Burley Encore

Bike Trailer Review

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For the average user who wants a high-quality, multi-use trailer but doesn't need all the bells and whistles (like suspension) offered by the D'Lite, the Encore is the cream-of-the-crop.

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Product Specifications

MSRP: $479

Recommendation: Exceptional

Weight: 25.75 lb.

Tire Size: 20"

Suspension: 2

Inside Height: 25.5"

Inside Width: 22.5"

Stroller Kit: Upgrade: Dual Swivel Wheels

Jogger Kit: Upgrade


Trailer Type: 4

Capacity: double

Brakes: Parking Brake

UV Window: 1

Upgrades Available:

4-Wheel Stroller, Trailer Arm Stroller Wheel, Handlebar Console, Jogging Wheel, Baby Snuggler, 16″ Knobby Tires, Bunting Bag and Skis Attachment


Unpackaging a brand new Burley trailer is akin to opening a gift from your best friend. With every stitch and buckle, to the pages of the instruction manual (with clear diagrams!), the love and dedication that Burley has towards theirs trailer and their users, is truly one-of-a-kind. A small company, with a big heart and an even larger passion for biking, you’re in good hands with a Burley. Having reviewed their D’lite, we were excited for the opportunity to test out their top-selling model, the Encore. Lightweight with supportive seats, an adjustable handlebar, UV tinted windows, a sunshade and compatible with all of Burley’s conversion kits, the Encore is the perfect middle child you never saw coming.
Burley Encore Overview2

Encore as a Trailer

Coming standard with a trailer arm, the Encore quickly and easily mounts to any adult bike with a sturdy rear axel. The hitch simply slides through the rear axel while the rubber connector attaches with a U-pin.  A safety strap also wraps around the bike’s frame and clips onto the trailer arm.  The rubber connector is flexible, which allows the trailer to remain upright even when the bike is not.

While in use, the Encore pulls very smooth, even with 65 lbs. of weight in the trailer (max weight 100 lb.). On flat paths, minimal additional pull is felt on the bike, but like all trailers, the weight is felt when going uphill.  When transitioning from down hill to flat surfaces, the trailer does give you a slight push, but it is minimal as compared to other brands.  Burley’s also pull very differently from other brands as the trailer is centered on the bike hitch rather than the bike itself (see picture on bottom right).  As a result, when riding a Burley, it is important for the rider to ensure there is more clearance on their left side for the trailer, than on their right.

Burley Encore hitch

The current Encore’s also come standard with the safety latch, which was part of the recent voluntary recall by Burley.  The safety latch provides a third point of attachment between the trailer arm to the trailer.  The recall was issued due to an understandable user error.  When the securing the U-pin through the trailer arm and the trailer mounts, if the end of the U-pin is not placed through the circle at the end of the latch, the U-pin can slip out of place (some mistakenly put the latch to the side of the end of the pin). With the new safety latch, even with user error, the trailer will still have two points of connection (the spring-tension button and the safety latch).

Burley Encore Safety Latch

Ease of Use

Unlike many other trailers we have tried out, it is quite clear that Burley tests their products out with REAL kids!  From side pockets that kids can’t reach, to lap belts that are way too small, faulty designs are common amongst other brands.  With a Burley, the opposite it true as they add features you didn’t know you needed, like a drop down front panel to allow kids to easily get in and out of the trailer without tripping.

Burley Encore step in

Riding on a sunny day?  The Encore has a sunshade as well as UV tinted, UPF 30 windows. If your kids grow to tall for the sunshade (so that it blocks their view), no problem, just tuck it under.

Byrley Encore doors

Pads on the straps always coming off? Not with a Burley (the newer models).  The top and sides of the buckles are connected for ease of buckling and to keep the pads in place.  In the new D’lite, Burley takes it a step farther with their new S.I.T spring-loaded buckles that pop out to allow for easier buckling and unbucklings.  Trailer getting damages when folded?  On a Burley you’ll find a nose guard to protect the fabric from parking lots and garage floors.

Burley Encore cab features

Need to run some errands on your bike? The Encore quickly converts to a cargo trailer but unbuckling the seats from the roll cage.

Burley Encore seats down

Other Features of the Encore

The Encore also has several great features just for parents.  The rear of the trailer has a large and easily accessible storage compartment that velcro’s down, for easy one-handed access while in stroller mode.  A small pocket for a phone, keys, or wallet is also easily within reach just inside the rear compartment. With a simply swipe of your foot, Encore’s brake lever easily engageswithout the need to bend over. The Encore is also compatible with all of Burley’s conversion kits, which includes three types of strollers and a ski kit. New for current models, Burley’s also come with a light mount that easily attaches to the top of the trailer (lights not included).

Burley Encore other features

The wheel guards on the Encore have also been updated. Made of sturdy plastic (they are a lot stronger then they look!) the guards easily snap into place to help protect the wheels from branches and other obstacles on the trail.  The guards also has a lever to assist in pushing down the spring-loaded button when removing the trailer arm.

Burley Encore Wheel Guard

Folding up the Encore is also quick and easy.  To fold the trailer, simply pull up on the two red levers inside the cabin and the roll cage will collapse and the wheels release by simply pushing a button and pulling them off.  To unfold the trailer, simply pull up the roll cage bar and snap it back into place as shown at the end of this video (an older Encore model is shown, but it folds the same way as the current model).  If you have smaller hands, unfolding the trailer can be a challenge, especially the first couple times.  Snapping one side in at a time can help, but not always.  With time, it does get easier.

Burley Encore Folded

Encore vs. D’lite

The D’lite’s suspension system and bowed-out sides are the main two differences between the two trailer.  The suspension certainly adds to the comfort of the passengers and is recommended for those riding on uneven, bumpy surfaces, but it does add to the additional ten pounds the D’lite has on the Encore. For those who are anticipating moving the trailer in and out of a car or up and down stairs, the extra 10 pounds is significant and unless you ride on rougher terrain regularly, the Encore is probably a better option. The D’lite’s bowed-out sides, increases the interior shoulder width from 22″ in the Encore to 25.5″.  When riding with older or taller kids, the extra 3.5″ can make the difference between happy camper and revolting passengers.  As shown below, with a three-year-old and a five-year-old, there is clearly more room for their shoulders in the D’lite than in the Encore.

Burley Encore vs. D'Lite cabin2

Optional 3-Wheeled Stroller Mode

The Encore only comes with a trailer arm, but several conversion kits are available, including the clever 3-wheeled stroller kit. Previously only available on the Honey Bee, the kit allows you to quickly convert the trailer to a stroller while on the go (see additional pictures above in the bike trailer section).  Attaching the wheel, however, was a little tricky as it does require removing the mounting strap at the end of the trailer arm, but the included instructions are very clear and well written, so be sure to take the time to read them!

Burley Encore Stroller Mode

As an added bonus, Burley has a great sense of humor as well 🙂

Burley box warning

Bottom Line:

For the average user, who doesn’t need all the bells and whistles (like suspension) offered by the D’lite, but still wants a high-quality multi-use trailer, the Encore is the cream-of-the-crop.

MSRP: $479

By: Natalie Martins

Last Updated: March 6, 2017

FTC Disclosure: No monetary compensation was provided for this review. Burley provided an Encore to Two Wheeling Tots LLC to help facilitate this review. All opinions and images are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC and should not be used or replicated in any way. Two Wheeling Tots LLC is not an affiliate of Burley, but is an affiliate of Amazon.com.

  • I like the review. Like always you are honest and fair! My son Started off with a Kinderbike and is now riding the TykesBykes 16″. I love both bikes so much! He just turned 4 so I’m sure he is more than ready for a pedal bike but has never been on one. So I’m going to wait for the morph to drop this summer just to test the thing out firsthand.

  • Kristin

    I am in the process of purchasing a balance bike for my almost 2 year old son. The first for our family! I am looking specifically at the Strider ST-4 and Kinderbike Mini. I like how you compared both in this review. Would you recommend one over another for a young child? I would like to not have to buy more than one bike as he grows, but I also want to make sure he can fit in this bike from the start. I haven’t measured his in seam yet, but he I believe it’s about 12 inches.

    • First off, sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner as somehow your comment got past me. Both the KinderBike and the Strider have their advantages. The Strider offers more room to grow with the extended seat post, as well as various accessories (including air tires), but does not have brake or air tires. The KinderBike has an alloy frame, a handbrake and air tires, but does not offer as much room for growth. If your son is on the taller side and you don’t plan on riding much on non-paved surfaces, then I would go with the Strider. If you plan on riding on non-paved surfaces or is a place with a lot of hills, then I would go with the KinderBike. Hope that helps!

  • Matt

    I just put a Kinderbike Mini together for my daughter and sure enough, the wheels our both out of true, with the rear wheel worse than the front. This appears to be a relatively common issue, and I for one am not really impressed with the quality of this bike. I will be calling Balance Bike tomorrow to see what they can do to help.

    • After talking to KinderBike about the issue I was assured that they were no longer having quality control issues, but perhaps that is not the case. Please keep me posted as I will certainly make note of the problem if it continues to be an issue.

  • Kate Macnaughton

    I’m having a heck of a time contacting anyone at Kinderbike. Are they out of business? On holiday? Or do they just have the worst customer service on the planet? I am wanting to purchase one for my son’s 3rd birthday but can’t find any available in Canada right now.

