Balance Bikes - Your Complete Guide
Balance Bikes for Adventurous Toddlers
Balance bikes are a fantastic way for your little one to start learning to ride a bicycle - but how do you know which one to choose?
Essentially, any bike can teach you to balance, but there are vast differences in quality, performance, durability, stability and safety. This is why we stock only the very best wooden kids' bikes from Kinderfeets, Trybike and Globber!READ MORE
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Has your toddler been eyeing bicycles and eagerly tugged your sleeve whenever they see a bike going past your home?
Chances are your little one is ready to start becoming bicycle savvy with their very first balance bike! Toddlers and kids alike can learn the basics of balance on our pedal-free balance bikes.
My Happy Helpers are proud Australian stockists of Kinderfeets Tiny Tot Tike Bike wooden balance bikes, Trybike steel balance bikes and Globber adjustable GO BIKE balance bikes.. These beautiful toddler bikes are available in beautiful vibrant colours of red, blue, pink and black and yellow.
What are balance bikes?
Simply put, a balance bike is a bicycle without pedals or training wheels. It simply has the frame, fork, handlebar and wheels. As its name suggests, the purpose of a kids balance bike is to teach boys and girls how to balance while they are sitting and in motion. Kids then move the bike forward by pushing their feet against the ground. Balance bikes are also known as:
- Glider bikes
- Run bikes
- Runner bikes
- Pedal-less bikes
How does a kids balance bike work?
Riding a balance bike is simple! Because it’s low to the ground, kids move forward by pushing off the ground and walking with the bike. As they progress, they move onto running, striding and eventually gliding. Once your little one is gliding along and has mastered their balance, they’re ready to begin pedalling!
What are the advantages of balance bikes?
Balance bikes are a fantastic investment for your child for a number of reasons. In addition to being easy to use and store away, their simple design lets kids start, stop, steer and turn with safety and confidence because their feet are on the ground. Once they have developed these skills, they’ll be riding a bicycle without training wheels in no time!
It’s not just about balance, though. In addition to being fun, the design of balance bikes encourages children to use their arms and lift their legs in order to move forward, which helps them build their strength as well as fine-tune their posture, motor skills, agility and coordination. What’s more, our wooden balance bikes will also play a crucial sole in your child’s development of their attention and learning skills. According to Dr. Catherine Jackson, Chair of the Department of Kinesiology at California State University at Fresno, "When kids stabilize themselves from an unstable pose, they learn how to focus faster and more efficiently."
What is the right age for kids to start using a balance bike?
Our Kinderfeets wooden kids’ bikes are so much fun and an easy way to get boys and girls moving from a very young age. As they develop their gross motors skills, they will also gain the confidence to master “big kids” bikes when they are older. The beauty of our wooden balance bikes is that they can be used from a young age.
So how young is too young for a balance bike? Australian guidelines indicate that they are appropriate for kids from 18 months to 7 years old. In fact, if your child can walk, then they can use a balance bike! Compared to traditional bikes with training wheels, which are aimed at older kids of 3-4 years, this means your child can start riding much earlier.
How can I teach my toddler to ride a balance bike?
Riding a balance bike is incredibly easy, and you won’t need to do much hand-holding to teach your child how to ride a toddler bike. Kids just sit on the low saddle while holding onto the handlebars. From there, they can walk, run stride or glide based on their level of confidence and experience. Even if your little one is nervous, they can just stand over the frame and walk normally. Just by holding the handlebars and getting used to the feel of the bike, their confidence and coordination will grow.
That said, there are a few simple things you can do to get your child started on their balance bike journey!
- Find a wide and open space that is free from rough surfaces and obstacles.
- Make sure your child is wearing a helmet so that even the smallest fall won’t hurt them.
- Ensure the balance bike is set up correctly for your child’s height
- Help your child onto their balance bike and watch them go!
Are balance bikes better than bikes with training wheels?
