Balance Bikes: How to Choose

From Size to Brakes to Tires, We Guide You Through the Features that Really Matter


Balance bikes seem pretty simple, but it’s not a simple task to choose the best balance bike for your child. While essentially any balance bike can teach a toddler or child to balance, riding experiences vary widely as a result of differences in bike size, quality, and features. The 11 main criteria to help you choose the best balance bike for your son or daughter of any age and ability are: 1) size, 2) weight, 3) geometry, 4) tire type, 5) brakes, 6) turning limiters, 7) footrests, 8) bearings, 9) frame materials, 10) hand grips, and 11) bolts.
What to Look for When Shopping for a Balance BIke: Size, weight, seat height, tires, footrests, brakes, frame materials, turning limiter

1. Size


Size is by far the most important factor to get right when choosing a balance bike. While balance bikes are often marketed as “one-size-fits-all,” the reality is that the same bike will not properly fit an 18-month-old and a six-year-old. Tire size and seat height should both be considered when determining the right bike for your toddler or child.

Tire Size: Most balance bikes have 12″ tires, while 14″ and 16″ tires are popular for tall pre-schoolers and grade-schoolers. 10″ tires do exist for starter balance bikes but aren’t recommended because toddlers outgrow them so quickly.

size comparison of balance bikes with tire size 12 inches to 16 inches including Strider and Charger and Scoot

Seat Height: While tire size is an indicator of the overall size of a balance bike, the seat height is the most accurate indicator of how a bike will fit your child. To properly ride a balance bike, a child’s feet must be able to hit and push off of the ground while they are sitting comfortably on the bike. A properly fitted balance bike allows the seat height to be set 1″ to 1.5″ less than a child’s inseam (measured crotch to floor without shoes on).

Proper Seat Height Should Allow for a Slight Bend in the Knee

diagram of proper seat height for a balance bike
To allow room for growth, it is ideal to purchase a bike with a maximum seat height of at least 2″ above the child’s current inseam. Most balance bikes will fit a child for at least 2 to 3 years or until they move up to a regular kids’ bike.

Balance Bike Sizing Guide

PANTS SIZE INSEAM TIRE SIZE EXAMPLE BIKES CHILD HEIGHT
18 Months 10.5″ – 12″ 10″ or 12″ WOOM1, Strider 30.5″ – 32.5″
24 months 11.5″ – 13″ 12″ Cruzee, FirstBIKE w/lowering kit 32.5″ – 34″
2T 13″ – 14.5″ 12″ Yedoo Too Too, Charger 12 34.5″ – 36.5″
3T 14.5″ – 16″ 12″ Muna, Burley MyKick 36.5″ – 38.5″
4T 16″ – 18″ 12″ or 14″ Scoot, Saracen Freewheel 38.5″- 41.5″
5/5T 18″ – 19.5″ 14″ or 16″ Scoot XL, Charger 16 41.5″ – 45″
6 19.5″ – 23″ 16″ Scoot XL, Charger 16 45″ – 48″
7 23″ and up 16″ Charger 16″ 48″ and up
Suggestions based on child’s current clothing size. Most balance bikes will fit a child for at least 2 to 3 years and fit until they move up to a regular bike.

 

Measuring Your Child: The easiest way to measure a child’s inseam is with a hardbound book. Without shoes on, have the child stand against a wall, squeeze the book between their legs, and then slowly raise the book up until it hits their crotch. Level the book with the floor, then measure the distance between the top of the book to the ground.

diagram showing how to measure a child's inseam

2. Weight


As a general rule, you don’t want a bike to weigh more than 30% of your child’s weight. A 10-pound bike can be difficult for a 25 lb. 2-year-old to maneuver around, but is a piece of cake for a 35 lb. 3.5-year-old. Generally, the more features that are added to a bike, the heavier a bike will get. Building a lightweight bike without eliminating features is possible, but requires high-end specialty components which significantly increase the cost of the bike.

Given that weight should have high priority when choosing a balance bike, parents may need to sacrifice some features in order to achieve the desired bike weight. Athletic kids usually can manage heavier bikes without concern and the extra features may be worth it. However, petite or less coordinated kids can struggle with heavier bikes, so it is recommended to adhere to the 30% rule.

comparison of weight of a child vs weight of balance bike showing that weight of bike should not be more than 30% of child's weight

Cruzee Saracen Scoot XL Dimensions 14

3. Geometry


When riding a balance bike, it’s about running and gliding. Kids naturally lean forward to run and need enough room to do so. Poorly-designed bikes, like the WeeRide, limit a child’s ability to lean in by creating minimal space between the seat post and the handlebars. Well-designed bikes, like the Cruzee, have ample room between the seat post and the handlebars, providing plenty of space for a child to extend their legs properly to run comfortably and naturally.

The position of the seat on the frame is also noteworthy. A well-designed balance bike has a small gap between the rear tire and the seat when it is set to its lowest position. A poorly-designed bike has a large gap between the rear tire and the seat, creating a high center-of-gravity for the rider, making the bike more difficult to balance and control. The Cruzee shown below has good geometry while the Weeride does not. WOOM1 and Strider balance bikes are additional examples of ideal geometry. Manufacturers typically don’t provide geometry measurements. Luckily, we’ve done the work for you! Be sure to read our full review on a bike for information on geometry.

detailed images and explanation of good geometry vs. bad geometry on balance bikes

4. Tires


The tires on a balance bike determine how smooth it will ride (cushioning) and whether it will maintain traction on various surfaces. There are five basic types of balance bike tires: air, foam, rubber, plastic and big apple.

Five Basic Types of Balance Bike Tires are air, rubber, foam, hard plastic, and Fat Boy

Air (pneumatic) tires provide the most cushion and traction and are the best all-around tires. Various treads are available on air tires, but for most riders, any tread will be sufficient. For more advanced riders, air tires with a knobby tread are ideal on all-terrain surfaces. To prevent flats in air tires, tire sealant is highly recommended (Read our page: How to Use Tire Sealant).

Air tires add about 3 to 4 lbs. to the weight of a bike (depending on the quality of the tire and rims), but the extra weight is worth the overall comfort and smoothness of the ride. For example, the Radio Flyer Glide and Go with Air Tires weighs 9.5 lbs., while the same bike with foam tires weighs 6.5 lbs.

EVA Foam tires are cheaper, lighter, and puncture-proof (will never go flat). They are as common as air tires, but provide limited traction and little, if any, cushioning. Because they are solid and have very little give, more experienced riders will be left to absorb almost all of the impact when going down a curb, over a jump, or on a rocky surface. Foam tires provide enough traction for riders on paved surfaces but can lose traction on all-terrain surfaces as well as on smooth surfaces like gym floors. The tread on foam tires is minimal and quickly wears away. Foam tires are found on Strider, Glide Bikes, and many lower-end bikes.

child on balance bike going over a curb shows how air tires provide better cushioning for the rider vs foam tires
FOAM TIRES VS. AIR TIRES: CUSHIONING AND TRACTION DIFFERENCES

Rubber tires are a puncture-proof tire that provides a small step up from foam tires in traction and cushioning. They are uncommon and only available on two bike models. Solid rubber tires – found on the FirstBIKE basic – provide the most traction of the puncture-proof tires, but offer no cushioning. Rubber honeycomb tires – found on the Burley MyKick – attempt to mimic the cushioning benefits of air tires by offering internal sealed air chambers. While better than foam, rubber tires don’t match air tires in traction or cushioning on any level.

Hard Plastic tires are the lightest of the bunch but are also the lowest in quality. They provide no traction or cushioning and are suitable for indoor use only. They are found on the yBIKE.

Big Apple, also known as “Fat Boy” tires, are wide profile air tires with extra traction and cushioning to accommodate confident kids that enjoy jumps or tricks at the skate park. Be prepared to pay more for these higher quality tires. Found on LikeaBike Jumper, Early Rider, and the FirstBIKE Limited.

5. Brakes


When riding a balance bike, the main source of stopping will always be the rider’s feet, but hand brakes can help to prevent injury, save kids’ shoes and better prepare a child to ride a bike. Around the age of 3.5, pre-schoolers have enough hand/eye coordination to use a hand brake. Once learned, kids tend to use their hand brake in conjunction with their feet for faster, safer stopping. Once mastered on a balance bike, they don’t need to relearn this skill on a regular bike. Toddlers should not be encouraged to use a hand brake, but if you plan on your toddler riding a balance bike for several years, it may be wise to invest in a bike with a hand brake.

The design of hand brakes varies greatly. Higher-end bikes, such as the WOOM1, have short-reach brakes which allow the small hands of pre-schoolers to reach the brake with greater ease. Lower-end bikes generally do not have brakes at all, like the Schwinn, or use standard reach levers. These levers require the hand to stretch farther, making them more challenging to use. If you have a chance to test out a bike in person, try to activate the brake with your pinky finger, which simulates the strength of a child’s hand. If it is easy for you to compress with your pinky, it will also be easy for them, and vice versa. Lastly, for increased safety, all brakes should be on the rear tire and activated with the right hand.

Child on balance bike activating a hand brake with standard reach brake lever and same child activating a hand brake with short-reach levers

6. Turning Limiters


Turning limiters block the handlebar and front wheel from completing a full revolution, preventing sharp turns and keeping the brake cable from getting twisted. Proponents claim they are safer, while detractors claim they prevent kids from learning proper steering while they are young and still riding at slow speeds. While there are pros and cons to turning limiters, the overall effect most limiters have on riding is minor, and their presence shouldn’t be a determining factor in your purchase. Poorly designed limiters that greatly reduce the turning radius of the bike should be avoided, while elastic limiters (found on the WOOM1 and LikeaBike Jumper), are desirable as they provide gentle correction and are removable.

good and bad examples of turning limiters on balance bike

 

7. Footrests


The majority of balance bikes do not have footrests because they are not needed. When gliding on a balance bike, kids instinctively hold their feet up to glide. In fact, in our seven years of testing bikes, we have never had a chid ask where to put their feet, but lots of parents ask that question! A properly designed footrest usually doesn’t hurt to have around, but for some kids, footrests can be a crutch as they feel they have to use them and spend more time worrying about their feet than balancing and steering.

Unfortunately, poorly designed footrests are common and interfere with a child’s stride, causing them to hit the back of their calf on the footrest while riding. An example of a poorly designed footrest is found on the Schwinn (see below). Typically, a properly designed footrest is for a child’s heels rather than toes, which doesn’t interfere with their stride, found on Strider (see below).

good and bad examples of footrests on a balance bike with poorly designed Schwinn footrests sticking out and interfering with a child's stride

8. Bearings


The bearings of a bike determine how fast and how smoothly a tire spins around the axle. Sealed bearings have a rubber seal around them that prevents water, dirt, and dust from entering the bearings. As a result, a bike with sealed bearings experiences less friction when spinning. Less friction means that your child will enjoy a smoother ride while exerting less effort on their balance bike. Sealed bearings are considered to be a higher-end feature and result in a higher price tag. When choosing the features for your ideal balance bike, sealed bearings are a “nice-to-have,” rather than required.

Sealed bearings are part of a sealed hub, so a bike stating it has a sealed hub has sealed bearings as well. The video below demonstrates how this plays out in real life. Both bikes are made by the same manufacturer, Ridgeback, and are the same size balance bike. The bike in the front (Dimensions 14) has sealed bearings while the bike in the back (Scoot XL) does not. The Dimensions 14 tire spins longer and easier.

 

9. Frame Materials


Balance bikes come in metal alloys, wood, and composite frames, with metal being the most common. Aluminum alloy 6061 is the cream-of-the-crop in bike frames, while wood is the most problematic. Composite is extremely durable, but the frame is prone to flexing with taller/heavier kids 4 or 5-year-olds.

Metal bikes come in steel or aluminum alloys which play a contributing factor in the total weight and weight capacity of the bike. Aluminum alloy 6061 is lightweight, strong, rust-proof, and is used in higher-end bikes, such as WOOM, Islabikes, and Scoot. Steel frames are common on less expensive models, but create a heavier bike and are prone to rust. If bikes don’t specifically state they are made of aluminum, they will be made of steel.

Wood bikes can be more environmentally friendly but are less adjustable than metal bikes. Higher-end wood frames (ex: Early Riders) can last for years if properly taken care of, while cheap, lower-end wood bikes (ex: Smart Gear), tend to fall apart fairly quickly.

Composite frames are a glass fiber reinforced nylon composite found only on FirstBIKE. They offer a lightweight frame with a high weight capacity, without the concerns of rust or chipping paint. Composite frames, however, can bend or flex when in use by an older or taller rider, but most kids transition to a pedal bike before the flexing becomes an issue.

10. Grips


While seemingly minor, handlebar grips will most likely be one of the first safety features used on the balance bike. A rubber grip with a knobby end protects kids’ hands when the handlebars run into a wall, trees, etc., and also protects their hands from hitting the ground during falls. All balance bikes have grips, and most have grips with protective bumpers. Because this is an easy and common way to keep your child safe, be cautious before buying any bike without protective bumpers.

Handlebar grip with knobby end on Boot Scoot Zoomer balance bike

11. Recessed, Rounded and Covered Bolts


With time, exposed bolts become scratched and can scratch kids’ inner legs while striding or during falls. This is particularly problematic with smaller-framed toddlers. Covered, rounded, and recessed bolts prevent or minimize the possibility of scratches. Exposed bolts are the most common and are found on most balance bikes, including Strider. Recessed bolts are found on the FirstBIKE and Cruzee and rounded on the Islabike Rothan.

different types of bolts on balance bikes are exposed, covered, rounded, recessed composite, and recessed wood

Which bike is best for you?


Now that you know what to look for, head over to our Balance Bike Finder or our Balance Bike Comparison Charts for help finding the balance bike that best matches your desired features, your child’s age and size, and your budget.


  • Susie P

    Is there a bike that would stand up better to salt water? We live near the beach and beach walks could be way more fun for our toddler if she could get of the stroller but keep up with us as well.

    • The composite nature of the FirstBIKE is the most weather proof frame out there, so I would certainly recommend it over any metal and wood bikes. If it’s in your budget, I would upgrade to the Limited or “Big Apple” versions as the slightly wider tires will help riding on the beach. Finally, if you go for the FirstBIKE, I would certainly recommend rinsing the bike with water to remove the salt and sand after every visit to the beach.

  • Susie P

    Is there a bike that would stand up better to salt water? We live near the beach and beach walks could be way more fun for our toddler if she could get of the stroller but keep up with us as well.

    • The composite nature of the FirstBIKE is the most weather proof frame out there, so I would certainly recommend it over any metal and wood bikes. If it’s in your budget, I would upgrade to the Limited or “Big Apple” versions as the slightly wider tires will help riding on the beach. Finally, if you go for the FirstBIKE, I would certainly recommend rinsing the bike with water to remove the salt and sand after every visit to the beach.

  • Chrissy M

    Is there one that is better for grass and gravel vs concrete. I live in the country – i have lots of grass and gravel. No concrete, asphalt or sidewalks. I have bought several “ride on” toys that are no good in the grass – cozy coup, tricycle, battery powered 4 wheeler. she is either not strong enough to petal the tricycle, the battery is too weak for non level, non-gravel terrain, Cozy Coup…forget it. She is too tall and its too low. i know she wants to ride on something and gets frustrated by the things that will not work. Any advice would be welcome.

    • In off-road conditions you certainly want to stay away from a foam or plastic tire. Your best bet is actually a “fat-boy” air tire as it will provide extra-cushion when riding on rough terrain. It is also wider than most tires which allows for increased traction. If a bike with “fat boy” or Big Apples tires in not in your price range, an air tire with knobby tread would work as well.

  • Andrea Carter

    Thanks for such helpful information. What are your thoughts about the balance bikes that also offer a pedal attachment? Have you had an opportunity to review any of those products? I have a 4 year old, so I imagine he would only use the balance bike for a short period of time.

    • Great question. The only convertible balance bike that I have reviewed is the Dahon (review found here: http://www.twowheelingtots.com/dahon-convertible-kids-bike/). There are a couple more on the market, but none that I can recommend. The problem with most convertible bikes on the market is that they are heavy and they convert to 12″ bikes, which have their own share of problems (as I explain in more detail here: http://www.twowheelingtots.com/2013/05/03/specialized-hotrock-12-review/. Unless your four-year-old is on the smaller size, once he graduated from a balance bike, he will most likely be ready for a 14″ or 16″ bike rather than a 12″ bike. As a result, I generally recommend kids starting off with a larger-framed balance bike and then once he has transitioned to a pedal bike, sell the balance bike to offset some of the costs of having to purchase two bikes. Another option is to buy a good pedal bike (here are some of my guidelines: http://www.twowheelingtots.com/what-to-look-for-when-purchasing-a-childs-pedal-bike/), and remove the pedals and crank set to convert it to a balance bike. This method may not save you money however, as if you cannot remove and reinstall the crank set yourself, then the cost of having a bike shop do it for you may be more than the amount you would have spent on a balance bike.

  • Josh Deetz

    I am not convinced a heavier bike ever benefits anyone. From a balance standpoint the ratio of rider weight to vehicle weight always determines control. Greater difference between these two is a key factor in control of a two wheeled vehicle. How does this ratio change as a person turns three ? Can you explain ?

    • All in all, I would say you are correct. For the majority of the kids, the lighter the bike the better, so I should probably rephrase the sentence, “but kids over the age of three often benefit from slightly heavier bikes” with a disclaimer of sorts. Over the years we have found that some preschoolers (NOT toddlers) prefer the “grounded” feeling a 9 lbs. balance bike provides them over a 6 lb. bike. These kids tend to be the most hesitant kids and seem to only like the “heavier” bikes when they first starting, but then tend to prefer the lighter bikes once they have mastered balancing. So in the end, overall a lighter bike is better for essentially all kids, but slightly heavier bikes do have some benefits for a few kids.

      • Josh Deetz

        Thanks for the explaination.

    • All in all, I would say you are correct. For the majority of the kids, the lighter the bike the better, so I should probably rephrase the sentence, “but kids over the age of three often benefit from slightly heavier bikes” with a disclaimer of sorts. Over the years we have found that some preschoolers (NOT toddlers) prefer the “grounded” feeling a 9 lbs. balance bike provides them over a 6 lb. bike. These kids tend to be the most hesitant kids and seem to only like the “heavier” bikes when they first starting, but then tend to prefer the lighter bikes once they have mastered balancing. So in the end, overall a lighter bike is better for essentially all kids, but slightly heavier bikes do have some benefits for a few kids.

      • Josh Deetz

        Thanks for the explaination.

  • Sandra

    Strider or MyFirstBike for my 19 months (which is on the smaller side?) Both seem to be able to “grow” with the baby (or in MFB case get smaller) with some extras but I find it really hard to choose between those two.

    • For a 19-month-old on the smaller side, I would go with the Strider as it’s frame design is a lot easier for toddlers to get on and off by themselves.

  • Amy Douglass

    What bike would be good for a 2.5 year old with a long torso and short legs (12-13″ inseam 36″ tall)? Would adjustable handlebars be important?

    • Yes, adjustable handlebars would be key for your son. Both the Strider and the Kinderbike Mini both have adjustable handlebars and would both work well for him. The TykesBykes 12″ would be my top pick, as it’s frame design provides for a higher handlebar height (see the pictures on the Kinderbike review), but is has a minimum inseam of 13″ and will most likely be slightly too tall for him.

  • Tara

    I am looking for a bike for my 3 1/2 year old. She is tall for her age with a 15.5 inch inseam. Ideally i want to be able to hand the balance bike down to her younger brother and start him on it earlier at 2 1/2. I would appreciate any recommendations.

    • Assuming your 2.5 year old will be tall like your daughter, my first pick would be the Ridgeback Scoot Mini as is offers a wide range of seat adjustments, from 11 to 20″. Big enough for your daughter, yet small enough for your son to start at any age, it would be a great fit for both of them. In you are looking for something a little affordable, I would go with the TykesBykes 12″ as it has a maximum seat height of 18″, which would allow for plenty room of growth for your daughter, yet is has a minimum seat height of 13″, which would fit your son. Hope that helps!

  • Tara

    I am looking for a bike for my 3 1/2 year old. She is tall for her age with a 15.5 inch inseam. Ideally i want to be able to hand the balance bike down to her younger brother and start him on it earlier at 2 1/2. I would appreciate any recommendations.

  • Tara

    Thanks for your response. I live in Canada and would prefer to source the bike in Canada as the international shipping is quite expensive. I am finding it difficult to find the Ridgeback and TykesByke here in Canada. Of the following brands all of which are readily available here, do you have a recommendation: Strider, FirstBike, GlideBikes, KinderBike, Prince Lionheart, Kazam, Wishbone, Likeabike. I was thinking perhaps the KinderBike Laufrad.

    • I believe WeeBikeShop will ship a Ridgeback to Canada, but I am not 100% sure so you would have to give them a call. If not, I would go with the KinderBike Laufrad.

  • JT

    I love this analysis- it’s very detailed and thorough and includes real world experience. I haven’t investigated your entire website, but another option for those on a shoe string budget is to take a cheap toddler bike from a yard sale and to yank off the pedals, crank and chain. It’s not nearly as attractive and it involves some elbow grease, but it is a cheaper option for a bike. Considering that the glider may not be used that heavily or for that many years (it depends on your/child’s interests), it may make more sense. One downside to this approach is that in my experience is that the pink Barbie bike had a higher seat clearance and was harder to adjust.

    Also thanks for noting the tire sealant preventive maintenance solution for air tires. I need to do that for my fleet of bicycles (i have six children). I’ve replaced too many inner tubes!

    • Glad to be of help and yes, tire sealant is a lifesaver, especially with so many bikes! So much easier and faster than changing out flats. As for converting a 12″ bike, you are absolutely right in that taking that route can be cheaper, but there are a couple problems with this method. First, 12″ bikes weigh a lot more than balance bikes, which can hinder a child’s progress. Second, even when set to the lowest position, the seat of a 12″ bike is often to high (as you noticed_ and lastly, when kids tend to outgrow a balance bike the same time that they outgrow a 12″ bike, so in the end, they never really use it as a pedal bike. Regardless, any balance bike is better than no balance bike, so if converting a bike is a families only option, then I am all for it! Thanks for stopping by and with six kids, I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of the good, the bad and the ugly in bikes, so if you ever have a chance to stop by and share any insights, I’ve love to hear about some of your experiences. Thanks!

      • dodecadadron

        So we’re thinking about getting a Strider for our youngest son because he’s smaller and we feel it would fit him better than a Skut. Our first son had a Skut and he did really well on it but we had to flip the frame upside down to make it fit him. My biggest concern about the Strider is the tires. I want to take the wheels from my oldest son’s 12″ and install those on the Strider. Do you think there would be any problem with the spacing of the rear wheel due to the chain ring? Do you think the weight would make the bike hard to handle?

        • That is an excellent question. Unfortunately, all my Striders are currently loaned out, so I can’t go take a look, but based on what I know about balance bikes in general, I think you will certainly have some spacing issues. Let me ask around and I’ll see what I can find out. As for the weight of the tires, they will certainly add weight to the bike, so I would actually wait to swap out the tires until he is older or until he is confidently balancing the bike.

