8 Best Balance Bikes for children

8 Best Balance Bikes 2020

Finding the best balance bikes for your child seems like hard work, but in reality there are lots of great options to choose from.

Are you wanting to help your child transition without tears, falls and frustration, to a pedal bike? 

Balance bikes are perfect for this. They help children learn how to balance, stop and turn effectively on a bike first. They can do all this without the added complication of trying to pedal.

What is a balance bike?

Halfords explain it brilliantly: 

Also known as a training bike, they are bikes at their most basic level, without pedals, a drivetrain, and sometimes brakes.

Source: halfords.com

Are balance bikes worth it? 

The short answer is yes.

Children learn how to balance on this this type of bike, by sitting on it and pushing themselves along with their feet. It doesn’t take them long to master this and zoom around with both feet lifted, steering effortlessly.

 It can be the most painless way to introduce children to riding a push bike, and instill a life-long love of cycling. 

Best kids balance bikes

Our Pick
Strider - 12 Sport

This sturdy little number will see your child through from 6 months to when you pick their first push bike for them.

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Also Great
Rebel Kidz Balance Bike

Real bike tyres and heavier, limited steering enable your child to have an authentic bike-riding experience.

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Best Budget Buy
Chicco Red Bullet

The best all-round budget balance bike in our opinion. Offers stability but is light enough to manoeuvre easily.

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Our Pick
Strider - 12 Sport

This sturdy little number will see your child through from 6 months to when you pick their first push bike for them.

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Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike - Our Pick

The Strider 12 Sport balance bike is the ultimate companion for your child’s motor development. Even from 6 months, they can experience the fun of riding, when teamed up with the Rocking Base, which can be used inside, without damaging your floors. 

When they are ready to roll, release the Strider from its base and your child can complete the next phase of their cycling journey. Quick release adjustment make the Strider so easy to adapt for your child as they grow. The beauty with this bike is that it comes with two sizes of seat posts, so you’ll never likely to need a larger size balance bike before your child is ready to ride their first pedal bike.

Specs

  • Age of use: 18 month to 5 years 
  • Weight: 2.9 k.g. 
  • Wheel size: 12 inches
  • Dimensions: 70.6 x 16 x 31.2 cm
  • Dimensions from ground to top of handlebars: 50 cm - 59 cm
  • Dimensions from ground to seat: 28cm - 48cm (complete with 2 seat posts)
  • Footrest
  • Colours available: red, black, green, orange, blue, pink

What We Like

  • Superbly light aluminium frame so child can move it around independently.
  • 2 Seatposts mean no need to buy a bigger balance bike before your child transitions to a pedal bike. 
  • Quick assembly with no tools needed.

What We Don’t Like 

  • Quick release fixing on the seat can become loose over time and will need tightening again. 

Our Verdict

Our absolute favourite balance bike as it can be the balance bike they use from 6 months all the way up to their first pedal bike. Well worth the high price, as the bike gives value over time in the form of positive experiences of riding very early on.

Also Great
Rebel Kidz Balance Bike

Real bike tyres and heavier, limited steering enable your child to have an authentic bike-riding experience.

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Rebel Kidz Balance Bike in Light Green

This little gem is an absolute style classic! Added to looking great while learning, your child will benefit from learning to ride on the same tyres as they will have on their first push bike. 

We love the leather seat, which has been specifically designed to fit small children comfortably. Your child will have a positive experience when learning how to turn effectively - the steering is purposefully weighted, to avoid oversteer and tears. 

Another thing worth mentioning is the range from lowest seat and handlebar position, which would suit younger children from approximately 2 and a half and be adjustable as they grow. If you have a taller child, the seat can extend beyond the range mentioned, which makes it a great buy for longer-term use.

Specs

  • Age of use: 2 years - 5 years
  • Weight: 6.3kg 
  • 16cm pneumatic tyres - pump up like normal bike tyres. 
  • Dimensions: 75 x 15 x 32 cm
  • Dimensions from ground to top of handlebars: 50 cm - 59 cm
  • Dimensions from ground to seat:  32 cm - 40 cm
  • Weighted steering 
  • Load capacity: 25kg

What We Like

  • Sturdy steel frame 
  • Weighted steering avoids topples 
  • Real bike tyres give real push bike experience. 
  • Extremely good quality seat for comfortable riding. 

What We Don’t Like 

  • On the larger side for a child aged 18 months to 2 years. 

Our Verdict

This is our favourite balance bike for all-round performance and style! 

It impresses also as it gives children opportunities to deal with the feel of real tyres, but from the comfort of a superb seat and the safe guiding steering. 

Best Budget Buy
Chicco Red Bullet

The best all-round budget balance bike in our opinion. Offers stability but is light enough to manoeuvre easily.

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Chicco Red Bullet Balance Bike 

The Chicco Red Bullet balance bike offers a really good budget experience and has successfully enabled young children to ride push bikes. The plastic tyres aren’t an issue on this model, as it still makes for a smooth ride. 

