Why a Balance Bike Should be the First Bike for Your Toddler

Spoiler Alert: You Can Skip the Tricycle and Training Wheels

What is a balance bike?

Strider Sport 430x340A balance bike is a two-wheeled pedal-less bike that teaches kids as young as 18-months to balance on two wheels.  After a brief learning period, toddlers and kids learn to ride, jump and coast on their bikes with no assistance from their parents. Balance bikes are a replacement for tricycles and training wheels as they are designed to be used during the ages that a child would typically ride a tricycle or use training wheels. With the skills learned from a balance bike, riders as young a 3 years old transition straight to a regular kids bike without the assistance of training wheels. Balance bikes ride like regular bikes and don’t get stuck on uneven surfaces, easily gliding over rocks, dirt, curbs and even jumps. They are sometimes referred to as glider bikes, strider bikes, run bikes or pedal less bikes. The Strider balance bike is the most well-known balance bike in the US.

Popular Balance Bikes

Radio Flyer GLide & Go Strider Balance Bike Yedoo Too Too WOOM1

What’s wrong with a tricycle?

radio-flyer-tricycle-2Balance bikes are much safer and more practical than tricycles and training wheels.  With three wheels, tricycles are slow, awkward to maneuver, and easily tip on uneven or angled surfaces.  On a balance bike, children are focused on balancing, rather than pedaling.  As a result, they are more prepared for an unexpected loss in balance and are much less likely to fall.  Toddlers can also walk or run for several miles on a balance bike, but can rarely make it to the end of a block on a tricycle.  Tricycles are simply too inefficient for kids to ride long distances, which is why they often come with handles for parents to push, like the Radio Flyer Deluxe Steer and Stroll Trike shown to the left.  Check out our VIDEO of a 22-month-old’s experience on a tricycle and a balance bike.

I learned to ride with training wheels, are they really that bad?

RoyalBaby 16 430x340Training wheels significantly delay a child’s ability and desire to ride a bike. Balance bikes teach toddlers and kids how to ride while balanced, whereas training wheels teach how to ride while unbalanced.  Bikes with training wheels tilt to one side, creating a false sense of balance.  In order to ride without the training wheels, a child must “unlearn” how to ride unbalanced and learn how to ride while balanced.  On a balance bike, proper balancing techniques are learned from day one.  One other thing to consider is that balance bikes are just more fun and much easier to ride than a bike with training wheels.  Take a look at this VIDEO to watch just how differently kids ride a balance bike vs. training wheels.

What is the best age for a child to ride a balance bike?

toddler riding blue balance bikeBalance bikes come in many sizes – the smallest bikes fit toddlers in 18-months clothes while the largest are actually designed for adults.  Typically, toddlers and kids enjoy balance bikes from ages 18 months to 5 years old. Unlike tricycles and training wheels, toddlers can hop on a balance bike and start scooting around from day one. Balance bikes never come with push bars for adults to assist the child, as there is no use for them; one of the greatest advantages of balance bikes is that kids ride them all on their own. Whatever the age of your child, remember that balance bikes are not one-size-fits-all.  Kids can fit on a balance bike whose minimum seat height is an inch less than their inseam (measured crotch to floor).

Where do they put their feet?

Balance bikes do not require a footrest. Kids naturally pick up their feet as they are gliding. In all our years of testing, we have rarely had a child ask where to put their feet on the bike, but A LOT of parents ask that question :-).

How many years do kids ride balance bikes?

Kids generally ride balance bikes for 2 to 3 years, depending on the age they start. The younger they start, the longer they will ride their balance bike. Most toddlers and kids who master a balance bike move up to a regular bike around their 4th birthday. Purchasing a bike in which the maximum seat height extends at least two inches past a child’s current inseam generally provides sufficient room for growth.

strider bike size comparison showing 1 bike used by 18 month old toddler and 4 year old child

Can’t I just take the pedals off a bike to teach my child how to balance a bike?

Balance bikes are more than simply the means to an end.  While balance bikes DO prepare kids to ride a bike, they also offer years of fun and independence BEFORE they are tall enough to fit on the smallest pedal bike.  Pedal bikes are also much heavier than balance bikes, making them more difficult to learn to balance.  For kids aged 5 and up, removing the pedals is an option, but is unpractical for toddlers and preschoolers.

My friend’s balance bike just collected dust and never got used!

WOOM cones 2Kids who have tricycles, scooters, or bikes with training wheels can be more resistant to ride a balance bike. Why? Balance bikes require a little more effort to learn but offer far greater rewards in return.  Once mastered, toddlers love the independence and sense of accomplishment they get from riding a balance bike and rarely touch a tricycle or training wheels again.  Whether it’s being stopped by strangers on a walk or bombarded by kids at the park, kids quickly realize that there is something cool about riding on two wheels and want to be part of the action.  Instead of bugging your kids to get outside and play, they will be bugging you to take them for a ride!

How much does a balance bike cost?

Balance bikes come in all price ranges, from $50 to $200+.  Essentially any balance bike can teach your child how to balance, but there are vast differences in quality, performance, and durability. The greatest advantages of higher-end bikes are their stability and safety features; they are much easier to learn to ride on and easier to control. By taking the time to learn about the most important features of balance bikes and reading through our balance bike comparison charts, we are certain you will find a bike that works within your budget.  We’ve personally tried and tested 50 balance bikes to help you determine the best and shop smarter. Here are some of our standout favorites in various price ranges.