    After reading your comments about their customer service, I called them and left a message but have not heard anything back. I have also emailed the Canadian distributor (because I’m in Canada) in addition to 2 retailers. Of the three, only one retailer got back to me, indicating that they had no idea when they were coming. As a last resort, I emailed the US office and of course had not response.

    I’m looking at the Laufrad but based on this experience will likely look at something else. If you have any info on availability of these – or how the heck to get someone at Kinderbike to respond to me – I’d love to hear it. Thank you!

    PS – I have really enjoyed all your reviews and found them immensely helpful. I wish we had a better selection up here in Canada as there are so many great options described on your site, but so few of them are available up here.

    • Ugh, sadly I am not surprised, but hopefully they will call you back soon. Due to issues with customer service, I actually lowered my ranking of their bikes last year, but things were looking better so I raised them back up (which is why I was sure to contact customer service for this review). Their bikes are good, but getting a hold of them can be a pain. That being said, I do know that they are currently sold out and won’t be arriving for at least another month. Plus, apparently around Christmas time they had a major problem with their bikes being held up at port (not sure why or if it was even in their control), but that delayed their bikes for several more weeks. So, if you need a bike within the next month or two, I would look at other brands, if not hopefully they will call you back to provide some answers for you.

      • Kate Macnaughton

        Thank you Natalie. I think I’ll just go with another brand and get it shipped to my sister-in-law’s PO box in NY instead.

  • Elaine

    Hi Natalie, thank you so much for your thoughtful and thorough reviews. I ordered a kinderbike Lafraud for my 2.5 year old daughter; however, we ordered over a month ago and just received a notification that it won’t arrive for another month or so but we have the option to change our order for a different bike. I was really between the Lafraud and the TykesBykes 12”. She is about 36-37” tall and her inseam is only about 13” now. I thought the Lafraud might be better because of it’s smaller scale based on your pictures in the comparison. Do you think she would be just as fine with the TykesBykes? Also was it confirmed that the new seat on the TykesBykes has quick release clamp? Thanks so much!

    • Yes, I would certainly go with the TykesBykes 12″ and wouldn’t wait around for the TykesBykes. As long as your daughter is in 2T clothes, she should fit the bike just fine. My son just transitioned into 2T and can now ride the TykesBykes 12″, while in 24 month pants he could not. The picture below is of my 2.5 yo old riding the 12″. Plus, you are right in that the new shipment of TykesBykes do come with a quick release seat post. They also come with plastic end caps at the end of the handlebars to prevent the grips from tearing like the one shown in the picture.

      **Okay, it’s not allowing me to attach the picture. I’ll try again later!**

  • Danae

    I could benefit from some feedback on purchasing a bike. The two bikes that seem to a) fit my budget and b) be the right current size for my 3 year old daughter with a 15″ inseam, are the Tykes Bike 12″ and the KinderBike. With so many similar features and price I can’t tell if there is a clear winner. The bike will primarily be used for street riding and it would be great if we got more than one year of use out of it. Between those two, is it splitting hairs or is there something that would lean the scales one way? And to throw an additional wrench in there, is it worth another $65 to get the FirstBike instead? Thanks.

    • Between the two, I prefer TykesBykes as I believe they are better quality, however, the KinderBikes are certainly lighter, which would be preferable if your daughter was in the lower percentiles for weight or was slightly uncoordinated. As shown above, the TykesBykes is also a taller bike and is generally better for taller kids. In the end, however, I think she would be just fine on either. As for the FirstBIKE, if your daughter was lightweight, if you plan on handing the bike down to a younger siblings, or if you live in a place where it snows and could get use out of the sled conversation kit for the FirstBIKE, then I believe it would be worth the additional $65. Hope that helps!

      • Danae

        So helpful! Thank you for your feedback, I needed a little confirmation and brainstorming with someone and you provided just that. Thanks a lot!

  • Mitch

    Thanks for the excellent reviews, it made choosing so easy! I decided on the KinderBike Laufrad Mini, but everyone was sold out. Just an FYI to all. I called US KinderBike directly twice, got through both times. They do sound mom and pop, but were very helpful. They said there’s a “handful” of 2014 Mini’s left, but in blue only, and to order over the phone. Otherwise 2015’s will be out in Sept. I did however find a last second used regular Laufrad in great shape for half the price, so my little guy will have to wait a bit, haha. All in all I was pleased with them and can’t wait to see him ride!

    • Mitch

      Handful as of 6/27/14 by the way….

      • Wow, thanks for sharing and glad to hear that you were able to find an awesome deal! We also had a great experience with KinderBikes customer service and it’s good to hear that they were so helpful in not only finding you a deal, but with provided you additional info about their availability as well. Thanks again for sharing and please report back when you get your bike. I’d love to hear how your son loves it!

  • Maria

    Hi I am looking at buying a bike for my son’s 2nd birthday in a few weeks time. He has an inseam of 12.5″. I am considering the Kinderbike Laufrad or mini, Strider ST4 or Ridgeback Scoot mini. I can get the ST4 and Scoot mini (still available in uk) for a good price but will have to wait for the Kinderbike to come into stock so will have to give it to him for Christmas instead. His 3 year old brother has a Puky LR1L that he will inherit eventually so doesn’t necessarily have to last until he is 5. Which bike do you recommend? We do an equal amount of pavement cycling and off road over grass, woodland etc. Thanks

    • Personally, I wouldn’t wait to get your son a bike as kids can make a lot of progress on the bikes in six months, plus the weather is (I am assuming) is much more bike friendly now then in December. So assuming that rules out the KinderBike, I would get the Scoot if you son is on the heavier side, but the Strider if he is on the lighter side. If however, you expect him to more adventurous on his bike (i.e. goes down hills, over jumps) then I would lean more towards to Scoot as the brakes and air tires will come in handy.

      • Maria

        Hi Natalie thanks for your responses and your advice :). My son is quite heavy and is definitely adventurous. Is the Haro Z12 a better bike overall than the Scoot mini? Price isn’t really a factor as I can get them for pretty much the same price (scoot is £5 cheaper). Just want a bike that he will be confident to use and is good quality. I’m finding it difficult to make the leap and pick one 🙁 want one that will last as I have another son who will use it too.

        • Wow, here the Haro is a lot cheaper than the Scoot, so I assumed it would be the same over there. In my opinion, the Haro isn’t worth more money than the Scoot, especially since the Scoot has a brake, so I would go with the Scoot, which is great quality and it’s lower minimum seat height is will be beneficial if your other son is younger.

          • Maria

            Thanks for the help Natalie 🙂 Will order the Scoot today then. Looking forward to seeing his face on his birthday. 🙂

          • Maria

            Hi Natalie
            I ordered the Mini scoot which arrived today but am concerned about the weight. Am considering whether to return it and get a FirstBIKE (hadn’t considered this before). The scoot is £80 and the FirstBIKE with lowering kit is £90. My son is 2 in a couple of days, he is 29.5lbs with 13″ inseam (re-measured), he is 86cm high. I like the look of the Mini scoot and it seems to be well built but like the weight of the FirstBIKE. Which bike do you think would suit him best? Is it worth the extra cost and hassle of returning the scoot for the FirstBIKE? Do you think he will cope with the weight of the Scoot and will be fine with time and practice? Could it hamper his progress, would he be better with a lighter bike that he may be more confident with from the outset? Thanks again fro your time and help 🙂

          • It really depends on your son. If he is able to pick up the bike on his own and get on it, then I think it will be okay for him. If he is clearly distressed or turned off but the weight of the bike, then I would probably go with the FirstBIKE. If he is unsure, then I would probably keep it as he is still young and has time to grow into it.

          • Maria

            Hi Natalie thought I would update you on the bike situation. I decided to return the Scoot mini as I thought it was just too heavy fir my son to manage. I ordered the FirstBIKE street with lowering kit. My son is quite hesitant on the bike so I am glad I swapped as I think overall it is a better bike for him. Thanks for your advice it certainly helped ?

          • Good call! I’m glad you didn’t hesitate to return the Scoot!

  • Maria

    In addition I have considered the Haro z10 or Z12. Ideally I wanted air tyres but not bothered about a brake necessarily. I have discounted the Rothan as being great but too expensive. Thanks again

    • At 12.5″ your son would barely be big enough for the Z12, but I think it might be a great bike for him, it has air tires, unlike the Strider and is slightly lighter than the Scoot (but does not have a brake). If the Haro z12 (the z10 would be too small), is more affordable than the Scoot Mini then I would probably go for it, unless you felt that your son needed a brake.

  • Melissa

    Hi there – we’d like to get our daughter a balance bike for her birthday. She’s a peanut – 11″ inseam and about 28-30lbs. We’re thinking the Laufrad Mini – two questions: 1. is that our best option in terms of the bike? 2. I can’t find them anywhere – any leads on where I might be able to find one in stock (color not super important, but she’d love yellow or red, i think)

    • Yes, the Laufrad Mini would be a great choice for her, but unfortunately they are all sold out until September. Essentially every store that sells the bike online has the bikes shipped from the same warehouse, so when they run out (which is the case right now), everyone runs out. You could try to contact KinderBike directly at (773) 250-6157 to see if by chance they have some returns, but it would be a long shot.

      • Melissa

        Thanks so much, Natalie – what would your second in line recommendation be if we couldn’t go w/ Laufrad Mini?

