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Balance Bikes 101: A Guide for Parents

We’re so excited you’re along for the ride! This balance bike guide is designed to help you understand everything about balance bikes, – no matter what stage your child may be in. From learning what a balance bike even is, to understanding when your child is ready to graduate from their balance bike, we’ll answer every possible question you have about this balance bike process.

Balance bikes are simple little machines that empower toddlers and kids to independently learn to ride. Remember that balance bikes are not just a means to an end, however. Balance bikes provide years of fun that just is not possible with a tricycle or training wheels.

The Basics of Balance Bikes

Balance bikes - a group of 9 toddlers lined up in a row, all on balance bikes at the skatepark

Using our 101 guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know to help your child be successful.

  1. Discover what a balance bike is and when is the right time to introduce one to your child
  2. Understand why you need to skip training wheels and use a balance bike instead
  3. Determine what size you need before you start shopping
  4. Use our quick and easy 10 Best Balance bikes list to find the perfect bike for your child
  5. Learn the 4 stages of learning to ride a balance bike
  6. Discover fun places near you (or a future vacation!) to ride balance bikes
  7. Identify the signs that indicate your child is ready to “graduate” from their balance bike

Feel free to explore the guide as it works for you and your family. Skip chapters, read it all, come back to the last chapters later. And don’t forget to share the balance bike love with other parents who might need to be enlightened! 🙂

Balance Bike Guide – Quick View

CHAPTER ONE: What is a Balance Bike?
CHAPTER TWO: Balance Bikes vs. Training Wheels
CHAPTER THREE: Balance Bike Size and Buying Guide
CHAPTER FOUR: 10 Best Balance Bikes
CHAPTER FIVE: How to Ride a Balance Bike
CHAPTER SIX: Fun Places to Ride Your Balance Bike
CHAPTER SEVEN: Balance Bike to Pedal Bike Transition  

Chapter 1: What is A Balance Bike?

How do these things work, anyways? And what age is best to start?

For parents who have heard about balance bikes, but don’t know much else. We explain how a balance bike works, what age is ideal for kids to ride a balance bike, the basic benefits, and several other common questions.

Chapter 2: Balance Bike vs. Training Wheels

Training Wheels Are Old School. Balance Bikes are the future!

Even though most of us learned to ride a bike using training wheels, there’s a better method for the next generation! Learn the 5 reasons why balance bikes are so much better than training wheels, and why training wheels don’t actually train your child to ride a bike.

Chapter 3: Balance Bike Size and Buying Guide

Be an informed shopper, and above all else, don’t buy the wrong size!

Balance bikes are not one-size-fits-all. So what size balance bike do you need? And what about air or foam tires? Do you need a handbrake? We cover all the features of balance bikes so you know what to look for when it’s finally time to go shopping.

Chapter 4: 10 Best Balance Bikes

Our favorite balance bike, for every size child and every budget. 

We’ve been reviewing balance bike for NINE years. We’ve personally used and tested over FORTY balance bikes, and narrowed down your options to help you buy with confidence.

If your child is at least 4 years old (or a very tall 3-year-old), check out our Best Balance Bikes for Kids 4 – 6 Years Old list instead.

If your budget is $100 or under, we’ve got a list for you: Best Balance Bikes on a Budget (Under $100).

Chapter 5: How to Ride a Balance Bike

So you bought the balance bike… now what??

Don’t worry, the process of learning to ride a balance bike is very natural – kids generally teach themselves! We’ll show you the 4 steps your child will go through as they master their balance bike.

Chapter 6: Fun Places to Ride

Check out our Kid-Friendly Bike Park and Pump Track directory!

Bike parks and pump tracks let kids practice their skills in a fun environment, giving them extra motivation to keep going. Our kid-friendly bike park and pump track directory has over 300 locations listed across the country.

Chapter 7: Balance Bike to Pedal Bike Transition

How do you know if your child is ready to “graduate” from their balance bike? 

There is no designated age when a child should advance to a pedal bike. We cover 3 signs your child is ready to make the transition from balance bike to pedal bike.

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