The Best Balance Bikes for 4 to 6-Year-Olds: 2018

Our Top Balance Bike Picks For Older and Taller Kids

Is my child too old for a balance bike?

Balance bikes are not just for toddlers! A balance bike is a great way to teach kids who are 4 to 8 years old to learn to ride a bike. Whether your child has yet to learn how to ride a bike or struggles with the confidence to remove the training wheels, balance bikes can help.  While there are several different ways to help a child transition from training wheels, the use of balance bikes is the simplest and often the most effective way.

Balance bikes are very simple, lightweight, and easy to balance.  Their simplistic design allows kids to focus on the main goal – learning how to balance while seated on a bike.  Learning to pedal while also learning to balance splits a child’s focus into two very difficult tasks, which is why a child can’t learn to balance while using training wheels.  They place all their energy into pedaling and neglect the important task of learning how to balance.

Larger Balance Bikes for Older Kids

Collage of 4 to 6-year-olds riding larger balance bikes - Saracen Freewheel, Scoot, Scoot XL, Littlebig, WOOM 1 Plus, and Strider 14x

What makes a balance bike better for older kids?

Although often marketed as one-size-fits-all, balance bikes are definitely not one-size-fits-all.  Just as a 6-year-old can’t fit into the shoes of a toddler, a bike designed for a toddler will not fit a 6-year-old.  Taller and heavier kids simply require a larger bike.

To be considered for our best balance bikes for 4 to 6-year-olds list, each balance bike below had to satisfy three main criteria:

  1. Higher maximum seat height
  2. Wide handlebars
  3. Long wheelbase

Combined, these three attributes make a balance bike larger, more comfortable, and easier to maneuver for an older or taller child. Just because a maximum seat height looks big enough for your bigger kid doesn’t mean that the bike is a good fit. A long wheelbase and wider handlebars are just as important! And then, of course, our testers had to love them. You can read our full reviews of each bike via the links below.

The list below is sorted by SIZE, from smallest to largest. Remember, the seat should be set 1″-1.5″ below a child’s inseam.

8 Best Balance Bikes for 4 to 6 Year Olds: 2018

Best Balance Bike

Seat Height Range

Best Pant Size

MSRP

Saracen Freewheel

13" - 19"3T/4T

$199

Ridgeback Scoot

14" - 20"3T/4T

$199

LittleBig Convertible

14" – 21"3T/4T

$187/$239

WOOM 1 PLUS

15" – 19"4T/5T

$269

Frog Tadpole Plus

15" - 20"4T/5T

$260

Ridgeback Scoot XL

16" – 22"4T-6

$210

Strider 14x

15" – 22"4T-6

$210

Strider 16

19.5" – 24.5"6-8

$200

 


  • Saracen Freewheel


    Saracen 12" balance bike - white, blue, red

    MSRP: $199

    SEAT HEIGHT RANGE: 13″ – 19″

    BEST FITS KIDS: In 3T/4T pants

    FULL REVIEWSaracen Freewheel

    As the smallest balance bike on this list, the Saracen is a good option for parents of confident kids who will probably move on to a pedal bike within a year to 18 months. With its knobby tires, it’s also one of the best-suited for all-terrain riding. From the pavement to the pump track, the Saracen is nimble enough for quick maneuvering, yet sturdy enough to stay grounded during leaning turns. It’s also more lightweight than many bikes on this list, which makes it a great option for lightweight kids!

    PROS
    • Wider handlebars and wheelbase provide more stability for aggressive riders while being more comforting for timid riders
    • Nimble for better maneuvering while sturdy for aggressive riders
    • Handbrake with an internally routed brake cable
    • Knobby air tires for all-terrain riding
    • A bell!

