Strider

Strider

Strider is often the first name parents turn to when buying a bike, but with countless other companies entering the market, Strider’s competition is increasing. So how do the Strider models hold up to the competition? The hands-down winner in balance bikes sold at big-box stores, the Strider is a well-designed and well-built.  The ideal size for kids aged 18-months to 3, Strider is lightweight, easy to adjust and easy to ride.

Size

Strider is one of the smallest balance bikes on the market.  With a minimum seat height of 11″, kids as young as 18-months can ride a Strider. Being one of the lightest as well, the Strider is a great starter balance bike for kids.  While its small frame isn’t ideal for older and/or taller kids, the extended seat post on the Sport and Pro models does allow kids up to age 5, to ride the Strider.

strider balance bikes sizes one year old four year old

Models

Strider’s standard 12″ balance bike is available in three models, the Classic, Sport, and Pro.  All three models have the same size frame and foam tires, but the Pro’s frame is made of aluminum, while the others are steel.  The Sport and the Pro also have a narrower handlebar, to allow for a tighter grip, a padded seat and an extra-long seat post to extend the maximum seat height to 19″ versus 16″. Lastly, the Sport and Pro come with a quick-release clamp that allows for easy, toll-free adjustments on the go, while the Classic requires an Allen wrench.

Strider Balance Bike Models

Model MSRP Weight Seat Height TIres Handlebar Seat Tool-free Adjust
Strider Classic $89 6.7 lb.  11 – 16″ Foam Standard, no pad  Non-padded No
Strider Sport $119 6.7 lb. 11 – 19″ Foam Mini-grip, padded  Padded Yes
Strider Pro $169 5.3 lb. 11 – 19″ Foam Mini-grip, padded Padded Yes

Weight and Geometry

Strider bikes are fun to ride!  Easy to ride and easy to handle, a simple search on YouTube will show countless videos of kids happily riding their Striders.  What makes them significantly better than big-box balance bikes?  Their lightweight and their geometry.  Weighing in a 6.7 lb. (5.3 lb. for Pro), the Strider is much easier for toddlers to handle as compared to 10 lb.+ balance bikes, such as the Burley, SmartGear, and Schwinn.  In addition to helping kids learn to balance, lightweight bikes also give them the confidence to get be adventurous.

strider balance bike lightweight jumps
The ease at which a child can ride a bike is also greatly determined by the bikes geometry. Kids need room to ride, and unlike most lower-end bikes, Strider provides plenty of room.  On many bikes the space between the handlebars and the seat is too close, making the bike harder to get on and off as well as more challenging to ride.  When getting started on a balance bike, kids need to be able to lean forward to allow them to increase their stride behind them.  If the handlebars are too close, they can’t lean in.  On a Strider, kids have plenty of room to lean in.  Strider’s low-set seat (close to the rear tire when placed at its lowest height) also provides a stabilizing low center-of-gravity for the rider.

strider balance bike geometry differences

Tires

The tires on all Strider bikes are puncture-proof, foam tires.  Lightweight, non-marking and essentially maintenance-free, foam tires will never go flat and are always ready for action.  For many families, never having to worry about flats is a major selling point worth considering, but foam tires do have their limitations.  Compared to lower-end balance bikes, Strider’s foam tires offer good traction, but they don’t compare to the traction provided by air tires.  Over the years, we have tested over 50 balance bikes on various surfaces and have time and time again seen foam tires lose traction where air tires have not.  Loose dirt and gravel, as well as smooth gym floors, are particularly bad for foam tires. For the average rider who plans on riding mainly on paved surfaces foam tires perform great.

strider balance bike foam tires air tires difference in traction

In addition to traction, foam tires provide NO cushioning for the rider.  Remember how it felt going over a curb on a Big Wheel?  Ever wondered why the don’t use foam tires on adult bikes?  Air tires, used on all bikes, whether road, mountain or kids, provide some level of cushioning for the rider.  When put under stress (ex: when going down a curb), an air tire will compress and absorb some of the impact, while foam tires will not.

