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You’ve made the decision that you want to buy a balance bike for your youngster, great choice, you won’t regret it! Check out my post Stabilisers are Teaching Children Bad Habits if you want to read the science behind the benefits of balance bikes.
Next comes the research to figure out which one will be the best one to buy.
Balance bikes come in a gorgeous array of makes and models these days which is great….although it makes sifting through the many options a little more work.
I’ve tried to save you some work highlighting the key points that you might want to consider.
The size of the frame varies from model to model so it’s important to pick a bike that has a frame size that fits your child now but also comes with adjustability in the seat and possibly handlebars to ‘grow’ with your child.
Some balance bikes such as the Wishbone Bikes have a larger overall frame so suit a child who is of average height or above for their age. Strider Bikes have a smaller frame size so suit those toddlers who are more petite.
If you can’t physically try it out in a store, or at one of my demo sessions, the best thing to do is to measure your child’s inner leg length (some call this the inseam) then add a few extra cm’s to allow for the slight knee bend. You want them to have a slightly bent leg when sitting on the bike saddle. Then check out the Bike Seat Height Comparison Chart below:
Nylon is a great tough option and, with glass fibre re-inforcement, has extra strength. The Wishbone Recycled Edition Balance Bike or Trike are super sturdy and have stainless steel axels now too so they can be left outside with no problems.
Wooden bikes are nostalgic, yet relatively hard wearing options. For the eco-conscious out there, Wishbone Original Bikes come from sustainable birch wood plantations. The downside of wood is that it doesn’t appreciate being left outdoors day and night and adds a little more weight to the overall balance bike.
Steel bikes are tough and sturdy and a good value for money. Check out the STRIDER Balance Bike range which has bikes that weigh in at 3kg.
Aluminium bikes are light and with an anodised paint finish, they have the benefit of not rusting or chipping paint. Bikes with these frames would be the lightest on the market like the STRIDER Pro Balance Bike.
Air filled Rubber Tyres, Foamed Filled Plastic tyres or Solid Rubber Tyres are the main 3 options in the market.
Air tyres offer a much better riding performance and if you’re planning on doing a fair bit of biking, these are definitely the best option. The bike is springy and therefore much more comfortable, and the air cushioning cuts down the vibrations going through to your child. A bonus for their rapidly developing little bodies. The rubber tyres also have good grip on the surface, whether it’s wet or dry.
Solid polyurethane (EVA) tyres don’t have as much spring or grip as the air tyres. These types of tyres are best used on smooth surfaces such as playgrounds, skate parks or concrete tracks and over short distances. You have lower maintenance with this tyre type but the trade off is a less comfortable ride.
Wishbone bikes all have non-marking rubber air tyres which give a great smooth grippy ride but do add a little extra weight to the overall bike. Strider 12 Bikes come with foam filled tyres by default but you can upgrade to air tyres when your child gets more confident and does a lot of biking or is a little older and bigger to handle them. The Strider 14X has 14″ air tyres (pneumatic) as standard.
So, hopefully that gives you a little more information on which bike to pick. Of course, your kids have a BIG say in the decision making too! If they love the look of the bike, they’ll more likely want to pick it up and whizz along!
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or queries about a make or model of balance bike that you’re considering. Always happy to help get your youngsters moving!