Bixe balance bikes come in two different sizes – a 16 inch for kids 4+ who have yet to master a pedal bike and a 12 inch for toddlers. With a lightweight frame and a budget-friendly price tag, it’s no surprise that they are one of the top-selling balance bikes on Amazon.
We had so many readers ask us how the Bixe 12 inch compared to other balance bikes that we recommend that we decided to test it for ourselves. We also put the 16 inch Bixe to the test with our older testers. So do they live up to the hype? Yes and no… read our review to find out!
- One of the smallest budget balance bikes available
- Lightweight aluminum frame – just 4.6 lbs!
- Foam tires never go flat
- Frame design provides room for kids to maneuver the bike comfortably
- Foam tires provide minimal traction and no cushioning. Not ideal for non-paved surfaces.
- No handbrake
- Seat height range is limited
- Seat height adjustments require tools
Bixe Balance Bike Review: 12 and 16 inch Models
How do the Bixe balance bikes ride?
From a performance standpoint, the Bixe balance bikes are a fantastic buy for a budget bike. Lightweight and easy to maneuver, our riders were consistently gliding with feet in the air and tongues hanging out!
Our almost 3-year-old tester on the 12″ Bixe rode up and down the street with ease. She had just finished testing a bike almost 3x the weight of the Bixe and had really struggled on that bike. Although she’s a confident balance bike rider, the added weight of the heavier bike was difficult. When she sat on the Bixe 12, she rode away easily and smoothly!
Our 7-year-old tester on the 16″ Bixe is a timid kid and has had a lot of fear associated with learning to ride a pedal bike. On the Bixe 16, however, he’s completely at ease and has a level of confidence and adventure he hasn’t shown on a bike before.
12 and 16 inch Balance Bike Sizes
The Bixe 12″ has a seat height range of 11.5″ – 15.5″. With a 4″ seat height range, the Bixe’s range is less than the Strider Classic which has a 5″ range (11″ to 16″), but more than the typical 3″ to 4″ with most budget bikes. The GOMO (our favorite budget balance bike) also has a 5″ seat height range.
Because the seat of a balance bike should be set 1″ to 1.5″ below your child’s inseam to allow them to sit with knees bent, the Bixe 12 is best for kids with inseams ranging from about 12.5″ to 17″.
The Bixe 16″ balance bike has a 4″ seat height range of 18.25″ – 22.4″, for an ideal fit for kids with inseams ranging from 19.25″ to 24″.
Bixe does feature adjustable height handlebars, which is a nice feature for a budget bike. The handlebars of the 12 have 3″ of adjustability, from 20″ to 23″. The 16″ balance bike has 2.5″ of adjustability – from 24″ – 26.45″. This allows you to fine-tune a comfortable fit for your child – taking into account both height and torso length as they reach for those handlebars.
One thing to note – the Bixe does not have a quick-release clamp on the seat post or handlebars. The clamps on both the seat and handlebars require an Allen key to make adjustments. While loosening the clamp is easy, it does take a considerable amount of time,especially the handlebars, which requires you to re-align the entire front wheel with each adjustment. The Strider Classic also does not have quick-release clamps, while the GOMO balance bike does.
Many budget balance bikes are not thought through very well, which often result in a bike that’s a bit awkward to ride. Often times, the child rider sits very high on top of a bike, which makes the bike more challenging to balance, while other times the wheelbase of the bike is way too short, which negatively affects the maneuverability of the bike.
As shown above, the Bixe offer great geometry for a budget bike! The riders sit low on the frame and there is ample room between their torsos and the handlebars. Testers on both bikes were each able to balance easily and maintain control without added effort.
Lightweight Aluminum Frame
The Bixe 12 features a lightweight aluminum frame, while the Bixe 16 features a steel frame that still manages to not be excessively heavy. The Bixe 16 is the lightest 16″ balance bike on the market.
Where some budget 12″ balance bikes can get to almost 12 lbs, the Bixe 12 weighs in at just 4.6 lbs, even lighter than the uber popular Strider. The Strider Classic has a steel frame and weighs 6.7 lb (still a light bike!). Even the Strider Pro, which has an aluminum frame and sells for $150+, weighs 5.7 lbs.
While we love Bixe for going to the trouble of building a budget bike with such a lightweight frame, in all of our years testing balance bikes, we’ve found it very debatable whether a balance bike under 5 pounds is actually better than a balance bike under 7 pounds. It’s really when you get to a bike over 9 pounds that we’ve seen kids have trouble. However, if you have a particularly petite and lightweight toddler, they may feel more comfortable on a more lightweight bike.
The 16″ balance bike is made of steel, but is only 12 lbs, which is a very decent weight for a 16″ bike.