        • The Islabike Rothan would be my next choice, but if you are looking for a more affordable option I would go with the Strider ST-4 or the Strider Sport (they are the same models except the Sport edition comes with the extended seat post, which you will eventually need).

  • christy becker

    Hi, I’m looking at buying my 20-month old a bike, but am on a budget and would like to find one that could last him as long as possible. He’s rather small, I think with an 11″ inseam and weighs 25 pounds, so the bike would need to at least start out being pretty small. My uncle got him a WeeRide but it’s way way too big and anyway, I know it’s not a great bike. Is there any bike that could last from a smallish toddler up through preschool? Thanks!

    • The most versatile bike on the market is the Strider. While it does have foam tires and no brake, it is extremely well designed in terms of geometry and as you child grows, you can by accessories to help it last longer, such as an extended seat post or XL handlebar. Check out my review of the Strider to see how one frame can really last for years: https://www.twowheelingtots.com/strider-st-4/.

  • The 2015 Kinderbike Laufrads (avail in October) will be shipping with 2 seat posts for an expanded seat range (Mini’s adjust 11″ – 20″ and Laufrads adjust 13″-22″)

  • Charmaine

    Hi.Great site! Although its wasted hours of my day, trying to decide on a bike for my 24m old 😉 I’ve gone from almost walking into toyrus and buying a $49 to wanting to spend over double ( my husband thanks you for that!;) So i have finally narrowed it down to the KinderBike Mini, but as its currently out of stock, ive been looking at the E series… what are your thoughts on this cheaper version? Thanks!

    • Opps, please apologize to your husband for me, but I promise your child will thank me :)! As for the E-Series, I don’t prefer the EVA foam tires, but due to a huge overstock of E-Series bikes (as well as a shortage of Mini;s), Kinderbike is going to be selling the E-Series Air for a short period of time, so I would go for one of those vs. the others. I haven’t seen them listed on their site, but I have seen them here: http://www.kidsbalancebikes.com/all-balance-bikes/metal-balance-bikes/kinderbike-laufrad-morph/.

      • Charmaine

        Haha I will tell him! 🙂
        It was the air tire version on that website i was looking at, the only 2 other differences were the lack of a hand break and the handles bars only move up and down, not back and front as in the mini, will we regret not having those features? (not as concerned with the break as the handle bar adjusting capabilities) Is it worth waiting for the mini? thanks again!

        • Sp they are up on their site, good to know! Honestly, in all our years riding balance bikes, we have only adjusted a handful of handlebars, so I highly doubt that will be an issue. In testing out both of our KinderBikes with various kids we never adjusted the handlebars as we never needed to. So, as long as you aren’t concerned about the brake, then I would go for the air versus waiting for the mini.

  • Joanne

    Not unlike Charmaine I was looking in Target and ToysRUs for a 12″ pedal bike and then came across your site! Awesome information!! In your opinion, what is the best balance bike under $100 for a little guy who will be 4 years old tomorrow, weighs 34 lbs, has a 16″ inseam and who cannot for the life of him pedal a tricycle and is a coordination nightmare in general? Admittedly, he gets his lack of coordination from me 🙂

  • ccarper

    Hi, I wanted to get your opinion on a balance bike for my 19 month old that is currently 33″ tall and is wearing 18 months pants, but 24 months shirt because his torso is longer than his legs. This will be a Christmas present so not for right now. I wanted to see if we should go with the Islabike Rothan 12″ or the Kinderbike Laufrad Mini? I’d say we’d go with the Rothan if it were to be right now, but since he will obviously grow in the next couple of months I’m not so sure. Thank you for all of your help!

    • The Rothan is an amazing bike and I much prefer it to the Mini, but its handlebar is not adjustable, which can be a challenge for kids with longer torsos. That being said, we’ve found it can be comfortably ridden by kids in clothes 18-month to 3T, so he will still get several years of use out of it. In the end, I still prefer the Rothan over the Mini, but if you are concerned about size, then I would go with the Mini.

  • Ella Hemeon

    Hi there! I am looking for some advice about which bikes to get for my twin girls and keep coming back to your site/reviews. They are wearing mostly 18 month, are about 33″ tall, and will be almost 20 months at Christmas when they receive them. I’ve been looking at the Mini, but they are hard to find. We live in New Hampshire, on a dirt road, with a dirt driveway. I want something that will be comfortable for them and last a while, specifically the tires. Would the foam tires of the E Series or Strider (both easier to find) be a bad idea? I’m open to any bike you think would work for us, but with a lower price tag if possible, as we will be buying two. Thanks so much!

    • On a dirt rode, I highly suggest air tires as the will provide much more traction and cushioning along the rocks than foam tires. The Mini is anticipated to be back in stock by the end of the month at various retailers, so if you prefer the Mini, it would be worth it to wait a week or so to order. If you prefer not to wait, I would actually go with the KinderBike E Series Air found here: http://www.kidsbalancebikes.com/all-balance-bikes/metal-balance-bikes/kinderbike-laufrad-morph/. Between the two, the Mini is of slightly better quality and has a brake, so I would prefer it over the E-Series Air.

      • Ella Hemeon

        Thank you so much! From some of your other responses/posts I was able to find the e series air. I am curious though, how long should I expect either to last? Is it worth it to get them this early (19.5 months at Christmas, but winter so mostly inside riding), or would it make more sense to wait until their birthday in May when they can ride outside? I just want to get our money’s worth and for them to be beneficial! Thanks!!

        • Ella Hemeon

          And l, out of curiosity, is there any bike with air tires, that is less expensive than the mini or eseries, that you’d recommend?

          • There are some available for taller kids, but not for kids in 18-month clothes.

          • Ella Hemeon

            Thank you! 🙂

  • Rebecca

    I want to get my son a balance bike for Christmas this year, but it seems he is right in the middle of all of the sizes. He will be 3 in march and he is currently 38inches tall and when I measured inseam it was between 13.5 and 14. He is currently in 2t but quickly out growing them. I am worried the islabike will be too small and the scoot will be just a little to tall. I am concidering the firstbike, but I like the look of the metal ones. I am starting to lose my mind from bike measurement overload! Any suggestions welcome!

    • Sounds like your son is very similar in size and age to mine. My son will turn three in January and is just about to grow out of 2T clothes. You are right in that the Islabikes is going to be too small with time and the Scoot too large. Good news is that I just received a new bike yesterday that my son LOVES and would be the perfect size for your son. It’s called a Frog Tadpole and I have attached a picture of my son riding it below. The first shipment of them just arrived to the US this past week and will only be available at Balance Bike Shop. They are not yet listed on their site, but I would give them a call tomorrow at 1-800-406-0501 and see if you can order one. As a comparison, the bike weighs 9.25 lb. and a seat that ranges from 13″ to 17″. More info about the bike can be found here: http://www.frogbikes.com/lightweight-kids-bikes/balance-bikes/tadpole.aspx. Unfortunately, I have no idea what they will retail for, but I assume they will be a little cheaper than both the Islabikes and Scoot, but just as good quality.

      • Rebecca

        Thank you so much for the info! Who knew picking a balance bike would be so hard! The frog looks great! Would you choose the frog over the firstbike for this size range? I am trying to pick one that he will like to ride and not the one I think is the cutest! 😉 The frog def looks more like a big boy bike!

        • Huh, not sure why there are three of the same pictures on that comment! Between the Frog and the FirstBIKE, they both are great bikes and I think your son would do fine on either. My son has a particular preference to red metal bikes, so he likes the Frog better, but my second son loved the FirstBIKE. All in all, I have a slight preference to the Frog simply because it isn’t prone to flexing when set to the highest seat level like the FirstBIKE is.

          • Rebecca

            I couldn’t find a number for the balance bike shop. Is it an online store or a regular one?

          • It’s an online shop found at http://www.balancebikeshop.com. Their number is 1-800-406-0501.

          • Rebecca Butler

            Thank you! I now see the number you posted bf! I had a slow moment! I have been trying to call them and cannot get an answer. Is this normal or should I keep trying? Also, do you think the laufrad regular size would be a good option for us?

          • The KinderBike Laufrad would fit as well, but the quality isn’t nearly as nice as the Frog. I would try calling them again and leaving a message or email Nick at [email protected] .

          • Rebecca

            Still can’t get them though any form of communication. 🙁 I guess I am going to have to go with another bike just to make sure I can get one before Christmas. I have decided against the first bike in favor of the look of the metal ones. What would be your first pick after the tadpole? It is so hard to make a decision when you can’t put your hands on any of them.

          • Okay, so I was able to get a hold of them very briefly (through a personal cell phone number I had) and found out that the Frog is not yet available for sale (opps, on my part), but they will be available for delivery before Christmas. If you prefer not to wait, then I would look at the Muna (my review should go up tomorrow) or the TykesBykes 12″.

  • Dory

    I live in Australia and I have been looking around to find a bike that is small enough for my 21 month old daughter. She’s got little legs and we’ve bought a bike for her that is too big so we end up pushing her on the bike which is really not the purpose. But she loves it.. Anyway I can’t seem to find the laufrad mini anywhere in Australia nor can I find a place that offers reasonable shipping.. Only place I found was aud170… Any ideas where I can get a laufrad mini or even series with air tires?

