-in-Law bought our boys balance bikes for Christmas when they were 22mo old.
I rolled my eyes.
I thought these were the goofiest things I’d ever heard of.
So, I didn’t push them to ride them. They also had tricycles and those I encouraged. Squish loved the tricycle and won 80% of their little races down the driveway. Stretch loved that stupid balance bike. He was so good on it. I knew that their personalities had just provided the perfect little case study on which is a better start: tried and true tricycle or the ultra trendy balance bike.
Fast forward to 3.5yrs old. We bought these 14″ Royal Baby bikes with training wheels. We had let the boys play on the bikes in Walmart, but the 12″ were too small and the 16″ were too large. They didn’t sell the 14″ and this is the size recommended for 3-5yr olds. It’s an awesome bike for the price.
Both boys struggled with the bikes in different ways. Stretch rode for two days before he asked that we take the “silly wheels off”. Training wheels were removed and Dad ran along side for a few minutes. Finally he said “Daddy, please take your hand off my bike.” That was all it took! It did take him about a week or so to learn how to start by himself. He wanted a quick push so that he’d feel safe enough to put his feet up on the peddles. We showed him how to use the curb to start by himself. Can a 3 year old ride a bike without training wheels? Yes, and we’ve been amazed.
Squish, on the other hand, likes to put large sticks in the water bottle holder in the back. He had no interest in removing his training wheels, even 6mo later. We made him a bargain that included frozen yogurt, a rare treat. It wasn’t nearly as easy as teaching Stretch, the balance bike expert. Squish didn’t understand that he needed to keep peddling or the bike would fall. Took a few days, but he’s doing great now!
Here I am, admitting that I was wrong and my MIL WAS RIGHT.
SO, what is the best balance bike? Let’s go over the pros and cons of the top brands.
These are what ours started with. It’s just over 6lb and my 22mo olds had no problem holding it up. It fits 18mo to five year olds. No tools needed to adjust the seat or handlebar height. You don’t have to worry about airing up tires with puncture-proof tires. Comes in multiple colors.
I can’t find much negative to say about this bike. Not everyone likes the non-rubber tires, but the material they are made from is tougher and lighter.
I’m going to be a total girl when I say that this is the cutest bike. Ever. Ok, on to things that actually matter. This is recommended for 20mo to five years old. I’ve hear it’s easier for them to get on and off and that’s helpful for those first few weeks. It also has a foot rest when they are going fast enough. I can see mine using this to do tricks. Same picture-proof tires and seat/handlebar can be adjusted without tools. Also comes in multiple (and really cute) colors.
The only negative would be the weight. Coming in at 9lb , it’s a little heavy for beginners. And you. Guess who gets to carry the bike home after they’ve ridden “a little too far”.
For those who would rather have real tires with tubes, this is the bike for you. Same great features as the others. Very little assembly, easy to adjust seat and handlebars. Comes in multiple colors as well.
If you thought 9lb was a bit heavy, watch out for this hefty 14lb bike. Not really one I’d want to carry. Hey, if you have twins, you really don’t want to carry TWO 14lb bikes!
Cruzee UltraLite Balance BikeFriends of ours have this bike and have been really, REALLY pleased with it. This is coming from a family with 3 kids who have done the balance bike races for years. It weighs in at a paltry 4.4lb. Comes with a seat extension to help it last longer. Same non rubber tires as the first two balance bikes. Some of the nicest looking colors, compared to others.
A little more pricey than the others but the Amazon reviews are great and it has a lifetime warranty. Perfect for passing down to a younger sibling or cousin!
What’s your favorite balance bike? How was the transition to a bike with peddles?