9 Best Budget Balance Bikes (Under $100)

The vast majority of budget balance bikes aren’t actually designed for kids.  Instead, the manufacturer simply walks through a warehouse full of parts and picks pieces together to build a bike.  After a quick paint job and some decals, a brand new bike is born, without ever testing it out on a child!  As a result, most inexpensive bikes are poorly designed and can be difficult for kids to ride.

Toddler riding budget friendly RoyalBaby balance bike

Fortunately, there are a few budget bikes that, while they don’t compete with the higher-end balance bikes, do a great job for under $100. We tested out all of the bikes below and while they’re not the best of the best, they get the job done.  Their seats aren’t as cushioned, their bearings don’t roll as smoothly, and they don’t have the durability to last for generations, but they’re a great buy for those on a tighter budget.

9 Best Budget Balance Bikes Under $100

Puncture Proof Tires - Foam or Rubber
GOMO $89
Bixe $49
Strider Classic $99
Cushioning Air Tires
Swagtron K3 $59
Banana Bike GT $69
Radio Flyer Glide and Go $69
RoyalBaby Pony $79
Vitus Smoothy $99

Want to see our top picks in action? Check out our Best Budget Balance bike video below too learn all about these bikes and why we love them.

Our Favorite Budget Balance Bikes

Swagtron K3

2 year old gliding on Swagtron K3 balance bike at skatepark

MSRP: $59

FEATURES: Very lightweight, aluminum frame, air tires, low-roll-resistance wheels, soft hand grips (these are insane features at this price!!)

BEST FITS: Kids in 2T months to 4T pants.

KEY CONCERN:  Limited seat height range (3″), no quick-release seat post (tools required)


FULL REVIEW: Swagtron K3


boy riding a green and black gomo budget balance bike

MSRP: $69

FEATURES: Extended wheelbase for more room to ride, upright and natural body position for the rider,  adjustable-height handlebars, well-designed footrest, cool design and colors, incredible quality for the price.

BEST FITS: Kids in 2T to 4T pants with 13″ to 19″ inseam

KEY CONCERN: None. This is a fantastic budget bike!

COLORS AVAILABLE: Black/green, red/yellow, blue/yellow, hot pink


Banana Bike GT

2 year old riding Banana Bike GT balance bike on playground

MSRP: $69

FEATURES: Long wheelbase, taller handlebars and long seat post great for taller riders, true headset, adjustable-height handlebars, quick release seat post, air tires for under $70!

BEST FITS: Kids in 3T to size 5 pants.

KEY CONCERN:  Heavier than the lighter-weight Banana LT with foam tires

COLORS AVAILABLE: Blue, red, yellow



Bixe 12 budget balance bike Gliding

MSRP: $69

FEATURES: Super lightweight frame (just 4.4 lbs!), brightly colored rims

BEST FITS: Kids in 18 months to size 3T pants.

KEY CONCERN: Grips are hard, seat and handlebars require tools for adjusting

COLORS AVAILABLE: Pink, green, purple, blue

FULL REVIEW: Bixe 12 & 16

Radio Flyer Glide & Go

young girl riding a radio flyer balance bike

MSRP: $59

FEATURES: Comes with a bell, quick- release seat post, a lightweight frame, and air tires.

BEST FITS: Kids in 3T to size 5 pants.

KEY CONCERN: Seat has very little padding, cheap headset.


FULL REVIEW: Radio Flyer

Strider Classic

toddler riding Strider 12" balance bike off curb

MSRP: $89

FEATURES: Lightweight build (the lightest bike on our list). Low center-of-gravity geometry for increased stability. High-quality quick release on seat and handlebars make the Strider the easiest bike on this list to adjust. When extended seat post is purchased, the bike is easily adjustable to fit two siblings of different heights. Foam tires.

BEST FITS: Kids in 18-months to size 3T pants (up to size 5 with extended seat post).

KEY CONCERN: Non-padded seat, must buy extended seat post to raise the seat over 16″.

