The Best Balance Bike for Your Dollar

Finding the best balance bike for your child is not as easy as it seems.  Very few brick-and-mortar stores actually sell balance bikes and even fewer have demo bikes on the floor.  Online isn’t much easier as over 20 different balance bikes are available and the majority of reviews are biased, reviewing only the concept of a balance bike, rather than the bikes themselves.  While relatively simple, balance bikes are more complex as they appear.  From the size of the frame, to the type of tires, before you purchase a bike, be sure to familiarize yourself with the various features on balance bike by reading 11 Distinguishing Features of Balance Bikes.

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A Portion of our Balance Bike Test Fleet

In terms of cost, be prepared to spend around $100 for a good quality bike. Cheaper bikes are available, but higher-quality bikes are a better investment as they have a high resale value and will last through several kids.  Higher-end bikes are also significantly safer than cheaper bikes as their air tires provide better traction and their low center of gravity allows kids to balance (and remain balancing) at slower speeds.   In the end however, any balance bike is better than no balance bike.  Although some bikes are certainly better than others, any balance bike will in fact teach your child to balance and provide hours of quality fun.

Balance Bike Comparisons and Ranking by Child’s Inseam

Exceptional ratings are awarded to bikes with the most desirable features within an age group. Highly Recommended Ratings are awarded to bikes that have many desirable features, but not as many as Exceptional bikes. Scroll down to view.
EXCEPTIONALgoldHighlyRecommendSilver

  • Best “Pre” Bike for Toddlers 12-18 Months (inseam 11″ or less, 18 mo clothes)
  • Best Balance Bikes for Toddlers 18 Months and Up (inseam at least 12.5″, 24mo/2T)
  • Best Balance Bikes for Toddlers 2.5 and Up (inseam at least 15″, 3T)
  • Best Balance Bike for Preschoolers 3.5 and Up (inseam at least 16″, 4T)
  • Best Balance Bikes for Preschoolers/Grade Schoolers Ages 4 and Up (inseam 17″ and up, 5T)

Best Bikes for Toddlers 12 Months and Up

Twelve-month-old toddlers are not going to learn to balance and shouldn’t be expected to, but they can enjoying learning to sit and scoot around the house or outside on paved areas.  Instead of a new shiny tricycle for their first birthday, consider a “pre” balance bikes instead.  Small kids or those whom may be hesitant are better off on a three or four-wheeled push bike as they are easier to use and require less effort.  Two-wheeled bikes are better suited for larger and/or older kids as they are more difficult to master.  Regardless of the “pre” bike you select, consider purchasing a true balance bike around the age of 2 (unless you invest in a Wishbone 3-in-1 which converts to a full size balance bike).

Best “Pre” Bikes for 12 -18 Month-olds (Inseam 11″ or less, 18 mo clothes)
Brand/Model MSRP Seat Height Total Weight Tires # of Wheels Warranty Other
Wishbone 3-in-1 $229 11”-18” 8.4 lb. as bike Air 2 or 3 1 Year Converts from tricycle to full-size balance bike
Early Rider Spherevelo $108 7.6″ 4.4 lb. Plastic 2 1 Year Two large sphere wheels, for kids as young as 8 months
Chillafish by Bunzi $69 8.6″,9.8″ 4 lb. Plastic 2 or 3 1 Year Converts from tricycle to balance bike
yBike $89 10.2″ 7 lb. Plastic 2 6 Months Seat does not adjust
Boot Scoot Bopper $95 11″ – 13.5″ 8 lb. Foam 2 5 Years Wide, flat tires to aid in balancing
Pewi yBike $65 10.6″ 4.4 lb. Plastic 4 6 Months Four caster wheels, teaches kids to sit and push
Scuttle Bug $45 8″ 5 lb. Plastic 3 6 Months Three-wheeled trike teaches kids to sit and push

 

Best Bikes for Toddlers 18 months and up:

With toddlers, a lightweight bike with a short saddle height is key.  Brakes and footrest are not essential as they will most likely never use them.  If you are starting your child on a balance bike when they are young, they will most likely be ready for a pedal bike about the same time they are coordinated enough to use a brake or footrest. Foam tires are great for toddlers as they are light weight and puncture proof, however they do not provide the proper traction needed for an older rider.  If your child is athletic and is most likely to convert to a pedal bike early, then a bike with foam tires is a great starter bike.  If however, you plan on having your child ride their balance bike until the age of 4 or older, then a balance bike with air tires is a worthy investment.  To prevent flat tires on air tire I highly recommend adding tire sealant to the tires from the get-go.  My top-pick for toddlers is the FIRSTBike, from its solid built to the sealed bearings, it is quite simply, the cream-of-the-crop in the balance bike market.

Best Balance Bikes for Toddlers 18 mo. and Up (12.5” inseam, 24mo/2T clothes)
Brand/Model MSRP Seat Height Brake Footrest Limiter Total Weight Tires Wheel Bearings Bolts Warranty
Exceptional
Islabike Rothan 12″ $189 11″-18″ Hand No Yes 7.7lb. Air Sealed R 5 Year
FirstBIKE $165 12″-18″ Option No Yes 8.4lb. Air Sealed R Lifetime
Highly Recommended
Strider ST-4 $109 11”-16” Option Yes No 6.4lb. Foam Sealed E 2 Years
KinderBike Mini Laufrad $119 11”-16.5” Hand No No 8.5lb. Air Regular E Lifetime
Early Rider Lite 12 $159 11.6”-15” No No Yes* 7.2lb. Air Sealed E 2 Years
Recommended
Haro Z10 $109 11″-17″ No Yes No 8.8 lb. Air Regular E Lifetime
Ridgeback Mini Scoot
$175 11″-20″ Hand No No 12 lb. Air Sealed E Lifetime
Wishbone 2-in-1 $199 11”-18” No No Yes 8.4 lb. Air Regular R 1 Year
Glide Bikes Ezee Glider $99 11”-17” Hand Yes* Yes 10lb. Air* Regular E Lifetime
Recommended with Reservations
ZUM-CX $90 12”-17” No No No 7.2 lb. Foam Sealed R 1 Year
KinderBike E Series $109 11”-15.5” Hand No No 7.1lb. Foam Regular E Lifetime
Glide Bikes Mini Glider $99 11”-16.5” Hand Yes* Yes 8lb. Foam Regular E Lifetime
Not Recommended
WeeRide Learn2Ride $49 14″ – 18″ Hand No No 12 lb. Foam Regular E 6 months
Chicco Red Bullet $49 13″ – 15″ No No No 9 lb. Foam Regular E 1 Year
yBike Original $80 10.5” No No Yes* 7.7lb. Plastic Regular R 90 days
Bolts Key: R = Recessed, E = Exposed, C = Covered *Notes: Mini and Ezee Glider’s footrests are removable.
Some Ezee Glider models come with foam.  Early Rider’s limiter is removable. Performance warranty is 100% satisfaction.
FirstBIKE has an optional lowering kit for seat lowering it to 12” for $15 and offer 4 different tire options.

Best Bikes for Toddlers Aged 2.5 and up:

Whether your toddler is an off-roading maniac or a street cruising princess, with the countless bikes available on the market, you are sure to find the perfect bike for your child.   Assuming your child will ride the bike for several years, air tires are preferred.  With a little practice a 2.5-year-old will quickly be riding over mountains and hills if you let them, so be sure to purchase a bike with knobby tires (offered by FIRSTBike Cross model, LIKEaBIKE and Specialized), if your child will have access to off-road terrain.