    • I am not aware if KinderbIkes are available in Australia and you are right in that shipping on there will cost a lot of money. One bike that i know is available in Australia and has air tire and a hand brake is the ByKBikes E-200L found here: http://www.bykbikes.com/kids-bike-range/e-200-learning-bike.html. Another option is the BladeRunna, but I don’t see any specs on seat heights on their site, so I’m sure if it would be small enough: http://www.strongsports.com.au/bladerunna-balance-bikes/all-products. If neither of those work out, I know Striders are available in Australia, but they do come with foam tires rather than air.

      • Dory

        Thanks for your quick reply and your suggestions. I have just ordered the strider with foam tires and I saw you can upgrade to air tires later on. This was the easiest option for us at the moment. We had a look at the byk e200l earlier this year and it seemed to be rather high. On a different note, overall your website has been so helpful in deciding which balance bike to get. So thank you very much for all the effort and advice. 🙂

        • Glad to be of help! Plus, good call on the Strider as the many accessorizes the allow the bike to grow with your child. I will say, however, that the air tires are often hard to find as they always sell out quick, so I would start looking for them months before you think you will need them.

  • Danielle Downing McCoy

    Thank you so much for this awesome website! I have a just turned 2 year old boy that I want to get a balance bike for. He is big…weighs 35 lbs and is 36 inches tall. His inseam is about 13-14 inches. I am looking at the kinder bike, but can’t decide between the mini or the laufraud. Will he outgrow the mini too fast or should I get the laufraud? Any other suggestions for this price point? I thought about the Glide Ez glider bike with air tires as well….thanks so much for any advice!

    • Considering he is on the taller side, I would certainly go with the Laufrad over the Mini as it will provide him more room for growth. There are several other bikes in the same price range that would fit him, but considering his age, I would stick with the Kinderbike because it is light weight.

  • MMT123

    I have a 3 year old boy 37 1/2 ” tall with a 14″ inseam. He has limited use of his left hand, so I feel that a steering limiter is probably necessary for him, and something lightweight as well. I wish the laufrad had the limiter. Do you know if the new early rider alley runner 14″ has a steering limiter? The tikesbikes 12″ might work, I think it has one? And the first bike looks great but may be too small, quickly outgrown. Any suggestions for a lightweight bike with a turn limiter that would fit a 3 yo his size? Or, can you add a steering limiter yourself somehow?

    • Glad to be of help! A limiter cannot be added later and I agree that it would be best for your son to have a limiter for safety reasons. Both the Early Rider and the TykesBykes do not have limiters, but the Frog Tadpole and LIKEaBIKE Jumper do. The limiter on the Jumper is my favorite as it is gradual and does not stop abruptly like most limiters, https://www.twowheelingtots.com/likeabike-2/. TheFrog Tadpole, https://www.twowheelingtots.com/frog-tadpole/, is a great choice as well, but the limiter isn’t as restrictive as others. Take a look at those two and then let me know what you think. If you don’t believe either of those will work, I’ll keep trying!

      • MMT123

        Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question! The likeabike looks awesome, but it’s just too expensive. The frog tadpole looks good, but it only goes up to 16″? It seems like if he had a growth spurt that bike could be outgrown too soon. Do you think the firstbike would be too small?

        • If his inseam is currently 14″, the the FirstBIKE would be a good choice for him and shouldn’t be too small.

  • kvd

    Hi- I need a recommendation on a balance bike for a just turned 2 yr old boy. He is 30 lbs, 36″, instead of 14″. I was all ready to buy the Strider Sport but have now changed my mind as we want air tires since we live in the country and he won’t be riding on pavement very much. We are looking for a lighter bike, one that will grow with him (he has always been on the taller side), air tires, adjustable seat and handlebars. I was leaning towards the kinderbike, do you think that would be a good choice or what others would you recommend? He will also be riding it mostly indoors until spring. Thanks! This site has been lots of help!

    • kvd

      Also wondering if the Tykebykes would be a better choice?

      • Considering he is on the taller side, the TykesBykes would be a much better choice as it has higher handlebars that are better for taller kids. Plus, I agree with you in that if you plan on riding around in the country, a bike with air tires will be much better, but just be sure to seal the tubes with tire sealant before he heads off, here’s how if you are unfamiliar with it: https://www.twowheelingtots.com/how-to-apply-tire-sealant-to-bike-tires/.

        • kvd

          Thank you! Love your site!

  • Amy Babbes

    I’m interested in the laufrad mini as a christmas present for my daughter, but would like it in pink. I know they are not available in the US at present, but are in Canada. Do you know of any online Canadian vendors that will ship this bike to the US? I know it’s an odd question for you, but I’m having trouble finding one on my own. Pink is a very strong preference, so I’m considering waiting until spring if I can’t get find a vendor. Thanks.

    • Sorry, I don’t know of any. In fact, I’m not sure how common the pink KinderBike is in the states. I would first ask Balance Bike Shop about the availability of the pink one. KinderBike can be a challenge to get ahold of, but Balance Bike Shop has a good working relationship with them. Their customer service email address is [email protected]. If the pink one is going to be a challenge, another option would be the Muna Pinkie, http://weebikeshop.com/store/balance-bikes/brands/muna/muna-balance-bike-pinkie.html. It is heavier than the KinderBike, but is great quality.

      • Amy Babbes


  • Linh

    Do the Kinderbikes have sealed bearings?

    • Not that I know of, as if they did, they would certainly make a point to list it on their website or at least let me know upon completed this review.

      • Linh

        Thanks Natalie. From watching your video review, I understand sealed bearings are important to keep out dust and debris. Im trying to decide between the Kinderbike Laufraud Mini and the Strider 12 Sport for my 26 month old son and my almost 24 month old nephew. Both boys are on the smaller side for their age and wearing 24 mos clothes. I want a bike that is light and easy for them to maneuver but that they can use (not outgrow) for at least 2 years. We also have a 6 mos old son who will inherit this balance bike so I want one that will last. I concerned about the foam tires on the Strider but like pretty much every other feature on the Strider. I like the looks of the Mini, brake, the air tires, and the seat but am concerned about the unsealed bearings. What would you recommend? Thanks in advance! I love your reviews and website.

        • I would put more emphasis on weight and air tires than on the bearings. With time, unsealed bearings will begin to slow, but even then, weight is more important for small kids. Between the Mini and the Strider, if you plan on riding on mostly pavement then I would probably go with the Strider. If you plan on riding in dirt, rocks or even indoors, I would go with the Mini.

          • Linh

            Thanks Natalie!

  • Mrsmirndogkosoy

    Hi after reading reviews for this bike and first bike we are still not sure which one to get. My son is 37″ tall about 31 lbs. and is just turning 3 yrs old. This will be his first bike, HELP?!

    • If you live in an area where there is snow or is really cold so that he won’t be able to ride during the winter months, then I would go with the KinderBike is provides for more room for growth. If winters are not an issue and he will be able to ride on a somewhat regular basis, then I would go for the FirstBIKE.

  • Kels

    I’m curious about the difference in wheelbase between the Laufrad mini and the Rothan. I know Rothan is clearly the better bike, but I wonder about the geometry when the extended seat posts are fully extended and which would be a less awkward position for a pretty much too big for it kid. Or are they the same?

    • The wheelbase on the Kinder Bike Mini is about 0.5″ longer than the Rothan. Although the Rothan is an amazing bike, I wouldn’t recommend buying it if you think you will need the extended seat post. Because the handlebar height of the Rothan is pretty low and cannot be adjusted, it requires tall kids to bend over pretty far. Then again, if you are already worried about extended seat posts, why buy the Mini over the Laufrad? If you child is too short for the Laufrad, then as long as they use their bike regularly, then they should be ready to transition to a pedal bike before they outgrow the Mini.

      • Kels

        Well, we are fairly minimalist people and so are looking to just get one balance bike to pass through our kids. My daughter is almost 2 and fairly big (inseam almost 14) if I were just buying for her, I’d probably get the Frog because I think that would be right for her come spring. She can be hesitant, though, and last month was nervous trying a strider in the bike shop except with the seat all the way lowered. Once comfortable she is pretty wild. If the next kid is ready for a bike in the nice weather vs. Late fall with snow on the ground when she was ready to start the bike, I don’t want to wait for them to grow into a big bike. To me, this is more important than if it is getting awkward when they are ready to switch to pedals. The kinderbike warranty is also appealing for our purposes.

        • The Frog sounds like it might be a good option for you as it is more likely to last through several kids than the KinderBike. The KinderBike only has a lifetime warranty on the frame and fork, not the rest of the bike. Although well made, the components on the KinderBike aren’t nearly as nice as those on the Frog, so it is more likely to need repairs with time. Plus, as long as kids use their balance bike regularly, the usually only ride for about a year and a half, so your two-year-old will most likely be able to use the Frog until she was ready to transition to a pedal bike.

  • Leanne

    Is there a new coupon code for balancebikeshop.com? When I tried to use “twtots” the website said it expired in Dec 2014. Thanks!!

    • Thanks for letting me know, I was unaware that it had expired. I will contact them and see what I can find out!

    • I got ahold of them and they changed the expiration date so the “twtots” code is once again active. Thanks again!

      • Leanne

        Great! Thank you!

  • Tracy

    Hi, im looking for a balance bike for my 3 year old, he wears size 3 pants. I love this site for all the great information but i am still unsure what the best bike would be to purchase. I live in Canada so not all bikes are available. He has never been on a bike before so i would like to know what the best bike for beginners would be..
    Thanks so much for ur time!