  • JT

    I love this analysis- it’s very detailed and thorough and includes real world experience. I haven’t investigated your entire website, but another option for those on a shoe string budget is to take a cheap toddler bike from a yard sale and to yank off the pedals, crank and chain. It’s not nearly as attractive and it involves some elbow grease, but it is a cheaper option for a bike. Considering that the glider may not be used that heavily or for that many years (it depends on your/child’s interests), it may make more sense. One downside to this approach is that in my experience is that the pink Barbie bike had a higher seat clearance and was harder to adjust.

    Also thanks for noting the tire sealant preventive maintenance solution for air tires. I need to do that for my fleet of bicycles (i have six children). I’ve replaced too many inner tubes!

    • Glad to be of help and yes, tire sealant is a lifesaver, especially with so many bikes! So much easier and faster than changing out flats. As for converting a 12″ bike, you are absolutely right in that taking that route can be cheaper, but there are a couple problems with this method. First, 12″ bikes weigh a lot more than balance bikes, which can hinder a child’s progress. Second, even when set to the lowest position, the seat of a 12″ bike is often to high (as you noticed_ and lastly, when kids tend to outgrow a balance bike the same time that they outgrow a 12″ bike, so in the end, they never really use it as a pedal bike. Regardless, any balance bike is better than no balance bike, so if converting a bike is a families only option, then I am all for it! Thanks for stopping by and with six kids, I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of the good, the bad and the ugly in bikes, so if you ever have a chance to stop by and share any insights, I’ve love to hear about some of your experiences. Thanks!

  • Sara

    I watched your video and am so overwhelmed! How do you even being to know which one to choose?

  • Danielle N.

    Hi! I have been looking around your site and it’s full of great info. I have a question: my (just turning) 3 year old son is on the tall side. I was thinking about the FirstBike, but it looks like you don’t recommend that for taller kiddos. So I was thinking about the Scoot or the Too Too, but my question is this: while I am buying this for my 3 year old, we will eventually pass down to his little bro, who I think is tracking to be a little shorter overall. I don’t want to buy something suited for taller kids only to find my younger son can’t use it when he’s ready. What do you think?

    • Totally agree with your train of thought and would recommend the Ridgeback Mini Scoot as a result. Like the Scoot, the bike is better suited for taller kids, but his a minimum seat height of 11″, which will allow it to fit your younger son when he is ready. The Mini’s are still available here: http://weebikeshop.com/store/balance-bikes/brands/scoot-mini.html, but they have been discontinued, so with very few left, they asked me to remove the listing from the site as they will soon sell out, but it appears they still have a few left.

      • Danielle N.

        Thanks for the reply–online the minis are shown as unavailable. Maybe I’ll give them a ring and see what’s up. If I can’t get a mini scoot, what would you recommend instead? Thanks!

        • Ugh, you’re right. I would certainly call them first to make sure they are all really gone, but if they don’t have anymore, then they are gone forever. Another bike you could consider (but is also sold out until August), is the Yedoo Too Too. Your younger son won’t fit on it until he is in 2T clothes, but it will certainly fit 3yo for a couple years. If you want a bike in stock now, I would go for the TykesBykes 12″ as it adjusts from 13″ to 18″ and will fit your 3yo, but would also require your younger son to be in 2T clothes. Lastly, if your younger son is lighter weight and also eager to get started on a bike sooner, then I would go for the Strider with an extended seat post. It does not have air tires and a brake like the others, but it is really easy to adjust for two kids, is very lightweight and will both of them from several years.

          • Danielle N.

            Thanks so much! The younger guy is only 9 months right now, but he’s on track to be a tank. Big bro is tall and slim, little guy will be stocky and average height, I think. I’ll look at the TykesByke and the Strider with extended seat post and see what looks best. Thank you so much for your help!

          • Danielle N.

            Hi–a follow up for you on the Mini Scoot: WeeBikeShop got in touch with me today to say they have a few left in Silver, Matte Gray and Purple. Get ‘me while you can!

            Separately, the discount code you have on your site for WeeBikeShop didn’t work (said “SUNNY-WARM wasn’t valid?). Just FYI. Thanks!

          • Glad they had a few left and sorry about the code. Their codes do expire about every month and I obviously missed the cut off on this one. In addition, I apologize for my delay in responding to your comment, shoot me an email at natalie @ twowheelingtots.com and I will be happy to send you any of the T-shirts we have in our shop free of charge to compensate.

  • Juniper

    My son is getting a balance bike for his upcoming 3rd birthday but we are baffled as to which one! He has borrowed a friend’s Strider and does really well on it and feels comfortable. I was also looking at the Kazam balance bike though as I like the idea of the air tires. My concern is the size and weight though…I was told a lot of kids just don’t gravitate toward it because of those factors. Do you have any thoughts on that? He is of average height and weight and the Strider size seems good on him so far. We’ve also just discovered the Louis Garneau push bike, which I can’t seem to find any info on. Also, we are in Canada so our options are probably much more limited to the US choices. Thanks so much!

    • I agree that the Kazam is most likely too big and heavy for your son as it is much better suited for older preschoolers. If you prefer a bike that is lighter weight and has air tires, I would look into the KinderBike Laufrad. It is available in Canada here: http://www.balancebikescanada.ca/brands/KinderBike.html, has air tires, a handbrake and weighs 3 lbs. less than the Kazam. If you son’s inseam is under 13.5″, then I would recommend the KinderBike Mini over the Laufrad. Hope that helps!

      • Juniper

        Thanks Natalie! We are still deciding on one. I like the idea the new Strider Sport comes with the XL seat so it can be used for a longer time than the kinder bike. My in-laws bought him a Nakamura runner bike…have you heard of it? When I looked it up, it looks quite small, only 10″! And not very good compared to the others. We are thinking of just having them return it and buying the strider so it can last longer with the seat. Do you still recommend the Kinderbike over the Strider? I’m thinking the kinder mini is too small for him…

        • I am honestly not very family with the Nakamura bike, but based on what I can tell, it is most likely pretty small and heavy. Considering he is average height, he might do fine on it for a year or so, but he may outgrow it before he is ready to transition to a pedal bike. It does have air tires, however, which will be beneficial if you plan on riding on any non-paved surfaces. So, if it is a pain to return, I would probably just stick with the Nakamura, unless, of course, he is already too tall for it or near the maximum seat height. If they can easily return it, then I would go with the KinderBike Mini if you are willing to wait until September (they are currently sold out until then) or if you want something sooner, I would go with the Strider.

          • Juniper

            Thanks so much Natalie, your website is SO helpful. My husband and I watched your video the other night and were very impressed. After that information, we decided to definitely go with the Kinderbike Lafraud or Strider Sport. The new Striders have the closed bearings which we really like. The only drawback really is the wheels (I know you can buy replacement pneumatic wheels but for an extra $50). If we get the Kinderbike, we’d go with the regular rather than Mini. So for a 3 year old, which one would you go with – Kinderbike Lafraud or Strider Sport? We like that the Strider can grow with a child so we can pass it down to another one, but I also want to make sure he has the best bike for him at the time being – not too big, not too small, good tires, etc. We need to purchase it for his bday in a few weeks.

          • Juniper

            Thanks so much Natalie, your website is SO helpful. My husband and I watched your video the other night and were very impressed. After that information, we decided to definitely go with the Kinderbike Lafraud or Strider Sport. The new Striders have the closed bearings which we really like. The only drawback really is the wheels (I know you can buy replacement pneumatic wheels but for an extra $50). If we get the Kinderbike, we’d go with the regular rather than Mini. So for a 3 year old, which one would you go with – Kinderbike Lafraud or Strider Sport? We like that the Strider can grow with a child so we can pass it down to another one, but I also want to make sure he has the best bike for him at the time being – not too big, not too small, good tires, etc. We need to purchase it for his bday in a few weeks.

  • Twinkywoo

    Hi am looking at a balance bike for my son who will be turning 2 soon. He is a big lad, he is the size of a 3 year old and is very strong and a confident walker and runner. I have been looking at all your fantastic advise but I still am not sure where to start. Is there any that you recommend for a boy like this?

    Thank you in advance x

    • Glad to be of help! If he is strong and tall, but top choice would be the Ridgeback Scoot, as it is very durable and has plenty of room for growth. It is a larger bike, however, but as long as he is in 3T clothing, he should do just fine on it. If he is not yet in 3T, then I would go for the TykesBykes 12″.

  • Catherine

    Hi, thanks so much for this really helpful website! I’m thinking of getting a balance bike for my active 19 month old daughter (10′ inseam). I was looking at a Puky LRM as its a mid range price and has the features you recommend but wasnt sure if I’d get long out of it. Can you recommend any balance bikes in the €40-60 range (~$60-80)? The mid range ones on your age-related table are unfortunately not available in Ireland where we live. Only if you get a chance. Thank you.

    Catherine

    • Glad to be of help! While I am not as familiar with the Puky brand bikes, several readers have informed me that they are great bikes, but are heavy. Heavier bikes tend to be problematic for lighter weight kids, but as long as your daughter isn’t too petite, she should be fine. As far as other bikes with a 10″ inseam, unfortunately, there are very few available on the market, so you most likely don’t have many options. Plus, in order to get a bike small enough to fit a 10″ inseam, there really isn’t any room for the seat post to hang down below the bike, so essentially any smaller bike will have a limited range in seat height. Some smaller bikes, such as the Strider and Islabikes Rothan, compensate by selling a longer seat post to be used once your child grows, but I believe both of those are over your budget. The only other bike that I am slightly familiar with is the Bike*star 10″ found here on Amazon.co.uk, http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00678XDLC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B00678XDLC&linkCode=as2&tag=twwhtouk-21. While slightly heavier as well, I have had some great feedback from readers about them. Hope that helps!

  • Catherine O Mahony

    I did a quick check of some of the second hand websites in Ireland and I think (fingers crossed) that I have made a deal on a FirstBike (your top recommendation for my LO’s age group). I got it for €80 but considering its high resell value and free pick-up I can justify (in my head anyway) going over budget. Thank you so much for informing my decision and hopefully my daughter will be scooting happily in no time! I’ve posted a link to this website to a national Facebook group I’m part of as was so impressed. Thanks again Natalie!

    • Yeah! Glad to hear that you found a FirstBIKE. Even though they are more expensive, I know you will love it as well as it’s resale value. Plus, THANK YOU so much for the recommendation. I really appreciate it!

    • Yeah! Glad to hear that you found a FirstBIKE. Even though they are more expensive, I know you will love it as well as it’s resale value. Plus, THANK YOU so much for the recommendation. I really appreciate it!

  • KZ

    What do you recommend for a light weight petite two year old that rides on gravel and rarely on pavement in the lower price range in the USA?

  • Amanda Nelson

    First off thank you for all of your amazing research and beautiful site! I feel grateful to have found this list and for not purchasing the wrong bike! My son will be two in September. He is in 24 month pants and some 2T pants are beginning to fit him now. After reading and researching myself I am very interested in the FirstBIKE. My question is how long will the bike last? I have heard only a year. I am willing to spend a tad more to get him a quality bike as long as it will last a few years.

    I am also looking at the KinderBike. Thank you!!!
    Thank you again
    -Amanda

    • Amanda Nelson

      I am having trouble finding a FirstBike can you recommend where I can purchase.

      • You’re welcome! Unfortunately, the FirstBIKEs are sold out until September, so they will be hard to come by. Most online retailers have the bikes directly shipped from the manufacturer, so when they sell out, most online stores sell out as well. I know WeeBikeShop stocks their own bikes, but I believe they are sold out as well. As for how long they last, in terms of quality, we have had ours for years and it is still in great shape. The seat doesn’t adjust as smoothly as it once did, but it is still relatively easy as compared to some of our other bikes. So in terms of quality, they will certainly last a year, plus they have a Lifetime warranty, so if you have any issues with the frame or fork, they will replace it. For taller kids, however, they can outgrow them quickly, which is why I don’t recommend them for kids over the age of 3 or for taller kids, so in terms of size, they could only last a year for some kids.

        Since they are sold out, however, I would consider taking a look at the KinderBIke Laufrad. They are great bikes, and are in stock. In terms of quality, I believe FirstBIKE will hold up better, but the KinderBike is certainly durable enough to last a couple years with your son.

        • Amanda Nelson

          Natalie thank you kindly for your reply. I found a FIrstbike on Amazon. I am sold on the design I know Liam will love it. Thank you again!!!

  • Kinga

    Dear Nataly,
    I would be grateful on some advice on a balance bike for my daughter. She’s nearly seven but as tall as 10 year old and she still can’t ride a bike. I was quite unlucky with her first bikes – a trike and the first bike as they turned out to be quite heavy, even though she’s big herself she doesn’t cope too well physically, and has got a lower muscle tension so I would like something quite light for her and also that would serve her longer than a year if I’m to spend a good amount of money, maybe something with the option of pedals to put on when she catches the balance that would be quite easy to operate as well. I am looking forward to your answer as I am quite desperate since she’s got some developmental and health issues and the bike would serve her wonders. Thank you very much in advance.
    Best wishes,
    Kinga.

    • Kinga, glad to hear that you are on a quest to find what is best for your daughter and for not giving up on her! You actually have a couple options to consider. If you wanted to try a balance bike first, your best bet is the Super Strider (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008Y4XAR4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B008Y4XAR4&linkCode=as2&tag=aperpla-20&linkId=EAOQV2JSJDL6HHJV). It is a balance bike specifically designed for kids 6 to 12 and is very light (for its size) weighing only 15 lbs. It does not have an option to add pedals and cost $189, but most likely has a high resale value. The benefit of the balance bike route, is that the Super Strider is going to be a lot lighter than a pedal bike, plus, it is simple with no pedals to intimidate your daughter. The other option would be to buy a higher-end, aluminum framed bike (such as a Specialized or an Islabikes) and have a local bike shop remove the crank arms, thereby turning the bike into a balance bike. Once she masters balancing the bike, you can then have the pedals mounted back onto the bike. The benefit of this route, is that you only have to buy one bike. The downside is that a converted bike is going to be heavier, a little more intimidating, plus may not be that much cheaper as you will have to pay a shop to remove and reinstall the crank arm (unless, you have the tools to do it yourself). So which method is best? For older kids who are close to riding a pedal bike, I generally recommend converting a bike, but considering your daughters delays, I would recommend the Super Strider, due to its lighter weight and overall simplicity. Hope that helps!

  • Jennifer

    Hi Natalie, what an amazing site and such great information, thank you! I am an American living in Perth Australia and want to purchase glide bikes, or balance bikes as they are more often called here, for my 2 and 5 year olds. My 5 year old has a big heavy bike with training wheels that his nan bought him and he is just not getting it so I thought while I am looking for one for my little one, I would purchase one for him too. I am pretty overwhelmed by all of it, and don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, but need advice. I don’t want to spend more that $100 each and I have shipping to consider being in Australia. Can you make any recommendations for my location? The Glide Bikes Ezee glider looks like it would be best for my little one (his inseam is 12.5 inches) but I don’t know the most affordable way to purchase? My 5 year olds inseam is 16 inches – recommendations there? Sounds like the footrest is pretty unnecessary and that my little one really doesn’t need the brakes either but would brakes be good for my 5 year old? There’s a site here called Mocka, have you heard of them or would you recommend? Would so value some advice here. Thank you so much in advance, cheers, Jennifer

  • Jennifer

    So now I’ve looked at Firstbike and Kinderbike which look great too and I am so confused!! Help please.

  • Jennifer

    Strider, tykebyke….. Ahhhhh……. Balance bike overload! And I’ve only been thinking of my wee one so far. Cost and shipping are definitely an issue and would like to stay under $100 for both though…

    • No worries and glad to help and I totally agree, there are a lot of balance bikes to consider. First off, I know shipping to Australia is pricey, so having a bike shipped from the US for under $100 is a long shot. So sticking to Australian sites would be best. For the bikes on Mocka, they all appear to be wood, which I wouldn’t recommend since they are pain to adjust and generally do not hold up well. For your youngest, the KinderBike Mini would be a great option, as would the FirstBIKE, but getting them $100 may not be plausible. A Strider or a Cruzee would be a good choice for him and are widely available, but the cheapest I can find them for is $135. I did find this cheap knockoff, however, that would fit him, but won’t be as good as quality as they others, http://www.toysrus.com.au/bikes/thomas-balance-bike/w1/i6666666_1181178/. For your older son, I would go with the Kazam, which I found for $99 here: http://www.pushys.com.au/kazam-balance-bike.html. Hopefully that helps!

  • StephT

    After researching the bikes, I am trying to decide between a gt Mach one and the 12″ Tykesbikes. He is in 3T pants and will be 3 at the end of October. Which one would you recommend?

    • I would go with the TykesBykes simply because it allows for more room for growth.

  • Shaun

    Hi Natalie, thank you for a great, informative site! I need to design a balance bike and was hoping you could help me out. What would be the most important design criteria to keep in mind (considering a bike suitable for toddlers 18 months and up)? Could you also clarify if the 12” bikes refer to inner rim of the wheel, or the outer diameter of the tire?

    • A 12″ bike refers to the outer diameter of the tire. Not all bikes have exactly a 12″ diameter as various sized tires will affect the 12″ measurement.

      As for the most important design criteria, it all depends on what type of bikes you are plan on designing, a budget bike, an all-terrain bike, or the “ultimate” balance bike. If I were to design a bike, I would put my efforts into making sure the bike fit kids with inseams from 11″ to 20″, which honestly, would be really hard to do. Size is obviously the most important factor to consider when buying a bike, so a bike that comfortably fits kids from 18-months to 4 years, would have the most universal appeal.

      • Shaun

        Thanks for the help, Natalie!

  • Piato

    Thanks for this excellent website. I almost made my mind for an Islabikes Rothan or a FirstBIKE.
    Unfortunately, you don’t rate two bike which are very common in Europe : the budget bike “Btwin Run Ride” (http://www.btwin.com/en/childrens-bikes/toddler-bikes/13977-new-run-ride-white.html) with an innovative brake designed for kids (http://press.btwin.com/sites/all/files/NEW%20FOR%20KIDS%20BD.pdf page 4.) and the German-engineered well-rated “Puky” (http://www.puky.net/).
    Any idea how would be the Puky in comparison to your two exceptional-rated bikes ?

    • While I have not seen the Puky in person, I have heard that they are very well made, but heavy. There are also several other differences between the Puky and the Islabikes and the FirstBIKE. First, the Puky has a footrest, which with some kids can cause them to ride the bike more like a scooter with more periods of rest than running. This version of riding doesn’t affect the child ability to learn how to balance, but if you plan on riding more trail riding than city riding, we’ve found its better not to have footrest as kids always have their feet down and ready to use, versus on the footrest. The composite frame of the FirstBIKE can also flex when used with taller and older kids, so I wouldn’t recommend it if your child was taller/heavier or older than 3. Lastly, the Rothan is simply the best bike that we have tested with younger kids (18 months to 3, it it is too small for older kids), as the combination of a lightweight frame, lower center or gravity, longer wheelbase and easy to use brakes is hard to beat.

      • Forgot to mention the B-Twin, which looks like a good bike for the price, but the solid tires isn’t ideal as they provide less traction and essentially no cushioning for the child.

  • Amber

    Natalie, Thank You So Much for all of this information. Oh wow, ok I didn’t even know these existed until today..! I am so excited. We are FT RVers so an all-terain is a must. We are on a pretty big concrete pad surrounded by grass/dirt/sand. Our main road is gravel but there’s trails of boardwalk -which while smoother than gravel still has the board to board gap/bump & slick. I’m not a fan of the gravel so at this age he probably won’t be going on it anyways. We’re on the waiting list for a pavement/grass campground. Might even be there by Christmas. Our son just turned one so this would be a great gift for Christmas. He is currently 30in. tall (not sure about the inseam) & weighs 24lbs. He is walking but it’s definitely a totter. I got really excited when I saw the Harley Strider but obviously would rather him have what he needs verses just looks. The tire upgrade on the strider would be a must so staying in the <$200 price range is where we're sitting overall. Thoughts?

    • Amber

      **all-terrain

      • Glad to be of help. For the 18-month-old range, my favorite bike hands down is the Islabikes Rothan, but with shipping, it is going to cost more than $200. The Strider would certainly be an option as well, but you would have to buy the air tires to ensure the best traction will on non-paved surfaces. Lastly, the KinderBike Mini, would also be a good option as it has air brakes and air tires, but they have had some issues with quality control. Between the three, I would go with the Rothan first, then the Strider with air tires and lastly the KinderBike. Hope that helps!

  • Melissa K

    Wow I’m on overload! We have a almost 3yr old daughter with a 15″ inseam and a younger brother we hope to pass it onto after. Our driveway is gravel and we have a big grassy backyard. Money is tight. Is there a bike that would be a good fit to get her for her birthday??? Can they be used on grass? We have a parking lot we can walk to for practice on pavement but it would get more use at home.

    • As long as you get a bike with air tires, you should be fine on grass or pavement. If you can’t afford a bike with air tires, then I would get this cheap Strider for $65, http://www.sierratradingpost.com/strider-classic-no-pedal-balance-bike-for-kids~p~7308j/ and then buy the extended seat post from another site. If you prefer to spend more on a bike to get air tires, then I would go for the TykesBykes 12″, which you could get for $93 with the coupon code “TwoWheelTots” on their site.

      • Melissa K

        Thank you!!!

  • Serena

    Hi Natalie, I have a nearly 3 year old and would like to purchase a balance bike for him for his birthday. He is in 3T pants. i have read the comments and see that for someone with a similar aged child you have recommended the ridgeback scoot. As i am in Australia i would like to be able to purchase here to prevent postage charges and have not been able to find a ridgeback scoot. I would just like the easiest bike for my little one to ride with air tyres. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  • Jennifer

    Hi Natalie. What an amazing job you have done with this site. I am known to research the heck out of everything I purchase and it is not often you find information in one place that is as well organized, concise, and incredibly useful for parents like me. In any event – I am looking to purchase a balance bike for my soon-to-be four year old son and would love your advice. He is approximately 35 pounds with a 17 inch inseam. He’s pretty sporty and could probably handle a heavier bike, but a lighter weight bike appeals to me. He’s never been on a balance bike, and has been on a tricycle which he’s great with, but it’s time to move on. I’d like something fairly lightweight so I can pass it on to a future sister or brother and get them started earlier than I did with him. I’d hate to only get 6 months use out of this at a high price. I’d like something with air tires, and I’d think a hand brake too, but who knows if we need it. In an ideal world, I’d love something like that Kundo Convertible so he can (hopefully) transition into pedals soon – but it doesn’t seem to be out yet. Any ideas on when? Should I wait? I was thinking the 100 to 150 price range (unless it were a convertible). Others that look appealing to me are the Scoot, Bixbi, JoovyGT, Laufrad, Yedoo Tootoo. As you can see, I’m thoroughly confused. HELP! 🙂

    • Glad to be of help! First off, I certainly couldn’t wait for the convertible Kundo as there are often a lot delays with preparing bikes for distribution in the US. In addition, your son is most likely going to be too big to ride a 12″ pedal bike once he has mastered a pedal bike, so I would recommend a regular balance bike over a convertible. Between the bikes you mentioned, the Yedoo Too Too is probably your best bet as it is lightweight, good quality and will be small enough for younger siblings, yet tall enough for your son. Unfortunately, the Too Too’s are currently sold out, but was informed today that a new shipment of bikes is en route and should be available in a couple weeks. If you prefer not to wait, my next choice for your would be the KinderBike Laufrad. The quality isn’t nearly as good as the Too Too, but they are in-stock at several online retailers. Hope that helps. Feel free to email me back with any additional questions!