Radio Flyer Glide and Go with Air, $49

Red Radio Flyer Glide & Go With Air Balance BikeBest Budget Bike. Most balance bikes under $100 have very poor geometry, making them difficult to maneuver.  For $49, the Glide and Go is made with cheaper components, but is solidly built and a much more comfortable ride compared to other bikes in its price range.  Taller than most bikes, it is best for kids in at least 2T pants and a 15.5″ inseam (measured from crotch to floor w/o shoes).  Our full review of the Radio Flyer Glide and Go with Air.

Burley MyKick, $119

Green Burley MyKick Balance BikeBest Maintenance Free. With solid rubber tires, the MyKick’s tires will never go flat and offer more traction than foam tires. By far the easiest to assemble and without a handbrake (which often needs adjusting), the MyKick is maintenance- free, durable, and fun to ride. Best for kids in at least 24 months clothes, the MyKick’s seat ranges from 12.5″-16″. Our full review of the Burley MyKick.

Stampede Charger 12, $119

Blue Stampede Charger 12 Balance BikeBest Bang for Your Buck. Built on a solid frame, with real metal components, a handbrake and air tires, the Stampede (TykesBykes) Charger 12 has a lot to offer for a fair price. With a seat range of 12.5″ – 17.5″, the bike is best for kids in at least 24 months clothes who weigh at least 30 lbs. Our full review of the Stampede Charger 12.

Yedoo Too Too, $159

White Yedoo Too Too Balance BikeBest for Lightweights. Packed full of features, yet still lightweight, the Yedoo Too Too is the perfect bike for kids in at least 24 months clothes but less than 30 lbs.  The seat height on the Too Too is 12″ – 18″. Our full review of the Yeedoo Too Too.

Scoot XL, $199

Blue Scoot XL Balance BikeBest for Tall Kids. The Scoot XL is the perfect sized balance bike for preschoolers aged 4 and up.  Not too big, but not too small, the Scoot XL provides the stability and comfort for older, hesitant, as well as adventurous riders. Our full review of the (Ridgeback) Scoot XL.


Where can I learn more about balance bikes?

  • REKH

    Could not agree more! We got our 4-yr-old his first pedal bike yesterday, just a little more than a year after he got his Strider balance bike. We went with a 14″ because the 16″ was just enough too big. We brought the bike home and before taking it out of the SUV, took off the tags and the training wheels. Within 5 minutes, he was riding 50+ yards. Easy peasy!

    • Isn’t it amazing to watch! From whether it’s seeing a two-year-old zoom by on their bike or a three-year-old graduate to a pedal bike, I can’t help but be motivated to help get more kids onto balance bikes!

    • Isn’t it amazing to watch! From whether it’s seeing a two-year-old zoom by on their bike or a three-year-old graduate to a pedal bike, I can’t help but be motivated to help get more kids onto balance bikes!

  • Gen

    My 4-year old learned how to ride a bike within 20 minutes. She transitioned from a balance bike to a 12-inch bike without training wheels (she is tiny). Within an hour, she was starting by herself!

    • Yeah!!! Isn’t it amazing? I love balance bikes and their ability to get kids off an riding tear and frustration free!

  • Wxz316

    My daughter will be turning 3 next week. I have been doing a lot of reading on balance bikes and your website has been an incredible source so thank you for that. My daughter is about an average height at about 37 1/2″ tall and about 33 lbs. I am currently looking at either a 12″ TykesBykes or a Mykick. I’m a little concerned about the weight of the Mykick, is that extra 1 lb going to make a difference in ease of use for her. Also just want to note that I’ve had some difficulty teaching my daughter to pedal a tricycle. If I switch to a balance bike all the time will the pedaling skill go undeveloped or will the balance bike help or do I need to have her ride both?

    • Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. Since your daughter is over 30 lbs., I don’t believe the one pound difference between the two is something to be concerned of. As for the tricycle, pedaling is actually a pretty easy skill to learn, so I wouldn’t worry about your daughter not working on her pedaling. Pedaling a bicycle is also a lot easier than pedaling a tricycle, so once she is ready to transition to a pedal bike from a balance bike, pedaling should come really fast. The hard part of learning to ride a bike is learning how to balance, which is easy to learn on a balance bike.

  • Tracey

    We go a balance bike at Costco and just last weekend my daughter decided to switch to the pedal bike (like the big kids) and after 2 tries she nailed, and was riding better then her cousins on their big bikes (they are 2 & 4 years older than her). The same day we went for a nice long 20 min (for a kid that’s a feat) ride around our neighbourhood, no trouble at all 😀 I was sooo excited !! My daughter is 4.5 years old , and I am so proud of her for riding a bike. Due to using the balance bike she knows to put her feet down when she stops, and to give a few pushes to get going, and she feels weeble wobbly at any point she stops and puts her feet down. THE BALANCE BIKE WAS A BLESSING ! We never once had to run behind to get her going !! I’ve had three mom’s ask me how did we do it, and can they have our balance bike : D

    • Great to hear! Isn’t it amazing watching a preschooler ride away on a pedal bike without any help? Thanks for sharing!

  • Jenny

    What are your thoughts on just converting a pedal bike to a balance bike by removing the pedals and chain? If the seat height is correct and everything that might scratch little legs is removed, is there anything to be concerned about?

  • Kate C.

    My granddaughter is 2 1/2 and lives in the country. Is there a balance bike that works in dirt and mud and snow?
    Thank you for this introduction.

