10 Best Budget Balance Bikes (Under $100)

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10 Best Budget Balance Bikes (Under $100)

The vast majority of budget kids’ 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.

Our Recommended Budget Balance Bikes at Work

Toddlers riding balance bikes - Schwinn Skip 4, Strider Classic, Toot Scoot

Fortunately, there are a few budget bikes that, while they don’t compete with the higher-end 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.


1. Evo Beep Beep, $59


FEATURES: Knobby air tires for great traction on various surfaces, a true ball-bearing headset for smooth steering, turning limiter (only one on this list that has one!), adjustable-height handlebars.

BEST FITS: Kids in 3T and 4T pants.

KEY CONCERN: 3″ of seat post adjustments leaves minimal room for growth.

COLORS AVAILABLE: Green, red, purple

 


2. Banana Bike GT, $64


FEATURES: Long wheelbase, taller handlebars and long seat post great for taller riders, adjustable-height handlebars, quick release seat post, knobby air tires.

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

KEY CONCERN:  Handle on back of seat prevents tire from rolling when lowered all the way down. (Our listed minimum seat height reflects the lowest setting where the wheel can turn.)

COLORS AVAILABLE: Blue, yellow, pink

 


3. Radio Flyer Glide & Go, $69


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

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

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

COLORS AVAILABLE: Red, pink

 


4. TootScoot $75


FEATURES: Small frame is ideal for young toddlers. Wide tires help the youngest of riders learn to balance quickly, while still allowing them to cruise when they get older. Helps timid kids transition to a real balance bike. Adjustable-height handlebars.

BEST FITS: Kids in 18-months to 2T pants.

KEY CONCERN: Minimal room for growth.  Kids will likely outgrow the bike close to their 3rd birthday.

COLORS AVAILABLE: Red, blue, pink

 


5. Schwinn Skip 4, $79


FEATURES: Wider air tires for additional cushioning, balancing, and smoothing bumps in the sidewalk, comes with number plate accessory, quick- release seat post.

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

KEY CONCERN: High step-through makes it harder to maneuver for timid or less ambitious riders (or those kids who need things to be easy from the get-go).

COLORS AVAILABLE: Green/black, purple

 


6. Strider Classic, $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

 


7. Chillafish BMXie, $89


FEATURES: Puncture-proof Rubberskin tires (provide more traction than foam but no additional cushioning), tool-free seat adjustments, sporty-styling, removable footrest, fun colors and patterns to choose from, comes with cool number plate with stickers, frame has finger slots for parents to carry the bike, lightweight and durable frame.

BEST FITS: Kids in 2T to 4T pants

KEY CONCERN: The wide rear portion of the frame can interfere with a child’s stride.  It was only problematic for our more petite riders, but could be an issue for some average-framed kids as well. While the seat doesn’t require tools to adjust, it takes time and is a bit of a pain.

COLORS AVAILABLE: Boy camo, girl camo, blue, green, pink, red, yellow, patterned

 


8. Biddle, $99


FEATURES: Extremely well-built for the price, beautiful paint job, air tires, adjustable-height handlebars, quality headset provides responsive steering and a smooth ride.

BEST FITS: Kids in 2T and 3T pants (up to size 5 with extended seat post).

KEY CONCERN: Only 2″ of seat height range unless an extended seat post is purchased.  Heavy for petite riders.

COLORS AVAILABLE: Mint, blue, pink

 


9. Bike*Star Sport 12, $99


FEATURES: The only bike on the list that comes with a handbrake.  Has plenty of room for growth, air tires, and a kickstand.  The kickstand is problematic for narrow-framed riders, but can easily be removed.

BEST FITS: Kids in 18-months to size 4T pants.

KEY CONCERN: Kickstand interferes with child’s stride (but easily removable). Heavy for petite riders.

COLORS AVAILABLE: Green, blue, red, purple

 


10. Burley MyKick, $99


FEATURES: Puncture-proof honeycomb tires (provide more traction than foam tires while still being flat resistant), an extra-cushioned saddle, quick-release handlebars and seat post for easy height adjustments.

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

KEY CONCERN: Heavy for petite riders.

COLORS AVAILABLE: Green, red, pink

 

NOT RECOMMENDED

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 – $59


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.

By: Natalie Martins

Last Updated: June 21, 2018