      • Jennifer

        Thank you so much. Unfortunately, it looks like not only the Too Too, but the Laufrad are both out of stock. Not sure I’ll be able to get either by his birthday on October 19th. Should I consider the Yedoo Fifty? Or wait leaving no bike for the birthday boy?

        • Jennifer

          Or spend more on another choice?

          • You’re right in that you are not going to get either before his birthday. I personally like the geometry of the Too Too over the Fifty, but I’ve know several kids who loved the FIfty, so if you want a lighter weight bike, I would go for it. If you think he could handle a heavier bike, either the Muna or TykesBykes 12″ would be good options. The bikes are very similar, but are heavier at around 11 lbs. Lastly, the Scoot is a great bike (also heavier), but is currently on sale at weebikeshop for $159.

  • Kelly

    Hi Natalie, thank you so much for this great information! I wanted to ask your recommendation for my son, who will turn 3yrs old this week. I’m looking for a balance bike for him in the $100-$120 range. He is tall, big, strong & athletic. He is about 40″ tall & has a 16.5″ inseam. We don’t have a whole lot of hills in our area, but I will be able to take him to the park trails, which have a few small hills. After reading about your recommendations, I’ve been thinking about the Tykesbykes 12″, although should I go with the 16″? Also, I found a good deal on the Kazaam, and it looks like a solid bike, but I’m not sure about the foot rest? Any other bikes you would recommend, what would you suggest? thanks!

    • For a child who just turned 3, the TykesBykes 16″ is certainly going to be too big, as even if his inseam is long enough, the bike is much longer and he may not be able to properly reach the handlebars. Due to his tall size, i would actually go with the Ridgeback Scoot as it has a maximum inseam of 20″, which would allow for the most growth. It also has a brake that will help when traveling along trails. In addition, the Ridgeback is currently on sale for $159 at WeeBikeShop, http://weebikeshop.com/store/balance-bikes/brands/scoot-basic.html, plus the coupon code “Halloweebike” should save you an additional $10.

      As for a footrest, I have found them to be optional as I have never had a kid ride a balance bike and complain about not having a place to put their feet. Most kids simply lift up their feet and glide.

  • Anna

    Hi Natalie, what a fabulous site. I am looking for a balance bike for my son for Christmas – he will be 2yrs, 3 months. His inseam is just on 12″. I definitely want air tyres, but coming from Australia the options available are slightly different. Islabike not available. I am leaning toward a firstbike street or cross, or the cruzee two with optional air tyres if I can get them. We will mostly be on footpaths with slight hills & occasional tracks. I like the look of the cruzee but unsure if the added air tyres are grippy enough & it possibly puts cost above that of a firstbike. Do you have any recommendations or advice. Many thanks!

  • Joe

    Love the site…any info on the Yvolution bikes sold at Toys R Us?

  • Heather

    This is one of the most comprehensive review sites I have ever seen, so good in fact I am confused a little. Can you recommend a good bike for a 5 year old…she has a boot scoot now and does really well on it, we mentioned getting a pedal bike but she isn’t interested. I notice at times she goes to hold her feet up by the back wheel when she is coating and once in a while taps the wheel causing the bike to go sideways…wondering if she would benefit from one with a footrest area although I see you say they are not necessary. Care to offer your expertise? Thank you!

    • Heather

      I should share that she will be mostly riding on sidewalks and in the paved driveway but she does like to do some riding in the grass too!

      • Glad to help! There are several balance bikes that are designed to fit five-year-olds. One of them, the Go Glider, has a footrest, but I do not recommend it is as it has been harder for kids to learn on as compared to other larger balance bikes. Two notable bikes are the Ridgeback Scoot XL and the TykesBykes 16″. Both are great bikes that come well equipped with air tires and a hand brake. The Ridgeback is better for smaller frames as it required a shorter reach than the TykesBykes 16″.

        • Heather

          Thank you!

  • Kathy

    Thank you for this fantastic site! I just started perusing balance bikes and your site a few days ago and I want to get my 28 month old son a balance bike NOW after watching videos and reviewing your site. Would love your feedback on a few bikes that are not on your site. He has a 14.25″ inseam and is about 33 pounds. Would want to pass the bike down to his 9 week old sister one day. Will be used mostly on sidewalks and grass. Really like the FirstBike, but am curious of your take on the LittleBig and Giant’s Pre and how they compare to the FirstBike. Thanks again for this wonderful resource and your feedback.

    • You’re welcome and glad to help! In regards to the two bikes you mention, I have seen the Giant Pre briefly in person and have yet to see the LittleBig first hand as it is not yet available in the US. I have shared a couple emails with the designer of the LittleBig and from everything he has shared with me and that I have read, it sounds like a great bike. My main concern for the LittleBig is that it’s minimum seat height in the low stage is 350 cm, which is going to delay your daughter riding the bike as soon as she will probably want to. Younger siblings generally want to ride sooner than their siblings and depending on her personality and size, she will want to start riding at around 18 months, but won’t fit on the bike until she is 2T clothes. BUT, if your son is eager to ride and you believe he will be eager to transition to a pedal bike sooner, then I would go with the LittleBIg as it would be the best bike for him. Compared to the FirstBIKE, the LittleBig is probably heavier (I can’t seem to find the weight of the LittleBig), but probably handles more like a real bike. The Giant Pre, is also a very well made bike, but will also be heavier than the FirstBIKE. I believe the minimum seat height is around 450 as well, so I would have the same concern with it for your baby. All in all, if your son is adventurous and eager, I would go with the LittleBig, if he is more timid, I would go with the FirstBIKE, if he is in-between, then I think you would be fine on the Giant or the FirstBIKE.

      • Kathy

        Thanks for the quick reply, Natalie! I didn’t realize the LittleBig wasn’t available yet in the US. I love the concept. I did peruse their website, and looks like they will ship to US for 55 Euros. Bummer it’s not sold directly here just yet. After talking with my husband, he really likes the IslaBike Rothan. So, we may lean towards that one, which will probably be better for passing down to #2 so she can start riding sooner. My son is a bit more timid and reserved, although, quite confident in his ability as he does take things slow, so I think the IslaBike will work well for both children even though he is on the taller side. Also, my husband is from Oregon, so I have a feeling that is swaying his opinion! Thanks again for the wonderful website.

        • The Rothan is an amazing bike and I’m sure your son will love it! For almost a year, my son refused to ride any other bike as his red bike (the Rothan) was his absolute favorite. It is on the smaller side, but my 2.5 yo still has plenty of room to grow on it. Plus, you are right in that it is the perfect hand-me down bike.

  • AO

    Hi! I am wondering if you can help. My daughter will be two at the end of this month. I was going to buy her a Strider Sport for Christmas, so she will be 25 months then. I would like something she can use for a year or two but I don’t want to spend more than $100-120 or so. She is tall for her age and is in 3T pants and 4T shirts. Would you recommend a different bike? Thank you, Amanda

    • AO

      She will be riding on pavement.

      • If she is riding on pavement, I think she would do just fine with the Strider Sport as it comes with the extended seat post which you will need. If she is in the higher percentiles for weight, as well, I would also look at the TykesBykes 12″ (review: http://www.twowheelingtots.com/tykesbykes/) and the Muna (http://www.twowheelingtots.com/muna/). They are both heavier bikes, but have air tires, a hand brake, and will better fit her as she gets older.

        • AO

          Thank you so much. I will check them out!

          • AO

            Natalie, thank you again. I measured the inseam on a pair of jeans that fit her well but are a smidge long and it is 13″. Do you think the Muna or Tykesbyke will be too tall? Which would you recommend of the two? Thanks!

          • They both could be a bit too large as it is usually best to have about a half and inch of clearance above the seat to allow for easier on’s and off’s. With older kids it isn’t as much as an issue as it is with young ones. If your daughter is eager to ride, then she might be fine, but if she is hesitant at all, then I would go for a smaller bike such as the Strider or the Kinderbike Laufrad. Between the TykesBykes and the Muna they are very similar in terms of size, weight and components, so I would go with the one that visually looks the best to you.

  • Delfina

    Hello, i´m a industrial design student from Argentina, that means im sorry if my grammar is wrong. I was wondering if you could tell me whether 2 year old kids are able to reach the balance bike seat by themselves or a parent has to help them. Are any specifications to have in mind if i want to design an indoor balance bike? or do you think it is a product that should be ridden (im not sure about this way i used the verb) outside? thank you, Delfina

    • Glad to be of help! Whether or not a two-year-old can get on a bike by themselves really depends on the child. Most can easily get on and off a bike that has a minimum seat height about an inch less than their inseam, while other need help from parents. With about a month or so of practice, generally all two-year-old can mount a properly sized bike themselves.

      When designing an indoor bike, the main concerns you will want to address is having no marking tires (no one wants black tire marks inside their house) as well as a recessed bolts, which are prone to hit walls or furniture and cause damage. A frame with rounded edges will also help to prevent damage to walls.

      • Delfina

        thank you so much!

  • JennyJen

    Hello! looking for some advice on a balance bike for my soon to be 3 year old. She is quite tall for her age. not sure of the inseam but she wears 4T pants and is about 35 lbs. I’ve been doing quite a bit of research on your site and i’m finding it all a little overwhelming. I think i’m overthinking this a bit too much.
    I’m leaning towards the Ridgeback scoot because it is rated #1 on your preschooler list and also it’s highly recommended on the toddler list. Do you think this would be a good fit? Is the limiter a deal breaker in your opinion? i like the fact that it has a lifetime warranty so that i could potentially give it to her sister in a few years. Or should i maybe consider another bike like the Jumper? The Jumper seems to be very expensive for not too many +’s. I’m open to any other suggestions you might have as well. Thanks so much for all this information and any additional help!!!

    • Glad to be of help! I think the Scoot would be a great choice. It is a little big and heavy for a lot of newly three-year-olds, but it should fit your daughter just fine. The only downside to the Scoot is that it’s larger size will delay your younger child from riding it as an earlier age. In most cases younger siblings have a desire to ride their bikes at a younger age than their siblings, so she may want to ride the bike sooner than she is able to. If that is something you want to take into consideration, then I would also consider the Yedoo Too Too (which should be back in stock in a couple weeks) or the Kinderbike Laufrad (which isn’t nearly as good as quality as they others).

  • Emma

    Hello.
    I live in Australia and am looking for a good quality balance bike for my 3 year old daughter (inseam a bit over 15inch). We will mostly use it on pavement and some grass. Not worried about how much it costs as her younger sister will eventually use it too. I can’t seem to easily access the Ridgeback scoot. So am thinking of maybe a FirstBike or a Byk option? Is there one that you would particularly recommend? Or another brand you would recommend?

    • I have heard great things about the ByK line so I would certainly start there. Another bike to consider is the BladeRunna found here: http://www.strongsports.com.au/bladerunna-balance-bikes/all-products, but it does not have a brake. Considering her age and height, the FirstBIKE would be a great choice if you plan on having her use it often. If you don’t anticipate having a lot of time to spend with her outdoors, then I would stick to a metal bike that will provide her more time to grow before she is ready to transition to a pedal bike,

      • Emma

        Hmm. So much to think about. Wondering if there is a slightly cheaper brand that you would recommend? i anticipate that once my 3 year old starts riding, that my other daughter (just over 2 years old) will also want to ride at the same time. We often have to buy 2 of everything. Strider is a common brand in Australia? Would you recommend them or something else?

  • Felicity

    Hi, I live in Australia, what do you think of little zoomers? I read that foot rests can get in the way. My son is 2 and is a shorty.

    • Here in the states the Zoomers are know as the Boot Scoot Boppers and I have heard mixed reviews on them. First off, they are really short, which is good in your case, but as you mentioned, the footrest can get in the way. Secondly, kids really don’t need tires that wide as I have seen many 2.5 year old be completely confident on a balance bike with standard width tires. Lastly, kids outgrow them quickly! In my opinion, for the littlest ones, I recommend the Strider as it has a low minimum seat height, is very lightweight and can be upgraded to grow with your child. If, however, you child has an inseam less than 11″ and you are willing to upgrade later, then the Zoomer would be a good choice for you.

  • Brandee

    Natalie,
    I’ve been on your website all morning trying to determine the best balance bike for my newly 3 year old with ~15 inch inseam, 37.5 inches tall. I’m torn between the first bike and the scoot. Can you make a suggestion? I like that the first bike can stand up to the weather as the bike will be kept outside.

    • If you plan on keeping the bike outside, I would definitely go with the FirstBIKE! The Scoot is a great bike, but it is prone to rusting if left outside.

  • Dana

    Hi Natalie. What a great site!! I’ve been reading all of your (very thorough) information and am still not sure which bike to purchase for my son. He is 3.5 years old, 40 lbs and 42″ tall (still have to measure his inseam but tall for his age). This will be his first bike (I know, I’m terrible lol). Would love something that would hold up outdoors and something that could be passed down to younger sibs…could you possibly recommend two bikes? I feel like if I could just narrow my search down I’d be able to make a decision! Thanks so much!!

    • My favorite bike for taller kids is the Ridgeback Scoot, but it does have a minimum seat height of 14″ that will most likely prevent younger siblings (who tend to ride sooner than older siblings) riding as soon as they would like. The TykesBykes 12″ and the Muna are also great bikes for taller kids and both have a minimum seat height of 13″. Hopefully one of those will work!

  • JulieFromQC

    Hi,
    Do you have any opinion on the Louis Garneau mini push bike. I can’t seem to find a lot of information about it.
    Thank you

    • While I have not seen it in person, it appears to have many similar components to bikes we have tested. First off, that particular style of seat doesn’t hold up well with time as the plastic covering tend to crack with time. Not an issue, however, if you keep the bike inside. Secondly, the seat looks to be slightly too far forward on the frame which would lead to the rider sitting more upright on the bike, making it slightly more difficult to balance.

  • alisha

    hi I’m in Australia, and looking for a balance bike for my 2.5yo son that will last to pass onto my youngest when he’s older. My 2.5yo needs a 30cm seat height as he only measures 35cm from floor to crotch.
    I’ve been researching a lot and your site has been very helpful, the only question I have is about the rim material. I’m looking at getting the Merida j12 walk but like some of the other bikes too like the strider and ktm but those have plastic rims instead of steel/aluminum. what’s you’re opinion on how important steel rims are? the shop lady said that plastic rims aren’t good and can crack and you have more flats/air leaks with them?http://www.merida.com.au/en_au/bikes/kids/boys/2015/matts-j12-walk-3510.html

    • Glad to be of help and thanks for the link to the Merida. I haven’t heard of them before and am always looking for options for my Australian readers. The bike looks great overall. With an aluminum frame, steel rims and air tires, as along as it is reasonable priced, I looks like a good buy. It does, however, look like the seat is pretty close to the handlebars (especially compared to the Strider), so I wouldn’t recommend it for a really tall child.

      As for plastic rims, I have never had an issue with them. Generally they are only found on bikes with foam tires, but we have tested out several bikes that have plastic rims and air tires. While plastic rims would be a nightmare for older kids bikes or adult bikes, because toddler don’t weight very much, it really isn’t an issue.

  • Stacey

    Hi Natalie, this site is amazing! I’m trying to decide what to buy my just turned (last week) 3-year-old son who is 32 pounds & short (15′ inseam without shoes. He’s in 3T clothes with the pants rolled at the bottom) & somewhat cautious at times. This will be his first bike (no tricycle even!). He’ll ride it this winter indoors at our rec center and then outside on sidewalks & grassy hills by March when he’s close to 3.5 years. I’d love for him to be able to ride it through summer 2015. I also have a daughter who is only 18 months younger who I may pass the bike along to, but I don’t mind buying another bike for her either. Musts are air tires, handbrake, & maybe a lighter bike so he’ll carry it, when needed (since I also have my daughter to chase after!). I was looking at the Frog Tadpole, Islabike Rothan, FirstBIKE, Kinderbike Laufrad, 12′ TykeByke, and Muna. I was a little worried about the exposed bolts on the TykeByke and Kinderbike, but I know you said it was only an issue with your son a few times…Any suggestions on what to buy? Thank you so much!

    • Sounds like you son is about the same age and size as my son. I would first rule out the Rothan as he is likely to outgrow it too soon. Between the others, if it is his first bike and is cautious, then I would rule out the TykesBykes and the Muna due to weight. The KinderBike is lighter, but if you are willing to pay for higher quality, I believe it is worth your money to go for the FirstBIKE or the Tadpole. Between those two, I prefer the Tadpole, as it is a little more rugged, has a longer wheelbase and is built more like a bike than the FirstBIKE, but the FirstBIKE is a great bike as well. The FirstBIKE will provide more time for him to grow on as the maximum seat height is higher, but considering the seat post of the FirstBIKE does tend to flex when set to it’s highest setting, you don’t gain that much more time with the Tadpole, which will not flex.

      • Stacey

        Thank you so much! I’m leaning toward the Tadpole, but my husband likes the price of the Kinderbike, Muna, and TykesByke. I know the latter 2 are heavier, but would you still choose the Kinderbike between those 3?

        • I would probably go with the KinderBike simply because it is lighter. If you do go with a KinderBike, make sure to order from Balance Bike Shop as they have a great relationship with KinderBike if any problems do arise with their bikes. KinderBike is know for being challenging at times to get ahold of, so having Balance Bike Shop on your side will help.

  • Bryony

    Hi have you heard anything about a Cruzee? I can’t decide on what balance bike to get my 2year old son. A friend has just mentioned a Cruzee but I don’t know alot about them. Thanks, Bryony

    • I was able to see once of the first version of the Cruzee a year ago, but they have since decided not to offer the bike in the US, so I haven’t seen one sense. From talking to the designers and seeing their original, I can say that they are very well made bikes, that are extremely light, but they do come with foam tires. For the average kid riding around the neighborhood, foam tires will do fine, but for more aggressive riders, air tires are essential. If you happen to live out of the US and have a lightweight toddler, then I would certainly consider buying one!

  • Mariela

    Hi there. …When is a child too old / big for a balance bike? We made the mistake of waiting too long but would still love to try this before graduating to the pedal bike, if possible. Our son turned 7 in June and is 50″ tall. Not sure about his inseam.

    • Nope, they make balance bikes for every age, even adults! If he is close to pedaling, I would actually invest in a good quality lightweight pedal bike, remove the pedals, and have him ride it like a balance bike until he learns to balance. If you think he will need some more time, then I would go for the Strider 16″ Sport, which is designed for kids ages 6 to 12.

    • Katia

      This is a wonderful site . You have no idea how much help; it’s been to read all these comments . I got four and half year old twin girls . The both have 14″ seam but one is struggles with her balance and motor skills . I was thinking of getting the Kazam balance bikes , anyone recommendation in these bikes , I know they are 12″ , would that be a deterrent for them ???

      • I actually recently received the new version of the Kazam for a review and so far, it isn’t my favorite. I did receive the one with foam tires vs. air tires, but I’ve found the quality isn’t there (as compared to their original model) and the rear portion of the bike is too wide as my son’s legs rub on it as he rides. In all honesty, he is a little guy and just started to wear 3T clothes, but consider your girls only have an inseam of 14″, I would probably stay away from the Kazam. They are certainly fine on a 12″ balance bike, however. Considering one of your daughters is struggling with balance, I would look for lighter weight balance bike with a longer wheelbase, such as the Frog Tadpole. If she happens to weigh over 30 lb., then I would go with the Scoot. It isn’t as light as the Tadpole, but it does have a long wheelbase and wider handlebars that is really beneficial to older kids. If you are looking for a more affordable option, then I would look into the KinderBike Lafraud or the Muna or TykesBykes 12″ if they weight over 30 lb.

  • Trina

    Hi! Thanks for all the great info. I am looking for a balance bike for my 4 year old. Her inseam is 16″ and she is 40.5″ tall. She wears 4T clothes. I really like the FirstBike, but unsure which model to pick as I want her to be able to ride on the sidewalk/street & grass. Do you recommend a model for her or a different brand altogether? Thanks!

    • In 4T clothes, I would recommend a larger bike with a rigid frame and a longer wheelbase. The Ridgeback Scoot would be my top choice followed by the TykesBykes 12″.

  • Ky

    I have a 2.5 year old whose inseam is about 14.5″. What balance bike would you recommend? I’m considering a Muna 12″, Ridgeback Scoot, Yvolution Y Velo, Strider Classic 12″, Mini Glider, and a Glide Ezee.

    • It really depends on how much they weighs and what type of surfaces you plan on having your child ride on. If you plan on riding on any non-paved surfaces or if you expect your child to be adventurous (i.e. going off jumps, curbs) then I would recommend a bike with air tires, which would eliminate the Strider, Yvolution and the Mini Glider. If you plan on sticking to paved surfaces, then out of those I would go with the Strider. With a 14.5″ inseam, I wouldn’t recommend the Ezee Glider as it is too small. Between the Muna 12″ and the Ridgeback Scoot, I prefer the Scoot, but only is she weighs more than 30 lb. If she weighs less than 30 lb., then I would recommend the KinderBike Lafraud.

      • Ky

        She is over 30lbs and she would be riding on non paved surfaces. She might be adventurous as well as she has an older brother that she tries to follow around. I had been leaning toward the Ezee Glider, but I guess that is out. The Ridgeback does not have any sort of foot rest. Do you think that is necessary? I was hoping not to spend $160 on one. Is there anything else you would recommend? What about the Strider 12″ sport?

        • In the five years I have been testing out balance bikes, I have never had a tester ask where they put their feet, so I personally don’t find a need for one. When there is a footrest, some kids use them and some don’t. Plus, I have seen several badly designed footrests actually hinder a toddlers stride. For under $160, I would look at the KinderBike Lafraud, http://www.twowheelingtots.com/kinderbike-laufrad/. The Strider Sport would be a good choice as well, but it does not have air tires. Not a deal breaker as Strider’s foam tires are much better than other brands, but still not as good as air tires.

  • Bradley Olin

    Hi Natalie,

    First of all I want to express my gratitude for what a thorough and unbiased review site you’ve assembled here. I’m very impressed and have learned a lot. I am in a bit of a pickle. I have two daughters with birthdays in Feb. My younger will be turning two and I know she’s going to jump right on a bike and be zipping along since she loves “things that go”. I have an older, 4 year old who until recently has expressed no interest in things that go, including scooters, cozy coupes, etc. I know that the minute she sees the 2yo riding around she’s going to want a bike, so I want to effectively get them both bikes for their birthdays. I don’t envision them sharing, but the closer I can get to “matching” bikes, the better off I’ll be. I noticed that the Strider Sport (ST-4) was recommended for sharing siblings, but I want something with air tires and that they can grow with.