    • In 3T pants there are a lot of choices for bikes. Some bikes I would consider are the FirstBIKE and the KinderBike Laufrad which can both be found here: http://www.runbike.ca/shop. Both bikes are lightweight and would be a great start for you son. I prefer the FirstBIKE for it’s safety features, but if you expect your son to be tall and have limited use of the bike in the winter, then I would go with the KinderBike as it offers more room for growth.

  • marnee.a.rose

    Hi – I’m looking to buy a balance bike for my son – to turn 3 in a few weeks. He is wearing 3T pants with a 14″ inseam. Should I buy the Kinderbike Laufrad or the Lafrad mini? I would prefer a bike that can grow with my son. Thanks so much!

    • The Mini will be too small, I would go with the Lafraud.

  • Shae Kerrigan Horan

    Hi, I want to get a balance bike for my son who is about to turn 2. At first I thought I would get a Strider (it was the only one I had ever heard of). I looked around online and found several other cheaper options….but came back to Strider when I realized that he would be too small to ride anything else……..Then I came across Kinderbike.
    My son is a bit on the small side compared to other almost 2 year olds. He is kind of in between sizes right now….just starting to outgrow some of his 18 month pants, but most 24 month pants are still big on him.

    So, my first question, would you recommend Strider or Kinderbike?….I’m now leaning towards Kinderbike mainly because of the air tires….I feel the slightly higher cost of Kinderbike is worth it.

    Second question, if I get the Kinderbike, should I get the Laufrad or the mini? From your reviews it seems that right now he would still need the mini. However, I want it to grow with him….you said that a child in 24 months needs the mini, but a child in 3T pants should get the regular size Laufrad. I’m afraid that while a mini would be perfect THIS summer, it would be too small for him by NEXT summer!

    And finally….on the Kinderbike website, the only mini that is currently available is the yellow….have you heard anything about when the other colors might be back in stock? Or is it best to call their customer service number?

    Thanks for your help!

    • They are both great bikes, but I prefer the KinderBike as it has air tires and a hand brake. As for what size, it really depends on how often you expect him to ride. If you expect him to be able to ride frequently, even through the winter, then I would go with the Mini, but if you don’t, then I would go for the Lafruad. As for the KinderBike colors, I would call their customer service to find out or it looks like the other colors are in stock at Balance Bike Shop, http://www.balancebikeshop.com/?Click=4155

  • Jo

    After running over his Kinderbike mini with the car, we are in the market to replace it. I am thinking of getting the Laufrad, but need to verify his inseam. However, do I get the 2014 or wait for the 2015 to become available? It appears the only difference is the extension seat post? Thanks!

    • Jo

      Oh, I see now the 2015 is available from the Balance Bike Shop website so never mind! It wasn’t available from Kinderbike’s website so I assumed it wasn’t available at all! Thank you!

      • Glad you found it! As far as I know, the only difference is the extended seat post.

  • Kim

    Your site is amazing and so full of helpful information! I want to get bikes for my 2 youngest kids. My son is 2.5 (30 months). However, he’s petite so he weighs 26 pounds and has an inseam of 12.5 inches (with shoes on). My daughter is 5 yrs 3 mos (also petite at 36 pounds and 19″ inseam). After reading your reviews, I really liked TykesBykes and was planning to get a 16″ tykesbyke for my daughter. (I’m sure my 2 older kids will love it as well even though they are already in pedal bikes!) I think in the end that my son would be best served by a 12″ tykesbyke (he is the youngest of 4, adventurous and needs to be able to keep up with the crowd!), but after reading your reviews I realize that the 12″ tykesbyke won’t fit him. So I’m leaning toward a Kinderbike. Based on the measurements and your reviews, I think the mini would probably fit him best, but I’m worried about him outgrowing it almost immediately. Do you think he could handle the Laufrad or does he really need the mini? I’m not totally opposed to getting him the mini now, then upgrading him to the 12″ tykesbyke later on if needed. I’d love something that would carry him through, but based on how small he is now, I’m not sure that’s going to work. Is there another bike that might work better than the ones I’ve been looking at? I’d be open to other brands that I missed. He’s going to ride mostly outside on paved roads, though I’m sure he’ll want to try some off-roading and will probably bring it inside as well as he’s used to having a fleet of toddler riding toys inside 🙂 I want air tires and a hand brake. I’d like to stay around $110 for his bike, though since I’m considering getting him 2 bikes eventually, if you had one that could carry him all the way through till he grew into the 16″ kinderbike, I’d be open to it. Thanks so much for all your thorough reviews! They are extremely helpful!!!

    • Glad to be of help. With a 12.5″ inseam I would go with the Mini over the Laufrad as it will be a much better fit for him now, plus, as long as he uses it on a regular basis, he should be able to transition to a pedal bike before he outgrows it, so there will most likely not be a need for a second bike. Plus, since the wheelbase of the Mini and TykesBykes 12″ are pretty similiar, there won’t be a huge advantage to upgrade later.

  • Anna

    Natalie, thank you so much for this amazing and informative website ~ it helped me immeasurably! I just bought a Kinderbike Laufrad & a Kinderbike Mini for my boys (4 and 2) and I’m so excited to see them riding together this Spring!

    • Glad to be of help and I hope they love them as well!

  • Lisa Piantanida

    Hi Natalie,

    Thank you so much for your extensive research and reviews on balance bikes…your insight is much appreciated! My 4 year old son needs a new balance bike. His previous balance bike was a gift, a Y Velo Junior which he loved and rode all last summer. He is currently 35 lbs, 38”, has an inseam of 15.5″ and wears 3T and some 4T clothes. I have narrowed my field of choices to either the Kinderbike Lafraud, TykeBykes 12″ or Strider ST4. I am open to other options but would like to spend less than $175. Originally I was going to buy the TykeBykes 12″ (based on your reviews 🙂 but now I see that the Kinderbike Lafraud is actually a smaller bike comparably. Since my son is on the smaller side (10% ht, 45% wt), this is a factor to consider. I certainly value your knowledge and hope you can help guide me to a purchase. Thanks again for taking your time to write and for all your help!


    Lisa Piantanida

    • Glad to be of help. If your son is on the smaller side, I would recommend going with the KinderBike over the TykesBykes. Another bike to consider would the Yedoo Too Too. It is pricier than the KinderBikes, but is of much better quality and is slightly lighter.

  • Dave

    Great site and very informative, I have read through as many comments as possible but still am on the fence. I have a 28 month old who is 35″ tall, 12.5″ inseam (both with shoes on), weighs 32 lbs. and is in 2t pants but 3t tops. I am looking at the laufrad mini or laufrad 12″. We live in the north for what it is worth. Thoughts? Thanks for your time.

    • I would go for the Mini and the Laufrad is going to be too small for him right now. The Mini has enough room for growth that as long as he gets a lot of regular use out of it during the spring and summer, but the end of next summer, he should be ready to transition to a pedal bike. If, however, you think he is going to take a while to learn to sit and ride on the bike, you could possible consider the Laufrad, as he won’t actually be sitting on the bike for a couple months, so he may grow into the Laufrad before he needs to sit on the seat. Most 2yo generally learn to ride in a couple months, but some, like my youngest, took almost six months, so it’s really hard to say, but I would error on the side of caution and go with the Mini.

  • Tom


    Thanks for all your work… Super excited to get a balance bike for my son. Debating between the Laufraud and the Islabikes Rothan 12. My son is two, 37 inches tall, 13 inch inseam, and 32 pounds. Both bikes look awesome. Not so caught up on price difference we live in North Dakota so it would be nice to have it for next summer. Any thoughts or recommendations you have would be appreciated.

    • Tom

      Also saw your comments for the Yedoo too too and would consider that as well if you think it’s a better fit. Need to mention to he is in 2T and some 3T clothes. Forgot to mention that above. Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge.

      • Of the three, I would go with the Yedoo Too Too. The Too Too provides more room for growth than the Rothan and is much better quality than the KinderBike.

        • Tom

          Thanks so much your opinion is valued and appreciated.

  • Florine

    Hi Natalie, this site is so helpful! My son is a tall, 37 lb two year old in 3t pants. We live in northern Canada so he will not be riding all year. I really like the Firstbike but it seems like he would be too heavy for it last summer. I am now considering the laufraud or the Tykebykes. Since he is a big guy I think he could probably handle the heavier weight of the tykes but he has never been on a bike before so I am not sure. He will mostly be riding on unpaved surfaces. Thank you!

    • Being taller and weighing over 30 lb., I would recommend going with the TykesBykes as it’s higher set handlebars are much better suited for taller kids. Plus, we found it to me more rugged than the KinderBike.

  • Katie Luinstra

    Thank you so much for this site…you really helped my husband understand the benefits of a balance bike, and it helped us pick the perfect one for our 2 year old twins!

    • Yeah, glad to be of help!