    • Yes, there are several. The first thing you will want to look for is a bike with knobby air tires, such as the FirstBIKE Cross. The knobby tires will get a lot more traction on non-paved surfaces as compared to a street tires. The FirstBIKE would also be a good choice as it is essentially water proof and doesn’t run the risk of rusting if left outside. As long as she is in 2T pants, I would go for the FirstBIKE Cross and it would the best choice for her.

    • Brownie

      Strider has a ski attachment for their balance bikes. I’m going to give those a try this winter with my tots.

      • Yes, they are awesome! We had kids aged 2 to 9 all enjoying the Strider ski’s last winter!

  • Lauryn

    My 11-month old is having a birthday next month and I’d like to get him a balance bike. I’m trying to decide between the Muna and the FirstBike or if you have another recommendation, I’d love to hear it. He is in 24-month clothes and has been walking since 10-months. I’d love your opinion, Natalie 🙂

    AND a huge thank you for this amazing and comprehensive website! Such a great resource.

    • You’re welcome! The Muna will be slightly too big for him until he is in 2T pants, but the FirstBIKE will work if you purchase the lowering kit as well. Due to it high step through frame and U-shaped sticky seat, the FirstBIKE will be hard to him to get on and off it on his own. If he is a really independent guy who will get frustrated if he can’t get on the bike by himself for the first couple months, then I would go with the smaller KinderBike Mini.

      • Lauryn

        Thank you so much, Natalie!! We went with the Kinderbike Mini per your recommendation! Wish us luck 😉

        It was between that and the Rothan in the end. The availability of the Kinderbike Mini, the pricetag of under a $100 with your site discount at BalanceBikeShop.com, and the low clearance height for easy off and on made it the most sensible buy. Plus your recommendation!!! Thank you again for all your help.

        I think our next bike for him after this will be the Ridgeback Scoot.

  • Kristy

    Thanks for this great site and article! I’m of the tricycle and training wheels generation and am just learning about balance bikes by accident while researching which tricycle to buy my twin girls for their upcoming second birthday. We live in a metropolitan area with a shared driveway and a nearby park. My girls are 24lbs & petite (wears 2T pants, 35″ tall) and 34 lbs & more stocky (wears 3T pants, 36″ tall), and both are a little delicate when it comes to falling. They very much like to have similar, if not matching, things. What would be a good fit for them? I’m a bit overwhelmed by all the options! Thanks so much!!!

  • morri85

    My daughter has a Puky. She doesnt go further than 5 metres lol really but I guess shell get better as she gets older lol. She also has a wutsch which is a 4 wheel balance bike for 1yolds.

    • I’ve heard great things about the Puky’s, but since they are not sold here, I have never seen one! I do know, however, that they are on the heavier side. Hopefully your daughter continues to progress.

      • morri85

        Actually my daughter can carry her 4 wheeler around and put it on the couch. they arent very heavy really. You may get them online though

        • Okay, I realize I miss understood you previously. The Puky Wutsch, shown here: http://www.amazon.de/PUKY-WUTSCH-My-First/dp/B000ME2RZK, is the four-wheeled balance bike that your daughter has. It does look pretty light and certainly small enough for a one-year-old, but appears to have had some stability issues for some users.

          • morri85

            She has got both, the smallest bike and the 4 wheeler wutsch 😉 anyway apparently acc to their website the 2 wheel one is amongst the lighter ones (at 3.5kg ). (btw the 4 wheel one is supposed to be a starter balance bike where you have to balance a bit (the front axis can shift left and right), however theres the pukylino for the youngest which is rigid. )

  • Guest

    My daughter was really happy to get a bike, she got it for her second birthday. But when she had tried it she wasn’t that excited anymore. She refuses to sit on it, or even look at it! I have shown her some videos of kids riding bikes, and she look at them and nothing more. It is like all the joy has gone away, as she got the bike. However, I really like the idea of a non pedal bike. Hope my daughter thinks so to some day 🙂

    • Sorry to hear that she isn’t taking to the balance bike, but don’t give up hope! Has she been around other kids who have been riding bikes? Does she have any friends that ride bikes or is there a park nearby that kids rides bikes at? If so, I would get her around bikes as much as possible. If that doesn’t work, then I would put the bike away for a couple weeks and then try again. The most important thing, however, is not to push her as she really needs to decide for herself that she wants to ride.

  • Johnathan

    Natalie, what would you recommend for my 2 1/2 yr old. He is too large for his tricycle as he is about 38 inches and 40 lbs. He wears 3T/4T pants. We were looking at a 12″ bike with training wheels before running across this site. I’ve been reading that most parents that use balance bikes buy them between 18-24 months, so have we missed the mark? Or would we buy him a balance bike for only a few months then another bike at 3? Just looking for any guidance you can provide.

    • Sorry for my delay in getting back to you. No, you have certainly not missed the mark as you still have plenty of time! He earlier to start on a balance bike is 18 months, but kids of all ages and adults use them to help transition to a pedal bike. In fact, your son will be ready to ride a pedal bike much sooner if he were to use a balance bike rather than a bike with training wheels.

  • rocio

    Is a 3 year old too big for a balance bike?

    • Not at all! Three is a great time to start as it will give them plenty of time to master a standard 12″ balance bike before they are ready to transition to a pedal bike.