    My first instinct was to go with a Frog Tadpole in orange for the younger one, and a Ridgeback Scoot in orange for the older one. But I can’t help wondering if there will be less bickering if they have the same exact model…I know that the big one is too tall for a tadpole, but little one may feel overwhelmed by the scoot. Is there something out there that adjusts well enough to fit both well? Am I doomed to just get striders…and if so where do I get rubber, air-filed tire upgrades? Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Glad to help! I completely see where you are coming from as my two oldest kids are just under 2 years apart as well. I think your best bet would be to go with a KinderBike Mini and a KinderBike Lafraud, http://www.twowheelingtots.com/kinderbike-laufrad/. They both now come with extended seat posts that will allow them to be ridden for extended period of time, plus they look almost identical except for the rear portion of the frame. They also have air tires, a handbrake and a Lifetime warranty on the frame and fork. If you do order one, I highly recommend ordering from Balance Bike Shop as they have a best working relationship with KinderBikes if something were to go wrong with your bike (KinderBike can be a challenge to get a hold of). Plus, be sure to use their coupon code in the sidebar to save some extra money. If you would prefer another bike, let me know and I’ll try again!

  • Sonia

    Hi Natalie,
    This is such a good resource! I’ve been going over it the last few days. I want to buy a bike for my 2.5 yr daughter. She’s a little on the small side but she’s strong. She’s 34 inches, 26 lbs with about a 13 inch inseam to the bottom of her foot. I was initially looking at the strider before I found your website, then the Burley, but I’m not sure if that is too big. Is a kinder bike a better option? We live in California, will be primarily pavement riding, this Xmas it may be an inside bike. I like the idea of the honeycomb tire, seems to me the best of both worlds. I’m a little concerned about the strider foam tire, I’ve heard it crumbles. Air tires are fine too. What do you recommend? Is there a helmet for her size (48.5cm) you recommend?

    • If you are planning on having her ride inside as well as out, then I would go with the Burley. With a 13″ inseam she should be fine on it as she will have a 0.5″ of clearance with its 12.5″ minimum seat height. If you think she might get adventurous once she masters riding (i.e. going over jumps, curbs) or if you happen to live by hills, then I would go with the KinderBike as the brake will certainly come in handy.

  • Sonia

    I forgot to ask, is their a substantial difference between the strider classic, sport or st4?

    • Not really. The main notable difference is that the Sport comes with an extended seat post, which you will certainly need once your daughter is potty trained. The ST4 is essentially the same as the Sport, but comes with the extended seat post. The Classic does not come with the seat post and has a thicker handlebar without a handlebar pad. Between the three, I generally always recommend the Sport simply to get the extra seat post.

      • Sonia

        Thanks Natalie! She is potty trained so that’s good to know! Is there a seat issue with the burley or kinderbike for potty trained kids? Also for her size, if we go with the kinder bike, do you recommend the mini or just the lafraud? Size is 34 inches, 26 lbs, 13 in inseam.

        • The seats on that come standard on the Burley and KinderBikes having some padding on them, so no need for an additional seat. The smaller seat that comes standard on the Strider, however, it small and has no padding, so kids without diapers tend to find it uncomfortable. For the KinderBike, if she is hesitant to learn, then I would go with the Mini and it will be easier for her to get on and off. If she is eager to learn, then I would go for the Lafraud as it provides the most room for growth.

  • Debbie

    Hi Natalie, Thanks so much for putting together all this useful info. I want to buy a balance bike for my 3.4 year old daughter, she is 3 feet tall, her inseam is 14 inches, weights 31.3 pounds . We liked the Kinderfeets, love the eco part but worry if the foot rest will be on her way of running it. Saw the Strider sport but not a huge fan of its tires or seat. I have an extra and very important need. My daughter want it to be pink! We will ride it mostly on pavement. On the other hand, is there any bike that can transform later on to a pedal bike? Please feel free to mention any other suggestion.

    • First off, there are several pedal bikes that do convert to a pedal bike, but I don’t recommend any of them as they weight a lot more than balance bikes and generally have a very high minimal seat post. Plus, once kids mastered balance bikes and are ready to transition to pedal bikes, they have usually outgrown the balance bike and are in need of a larger tire size. As a result, you would get very little use out of the pedal bike portion of the bike. As for the Kinderfeets, we didn’t have a lot of issues with the footrests, but I generally find footrests to more of a nuisance than a help as kids don’t need them and never really ask for them, but rather happily ride by simply lifting up their legs. Since she is over 30 lb., my top choice would be the Ridgeback Scoot, http://weebikeshop.com/store/balance-bikes/brands/scoot-basic/ridgeback-scoot-balance-bike-pink.html, followed by the Specialized Hotwalk, http://www.twowheelingtots.com/specialized/, and the GT Mach One, http://www.twowheelingtots.com/gt-mach-one/.

      • Drstephaniedvm

        I have 2 petite 3.5 yr olds that are doing a great job on their current balance bikes. I am going to be traveling to the other side of the country for the summer and wanted to purchase either a first pedal bike or a convertible bike that they can ride while we are there. They are in no danger of outgrowing their current balance bikes size wise but I think they’ll be ready for pedals very soon. Because I am flying with them transporting their current bikes would be a huge hassle. What would you recommend?

        • Glad to help, but are you traveling to the US, so you will be buying a bike here, or to another country? If you headed to the US, your best bet is probably the Cleary Gecko as it is the smallest 12″ bike on the market that is also well made.

          • Stephanie Sheedy

            Hi Natalie, both of the above comments are mine sorry about the confusion. We are traveling from UT to MA so all within the US. The girls have 15″ inseams and were able to stand over the Specialized HotRock 12 seat when we checked out Canyon Bicycle in Draper. Would you choose the Cleary Gecko over the Hotrock 12?

          • Gotcha. Although the Specialized are great bikes, you can’t remove the coaster brake like you can on the Gecko, so I would probably go with the Gecko. The Gecko, is also smaller and lighter than the Hotrock, so it will be easier for them to handle. Hope that helps! Glad you could stop by Canyon Bicycles as they were amazing to allow me to borrow the Hotrock for a review :).

          • Stephanie Sheedy

            Thank you so much for all your help. Is there any chance the Islabikes 14″ (it’s even lighter than the Geko) or the Woom2 would work and would that give us more room to grow? I’m happy to make an investment in their bikes but want to maximize the return since I have to buy two at the same time.

          • Both the Islabike 14″ and the WOOM2 are going to be too tall. The minimum seat height on the CNOC 14 is 18.5″ and 17.5″ for the WOOM2. With 15″ inseams, they might be able to touch the ground with their tippy toes on the WOOM2, but probably not on Islabike. From our experience, for their first balance bike, 3.5yo trying out pedal bikes do a lot better if they can touch the ground with their entire foot, like they do on their balance bike. Since they only really know how to stop, start and regain their balance with their feet, they generally become turned off by a pedal bike if they can’t touch the ground.

      • Stephanie Sheedy

        Wanted to add the important measurements they both are 38″ tall with 15″ inseams. Also wanted to login to Disqus so I don’t miss the reply.

        • Stephanie, I’d glad to be of help, but it looks like your comment got attached to someone else’s comment, so if you could please repost your question or reply to this comment that would really help. Thanks!

  • Jennifer

    Hi Natalie,
    Thank you so much for this website. It has been very helpful in helping me narrow down which bike to buy for my nearly 4 year old. She has a 17 inch inseam (without shoes), weighs 33.5 pounds, and is 41.5 inches tall (without shoes). I’ve narrowed it down to the Ridgeback Scoot and Tykes Bykes. Do u recommend the original of these or the new XL Scoot or 16 inch Tykes Bykes? Any other recommendations would be welcomed. Thanks in advance for your help.

    • It really depends on size clothes she is in. From this picture you can see a four-year-old in 4T clothes on all of the bikes you mentioned. Between the four, the Scoot XL is certainly the best fit as it is not too big, yet it still provides for plenty of room for growth. If she is more on the timid side, then I would go with the Scoot Basic.

  • Dannielle

    Hi Natalie,
    Until I began my research this past week, I had no idea that there was so much to learn about balance bikes! I’m really lost and hoping that you can help point me in the right direction. My youngest turned 2 last month and we want to get her a balance bike for Christmas. She is about 34-35″ tall, in 2T pants, and only weighs about 25 lbs. I think that I’m pretty set in wanting to go for air tires for a more comfortable (and realistic) ride, but also want a seat that would be comfortable enough for her to want to stay on the bike long enough for rides around our street so that I could take her along on short bike rides with my 2 older children. Is there a specific bike that you would recommend for these ‘wants’? A few of the ones that seemed most promising I couldn’t find on Amazon. I’m not sure if I’d have to try to research local bike shops to find some of the better bikes? Thank you so, so very much for your time and help. It is greatly appreciated!!

    • You biggest selection of balance bike is always going to be online, but it is certainly worth going to a local bike shop to check out what they have. Most bike shops generally carry one or two bikes, usually the Strider and whatever brand they carry. Some of the bigger name bike brands tend to be a little overpriced in my opinion, especially since they generally never have a hand brake. While I generally always prefer a balance bike with a handbrake (as it better prepares then to transition to a pedal bike), they certainly aren’t a requirement and air tires and good quality are more important.

      For your daughter, it really depends on your budget, on the higher-end, I would recommend the Frog Tadpole. For a more affordable option, I would go for the KinderBike Lafraud. If you prefer to look for a bike on Amazon, be sure to look for one that weights less than 10 lb. as your daughter is on the lighter side.

      Hope that helps.

      • Dannielle

        Thank you so very much for your response. What are the differences between the Laufrad and the Tadpole (other than price)? And for a child her size/age would I need to get a Laufrad mini or just the regular? I don’t mind spending more for the Tadpole if it has advantages, I’m just not really sure what the differences between the two are. Thank you so much again for any further advice that you can offer. It is so amazing that you answer all of these questions and share your knowledge so readily!

        • The only difference between the Lafraud and the Mini is their size. The Lafraud is taller and has a greater minimum seat height. The Mini is a great starter bike for kids in 18-months or 24 month pants and the Lafraud is good for those in 2T to 4T pants.

          Between the KinderBikes and the Tadpole, there are a lot of differences, but the main two factors are geometry and quality. The KinderBikes are well made, but with lower-end components. The Tadpole is much higher quality and is built is better components. The Frog also has a longer wheelbase which makes it much more stable and easier to balance than other bikes. My two-year-old son has a wide selection of balance bike to choose from, but prefers the Islabikes Rothan (which I wouldn’t recommend for a child already in 2T) and the Tadpole.

  • EMR

    Hi there,
    I just looked into getting new bikes for my soon-to-be 4 year-olds’ birthday (twin boys) and am lost in all of the information. Also, I want to get them as a birthday gift, but they will likely not be riding them for a few months; the weather is pretty chilly around here in the early months of the year. Right now, they are both around 33 lbs. and one is around 38.5″, the other is 39.5″ tall. They wear 4T tops and their 3T pants are just now looking a bit short, although 4T pants are still on the long side on them. Of course, they’ll grow in the next few months, but that’s where things stand with them now. I have not had a chance to measure their inseams. They are not huge for their age, but they are quite strong. I would have to get both the same bike, even if their inseams are different, because not having the same thing will cause an enormous amount of fighting between them, as one bike would undoubtedly be deemed “better” than the other.
    The bikes will be used for fun and to get to the park and other neighborhood spots (so ridden about .5 miles or so at a stretch), kept in a garage and not passed down to any other siblings (twins are plenty around here!) They have had YBike Oriiginals since they were 2 and we used those indoors. Now, I think that they need an outdoor bike that will really get them set for a pedal bike in the next year or so. Since the bike will not be used for long, and I have to buy 2 of them, I’d like to spend as little as possible for a quality bike. Which do you suggest??
    Thanks so much for this great resource!!!

    • Glad to be of help. In 4T tops and 3T pants, I would probably go either the Muna (but I believe they are sold out) or the TykesBykes 12″. They are both affordable and are taller than the Strider and other smaller bikes. As a reference, the boy in this set of pictures in in 4T clothes. You can see that the Scoot or the Scoot XL would be a better fit for them, but they are more expensive. One last option would be the Novara Zipper at REI, but it does have a high minimum inseam of 17.25″, so it may be too big, but certainly won’t be too small, http://www.rei.com/mp/cj/product/825794?mr:trackingCode=E3C9F44D-CD79-E111-88CA-001B21631C34&mr:referralID=NA.

  • Jude

    First off, this site is just such a wealth of information. I really commend your time and efforts. So to begin, I’m at a crossroad of deciding between a balance bike or just a pedal bike. As far as a balance bike, I really like the Early Rider Alley/Trail Runner. The pedal bike of interest is the Cleary Gecko. My son doesn’t know how to ride yet, but he’s on the 97 percentile as far as growth. His inseam measurement is already at 17 inches, and I just worry that he’ll adjust to the balance bike too quickly, and then I’ll be back on the hunt for a pedal bike. In another comment, you mentioned to someone about purchasing a Clearly Gecko and leaving the pedals off which would appear to be a good option for me as well. I just wanted to know if that would hinder him in anyway. For example, would he constantly hit his leg against the chain or should that be removed as well for safety concerns?

    • It really depends on how old your child is, how eager he is to ride and what, if any, experience he has had on bikes previously. If he is older than three, is eager to learn and has had some experience balancing a bike or toy before, then I agree that the 12″ bike without pedals would be worth considering. If he doesn’t not have any experience or if he is younger, then I wouldn’t recommend that method as by the time be masters balancing the bike without the pedals, he will most likely be too big for the bike and be ready for a 14″ or 16″ bike. Plus, due to the short legs of a child, running is usually much more efficient for kids than pedaling as the small wheels of a 12″ bike requires a really short crank, which aren’t as efficient as the cranks on larger bikes.

  • Boysboysboys

    What great information. I just bought the Puky balance bike for 2+ (the very small one) for my just 2yo. I am wondering if I should change for the next size up as my boy is big for his age and is strong with good coordination. The guy I bought it from said go for the smallest to build his confidence but I’m worried he will out grow it quickly. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

    • I wouldn’t agree with the statement that the smallest is the best as bike with longer wheelbases are actually easier for kids to ride on. In your case, I don’t think the wheelbase changes with the 10″ and the 12″, but he is more likely to outgrow the smaller one before he is ready to transition to a pedal bike. Which bike is best for him really depends on his inseam and the bike minimum seat height. If your son’s inseam is at least 0.5″ taller than the larger bikes minimum seat height, then I would trade it in. If it’s not, then I would keep the smaller one.

  • S H

    SO MUCH great info on this site. Thank you! But with all the fantastic recommendations, I can’t decide between a Ridgeback Scoot, a Yedoo, a Tykebyke or the REI Zipper. Our special needs daughter is 5-1/2 but only 41.5″ tall and 35 lbs. She has an 18″ inseam (5T pants) but her torso is very short for her leg length (4T top). Her left arm is growing slightly shorter than her right so her “reach” for the handlebars may be shorter than most kids. She has hypoplasty in her hands so a hand brake is not a necessity as I doubt she could squeeze it. Light-weight is better for the same reason. I would love a U-shaped seat for her (to help with not sliding off) but I don’t think any of these come with that option. Our biggest hurdle will be getting her to “walk” the bike alternating her legs. (On a sitting scooter she wants to push with both legs at the same time and cannot figure out the motion necessary to pedal.) We expect her to be using the balance bike for several years rather than as a transitional bike to pedals so we need something she won’t out-grow for a while. Probably won’t make a purchase until March/April (b-day) unless we find a really good deal before then. Do you recommend any of the options above or have another suggestion? Also, somewhere on your site, a self-balancing feature was mentioned but I can’t remember which bike was being discussed. Thanks for any advice you can offer!

    • Glad to be of help. First off, the self-balancing bike and/or wheel is called the Jyrobike, http://shop-us.jyrobike.com/, and while they are not yet available, they are currently taking preorders. While I think the Jyrobike options are certainly worth considering, since she cannot yet “walk” the bike, I think she would be just find starting off on a regular balance bike. Of the bikes you mentioned, I would probably go with Novara Zipper as it will provide her the most room for growth. The Scoot XL would also be a great option, but it is larger than the Zipper and may be more challenging to handle.

  • Jenn

    Hi Natalie,
    Thank you for the info on this website. I was wondering if a TykesBykes 16″ would be the right fit for a boy who is 53″ tall, over 60 lbs, and is just starting to wear size 10 slim in pants. He has never ridden any type of balance bike, but has been riding Razor scooters since toddlerhood. I would like to get him a balance bike so he can eventually ride a pedal bike. He will be turning 7 in February. Would the TykesBykes 16″ be too small for him?

    • I have had several smaller nine-year-olds ride the TykesBykes 16″ without any issues, but they were getting a little small for them, so I think it could be a good fit. If you think he is close to being able to being able to balance a bike, you could buy a pedal bike, remove the pedals and have him ride it like a balance bike until he learns to balance on it. While this method often works for older kids, pedal bikes are often a lot heavier than balance bikes and depending on the design of the bike, the chain guard and cranks can get in the way of a child’s stride, so you would want to ensure that you get a high-quality pedal bike which will cost a lot more than a pedal bike.

  • Charmaine

    Hi Natalie. We are moving to a rural property in march and was wondering what the best bike would be for a 2.5 year old for mainly gravel and off road use. He’s in 2T now, but would guess be starting to move to 3T later this year. He’s of average height (70th percentile), he’s sleeping now so could get his inseam when he wakes. What would you recommend? (Also, preferably not at the top end of the price ranges! 🙂 Thanks for your great site!

    • Glad to help. Being on a gravel road, your best bet is to go with a knobby air tire that is sealed off with tire sealant (http://www.twowheelingtots.com/how-to-apply-tire-sealant-to-bike-tires/). Your best bet would be probably be the Muna (http://www.twowheelingtots.com/muna/), as it would be a good fit and is priced reasonably well.

      • Charmaine

        thanks for your quick response! The muna certainly looks like a good option, however the weight of it does concern me, as the driveway is slightly sloped so if he needed to carry it back up, i’m worried it would prove difficult?
        What would your 2nd or 3rd choice be? He’s currently 31lb and I think his inseam is roughly 13″. I may well go for the Muna, but just wanted to explore other lighter options. Thanks again!

        • No problem. At just over 32 lb., my two-year-old in 2T could carry the bike up our driveway, but the Muna was certainly heavier for him that other bikes. Some other options for a lighter weight bike I would look at the KinderBike Laufrad or the FirstBIKE Cross model with a lowering kit. The KinderBike does not have knobby tires (certainly not a deal breaker), while the FirstBIKE Cross model does. The FirstBIKE is more expensive, but it is better quality.

          • Charmaine

            Thank you, those are some great options! Not sure how i’m going to choose! 🙂 I’ve never considered the FirstBIKE as i didn’t like the look and its high arch, but its durability is certainly a plus when i comes to being left out, so its growing on me!
            I’m driving my husband insane being so indecisive! Thank you for your help!

  • Judi

    Hi Natalie, first of all your site has been very helpful. I want to get one for my 2 year old son, but there are so many to choose from it is hard…but this site has given me some clarification. My son is 28 months, wearing 3t with a 14 inch inseam. We live in Florida, no hills really, but we have no sidewalks, so he would be on the road. Can you confirm for me what you would recommend? Thanks so much. I was thinking the First Bike with no brakes.

    • The FirstBIKE sounds like a great choice considering your son’s age and size. All the FirstBIKE’s now come with brakes, however, but that is to your benefit as even if he doesn’t use it much, it will help him transition to a pedal bike later. If you can wait a couple months, I would also look at the Yedoo Too Too as it provides more room for growth in the long run.

      • Judi

        Hi Natalie,
        Thank you so much! Now I want the Yedoo Too Too! It is the best price and I would love my 5 year old to try it out too…and I know it may be small for him, but I know he will catch on quickly and I don’t want to buy him his own as I know if he could get the balance down, he wont be as afraid. So hopefully it comes in soon!!! We have beautiful weather here, so I want to get going with this soon! Thanks again!!!!!

        • If you contact Ivan over at WeeBikeShop, he will be able to tell you when the Too Too will be available as his company is the exclusive importer and distributer of the Yedoo brand. Based on correspondence today, he expects it to be early Spring, but that can really change with the weather. The new Too Too will have several upgrades and will retail for $149.95.

  • Emilia

    Hi, Natalie. My son is almost 4 yo with a very poor balance. He can’t ride scooters or tricycles but I am thinking of buying him a balance bike and see if he would be interested in it. He is on the taller side for an almost 4 y.o. I am thinking between Strider and Firstbike but I am curious to hear what would be your recommendation for him. Thanks in advance

    • I agree that a balance bike would be a great choice for your son. Learning to balance on a balance bike is a lot easier than on a scooter or tricycle as their weight is properly centered on the bike. Plus, without pedals or having to shift their weight (like on a scooter), kid are generally more comfortable on a them as well. Which bike that will be best for your son really depends on his size. Most 12″ balance bikes are almost too small for a 4-year-old, so you will certainly want to get one that fit him now, but still offers a lot of room for growth. If your son is on the taller side, on bike I would recommend looking at is the REI Zipper as it is built for taller kids, yet still has 12″ tires, which makes it not too big.

  • Aga

    Hi Natalie ,
    My daughter is turning two this week and my parents just got her a nakamura balance bike from sport check . I know nothing about IT nor have I seen it yet. I’m in a tough position because I have been looking to buy her a strider for long time now but not until the spring. And now that my parents have bought her one not knowing if it will work for her I’m not quite sure what to do. I just don’t want her to have something to that she may not be able to use anyway. She is 25 lbs . I am going to take her measurements you have recommended on your site for a better idea but wanted to see what you thought about the nakamura balance bike. Thank you

    Aga

    • Ugh, than can certainly be frustrating. Based on what I read on SportChek’s website, if possible, I would recommend finding another bike. The main problem is that is has 10″ tires, which will most likely be too small for your daughter with time. Plus, with a $45 price tag, it is certainly not going to hold up well, as mentioned by the one review listed. Hopefully they have a good return policy.

      • Aga

        Thank you Natalie , we were able to return the bike to sport check and my husband took my daughter to a local bike shop. They fitted her to a giant pre- bike so we can’t wait to try it out. With the saddle at the lowest setting her feet aren’t flat on the floor but they said they shouldn’t be flat and in order for her to learn to balance she should have balls of feet only touching floor. Do you have any experience or thoughts on the giant pre bikes?
        Thanks
        Aga

        • Technically they are right in that kids don’t need to have their feet flat on the floor in order to balance, BUT kids are much more comfortable on the bike IF they can touch the ground with their whole foot. Learning to balance takes is challenging for most kids, so it is always best to err on the side of caution and get a bike that fits they correctly from day one. That being said, most kids don’t actually sit on the seat of the bike for a while as they typically walk on the bike for a couple months before they learn to run and glide. If you believe you daughter will grow an inch or so over the next couple months, then the Pre (which is a good, well made bike) would be a good fit for her.