strider balance bike air tires versus foam tires cushioning

Footrest

Footrests are not necessary on balance bikes (which is why most high-end brands don’t include them), but there is no harm in a well-designed footrest like Strider’s.  Carefully tucked in below the seat, Strider’s footrest is non-intrusive and out of the way.  On several brands, the footrest protrudes too far out from beneath the seat, causing kids, especially toddlers, to hit the rear of their calf on the footrest when riding. To use Strider’s footrest, kids simply place their heels on the footrest located close to the rear tire.

strider balance bike footrest differences

FootBrake and Other Accessories

As explained on our “What to Look for When Purchasing a Balance Bike” page, we are fans of hand brakes on balance bikes, but we realized they are not necessary.  Strider does not offer a hand brake, but they do offer a unique footbrake for $15.  The brake is mounted at the base of the seat post and allows kids to activate it with their heels. Our older testers, aged 4 and up, loved using the brake, but still relied mainly on their feet to stop the bike. The XL handlebars ($19) is also a great add-on available to older riders.  Longer, taller and wider than the standard bar, the XL bars can help older kids, ages 4 and up, be more comfortable on the Strider.

Strider’s elbow and knee pads ($19) are some of the best that we have reviewed, and the strap on snow skis ($35) were much more fun that anyone expected.  The Number Plate Kit ($10), was also a fun addition for kids of all ages (included with Pro model).

strider balance bike accessories

For the youngest of riders, ages 12 months to 2 years, Strider’s new rocking base ($79) turns their balance bike into a rocking horse!  While unsure at first, our 14-month-old tester loved exploring and rocking on the bike.  Not strong enough or coordinated enough to rock continuously, the rocking base didn’t keep his attention for very long, but he was so intrigued that kept coming back to it.  With time, I’m sure he will come to love rocking on his bike.

strider balance bike rocking base

Bottom Line

Strider’s bikes are great starter balance bikes for kids aged 18-months to 2.5 years.  Lightweight with ideal geometry, they are easy to ride and are maintenance free.  For under $100 the Strider Classic ($89) is a great pick for toddlers aged 18-months and up.  Its low minimum seat height, lightweight and scaled down features make it a great starter bike for the smallest riders.

For preschoolers aged 2.5 to 4, the Strider Sport ($119) is a better purchase as it comes with and extended seat post to increase the maximum seat height 3″.  Older and more adventurous riders, however, will likely benefit from the air tires and hand brakes offered by other brands, such as the Yedoo Too Too and Charger 12. See our complete list on our Balance Bike Comparison Charts.

Sharing Siblings: For sibling of various ages, Strider’s wide range of adjustability make it the easiest bike for siblings of varying heights to share.  The tool-free height adjustments on the Strider Sport make it your best bet.  To allow for easy seat changes, purchasing an additional seat ($15) will allow you to easily swap from a low seat (for kids ages 18 months to 2 years), to a taller seat for kids in 3T pants and above.


Where to Purchase (US Residence)

The Strider Classic, Sport and Pro are available on Amazon.

Where to Purchase (European Residence)

The entire line of Striders are available at Amazon.co.uk and a limited selection is available at Amazon.de, Amazon.fr and Amazon.es.

FTC Disclosure: Two Wheeling Tots LLC is not an affiliate of Strider Sports. No monetary compensation was provided for this review, but Strider Sport did supply a Strider Sport and rocking base to facilitate this review.  All opinions and pictures are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC.

      • Natalie

        3452

      • Britt Worth

        Hi, I’m stuck in between the Strider Sport and the Glide Bikes Ezee Glider. And I have a few questions. Short bio: my nephew is about to turn two; he has shorter legs compared to his upper body; he is currently in between 24mos – 2T clothing; he enjoys wrestling and being active; lives out in the country, so a bike that can handle off-roading is a must. My budget is pretty tight, but if there is a different bike between $70-$110, that would be better than the two I’ve picked, I’m all ears.