Best Balance Bikes for Toddlers 2.5 and Up (inseam at least 15”, 3T)
Brand/Model MSRP Seat Height Brake Footrest Limiter Total Weight Tires Bearings Bolts Warranty
Exceptional
Islabike Rothan 12″ $189 11″-18″ Hand No Yes 7.7lb. Air Sealed R 5 Year
FirstBIKE $165 12″-18″ Option No Yes 8.4lb. Air Sealed R Lifetime
Highly Recommended
Ridgeback Mini Scoot
$175 11″-20″ Hand No No 12 lb. Air Sealed E Lifetime
Ridgeback Scoot
$175 14″-20″ Hand No No 12 lb. Air Sealed E Lifetime
LIKEaBIKE Jumper $299 13.4”-18.5” No No Yes* 7.5lb. Air Regular E 2 Years
Yedoo TooToo $129 13.8”-18.1” Hand No Yes 8.4 lb. Air Regular E 2 Years
Burley MyKick $129 12.5-16″ No No No 11.3lb. Rubber* Regular E 3 Years
Early Rider Classic $189 12”-15.5”* No No Yes* 10.5lb. Air Sealed R 2 Years
Specialized Hotwalk $170 13.5”-17” No Yes No 9.5 lb. Air Regular E 5 Years
TykesBykes 12″ $109 13”-18” Hand No Yes 10lb. Air Regular E 2 Year
KinderBike Laufrad $119 13”-18.5” Hand No No 8.5lb. Air Regular E Lifetime
Bixbi Bikes $225 13.8″-17.8″” No No No 7.4lb. Air Semi-Sealed R Lifetime
Recommended
Haro Z12 $139 12.5″-18.5″ No Yes No 11 lb. Air Regular E Lifetime
Yedoo Fifty $119 13.8”-17.8” No No No 8.4 lb. Air Regular E 2 Years
Joovy BicycooGT $150 14-15.25” Hand No No 8.75lb. Air Regular C 1 Year
Strider ST-4 $109 11”-16” Option Yes No 6.4lb. Foam Sealed E 2 Year
Joovy BicycooBMX $140 15”-16.25” Hand No Yes 7.25 lb. Air Regular C 1 Year
Glide Bikes Ezee Glider $99 11”-17” Hand Yes* Yes 10lb. Air* Regular E Lifetime
Recommended with Reservations
Schwinn $109 14″-16.5″ No No Yes 10.5 lb. Air Regular R 2 years
Kinderfeets $109 13″-16″ No Yes Yes 8 lb. Foam Regular R 2 years
Radio Flyer Glide & Go $49 14.5”-18” No No No 8.7lb. Foam Regular R 1 year
Vilano Balance Bike $60 15.5”-17.7” No No No 5.5lb. Foam Regular R 1 year
Kettler Verso $109 13.5”-17.5” No Yes Yes 14 lb. Air Sealed E 3 Year
Kazam $99 14”-17.5” No Yes No 11.2lb. Air Regular C 2 years
Prince Lionheart $85 14”-16.5” No No No 10lb. Air Regular R 1 year
Wishbone 2-in-1 $199 11”-18” No No Yes 8.4 lb. Air Regular R 1 Year
Skutt $99 13.5”-16.5” No No Yes 10lb. Air Regular E 1 Year
Glide Bike Mini Glider $99 11”-16.5” Hand Yes* Yes 8lb. Foam Regular E Lifetime
Boot Scoot Zoomer $90 14”-17” No No No 7lb. Foam Regular E 5 Year
Not Recommended
Smart Gear Classic $89 12.5”-17.5” No No Yes 11lb. Air Regular R 90 days
Chicco Red Bullet $49 13″-15″ No No No 9lb. Foam Regular E 1 Year
TootScoot $49 13″-15” No No No 9lb. Foam Regular E 1 Year
yBike Extreme $99 14” fixed No No No 7lb. Rubber Regular R 90 days
Bolts Key: R = Recessed, E = Exposed, C = Covered *Notes: Mini and Ezee Glider’s footrests are removable. Some Ezee Glider come with foam tires.
Early Rider’s & LIKEaBIKE’s limiters are removable. REI’s warranty is 100% satisfaction.
Early Rider’s have an optional extended seat post that adds an additional 3″ to seat. TootScoot has wide tires and a 30 day satisfaction guarantee.
FirstBIKE has an optional lowering kit for seat lowering it to 12” for $15 and offer 4 different tire options.
Burley MyKick has long lasting, flat-proof, air-filed rubber tires.

 Best Bikes for Preschoolers Aged 3.5 and up:

By three-and-a-half kids need a bike as close to a real bike as possible.  While foam tires are still durable enough for preschoolers, there is a lot to be said of the increased traction and “bike-like” feel air tires offer.  Hand brakes are also a bonus, as most kids can fully utilize them by age four.  Preschoolers may also be old enough to use a footrest, but not at the expense of foam tires.

Best Balance Bikes for Preschoolers 3.5 and Up (inseam at least 16”, 4T)
Brand/Model MSRP Seat Height Brake Footrest Limiter Total Weight Tires Bearings Bolts Warranty
Exceptional
Ridgeback Scoot
$175 14″-20″ Hand No No 12 lb. Air Sealed E Lifetime
Highly Recommended
LIKEaBIKE Jumper $299 13.4”-18.5” No No Yes* 7.5lb. Air Regular E 2 Years
Yedoo TooToo $129 13.8”-18.1” Hand No Yes 8.4 lb. Air Regular E 2 Years
Early Rider Evo $199 14.3”-18.3” No Yes Yes* 10.5lb. Air Sealed R 2 Years
TykesBykes 12″ $109 13”-18” Hand No Yes 10lb. Air Regular E 2 Year
TykesBykes 16″ $119 16”-22” Hand No Yes 10lb. Air Regular E 2 Year
Bixbi Bikes $225 13.8″-17.8″” No No No 7.4lb. Air Semi-Sealed R Lifetime
KinderBike Laufrad $119 13”-18” Hand No No 8.9lb. Air Regular E Lifetime
Recommended
Haro Z12 $139 12.5″-18.5″ No Yes No 11 lb. Air Regular E Lifetime
Kettler Verso $109 13.5”-17.5” No Yes Yes 15lb. Air Sealed E 3 Year
Yedoo Fifty $119 13.8”-17.8” No No No 8.4 lb. Air Regular E 2 Years
Joovy BicycooBMX $140 15”-16.25” Hand No Yes 7.25lb. Air Regular C 1 Year
Joovy BicycooGT $150 14”-15.25” Hand No No 8.75lb. Air Regular C 1 Year
Raleigh Lil’ Push $139 13.3”-? No No No ~8lb. Air Regular E Lifetime
Berg Biky $125 14”-18.5” No Yes No 15 lb. Air Sealed E 2 Years
Kazam $99 14”-17.5” No Yes No 11.2lb. Air Regular C 2 years
Recommended with Reservations
Schwinn $109 14″-16.5″ No No Yes 10.5 lb. Air Regular R 2 years
Glide Bike Mini Glider $99 11”-16.5” Hand Yes* Yes 8lb. Foam Regular E Lifetime
Boot Scoot Zoomer $90 14”-17” No No No 7lb. Foam Regular E 5 Year
Smart Gear Classic $89 12.5”-17.5” No No Yes 11lb. Air Regular R 90 days
Wishbone 2-in-1 $199 11”-18” No No Yes 8.4 lb. Air Regular R 1 Year
Not Recommended
Trikke Bikee $70 14.5”-18.5” No Yes Yes 6.7 lb. Air Foam R 1 Year
Bolts Key: R = Recessed, E = Exposed, C = Covered *Notes: Mini and Ezee Glider’s footrests are removable.
Early Rider’s & LIKEaBIKE’s limiters are removable. REI’s warranty is 100% satisfaction.  
Early Rider’s have an optional extended seat post. KinderBike Morph converts to a pedal bike (kit included).
FirstBIKE has an optional lowering kit for seat lowering it to 12” for $15 and offer 4 different tire options.

Best Bike for Grade Schoolers Aged 4 and up:

Around five, most kids are able to ride a pedal bike, but if they are not yet ready a balance bike is they way to go (just say no to training wheels!).  Hand brakes are definitely an added bonus, while a footrest is also something to consider for kids wanting to do “tricks”.  For off-roaders, the Jumper in hands-down the best bike, but with 12″ tires, it is on the smaller side.  Both the Super Strider and the Go Glider (with air tires versus foam model) have 16″ wheels and are ideal for older kids who have yet to master a pedal bike or early BMX riders who want to perform tricks without the hindrance of pedals.