  • Jaya Dayini

    My 2 yr olds use tricycles really well – especially my son, who’s super fast and loves to ride. The other day, he grabbed a 12-in training wheel bike from a 5 yr old friend, and started riding it around, just like that! Now he won’t stop crying for that bike, and doesn’t want to use his trike anymore. We hadn’t planned to move up to a two-wheeler just yet, but may have to – I just don’t know if a balance bik wound interest him as he loves to pedal. Thoughts?

    • That’s a hard one as kids will be kids and sometime, they simply want what they want. I always recommend balance bikes over training wheels as it allows kids to transition to pedal bikes much faster, easier and without any tears. If your son is adamant about a pedal bike, you could get him one and remove the training wheels and the pedals and have him ride it like a balance bike. The problem you will probably face with converting a pedal bike, is that they the seat rarely goes love enough to allow a child to sit on it while touching the ground.

  • Summer

    What about for toddlers who have trouble pedaling due to low muscle tone: Any research you are aware of that would say master the pedals first before balance bike in this situation or is balance bike the way to go to build confidence? My three year old is aware of his challenges on trike so is reluctant to try it but loooves his scooter. Any thoughts?

    • I don’t know of any research, but I can certainly see how a child with low-muscle tone may do better on a tricycle than a balance bike. The main problem I see with that method, however, is that the mastering balancing is going to take a lot of time to learn and may be frustrating for child who already knows how to pedal and manuever a bike. Since he loves his scooter, he obviously can balance and understand how it works with toys, so perhaps he will be fine pedaling first and balancing second.

  • Kelly

    Hi – My son just turned 2 a few weeks ago. He’s above average height, but has always been very timid with physical activity. So I want to make sure I get him a bike that is easy to use right away, low enough to the ground, etc. Based on reviews I read on your site, I was thinking the FirstBike would be the best fit. Is that your recommendation? p.s. thanks for this site – its awesome!!!

    • First, sorry for not getting back to you sooner, the end of the school year is crazy as always. With the lowering kit, the FirstBIKE is a great first bike for kids in at least 24 month clothes. If you expect him to grow tall or if you live in an area where you can’t ride much in the winter, then I would suggest also looking at the Too Too as it works better for taller/older kids.

      • Kelly

        Hi Natalie. Thanks for the advice and no problem about the delay! He’s in 2T clothes right now and I suspect he will be tall (though not sure how much is in his legs versus torso). He will be riding in the winter, but for what its worth, our neighborhood is full of uneven brick sidewalks. I was also considering the Frog Tadpole and the Muna. What do you think about those versus the first bike? My main goal is for him to have the easiest possible option (which I’m assuming means lightest, lowest to the ground), so he enjoys it. He loves, loves, loves things with wheels…but is super timid when it comes to physical activity he perceives as scary (he walks and runs just fine…but he gets very timid when trying new things on the playground, etc.).

  • Amanda

    My son is turning 4 in a few weeks and I was thinking about getting him a balance bike. He has an old-school (heavy) tricycle right now that he sometimes enjoys but he can’t really get the pedals going. Do you think 4 is too old for a balance bike? Should I just get him to start on a real bike w/ training wheels instead?

    • They make balance bike for all ages, even adults, so 4 certainly isn’t too old. In fact, if you get him started on a balance bike now, he is likely to be able to transition to a pedal bike without training wheels much sooner than other kids his age who do ride with training wheels. While what bike is best really depends on his inseam, the Ridgeback Scoot XL and the TykesBykes Charger (16″) are worth looking into.

    • Sara ‘Schuessler’ Pettis

      For older kids, I’ve also seen people use pedal bikes as balance bikes–just remove the pedals from the crank shaft. The bike will probably be quite a bit heavier than a balance bike, though, and the seat might not go low enough, depending on his height and the bike size. Not ideal, but may save you some $$, especially since he’d probably only need to ride a balance bike for a few months before he’d be ready for the “real bike.” Granted every kid is different, but my son’s only 26 months old and has only had his balance bike 2 months, and he’s already balancing well and probably close to being ready for a real bike–too bad he’s too little for any of them!

      • Completely agree with you. For older kids, that method can work if the minimum seat height is low enough and the bike is light enough. The problem is, that the bike that meet those qualification are generally pretty pricey. Regardless, converting a bike does work, so for some, it is certainly worth a try.

  • Ashley

    My son is turning 2 in a few weeks, he fits 2t pants, but they are slightly too long. 18mos pants are tight but about the right length. I think his inseam is 11.5 inches. He’s about 30 pounds. I was looking at the yedoo too too. All his cousins bring their tricycles/bikes to ride in the driveway (flat, fits about 6 cars). They enjoy riding in ovals. Will a balance bike be good for small area riding? Is it more geared towards sidewalks and larger areas like parking lots?

    • Balance bikes are best for long stretches to allow for room for gliding, but if the driveway is long enough for a bike, then it should be plenty for a balance bike.

  • Namita Khatri

    14 month young man – how early can I put him on a balance bike? Is there an age recommendation or just a height recommendation? What would the height recommendation be?

    • For really athletic kids, they can start as young as 18-months, but kids generally don’t have the coordination to balance a balance bike until they are about 20 months. Another benefit of waiting until around 20 months, is they are less likely to our grow their balance bike before they are ready to transition to a pedal bike.

  • Karen McNab

    I have three kids all used balance bikes and loved them. My eldest had been using training wheels but after two months on a balance bike he was riding his pedal bike without the training wheels aged three and a half. My daughter was on the balance bike at two and riding a pedal bike at three, she never used training wheels. My youngest started riding the balance bike at 13 months and by two and a half he was on a pedal bike. No training wheels for him either. At seven five and three they all race every weekend at our local bmx track and love it. So glad we found out balance bikes only wish we had seen them two years earlier.