        My first question is about the weight of Glide Bikes Ezee Glider, I’ve read some reviews that this bike can be heavy for youngsters, would that be an issue for my nephew? Second question, is either bike better for a shorter kid, with smaller legs compared to the upper body? Third question, can he grow with either bike, for example will either bike last until he’s four? Fourth question, if I picked the Glide Bikes Ezee Glider, does this have any extra tools to help my nephew into doing tricks or jumps like Strider offers?

        I want to thank you in advance, if and when you have time to answer my questions. And also I wanted to state, your website rocks, these balance bikes are completely new to me, in fact I just read about them two days ago. Your website has certainly helped me realize why you don’t get a cheap bike, and instead go for something that will last and take a beating, so thanks.

      • Leslie Dube Fizdale

        Natalie–I was wondering your thoughts on buying the strider sport for my daughter. She will be 2 at the end of May and you don’t recommend it for kids older than 2.5. Would she get much use out of it??

        • You’re daughter is the perfect age for the Strider, so yes, I would recommend it. The reason why it is not listed on the 3.5 year chart is that the bike is on the smaller side for older kids. While most kids learn to ride their balance bike within a month or so, some can take up to six months. For kids who are already 3.5, they would 4 by the time they mastered the bike and would start to outgrow the Strider by then. Since your daughter is starting young, she will likely master the Strider way before she outgrows it.

          • Leslie Dube Fizdale

            Natalie–thanks so much for the response I really appreciate it. I got the bike today and my daughter wouldn’t get on it. I hoping that it is because has never had a bike and has to warm up to it. She wouldn’t even let me put her on the seat. 🙁 If you have any pointers on getting kids to ride it let me know. Thanks again. Your site is an awesome resource. I am so glad I found it when I was researching balance bikes.

            • No worries, it takes time. If possible, leave the bike inside so hopefully she warm up to it. The tires on the Strider are non-marking, so they are safe to use inside. After a while try again. If still no, then I would try to get her around other kids riding bikes as much as possible. Other kids on balance bikes would be awesome, but any bike will do. If that is not an option, look around on YouTube to show her videos of other kids riding around on balance bike. No rush, you have plenty of time as most kids don’t “get it” until around 2.5.

      • Ashley

        What about the 10″ wheels for a 2 year old? My daughter can barely touch the ground with the 12″ wheels, should I wait till she grows a little, or get her the 10″ tire one? Do they make a 10″?

        • Does she barely touch the ground on the Strider or on another balance bike with 12″ wheels. The sizes of balance bikes with 12″ wheels varies greatly, but the Strider is one of the smallest, so if she doesn’t fit on it, then I would go for a bike with 10″ wheels. There are several, including the Muna (http://amzn.to/1VObl4F), the bike*star (http://amzn.to/1r6533R) and the Haro z10 (http://www.twowheelingtots.com/haro-z10-z12/). With all these bikes, make sure to check the bikes minimum seat height to make sure it is in fact smaller than the Strider, which is 11″.

          • Ashley

            Thank you. We went for the Strider. I hope since her birthday is in a month she will grow just a hair more.

      • Nadia

        Great site! I have a 23 month old little guy with 12 inch inseam. Which would you recommend out of the Cruzee and Strider sport? Both are similar price in my country. Is the narrower handlebar of the Cruzee a significant problem and do you think it would last him until age 4? Thanks!

        • The handlebar on the Strider is actually slightly narrower than the Cruzee. Both bikes will last your son until he is four as long as he is not on the taller side. As far as which is better, there are pros and cons to each, but the Cruzee is lighter, has wider tires, a better seat and recessed bolts and won’t rust, but we have had more issues with Cruzee getting out of alignment than the Strider.