Best Balance Bikes for Grade Schoolers 4 and Up (inseam 17” and above, 5T)
Brand/Model MSRP Seat Height Brake Footrest Limiter Total Weight Tires Bearings Bolts Warranty
Exceptional
TykesBykes 16″ $119 16”-22” Hand No Yes 10lb. Air Regular E 2 Year
Highly Recommended
LIKEaBIKE Jumper $299 13.4”-18.5” No No Yes* 7.5 lb. 12″ Air Regular E 2 Years
Ridgeback Scoot
$175 14″-20″ Hand No No 12 lb. Air Sealed E Lifetime
REI Novara Zipper $99 17.25″ – 21″ No No Yes 11lb. Air Regular E Yes*
Early Rider Evo $199 14.3”-18.3” No Yes Yes* 10.5 lb. 14″ Air Sealed R 2 Years
Recommended
Super Strider $159 17.5″-25″ Hand Yes No 15 lb. 16″ Air Regular E 1 Year
Berg Biky $125 14”-18.5” No Yes No 15 lb. 12″ Air Sealed E 2 Years
Recommended with Reservations
Glide Bike Go Glider $149 17.5”-23” Hand Yes* Yes 10 lb. 16″ Air Sealed E Lifetime
Boot Scoot Cruiser $100 17”-20” No No No 10 lb. 12″ Air Regular E 5 Year
Not Recommended
Wishbone 2-in-1 $199 11”-18” No No Yes 8.4 lb. 12″ Air Regular R 1 Year
Trikke Bikee $70 14.5”-18.5” No Yes Yes 6.7 lb. Air Foam R 1 Year
Bolts Key: R = Recessed, E = Exposed, C = Covered
Early Rider’s & LIKEaBIKE’s limiters are removable.  Go Glider footrest is removable.
Early Rider’s have an optional extended seat post.  REI’s return policy is 100% satisfaction and is pretty much amazing.

To view balance bike comparisons in sortable chart click here: Master Sortable and Searchable Balance Bike Comparison Chart.

Best in Class Balance Bikes

Best in Class awards are not dependent on age groups and are awarded based on specific desirable features.
BestInClassBlue

  • Best Safety Features
  • Best All-Around
  • Best All-Terrain
  • Best Wood
  • Best Bang for Your Buck
  • Best Puncture-Proof Tires
  • Best Budget

Best Safety Features

FirstBike FF

FirstBIKE – all models: With its incomparable safety features (recessed bolts, turning limiter, waterproof frame), choice of four different tires and an optional brake and lowering kit, FirstBIKE is simply the best balance bike on the market for the average rider.  Starting at $159, FirstBIKE is pricey, but certainly packs a lot of punch and is sure to be well-loved by your kids.

Best All-Around

mykick_red_angleBurley MyKick: Although FirstBIKE is my top pick, its high price tag and potential for flats are a turn off for many parents.  MyKick’s impressive trifecta of durability, lack of maintenance and affordability, truly make it the best all-around bike for families.  With an MSRP of $129, MyKick is available in red, green and pink.

 

Best All-Terrain

likeabike FFLikeaBike Jumper: Complete with a shock and “Big Apple” tires that provide additional cushion and traction, the LikeaBike Jumper (Kokua) is the ultimate bike for any single-track loving preschooler.  Starting at $299, they don’t come cheap, but they do come with an adjustable shock, a removable turning limiter, top-notch customer service, amazing tires and an extremely high resale value.

 

Best Wood Balance Bike

Early Rider FF Early Rider Bikes: Whether you want an eco-friendly bike or simply enjoy the old school look, Early Rider’s wood balance bike series has you covered.  From their embossed flames on the side of their marine-grade eco-friendly birch frame to their “Big Apple” tires on sealed ball-bearings, Early Rider’s ride as good as they look.  Starting at $180, they offer three sizes to ensure a proper fit.  If price isn’t an issue, starting at $250, LikeaBike, one of the original balance bikes companies out of Europe, offer several wood models that all receive rave reviews.

Best Bang-for-Your-Buck

tykesbykes 2013TykesBykes 12″ and 16″: If you are looking for a bike shop quality on a big-box store budget, look no further than TykesBykes.  Built and designed by a bike enthusiast dad, TykesBykes are quite simply the best bang-for-your-buck in the balance bike world.  With sales prices often less than $95, air tires, a hand brake, top-notch customer service and two sizes to ensure a proper fit (smallest minimum inseam on 12″ model is 13″), you can’t go wrong with a TykesBykes.  The 12″ model, currently only available in green, retails for $109, while the 16″ model, currently only available in orange, retails for $129.

Best Puncture-Proof Tires

Flat tires can be both burdensome for both parent and child.  While tire sealant can essentially eliminate all flats in air tires, if you prefer a solid tire, foam and rubber honeycomb tires are available.

Best Flat-free Tires Balance Bikes
Brand/Model MSRP Seat Height Brake Footrest Limiter Total Weight Tires Bearings Bolts Warranty
FirstBIKE Basic $165 12″-18″ Option No Yes 7.7lb. Air Sealed R Lifetime
Burley MyKick $129 12.5-16″ No No No 11.3lb. Rubber Regular E 3 Years
Strider ST-4 $109 11”-16” Option Yes No 6.4lb. Foam Sealed E 2 Year
Glide Bike Mini Glider $99 11”-16.5” Hand Yes* Yes 8lb. Foam Regular E Lifetime
Adams/Haro/Norco Bike $100 12.5”-? No No No 8.5lb. Foam Regular E 5 Years

Best Budget Balance Bikes

Any balance bike is better than no balance bike, so if your budget is tight, the Strider ST-3 (non-branded) and Sun Bicycles Lil’ Rocket are both good choices for under $70.  With the release of the new Strider ST-4 models, the prices on the ST-3 are likely to stay low, but won’t last forever.  While I have not personally seen the Lil Rock’t, Biking Genius’ review of the bike is encouraging.  Both the Strider and the Lil Rock’t have foam tires, but unless you plan on riding on all-terrain areas (dirt, loose rock, mud, etc.) or are buying for a child older than 3, they should work out just fine.  If you are set on air tires, the Kettler and Kazam bikes are both high-quality bikes with air tires that often sell for less than $90 on Amazon.

Best Budget Balance Bikes
Brand/Model MSRP Seat Height Brake Footrest Limiter Total Weight Tires Bearings Bolts Warranty
Radio Flyer Glide & Go $49 14.5”-18” No No No 8.7lb. Foam Regular R 1 year
Vilano Balance Bike $60 15.5”-17.7” No No No 5.5lb. Foam Regular R 1 year
Strider ST-3 $69 11”-16” Option Yes No 6.4lb. Foam Regular E 2 Year
Sun Lil Rock’t 12″ $69 12″-? No No No 11 lb. Foam Regular E Lifetime on Frame
ZUM-CX $55 12”-17” No No No 7.2 lb. Foam Sealed R 1 Year

Disclosure – I received several demo bikes to facilitate my review.  No monetary compensation was provided.  All opinions are completely my own.

I am disclosing in accordance with FTC 16 CFR Part 255.

  • Erik DeKold

    Be sure to check out Early Rider’s new Spherovelo Juno. My now 1 year old was actually able to sit and scoot for a bit at nearly 8mos old. Since he’s started walking recently he prefers to push it around, but once he’s walking more confidently I think he’ll realize the potential it offers. Super cool product.

    • Natalie

      I agree, the Spherovelo looks like a cool product, but I had no idea it was small enough for one-year-olds. I’ll be sure to add it to the Pre-Balance Bike List.

      • Erik DeKold

        This is Odin at about 7.5mos old. http://youtu.be/D0geuPJ8Mek Like I said he doesn’t scoot on it much now (5mos later), but I think once he has a better grasp of the fun he can have he’ll start doing so soon.

        • Natalie

          Thanks for posting! At 7 months he is already on his way, awesome!

  • Erik DeKold

    Be sure to check out Early Rider’s new Spherovelo Juno. My now 1 year old was actually able to sit and scoot for a bit at nearly 8mos old. Since he’s started walking recently he prefers to push it around, but once he’s walking more confidently I think he’ll realize the potential it offers. Super cool product.

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      I agree, the Spherovelo looks like a cool product, but I had no idea it was small enough for one-year-olds. I’ll be sure to add it to the Pre-Balance Bike List.