  • Sheila

    First, thank you SO MUCH for all of the information on this site!!!!!
    After reading your various reviews and comparisons I’ve decided that Kinderbike is the best choice for my son. He is 2.5 (turns 3 in September) and just outgrowing 2T pants. I’m debating whether the Laufrad or the Mini is the best choice. I measured his inseam at 13.5″ with shoes and cloth diaper on (diaper should be gone soon). Wondering if I should get him the mini or the laufrad? Hoping to get some longevity out of our choice…

    • First, apparently your comment went into some deep dark hole, because it is just now appearing 25 days later, so SORRY for not replying earlier. If you have not decided yet, I would go with the Laufrad as a 13.5″ will allow him to sit on the seat and still be flat footed on the ground. Plus, since kids generally walk the bike for the first couple weeks (or months) he will have more time to grow before he needs to sit on the seat.

  • moon lady

    Thank you for your site! I have an active petite (wearing 12-18 month bottoms and 21lbs) 22 month old with a long torso. I’m leaning between the Kinderbike mini and the Strider sport based on her small size. I was looking for something that would last her more than a year if possible. We live in a city but with a winter season where we’re unlikely to use the bike. My concern with the strider is the seat. My concern with the kinderbike mini is that it may be too heavy for her. Any advice between these or another bike I should consider for her would be greatly appreciated!

    • At 21 lb. you are right to be worried about weight, but the 8.5 lb. weight of the Mini shouldn’t be a problem unless she is on the hesitant side. If so, then I would go for the Strider as the tires will be fine for most city use and you can also use it as a sled in the winter.

      • moon lady

        Thanks so much for your response! I ordered the kinderbike as they seem better built and a Joovy helmet. I’m sure I’ll be back on this site when it’s time to upgrade in a few years.

        • Good choice! Happy riding and yes, please come back as I would love to help you out in the future as well 🙂

  • Green Brown

    Many thanks for all the info! I have small 2.5 year old twins about 33in tall, weight about 22lbs, inseam approx. 13in. Looking for something that would last a few years. Concerned about them being able to get on/off the first bike…they couldn’t get on/off on their own when they tried one without the lowering kit. Also considering strider and kinderbike. Anything else I should look at? What would you recommend? Thank you!!

    • The KinderBike would be a good option. If it is in your budget, the Too Too is better quality as well as lighter than the KinderBike, so I would certainly consider it as well. The Strider is a good bike, but I much prefer air tires a hand brake as it will be greatly benefit your kids as they get older. At 22lb. you will also want to make sure you stick to a lightweight bike, so me sure to get one under 10 lb.

  • tony77

    After exploring this web site we bought an Islabike Cnoc 16 for my daughter’s 4th birthday. It was a good fit with the saddle right down (she was 102cm at the time). She had used a balance bike just a little, but she was not very proficient. My wife, parents and sister were skeptical that this would work – everyone said we start with training wheels On day 1 she couldn’t balance, pedal, steer, brake – nothing. We supported her under the arms and encouraged her to ride around the neighborhood for 20-30 mins a day. Bending over while running was a little back-breaking! But she got noticeably better every day, which encouraged us, and after a week she was riding all the time with no help at all. Now she loves riding, and she’s by far the youngest kid in the neighborhood with no training wheels. The bike was only part of the success – we worked hard too! – but it certainly made things easier.

    • Yeah, I’m glad it worked out in the end, you had me nervous there for a minute! Awesome job for hanging in there. Some kids pick it up right away, but others take a little time. I have known a lot of parents that have given up when their kids don’t get it the first time, but as you found out, with a little encouragement, and some hard work, kids can do amazing things on bikes! After my first two kids hopped on a pedal bike and took off, I assumed it would be easy for all kids, but with my third, it has been a challenge and has really helped me realize that every kids learns at their own pace and it’s okay. Congrats again and thanks for sharing.

  • Nicole

    Hi Natalie,

    I’m hoping for some help for choosing a bike for my four (almost five) year old. He has been on a balance bike since he was 2.5 – first a y bike then for the past year and a half a TykeBike balance bike. He loves his Tykebike. Seriously loves it and is very proficient with it. We weren’t quite planning on going to a pedal bike just yet but the people who lent us this tykebike want it back for their daughter. It has understandably left our son in tears to think about giving his bike back! I’ve been trying to talk him into a pedal bike but he is unsure and thinks it will be difficult. With all that said, would you recommend pushing him into a pedal bike? I have understood and agree with all you’ve said about pedal bikes – weight and low center of balance and think the Islabike sounds awesome. I’m a bit nervous about the price tag, though. But we have two more boys coming up that could move into this bike as the years pass.
    Our son is about 44″ with an inseam of about 18.5″. We were also looking at the Tykebike 16″ pedal bike since that is what he has known and is a bit cheaper, or the ByK…just wanted to hear your thoughts. Or any other bikes we should consider?

    • Has he ever tried a pedal bike at all? If not, do you think he is just anxious to try something new, or does he just really like his balance bike (which is the problem I have with my little guy right now)? If he really likes his balance bike, then it really depends on his personality. If he is going to stick to his guns about a balance bike, then I would probably get one to use through the winter (which could then be passed down to your younger kids) and the get him a pedal bike in the Spring. Since kids his age tend to grow quickly, unless you live in a climate where he can ride year-round, you wouldn’t want to rush him into a bike that he may grow out of sooner than you would have liked (especially with the higher-end models). If you think he may take to a bike once he has one, but still hesitant, then I would go for the WOOM3 with the freewheel option (no coaster brake) as it is the best combination of lightweight, upright positioning (with a low-center of gravity) and no coaster. Next, I would go for the Islabikes, due to it’s low weight and geometry. The TykesBykes Sprinter and the ByK 350 are also both great bikes, but may not be the best for hesitant riders. The TykesBykes doesn’t have a coaster, but is about 5 lb. heavier than the Isla and WOOM. A great bike for aggressive kids, but may be too much for timid kids. The ByK is great as well, but it does have a coaster brake, which can quickly turn him off the bike. The push handle and the low weight of the ByK (as well as it’s lower price) make it a great option as well. Hope that helps!

  • Wiard Hazewinkel

    Hello Nathalie; we are looking for a new bike for our 4yr (august). He now rides a specialized hotrock 12″. He really does ride well on it but it becomes to small, so we are looking for a 16″. We have trouble in deciding between the iskabike 16″, the early rider belter 16″ or the tykesbikes sprinter ss16″. What would your choice be?

    kind regards Wiard

    • All three are great bikes, but they do have their differences. If you plan on riding around town and mainly on paved surfaces, I would go with the Islabikes CNOC. If you are riding on single-track or on dirt, I would go with the TykesBykes. The Early Rider is an amazing bike, but I would personally go with one of the others as since your son is already familiar with coaster brakes, the Islabikes brakes won’t be a problem and it is actually lighter than the Belter.

  • Matthias C

    Hi, My 3 yo son seems to be done with his balance bike and has been asking for a pedal bike for a while (and a scooter too, since it’s quite the fashion).. We’ve been looking around a lot to find the best bike for his size and stumbled onto your reviews which were very helpful. However, my wife and I are having a difference of opinion. My son’s inseam is about 14”, which is quite small and I thought the Cleary Gecko would be the best fit for him, but my wife thinks we should get a 14” bike so that he can use it longer, especially with the price tag on most of those bikes (maybe the Cnoc 14 would be a good choice in that case ?).. How long would my son be able to ride on the Gecko if we chose that one ? Or would it be better as my wife says to get a 14” bike that would last him longer ? We were also thinking about the ByK 250, but some points in your review seems to indicate that the Gecko is a better bike.. What’s your opinion on which bike would be best for a 3 yo balance biker with 14” inseam ?? Thanks for your help !

    • Glad to help! Between the Gecko and the ByK 250, I would go with the ByK (although I believe they are sold out in all colors but pink right now). The Gecko does have it’s benefits as it is lighter, has a lower minimum seat height and it doesn’t have a coaster brake, BUT it is really small and you son will probably outgrow it within a year, while the ByK you can probably get two years out of it. The CNOC would be an awesome choice as well, but it is going to be too tall for him right now. My son is also three and just started wearing 4T pants (which are a little big) and he fits on the Gecko and the ByK, but not on the CNOC. So which is best? It really depends. If you don’t mind buying another bike a year from now, I would go with the Gecko, if you prefer not to, you could try to find a non-pink ByK (if that is an issue) or you could get him some fun accessories for his balance bike now (a ramp, bell, basket, nameplate, etc.) in hopes that you can hold him off on his balance bike until he is taller.

  • Thomas

    Hi, my son is quite small and so I will start him on a Hotrock 12 (I am living in Europe and the Cleary Gecko nor the ByK 250 are sold here). What is your opinion on switching him after the Hotrock 12 to the Cnoc 16? ( I am trying to avoid to spend money on the Cnoc 14…)

    • You should have no problem going from the Hotrock to the CNOC 16 as the max seat height of the Hotrock is 19″ and the minimum on the CNOC 16 is 18.8″.

  • Dora

    Hi, I am going to get my son an Isla bike for his 4th birthday. He has been riding a balance bike for the last 2 years and is ready to move on to a first pedal bike. He’s tall for his age (42 inch/106cm) but has a relatively short inseam (16 inch/41cm). What is your opinion on getting the CNOC 14 vs the 16? He meets the minimum criteria for height for the 16, but not the inseam (minimum 42cm). Thanks for the advice!