COLORS AVAILABLE: Green, red, blue, pink

FULL REVIEW: Strider Classic

RoyalBaby Pony

3 year old riding RoyalBaby Pony balance bike - running to gain speed

MSRP: $99

FEATURES: Air tires, cushioned saddle with balance bike carrying strap in a compartment underneath, quick-release seat post for easy height adjustments, sprint pad, true headset, low step-through frame

BEST FITS: Kids in 24-months to transitioning to 3T pants.

KEY CONCERN: Heavy for petite riders.

COLORS AVAILABLE: Black, blue, pink

FULL REVIEW: RoyalBaby Pony

Vitus Smoothy

Toddler riding Vitus Smoothy balance bike over parking curb

MSRP: $99

FEATURES: Lightweight magnesium frame, air tires, true headset, integrated carrying handle, wide handlebars for a more stable base, great quality for the price

BEST FITS: Average to aggressive riders in 2T – 4T pants

KEY CONCERN: No handbrake

COLORS AVAILABLE: Blue, mint, red, silver, white, yellow

FULL REVIEW: Vitus Smoothy Review


In addition to the bikes recommended above, we also tested out several other popular budget balance bikes, such as the Chicco Red Bullet and the Critical Cycles Cub.  Both of these bikes have amazing reviews on Amazon, but based on our tests, we do not recommend them.  While they are well-priced and many Amazon reviewers have had positive experiences with them, we found major flaws in their designs and believe the bikes listed above offer a superior balance bike experience for a similar price.

Chicco Red Bullet – $49

The Chicco Red Bullet’s main flaw is its extremely short wheelbase.  With the two wheels of the bike very close together, the child’s center-of-balance is higher than on other bikes, which makes the bike more difficult to balance.  The short bike also prevents kids from leaning into the bike when running, which can hinder their natural stride.

Critical Cycles Cub (also called Retrospec Cub)

The footrest on the Critical Cycles Cub is its downfall.  The footrest sticks out too far past the seat and caused our youngest testers to hit the back of their legs on the footrest while walking the bike.  Considering footrests are entirely optional (most kids don’t use them and rarely ask for them when a bike doesn’t have one), there’s no need to risk ruining a child’s balance bike experience with a unnecessary and burdensome footrest.

NOTE: Retrospec has redesigned this balance bike and removed the problematic footrest. We highly recommend the updated Retrospec Cub 2.

Critical Cub Action

Comparison Chart: Budget Balance Bikes

Bike MSRP Tires Seat Height Weight Quick Release Adjustable Handlebars
Swagtron K3 $59 Air 12.25" - 15.25" 6.5 lb.
GOMO $65 Foam 12" - 17" 8.5 lb. X X
Banana Bike GT $69  Knobby Air 12.5" - 17" 8.1 lb. X
Banana Bike LT $59 Foam 12" - 16.5" 7.3 lb. X X
Radio Flyer Glide & Go $59 Street Air 14.2" - 18.5" 8.4 lb. X X
Bixe $69 Foam 11.5 - 15.5" 4.4 lb. X
Schwinn Balance Bike $69 Foam 14.25" - 16.75" 8.5 lb. X
RoyalBaby Pony $75 Street Air 12" - 15.5" 9.2 lb. X
TootScoot $75 Solid Rubber 11" - 14" 7 lb. X
Kazam Bike $79 Foam or Air 13.75" - 16" 8.4. lbs. (foam) X X
Prince Lionheart Wooden Balance Bike  $79 Rubber 14.8" - 17" 9.9 lb.
Strider Classic $99 Foam 11" - 16" 6.4 lb. X
Glide Bikes Mini Glider $89 Air 12.5" - 15.75" 11.7 lbs. X X
Chillafish BMXie $69 Airless Rubberskin 12.25" - 15.25" 8.5 lb. X
Vitus Smoothy $99 Air 12.75" - 17.5" 7 lb. X

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