Banana Bike GT/LT
A well-designed frame for the price, the Banana Bike GT has a longer wheelbase, making it more stable than other budget balance bikes.
BEST FOR: Budget-minded families with a child in 2T to size 4T pants.
SEAT HEIGHT: 13.5" - 18"
WEIGHT: 10.3 lb.
|Child's Pants Size||
2T, 3T, 4T
13.5" – 18"
Pros & Cons
- Surprisingly good design for the price
- Quick release seat post clamp
- Air tires at a great price!
- As with all budget bikes, it’s not as durable as the other bikes we recommend
- Handle on back of seat prevents tire from rolling when lowered all the way down
The Banana Bike is hands-down one the best budget balance bikes we’ve ever tested. Having throughly tested more than 15 budget bikes over the years, we can confidently say that the Banana Bike is a great choice for those on a tighter budget. Available in two models – the GT with air tires and the LT with foam tires – both bikes feature a long, sturdy frame which helps to create a steady, easy-to-balance bike.
3-year-old on Banana Bike GT
Both models of the Banana Bike have a seat post height range of 13.5″ to 18″, making them one of the larger budget 12″ balance bikes on the market. They’re a great fit for kids with inseams ranging from 14″ to 19″.
To provide a more stable riding experience for older and taller riders, the Banana Bike also has a longer wheelbase (measurement between the front and rear axle of the bike) than most budget bikes. The Banana’s wheelbase measures at 22″, while the Chicco Red Bullet measures only 18″!
This extra length helps stabilize the bike while in motion as well as provides more space for the rider in the cockpit (the space between the seat and the handlebars), so they feel less cramped.
Our main tester, a 41″ tall 3-year-old tester with an 18″ inseam (shown above), fit perfectly on the Banana Bike with some room to spare. His younger brother who just turned 2 and as a 13″ inseam was able to stand over the bike and could walk on it, but the seat was too tall for him to comfortably sit down on the bike.
Our 4-year-old tester with a 20″ inseam was slightly too tall for the bike, but he was still able to comfortably ride it. Being more timid in nature, he much preferred the smaller Banana Bike as compared to some larger balance bikes we’ve had him test out. The bike, however, offered no room for growth, so we wouldn’t recommend buying the Banana Bike for a child his size.
Four-year-old on Banana Bike LT
The main difference between the GT and the LT are the tires. The GT has air tires that offer more traction as well as cushioning compared to the foam tires on the LT. The foam tires on the LT, however, are made of solid foam, so if you go that direction, you will never have to worry about a flat tire!
Banana Bike Tire Comparison
|Feautures||Banana Bike GT Air||Banana Bike LT Foam|
|Model||Banana Bike GT||Banana Bike LT|
|Cushioning Abilities||High||Very Low|
|Traction: Paved Surfaces||High||Medium|
|Traction: All-terrain Surfaces||High||Low|
Having tested over 30 different balance bikes over the years, we can confidently say that air tires outperform foam tires in all types of riding, from paved surfaces to dirt roads, but we also understand that many parents don’t want to deal with the potential of flat tires. Foam tires, therefore, certainly have their place and are a great choice for those looking for a maintenance-free bike. If your child is mainly riding on paved surfaces, the traction provided by foam tires will be just fine.
Adjustable Height Handlebars
The threadless headset of the Banana Bike allows for height adjustable handlebars that can be raised 1.5″. Raising the handlebars helps keeps kids in a comfortable upright position as they grow. Adjusting the handlebars is as simple as loosening the single Allen bolt on the headset and can be done in less than a minute.
Unlike the GOMO and the Strider Sport, the Banana Bike models do require a tool to adjust (the others have a quick release adjust), but adjusting the handlebars on a bike isn’t something you should expect to do frequently.
Seat Post and Seat Handle
The seat post clamps on the Banana bikes are, however, quick release so the seat height can be adjusted without any tools. In addition to the air tires, the GT models also have a handle on the back of the seat to help parents carry or move the bike around.
The handle works out great, but when the seat is adjusted all the way down, the handle hits the rear tire, preventing it from turning. In order for the handle to make contact with the wheel, the seat needs to be lowered to about 13.25″, which is why we have the minimum seat height set at 13.5″. The LT does not have the handle, but the seat doesn’t go down much lower than 13.5″.
The Banana Bike models are great for the price, but when compared to other budget bikes, the GT really shines. With air tires on metal rims, the GT is better equipped to handle just about anything a child can throw at it.
Like all budget balance bikes, the Banana Bike, as well as the other models mentioned below, don’t come near to the quality found in most balance bikes in the $150+ range. The additional expense typically buys you higher-quality components, a lightweight aluminum frame, a handbrake for quicker stops, and a true headset that is less likely to twist out of place.
With a higher minimum seat height, as well as a taller frame overall, the Banana Bike is best suited for ages 2 to 4. Smaller riders are better off on the smaller GOMO or Strider.
Banana Bike GT: Our top pick for riders planning on riding various terrains as well as those hitting up jumps and curbs.
Banana Bike LT: Featuring the same frame and design of the GT, but with foam tires, the LT is best for neighborhood riders who plan to ride mainly on paved surfaces.
The GOMO and Strider have lower minimum seat heights and are better suited for toddlers ages 18-months (as long as their inseam is at least the same height as the minimum seat height) to 4-years.
GOMO: While the GT is our favorite budget bike with air tires, the GOMO is our favorite with foam tires. Often found under $60, the GOMO is amazingly built and features quick-release adjust handlebars and seat post. If siblings plan on sharing a balance bike, the quick release seat post is a great feature that is not on the Strider Classic.
Strider Classic: A true classic that doesn’t disappoint, the Strider is a solid bike if you need additional room for your child to grow into it. Strider sells an extended seat post that allows the seat height to raise up to 20″.
|Features||Banana Bike GT||Banana Bike LT||GOMO||Strider Classic|
|Bike (link to review)||Banana Bike GT||Banana Bike LT||GOMO||Strider Classic|
|Seat Height||13.5" - 18"||13.5" - 18"||12.5" - 16"||11" - 16"|
|Weight||10.3 lb.||7.3 lb.||8.5 lb.||6.4 lb.|
Larger and taller than most budget balance bikes, the Banana Bike balance bikes offer a great design at a family-friendly price. With air tires, the GT model really stands out compared to other balance bikes with foam tires.