    CONS
    • Too big/heavy for petite riders
    • Exposed bolts


  • Ridgeback Scoot


    ridgeback scoot balance bike 12" - lime green yellow

    MSRP: $199

    SEAT HEIGHT RANGE: 14″ – 20″

    BEST FITS KIDS: In 3T/4T pants

    FULL REVIEWRidgeback Scoot

    Hailing from the UK,  the Ridgeback is a top quality bike brand available in the US through TikesBikes.com. Taller and longer than most balance bikes, the Scoot is one of few balance bikes designed to be a “bike” rather than a toy – it truly performs like a bike!  From country trails to city sidewalks, the Scoot effortlessly tackled any terrain we threw at it. Its slightly leaned forward body position is a great fit for confident or adventurous kids who are likely to ride more aggressively once they master the bike.

    PROS
    • Air tires and hand brake
    • Wide, stable handlebars
    • Long wheelbase for stability and longevity
    • High quality and durable
    • 6″ of seat height adjustability

    CONS
    • Too big/heavy for petite riders
    • Exposed bolts


  • LittleBig Convertible


    LittleBig convertible balance bike - red

    MSRP: $187/$240

    SEAT HEIGHT RANGE: 14″ – 21″

    BEST FITS KIDS: In 3T/4T pants

    FULL REVIEW: LittleBig Convertible Balance Bike

    Over the years, several companies tried (and failed) to create a convertible balance bike that actually worked. LittleBig was the first to crack the code and continues to be the best. Built with top-of-the-line components, the LittleBig is lightweight, well-made, has dual handbrakes, and performs great as a balance bike and as a beginning pedal bike. While not ideal for all kids, the LittleBig is a good option for parents of preschoolers or taller toddlers who don’t want to purchase a balance bike and a beginning 12″ or 14″ pedal bike. Like all convertible balance bikes though, your child is likely to grow out of the pedal bike function pretty quickly – much faster than they would a traditional pedal bike.

    PROS
    • Performs great as a balance bike and pedal bike
    • Lightweight
    • Top-quality components and durable build – it’s built to last
    • Dual hand brakes, and NO coaster brake
    • Wide and extra-cushioning 14” tires

    CONS
    • Kids will likely outgrow the pedal bike portion very quickly


  • WOOM 1 Plus


    WOOM 1 Plus balance bike in red

    MSRP: $269

    SEAT HEIGHT RANGE: 15″ – 19″

    BEST FITS KIDS: In 3T to 5 pants

    FULL REVIEW: WOOM 1 PLUS

    The WOOM 1 is our favorite balance bike overall, so when WOOM decided to come out with a larger version for older kids, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the WOOM 1 Plus. This scaled up version of the WOOM 1 has all the same benefits, but for bigger kids! Not every child starts out their balance bike journey as a toddler, so the WOOM 1 Plus fills that need for slightly older kids who benefit from a balance bike just as much as the littler ones. Because the WOOM 1 Plus positions the rider in a very comfortable, natural, upright position, it’s especially ideal for timid riders. And its  removable “surfboard” footrest and DUAL hand brakes (a rare find in balance bikes), are perfect features to allow kids to explore and be adventurous once they’ve mastered the balance bike basics.

    PROS
    • Larger frame and 14″ tires provide plenty of room for growth
    • Lightweight and nimble
    • Removable turning limiter
    • Removable footrest
    • Dual hand brakes for optimal stopping power

    CONS
    • Footrest too large for small toddlers, but is removable


  • Frog Tadpole Plus


    Frog Tadpole Plus balance bike in pink

    MSRP: $260

    SEAT HEIGHT RANGE: 15″ – 20″

    BEST FITS KIDS: In 3T/4T pants

    FULL REVIEW: In progress

    The name may be cutesy, but Frog Bikes build strong, durable, high-performing bikes.  The big brother of the Tadpole (which we rated Exceptional), the Frog Tadpole Plus is full-featured with air tires, a handbrake, a lightweight frame, and cushioning grips that testers raved about.  To top it off, the Frog Tadpole Plus is available in four fun colors, including the unique Union Jack design.  Slightly larger than the WOOM 1 Plus and with 5″ of seat height adjustability, the Frog Tadpole XL is a great bike for older preschoolers who need a larger bike and some room to grow.