    • Balancing at 13 months and riding at 2.5, that is amazing. Awesome job mom! Love that they also still love to bike and continue to get great exercise through it, music to my ears. Thanks for sharing.

      • Heather

        Hi Karen. What balance bike did you start with at 13 months old?

  • Amanda

    I had a junker little 12″ pedal bike my dad took apart to make a balance bike some 30+ years ago, then in a “There I Fixed It” moment, when getting it pedal ready, made a front and rear brake while killing the coaster brake. 30 years ago, I got a 16″ pedal bike with no coaster and real brakes. Bike love started young is very fun indeed!

    • Your dad deserve a huge award, love it. Balance bikes are so simple, yet are able to help kids achieve amazing things.

      • Amanda

        He’s gotten many rounds of praise! I have very mild Cerebral Palsy and at 2,I could barely walk. But I loved Daddy’s bike. So he figured to yank a tiny one apart so I could have a bike of my own and learn to walk. I apparently was running with it within a week. My doctors were extremely impressed. Every award I get from biking a marathon goes to him. When I completed a huge ride (15 hours, it was a killer but worth it), they honored him also for not believing the claims I would never be able to ride. Plus, biking has been a great teacher in I will only fail if I refuse to try. Oh, I’m not supposed to be physically able to do a state tour – ha! You said I can’t, so now I must. Plus, he volunteers with any group who gets kids on bikes now. Bike loving parents are the best!

        • It’s official, I have a new role model. Wow. You are both amazing. Ride on my friend! Plus, if you or your dad every need a sponsor for an event, please let me know. I’m no high-roller, so it would be small, but I’d love to help out in any way I could.

  • Bob

    Thanks for this great resource = your site has been very helpful! Our girl just turned 19 months — but she is in the 99th percentile in every category (34″ tall and 32.5 pounds!). We’ve been looking at the Twista fro YVoultion — and wondering if you had an opinion on it. Trying to find honest review/info but so far no luck — although we have seen some very positive reviews on the Toys ‘R Us site. Have you done a review or do you have any thoughts about this model?

    • I have not seen it in person, but am not impressed with its design. My main issue is that the extra wide tire isn’t really needed. I have seen kids as young as 20 months, learn to balance on a regular balance bike. Generally, it is the really athletic ones that start that young, but it is possible. Plus, with the wider wheel option, parents are likely unintentionally delay their child mastering a regular balance bike by keeping the wide option on too long. Secondly, the plastic tires offer no padding and minimal traction. So, while I haven’t seen it, I would recommend a more traditional style of balance bike.

      • bobprokop

        Natalie — thank you! Now that I’ve spent a good deal of time reviewing all the content on your site we’ve decided a WOOM1 would be th best choice for our daughter. Got her inseam — 13.5″ — and have put ourselves on the wait list w/the USA WOOM1 dealer (I think there is only one place you can get them new — from WOOM1 in TX; they are on amazon.de but won’t ship to U.S.) We may end up getting something else, though — b/c we live in full season climate and the bikes won’t be in until the end of November. While our daughter will be 2 at that time (still a perfect age) — it will be winter and she won’t get much riding time in. Can you recommend a good sub for a WOOM1? I’m sure I can find one based on all the info you provide here on the site but I wondered if you had a preference. Thanks again for all you do (and I still don’t know how you manage it all!)

        • November, wow, that’s a whole season gone! Which reminds me, I really need to add a note about bike availability on my review. Anyway, the closest bike to the WOOM1 is actually the Islabikes Rothan, but I believe it is also sold out (but I would call and check to make sure). Considering her 13.5″ inseam, the Yedoo Too Too would be next (also sold out I believe), which leaves the TykesBykes Scamper if she is over 30 lb. and the FirstBIKE or the KinderBike Laufrad if she is under 30 lb. The quality of the others don’t compete with that of the WOOM1 or the Rothan, so if you really want a higher-quality bike, I would wait for the WOOM1 and in the meantime, pick up a Strider Classic (even used) now so that she will be proficient on a balance bike by the time the WOOM1 is available.

          • bobprokop

            Thank you, Natalie! Now I am confused b/c I was leaning toward the KinderBike Mini since both WOOM1 and Yedoo are on back order. I like its low center of gravity and easy step-in but I was wondering if it would almost be too small. Our girl weighs about 32 pounds, is over 34″ tall, and has a 13.5″ inseam — and she just turned 19 months ( !!! ) She is quite strong so I doubt the 10 lbs. of the Scamper would matter much in comparison to the KinderBike Mini’s 8+ lbs. We considered the Rothan but the handlebars look a little low to us; that is what originally got us looking at the WOOM1. The Scamper and the Mini seem like comparable builds, with the Mini winning the ease of step-in factor (or so it appears.) Going to try & attach a photo of our girl to this reply…this was taken yesterday (she loves to run!)

          • You’re right, the Mini would be too small, so I would go for the KinderBike Laufrad, with has a minimum inseam of 13″. Being taller, however, she might be better off on the Scamper than the KinderBike as it has higher handlebars (which are also adjustable). BTW, she looks like the worlds happiest toddler! SO cute!