      • Erik DeKold

        This is Odin at about 7.5mos old. http://youtu.be/D0geuPJ8Mek Like I said he doesn’t scoot on it much now (5mos later), but I think once he has a better grasp of the fun he can have he’ll start doing so soon.

        • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

          Thanks for posting! At 7 months he is already on his way, awesome!

  • David Fast

    I think that my 4 year old son has outgrown his Kinderbike Laufrad. His inseam is 19.5″ and he is about 45″ tall. The Tykesbykes 16 looks like a good option, but there aren’t a lot of reviews out there on this bike. Is the Go Glider still the best in this size range, or would you recommend the Tykesbykes or the REI bike?

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      I am currently in the process of writing up reviews on both the Go Glider with air and the TykesBykes 16″ and I much prefer the TykesBykes 16″. I feel it is an all around better bike, plus until July 1st it is currently on sale for $89 with free shipping, versus $159 with a Go Glider with air. The REI Novara Zipper is also a great bike for $99, but it does not come with a brake like the TykesBykes. If you would like some picture of the Go Glider or the TykesBykes, let me know and I can send you a few.

  • Betsy Endress

    What bike would you recommend to be passed down through several (5?) children? What is the tallest inseam (or really oldest age) you think the Firstbike would work for? I’m not sure how age and inseam usually coordinate :-) This bike would be for mostly street riding with some gravel/dirt trails. I’m hoping to use the same balance bike before transitioning each child to their own pedal bike. Thanks for your input and great reviews!

    • Natalie

      First off, for a bike to last through five kids, quality is important as well as warranty. Second, from my experience, each consecutive kid will want to ride the balance bike sooner that then the last as they attempt to keep up with their older siblings. My oldest rode her first balance bike at 3, my second at 2 and my one-year-old loves to be pushed around on a balance bike, but is still too short to manage it on his own. As a result, you are going to want to bike with a minimum inseam of around 12″ to ensure the younger kids will be able to ride it when they are ready. FirstBIKE therefore would be a good choice, as it has a Lifetime warranty and a minimum seat height of 12″. However, when set at the maximum seat height of 18″, the bike doesn’t perform as well for taller older kids. As a result, I wouldn’t recommend to you if the first child who plans on using it has an inseam greater than 15-16″ or for kids older than three if you are unsure about inseam. For kids older than three (with an low minimum seat height for future use), I would them recommend the Ridgeback Scoot, which adjusts from 13″-18″ or the TykesBykes 12″, which adjusts 13″-17″. Both are well, made bikes with handbrakes and solid frames that are suitable for all ages. The TykeBykes only has a warranty of two years while the Ridgeback is a Lifetime, however as you can see in my review (http://www.twowheelingtots.com/tykesbykes/), the TykesBykes frame is solid and I wouldn’t let the 2 year warranty scare you off. The Ridgeback however is an amazing bike that probably better suited for younger kids than the TykesBykes, but will not be available until later this summer. Hopefully I answered all your questions, if not feel free to ask away!

  • Amanda Myers

    This is such an awesome resource! My son will be two in a week and a half but he’s a total peanut. His inseam is about 11.5 inches, 25ish(?) pounds, and fairly cautious. Given all that, we were leaning toward getting him a Chillafish for the time being. Winters are pretty bitter here and he could right that around our house and we wouldn’t have to worry about the weight/height of the bike for now.

    Then we figured we could buy him an Ezee Glider as an early birthday present next summer. Care to weigh in and help us decide? :)

    • Natalie

      I can totally relate as our 18-month-old boy is small, is too short for any of our bikes and we also have frigid winters around here. I have eyed the Bunzi myself, but my I honestly think it is just too small. With a max height of 9.8″ he is already too big for it! Instead, I would go for the yBike as it is an inch taller at 10.2″, plus it has a fat back wheel and can remain upright on it’s own, thereby encouraging balancing when running without the fear of tipping over. Its plastic wheels also work great indoors. As for Ezee Glider, with so many balance bikes scheduled to hit the market in the next six months it’s hard to say what bike will be best for him them, so when you are ready to buy, check back in with me for more recommendations.

      • Amanda Myers

        Thank you so much! I hadn’t even looked at the yBike for some reason! `And Overstock.com has it for $63.99 right now. I love that he’ll have some stability along with the experience of balancing. I’ll definitely check back when we’re ready to upgrade- thanks again!

  • Cath Riley

    We could not agree more with your comprehensive review and detailed assesment of the balance bike market! http://www.firstbikesg.com From FirstBIKE Singapore !

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      Glad to hear you approve! As always, if you every feel that I missed anything or disagree, please let me know. The more opinions the better!

  • Natalie

    You’re welcome! I hope your little one is loving your FirstBIKE.

  • Candice

    My almost 3.5 year old has an inseam of 16.5 inches. I am leaning towards getting the 16″ TykeByke so he will grow into it for years to come. Do you think the 16″ will be too tall for him at this point? I was also thinking the Ridgeback Scoot, but since it’s more expensive I would rather get the TykeByke if that would fit him. Thanks for all the awesome bike reviews!

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      You are right in that he is just on the edge. I think the TykesBykes 16″ would currently be slightly too big for him, however within a year he would grow out of the 12″. If your son is more on the athletic side and is eager to ride a bike, I would probably go with the 16″, however if he is more hesitant or lighter weight, I would go with the 12″. Between the three, the Scoot would in fact be the best bike. It is of course more expensive, but if you happen to have a younger sibling to pass it onto, it would certainly be worth the additional investment. Hope that helps!

  • Amelia

    Any idea when the tykebykes (both sizes) will be going on sale again?!?!

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com Natalie

      Sorry, I don’t! Last year that had several sales before the holiday season, so I am expecting at least one sale in the next two months, but have no idea when.

      • Elizabeth

        i like the balsnce bike from Raleigh, but I was wondering about a few things. Where does the Raleigh Lil’ Push rate within the bunch of bikes for 2.5 year olds and up? It has a lowest seat height of 13.3. I only see it listed with the bikes for 3.5 year old and up. What makes it “recommended” vs, “highly recommended” or “top pick” in that bunch? What is the maximum sear height? Thanks!

        • http://www.twowheelingtots.com Natalie

          The Raleigh would certainly be a great choice as it is built by a bike company with a solid frame and air tires. I was unable to determine the maximum seat height as well, so your best bet would be to contact a dealer directly. Knowing it has a minimum seat height of 13.3, you are right in that it should be listed in 2.5 year group. Although I have not tested the bike, I would most likely list it as Highly Recommended, as it is well built, has a good design, air tires and is reasonably priced. I would not list it as a Top Pick as it still has exposed bolts, is heavy and it does not offer a brake. “Recommended” bikes are missing more features than “Highly Recommended” and so forth. I do not have an exact system that I follow to determine a bike’s ranking, but generally the Top Pick has the most desirable features, the Highly Recommended have a few less and so forth down the line.

  • Jason

    Natalie, this site is a great resource! Our son just turned 4 and does very well on his LikeaBike Jumper, but he seems to be too tall for it. He is 45″ tall with a 17″ inseam. Would you recommend ordering the longer seat post from LikeaBike or move up to something like the TykesBykes 16″? I would think that the longer post would make him lean over too far?

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com Natalie

      To get the best ride the seat should be lower than the handlebars. Based on this picture of a Jumper with an extended seat post, it looks like it raises it to the level of the seat post, which is not idea, but that that bad. If your son loves his Jumper, I would probably go with the extended seat post as without the suspension of the Jumper, he might be disappointed with the TykesBykes 16″. If you think that he would be open to riding a bigger bike without the added cushion of the suspension and Big Apple tires, then I would go with the TykesBykes as it is going to provide a better fit for him overall. Hope that helps!

    • Mike

      I have a 2.5 yo with an 15-16″ inseam. We are wanting to get her a balance bike for Christmas but not sure which one to get. I was originally leaning towards the FirstBike, but saw that it may not be best for older/taller toddlers. So I am now considering the Ridgeback Scoot. We also have a newborn that we would like to use the bike in the future.