  • Rachel

    Hi Natalie,
    My daughter is 18 months, and I would like to get her a balance bike for Easter, she’s still wearing mostly 12 month clothes, and is about 31″ tall, I’m not sure about her inseam. I’ve been leaning toward a Strider, since we have been able to let her “test” one at a local dealer, she would be riding it between our paved driveway, and our gravel road. Is there a better option I should look into?
    Thank you, Rachel

    • I would look at the KinderBike Lafruad as well as the Strider as it has air tires and a hand brake. If you want to invest in a top of the line bike, then I would look at the Islabikes Rothan. Both bikes, however, probably won’t fit her until she is in 18 month pants.

      • Rachel

        Thank you for your quick reply, I noticed the weight on theKinderBike LauFrad is 8.5 lbs, my daughter is a lightweight at about 20lbs, will she have more trouble maneuvering a KinderBike than she would a Strider? In terms of longevity which will last her longer?

        • The Strider is lighter, which will probably make it slightly easier for her, but not significantly so. If you plan on riding on any non-paved surfaces, I would highly recommend going with the air tires on the KinderBike. Plus, the hand brake on the KinderBike will certainly come in handy as she gets older. As for longevity, the KinderBike’s come with an extended seat post, so it should last her plenty of time. Strider also offers an extended seat post, but unless you buy the Sport model, you have to buy it separately.

          • Rachel

            Thank you so much for your advice! One more question, her inseam is 11.25 inches, would you recommend going with the mini, or the standard size?

          • With an inseam of 11.25″, you will certainly want to go with the Mini.

  • Ashley

    Natalie,
    Thank you for your site. When my son was 2 we got him a tricycle, he is almost 3.5 and still uses his feet, doesn’t want to pedal. I want to get him a balance bike, but don’t wants spend a lot of money since he has this other bike he doesn’t use. He is about 50th percentile for height, and skinny. Not sure of his inseam yet. I would also like this bike to be used for a while. Are there any good options under $100? Thank you.

    • Yes! I would look at KinderBike Lafruad as it is lightweight, has air tires and a handbrake, and can be found for under $100 when used with one of the coupon codes listed on the site (they are available at TikesBikes and Balance BIke Shop).

  • Julie

    Hi Natalie, thanks for all the great info. I am looking for my son’s first balance bike as a 4th birthday gift. He is 40″ tall with a 16″ inseam and weighs about 35lb. I was hoping for something in the $100 range. He will ride it mainly on paved sidewalks. Hopefully it will be passed on to his younger sister after a year or so. Sounds like the TykesBykes 12″ or KinderBikes LaFruad might be good options. Do these sound like the right choice? Would one suit him better than the other? Thanks.

    • Since he is on the taller side, I would go with the TykesBykes 12″ over the KinderBike, an yes, that sounds liek a great choice! Hope he has a great birthday!

      • Julie

        Thanks so much for your response! As a follow up, I am hoping my son will be ready for a pedal bike by Christmas and the balance bike will be passed on to his sister, but she will no doubt want to try it before that. She is currently 2&1/2, 27lbs, 36″ tall with a 14″ inseam. With this additional info, is the TykesBykes still the better choice between those two? Thanks again! This site is wonderful!

        • Good call to consider your daughter. Because the TykesBykes is heavier than the KinderBike, I generally don’t recommend bikes heavier than 10 lb. for kids under 30 lb., of course it depends on the kids athletic ability as well. So, if you think your daughter will be over 30 lb. by Christmas, then I would still go with the TykesBykes, if not, then I would go with the KinderBike.

  • Ainslee Campbell

    Hi Natalie,
    I greatly appreciate your thorough reviews, and am hoping for more advice. I have a a 4.5 year old daughter who has been hesitant to ride a bike (which I now understand since I had only picked up a used huffy at a garage sale), and a 2 year old who is eager to ride. Is there a balance bike that would work for both of them. I’m kind of hoping my daughter would learn quickly and graduate to a better quality pedal bike. My daughter is 41″ tall with a 17″ inseam, and my sons is 34″ tall with a 12″ inseam. So would one bike work, or would I need to get 2 separate? I should also add that we live in the country and ride on dirt and gravel frequently. Thank you!
    Ainslee

    • Since your 4.5 year old daughter is hesitant, I assume she is going to need at least 6 months on the balance bike before she ready to try a pedal bike again, so I would recommend getting two bikes if possible. While there certainly are bikes that can be shared by a child with a 12″ and a 17″ inseam, kids tend to do progress faster on their balance bike when they are riding with someone else. Plus, sharing a bike would require a lot of hands on time by a parents to adjust the seat and/or swap out seat posts. If you prefer to share, the easiest bike to share is the Strider Sport, which has two separate seat post and seats that are easily swapped out without tools. I would, however, not recommend the Strider for you as their foam tires don’t perform very well on gravel. My next recommendation for a sharing bike would be the TykesBykes 12″. It is taller than the Kinderbike, so will be a better fit for your 4yo. Since you live in the country, I would also highly recommend sealing your air tires with tire sealant (http://www.twowheelingtots.com/how-to-apply-tire-sealant-to-bike-tires/), to prevent flats. Hope that helps.

      • Ainslee Campbell

        Thanks for your help, I’ll probably get each of them their own as suggested. On that note, would the 12″ TykesBike still be the best option over the 16″? Would the scoot xl be a better fit. For my 2yo I’m leaning towards the kinderbike mini for him, but also am considering a FirstBike and yedoo tootoo (although a little pricier) based on your reviews.

        • If the Scoot XL is in your budget, then I that would me my top choice. It is the best of both worlds as it is smaller than the 16″, yet is big enough that a child won’t outgrow it before they are ready to transition to a pedal bike. For your 2yo with a 12″ inseam, my preference would be the Too Too, the FirstBIKE with a lowering kit and then a KinderBike Mini. The FirstBIKE and the Too Too are much better quality than the KinderBike.

  • Barbara Grant

    HI Natalie,

    I have been combing your site as I am looking for the first balance bike for my 36″, 28lb, 13.5″ inseam(I think this is close, had a hard time measuring) almost 3 year old son (34 months). I was down to the Kinderbike 12 and Tyke Bike 12″ until I read that the saddle should be 1-1.5 inches lower than the inseam. I am worried that if I get the smallest size bikes with heights starting at 11 (like the Strider), that he will outgrow it too soon or it will be too small. He seems to be right in between the sizing on your recommendations. Can you recommend which size would be better in my case? My son already scoots around on indoor push toys and a little fat-tired plastic motorcycle toy with ease. Thanks!

    • I think he will be fine on either the KinderBike or the TykesBykes. While it is best for the seat to be about 1″ to 1.5″ below a child’s inseam, that isn’t necessary when they are first starting to learn on the bike and will essentially walk it around. Once they are running at full speed, they will need that extra space, but when they start out, it’s not as big as of a deal.

      • Barbara Grant

        Thanks so much for the quick reply. Ok, so for my son’s case, would you recommend the TykesBykes or Kinderbike? I noticed the Tyke is heavier and slightly taller overall, and I am concerned that with my son being on the small side that the extra weight will be a deterrant. I prefer the look of the Tyke, but do not want to choose it for purely aesthetic reasons if the Kinderbike is a better fit. Thanks!

        • If he is on the shorter/lighter side, I would go with the KinderBike.

  • Jkloza

    This site is a wealth of knowledge, it’s amazing. I’m looking at buying my son his first balance bike for his 3rd birthday. He currently weighs 33 lbs, 37 inches tall. I haven’t measured his inseam yet, so if that’s a requirement, I can re-post later on this evening.
    Do you have any recommendations? Generally speaking, are these as “fun” for children than a bike with training wheels? I know the recommendation is to not buy a bike with training wheels, and I’m quickly learning why thanks to the wealth of information on this site.

    • Glad to help. Balance bike are MUCH more fun than bikes with training wheels. A child can essentially do everything on a balance bike that they can do on a normal bike without training wheels, including going up and over jumps, over dirt, gravel, over uneven surfaces and quickly gain speed. Once kids master them, they LOVE them! For your son, it is best to measure him inseam first, but as a general range, if he is in 2T pants, he should fit on a bike with a minimum seat height of 12″.

      • Jkloza

        Thanks so much my son is actually between a 3t and a 4t.. We decided to go with the kinder bike laufrad. How do you determine the proper seat height when it comes in??? Thanks again for all of your help!

        • The seat should be set about 1″ to 1.5″ below their inseam.

  • Martha

    I have been looking for a bike for my 18 month old (she has an older sister and is ready to go). I cannot techie between the Strider prebike and the Kinderfeet 2in1. I think either would fit her although when I tried to put her on a Struder she just wanted to play with the radio flyer tricycles. Can someone give a recommendation on these two bikes? She is between a 18 month and 24 month sized clothes.

    • The Strider is going to last a lot longer than the Kinderfeet, so that would be my preference. If she is used to a tricycle, however, it may take some more convincing to get her to convert to a balance bike. If you could get her around other kids riding their bikes, that would be best, but isn’t necessary. Plus, remember that it can take several months for kids to learn how to side and run on a balance bike. With time, however, most kids learn to master them.

  • Sara

    Hi Natalie
    Thanks for the website.
    I am looking for a balance bike for my 3 year old. Problem is I am new in town (US) and I don’t even know where to get one. Where do I go in order to have a reasonable amount of choice? We went to Target and they only had one 12 inch bike model, much less balance bikes. Online? Amazon seems to have a very restricted choice? What brands should I stay away from?

    • Glad to help and welcome to the US! Unfortunately, there are very few stores in the US that carry a good selection of balance bikes. Even local bike shops will only carry the Strider as well as the balance bike that their store brand carries. Your best bet is to shop online. Amazon has a decent selection, but online retailers such as weebikeshop.com, balancebikeshop.com and tikesbikes.com have a much better selection. To help decide which bike will work best for you, I recommend looking over my comparison charts to help narrow down your choices, http://www.twowheelingtots.com/the-best-balance-bike-for-your-dollar-2/.

  • liz

    Hi! I love this website! I am trying to decide if the 12 tykebyke is a good fit for my 19 month old–she wears a 2T pant. Do you have suggestions?

    • The bike will be slightly big for her, but manageable. When my son was 2.5yo in 2T pants, he could fit on the TykesBykes 12″, but he much preferred smaller balance bikes (like the Islabike Rothan or KinderBike Mini). You can see him in the pictures below on the bike while in 2T pants. If you daughter is eager to ride, then then TykesBykes would be a great bike for her. If she is more hesitant, I would look for a lighter bike such as the Yedoo Too Too or the KinderBike Mini.

  • Monica

    First off, thanks for this site – it’s such a huge help!

    I’m looking to get a balance bike as an early birthday present for my son, who will be 2 in June. I really like the honeycomb tires on the Burley MyKick. My son will be riding on some paved surfaces, some concrete sidewalks, and knowing him probably some grass, so I definitely don’t want foam, but I like the lack of maintence of the honeycomb over the air (not least because we don’t have any bikes in our house, so with the pump and the adapter and the sealant we’d be tacking on an extra $25-30 to an already expensive purchase). My only concern is whether it might be too big for him. I’m not too worried about the weight; he’s already 30lb or so, and he’s always been strong (he was able to lift a full gallon jug of water *last* summer). He’s, wearing 3T clothes already, but we have to cuff his pants…his height is more in his torso, and he’d be in 2T pants if they’d fit over his bum! I haven’t seen anything on here about how to measure a toddler’s inseam, and that’s where my big concern is. I’m working with a construction measuring tape, not a tailor’s tape, and without shoes it looks like his inseam is 12″ or 12.5″ from the bottom of the diaper to the floor – but I know that the diaper squishes when he sits and his sneakers will give him a little boost. Is there a trick to getting an accurate measurement? Do you think the MyKick will be too tall?

    • With a minimum seat height of 12.5″, I think he will do just fine on the Burley MyKick. The best way to measure a child’s inseam is to take a hardback book and have your son hold the between his legs. Once he has gripped the book, slower push the book up until it hits his diaper. Check the book to make sure it is parallel to the ground and then measure the distance from the spine of the book to the ground. This method actually works a lot better with a stiff tape measure. Hope that helps!

  • Nicola

    Thank you for your site! This is amazing information!
    I was looking at getting my 3 year old son a Kinderfeets, but I am now leaning against that because I am not so sure there is sufficient room for growth. He is tall (over 42″; 95% height; wears 4T), bu het is also extremely cautious. We’ve been borrowing a SmartBike and he is just starting to get the hang of it with the seat on its highest setting. I am now trying to decide between the FirstBike, the Scoot and maybe the Kinderbike Laufrad. What would you recommend?
    I also have a 14 month old who is desperate to ride a bike — he tries to climb on the SmartBike. I am thinking of the 2-in-1 Kinderfeets for him because, unlike his older brother, he is on the short side (37% for height, and has particularly short legs). Do you have any thoughts on that?
    Thank you so much!

    • nicola

      On further review, I am now also considering (and leaning toward) the TykesBykes 12″ for my 3 year old. How would that work? Am I right in thinking the 16″ would still be too big for him? Thanks!!

      • If your son is on the cautious side I wouldn’t suggest the TykesBykes 16″ as it is a lot of bike for a 3-year-old to handle. Since he is in 4T pants, however, the FirstBIKE will certainly be too small. My first pick would be the Scoot as it’s longer wheelbase and handlebars will make it easier for him balance as well as control, versus the smaller bikes. After the Scoot, I would go with the TykesBykes 12″.

  • Jessica Grant

    Thank you! This site is fantastic with a wealth of info. We are planning on buying a balance bike for our 2 year old daughter. She is on the smaller side, around 25 lbs and her inseam is about 11-12 inches. Do you have a recommendation? We were thinking the strider classic but I’m a little hesitant with the bolts and handle bar turning radius. We also like the idea of air tires. Do you think these points are a deal breaker or do you have another recommendation for someone her size?

    Thanks!
    Jessica

    • The Strider Classic is a great starter bike for younger ones, but if you have a little more room in your budget, I would go for the KinderBike Mini. While the Mini still has exposed bolts, it’s air tires and handbrake make it worth the additional money.

  • meli

    My 4 yr old has done great on his strider since age 3. Started at age two but it took him a long time to commit to the seat. Once i changed up the hard plastic seat to the posed longer seat post one (they all come with two seats now) he began sitting and figured it out. My 22 month old also has a strider and was sitting and is so close to “striding” now after only a few weeks…second children!

    • So true! My oldest took about 2 months to figure it out, while my second took a few days. Ironically, my third took six months, but hey, he finally got it. As for the Strider’s seat, our testers agreed with your son. They really didn’t like the Mini-saddle, especially those who are no longer in diapers. Since they come with both seat now, that’s really no longer an issue, but you make an excellent point that parents should swap out the seat if their kids are taking to the Strider within a timely manner (whatever that might be :)).

  • Iva

    Thank you for the reviews! They were very helpful. We are planning to buy a balance bike for our two year old. We were pretty sure about Strider before we saw your reviews but we are not so sure anymore. She is around 36″ tall and has 30 lbs, inseam about 12 inches. Now my choice would be the FrstBIKE cross with the lowering kit at the beginning. Would that be a good choice? And could your recommend a helmet that would be your choice for 2yrs old

    Thank you,

    Iva & Frida

    • Even with the lowering kit, with a 12″ inseam, the FirstBIKE is going to be a bit of a challenge for your daughter to get on and off of from the beginning. As she grows, this won’t be an issue, but if she is likely to be turned off the bike because of it, then I would look at some other bikes. The new Yedoo Too Too would be a great choice (my review is of the older model, but I am currently reviewing the newer model, which I love) as well as the KinderBike Mini (which is not as nice as the Too Too, but less expensive).

  • Hannah

    Hi there! I am hoping for some recommendations. I have twin boys who are about to turn 3 at the end of this month. Much to my complete shock, they went crazy for the bikes at Target last week. They haven’t even figured out how to use the pedals in their plastic cars and they’ve never tried a tricycle either. I’m surprised to be bike shopping in any way at all, but this is how I came upon your site, and I can see how they would like these bikes greatly, as they both look like Fred Flinstone in their cars, pushing themselves along with their feet instead of using the pedals. All that said, the two boys differ rather dramatically in dimensions. The larger twinis apx 40+ ilbs, 36 inches tall, and I believe an inseam of about 13. He is unquestionably in a 4t, and sometimes in a 5t in some things (pjs and a few dressy clothes). I tried the book trick, but it didn’t work for me, so I tried measuring the inseam by measuring crotch (with diaper) to ankle. The smaller twin is about 30 lbs (almost, perhaps), 34 inches tall and 12 inches inseam by my count. The smaller twin is going into size 3t clothes (though many of the 2ts still fit just fine). Given these factors, it seems that First Bike is certainly the answer for the smaller twin, but I might need to look for something eles for the larger one. They would certainly be happier with the same item if you do not recommend a different bike for the larger twin. Also, I wonder if street or cross is better. I have no real idea where in the world we are gong to ride these things at the moment …. the middle of the road seems crazy, but we are moving in the next year. Thank you in advance for any advice you might have for us.

    • Yeah, glad you find my site and am glad to help! For both boys, I would actually look at the Yedoo Too Too as it will easily fit both of them without any issues. We just updated our review today, http://www.twowheelingtots.com/yedoo-too-too/. Since the bigger twin is already so tall, I would also consider the Scoot, as it is truly the best for taller/heavier/older kids. If will be too big for your smaller twin however.

  • YuChih

    Hi, so glad I stumbled onto this site.Love the in dept reviews. Thank you so much 🙂
    My son is 2 1/2 (32 months) and he has great interest for anything with wheels since he was a baby even if he is a cautious boy. Now he is good at riding his tricycle so we thought it is time to try a balance bike. He is around 35″ tall, 29 lbs with an inseam of about 12 inches, He is about average for his age. He is still wearing 2T pants.

    I read the reviews a few times and I’m still not too sure. Woom1 seems like the top but too expensive for our budget. We narrowed it down to strider sport and the Kinderbike mini (same price at the local store) We hope the bike will last him for at least 2 years.Then we can pass it on to our younger one ( he is only 1 month old now)
    Strider seems very popular, is lighter and the skis for winter are cool .Summers are short here in Montreal,Canada but the bike could be used indoors.
    I like all the extra of the kinderbike that ressembles most to a real bike. Yet, will the extra weight matter and I’m not sure if he will be able to use the hand brakes with his small hands. What do you think? thanks in advance

    • Since your son is close to 30 lb., the weight difference between the Strider and the Kinderbike won’t make a huge difference. Considering you will want to pass the bike down to your younger son and that you have a short riding season, I would also be sure to look at the Too Too as it is better quality than the Strider and the KinderBike, but cheaper than the WOOM1. If you plan on using the bike during the winter as well, then I would go with the Strider or the FirstBIKE as these bikes do work awesome as skis. The rust-free finish of the FirstBIKE may be an added benefit, but you will have to purchase the lowering kit for your son to fit. Both FirstBIKE and Strider, however, run the risk of having your son outgrow the bike before he is ready to transition to a pedal bike.

  • Magda Petryniak

    Hello, I’m looking for a balance bike for my 3.5 year old, 36lb, 37in tall son, wearing size 3T-4. I really wanted to get the FirstBike (mainly because of features and lightweight), but after reading these reviews, I’m worried he would outgrow it too quickly and it would essentially just be summer bike. I thought about the Scoot, but when my son tried the strider bike and really was clumsy on it and didn’t like how heavy it was. So keeping this in mind, what would you suggest as my best choice?

    • If he is already in 4T clothes, then I would certainly go with a bike with a rigid frame. How long did he try the Strider out for? Most kids are very clumsy on balance bikes at first and even consider them to be heavy as unlike tricycle or a 3-wheeled scooter, they have to hold the bike up. If he is hesitant in general, then I would with the lightweight Too Too. If he is more adventurous, then I would I would go for the Scoot.

  • Gina Zaloom

    Hi, this is such a great website! You gave detailed answers to questions I had, such as the difference between tire types, and which bike has what, and you even discuss things that I never would have considered, like the geometry of the bike and why it matters. I would like to know your thoughts on the Schwinn bikes, because when I search on Amazon it is second in popularity only to the mighty Strider. I don’t have a whole lot to spend on a bike for my son who will be 3 in August, but I can see that I want a bike with air tires. So that kind of rules out the Strider. But the question of geometry comes up; how does the Schwinn compare? Or is there a better overall choice for under $130? Thank you!

    • We didn’t have any issues with the geometry of the Schwinn, but we found the bike to be heavy and footrests to be problematic, http://www.twowheelingtots.com/schwinn/. Hope that helps!

      • Gina Zaloom

        Thanks so much Natalie for your response. I admit to almost getting taken in by the alluringly low price and name recognition of the Schwinn. In the end after more research on your site I decided to go with the 2015 Kinderbike Lafraud. I love that it has air tires, a handbrake, is lightweight and well designed, an affordable price tag, and great critical reviews all around. I am so excited for it to arrive so I can give it to him! Thanks for all your help!

        • Great choice! The Kinderbike is a much better option than the Schwinn.

  • Jayne

    Hi, Thanks for such a great website. You have certainly made me rethink my strategy for bike buying for my almost 3 year old. She very tall for her age, with an inseam of about 15″ and is in 4T clothes. She also seems to be currently hitting another growth spurt. We had been looking at pedal bikes, but now I am leaning towards a balance bike. My husband is worried about spending the money on a balance bike this year, only to turn around and spend another large amount on a pedal bike next year. His thought was that we would just purchase a ideal bike with removable pedals. I found your comparison of two convertible bikes, but the selection in the U.S. seems very very limited. What are your thoughts on removing pedals?

    • There are certainly pro and cons to each strategy. If she is athletic and/or eager to ride a bike, then I think you could get away with removing the pedals, but not with a convertible bike. Instead, I would go for light weight 14″ bike, such as the WOOM3, Islabikes CNOC 14″ or the ByK e-250 and remove the pedals. Removing the pedals is pretty easy to do, but is does leave the crank arms behind that could get in the way. The Byk E-250, however, does come with a push bar you could use to help her learn to balance, but for most kids, they are much more successful learning on their own. If you daughter is timid or not as eager, I think a balance bike first would be better, as they are lighter, easier to maneuver and don’t have pedals and/or cranks to get in the way when learning how to balance. That being said, it you are on a tighter budget and she is more timid, then I would go for a cheaper balance bike (well one that at least fits her properly) and then go for a nicer pedal bike. Hope that helps!

  • DeAnne

    I have a daughter that has Down syndrome that is 6 years old. She is 40 inches tall and wears a size 4T-5T pants and weighs about 40lbs. When we measured her inseam it was 16 1/2 inches without shoes. Her therapists have said she needs a bike as light weight as possible; they said that 30 percent of her body weight will be to heavy for her. Suggestions
    ?

    • I think your best bet would be the Ridgeback Scoot XL. It is the lightest of the larger balance bikes that would fit her. Plus, with 14″ tires, it will last her longer than a bike with 12″ tires, while still being easier to manage then a 16″.