  • Ally

    My 3 year old loves his balance bike, however he has taken a few tumbles when free-wheeling down slopes that are a little too steep for him to put his feet down. Maybe I should have got a bike with brakes. He is ready to move on to a pedal bike but I’m not sure which to choose as most 16in wheel bikes that are of better quality have coaster brakes and you state on this site that balancers do always do well with those. Any suggestions?

    • You’re absolutely right in that balance bike graduates tend to have trouble with coaster brakes as they naturally pedal backwards as they are learning to ride. Luckily, there are several 16″ bikes that you can get with a freewheel hub (no coaster brakes, the WOOM3 and the Cleary Hedgehog. The WOOM3 is much better for kids who are just learning how to ride, while the Cleary is better for more aggressive riders. Both bikes are pricey, however, but sadly there aren’t any cheaper bikes on the market that have a freewheel. For a more affordable bike, I would consider the TykesBykes 16″, which is currently on sale for $104, http://www.twowheelingtots.com/tykesbykes-16-3/, but it is a pretty tall bike for a three-year-old. Hope that helps, let me know if you have any additional questions.

      • Ally

        Thank you for your feedback. The WOOM2 or 3 looks like it would be good but pricey.I saw that there is another bike, the Ridgeback 14in that might be a good candidate but they seem to be out of stock of the blue version at the moment. At $249 seems like a comparable price to a Specialized Hotrock which seems to be popular with our neighbors (with training wheels and coaster brake) who were not balance bikers. He is a tall 31/2 year old 42ins but the reviews and comments I’ve seen seem to say the RB 16in would be too big.

  • Megan

    We love our Striders! Both of our boys have one. We got my youngest one when he was 22 mo old and has had it for almost 3 months and rides like a pro taking corners and bumps with his feet on the foot rests! Our 3 (almost 4) year old has had his for a little over a year. The other day he borrowed a friend’s pedal bike w/o training wheels, jumped on and took off just like that! He will be so excited to get his own pedal bike for his birthday next week! 😊 The Striders have helped them explore much more than a trike would have ever allowed. All of the little kids in the neighborhood are beginning to get Striders after seeing how much fun we have riding around together!

    • Awesome, thanks for sharing! Isn’t is amazing watching these kids get on their bikes and just take off? Plus, I LOVE the, “Did you see that!” when people see my little guy zoom. So fun!

  • Amy

    Your site is so helpful – thank you!
    My son is turning 4 this month and he is not ready for a pedal bike yet, so I have been looking at the Ridgeback scoot. He is about 41″ and 37lbs. I am torn between the regular size or the XL. Due to his age and size he would probably fit on the XL but I would like our younger son to be able to start using it when he is around 20 months/2 years old and the regular size would be best for that. Do you think the regular size would still work for our 4 year old? Do you have a suggestion on another balance bike that would work for our 4 year old and then also be able to pass down to our younger son when he is around 2?

    • Humm, it really depends on how tall your 2 yo old. If he is on the taller side, then you could go with the XL, otherwise I would go with the Scoot. In case you haven’t seen these, here are some comparison pics to help.

  • Athena

    I’m interested in finding out more about the advantages for our son who will be 6yrs old in Sept 2015. My husband is pushing for us to get a balance bike and I’m new to this but see most are for children in the ‘toddler’ stage. He is active just has not have much opportunity to ride something with 2 wheels (typically on some sort of trike). We live in a hilly neighborhood. Is 6 ‘too old’?? and if not, what would you recommend? Thank you

    • Not at all. Balance bikes can do wonders for all ages and can be a huge help in getting older, more timid kids up and riding. I would recommend the TykesBykes Charger, check out our review here: http://www.twowheelingtots.com/tykesbykes/

      • Athena

        Thank you I did see that one while researching. He’s by far not timid it is more of a logistical issue. I’ll check it out and measure him up first!

  • Heather

    I would like to get my son biking as soon as possible. He is just about to turn 1, which is too young yet; however, we thought it would be a good birthday present for him to grow into. He will be about 20 months when spring rolls around. He won’t be able to ride it until then unless we go to a gym. I also want something he can ride until he switches to a pedal bike.My favourite local bike shop has an Adams Runner Bike Boys 2015 and a Haro Prewheelz Z10 (2015). I am thinking the Adam’s might be too big, but i am not sure about the Haro after reading your review. I was also considering ordering a Strider Sport. We will be mostly riding on pavement and grass, so I am thinking the foam tires may not be that bad. What is your opinion? THanks!!!

    • Since he will be riding indoors, foam tires will be great as they are non-marking, but I wouldn’t recommend foam tires on a gym floor as they tend to lose traction easily. They work great on regular hardwood floors, but not slicker gym floors. The problem is, that some gyms do not allow air tires as they can leave marks, so before you buy a bike, I would check to see if they allow air tires. If they don’t, then out of the three you mentioned, I would go for the Strider. The Haro is a great bike as well, but the footrests really go in the way for my son. If air tires are allowed, you can a lot more options to consider. For his size, my top choice would be the Islabikes Rothan and then the KinderBike Mini.

  • shellkeane

    Wow – just stumbled on this site and I’m so glad I did! I’m looking for a bike for my 3.5 yr old daughter. She’s 41″ tall with an inseam of 17.5″. She weighs 37.5 lbs. She’s quite athletic though cautious initially until she masters something (which is a good thing, I think!). I also have a 15 month old girl who I think will be tall as well. It sounds like a balance bike is the way to go as a starter bike so what would you recommend we begin with for our older child, with a view to handing it down to her sister?