      • http://www.twowheelingtots.com Natalie

        At 2.5, I think the FirstBIKE would still be a great choice. Even with a 16″ inseam, if he rides is regularly over the next year, he will most likely be able to transition to a pedal bike at 3.5. I’ve also found that kids who start on the FirstBIKE when they are young tend to not notice any flexing on the bike as they get older and doesn’t appear to be a major issue. Kids who start on the FirstBIKE at an older age, usually around 3.5, notice the flexing from the beginning and are much more comfortable on a metal bike. If you are still concerned about the flexing, I would actually recommend the Islabike Rothan over the Ridgeback simply because the Scoot will be too heavy and too tall for your newborn to ride at a young age.

        • Mike

          Thanks for the help. Shortly after posting, I began researching the Islabike Rothan. Obviously more expensive, but which would you recommend between the Rothan and FirstBike?

          • http://www.twowheelingtots.com Natalie

            They are both great bikes, but for your case, if the Rothan is in your budget, I would go with it as you don’t have to worry about the bike flexing with your older daughter as she ages, yet it will be small and light enough for your newborn when he/she gets older. The Rothan is smaller than the FirstBIKE however, as it’s minimum seat height is 11″, while the FirstBIKE is 14″ without a lowering kit, 12″ with. Even so, our 3 yo tester loves the Rothan and has no problems fitting on the bike. If you are shopping for Christmas however, you might want to check the lead time on the Rothan as I know they thoroughly inspect every bike before they ship it out. If time is not a concern, is the Rothan worth the additional money? I personally think so, but considering how great the FirstBIKE is, I don’t believe the Rothan is worth blowing your budget over either.

  • Susannah

    I would really like to have info about which models can be converted to pedals when the child is ready. I would like my son to get confident on a balance bike, and then have the pedals added to it, so that the transition is easy as the bike is already familiar. Also so that I don’t have to buy another new bike.

  • mav

    strider st-pro much like the st-4 but under 5lbs

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      You’re right, at 4.9 lbs. the aluminum Strider Pro is, as far as I know, the lightest bike in production. It’s currently selling for $169, which is pretty pricey for a bike with EVA tires. More info here: http://www.striderbikes.com/bikes/st-pro

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      You’re right, at 4.9 lbs. the aluminum Strider Pro is, as far as I know, the lightest bike in production. It’s currently selling for $169, which is pretty pricey for a bike with EVA tires. More info here: http://www.striderbikes.com/bikes/st-pro

  • Carol

    This site is a great source of information, thank you. I am new to the world of balance bikes although we have an almost 6 year old (18 1/2″ inseam) and an almost 3 year old (almost 13″ inseam). My 6 year old is very cautious, poor balance, struggles with gross motor activities – for example, after 2 years of trying he is just starting to get comfortable on a mini-kick scooter. So, while I would love to see him using a balance bike I’m not sure how much he’ll use it (but also want to give him a chance to try whatever bike would be the easiest/most stable for him). My original plan was to get a bike the two boys could share to justify the cost if my older son doesn’t use it – are there any bikes you would recommend to work for both of them?

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      Glad to be of help! I agree with you that a balance bike is certainly worth a shot with your older son. My good friend had a similar experience with her 8 year old son and with time we he learned to love his balance bike and was finally able to ride around the block with his friends. He has yet to convert to a pedal bike, but the confidence he has gained in his balance bike has been amazing!

      In terms of sharing a bike, there are two bikes that I believe would work for your family. The Ridgeback Scoot Mini, which has a seat range of 11″ – 20″ and the Strider, which ranges from 12″ – 19″. Between the two, the Ridgeback is a better bike overall as it comes with a hand brake and air tires, which will greatly benefit your older son. The bike also has a wider handlebars and a longer wheelbase than the Strider. The one downside of the Scoot Mini is that while it comes with three seat posts to adjust the height of the seat, it only comes with one seat. As a result, you will have to move the seat onto the various sized seat posts whenever the bike gets switched from one rider to another. Luckily the seat only requires one screw to be removed, but it will still take some time.

      The Strider ST-4 however, does not come with the extended seat posts like the Scoot, but it is available for purchase separately. Strider’s extended seat posts actually comes with a seat as well, so unlike the Ridgeback, you will not have to swap seats, only seat posts when switching between riders. The Strider however, does have foam tires, is much smaller than the Ridgeback and does not offer a hand brake.

      Hope that helps! Feel free to reply if you need more help.

      • Carol

        thanks, that helps a lot – based on your reviews I had actually been thinking about the ridgeback mini scoot based on your reviews. For my older son i thought it sounded more stable than the Strider. However, it does seem pricey – if we’re going to spend that much I wonder if we could just get two less expensive bikes. Would you have any comments on that?

  • Carol

    This site is a great source of information, thank you. I am new to the world of balance bikes although we have an almost 6 year old (18 1/2″ inseam) and an almost 3 year old (almost 13″ inseam). My 6 year old is very cautious, poor balance, struggles with gross motor activities – for example, after 2 years of trying he is just starting to get comfortable on a mini-kick scooter. So, while I would love to see him using a balance bike I’m not sure how much he’ll use it (but also want to give him a chance to try whatever bike would be the easiest/most stable for him). My original plan was to get a bike the two boys could share to justify the cost if my older son doesn’t use it – are there any bikes you would recommend to work for both of them?

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      Glad to be of help! I agree with you that a balance bike is certainly worth a shot with your older son. My good friend had a similar experience with her 8 year old son and with time we he learned to love his balance bike and was finally able to ride around the block with his friends. He has yet to convert to a pedal bike, but the confidence he has gained in his balance bike has been amazing!

      In terms of sharing a bike, there are two bikes that I believe would work for your family. The Ridgeback Scoot Mini, which has a seat range of 11″ – 20″ and the Strider, which ranges from 12″ – 19″. Between the two, the Ridgeback is a better bike overall as it comes with a hand brake and air tires, which will greatly benefit your older son. The bike also has a wider handlebars and a longer wheelbase than the Strider. The one downside of the Scoot Mini is that while it comes with three seat posts to adjust the height of the seat, it only comes with one seat. As a result, you will have to move the seat onto the various sized seat posts whenever the bike gets switched from one rider to another. Luckily the seat only requires one screw to be removed, but it will still take some time.

      The Strider ST-4 however, does not come with the extended seat posts like the Scoot, but it is available for purchase separately. Strider’s extended seat posts actually comes with a seat as well, so unlike the Ridgeback, you will not have to swap seats, only seat posts when switching between riders. The Strider however, does have foam tires, is much smaller than the Ridgeback and does not offer a hand brake.

      Hope that helps! Feel free to reply if you need more help.

      • Carol

        thanks, that helps a lot – based on your reviews I had actually been thinking about the ridgeback mini scoot based on your reviews. For my older son i thought it sounded more stable than the Strider. However, it does seem pricey – if we’re going to spend that much I wonder if we could just get two less expensive bikes. Would you have any comments on that?

  • Tiana

    I’m looking for a good balance bike with sealed bearings and a footrest that comes in a blue-ish color that a girl would like the 2013 haro z10 is the perfect color example but I don’t want foam tires and it lacks the footrest. Any suggestions?

    • Tiana

      P.S. It is for my 3yr old daughter

  • Tiana

    I’m looking for a good balance bike with sealed bearings and a footrest that comes in a blue-ish color that a girl would like the 2013 haro z10 is the perfect color example but I don’t want foam tires and it lacks the footrest. Any suggestions?

    • Tiana

      P.S. It is for my 3yr old daughter

      • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

        I believe your best bet would be the Cruzee TWO, a new bike that is going to be available shortly. It looks very much like the Strider, but is made of aluminum, with sealed bearings, rounded bolts and will have the option to purchase it will air tires. It also comes in a powder blue shown here: http://www.cruzee.com/rainbow-of-colors/. I don’t believe the blue is currently available, but send them an email and see what they say. If you don’t hear back, then let me know and I’ll see what I can find out for you.

  • Yvonne

    any comment for WonkaWoo this brand?

  • Mav

    Why is the cruzee ovo 12″ not on this page it looks like it’s in your sortable chart page though.

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      All the bikes listed here I have at least seen in person or have completely reviewed. As a result, not every bike listed on the sortable list is listed here. Within the next month I plan on having my full review of the Cruzee completed and at that point I will add it here.