Wheels and Tires
The 12″ Bixe balance bike features foam tires on plastic rims, while the 16″ has air tires on metal rims. Foam tires are the most common type of tire on budget balance bikes, as they cost much less to manufacture than air tires and are also much lighter. On the downside, foam tires offer less traction than air tires (especially on dirt) and no cushioning. As a result, we generally prefer air tires on balance bikes, but for the average neighborhood balance bike rider who sticks to paved surfaces, foam tires perform just fine.
Because of the additional traction and cushion they provide, we were happy to see air tires on the 16″ bike. Most kids riding a 16″ bike are typically heavier than those on a 12″ bike and greatly benefit from the increased traction and cushioning provided by air tires. To have air tires and still manage to keep the Bike 16 so lightweight compared to the competition is pretty awesome.
No Hand Brake
When learning to balance on a bike, kids naturally put their feet down when they lose their balance. This helps them to regain their balance but also teaches them to rely on their feet to stop. As kids get older, they learn to ride faster and more aggressively, which can do a number on kids’ shoes. As a result, hand brakes come in handy to help save shoes and also greatly increase a child’s stopping power on a bike.
Unfortunately, neither size Bixe has a hand brake, but this is very typical for a 12″ budget balance bike. A quality hand brake that is easy for a child to use adds significant costs to a bike. As a result, most budget balance bikes just don’t have them, or if they do, they are typically very hard for a child to use. While we prefer bikes with hand brakes, relying on their feet to stop is usually not a problem for your average balance bike rider who sticks to paved surfaces.
For Bixe’s larger 16″ balance bike, a hand brake would certainly come in handy for older kids who are typically faster riders. But considering the Bixe is the only 16″ balance bike under $100 (that we know of), the Bixe 16 is a still a great option for timid riders who are likely to keep their speed in check while riding. If you have an aggressive child who is likely to ride the Bixe at higher speeds once they master balancing, we recommend transitioning them to a pedal bike with a brake as soon as they master balancing.
Grips, Saddle, Bolts
The padded saddle used on the Bixe 12 is the exact same saddle used on the 16. Its length is much better suited for the older riders on the 16, but our testers didn’t complain.
We do appreciate the extra padding for little bums, but it’s the type of saddle that is prone to wear and tear. Try to have your little ones set the bike down on grass, rather than on pavement which will be more likely to tear the seat’s vinyl covering.
The grips on the 12 and 16 are also exactly the same – hard plastic, and not too comfortable, but the safety bumpers on the ends of the grips will help protect little hands against inevitable falls. We do wish the 12’s grips were narrower than the 16’s because littler bike means little hands… but hey, it’s a budget bike.
The exposed, rounded bolts on the axles are what pretty much every budget balance bike has. The problem with exposed bolts is that they easily get scratched over time when kids fall down or when they drop their bikes down on the sidewalk. The scratched bolts then can scratch little legs.
While footrests aren’t a necessary feature of balance bikes (kids generally just put their feet up in the air to glide), we don’t mind them if they’re designed right. The footrests on the Bixes are located on the rear portion of the frame directly under the seat. The footrest is tucked under the seat as to not interfere with a child’s running stride. To use the footrest, a child would simply rest their heals on the black grip tape shown below.
Bixe 12 vs Strider Classic vs GOMO
There are a TON of budget-friendly balance bikes on the market. It’s really hard to choose between them because so many of them are the same! While many of them have terrible designs, there are a dozen or so under $100 that won’t last forever, but are a great buy for families on a budget. The Bixe balance bikes fall in that category.
So what about other budget bikes the same size? The Bixe 12 is most similar in size to the Strider Classic and the GOMO. Here’s a handy comparison chart to see the differences between the bikes.
|Feature||Bixe 12||Strider Classic||GOMO|
|Weight||4.6 lb.||6.7 lb.||8.5 lb.|
|Link to Review||You're reading it!||Strider Classic||GOMO|
Strider Classic: For the smallest riders, the Strider Classic is a great choice because its minimum seat height is shorter than the Bixe or GOMO.
GOMO: For $10 less than the Bixe, the GOMO has a wider seat height range and tool-free seat and handlebar adjustments.
Bixe 12: Easily the most lightweight of the three, the Bixe may be the best choice if you have a very petite toddler or you need a purple bike!
Bixe 16 vs Go Glider 16 vs Strider Sport 16
|Bixe 16||Go Glide 16||Strider Sport 16|
|Weight||12 lb.||12+ lb.||18 lb.|
Bixe Balance Bike Bottom Line
The Bixe 12 is a lightweight budget balance bike with a quality design that makes for an enjoyable ride. It’s one of the few balance bikes under $100 that offers a longer wheelbase and lower center of gravity for easier balancing. With its aluminum frame, it’s also one of the lightest balance bikes on the market! For more room for growth and easier height adjustments, take a look at the GOMO.
The Bixe 16 is one of only three 16″ balance bikes on the market. While we wish it had a hand brake, it’s actually a great and affordable solution for parents who are struggling to teach their kids to ride and need a temporary solution before a quick transition to a 20″ pedal bike.