      • francesca cini

        HI Natalie,

        my son is 3years old and I would like to buy his first balance bike. My friend’s son has a strider and she is really happy about it but reading your reviews it seems to be for younger toddler. Would you recommend a frog instead? I would like to have a quite light bike and not too expensive. many thanks in advance

        • The Frog is a much better bike for a 3yo as it is bigger, has air tires, and hand brake and is built with real bike components. The Strider is really basic and is built with plastic components. The Strider is awesome for younger toddlers, but still works good for older kids as well. If the Frog is in your budget, I would certainly go for it, but if it is too much, then I wouldn’t hesitate to get the Strider.

      • Lin D

        I have a newly 3 yo who is tall, 3T-4T size. Thinking about a strider sport, would she be too tall for it or she will outgrow it before she master it. She has a baby sister I can pass down.

        • Being in some 4T already, the Strider is going to be a bit small, but still rideable. If you expect her to pick up on biking relatively quickly (most kids take about a month with regular use), then she will be fine with the Strider. If you expect her to take a while to learn and if you live in a cold climate where she won’t be able to ride throughout the winter, then I would consider a larger balance bike, such as the Too Too or the Scoot.

      • Ramya

        hi, my daughter is 2 yr and 3 months and is 35″ tall, but not very heavy.. she is around 25.6 lbs only. I am considering a strider sport for her. Would that work for her for a couple of years..? she has a trike, but hasn’t got the concept of pedaling yet. thank you for your time

        • Of the three, I would go with the Ezee Glider as it has a hand brake and air tires. The air tires will provide her cushioning while the hand brake will better prepare her for when she transitions to a pedal bike (she won’t use it for a year or so). The downside of the Ezee Glider versus the Strider is that the air tires can go flat, which is a pain. As a result, I would be sure to add tire sealant to the tires to prevent flats. Here’s how to apply it: http://www.twowheelingtots.com/how-to-apply-tire-sealant-to-bike-tires/.

      • ELF

        I want to get a balance bike for my son. He will be 18 mos next week, and he is small (25th percentile) but super-athletic. Because of his size, weight and seat height are key, so I have been focussing on the Cruzee or the Strider. I am leaning toward the Strider because of the possibility of switching to air tires when he is bigger, the long use life (since it should take him all the way to a pedal bike) and the price. I don’t anticipate him doing much off-road until next summer or so, so for now the weight is more important than the tires. Are there any other bikes you think I should be considering, or other factors that should impact my decision?

        • The extra-long seat post on the Strider cannot be used from the beginning as the post hits the ground when at its lowest position. If he is small and athletic, I agree that the small and lightweight Strider or Cruzee would be great options. If it is in your budget, I would also consider the WOOM1.

      • Adi

        I could use your help…my son is almost 4, 90th percentile for height, 17″ inseam, 43 lbs and seems to be best suited to the bigger 14″ bikes or the charger 16″, however my husband doesn’t want to spend much and is happy with the radio flyer. I think my son would benefit from a hand brake (and air tires although we can get them on the RF). Would a smaller, cheaper 12″ such as the strider be a better choice than the RF, or are there any others under $100 good for 4+ with a brake and air tires? He will ride it a bit this fall and probably next year then I expect he’d be fine with a regular bike. Thanks!

      • Adi

        Update – we ended up getting the glide bike mini with air tires (at the same time we bought his little sibling an Ezee glide bike) and it seems to be the perfect size for him with a little room still to grow.

        • Awesome. Unlike the Radio Flyer the Glide Bikes has a hand brake while still being reasonably priced, good call! I’m glad you found a bike that works for you and sorry for not being able to respond sooner.

      • Richard

        With a 12 inch wheel, shouldn’t there be about a 1/2 inch rake? Is there any rake?
        Rake being the distance of the front wheel hub from the steering axis.
        It is about 10% of the wheel radius on bigger bikes.
        Is there rake but I don’t see it?
        When the bike leans, the rake will put the wheel under the low side when the handlebar is turned into it so balance can be regained.