  • Mav

    Why is the cruzee ovo 12″ not on this page it looks like it’s in your sortable chart page though.

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      All the bikes listed here I have at least seen in person or have completely reviewed. As a result, not every bike listed on the sortable list is listed here. Within the next month I plan on having my full review of the Cruzee completed and at that point I will add it here.

  • Colleen

    Thank you for this site – very helpful! Trying to decide on my son’s first bike. He will be 2 and is tall for his age, but his height is in his torso…average leg length/inseam. This will be for street riding only. He is a cautious, but has good balance. We’ve narrowed it down to the early rider classic, FirstBIKE, or Islabike. Wondering if you recommend brakes or no brakes? Also, which will last him the longest AND hold up to be passed down to his sister who is a year and half younger. Thank you!

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      All three are great bikes, so you really can’t go wrong with either. I have found brakes to be a preference versus a necessity. I generally prefer bikes with handbrakes however, as I don’t believe there is a downside (besides a minimal weight increase), to having a handbrake on a bike. That being said, most kids don’t have the hand-eye coordination to use a hand brake until around the age of three, so it is completely understandable why most bikes do not include hand brakes. As to which bike to get, I would rule out the Early Rider first, simply because it offers the least amount of room for growth as its maximum seat post height is only 15″. Between the FirstBIKE and Islabike. The FirstBIKE is a larger bike (as shown in the pictures below) and will be better for your two year old, but it will also take longer for your daughter to grow into. If however, your daughter is one the taller side like your son, then I would go with the FirstBIKE, if she is smaller, then I would go with the Islabike.

  • Colleen

    Thank you for this site – very helpful! Trying to decide on my son’s first bike. He will be 2 and is tall for his age, but his height is in his torso…average leg length/inseam. This will be for street riding only. He is a cautious, but has good balance. We’ve narrowed it down to the early rider classic, FirstBIKE, or Islabike. Wondering if you recommend brakes or no brakes? Also, which will last him the longest AND hold up to be passed down to his sister who is a year and half younger. Thank you!

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      All three are great bikes, so you really can’t go wrong with either. I have found brakes to be a preference versus a necessity. I generally prefer bikes with handbrakes however, as I don’t believe there is a downside (besides a minimal weight increase), to having a handbrake on a bike. That being said, most kids don’t have the hand-eye coordination to use a hand brake until around the age of three, so it is completely understandable why most bikes do not include hand brakes. As to which bike to get, I would rule out the Early Rider first, simply because it offers the least amount of room for growth as its maximum seat post height is only 15″. Between the FirstBIKE and Islabike. The FirstBIKE is a larger bike (as shown in the pictures below) and will be better for your two year old, but it will also take longer for your daughter to grow into. If however, your daughter is one the taller side like your son, then I would go with the FirstBIKE, if she is smaller, then I would go with the Islabike.

  • Kristen

    I came across balance bikes in my search for a trike for my daughter, and I must say these are amazing. I am looking into getting one of these for my daughter’s 2nd birthday on the 20th. I’m looking into the FirstBIKE, my question as I’m looking at these charts, is what is a limiter? Also, are footrests as helpful as they seem to be?
    Thank you, this has been very helpful in my research on balance bikes.

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      A limiter prevents the steering wheel from rotating too far in either direction, thereby preventing “jackknifing”. In most cases, kids learn not to steer to fast on their own, so limiters are not essential, but many parents like them as they provide another layer of safety. Our own kids have learned on balance bikes with and without limiters without any problems, so I am pretty neutral on the subject. In terms of footrests, they certainly are not needed as well, however some kids really like them and feel more comfortable having a place to rest their feet. I generally prefer bikes without them as most footrests tend to get in the way of a child’s stride. Plus, when using a footrest, some kids tend to ride their balance bike more like a scooter (running and gliding) vs. a bike (more continuous motion). More info on the various features of balance bikes can be found here: http://www.twowheelingtots.com/10-distinguishing-features-of-balance-bikes/

  • Kristen

    I came across balance bikes in my search for a trike for my daughter, and I must say these are amazing. I am looking into getting one of these for my daughter’s 2nd birthday on the 20th. I’m looking into the FirstBIKE, my question as I’m looking at these charts, is what is a limiter? Also, are footrests as helpful as they seem to be?
    Thank you, this has been very helpful in my research on balance bikes.

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      A limiter prevents the steering wheel from rotating too far in either direction, thereby preventing “jackknifing”. In most cases, kids learn not to steer to fast on their own, so limiters are not essential, but many parents like them as they provide another layer of safety. Our own kids have learned on balance bikes with and without limiters without any problems, so I am pretty neutral on the subject. In terms of footrests, they certainly are not needed as well, however some kids really like them and feel more comfortable having a place to rest their feet. I generally prefer bikes without them as most footrests tend to get in the way of a child’s stride. Plus, when using a footrest, some kids tend to ride their balance bike more like a scooter (running and gliding) vs. a bike (more continuous motion). More info on the various features of balance bikes can be found here: http://www.twowheelingtots.com/10-distinguishing-features-of-balance-bikes/

  • Marcelle

    My daughter is 4 yr 3 mo and has a 17″ inseam. This would be her first balance bike… she currently is riding a Radio Flier bike with training wheels. Do you think I should go with the 12″ or 16″ TykesBykes for her? Thanks for your time, this site has been so helpful.

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      I would go with the 16″ as I believe it would be a better fit for her. The longer wheelbase and larger tires will also better prepare her for riding a larger pedal bike.

  • Marcelle

    My daughter is 4 yr 3 mo and has a 17″ inseam. This would be her first balance bike… she currently is riding a Radio Flier bike with training wheels. Do you think I should go with the 12″ or 16″ TykesBykes for her? Thanks for your time, this site has been so helpful.

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      I would go with the 16″ as I believe it would be a better fit for her. The longer wheelbase and larger tires will also better prepare her for riding a larger pedal bike.

      • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

        Glad to be of help! The Strider is a MUCH better choice than the Chicco and is a excellent pick for a 19 month old. As a parent, I also understand your frustration with the standard specs and reviews given on most online sites, they are often fairly lacking and confusing, which is why Two Wheeling Tots was born.

    • Phil

      Hello, I am looking at buying a balance bike for the first time and as you can imagine it is quite a job getting to grips with all the information. The one thing I am confused about is the sizes. My daughter turns 3 next month and she has an 17″ inseam. That put here in the preschool category but it seems to old for her.
      I like the look of the firstbike which has great reviews but it looks like my daughter will out grow it prety quickly. Do you agree.
      On a final note I am torn between a balance bike and Schwinn Roadstar Tricyle. I should be grateful for any thoughts you may have in this regards.

      • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

        I agree, the sizing of balance bikes is very confusing, which is why I emphasis inseam or clothing sizes vs. ages. With a 17″ inseam as a two-year-old, your daughter must be really tall, so I would certainly recommend a bike that can geo with her, like the Ridgeback Scoot. I would also stick to a 12″ as the 16″ bikes will probably be a little much for her to handle.

  • Carol

    Thank you so much for your thorough reviews! My company gives us points we can redeem for merchandise and I had never even heard of balance bikes until seeing one in the catalog. I immediately added the Strider to my Favorites, but as I browsed some more, saw the Chicco Red Bullet for about 1/3 as many points. I read reviews on Amazon, but that didn’t give me much info. I did a product comparison on Target.com, but the specs didn’t really help me since I have no idea what would fit my child better. Reading your reviews, especially all the problems with the Chicco, helped make up my mind with no reservations. My son is 19 months old and as spring arrives (finally!) in Iowa, and I think the Strider ST-4 will give him a great chance to start getting comfortable with it by summer. So glad I found your website!

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      Glad to be of help! The Strider is a MUCH better choice than the Chicco and is a excellent pick for a 19 month old. As a parent, I also understand your frustration with the standard specs and reviews given on most online sites, they are often fairly lacking and confusing, which is why Two Wheeling Tots was born.