    • It really depends on your son and desire to ride. If he is eager, athletic and adventurous, he may do just fine on the CNOC 16, if not the 14 will be better. The main difference is that on the 16 he won’t be able to touch the ground with his feet, just the pedals. This means he WILL NOT be able to touch the ground to start or stop the bike while on the seat. In order to do either, he will have to have one leg having over the frame while the other leg is starting or stopping the bike. For most kids, this method is tricky and uncomfortable and can also be very dangerous since they are used to stopping with their feet and can forget to stop with their hand brake or coaster brake at first. As a result, for their first pedal bike I highly recommend (as well as Islabikes) that the child be able to touch the ground with their full foot (which he would be able to do on the 14) when learning to ride their first bike. For subsequent bikes, being only able to touch with their tippy toes is actually preferred as it allows them to get the proper extension on the pedal.

  • Andrijana Bončić

    Hi, I am late to the game here my son is not a risk taker 🙂 We had a tricycle this whole time he will be 5 in a month and i want to get him a proper bike. I was going to go with CNOC 16 as he is 45 inches tall and he really wants training wheels and is intimidated when he sees me looking at a bike without them. That being said CNOC 16 with training wheels was my first choice until i looked at the specs saying maximum capacity weight is 57LB – My son is 54Lb I am afraid that the spring growth spurt might put him over the max weight the bike can take. My second choice was Woom 3 but i don’t know if i can attach training wheels to it and i do not see weight capacity for the Woom – He does have a younger sister what will inherit his bike but i would like him to use his bike this spring summer and fall at least- any suggestions? Should i go with the CNOC and not be worried about the max weight- I should mention we live in NYC and most of the bike riding will be done in a park flat terrain don’t see any of us off roading ;

    • Wow, I honestly hadn’t noticed the weight limit on the Islabikes. With your son already close to that, I would certainly look into another bike. Then again, most of the weight limits on these bikes are due to regulations versus the bike’s actual weight capacity. I would consider calling Islabikes before completely ruling them out just to be sure. For the WOOM3, I’m quite certain training wheels can be attached to the bike. They have amazing customer service though, so I wouldn’t hesitate to call them as well if you wanted to be sure. Sorry for not giving you exact answers, but I don’t want you to buy a bike based on my assumptions. Lastly, another bike I may consider is the ByK 350. It is a lightweight bike (not as light as the WOOM and Islabikes, but lighter than the major brands), has a low center-of-gravity design and comes with training wheels as well as a handle to help keep him steady so that he can learn without the training wheels. We had a chance to review their smaller 250 (http://www.twowheelingtots.com/byk-e-250/) and thought it was a great bike for the price. They are not as high-end as the others, but they are still great bikes.

  • Brian

    I just wanted to chime in with an update on the Cnoc models (pronounced “knock”, in case anyone else was saying “see-knock” like I was 🙂 ). My oldest is making the transition from a balance bike (Rothan) to a pedal bike and I wanted to stick with Islabike but I didn’t want the coaster brake handicap. I spoke to Islabike’s customer service to see if I could buy the parts from they’re EU spec models to convert to freewheel/dual handbrakes and was surprised to hear that they are currently rolling out the Cnoc with front AND rear handbrakes (at no extra cost!). They’re still being shipped with the coaster brake but a drop-in solution might be as easy as buying a complete f/w assembly from WOOM or similar for a few bucks.

    • Awesome, great to hear! I knew the changes were coming, but not this soon. Thanks for letting me know!

  • Hsiawen Hull

    JUST got off the phone w/Islabike because of the reviews from TWT, your info has helped me get my little guy on and stay on two wheels. I ordered w/o training wheels because he has worked so hard to develop his balance on the Hotwalk! Any tips?

    • Awesome. Islabikes are great! Having mastered the Hotwalk already, I will probably get on the bike on simply take off! If he is more hesitant, the best way to get him to transition is to have him sit on the bike, put his legs behind the pedals and have him push the bike while on his tippy toes. Once he starts moving, then have him start pedaling. It may take a while, but with time he will get it.

      • Hsiawen Hull

        It actually showed up last night. I ended up taking the pedals off for about 30 minutes and let him balance bike it and build his confidence. This morning he woke up and wanted to ride, so I slapped the pedals on and in 10 minutes he was pedaling all on his own! Thanks for ALL your reviews, I would never have bought an Islabike had I never read your site. I’ve learned a lot from your reviews and that’s kept my kid on two wheels!

        • Yeah! Glad to help and that you found an awesome bike for your little guy. Isn’t it amazing what kids so young can do on bikes? Plus, good job in keeping the pedals off for a while! I clearly forgot to mention that option.

  • Aaron Sylvia

    so my daughter is turning 4 in a month and i was considering the Cnoc 14″ or the Woom 2. she has about a 15.5″ inseam and is 38″ tall. any suggestions on which route to go? her brother is a year and a half so i plan to pass down whichever to him at the appropriate time but i’d like her to get enough time out of the bike to make the $300 plus purchase worth it. should i be looking at 16″ bikes instead?

    • With a 15.5″ inseam, the WOOM2 would be better as it has a minimum seat height of 17.5″ versus 18.5″ on the CNOC. For hesitant kids, it is actually best to start with a bike in which their inseam matching the minimum seat height, but it isn’t required. When their inseam matches the minimum seat height, they can start and stop the bike with their whole foot touching the ground. This helps kids feel more comfortable when learning to ride. Technically, when riding a bike, kids only need to touch the pedal and not the ground if they know how to properly stop with a hand brake. Since the pedals are two inches off the ground, kids can ride bikes in which the minimum seat height is two inches greater than their inseam, but they will only be able to touch the ground with their tippy toes. For some kids, it isn’t a problem and then hop on the bike, push with one foot and then take off. For others, it is really scary for them not being able to touch the ground, so a taller bike is a turn off. So in the end, it really depends on your child. If she is less hesitant, I would go with the CNOC as it will provide her more room to grow, but will be pretty big for her now. If she is timid, I would go for the WOOM2 or even the ByK 250 (with a minimum seat height of 15.7″) as they will allow her to touch the ground with almost her full foot.

  • Jürgen

    What a great bike! My son got the CNOC14 for his third birthday! He is not so tall (36,5″) but he managed to ride within few days…we removed the pedals so he could get a feeling for the bike like if it was a balance bike! After a couple of days we put the pedals in place and he just rode away 🙂 one little hint for parents with rather small kids! We even removed the reflector mounted under the seat so you gain another 2cm…the seat is just lower which was perfect for my son! Now he can reach ground when seated!

    • Yes, it is an amazing bike. Thanks for the tip about removing the reflector as well, I really need to add that to the review. Islabikes cannot sell the bike without it and many parents don’t realize that they can take it off.

  • victor

    My Grand-Son is 5 1/2 and is ready to graduate from his “First-Bike” to a real bike.
    CNOC16 should fit him well. I e-mailed ISLABIKE to see if I can get the CNOC16
    without the heavy coaster brake. The answer was no—legal issues. Understandable.
    I then offered to buy a UK spec rear wheel as an add-on as Woom offered last year.
    The importer’s rep e-mailed back that they could not do that and if I wanted a freewheel
    I would have to buy my own rear wheel. They may have a good reason for not offering a
    freewheel option but they have lost sale to Woom. I hope the change their policy

    • The information you received was correct, there are legal issues when dealing with the lack of coaster brakes in bikes. Sadly, it has MUCH more to do with CPSC regulations that bike companies. The standards they use for kid’s bikes are really old and need to be updated. In the meantime, we, as well as the bike companies, are left dealing with the mess they have created.

  • Michelle

    Alright, so we are going back and forth between the CNOC & WOOM 2. My son is 39.25″ tall with only a 15″ inseam and weighs 37 lbs at 4 years old. He’s definitely ready for pedals as he mastered his balance bike last summer, but I want him to be able to freewheel as I’ve already seen his tendency to pedal the wrong way on other pedal vehicles. I really prefer the CNOC and the person that I spoke with when I called Islabikes suggested that any standard 14″ freewheel kit may fit, but they don’t sell one. Do you know of anyone with experience that might be able to tell me if they have successfully used a WOOM kit on the CNOC?

    • I was under the impression that WOOM’s freewheel kit would not fit on the CNOC 14, but I went and remeasured and I think it might. Both bikes have the same size hub and tire, would should allow for an easy swap. The chain guard on the Islabikes, however, will most likely not fit once the back wheel has been swapped out (the kit is an entire new back wheel and hub). As a result, I wouldn’t recommend it an exposed chain it likely to cause problems on a child’s bike.

      • Michelle

        OK, so I actually asked Islabikes this question again when I called them back, and though they couldn’t guarantee anything, they thought it would work so we decided to order. I wanted to share with you that we got my son the newest model CNOC 14 and swapped the rear wheel out with the WOOM 2 freewheel with no difficulty at all (chain & guard fit just fine). FYI, they have changed the tire on the new CNOC so the tire that comes on the WOOM freewheel is slightly larger. For now we haven’t switched the tire out on the freewheel, but we do plan to do so. We had the pedals off for 2 days and he was begging for them. He hasn’t “taken off” quite yet but he is getting close (he is a cautious kid). It may help when we change out that tire. I will keep you posted.

        • Yes! That’s awesome news, thanks for sharing! I’m surprised everything fit, but I am so glad it did. Thanks for answering the question we’ve all been wondering. Sounds like he is on his way to cruising :).

          • Michelle

            Natalie, I just posted a video of him on your Facebook page. He’s doing great!

