Not a favorite amongst our young testers, who found it to be big and clunky compared to other 16" balance bikes.
Seat Height: 16" - 25"
Weight: 10 lb.
Brakes: Hand Brake Dual Hand
Tire Size: 16"
Grips Bumper: Yes
Frame Material: Steel
Designed for kids aged 5 to 10, the Go Glider is one of the largest balance bikes we have tested. Available with EVA foam tires or air tires, we tested the air model that retails for $149.99 while the foam models retails for $129.99. Both models come standard with a turning limiter, a hand-activated drum brake, a kickstand and front-to-back adjustable handlebars. With a six and four-year-old who are both too tall for 12″ bikes, the 16″ Go Glider was gladly received. Upon assembling the bike, which took about 20 minutes, our six-year-old daughter (who is completely confident on a pedal bike, but still loves riding balance bikes) quickly took it out for a test ride. She was immediately drawn to the foot rest and enjoyed doing “tricks” and standing up on the footrest.
After several minutes of riding the bike however, her excitement died down and she decided to give her four-year-old brother a try. Although the bike is designed for ages 5 and up, our 40″ tall four-year-old son is the same size as many five-year-olds and we therefore considered him to be a good candidate for the Go Glider. Once on the bike however, it became quite clear that it was simply too big for him. Being very confident on his pedal bike and our larger 12″ balance bikes, I figured he would be able to manage the bike, but found it difficult to ride. Upon watching him ride, it was clear that the tall handlebars were creating an awkward ride for him. The new 2013 Go Glider however has adjustable handlebars so by simply loosening one bolt on the base of the handlebars, I was quickly able to adjust them.
After the adjustment, both of our kids were more comfortable on the Go Glider, but neither chose to ride the bike for more than a few minutes. Assuming it was simply because my kids were already confident on their pedal bikes, I decided to test the bike on a five, a six and an eight-year-old in the neighborhood who have yet learned to ride a bike without training wheels. After allowing each child to use the bike for several weeks, I checked back in with their parents to see how their child had progressed on the bike. Surprisingly, the feedback I received was similar to that of my own kids. While the bike seemed to work just fine, the kids generally did not enjoy riding it. While the six-year-old was eventually able to convert to a pedal bike, the five and eight-year-old both disliked riding the bike so much (even after adjustments were made to the bike) that they simply did not put enough time on the bike to learn to balance on it. Not wanting to write-off the bike completely, I allowed the eight-year-old to use the bike for several more weeks in hopes that he would eventually decide to ride the bike. Then upon receiving the TykesBykes 16″ balance bike, the real issues with the Go Glider started to become apparent.
A 16″ balance bike as well, my kids had a completely different reaction to the TykesBykes. They loved it and quickly began to fight over it. Complete with 16″ tires and a handbrake, upon assembly it was clear that the bike was certainly a better quality build than the Go Glider, but could that effect the overall ride-ability of the bike as much as it seemed?
Wanting as many opinions as possible, I dropped the bike off at our eight-year-old testers house to see how an indifferent child would react to the bike. While timid at first, once he jumped on the bike he walked a few yards then took off down the street. Never having such drastic reactions to two bikes before, I decided to do some side-by-side comparisons in hopes to determine what was so different about the two bikes. Upon doing so it was clear how different the geometry of the two bikes were.
While almost identical in length, the handlebars of the Go Glider are much higher (even when adjusted all the way back as shown above) and the seat is set back further as compared to the TykesBykes 16″. The taller handlebars, in conjunction with the seat placed further back on the frame, made the Go Glider more difficult to ride as it prevented our testers from leaning forward in order to run and gain speed as compared to the TykesBykes.
**I realize that in all the pictures of the Go Glider, our testers are using the footrest, which creates a different body position than running. To get a true comparison, pictures of our testers running on the Go Glider are forthcoming.**
In conclusion, while it was hard to determine the exact reason why our testers preferred the TykesBykes, we believe the extended geometry of the Go Glider make it more difficult to ride. The differences were less noticeable on older riders and as a result I would not recommend the Go Glider for kids under 45″ in height. Due to the extra cushion and traction provided by air tires, I also highly recommend the air tires model over the EVA foam model.
By: Natalie Martins
Last Updated: December 28, 2016
FTC Disclosure: I was provided a demo bike from Glide Bikes for a discounted price to facilitate this review, but am not affiliate with them in any way and received no monetary compensation for this review. I am also not affiliate with Tykesbykes (but did receive a demo bike from them) and received no monetary compensation from them for this review. All opinions expressed in this review are mine and those of my testers.