  • Ren S

    Hi Thanks for being so specific. My son has really bad coordination and at 7 we have tried many different bikes, he’s a big kid with an inseem of 23″ I’m guessing our best fitis the Tykes Bike?

    • With a 23″ inseam, he might be a little too tall for the TykesBykes Charger 16″. The Strider Sport 16″ is larger and may be a better size for him, but it is heavier. Then again, you can buy a longer seat post for the TykesBykes Charger, which would allow him to fit on it better, so considering it is lighter, I would probably go with the Charger.

  • LT

    Hi. I want to get a balance bike for my son for his 2nd birthday. He is 30lbs but only 33″ and has really short legs. Most of his height is in his torso. 2T pans are a little long on him. I was leaning towards the Strider, but we live on a dirt road, so he will be using it mostly off road and it doesn’t seem like the foam tires are good for that. Also I need something that will stand up to a lot of abuse, he’s riding his tricycle (no peddles though, pushing with his feet) through mud and over tree roots. Since he is only two it would be great if it would last a few years. Thanks for your help.

    • If he has a long torso, I would look at the TykesBykes Scamper, http://www.twowheelingtots.com/tykesbykes-scamper-12/. Having taller handlebars, air tires and a hand brake, it should be a good fit for him.

      • LT

        Hi Natalie, thanks for the help. I’m worried that the scamper might be a little bit tall for him. His inseam is about 11.5. It said the scamper is12″. Would you still recommend the scamper over the firsbike for him?

  • Artina Sheikh

    Hi Natalie, I’m looking to buy a balance bike for my son who is 2 years, 9 months. He is just about 30 lbs and 36″ and his inseam measures 12″. We live in a city so he would be riding on urban roads a lot and ideally I’d like it to last a long time as he has a younger brother who I hope can use it in 2 years. I was looking at the Early Rider, First Bike, or Strider.. I think the first 2 may be a bit high for him initially but will last longer it seems? Whereas the Strider seems lower but has a shorter lifespan? Please advise, I’d love to know what you recommend. Thanks in advance!

    • I would actually look at the KinderBike Mini as it is the best of both worlds, small enough to fit now, but with air tires and a hand brake, http://www.twowheelingtots.com/kinderbike-laufrad/.

      • Artina Sheikh

        Thanks! And you don’t think he would grow out of it in 1 year right? I’m hoping he can get at least 2 years out of this and then pass along to his brother. I only ask as I saw in your review that the Mini fit but was almost too small for a 3 y/o in 3T clothes. Assuming if we just adjust the seat height as he gets bigger this should be fine?

        • Correct! It should fit for two years, but not three. The KinderBikes do come with an extended seat post to make the seat even taller if needs be (they didn’t when I wrote this review, so it is not shown). As long as he rides regularly, he should be be able to transition to a pedal bike from the Mini.

  • Casey Moen

    Hi Nataline, this website is great. But I’m still a bit overwhelmed! I have two boys and am thinking of getting two bikes, one for each. I have a 3 yr old who is 41″ tall with a 17″ inseam and a 1 yr old who is 36″ tall with a 15″ inseam. I’d like to spend around $100 each, but would consider a bit more. I’m thinking air tires and would prefer bolts that aren’t exposed. I don’t think a hand break is necessary yet. What would you suggest? I’m okay getting two different bikes! Thank you!!

  • Monica Larsson

    Hi Natalie! Thank you for the world of information you have created!
    I would like to get balance bike for my two year old. His birthday is tomorrow and his father got him a Haro Z12 which my son can use when he stays at his house. I think it’s a great bike but maybe not the best for my boy. He’s very active and energetic but quite small and light. The Z12 seems a bit heavy. On the other hand I don’t know if getting him a different bike for when he’s with me would confuse him and hamper his learning. I was leaning towards a FirstBike. Thank you for any tips!!

    • I believe I answered your question on another page, but just in case, I would try the Haro out to see if it is too big/too heavy for him. If he has trouble holding it up, or looks uncomfortable doing so, I would look for a lighter bike. If you can’t return it, I would get a Strider Classic until he grows into the Haro, if you can, then the FirstBIKE with a lowering kit would work great.

      • Monica

        Thank you for your help Natalie!! – Monica

  • Missy Corey

    Hi Natalie! Thank you for the great info! I’m researching balance bikes for my son’s 3rd birthday gift. He was given a pedal bike with training wheels a few months ago and he’ll sit on it and even push the pedals a little, but I’d prefer him to start with a balance bike so he doesn’t get dependent on the training wheels. He’s 35 pounds, 37″ tall with a 14″ inseam. We’re on a tight budget so probably can’t afford the high end bikes, but still would like the best we can afford for him. I would love to know what you recommend.
    Thank you! Missy Corey

  • Natasha Dean

    Hi there,

    I’m looking at getting my son a balance bike for Christmas, when he’ll be 20 months. I was looking at the Strider Sports/Pro but recently saw the Cruzee. I was wondering which one you would suggest out of those two? Are they comparable except for the weight difference?

    • They are very similar, but assuming the Cruzee’s are still made with an aluminum frame (they aren’t available in the US), I would go with the Cruzee.

      • Natasha Dean

        Thanks for the reply. Now I know the FirstBIKE is probably quite different so not entirely comparable but which one do you think would be better out of the Cruzee and the FirstBIKE? I like the fact that the Cruzee doesn’t have a steering limiter but that the FirstBIKE has air tyres. Do you think these difference would impact a 20 month old’s ability to use them comfortablu?

        • I agree about limiters as I personally haven’t seen a major benefits with a steering limiter. Without one, kids naturally learn to steer correctly and know their limits before they learn to ride fast enough to cause injury due to sharp turn. That being said, I have yet to see a child become injured by the use of one, so as long as they aren’t too limiting, I wouldn’t consider a limiter to be a deciding factor of a bike. Between the two, the Cruzee is going to be easier for your child to get on and off, but the FirstBIKE is going to be more comfortable on non-paved surfaces and when going down curbs/over jumps. If you expect our little one to be more aggressive, then I would go with the FirstBIKE, if they will be mainly riding on paved surfaces, then the Cruzee will work fine.

          • Natasha Dean

            Thank you! Some great points to think about. I’m unsure about how rough he will be or what to expect from him to be honest so will need to think about it even more now. It certainly is a tough choice!

  • Barbara C.

    Hi – I would love a recommendation for a balance bike for my 3-1/2 year old. She’s 36lbs and very tall – already 41″ with an inseam of 15-16″ (size 5T), but has no previous experience with balance bikes. I could pass the bike down to our son in a year or so (he’s almost 2 now), so it doesn’t need to last forever as we could move on to a real bike or bigger balance bike in the future. Any suggestions you have would be great – thank you!

    • Considering her height and that you want to pass down the bike, I would go for the Ridgeback Scoot. It is big enough to comfortably fit your daughter for a year or two and should be able to fit your son within a year as well.

      • Barbara C.

        Thank you so much for the quick response! Do you have any other great recommendations with a slightly lower price?

        • Of course, no need to go outside your budget for a bike. The TykesBykes Scamper 12″ would also be a great choice and can be found for $109, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MJQMHGS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00MJQMHGS&linkCode=as2&tag=aperpla-20&linkId=EZXCVHVCA5XNCANE.

          • Barbara C.

            Thank you so much! One additional question because there are so many great bikes and so much great info on here – Is there a reason to choose the TykeBykes Scamper over the KinderBike Laufrad? And just to be sure – since she is so tall and soon to be 4, would it be worth upping it to the TykeBykes Charger, or would that bike be too much for her since she doesn’t have any experience? Thanks again!

          • The Scamper has taller handlebars than the KinderBike, but it heavier. If your daughter is taller and over 30 lb. I would go with the TykesBykes, if not, then the KinderBike. For the Charger, if she is solidly in 4T clothes, then I would go with the Charger, if not, then the Scamper. Our new review of the Charger should help show you the difference, http://www.twowheelingtots.com/tykesbykes/

  • Mei

    Hi Natalie,

    Great website, very informative. I have been doing lots of research on a balance bike for my 2 1/2 year old boy. He is very adventurous, athletic, and coordinated and tries to ride everything with wheels, especially other kids bikes, scooters, cars, etc. He is about 27lbs, 34.5 inches tall, and has a 12 inch inseam. We are looking for a balance bike with air tires that can go on pavement, grass, gravel, etc. for our little daredevil. I was about to order the Strider Sport until a friend sent me a link to this website. I am leaning towards the FirstBike Cross with the seat lowering add-on. We want a well-built bike that will last, but that won’t break the bank knowing that we will have to buy a real bicycle in two years time. Will this fit him? He is a little on the small side, but we want him to have a versatile bike that he can use for the next two years. Thank you very much for your advice.

    • Glad to help. With the lowering kit, the bike will still be hard for him to get on and off by himself, but still doable. With time he will figure it out, but it may be frustrating at first. The FirstBIKE will certainly last him for years and as long as he rides regularly, he will be easily be able to transition to a pedal bike from the FirstBIKE. If you think he may get frustrated with not being able to get on and off by himself, then I would wait for a Too Too (available in August I believe) or go for a KinderBike Mini.

  • Tara

    Hi, great site! I’m overwhelmed with all of the options though! My just turned 2 year old is 35″ with a 13″ inseam and ‘roughly 30 lbs. any recommendations? We live in calgary,ab. Not sure if all of the options you have listed are available here.

  • Mary

    HI. In my ignorance I bought a balance bike from Ebay which needs new tyres. It has 11″ wheels and I am finding it impossible to find replacements. Any suggestions. Thanks

    • What does it say on the sidewall of the tire? A lot of 12″ bikes actually have 11.5″ tires, so it is very possible that a 12″ tire would fit on the rims. A 11″ tire is pretty rare.

  • Caroline Potvin

    HI Natalie, great information! As of a few days ago, I thought the only balance bike outhere was the Strider and then I found out there were also the Nakamura at Sport expert. We have a itsy bitsy todler of almost 2 1/2 year 33 in and 26 lbs. What would you recommend?

    • At 26 lb. you will want to make sure that you get a lightweight bike, such as the Strider. If you plan on having your toddler ride mainly on paved surfaces, the Strider will be fine. If dirt or gravel trails are a probability, then I would look for a lightweight bike with air tires such as the Kinderbike Laufrad or the Islabikes Rothan.

      • Caroline Potvin

        Thank you Natalie! this was very helpful!!

  • Bethany Furness

    Hello! Thanks for all the great information. I’m looking to get a balance bike for my daughter on her 5th birthday next month. I don’t know her inseam right now, but she wears size 6 clothes… in your first point above, you mention a bike for a bigger kid won’t work for a younger child also. I’m wondering which “bigger kid” balance bike will work best for a toddler (we have a baby that this bike will hopefully be passed down to) or what the younger age limit would approximately be. Thanks 🙂

    • The best bigger bike that will eventually be used with a younger child is the Ridgeback Scoot XL. If she is in size six, she won’t fit on a 12″ a balance bike, but a 16″ will be too big for a younger child, which is why the 14″ Scoot is perfect. Unfortunately, there are very few 14″ balance bikes on the market :(. The other option is the Early Rider 14″, but it is more than the Scoot and doesn’t have as many features.

      • Bethany Furness

        Thanks for the recommendation! We are also considering just getting our daughter a pedal bike. Do you have any tips on how to know if you child is ready for a pedal bike? She has never been on a bike before. In general she is very cautious physically, just this year she has started climbing things at the park, is nervous about going down slides, etc.

  • Kristen Risley Holmes

    Just another overwhelmed parent here. I’m having a hard time deciding which balance bike would be a good fit for my very petite 2 year old. She is barely 22 lbs and pretty short(18 month pants are long on her), although I have not measured her yet. What are some of the best ones for small toddlers? I like the WOOM1 but it is not available and a bit expensive, so I was hoping for some other suggestions. I would ideally like it to be a bit adjustable to last until she is ready for a pedal bike. Thanks!

    • My favorite would be the Islabikes Rothan and it is simply amazing, but it isn’t cheap. On a budget, I would look at the KinderBike Mini, which has plenty of adjustment and will certainly fit her until she is ready to transition to a pedal bike.

  • Melissa

    Seeking for my 3 year old daughter with an inseam of 16″ good for some dirt roads would be great too! Was looking between kinder bike laufrad, scoot or first bike cross? or up for other suggestions…so many choices. THANKS!!

    • Ahh, sorry I missed this comment a while back. If you are still in the market, my top pick for dirt road would be the Muna, which are back in stock. It is tall enough for her, plus, it comes standard with knobby tires.

  • tina scheckel

    my son, sadly, has never been on a bike and is 4.5 years old and is 5 this December. He was a preemie so little. He is 40″ tall, about 40lbs, and inseam 16″. (he wears 3T-4T). I am so overwhelmed with the site to know what to get. He will be riding on a bike trail so.. we live in country with no driveway and road too dangerous to ride on so bike trail it is… LOve advice thanks!

    • Glad to help. My top choice for him would be the Ridgeback Scoot XL as it is a big enough for him, but not too big. It is pricey though at $199. If you are looking for something more affordable, then I would look at the Muna as it comes standard with knobby tires which are best for dirt roads.

  • karen

    Thanks for your great website…I am looking for a bike for my soon to be 3 yr. old. She is 37″ tall, 14″ inseam, 30 lbs. I am considering the Kinderbike Lafraud, Strider or Firstbike. I would appreciate your knowledgable opinion. Thank you!

    • All three are great bikes, but for different riders. Of the three, I prefer the Laufrad and the FirstBIKE because they have a hand brake. The FirstBIKE is better quality, but will require the lowering kit to allow her to get on and off of the bike comfortably. The FirstBIKE is also a great option if you live in an area where it snows as the ski option is really fun. If you are on a budget though, I wouldn’t hesitate to get the Kinderbike as it is a great bike as well, but doesn’t have as many features as the FirstBIKE.

  • karen

    Sorry I forgot to add that she will be riding on gravel and pavement. Thanks again!

    • No worries! If she is riding on gravel, I would certainly skip the Strider. Your best bet would then then be the FirstBIKE Cross or the Muna.

  • Felicity

    Hi Natalie, I’m so grateful for this info. I live in Australia, so some of the balance bikes you mentioned aren’t available. My nearly 2-year-old has a 13-inch inner seam. We’re looking for a bike that will last her until she moves onto a pedal bike. I like the air tires and recessed bolts of FirstBIKE Cross but it’s expensive. Strider Sport is cheaper and light but do you think we would regret EVA tires and exposed bolts as she got older? Cruzee also looks like a cheaper (and very light) alternative. What would you recommend?

    • Glad to help! I really need to make a section for you guys in Australia as I hear you don’t have as many options. For the Strider, they are great bikes, but the tires aren’t my favorite. That being said, as long as she is riding mainly on paved surfaces, she should be fine with the EVA tires. With time, they will wear down, but they generally hold up just fine through one child. For the Cruzee, I only saw one of the original prototypes a couple years ago, and it was a great bike, I would say better than the Strider, but still the foam tires.

      As another option, I would look at this bike from Torpedo7, http://www.torpedo7.co.nz/products/T7K0BN502/title/torpedo7-12–girls-balance-bike. It weighs 9 lb., which should be fine as long as your daughter weighs close to 30 lbs. and has a minimum seat height of 12.5″.

    • Nonnie

      Hi
      Another question from Australia. I am looking at purchasing a balance bike for my granddaughter aged 3 1/2. How does the Yedoo Too too compare with others?

      • The Too Too is much better quality than the Strider and the Cruzee. Compared to the FirstBIKE, is a better choice for taller or heavier kids as you won’t have to worry about any issues with flexing as they get older. Most toddlers, however, will move up to a pedal bike before the flexing on the FirstBIKE ever becomes an issue.

  • brad
    • In the US that model of the JD Bug is branded as the Joovy BicycooGT, but without the hand brake. It is a well made bike, but the BicycooGT has a very short seat post, so there isn’t much room for growth, so I don’t generally recommend it. It looks like the JD bug version has the same problem.

  • Debra Cashdollar

    Hello. My grandson is 2 years and 2 months old. His inseam is just over 13 inches. I want to be careful that I get a bike he can ride now, not something to heavy for him. In my research, I conclude that I don’t want foam tires. He will generally be on the sidewalk and an asphalt bikepath but I would like him to be able to ride on dirt paths and elsewhere. I’d like a comfy U shape seat, but perhaps more importantly a tool free seat adjustment. I’m unsure if I need adjustable handlebars (in both directions–up/down forward/back)? I don’t think he needs brakes, but maybe for when he is older? I’d like covered or recessed bolts. I also saw a suggestion for sealed ball bearings to reduce friction. I also like the note about the geometry of the bike, which seems important.
    I ‘d like to stay under $150 and actually would love a great suggestion around $100 or lower. Regardless, I’d love to hear your top 3 recommendations and reasoning. Thanks very much!

    • I agree with your choices. Air tires are surely the way to go! An adjustable handlebar is nice, but honestly, we rarely adjust them. For a handbrake, kids don’t need them when they get started, but they benefit kids greatly when they transition to a pedal bike as they already know how to use the brakes and don’t have to learn two things at a time (pedaling and braking). Sealed bearing are also a huge bonus.

      My top three choices would be the KinderBike Laufrad, the TykesBykes Scamper (if he weighs over 30 lb.) and the Glide Bikes Ezee Glider with Air. All three of these bikes have air tires, adjustable handlebars and hand brakes, but they all have exposed bolts (there aren’t any under $150 that don’t). Of those, I would go with the KinderBike Laufrad first (lightest), Scamper next (heaviest, but best quality) and Ezee last.

  • Alexa

    I am stuck deciding which balance bike to buy for my daughter. I am mostly now deciding between FirstBike and Kinder Bike. My daughter just turned 3 this summer and she is about 38 inches tall and has an inseam of about 16 inches. She tried FirstBike when we were visiting her cousin in Europe this summer and she liked it, she was starting to balance pretty well before we left (II believe it was still on the lowest seat setting for her). So I am biased towards FirstBike as it seems like a great brand and that is the one she tried, but now I see other brands that may be a good option as well and they are less expensive too! I don’t mind spending the money if it really is a better bike and as long as she uses it for at least a year but will she? Would she be likely to transition to a pedal bike by 4 or should she stick to it even after she is good at riding it? I assume she will be very good on the balance bike fairly soon since she picked it up so well within a short time she tried it. KinderBike seems very recommended here, would it be preferred over FirstBike?? It is $40 cheaper so although not enough to deter me from buying the more expensive FirstBike, I would like to know FirstBike is better or at least as good as KinderBike and worth the additional $40. So which one to buy between the 2? Thanks!

    • The FirstBIKE is better quality than the KinderBike, but the KinderBike will provide her more time to grow. Once kids get into size 5 clothes, they can experience flexing on the FirstBIKE frame, will can negatively affect their riding. Most likely, your daughter will easily transition to a pedal bike before she is wearing size 5 clothes, but if you aren’t sure, then I would go with the KinderBike.

  • carmel

    My Yedoo Too Too finally arrived! So excited for my daughter to start riding. She is a very cautious kid and feels the bike is “tippy”. How high should the seat be to make her feel most in control? Thanks! Love your blog!

    • When kids are just getting started, you want to set the seat about an inch lower than their inseam. This will make it easier for kids to get on and off the seat as well as make it easier for them to walk the bike around (which they can do for a couple months).

  • Imfionit

    Hi There, I am probably repeating a previous question. We have a 3yr old son who is around 92cm (37″) tall and we are looking to get a nice bike for him – he has a brother 2 yrs younger so it’d be worthwhile getting something that lasted 2 boys (if thats even possible); we’re led to believe that a balance bike is the best way to go. Any recommendations for those of us based in Australia?
    I noticed a few available – FirstBike w/brake ($200), LikeaBike jumper $320 (seems steep), Torpedo7 ($100), Kinderbike Laufrad ($290), Strider ($160), Trek Kickster ($230), Byk E-200L ($175) & E-250L & Specialized Hotwalk ($200). Penny for your thoughts, please! 🙂

    • Wow, what a huge price difference. I can’t believe the KinderBike cost more than the others as it is certainly not worth it! Out of those, I would go with the ByK first (especially for the price), followed by the FirstBIKE (as long as your 3yo isn’t yet in 4T clothes), followed by the Hotwalk and the Torpedo7. All of these bikes should do just fine through two kids, so no worries there.

      • Imfionit

        Thanks so much, Natalie – appreciate the prompt response! Ye – we get ripped off here in Australia. I, too, was leaning towards the FirstBIKE and ByK E-200L – will go and test them out with my son over the weekend to see how he fits on them. Will update. He is barely getting into 3T clothes (fits into many of his 2T ones as well) – so no where near 4T.

        • Seriously, those prices are crazy! Please keep me posted on how you like the two bikes. I have only seen ByK’s pedal bikes, so I would love to hear how you like their balance bike, especially compared to the FirstBIKE.

      • Imfionit

        So I correctly understand the tire recommendations (we’ll likely be on concrete, paved roads, walking trails with occasional park off roads), the Schwalbe Big Apple tires are best, followed by the knobby off-road variety, then air street tires and lastly airless tires? Thanks, again!

        • Yep, in your case the Big Apple would be best, followed by the knobby off-roads, then street and lastly foam. If you plan on doing mainly dirt, then I would go with knobby over the Big Apple, but if you are sticking to mainly pavement, I would go with Big Apple.

      • Imfionit

        Update: We bought him a FirstBike a year ago and it did wonders for him and his confidence and he has already outgrown it (as we’d expected) but he is now ready and able to touch his toes to the floor on the ByK e-350 so we just ordered one of those for him. The FirstBike is now waiting for the younger brother (2yr old) to grow another half-inch or so to start riding it. Thanks much!

  • Stephanie Niven

    Hi! We are purchasing a balance bike for our son’s 2nd birthday next month. His inseam is 12″ and I’m honestly not sure about his weight. I’m leaning toward the Strider because of price but I’m concerned it won’t be good for him as he gets older without expensive upgrades. I also really like the Muna bike, but I think the seat height is too tall at this point. Any recommendations? I’d like to spend right at $100. Thanks so much!

    • You’re right, at 12″ the Muna is going to be too big. The Strider would fit, but if you don’t want to worry about upgrading later, I would go for the KinderBike Laufrad Mini.

  • Heather

    Have you ever tried a Miir balance bike? They have them at REI and the reviews are good, but very limited. I think they may be a newer entrant to the balance bike market, and maybe sort of limited geographically (I’m in Seattle, where Miir’s flagship store apparently is)?

    We want to get our daughter a balance bike for her 2nd birthday in a couple months. I’m not sure of her inseam yet but she’s always been about 40-50th percentile. She’s about 25 lbs right now. I think she’ll mainly ride on the sidewalk or in the unpaved (grass/dirt) alley next to our house, and also on grass at the park/playground. The Islabike Rothan looks great but I’m wary of paying that much for something she might outgrow before she’s ready for a pedal bike. It looks like the Too Too might have a bit more range? Thanks!