    • Glad you found us:) With a 17.5″ inseam, you are going to want some room for her to grow in the bike, especially if you live in cold/wet climate where she won’t be able to ride year round. The problem is that most 12″ balance bikes have a maximum seat height of 18″. The Ridgeback Scoot is the best 12″ bikes for tall kids, as it has a longer wheelbase and taller handlebars than most 12″, but it is also heavier and has a higher minimum seat height. While the weight and min seat height won’t be an issue for your older daughter, it might be for your youngest if you plan on passing the bike down. Most younger siblings ride balance bikes much younger than their older siblings, so she is likely going to want to ride the bike within a year or so (kids start as young as 18 months), but she won’t fit the Scoot until she is firmly in 2T pants. The Kinderbike Laufrad also have a max seat height of 22″, but they simply put a long seat post on a smaller bike, so I really don’t recommend it for taller kids. So what to do? If she is on the athletic side and you expect her to pick up riding sooner, then you go with a 12″ bike if she rides is regularly. The Yedoo Too Too, Tykes Scamper or Muna would fit her now and would allow your younger to ride when she is in 24 month pants.

  • Tara Michelle Kennedy

    Hi! I feel like I am so behind with getting my older girls bikes. We have twin girls that will be 4 in January as well as a 20 month old boy. The girls are roughly 30/33lbs while the baby boy is 27lbs. I am needing to buy 3 so which one do you recommend based on the best thing for their needs as well as best price?

    • No worries, you’re not behind, you have plenty of time! For your 4yo’s I would go for the TykesBykes Charger 12 (also called the Scamper) or the Kinderbike Laufrad. For your little guy, I would go for a Kinderbike Laufrad Mini. All three are available for less than $110 (with coupon codes) Hope that helps! For more affordable options, I would go for a Strider Classic for the little guy and the Kazam Classic (http://amzn.to/1HR6pa4) fro the twins.

  • That’s because I made a mistake, sorry! The Tykes Scamper is the TykesBykes Scamper (which is also called the TykesBykes Charger 12″). Here is the link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1XQ1cGI (which is an affiliate link, thank you!). For the Muna, you’re right, the link is wrong! It’s probably been that way for a while, thanks so much for pointing it out. I have corrected the link. Our review can be found here: http://www.twowheelingtots.com/muna/ and they are for sale here: http://www.tikesbikes.com/collections/balance-bikes/products/muna-balance-bikes?variant=4098596740. Sorry for the confusion…

    • Wait, the Muna is on backorder…

      • shellkeane

        Thank you so much!! I decided to go with the TykesBykes because it’s available now and pretty well discounted at the moment! I really appreciate your responsiveness and your site overall – what a resource! I’ll be back for another recommendation when my eldest is ready to pedal 🙂

        • A great bike at a great deal. Doesn’t get better than that!

  • Andrea

    My 4.5 year old son is 43 inches tall and about 40 lbs. He is growing like a weed so what size balance bike would work for him? The 12″ bikes seem very small. I wish I would have stumbled across these sooner instead of messing with a tricycle (unsuccessfully).

    • Andrea

      Also, would it make more sense to buy a pedal bike and remove the pedals? I am looking at the Tykesbykes Charger 16″ balance bike but perhaps removing the pedals of another bike would be better. Thanks for any advice!

      • Ava

        I was wondering the same thing. My son is almost 4.5 old as well. About the same height 44″ and about 40 lbs.

        • Hopefully you can see my response to Andrea above, if not, let me know!

      • With 4.5 year old’s, it really depends on the child. A 12″ is certainly going to be too small, a 14″ will certainly work and if he is athletic/eager to learn a 16″ could work as well. The Ridgeback Scoot XL, my favorite 14″ balance bike, it big enough to fit him now, while still having plenty of room to grow, without being too big that it may be intimidating. The TykesBykes Charger 16″ is another great larger balance bike, that would be a great fit if he is eager to learn or has had some experience with bikes before.

        With kids his age, you can also takes the pedal bike route and simply take off the pedals. This method does work IF you get the right bike. The problem is that most pedal bikes are twice as heavy as balance bikes, making them much harder to learn to balance on. Plus, due to the drivetrain (pedals, cranks, etc.), the bikes are wider and requires kids to splay out their legs in order to run on them. Some kids, however, do just fine, but most find better success on a balance bike. The other downside of the pedal bike method, is since kids grow so fast, they often outgrow the bike (or come very close to outgrowing), by the time they are ready to put the pedal on. For kids who may need a week or two, this method works, but for those who may need longer, I generally don’t recommend it.

  • Stephanie

    My son is turning 3 this week, is 30lbs, 36in tall and his inseam is 13-14in (I had a hard time measuring), any suggestions for a bike? I’m not sure what size to go with. I have a 9 month old so if it got outgrown it would get use soon enough.

    • Stephanie

      I just realized I did not measure inseam accurately, I didn’t go high enough and he didn’t have shoes on, so it’s probably 14-15in

      • Have you checked out our comparison charts (http://www.twowheelingtots.com/the-best-balance-bike-for-your-dollar-2/) or our balance bike finder (http://www.twowheelingtots.com/balance-bike-guide/). With so many options out there, that should help to narrow things down for you. With his weight, you don’t need to as concerned about the weight of the bike, unless he is not as coordinated as would benefit from a light bike. For seat height, when starting, you want the seat to be about 1.5″ inches below his inseam to allow him to easily get on and off the bike, so shoot for around 13″. Considering the bike will be passed down, I would also consider bikes with a 12″ minimum seat height. The Yedoo Too Too and the TykesBykes Charger 12″ would both be worth looking at.