On top of this the frame quality and sturdiness will build your child’s confidence. This little bike is so predictable in its movements, your child will be weaving in and out at speed in no time. 

The only minor point seems to be that it is on the small side. If your child is tall, it might be worth looking at a slightly larger framed balance bike. 

Our Budget Pick In Pink
Chicco Pink Arrow Balance Bike

Basically the Red Arrow in Pink.For all pink lovers out there.

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Specs

  • Age of use: from 2 to 5 years
  • Weight: 2.7kg 
  • Dimensions: 60 x 26 x 16 h cm
  • Max weight: 25kg
  • Seat adjusts from 33 cm up to 38 cm in height
  • Height adjustable handlebars
  • Colour: Red

What We Like

  • Extremely light for small bodies learning to balance
  • Good for children who aren’t tall for their age/ shorter legs
  • Smooth, even ride
  • Tyres are good for balance even though not pneumatic
  • Unisex - can be handed down
  • Easy to assemble

What We Don’t Like 

  • Small frame means some 3 - 5 year olds may need a larger upgrade
  • Can scratch easily

Our Verdict

Beautiful little balance bike, excellent value for money for average height children between 2 and 3 years old. Much too small for tall children between 3 and 5.

Best Mid-priced Glider Bike

Mid-priced Pick
BIKESTAR Lightweight Kids Balance Bike

Real bike tyres and a rear brake give children chance to practise key bike skills, without the trauma of getting to grips with pedalling at the same time.

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BIKESTAR® Lightweight Kids Balance Bike

The Bikestar is a mid-priced balance bike with a lot to offer. If you are looking for an authentic push bike experience minus the pedals, this is the bike for your child. 

Real push bike tyres and a rear brake, give your child the classic feel of a 2wheeler but without the confusion of pedals. For smaller children, a quick cheat on this bike, is to remove the plug at the bottom of the seat post and it will sit lower than advertised. 

We love the width of the tyres on this model. They are really chunky, and although the bike itself is on the heavier side for real littlies, it provides a really sturdy confidence-building ride.

Specs

  • Age of use: 18 months to 5 years 
  • Weight: 4.4 Kg
  • Wheel size: 10 inch pneumatic tyres.
  • Dimensions: 79.2 x 42.8 x 16.2 cm
  • Dimensions from ground to top of handlebars: 43 - 49 cm 
  • Dimensions from ground to seat: 30 - 37 cm
  • Kickstand 
  • Rear brake
  • Colours available: black, turquoise, pink, red,blue, berry and turquoise, green, multicoloured.

What We Like

  • High quality everything
  • Pneumatic tyres and brake give authentic push bike experience.  
  • Superb safety features for example: face protector on handlebars. 

What We Don’t Like 

  • On the heavy side for toddlers and children just turned 2.  

Our Verdict

The bikestar offers a durable, stable, comfortbale ride, which will boost your child's confidence no end.  Could be a little on the large size for the younger end of the age range the manufacturer suggests. 

Other Best Balance Bikes for Smaller Budgets

Budget Style
KinderKraft Balance Bike

Beautiful styling and colour on this balance bike, make it look far more expensive than its ticket price. A real on-trend balance bike.

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Kindercraft Balance Bike

The Kindercraft Balance Bike brings style and functionality to the party. Slightly on the heavier side at 3kg, this balance bike is very sturdy. Its extra weight translates as more stability for the child. 

Another impressive feature is its low bar, which allows even a small two year old to step into the frame easily. Kindercraft love to stretch the child’s learning and have included a brake on this model.

Specs

  • Age of use: from 3 to 5 years
  • Weight: 3kg 
  • 12” plastic tyres 
  • Dimensions: 84 x 37 x 62cm
  • Dimensions from ground to top of handlebars: 52-59cm
  • Dimensions from ground to seat: 31cm - 40cm
  •  Child height from 80cm 
  • Limited range handlebar - to avoid lockouts.

What We Like

  • Extremely sturdy and won’t corrode easily if left outside
  • Really comfortable saddle
  • Extremely easy to assemble
  • Rounded corners prevent unnecessary scratches. 

What We Don’t Like 

  • Tabs on the basket are a little large, leading to items falling out. 

Our Verdict

We love this style statement balance bike. It really is great value for money and accommodates most children’s heights. The low frame makes it the safest to mount for toddlers. 

Budget Buy
Joolihome 12

This little gem is a great budget buy. Not only that it is so lightweight, it will encourage your child to take more risks with learning to balance.

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Joolihome Ultra-light Balance Bike 

The Joolihome balance bike offers a really good budget experience and has successfully enabled young children to ride push bikes. A magnesium alloy frame makes this bike ultra-light at 2.2kgs and is easy for small bodies to maneuvre. 

 Added to this, the balance bike comes with a superbly comfortable seat and grippy handlebars for small hands. 