    • I have not seen it in person, but I can tell you that any balance bike that cost $140 should not have foam tires. Foam tires and cheap and do not perform nearly as well as air tires. Additionally, the geometry of the MiiR looks off. In my opinion, the seat is too far forward on the frame, which will force the rider to be more upright on the bike, thereby making it more difficult to balance. An upright position is actually a good thing when the rider sits lower on the frame (or the tires), but is bad it the bike has a shorter wheelbase, which make the bike really top heavy. There is no question that I would recommend the Rothan or the Too Too over the MiiR. For the Rothan, it is small, but your daughter will be able to ride it until she is in 4T clothes. The Too Too is very good quality (not as good as the Rothan), and will allow her to ride until she is in 5T clothes. In the end, it really depends on how often she rides or how eager she is too ride. If she is eager, then I think she will do fine on the Rothan, if you are concerned, then I would go with the Too Too.

      • Heather

        Thanks! Your explanation about the Miir makes a lot of sense…I was thinking of stopping by their store because it’s only a few minutes away but I’ll pass. I’m actually going to be in Portland soon so I’m going to swing by the Islabikes showroom, I’m kind of excited. 🙂 I’m leaning toward the Rothan because I finally got to measure her inseam and it’s only about 10.5″ right now (hopefully she grows a bit in the next couple months!) so I’m guessing she’ll be ready for a pedal bike by the time she outgrows this one. It looks like Yedoo just introduced an aluminum version of the Too Too with a lower minimum height (11″) for the same price as the Rothan, though, so it looks like I probably can’t go wrong either way!

        • I agree, they are both great bikes, but for littles the Rothan is my favorite. I’m excited you have a chance to check out the bike in person. To be sure, I would call before you head over to make sure they have one in stock as I believe they are sold out (could be wrong though).

  • Michelle King

    This is an extremely useful article. I appreciate all the things to now look for, thank you. Bike shopping we go! Hope we find some good equivalents in NZ.

  • Andrea

    Hello,

    Could you advice me on balance bike for my daughter? She is 22 months old and she is quite small – 32 inch and 24 lbs. She is quite handy with a plastic bike so i would like to get a balance bike for her.

    I was thinking about Strider – because of weight, but now I consider Yedoo Too Too which is now new model – with lower weight and sadle can be adjusted to approx. 11,5 inch or First bike. Also a question – do you know Puky LRM? Would you maybe advice it?

    • Sounds like she is ready! Weighing only 24 lb., you are really going to want to get a light bike. For petite kids, the Rothan is my favorite as it is the smallest bike with the best components, but is also the most expensive. My next choice would be the WOOM1 (on backorder till Nov.), which will be the same weight as the Islabikes. The Yedoo Too Too will be slightly too big as it’s minimum seat height is 12″, which means her inseam would have to 12.5″ to properly fit on the bike.

      For the Puky, I don’t know much about them, but I do know they tend to be on the heavier side.

      • Andrea

        Hello, Thanks a lot, i will have a look at the models 🙂

  • Susie

    Hello,

    Thanks for all the great information. I know we are late to the game, but I was thinking about getting my almost 4yo (in January) a balance bike. She is wearing 4T pants but is very petite (28 lbs). I was thinking about getting the Burley Design MyKick Balance Bike, Fire Truck Red…but I’m worried about the weight. Do you think it’ll be ok for her or do you have other suggestions? She isn’t particularly athletic but has been interested in “big girl bikes” lately. We are also thinking about getting the new scamp helmet for her. Any and all advice would be so appreciated.

    We also have a frisky 15 month old boy that we would consider getting a balance bike for (he’s 22lbs). Or we’d be happy to let him inherit her bike when we move her to a pedal bike.

    • Nope, you are never late in the game so you good to go. They make balance bike for all ages, even adults. For your daughter, since she is hesitant and lighter weight, I would go with a lighter bike such as the Yedoo Too Too or the Kinderbike Laufrad. Both of these bikes also have a slightly lower minimum seat height, which will allow your son to use it as well, plus they have a longer seat post, which will provide more room for growth.

      • Susie

        Thanks!!!! I will look into both of those models.

        • Susie

          So sorry. Just to clarify, would you go with the kinder bike laufaud or the mini? Thanks!!

          • No problem, if he is in 4T pants, then I would go with the Laufrad NOT the mini as it might be too small.

  • Jennifer

    Hi there! I feel so lucky that I stumbled across your site while doing research on balance bikes–you have shared an amazing amount of invaluable information. My little one is 3 years old, 37 inches tall, and 30 pounds. If I measured her inseam correctly, it’s just about 13 inches. Based on what I’ve read of your advice for other people with kiddos similar in size to mine, I’m thinking either the Yedoo Too Too, the Kinderbike Laufrad, or the Tykesbikes Scamper but would love for you to weigh in on which of these might be best (unless you think there’s something that’s a better fit for her than any of these, in which case I’d love to know that too!). Many thanks for sharing your wisdom and expertise as I make a decision on which will be my daughter’s first bike!

    • They are all great bikes, so you really can’t go wrong with either of them, but they are individually better for different kids. Since she weighs 30 lb., weight shouldn’t be a huge issue unless she is on the clumsier side. If she is, then she may do better on the lighter Too Too or Kinderbike. If she isn’t, then the Too Too would be my first pick followed by the Scamper. Hope that helps!

  • Abigail

    Hi! Just came across your site this morning as I started researching bikes for Christmas presents. I initially looked at your articles on pedal bikes, but due to your explanations went to look at balance bikes. Both of my kids are active and fearless, and very tall: my son is a super tall 4 yrs (in boys’ XS clothing) and my daughter is just over 2 and in 3T clothing. Neither of my kids have ever ridden a bike or balance bike before, which is what made me think to go to balance bikes first. However, they both ride their Micro Kick scooters with ease. My son can put both feet on and balance and ride (and goes fast), and can apply the brake on the back wheel. My daughter mostly rides with just the main foot on and the other foot flying out behind her (hasn’t really mastered both feet on), but can balance and ride this way. She puts her feet down to brake. Do you think with this they can skip the balance bike and try pedal bikes? (I also thought of doing a pedal bike for my son and balance bike for my daughter, but she would never, ever allow that and would insist on doing what her brother is doing. So much easier for me/avoiding tantrums, etc, to just get them the same thing!)
    Thank you so much! For your site and also for replying to everyone’s comments with personalized recs. It’s truly lovely.

    • Glad to help! Some kids have successfully transitioned to pedal bikes from scooters, but it is not very common. Balancing on a scooter is actually easier than balancing on a bike because the rider is still standing up. Balancing while in sitting position, while leaning forward, is a new experience that your body has to adjust to. Some athletically inclined kids can make the transition fairly smoothly, but most can’t. Normally, I would recommend getting one balance bike to start out with (that will fit both of them) to see how quickly your son picks it up. BUT I totally understand where you are coming from with having the same thing. So, in the end, it really depends on your budget and the climate you live in. If you live in a colder climate where they won’t be riding consistently until Spring, then you will want to buy a bike that they have room to grow into. If you have a limited budget, then I would buy a nicer balance bike for your daughter and a more affordable one for your son so that you will have more money to spend on a nicer pedal bike for him later. My top choice for your son would be the Scoot balance bike, but it is pricey, so for budget bike I would go for the Radio Flyer with air (for super cheapo) or the TykesBykes Scamper for mid-range. For your daughter, I would go with the Scoot as well if she is over 30 lb., and the Too Too is she is under. For a more affordable option, I would look at the TykesBykes Scamper as well or the Kinderbike is she is lighter than 30 lb.

      • Abigail

        Thanks so much! Yes, we’re in the North East, so they won’t get much use until spring. Also, they’ll be at the grandparent’s house, so they’ll only get use when we’re there! I’ll check out your recs. Thanks again!

  • Sarah Louise Leonard

    Hi I am looking to buy a balance bike for my daughter for Xmas . She will be 2 and a half. She currently weighs 35lb and her inside leg is approx 13.5 inches. Could you recommend a bike please in top and middle price ranges? My son had one but it was very heavy.

    • If you are in the UK, I would look at the Frog Tadpole or the Yedoo Too Too. The Yedoo is slightly lighter, but considering your daughter is over 30 lb., the difference is minor. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with either, but we preferred the Tadpole for more adventurous rider and the Too Too for more everyday riders.

      • Sarah Louise Leonard

        That’s great, thanks very much. I’m going to go with the Too Too ☺

  • Marisa DeGroff

    Hi. I am considering purchasing a balance bike for my small 4 year old (will be 5 in about a month). I know it is kind of late but she has never gotten the hang of a trike and is not interested in a small pedal bike. (we have a variety of bicycles as she is the third child) She seems to lack the strength and coordination to pedal forward. She has a Glider Scooter that she loves and has used for the last 2 summers. She saw a Strider in the local shopping mall and took to it right away. I am wondering if it is worth it to purchase a balance bike at such a late age. She is 39 inches tall, just over 16 inch inseam and 35 pounds. She wears size 4. We live in a colder climate so there will likely be snow soon. The Strider is the only balance bike I have been able to view locally.

    • No worries, you aren’t late by any means as they make balance bikes for all ages, even adults. If she took to the Strider right away, then I would certainly get a balance bike now and a pedal bike come Spring or Summer when she is ready. If you are on a budget, I would get a cheaper balance bike now, such as the TykeBykes Scamper, the KinderBike Laufrad or the Radio Flyer Glide and Go with air, and then spend more on a pedal bike later. Getting her a balance bike now will allow her to skip training wheels all together and have her riding a pedal bike much sooner than if you were to start off with training wheels now.

      • Marisa DeGroff

        Do you think that the Strider is too small for her? I feel like she will do better with a smaller, lighter bike but I don’t want her to outgrow it over the winter.

        • Possibly, but I think she would be fine as long as you got the Sport that comes with the extended seat post with a padded seat (kids not in diapers generally do not like the standard hard seat of the Strider). The extended handlebar is also an option, but I don’t think she will need it as the standard handlebar does extend. If you are concerned about it, then I would go for the TykesBykes Scamper, which does weigh more, but it is larger with wider, air tires (that provide cushioning) and may be more comfortable for her to ride.

  • Tammy

    Hi, we want to buy our 22month old a balance bike for Christmas. She’s never ridden before so with all the research we thought balance was the way to go.
    We are in Australia and would like to know what you recommend. Strider are pretty big here and it’s hard to find any others people recommend.
    We would mostly be using it on bike paths and at the skate park but would occasionally go on dirt, etc. She’s always been average height (currently about 85cm) but I’m not sure of her inseam. budget isn’t really an issue, we’d prefer to get the right one first off. (We would love it to last for her younger brother whose just been born if possible).
    Thank you we’d tea appreciate your expertise.

    • Glad to help. If you plan on riding on no-paved surfaces or at the skate park, I would highly recommend getting a bike with air tires. The cushioning and traction they provide over the foam tires found on the Strider will greatly benefit your daughter. Some brands available in Australia are the ByK, FirstBIKE and Torpedo 7. Of those, the E-200L (http://www.bykbikes.com/kids-bike-range/e-200-learning-bike.html), should fit just fine. The FirstBIKE will also fit, but you will need to order the Lowering Kit (http://www.firstbike.com.au/). The Torpedo7 will probably be too big.

  • Suzanne

    Hi, I am wondering if you have heard of the Eurotrike Zipp 2 in 1 bike and if so what your thoughts are on it? Thanks

    • I haven’t heard of it, but after looking it up online, I wouldn’t recommend it. The main issue with convertible 12″ bikes is that by the time kids are ready to through on the pedals, they have generally already outgrown the 12″ tires and are a much better fit on a 14″ or 16″. The only convertible bike that I would be willing to recommend is the LittleBig, https://www.littlebigbikes.com/, as it has 14″ tires versus 12″, so it offers more room for growth.

  • Maria

    My boys will be 2 in a couple of weeks. We live in London and as such, we need a balance bike for the city – house, footpaths and the park. I was going to get a wooden balance bike with plastic wheels – what do you think?

    • If at all possible, I wouldn’t recommend it. Plastic tires are really hard and provide no cushion, so your boys will feel every bump along the way. One way to think of it is imagining pushing your boys around in a wooden stroller with plastic wheels. I can’t imagine it would be a great ride for anyone. That being said, any balance bike is better than no balance bike, so if a wooden bike is the only one in your budget, then go for it. If you have more wiggle room, I highly recommend finding a bike with air tires.

  • Lori

    Hi there! Great article, I picked up a Dushi for my 28 mo old for Xmas. Wondering if you have any thoughts/experience with this brand. I mean it’s an adorable bike – but is any good?

    • I haven’t had any experience with them, but from looking online, they appear to be designed and crafted more like a toy than a bike. The plastic wheels won’t provide as much cushioning and the seat is going to be a challenge to adjust, but any balance bike is better than no balance bike, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. If you really want a good bike, they you would try to sell it and buy a new one, but as long as your child seems to enjoy the bike, I would keep it for now and play it by ear as they get older.

      • Lori

        Thanks so much! Actually the one I picked up does have air tires. I am a bit concerned about the turning radius however. It only turns one way all the way. I will probably keep it for now and sell it and get a better one when she has a bit more experience

        • Yeah, glad to hear you got air tires! Good point about the turning radius though. We have had several with very limited turning and they can certainly cause their own set of issues. I agree with you though, keep it until she is able to balance on it and then upgrade later.

  • Ria

    Hello! I am looking at buying my son a balance bike for Christmas. He’ll be just under 2 and is about 33 inches tall with inseam of about 11.5 inches, and weighs about 12kgs We live in the UK so will be using the bike all year round. I was thinking about the Rothan but wonder if the saddle might be a bit high. It would be great to get your advice!

    • Nope, the Rothan will fit him perfectly right now. When toddlers first start off on balance bikes, they stand and walk on them. The phase can last anywhere from weeks to months (my son took six months!), so buy the time he sits down the seat and starts running, it will be there perfect size for him.

  • Frankie

    Hi, really hoping you can help. We are in Australia and although I’ve seen a few questions from Aussies, I can’t find one that quite matches our needs. My son turns three this week, but is very tall for his age – 106cm/ 42″ and 17kg. The Ridgeback Scoot seemed a great choice based on your comparison chart, but it’s not available in Australia. Could you please recommend something similar? Many thanks!

    • Have you tried ByK’s larger balance bike, the E-250L, http://www.bykbikes.com/kids-bike-range/e-250l-kids-learning-bike.html? I haven’t seen it in person, but I assume it larger 250 tires would make it close in size to the Scoot XL, which also has 14″ tires. The only other bike that I know of it the Torpedo7, but with a 320 minimum standover height, it could be too small.

      • Frankie

        Hi Natalie, thanks for the quick reply. Another question – bike stores I’ve spoken to locally seem to be recommending the Cruzee. What is your opinion on this bike?

        • The Cruzee is a great bike, very lightweight, well made, but it is small, essentially the same size as the Strider. You can raise the seat on them to make it fit, but a longer wheelbase would be better for him. If, however, they have it available in a 14″ version (I know they talked about this at one point, but I’m not sure if it happened), then I would consider it as it wouldn’t require the seat to be raised at high (due to the taller tires).

          • Frankie

            Thanks again for the advice – much appreciated.

  • Taffimai Long

    Hello,
    We’re considering buying a LittleBigBike for our (near) 3yr old. He has mastered his wooden balance bike and we wanted to get him something that might be easier to handle and give scope to extend his skills (eg. a brake and eventually pedals). Our only concern is that he’s quite comfortable pedalling a trike etc now and we wondered if he might get stuck with a balance bike for longer as he’s not tall enough for the pedal stage of the littlebig bike? Would we be better off trying him with a pedal bike now? His inside leg is roughly 40cm ish. Not sure what average age children tend to get onto pedals!

    Thanks in anticipation of your advice!
    Taffi (UK).

    • Awesome job on getting him started young. I have seen kid as young as two ride bikes without training wheels, so it really depend on the child. If he is eager and is adventurous, he could very well take to a pedal bike without training wheels, but the main problem will be finding one small enough for him. Because of the space requires my the crank arms, making a really small bike is quite the challenge, so very few are made. I would probably take him to a local bike shop that carries the Frog line of bikes and try him out on the Frog 43. The minimum inseam for the bike is 43cm (shorter than the LittleBig), which is pretty low for a 14″ bike, so he might be able to ride it, but he won’t be able to put both of his feet flat on the ground while on the seat, so he will be on his tippy toes. If you think that will scare him, then he may not be ready and I would go with the LittleBig, if you think he would be willing to try that out, then I would go for the Frog.

  • Jenny J

    Hi – thank you for this amazing site! We live in the UK and want to get our 2 yr old son (28lb and 85 cm tall ) his first balance bike. We don’t want to spend much – less than £100 – and wondered what you thought would be a good option. We ideally want air tyres if you think that is best. thanks lots for your advice
    Jenny

  • Joey

    Hi Natalie, your knowledge of Balance Bikes is incredible! I’m hoping you can help as I keep going around in circles.
    Firstly I live in Australia. My son is 20 months old and very tall (90cm/35.5″) and heavy (15kg/33lbs) and we live on a farm so he will be using it mainly on grass, dirt and gravel so thinking a bike with thee knobby tread tyres would be best. As he’s only 20 months, I’m hoping something that will last for the next two years would be great. what would you recommend?

    • Your options for bikes with knobby tires is going to be limited, especially with a little guy like yours. If you are only looking for a balance bike to get him started, then I would probably go with the Strider now as the foam tires will do just fine for him as he is learning (plus you won’t have to worry about flats). Once he has mastered the Strider, you could then upgrade to another balance bike or even a pedal bike if he was really eager. If you don’t want to upgrade later and would rather buy one now, then the FirstBIKE Cross with a lowering kit would be your best bet. Hope that helps!

  • Tess B

    Thank you so much for providing such a great site.

    I am in Australia. My daughter has been riding with training wheels, she is 5 and has recently shown an interest in learning how to ride without them.

    Could you recommend a budget balance bike that would be suitable for an older child.

    • With you 6yo, I would actually try removing the training wheel and pedal on her regular bike and have her use it as a balance bike. This generally works great for older kids, but if she can’t touch the ground with her bike or if the bike is really heavy, then that it may not work out so well. Unfortunately, I don’t know of a larger, budget balance bike available in Australia. If she is on the shorter side, you could buy the extra long seat post and handlebars for your son’s strider and try that out.

      For your son, unless he is really petite, the larger Strider seat should work just fine.

  • Kiara

    Hi,

    I am after a Balance Bike for mr 18 months. I know he will not be able to ride it now, but just as a christmas present. Im looking at the Cruzee, FirstBike. I loved the Woom, but it is extremely expensive. What would be the best for every day use on gravel, ashfelt? The cruzee or first bike? Thank you

    • Great time to buy a balance bike as kids as young as 18 months do start walking around with their bikes. Between the Cruzee and the FirstBIKE for an 18 months old I would certainly go with the Cruzee as even with the lowering kit, the FirstBIKE is going to be too big.

  • Karen

    Hi, Thanks for the great website! I think we used this to choose our bike seat awhile back as well. Now, we are shopping for a balance bike for our son who is almost three. He has a 14.5 inseam and weighs 30lbs. We had narrowed it down to the Yedoo Too Too and the TykesBykes Scamper 12″, but are a little confused about the correct sizing. Any advice? Thanks in advance for any feedback!!

    • At 30 lbs. you can really go either way. If he is more on the athletic side, he will do just fine on the Scamper. If he is hesitant, then he may do better on the lighter Too Too.

  • Michelle

    Hi, I’m looking for a bike for my currently 16 month old. I have been looking at the early rider lite and mocka urban mini which seem to be the main ones from 18 months I’ve found. Can you recommend any others that would be low enough but not too expensive?

    • The only other bike I would consider would be Kinderbike Mini. The Strider is also a great bike for 18 month olds as it is lightweight and easy to adjust, but the tires don’t perform as well on non-paved surfaces.

  • Richard Ward

    I’m in the middle of this setup for my daughter, for those worried about strength I weigh 85kg and I can sit on it without damaging it, so my 12kg daughter will be fine 🙂

    http://hubbardscupboard2010.com/2013/11/26/inspired-diy-toddler-strider-balance-bike/

  • Awesome, DIY. I was worried about the strength of the bike, so thanks for providing the info. Looking at the bike, has your son ever been scratched by the remaining seat stays?

  • Ami

    I have a currently 16 month old, who is 29in and 22lb, i do not see her being much taller at 20, which is when I want to give her the bike, would like something that would last a bit. Price is $100.

    Ps. Wonding where you stand on velo balance bike?

    • I haven’t been impressed with the Velo’s as they don’t offer much adjustment on the seat post and the wheels are essentially solid as provide no cushioning.

      For your price range, I would recommend the Strider Classic. It is a great design, especially for littles ones and when she does get taller, they sell an extended seat post to help her grow with the bike. If you prefer to not to have to buy a taller seat post later, then you could move up to the Strider Sport (which comes with post seats, as well as a pad on the handlebars) for $109 (http://amzn.to/1NYgTDR). The Classic sells for $89 (http://amzn.to/1NYgUHP).

  • Valerie

    Hi there, thank you for providing such helpful and specific advice to so many parents! Our 4 year old daughter (40″ tall, about 16″ inseam, 36 pounds) is adept on the tricycles at preschool but never quite got the hang of her micro mini scooter at home (though it’s partially our fault, since we don’t have a great place for her to ride and don’t take it out often enough). We were going to get her the FirstBike balance bike but have changed our mind based on your guidance that she’d outgrow it too quickly. I’m on the verge of buying her the TykesBykes Scamper 12″, again based on your advice to others below, but it looks like they’ve maybe discontinued the Scamper and replaced it with the Charger…? Do you have an opinion about which to go with, and whether to definitely go with the 12″ or consider the 16″? Their website says the 16″ Charger’s minimum seat height is 16″, but I wonder if that would still be too high for her at this point. TIA for your help.

    • You are right in that the Scamper has been renamed the Charger 12, but it is the same bike. For your daughter, I would absolutely go with the 12″ over the 16″ as it is much smaller to manage as well as lighter. If she was eager to ride and adventurous, she could fit on the 16″, but I believe it will take her longer to master.

  • Rebecca

    Hello, I’ve been reading your guidance for a while now and following the comments, which are all very helpful, thank you. I wasn’t going to post a comment but could really use some advice. I was leaning towards a Wishbone 3-in-1 or Woom for my 19 month old, 34ish”, inseam 13ish”, 13kg daughter, but am now leaning towards the Firstbike. However I went into a listed stockist (I live in Australia) and they said they no longer stocked Firstbike and stocked Cruzee instead, which I then looked up. I am now undecided and can’t choose between which model Firstbike, or the Cruzee. I wanted to get her something that would last until she graduated to a pedal bike. Now I’m wondering if that’s too ambitious given she’s relatively tall, and thus whether I should get a Cruzee THEN a Firstbike? The Cruzee has a seat pole extension, but that may throw the balance as she gets older. I was also thinking a brake might be useful though I’m not sure really whether it’s desirable. She will be riding on all surfaces – pavers and tiles to begin, and then grass, dirt I suppose when at the park. Do you have any suggestions for ways forward? Thank you very much for any help you can provide.