You may be asking yourself whether a wooden balance bike is better for your child as opposed to a pedal bike with stabilisers (also known as training wheels). We believe that if your child is younger, then balance bikes are a safe and fun option. Bicycles with training wheels usually can’t be used on rough or sloped surfaces as they pose a risk of tipping over. Furthermore, if your child is turning a corner, their weight is being supported by the outside stabiliser wheel, which prompts them to learn to lean the wrong way.
On the other hand, a balance bike lets your child lean the bike the correct way - towards the inside of the corner. This, combined with the focus on developing their coordination and balance, means they will start riding a bicycle without training wheels more quickly.
What is the right size bike for a toddler?
Firstly, the most important thing is to choose a toddler bike that is the right size for your child right now. Do not choose one that is bigger with the idea that they will grow into it, as doing so will mean that they experience discomfort as they are learning to ride.
Unlike normal kids’ bicycles, balance bikes are chosen based on the inseam. When it comes to measurements, the saddle/seat of the balance bike should be at a height that allows your child to have their feet flat on the ground while sitting. In addition to this, they should be able to easily reach the handlebars if they lean slightly forwards - this will allow them to brace against the ground. If you want to check if the balance bike is the right size, measure your child’s inseam while wearing their shoes. This measurement should be the same (or slightly more) than the minimum saddle height. If the inseam is longer than the maximum saddle height, then you need to choose a bigger bike.
How much should a kids balance bike weigh?
Ideally, you want your child’s balance bike to be as light as possible so that they can push it easily. Normally, balance bikes are made from a variety of materials, including steel, wood, plastic, or aluminium alloy. The materials that you choose will depend mostly on your child. For example, wooden balance bikes are incredibly lightweight and are less expensive than metal ones. However, they are more prone to wear and tear, and can be easy to damage. Metal balance bikes, on the other hand, are better suited to bigger children as they have a higher weight tolerance, but can also be heavier and more difficult for smaller children to push.
Generally speaking, your child’s balance bike should be no more than 30% of their weight. The average two-year-old weighs around 12.7kg, which means that their balance bike should weigh no more than 3.8kg.
When to move from balance bike to pedal bike
Here in Australia, seeing your kid zooming along on their bike around the neighbourhood is an iconic sight. However, it can be hard to judge when it’s the right time for your little one to make the big step from balance bike to pedal bike. With the balance, steering and leaning skills that they have developed on their balance bike, your child can make the transition to a normal bike from as young as three years old! However, we recommend letting them make the move at their own pace - don’t rush them.
A good way to make the transition is to remove the pedals on their pedal bike. This will allow your child to get started just like they did on their balance bike and create that sense of familiarity. Once they’re used to the extra weight and height, you can screw the pedals back on and watch them go - all without training wheels!
In the meantime, we suggest having both the balance bike and pedal bike available to your child while they are making the transition. This overlap of bikes can last for up to a year, but it will ensure that your child is stronger, more confident, and more skilled when they finally make the switch.
Which is the best balance bike for my child?
Choosing the right balance bike for your child will vary depending on your particular needs.
When choosing the bike, make sure to consider factors such as:
- Your child’s age
- Your child’s size
- Your child’s weight
- The surfaces they will be riding on
- How often they will be using the bike
- How much wear and tear they will put on the bike
- How easy it is for you to carry the bike
Looking for a Cargo Walker or Cargo Trike instead?
Our range also includes a cargo walker, which is perfect for little ones who need a little support as they are still learning to walk, as well as a cargo trike, available in red or grey, that is ideal if your little adventurer wants to take his teddies or other toys for a ride!
So, enjoy shopping this lovely range – your child will not be able to wait to try out their new balance bike!
How do you know which Wooden Balance Bike to Choose?
Balance bikes are a fantastic way for your little one to start learning to ride a bicycle - but how do you know which one to choose? Essentially, any bike can teach you to balance, but there are vast differences in quality, performance, durability, stability and safety. This is why we stock only the very best wooden kid bikes from Kinderfeets, Trybike and Globber! Our toddler bikes come with adjustable seat heights and EVA airless biodegradable tires, which will not go flat fast. Our balance bikes are also designed with comfortable footpegs to help children position their feet properly for cruising and to prepare for pedals.