  • PROS
    • Rugged, yet lightweight and nimble
    • Padded seat and Kenda air tires for great cushioning
    • Seat can be adjusted forward or backwards to accommodate torso length
    • High-end Tektro brakes
    • Long wheelbase for increased stability

    CONS
    • Limited distribution in the US


  • Ridgeback Scoot XL


    Ridgeback Scoot 14" balance bike black

    MSRP: $209

    SEAT HEIGHT RANGE: 16″ – 22″

    BEST FITS KIDS: In 4T – 7 pants

    FULL REVIEW: Ridgeback Scoot XL

    The Scoot XL is the bigger twin brother of the Ridgeback Scoot. The Scoot XL is geared towards older kids aged 4 to 8 who have no biking experience at all, who have only used training wheels (and can’t get rid of them), or who have outgrown their small balance bike but don’t yet have the desire to move up to a pedal bike. Durable and made with impeccable quality, the Scoot XL is a steal for the price.

    PROS
    • Wide, stable handlebars
    • Long wheelbase for stability and room for growth
    • 6″ of seat height adjustability
    • Internally routed hand brake cable
    • Quality, durable build

    CONS
    • Heavy for lighter-weight kids
    • Exposed bolts can potentially scratch legs


  • Strider 14x


    strider 14x balance bike 14" - blue

    MSRP: $210

    SEAT HEIGHT RANGE: 15″ – 22″

    BEST FITS KIDS: While the manufacturer recommends from ages 3 to 7, based on our testing, we recommend only from ages 3 to 5, or with inseams ranging from 15″ to 20″ in balance bike mode and 14″ to 20″ in pedal bike mode.

    FULL REVIEW: Strider 14x Convertible Balance Bike

    The Strider 14x was a long time coming for the brand that made balance bikes a household name. With 14″ air tires (the traditional Strider has 12″ foam), a larger frame, taller handlebars to give the rider more room, and a larger footrest, the Strider 14x is the big, more sophisticated brother of the uber-popular 12″ Strider Classic and Strider Sport balance bikes. But it’s also one of only two good convertible balance bikes on the market. Coming standard with a pedal kit, once your child has mastered the balance bike, you easily attach the pedals to convert it to a small pedal bike – no need for training wheels! After a short time learning to pedal, your child will be ready to move on to a 16″ bike!

    PROS
    • Starts as a balance bike and easily converts to a pedal bike
    • Larger frame and tire size fit kids from ages 3 to 5
    • Comfortable, upright body positioning promotes confidence for beginners
    • Cushioned, ergonomic seat

    CONS
    • No hand brake, coaster brake in pedal mode
    • Very short crank arms in pedal mode – difficult for kids over age 5 to ride


  • Strider 16


    strider sport balance bike 16" - blue

    MSRP: $200

    SEAT HEIGHT RANGE: 19.5″ – 24.5″

    BEST FITS KIDS: In 6 to 8 pants

    For any kids over 6 years old, there’s really only one or two balance bike options for them. Strider made our list for keeping it simple but good quality, as well as for its dedication to offering balance bikes for kids of all ages and abilities. 16″ and 20″ balance bikes are often great tools for special needs kids who may struggle on a pedal bike, but can dominate and feel awesome on a balance bike. For kids who feel more comfortable on a balance bike and don’t want to advance to a pedal bike, Strider also offers a 20″ balance bike.

    PROS
    • Larger frame and wheels comfortably accommodate much older kids
    • Dual handbrakes
    • Padded seat
    • Cross terrain tires for pavement or dirt
    • Often used to help special needs children learn to ride a bike

    CONS
    • Weight –  the Strider 16″ is pretty heavy at 17.7 lb., but is still much lighter than a Walmart 16″ pedal bike


Related Articles


Balance Bikes: How to Choose: Everything you need to know to choose the perfect bike for your child

Balance Bikes: Product Filter Tool: To view, filter, and read reviews on over 50 balance bikes

How to Teach a Child to Ride a Balance Bike: For help teaching your child to ride their new balance bike


Disclosure: The majority of links provided are affiliate links we receive a small commission on sales made through them (including Amazon).
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