  • bubs

    my kiddo loves her balance bike. She has a blast on it.

    • Aren’t they the best! After seeing a child cruise around on one, it’s makes one wonder why a parent would choose a tricycle over a balance bike! To be fair, most parents (and grandparents) don’t know about them, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt :).

      • bubs

        when we go to the park and other kids get to try the bike, parents are convinced that this is much better for their kids to learn. we got ours at a consignment shop for $30!!

  • Cassaundra DePierre

    I’m trying to decide what size balance bike to buy for my son. He is 3yo 41.5 in tall 40# (5t pants) he has a 12″ strider now and it seems too small. He really can really cruze on it. Even going down pretty large ramps at the skate park. Do you have any recommendations on what would be a good fit for him?

    • Awesome, I love it when kids get cruising on their balance bikes. First off, sorry fro the delay, things have been crazy around here! Hopefully I am not too late to help, but just in case, here’s my two cents. For his size, the Strider is too small and considering his ability, I believe he would do much better on a bike with air tires and a hand brake, especially at a skate park. Which bike is best really depends on your budget as well as where he plans on using it the most. The Scoot or Saracen would be my top choices as they will fit him best, but they are on the pricier side and are also longer and wider than most bikes. The size of the bikes are great for everyday riding, but if he really wants to do tricks, he is better off on a slightly smaller bike with narrower handlebars such as the Too Too (which is going to look a little small for him). The LikeaBike Jumper is the best bike for skate parks as it has a shock, but it isn’t the best for everyday riding. If you son is like mine, he loves playing around at the skate park, but spends most of him time riding around the house, so I would go for the Scoot or the Saracen. Actually, considering he is in 5T pants, if you expect him to ride the bike for a year or so, I would consider the Scoot XL as well.

      • Cassaundra DePierre

        Hi! We ended up going with the Woom3 after much debate. We brought him to get fitted for bikes at a shop and he was more than fitting in a 16″ . The bike shop tried to get us to go with a specialized but they come in at a whopping 17lbs nearly half his body weight! The woom came close to his balance bike weight at 13lbs. It comes in today and were anxious to see him off a d riding!

        • So glad you did your research! I love local bike shops, but all too often their kids bikes are way too heavy! Most parents, and even bike shop, don’t realize how heavy the bikes are compared to their kids weight. It’s really not the bike shops fault as they can only sell what their brands provide. Hopefully with more competition, the big name brands, like Specialized and Trek will start to pay more attention to their kids bike lines.

  • Allison

    My 2.5 year old has been riding a plastic trike for awhile and doing really well. At the store she had no interest in the balance bike. She wanted to use a bike with pedals and training wheels. Should we still do balance bike?

    • Every child is different, so you are really have to play it by ear. Most kids eventually love balance bikes, but there are some that don’t take to them. Over the years I have found that by taking away the tricycle (or simply putting it away because it is “broken”) and then exposing kids to other kids riding bike as much as possible, usually helps to motivate them to ride the bike. My youngest son took six months to really master a balance bike, while my others took a mere week, so it really depends on their size, ability and desire. In the end, if it becomes a challenge to get her on a balance bike (even if you give it plenty of time), then I would go to a bike with training wheels.

  • John Vignieri

    Question. My son is currently 6 and REFUSES to ride. He had a bad spill around 5, so for the past two summers he wont ride unless hes on training wheels. Any recommendations?

    • That’s a hard one. Can he sit on his bike and touch the ground with his feet flat? If so, I would remove the pedals (not the entire crank arm – that’s a lot of work), and have him coast around with his feet. With his feet by his side, he should feel more comfortable on the bike, when riding as well as starting or stopping. Once he feels comfortable again, I would put the pedals back on. If he can’t touch the ground, then I would wait until he feels ready to try again or have him ride a smaller bike without pedal.

  • Arika Harkema

    My daughter is almost 3 and #30 in 3T pants. She can ride a trike and recently really took off on her regular peddle bike with training wheels…we were about to get her a balance bike – should we still get a balance bike even though she is doing the peddle bike with training wheels? I kind of think yes, but want one that goes down to 12″ BC she has a little sister who is almost one…and has been walking awhile…when can kids start using balance bikes anyway?? She is tiny bit very athletic/balanced…they both are really.

    • Since you have a younger child, then yes, I would absolutely get a balance bike! There are several bikes that go down to 12″ that will also accommodate a child in 3T pants. Kids generally don’t start using balance bikes until they are around 18 months, but can start sooner. As soon as they are walking steadily, they can start walking around on a balance bike. Some kids take to sitting and balancing on the bike within days, while others take months. Most kids, however, don’t really learn to run on the bikes until they are about 2 years. I think the best bike for you would be the Yedoo Too Too as it is tall enough for big sister, without being too heavy for little sister. If you plan on riding only on paved surfaces, the Cruzee is also a great option. Both are available from WeeBikeShop. http://weebikeshop.com/store/

  • Carey Bickford

    Hello! So glad to have found this site! My son is 3.5, 40″ tall, and while we bought him a Strider almost a year ago, he wants nothing to do with it. That said, he loves his tricycle and is a great peddler – he loves to ride. We would love to get him on a bike (preferably so he can learn to brake vs throwing his shoes down! 😉 ) – but I’m not sure he could handle one without training wheels. Any advice on the best bike we could get for him? Thank you so much!

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