          • Yeah, thanks so much! I love how you can actually see him pedal backwards a couple of times during the video. So excited it all came together, he’s doing awesome :).

  • Ade Nettell

    Early Rider Belter 16 or Islabikes CNOC 16? I can’t decide!!

    • Both are great, but if you are planning on riding any hills, I would go for the Early Rider as the coaster brake on the Islabikes will be a pain. The Belter as has a more aggressive geometry for off-roading. For any other riding, I would go with the Islabikes.

  • Jenna Tanis

    I stumbled upon your website while researching moving from a balance bike to a pedal bike….I love all of the information here! Our son has mastered his balance bike and is interested in moving to a pedal bike. My husband and I are unsure of which bike to get though, as our son is short for his age. He is turning 4 next month and just started wearing 4T pants and only has a 16″ inseam. I really liked the CNOC 14 & WOOM2 bikes but it seems like the seat height on both will be too tall for him. He really likes to be able to put both feet fully flat on the ground when starting and stopping. Should we be looking for a Special Hotrock 12 instead? Thank you!

    • How did you measure his inseam? If he is in 4T pants, his inseam should be closer to 18″. Of course every child is different (as are clothing brands), but I would double check before you order a bike. The best way to measure is to have him stand against a wall with his heels touching the wall. While he stands up straight, have take a larger hard bound book (like a kids picture book) and have him grip it between his legs. Slowly push the book up as fas inr as it can go. Once it stops, make sure the book is perpendicular to the wall and measure from the spin of the book to the floor.

      Assuming his inseam is great than 16″, then he should be fine on the CNOC 14 Large (minimum seat 18″) or the WOOM2 (minimum seat 17″). My son is also in 4T pants and rides the CNOC 16 as well as the WOOM3, but he can only touch with his tippy toes, so those would certainly be too big for your son.

      As for the Specialized, you can see a picture of my son on the Hotrock 12 and 16 here: http://www.twowheelingtots.com/beyond-the-balance-five-reasons-why-balance-bikes-are-worth-the-hype/. You can see the Hotrock 12″ is on the smaller side, but the 16″ was much harder for him to ride as compared to the CNOC and the WOOMs.

  • Jenna Tanis

    Hi Natalie, thanks for getting back to me. I double checked his inseam, making sure to follow your guidelines and the picture on your website. I only got another 1/2″ or so. My son has been in 3T shorts all summer and is just moving into 4T pants. Most of the times his pant legs are too long in whatever size he happens to be in. As a baby I was constantly rolling the cuffs a bit so he wouldn’t step on them. I think he just has really short legs for a kid his size. Would the CNOC 14″ small be better? Thanks for all your help!

    • Thanks for double checking With a 16″ inseam the Islabikes CNOC 14 small would be your best bet. If you needed a more affordable option, the ByK E-250 would also work, but the CNOC is much better quality.

  • brandyn

    So you said that the Cnoc has a coaster break in the US because of a law, why are there a few that don’t, Spawn Furi and Clearly Gecko?
    Thank you

    • The simple answer is because they found a loophole in the system. If the maximum seat height of the bike is high enough, then the coaster brake rule doesn’t apply. As a result, you have to buy an additional seat post on the Gecko to get the seat down to 15″. The same applies to the Furi. If you live in the US, you are required to alter the seat post yourself, which they explain on their Furi listing: ”
      Not Exactly as Pictured – Our US model of the Furi will ship with a full chainguard and a 300mm long seatpost to comply with CSPC requirements. The longer seatpost will not allow the seat height to the minimum allowable height the frame is capable of. The bicycle can be modified by the end consumer by shortening the seatpost or installing a shorter seatpost such as the 130mm seatpost that is used on the international model.”

  • Ben

    Hi I just wanted confirm that if you want to get rid of the rear coaster wheel on the CNOC14, the Woom2 freewheel will fit. Both bikes use a 110mm rear dropout spacing just like a BMX bike. In fact, the coaster hubs on both bikes appears to be identical, made by the same manufacturer. And it’s well worth the money buying the Woom freewheel because it’s almost of full pound lighter than the coaster wheel. The freewheel kit is actually a whole new rear wheel including the tire and tube, so it’s a pretty easy DIY swap.

    • Awesome, thanks! This will be a huge help to others. I believe you are right in that many people assume that it would be a huge undertaking, but considering you are just swapping out the rear tire, most parents could manage without a problem. Plus, a full pound different is just icing on the cake!

    • Jim

      Thanks! How can I get my hands on a Woom2 freewheel?

  • Jim

    Hi. My daughter is 3.5 yrs old (inseam 16″). She has mastered her Early Rider Lite (12″), continues to enjoy it, but it’s short for her now, and she also is very interested in pedals. She is not a super aggressive rider, but she is also not extremely timid. She rides mostly on pavement. Should I buy a bigger balance bike, or go for pedals? I would go for pedals, but… (1) spending >$300 would be hard for our budget, and (2) I don’t see a clear winner. I like the CNOC14, but I’ve read it may not be helpful for new riders to have coaster brakes. I like the Woom2, but I’ve read it may not be helpful if the bike geometry (and handles) force the riding position to be too upright. I’m tempted to go to REI or the local bike shop to buy a cheaper 12″ or 16″ pedal bike and just give that a go. Or I could just get her a larger balance bike, which is also more affordable. Thoughts?

    • If you daughter is asking for a pedal bike, I would give it a try! I would first take her to a bike shop and have her test out a bike to see if she really wants to pedal or just likes the idea of pedaling. Actually, with an inseam of 16″, it is going to be a challenge to find a bike small enough to allow her to run around on it without training wheels on. If she is adventurous, she actually might just fit on the Specialized Hotrock 12, so I would start there. If she hops on the bike and is eager to start pedaling around (even if it is challenging), I would pursue a pedal bike, if not, I would go for a larger balance bike. Besides the Hotrock 12, I wouldn’t consider looking at any other 12″ bikes in shops as the will be more challenging for her to ride. If you wanted a cheaper bike than a WOOM or an Islabike, I would go for the ByK 250 now (the purple is on sale for $170, http://amzn.to/2hbIs4O), which will certainly fit her now. Once she outgrows the ByK I would then look into a WOOM or an Islabikes.

  • Antoine

    Thank you for the amazing site! I’m trying to figure out what to get for my daughter. She’ll be turning 4 in February, which is when we were planning to give her the bike. She currently wears 3T clothes, which generally fit her spot on. Her inseam is around 17.5″. She currently has an Islabikes Rothan that we got her when she was 2 (and eventually upgraded with the longer seat post). She didn’t ride it much until this past summer, but then rode it a bunch and now has a good handle on balancing. She likes to use the hand brake, but I wouldn’t say she has “mastered” it (it’s not second nature). She is not big risk-taker, but she likes to challenge herself in ways that aren’t dangerous (e.g., how far can she balance without putting her feet down, etc.). She is very excited about the idea of a pedal bike, but hasn’t tried one.

    Based on your site, it sounds like she would be better suited with a 14″ bike like the Cnoc 14″ large or the Woom2 than the 16″ equivalents. I’m a bit concerned about how fast she might outgrow it, though… Islabikes lists a 19″ maximum inseam for the Cnoc 14″ large, which is just a half inch higher than the Rothan balance bike she’s currently riding. If we get her a 14″ bike now, will she just outgrow it right away? What usually comes next for kids that start on a 14″ pedal bike? Do they usually need a 16″ bike too or can they jump straight to a 20″ bike?

    Also, I haven’t seen much about saddle comfort. My daughter’s main complaint with her balance bike is pain from the saddle. The extended seat post on the Rothan came with a different saddle than the shorter post had, and this new one seems to works a bit better, but it is still her major complaint (and the reason she often wants to stop riding). Do you have any recommendations? Between the Islabikes and the Woom, do you have a sense of which would be more comfortable? Thanks again!

    • Glad to help! The debate between a 14″ and a 16″ is challenging. For most kids, it is much easier to learn to ride on a smaller 14″, but kids outgrow them quickly. We currently have both the CNOC 14″ Larger and the CNOC 16″ for my 4yo in 4T pants to ride. He can ride both, but fits MUCH better on the 16″ now, BUT when learning to ride back in May, the 14 was the perfect size for him to learn on. With a 17.5″ inseam, I would go with the WOOM3 first, and then the CNOC 16. The WOOM3 does not have a coaster brake (back pedal brake), which will make it easier for her to learn to pedal one, especially since she won’t be able to touch the ground completely with his feet. The geometry on the WOOM3 is also more upright than the CNOC, which makes it more comfortable for beginning riders. We also have the WOOM3 for a short time and for everyday riding, it is my son’s favorite bike. Hope that helps!

  • Margie

    Hallo Natalie, thanks for all your info! I wrote you a few weeks ago as we did not know if get a second balance bike or a pedal bike for my son. He just turned 3 an he is 98 cm high with an inseam of 38 cm. He is riding a First Bike since a year now and he is quite confident on gravel, downhill and he can master the brake. We decided to go for a pedal bike and we are doubting between the Woom 2 and the Cnoc 14. We ride on pavement but mostly on mountain bike tracks. We live in Italy and we can buy the Woom from Austria and the Cnoc from the Uk, can we have it without coaster brakes?Even if they are both quite expensive we would like to start with a good bike and try to sell it when it will be too small.Which is your suggestion?Thanks a lot!!!