    • I can see you Delia. Right now, even with the lowering kit the FirstBIKE is going to be too small for her. If she is comfortably in size 24 pants, then she might be able to make it work, but it is going to be a challenge to get on and off by herself. Right now the Cruzee (which we will be reviewing once the snow melts here), will be a much better fit for her. The air tires on the FirstBIKE will be beneficial on non-paved surfaces, but if you want to start now, I would still go with the Cruzee. Once she has mastered the Cruzee, she is going to be too small for the 450, so you will probably going to have to buy the 350 or another similar sized bike for her to ride. Bottom line, because she is going to grow a lot over the next couple years, there isn’t a balance bike that will allow her to start on in now and then transition to the 450. Hope that helps!

      • Rebecca

        Thank you so much, Natalie. I really appreciate this insight. My partner thinks we should wait until she’s older, but I’d love her to have something to move around with now, although I suppose that is the most expensive option, especially given you are right that the BYK E-450 is a way down the track so I am potentially looking at 2 balance bikes and a first pedal bike between now and then!! If I wait until she’s older and go with the Firstbike, I may be waiting until she is 2ish, and again, if she remains tall she might outgrow that quickly. Argh – decisions! I’ll think some more about it, and continue to check in to your blogs and posts. Thank you for this site, and for your advice, which is never short of brilliant.

        • Glad to help! Most kids don’t really start to master balance bikes until they are around 2.5, so perhaps waiting would be best.

  • AVmommy

    Hi – this website is so helpful – we have decided to get our daughter a balance bike for her third birthday this week – she has a 14″ inch inseam and is 39 inches tall and 34 lbs – saw your note about having her inseam be at least 15″ for the 2.5 year+ bikes but she seems too old for the next level down (18 m plus)? She is on the tall side for her age and has been wearing 3t clothes since she was 2.5 at least. We want air tires – she’ll be mostly on paved but could do some off-road on our flat lawn area, etc. – so thinking the Yedoo Too Too or the Kinder Bike Laufraud – (her weight is keeping us from some of the others) and we’re not 100% positive she will love it so staying a bit away from the highest price point end with the Islabike and the Woom although I could be talked into the extra $50. Any thoughts on our proposed direction? Really appreciate any help – she’s very active and we love the idea of getting her on a bike!

    • With a 15″ inseam I would go for the Too Too as it will allow more room for growth. The measurements are based on 50% percentiles on the chart, so be sure to go with her inseam rather than the ages stated. The WOOM1 and Rothan are awesome, but kids outgrow them before they reach 4T clothes, so they won’t provide enough room for growth for her. Being active, she will also most likely be fine on a heavier bike as kids over 30lb. generally do just fine on them. In fact, I would consider the Scoot as well (although it is pricer) as she would be fine with the weight and it’s longer wheelbase and wider handlebars are better for taller kids.

      • AVmommy

        Thank you so much – your website and its information and recommendations are truly invaluable – made our whole shopping experience a pleasure! We ordered her the Too Too and a helmet based on your recs – thanks again for your quick response!

        • You’re welcome, glad to help! Happy riding 🙂

  • Tara

    I’m wondering if there is any guideline for knowing when it’s time to raise the seat on my 3-yr-old’s balance bike. I’m feeling like too much of his foot surface is touching the ground lately and maybe it’s time to raise it again. But is there any sort of recommendation for what to look for in terms of the child’s position on the bike and what the posture should be like, including how much of the foot should be touching the ground?

    • If she has mastered balancing on the bike then you will want the seat about 1/2″ less than her inseam. If she is still walking the bike, then they generally need a little more room, so I would give them about an inch. Since kids grow so fast, the seat height on their bikes need to be changed frequently.

  • Sean

    Hi Natalie, wondering at what weight the FirstBike flex might become an issue? We have an almost 3 year old, he’s 13.5KG (30lbs) and wondering if the FirstBike will last until he’s 4 or 5. Our other option is the Cruzee but the foam tires are putting us off. Cheers.

    • I would say around 45lb. to 50 lb. My newly 4yo son can still ride it without any issues, but he also only weighs 37 lb. My other son was pretty heavy for his age and couldn’t ride it without flexing starting when he was 4.5, in which he probably was close to 50 lb. If your expect your son to grow quickly and you live in an environment where you can’t ride outside for a good portion of the year, then I would probably go for another bike to be safe. If he can ride year round and he isn’t in the higher percentiles for weight, then I think he should do just fine on the FirstBIKE. As for the Cruzee, we just received one for a review, and they are very well made, but I am really partial to air tires as they really do allow for more traction.

  • Kelsey Wilson

    Hi! I am so appreciating your website, but am feeling overwhelmed at the same time! Do you know anything about the Yvolution Y Velo bike? I hadn’t ever seen balance bikes before and I saw this one in the store recently and was intrigued by it. I found your website and was hoping to see your thoughts on this bike! Thank you!

    • Glad you found us:) I have seen the Y Velo bikes and haven’t been impressed by them. They are essentially all plastic and have very limited room for growth in the seat post. For the same price, I believe there are many other balance bikes that are better designed.

  • Rebecca

    We are about to purchase the cruzee for our 2 year old…was hoping for a review from you but it’s still in progress. We fell in love with it’s lightweight and easy to adjust seat and handlebars. Not too sure about the EVA tyres but overall we are hoping our son will love it!

    • We are hoping to finish it up soon, but the weather isn’t cooperating, argh. But, we have taken it out enough times to get a good feel for it. It is a great bike that is very light weight, making it great for smaller toddlers. We had a 2yo and a 4yo both ride it and they really enjoyed it. The bike itself is beautiful and appears to sparkle in the sun, which our testers raved about. All in all, it is a great bike for toddlers who plan on riding doing basic riding around town, mainly on pavement. The recessed bolts, padded seat and quick seat and handlebars adjustments make incredibly safe and easy to use. For really aggressive riders, or older/taller riders, however, it isn’t the best bike. The foam tires don’t perform well on dirt or really slick surfaces (indoors – our guy lost traction on our laminate floor). The quick adjusts on the seat and handlebars are also a challenge to really tighten down, however if you purchase the bike at WeeBikeShop, they will swap them out for nicer ones for you free of charge. Our only other concern is that the frame scratches really easy, but since it is aluminum, the frame will never rust, so scratched don’t compromise the frame at all. Here are some comparison shots. The girl in the pictures is in 2T/3T pants and is 2, the boy is 4 in 4T. To share a comparison, I also included a picture of her on the larger Saracen Freewheel.

      • Rebecca

        Thank you so much for your early review! I just picked up the black one and hope it will be a good fit for our son. We anticipate we’ll be buying him a peddle bike in a year or two anyway so we’re not too concerned about taking it off road too much.
        We bought it in Australia so we won’t be able to get the better quality quick adjusts but I’ll keep an eye on them and take it back to our bike shop if we have any issues.
        Thanks again!

        • Glad to hear! Sounds like it is a perfect fit for your son. If you get a chance, I’d love to hear how he likes it 🙂

        • Vantots

          Hi Rebecca. Just wondering where in Australia you got the Cruzee from? Looking to buy it for my son too. Thanks.

  • Lara

    So I’m not really a bike person, hopefully this isn’t a silly question. I’m wondering if air tires can be purchased from a regular bike shop for models like the cruzee or strider? I’m in Australia so less access to retailers. Thanks

    • Lara

      Might as well throw some other silly questions in before your reply… Haha. Would the strider pneumatics fit on the cruzee? (If regular bike stores aren’t an option for air tires). And potentially the strider mini padded seat on the cruzee? As you can tell I’m a bit torn between the two. Like the low seat height and ability to add pneumatics to the strider but prefer the weight and design of the cruzee. Thanks again

      • No, you have to buy tires specific to the brand of bike as they don’t all mount the same. Actually, there is a chance that Strider’s air tires fit on the Cruzee, when I am able to see if they are compatible I’ll let you know. Between the two, they are very similiar is design and function. The frame of the Cruzee is beautiful and it is very lightweight. As for the tires, if you are riding on mainly pavement, the foam tires on the Cruzee will work just fine. You will really only need air tires if you plan on riding off-road at all. If you wanted another option, the FirstBIKE is also available in Australia, https://www.firstbike.com.au/.

        • Lara

          Thanks for your reply. He’s 21 months and fits the strider but I thought it was a little heavy because he’s only a slight little thing compared to other kids his age. Going with the cruzee, I’ve seen that they’re releasing air tires this year so hopefully they will have reached oz when he is good on the bike and needs more traction for off road. Firstbike is too big and heavy for him I think. Looking forward to seeing the cruzee in real life!

          • Awesome, it is certainly a light bike and the frame is beautiful! I’m sure you will both love it.

  • Laura

    Your site has been very helpful, wondering if you can help? I’m looking to purchase 3 balance bikes for my boys, twin 2 1/2 year olds and a 19 month old. All 28lbs and 12-13″ inseams. The bikes will not be handed down, looking for a very budget option since we need 3. And that they will last them until 5 or pedal bikes. They will primarily be off road, hilly, gravel, and the option of skis in winter (we’re in Michigan). Looked at used options but we don’t know where to find them. Also looked into convertible bikes (with pedals) since my guys are small. Even thought about removing pedals from a 12″ pedal bike, but I can’t find any with a low enough seat. I’d like to be under $100 for each, not sure if that’s possible. Any ideas?
    Thanks!

    • I have yet to find a convertible bike that is well designed, so I would stick with a balance bike for now. For under $100 each, I would go with the Strider. It is low enough, plus they are one of the few bikes that have skis. The Classic sells for $89 (http://amzn.to/23zMO4L). The one downside of the Classic is that it only comes with the mini saddle, which kids generally outgrow by the time they are 3.5, or out of diapers (it is short and has no padding). The extended seat post is available separately for $14 which you can buy when needed. The next level up is the Strider Sport, which sells for $120, comes with the extended seat, as well as some other upgrades that aren’t as important.

  • Dustin Smith

    I have twin boys that are about to turn three and we are looking at balance bikes. Initially I was looking at myfirstbike, but now I’m not sure that is the right choice. Child 1 is 39 inches tall, 14 inch inseam and weighs 36 lbs. child 2 is 38 inches tall 14 inch inseam and weighs 33 lbs. any suggestions or recommendations? We are looking to stay in the $150 or less per bike range. How long did your kids stay with the balance bikes? I don’t mind the price if I know they’ll get some use and enjoyment out of them. Thanks for all the help! This site saved us from wasting time, money and out boys’ frustration with a “toy” bike!

    • Glad to help! Our kids used their balance bike for about 3 years. My youngest (who just turned four), started at 18 months, really mastered at 2.5 and just transitioned to a pedal bike last month (although he still rides a balance bike often). For kids who start older, around 3ish, they generally only ride them for a year and a half. For your kids, I think the FirstBIKE could be a great bike for them. My only concern would be if you lived in a colder climate in which they won’t be able to ride for a good portion of the year. If so, there is a possibility of the FirstBIKE flexing, but that generally isn’t an issue until kids are in 5T clothing. Another bike I would consider would be the Stampede Bikes Charger 12″.

  • Varun Ahuja

    Hi, TWT. I have been reading up the website and looking for a bike for my 19mth old girl, she is 31inch, 77cm. Weighs ~25lb. I was almost sold on strider but then came across this cruzee thing whose rust free feature (aluminum) attracted me the most. Any other advantage over strider? Also, how does it compare to FirstBike and Too Too in terms of what is suitable for my girl? Lastly, the only thing that was against cruzee vs. too too was that cruzee does not have brakes, which i think once she is 2.5-3yr old, it would be a handy feature, and hence thinkin of too too, but then it is heavier and steel frame. I know there is no one package has all features, but if i say weight, safety are most important, which one of the four (Strider, FirstBike, Too Too and Cruzee) should i go for?

    • Varun Ahuja

      to add, i am looking for a bike that will prepare my lil one for the proper bike (pedals and brakes et al) , I guess by the time she is about 3yrs or so?

      • It really depends on your daughters inseam. The Cruzee and the Strider are probably your best bet since they have a minimum seat height of 11″ versus 12″ or 13″. They both come with foam tires, which are fine for average use, but if you expect her to ride on dirt or over curbs, hill, etc. as she gets older, I would look for a bike with air tires. The FirstBIKE with a lowering kit, will fit her if she is firmly in 24 month pants. The FirstBIKE is available with air tires and a hand brake and will fit her until she is in 3T clothes and even some 4T. All of the bikes you mentioned, however, will prepare her for a pedal bike. Hope that helps!

        • Varun Ahuja

          Thanks Natalie, you didn’t mention Yedoo V2 in this… I was almost of the opinion that it’s offering the best of all, brakes, air tires and all.

  • Kristina

    I couldn’t find any info on Critical Cycles Cub balance bike. I am wondering what is your opinion on it
    http://www.amazon.com/Critical-Cycles-No-Pedal-Balance-Powder/dp/B018UVLKX6/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1461188091&sr=8-16&keywords=balance+bike+for+toddlers
    How does it compare to Strider Sport? I am looking for a balance bike for my almost 2 year old (he is on the smaller size, 11 inches inseam), and for my 4 year old (14.5 inches inseam). Thank you!

  • The cockpit (the space between the seat and the handlebars) on the Critical looks really small, which will make it more uncomfortable to ride as compared to the Strider. If you do a side-by-side comparison of they two, you can tell the Strider has a greater distance between the two, which probably means the Cub has a shorter wheelbase as well, which will make the bike more twitchy.

  • Sylvie

    Hi Natalie, thank you so much for your website and all the help you provide!
    Our son is right at 2.5 years, 38″ tall and about 37lbs. We managed to measure his inseam at about 14″ and I cannot seem to make a decision on the best first bike for him (soon to be born baby brother’s gift to him). After debating back and forth, I think I’ve narrowed it down to the Frog tadpole (love the red) and the Saracen freewheel (unless you recommend something else). What do you think? Extra info: we live in south Florida where he can basically ride all year round and have mostly paved streets… Thank you for any advice or recs you can give us.

    • Honestly, both bikes are great and I don’t think you could go wrong with either one. Considering you have a younger child to pass the bike down to and you don’t have any restrictions with weather, I would go with the Frog. It is lighter and has a smaller minimum seat height than the Saracen, so it will be a better fit for your younger son, especially since siblings tend to ride sooner. With a 14″ inseam, your son shouldn’t have a problem riding the Frog until he is ready to transition to a pedal bike.

  • Pam

    My granddaughter is ready for a bike with pedals. I am looking for a 16″ lightweight bike! Do you have ant suggestions? All the bikes I am looking at weight more than her. She is 38″ tall and inseam of 16″

  • I was able to see it at a bike show and wasn’t overly impressed with it as it is pretty tall for a 16″ bike and seemed on the heavier side. Kazam doesn’t list the specs to the bike on their site, so it’s hard to determine how it ranks with other bikes for sure. From what I saw, however, it seems like a pretty basic bike for $150.

  • CP

    My daughter is turning 2 in June and has been asking for a bike. I’m concerned that she may not use it much and then it will be winter (we live in Minneapolis). I’m wondering if there is a bike that spans age 2-5 (in case she starts now, and at least until she transitions to a pedal bike). Any recommendations?

    • Most balance bikes can last for years since they don’t have pedals, which really limit kids size wise. To find the bike that would be best for her, I would measure her inseam and then find a bike in which the minimum seat height is about 0.5″ lower than her inseam. On this chart, http://www.twowheelingtots.com/the-best-balance-bike-for-your-dollar-2/, you will be able to see which bikes will fit her best now as well as those that will provide the most room for growth. Hope that helps.

  • Allison Brenner

    Hi Natalie, I love reading through this site and was hoping to get some advice. I have a 2.5 year old (3 in October) – he is 37-38″ tall and just shy of 30 lbs.
    He has been riding this little tykes scooteroo since just after 1 and he cruises on it. He loves that thing so much we can’t get him off of it but he’s way too small for it. We’ve tried to get both him and his older brother (now 5) onto a balance bike (we have the strider), but neither one likes it and it sits unused. We finally gave up and got big bro a bike with training wheels so at least he could ride something. I feel like we need a bike that feels a little more “secure” than the strider – not sure if a wider tire or turning limiter would help and I can’t afford to keep buying bikes!! Any advice?

    • Unless he can be persuaded by the color or bell on a bike, then another balance bike may not make a difference. If so, then yes, a bike with air tires and wider handlebars may help him feel more stable. Balance bikes can take time for some kids to “get”, but with time, most kids eventually do. For some kids, sitting on the tricycle or a bike with training wheels is preferred as it allows them to hop on and pedal away, but a balance bike requires them to trust the bike and learn to balance. Have you tried having him sit on the Strider and roll down the driveway or another hill? Cones, chalk lines or mini “obstacle courses”, can also help kids to get motivated to ride. Keep in mind that it is completely normal for kids to walk on the bike for a while. Sitting and running can take a while, but once they get it, they take off.

      • Allison Brenner

        thanks so much for your reply. Right now I can’t even get him to try the strider anymore…hmmm maybe if someone ran over his beloved bike or it suddenly disappeared…
        Which bikes meet the criteria above – air tires and wider handlebars?

        • Yes, perhaps an “accident” may be in order ;). There are many balance bikes that have wider handlebars and air tires. The Charger 12, Scoot and Saracen would all be great choices.

  • Zsofi

    Hi,
    This article is amazing. It would normally take me weeks of research to put all this information together. Thank you!
    I stumbled upon your site while trying to find information about 4 wheeled ride on bikes. I’m convinced that when the time comes, we will try a balance bike for our son but he’s only turning one this month and I was trying to figure out if getting him a 4 wheeled ride on toy would be good or whether it would create bad habits for him, similar to tricycles. He adored all things wheeled and I can tell he would love one of those but I’m also thinking it might be better for him to concentrate on walking at first. Afterall, he will be 18-20 months in a blink anyway. Besides, I just saw the previous post, which makes me think it would be too hard to transition…
    Do you have an opinion on this? Should we skip the quadracycle and just wait a bit longer?
    Many thanks!

    • Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, back-to-school time is crazy around here. For your son, I actually highly recommend ride-ons for little ones as it teaches them to basic principles needed to ride a balance bike and can make learning how to ride a balance bike easier for some kids. You can see my list of suggested “pre-balance bikes” here: http://www.twowheelingtots.com/the-best-balance-bike-for-your-dollar-2/.

  • Alice

    Hello thanks so much for such great info. We are in Australia and prices are ridiculous here! 🙂
    I have a petit 4 year old who is 97cm tall and 15kg still in 3T clothes some in 4T. He has been riding mini micro scooter for 2 years. We are thinking of getting him a balancing bike but overwhelmed with options. I only know FirstBike or Strider and after reading all the comments i’m getting a bit nervous. We sometimes hire a balancing bike at the park for him to get a go and he’s going quite well after a few tries so i’m looking for something that won’t outgrow him too soon. Would love you advice! Many thanks

    • In Australia, I would try to hunt down a ByK bikes that originate from Australia, so they shouldn’t be marked up as much as the others. Plus, they are amazing bikes. They also have two different sizes of balance bikes and their larger size will likely fit him just fine. You can locate a store that sells them here: https://www.bykbikes.com/storelocator/.

      • alice

        Thank you sooo much for your time & quick reply. I’m on this now. Do you think Cruzee would be another good alternative?

  • IMMA

    Hello, Thank you very much for all the information you are sharing, it is really very useful for parents. My son will be 2 next month but he is not very tall. I am thinking in buying the FirstBike with the lowering kit or the EasyRider Lite ( I will mesure the inseam but I think both will do). It is not very clear to me which is the best option about tires. Are FirstBike Street and Cross, both air tires? He will ride most of the time on the pavement, but also on the grass in the park. What would you recommend? Thank you very much.

    • The Cross and the Street are both air tires, but with different tread patterns. The Cross has knobby tires while the Street is smooth. They both perform great on pavement as well as on the grass. Many boys prefer the look of the knobby Cross tires over the smooth Street, so I would probably go with Cross, but he would be fine with either. The tires on the EarlyRider Lite are very similar to those on the FirstBIKE Limited. They are a larger tire that offers more cushioning from curbs, jumps, sticks, rocks, etc. The Lite is an amazing bike and is beautiful, but it does lack a handbrake. If you riding around any hills or if you expect him to get aggressive, I would stick to the FirstBIKE as the brake will help his stop safer and faster in the future.

  • Rachel

    Such a great website! My son is almost 2.5 and scoots around like crazy on the little tykes scooteroo bikes that are at his daycare. We are looking into getting him a balance bike and because of your ratings, the seat adjustment, and the warranty on the Yedoo Too Too we are leaning in that direction. My son has a current inseam of 13.5″, so I think the bike size will be fine for awhile. How do you feel about the limiters on that bike? We would be doing mostly riding on pavement/sidewalks, though we live in Boston so most sidewalks/roads are really bumpy and full of cracks. Any advice for a different bike or in favor of the Yedoo?

    • The limiter on the Too Too is generous enough that we didn’t see any problems with it. In fact, the main reason why it is included on the Too Too is to prevent the brake line from being wrapped around the handlebars. With a 13.5″ it will also offer him plenty of room for growth. Having a lot of bumps and cracks to go over, a bike with larger “Big Apples” tires would certainly help cushion the ride, but aren’t necessary. If you purchase the Too Too through WeeBikeShop you can upgrade to the larger tires as an option. Any air tires, however, will be much better for him that a bike with foam tires, that offer no cushioning.

  • I agree, the Public Bikes are beautiful! I have not seen then in person however, so I can’t comment on quality, but for $129, a handbrake would be a good addition. It is listed with a minimum inseam of 14.5″, which should correlate with the minimum seat height. As a taller 2yo, it would likely fit her, but you would have to measure to be sure. Being on the cautious side, I would also not recommend the Scoot for a 2yo as it is certainly a bigger bike that the Public and is better for an older or less cautious child.

  • M Duran

    Hello, My son is 2.5 and scoots a lot. He is about 36 pounds and 39″. We live in NYC and was thinking on getting him either thestrider or the micro balance bike. I’m just not sure if they are too small for him. Any advice. I really dont want to paymore than $130. And he will probably be riding it inside the apartment.Thanks

    • Glad to help and sorry for my delay in responding. If you plan on riding indoors, you will certainly want a bike with flush bolts on the front and rear axels to prevents walls from being damaged. I would go with the Cruzee or the Micro.

  • Glad to help, and yes, that first bike you linked to is really bad! As for the trike/bike combo, for most kids, I don’t find the trike portion necessary, but if she is hesitant to sit on a bike, then you could certainly start with the trike. The Wishbone bikes you linked to are very well made and are great bikes, but they are also very long, which limits the manuverability. If she plans to cruise around the neighborhood, then it should be fine, but if you anticipate her wanting to ride more aggressively, on trails, down curbs, over jumps, then she would be better off on a non-convertible balance bike.

  • Melanie

    Hi Natalie,

    I am in Australia. What is your thoughts on the Giant pre balance bike?

    • Melanie

      My son is just 2 years old, on the taller side I guess but thin.