  • Phil

    Hello, I am looking at buying a balance bike for the first time and as you can imagine it is quite a job getting to grips with all the information. The one thing I am confused about is the sizes. My daughter turns 3 next month and she has an 17″ inseam. That put here in the preschool category but it seems to old for her.
    I like the look of the firstbike which has great reviews but it looks like my daughter will out grow it prety quickly. Do you agree.
    Are there any other bike you would recomend for my daughter size. Should I go for a 12″ or a 16″.
    Thanks

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      I agree, the sizing of balance bikes is very confusing, which is why I emphasis inseam or clothing sizes vs. ages. With a 17″ inseam as a two-year-old, your daughter must be really tall, so I would certainly recommend a bike that can geo with her, like the Ridgeback Scoot. I would also stick to a 12″ as the 16″ bikes will probably be a little much for her to handle.

  • Lindsey

    My son is going to turn 4 in June. He’s never had a bike. He has a 16.5-inch inseam and is 41-inches tall. Is he too small for the TykeByke 16? Other sites say that the FirstBIKE is good for a taller 3.5-year old. Which one do you think? I want to get a year out of the bike.

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      When riding a balance bike, a child’s inseam should be about an inch over the minimum seat height of a bike in order to be able to get on and off the bike without any challenges. That being said, I do believe your son is right in-between bike sizes. Considering he will be 4 this summer, I would probably go with the 16″ IF he isn’t hesitant to ride and has had some experiences with balance bikes. If he is not interested in bike and is not eager to ride, I would go with the 12″ as the smaller bike will be a little easier for him to maneuver. As for the FirstBIKE, there are two reasons why I don’t recommend it for taller three-year-olds. First, the handlebars do not adjust, but more importantly, when set to the highest seat post length (18″), the bike does tend to flex, which negatively affects the handling of the bike.

      • Lindsey

        One strore has recommended the 2014 KinderBike Laufrad Trainer. It’s supposed to be for 3-5 year olds with a 14-19.5″ inseam. Do you know if this is bigger than the previous models? I know the previous model was considered to be small for a 12″ bike.

        • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

          The Laufrad would be a great choice as well, but it only adjusts up to 18″, not 19.5″, so he wouldn’t have as much room to grow. Like all balance bikes, the seat post does extend past 18″, but it is not considered safe to raise the height past the maximum length allowed on the seat post as it could result in the seat falling off the bike. Honestly, I am not sure if previously models were smaller, but I do know that the Laufrad is bigger than the Laufrad Mini. You can see a comparison of the KinderBikes to other bikes in my review here: http://www.twowheelingtots.com/kinderbike-laufrad/

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      When riding a balance bike, a child’s inseam should be about an inch over the minimum seat height of a bike in order to be able to get on and off the bike without any challenges. That being said, I do believe your son is right in-between bike sizes. Considering he will be 4 this summer, I would probably go with the 16″ IF he isn’t hesitant to ride and has had some experiences with balance bikes. If he is not interested in bike and is not eager to ride, I would go with the 12″ as the smaller bike will be a little easier for him to maneuver. As for the FirstBIKE, there are two reasons why I don’t recommend it for taller three-year-olds. First, the handlebars do not adjust, but more importantly, when set to the highest seat post length (18″), the bike does tend to flex, which negatively affects the handling of the bike.

      • Lindsey

        One strore has recommended the 2014 KinderBike Laufrad Trainer. It’s supposed to be for 3-5 year olds with a 14-19.5″ inseam. Do you know if this is bigger than the previous models? I know the previous model was considered to be small for a 12″ bike.

        • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

          The Laufrad would be a great choice as well, but it only adjusts up to 18″, not 19.5″, so he wouldn’t have as much room to grow. Like all balance bikes, the seat post does extend past 18″, but it is not considered safe to raise the height past the maximum length allowed on the seat post as it could result in the seat falling off the bike. Honestly, I am not sure if previously models were smaller, but I do know that the Laufrad is bigger than the Laufrad Mini. You can see a comparison of the KinderBikes to other bikes in my review here: http://www.twowheelingtots.com/kinderbike-laufrad/

  • Erin

    Have you heard of the Sun Bicycle balance bikes? Thoughts? Reviews? Looking to get my twins balance bikes, they are almost two, are 35″ tall with 13″ inseams. Looking at the Sun bikes as well as the Strider and maybe TykesBykes. Thanks!

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      I have heard to the Sun Lil Rockt, but have not seen it in person. Based on what I have read, it seems decent as it is affordably priced, has air tires, but is much heavier than the Strider as it weighs 11 lbs. Considering it’s price, I would be hesitant to purchase it, as I have yet to find a budget bike that is of great quality. Plus, considering your twins appear to be on the taller side, I doubt the seat post on the Sun really adjusts that much. In the end, I think you are probably better off with the Strider as it does have the ability to really adjust with your kids as they grow. If you do go with the Strider, make sure to purchase the extended seat-posts.

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      I have heard to the Sun Lil Rockt, but have not seen it in person. Based on what I have read, it seems decent as it is affordably priced, has air tires, but is much heavier than the Strider as it weighs 11 lbs. Considering it’s price, I would be hesitant to purchase it, as I have yet to find a budget bike that is of great quality. Plus, considering your twins appear to be on the taller side, I doubt the seat post on the Sun really adjusts that much. In the end, I think you are probably better off with the Strider as it does have the ability to really adjust with your kids as they grow. If you do go with the Strider, make sure to purchase the extended seat-posts.

      • Erin

        Thank you so much for your help! We actually went to get my bike serviced and they had two of the Sun balance bikes in stock! They were very cute and the kids loved them. We measured and the seats adjusted from 12″ it 17″. My kiddos were a little short, but the owner of the shop cut the post down a little. Now the price was $89, and we all know amazon is cheaper (we can get Striders for the same price). I called Sun Bicycles and the frame is steel with a lifetime warrenty. Still not sure what we are going to buy. Going to search around for better prices. Also, this will be a gift from my parents so it will be their decision (balance bike vs. tricycle).

        • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

          I can’t thank you enough for the specs on the Sun bike! Getting the seat heights on bike are pretty hard to get sometimes, so that is a huge help. Plus, it’s great to know that they have a lifetime warranty on the frame. As to what bike to buy, the one major concern of the Sun was the weight, but if you kids were able to ride around on them without a problem, then the weight may not be an issue for you. If possible, I would let them try out a Strider to see if they are more comfortable on that, but if not, as long as they liked the Sun, it sounds like a good buy for you.

  • Katie

    Hello,
    I am trying to decide which balance bike to get for my 3.5 yr old. He is 40 inches tall and inseam is 17.5. He also has a little brother who is 1.5 who will ride it when he is finished. I was thinking either the tyke byke 12? Or 16? Which one??? Or would you recommend something different?
    Thanks for your help!
    Katie

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      If you plan on passing down the balance bike, I would certainly get the 12″. The 16″ is generally meant for kids aged 4 and up, so not only would it possibly be too big for your 3.5 yr. old, it will delay your 1.5 yr. old being able to ride for several years. The one downside to the 12″, is that the maximum seat height is only 18″, so your 3.5 yo will most likely only fit it for one year. Generally, that isn’t a problem however as kids who master balance bikes tend to transition to pedal bikes around their 4th birthday. If you wanted a bike that will be sure to fit both, I would look at the Ridgeback Mini as it’s seat adjusts from 11″ to 20″. The one downside to the Mini is that is does weigh slightly more than the TykesBykes 12″. While the added weight won’t be an issue for your older son, it may be a problem for your younger guy if he happens to be in the lower percentiles for weight.

  • Amy Mueller

    I bought my grandson a Stryder bike when he was 2 yrs old. He is now 4-1/2. He LOVES his Strider bike!!! Knowing what I know now, I would definitely have gotten a balance bike with hand brakes. He drags his feet on the sidewalk to stop and has worn out many shoes. He lives in a typical city area with sidewalks that are ramped where they cross streets. It’s heart-stopping to watch a child head down the ramp toward the street! Even though he knows bike and street crossing safety, I would feel better if he could stop in a way other than dragging his feet. I don’t know if young children catch on to using hand brakes to slow themselves when needed.

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      I agree, if brakes are in the budget for a bike, I highly recommend them for the same reasons you gave. Typically, kids do not have the hand, eye coordination to use a brake until the age of three. However, every child and every bike is different, and in some cases, kids as young as two have mastered braking with their hands.

  • boymom13

    Hi! I was just wondering if the Y Velo or Y Velo Jr. has been reviewed or if anyone had any feedback on it. Thanks!

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      I haven’t had a chance to review the Y Velo bikes yet, but I do have some concerned about their overall geometry. The seat on the bike looks slightly too far up the frame which can negatively affect the handling of the bike as it raises the overall center of gravity of the bike, as shown in the picture below.

      That being said, I’m quite sure the Y Velo bikes can successfully help a child learn to balance, so if it the best bike you can find in your budget, then go for it. Some other budget bikes to consider is the Radio Flyer Glide and Go (http://www.twowheelingtots.com/the-best-budget-balance-bike-chicco-red-bullet-vs-radio-flyer-vs-vilano/) and the Schwinn (http://www.twowheelingtots.com/schwinn/).

      • boymom13

        Thank you, this is very helpful. My son just turned 2 and is tall for his age. I was actually leaning toward the Ridgeback Scoot but thought I would try a less expensive bike first to see if he even like it first. I wanted the Scoot versus the mini in case he doesn’t like it my 4 year old (also tall) may want to ride it. Would the scoot be entirely too big for a 2 year old?

        • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

          For the average two-year-old, the Scoot is going to be too big, however, if he is in the higher percentiles in highest and weight and is “athletic”, it could be a good fit for him. To fit on the bike, his inseam would have to be about 14.5″, but would also need to be able to comfortably handle to 12 lbs. of the bike. My two-year-old is quite small for his age (around 40th percentiles for height and weight) and the Scoot is simply too much for him. If you were to get the Mini, your older son may still be able to ride it as it comes with three seat posts that raises the maximum seat height to 20″.

  • Dad79

    My daughter is 4 years old & in preschool. She has only rode a tricycle before. She is tall for her age with an 18″ inseam. What are your recommendations? I want to get her a balance bike that has a hand brake that fits her well now & ideally a year from now. She would also prefer pink if possible!

    • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

      Three different bikes come to mind that I believe might be a good fit for your daughter, the TykesBykes 16″, the Ridgeback XL and the REI Zipper. All three bikes provide plenty of room for her to grow into, but the only one that comes in pink is the Zipper but does not have a hand brake. Between the TykesBykes and the Ridgeback, they both have a seat height ranging from 16″ to 22″ as well as a handbrake. The Ridgeback is a slightly better build then the TykesBykes and has 14″ tires versus 16″ with the TykesBykes. The TykesBykes 16″ is currently only available in green and orange and for the current colors available for the Scoot, I would give WeeBikeShop (the US distributor for Ridgeback) a call at (401) 654-0029.

      :

  • Amanda

    Do you have any opinions about the Smart Balance bikes by any chance? I’m trying to compare it to what I see here but I don’t have as much information about it as you do about all of these. Thank you!

  • David Fast

    I think that my 4 year old son has outgrown his Kinderbike Laufrad. His inseam is 19.5″ and he is about 45″ tall. The Tykesbykes 16 looks like a good option, but there aren’t a lot of reviews out there on this bike. Is the Go Glider still the best in this size range, or would you recommend the Tykesbykes or the REI bike?

  • Natalie

    You are right in that he is just on the edge. I think the TykesBykes 16″ would currently be slightly too big for him, however within a year he would grow out of the 12″. If your son is more on the athletic side and is eager to ride a bike, I would probably go with the 16″, however if he is more hesitant or lighter weight, I would go with the 12″. Between the three, the Scoot would in fact be the best bike. It is of course more expensive, but if you happen to have a younger sibling to pass it onto, it would certainly be worth the additional investment. Hope that helps!

  • Natalie

    I am currently in the process of writing up reviews on both the Go Glider with air and the TykesBykes 16″ and I much prefer the TykesBykes 16″. I feel it is an all around better bike, plus until July 1st it is currently on sale for $89 with free shipping, versus $159 with a Go Glider with air. The REI Novara Zipper is also a great bike for $99, but it does not come with a brake like the TykesBykes. If you would like some picture of the Go Glider or the TykesBykes, let me know and I can send you a few.

  • Betsy Endress

    What bike would you recommend to be passed down through several (5?) children? What is the tallest inseam (or really oldest age) you think the Firstbike would work for? I’m not sure how age and inseam usually coordinate :-) This bike would be for mostly street riding with some gravel/dirt trails. I’m hoping to use the same balance bike before transitioning each child to their own pedal bike. Thanks for your input and great reviews!

  • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

    First off, for a bike to last through five kids, quality is important as well as warranty. Second, from my experience, each consecutive kid will want to ride the balance bike sooner that then the last as they attempt to keep up with their older siblings. My oldest rode her first balance bike at 3, my second at 2 and my one-year-old loves to be pushed around on a balance bike, but is still too short to manage it on his own. As a result, you are going to want to bike with a minimum inseam of around 12″ to ensure the younger kids will be able to ride it when they are ready. FirstBIKE therefore would be a good choice, as it has a Lifetime warranty and a minimum seat height of 12″. However, when set at the maximum seat height of 18″, the bike doesn’t perform as well for taller older kids. As a result, I wouldn’t recommend to you if the first child who plans on using it has an inseam greater than 15-16″ or for kids older than three if you are unsure about inseam. For kids older than three (with an low minimum seat height for future use), I would them recommend the Ridgeback Scoot, which adjusts from 13″-18″ or the TykesBykes 12″, which adjusts 13″-17″. Both are well, made bikes with handbrakes and solid frames that are suitable for all ages. The TykeBykes only has a warranty of two years while the Ridgeback is a Lifetime, however as you can see in my review (http://www.twowheelingtots.com/tykesbykes/), the TykesBykes frame is solid and I wouldn’t let the 2 year warranty scare you off. The Ridgeback however is an amazing bike that probably better suited for younger kids than the TykesBykes, but will not be available until later this summer. Hopefully I answered all your questions, if not feel free to ask away!

  • Amanda Myers

    This is such an awesome resource! My son will be two in a week and a half but he’s a total peanut. His inseam is about 11.5 inches, 25ish(?) pounds, and fairly cautious. Given all that, we were leaning toward getting him a Chillafish for the time being. Winters are pretty bitter here and he could right that around our house and we wouldn’t have to worry about the weight/height of the bike for now.

    Then we figured we could buy him an Ezee Glider as an early birthday present next summer. Care to weigh in and help us decide? :)

  • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

    I can totally relate as our 18-month-old boy is small, is too short for any of our bikes and we also have frigid winters around here. I have eyed the Bunzi myself, but my I honestly think it is just too small. With a max height of 9.8″ he is already too big for it! Instead, I would go for the yBike as it is an inch taller at 10.2″, plus it has a fat back wheel and can remain upright on it’s own, thereby encouraging balancing when running without the fear of tipping over. Its plastic wheels also work great indoors. As for Ezee Glider, with so many balance bikes scheduled to hit the market in the next six months it’s hard to say what bike will be best for him them, so when you are ready to buy, check back in with me for more recommendations.

  • Amanda Myers

    Thank you so much! I hadn’t even looked at the yBike for some reason! `And Overstock.com has it for $63.99 right now. I love that he’ll have some stability along with the experience of balancing. I’ll definitely check back when we’re ready to upgrade- thanks again!

  • Cath Riley

    We could not agree more with your comprehensive review and detailed assesment of the balance bike market! http://www.firstbikesg.com From FirstBIKE Singapore !

  • Natalie

    Glad to hear you approve! As always, if you every feel that I missed anything or disagree, please let me know. The more opinions the better!

  • http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ Natalie

    You’re welcome! I hope your little one is loving your FirstBIKE.

  • Candice

    My almost 3.5 year old has an inseam of 16.5 inches. I am leaning towards getting the 16″ TykeByke so he will grow into it for years to come. Do you think the 16″ will be too tall for him at this point? I was also thinking the Ridgeback Scoot, but since it’s more expensive I would rather get the TykeByke if that would fit him. Thanks for all the awesome bike reviews!