One thing to bear in mind is that a budget price means budget plastic tyres. They have on some occasions, been reported to wear quite quickly with daily use. 

Specs

  • Age of use: from 2 to 6 years
  • Weight: 2.2kg 
  • 12” plastic tyres 
  • Dimensions from ground to top of handlebars: 54-58cm
  • Dimensions from ground to seat: 36cm - 41cm
  • Max weight: 32kg
  •  Child height from 80cm (31.5") -120cm (47.2")
  • Colour choices: black, blue, pink, yellow.

What We Like

  • Extremely light but sturdy
  • Accomodates taller children with higher seat and handlebar range (suitable for short legs too)
  • Age suggestions on bars for height make sizing the bike for your child easier. 
  • Easy to assemble

What We Don’t Like 

  • Some wheels have worn easily. 

Our Verdict

Sturdy, good value and inspires so much confidence in children from the ages of 2 to 5. It would be on the small side for a tall 5 or 6 year old.

Best for Taller Children/ 3+
Besrey Balance Bike

The adjustability of this bike is its major advantage. If you're child is taller than average or you want this bike to last longer for children 3+, this is the one for you.

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Besrey Balance Bike

Besrey’s balance bike brings a flavour of the well-known BMX style to our little pre-riders. It has limited oversteer to prevent less confident riders falling,and handles a range of surfaces smoothly without tyres puncturing due to its high quality EVA foam tyres. 

The adjustment factor of this balance bike is its best feature. The height of the frame is generally more suited for 3 year olds + and will provide a balance bike big enough to cater for taller kids. 

Specs

  • Age of use: from 3 to 5 years
  • Not suitable for children under 36 months
  • Weight: 4.1kg 
  • 12” EVA foam tyres 
  • Dimensions: 83 x 45 x 61 cm
  • Dimensions from ground to top of handlebars: 53-60cm
  • Dimensions from ground to seat: 35cm - 41cm
  •  Footrests 
  • Steering restricted to 55 degrees each side.
  • Load capacity: 25kg

What We Like

  • The easiest bike to assemble
  • Durable 
  • Stable due to its wide tyres
  • Easy to grip handlebars for small hands

What We Don’t Like 

  • Your child might graze their ankle on the foot plate, until they are comfortable using them. 

Our Verdict

The best balance bike on a budget for tall children and children over 3. 

Benefits of balance bikes

A balance bike teaches your child the crucial skill of balance when riding a bike. 

When you teach your child early, this becomes second nature.  Children learn best when they learn a certain amount of skills first, without being overloaded. 

Strider bikes offer security for your child that whatever happens, they can put their feet flat on the floor. They will be able to build the sense of speed - when they are going too fast and too slow, but be able to stop falling before it happens. 

Striding along on their balance bike will build their ab, hip and leg muscles, to cope with the twists and turns that cycling requires, to avoid falling.  

A great balance bike will teach your child how steering feels in different scenarios and spaces, how heavy and responsive the bike is and also some will teach your child how to brake. If they can brake when they get on a real bike, they will be more confident controlling it when it builds up speed. 

When your child is super-confident and whizzing around on their runner bike, they have already aquired most of the skills necessary to ride a regular push bike. Balance bikes take out the agony of your child falling off a normal 2 wheeled bike multiple times.

This is what would happen as a result of having stabilisers hold the child up.

 If they have learned on a balance bike, all they have to concentrate on is learning how to pedal. They will find this really easy, because they have already mastered balancing.  

How much do people spend on balance bikes?

This is really personal preference and of course is determined by your budget. Having said that, buying a strider bike that grows up with the child could be the best option. These types of bikes are usually more expensive, but in the long run avoids you having to buy them a larger balance bike. 

What should you look for in the best balance bikes?

Weight 

This is worth checking first. If your child is very slight or light, a heavy balance bike may frustrate them, as it won't be as easy to control.

Some parents prefer the bike to be a bit heavier, to remind the child that the bike is not a toy to be thrown.

Some of my friends have said that their children respected the bike as a machine, and didn't throw it about as much as lighter trikes for example. 

Fit

How do I make sure I get the right size? 

Most balance bike manufacturers will give specific measurements that you can check against your child before you buy. 

Best Balance Bikes for Kids has this advice: 

✔️ Top Tip - the seat height is the most important thing to consider when buying a balance bike.

The seat height should measure at least 2.5cm (1 inch) less than a child's inseam (the length of the inner leg) so they can put their feet flat on the floor to push the bike along.

Find out how to measure a child's inseam here.

Which is better balance bike or training wheels?

In our opinion a balance bike wins hands down for x reasons. 

Balance bikes are lighter

The best balance bikes tend to be half the weight of a traditional bike with trainer wheels (stabilisers). Your child will therefore have more chance of moving it around and steering it easier and travelling on it further. 

Balance bikes are narrower

Balance bikes are more likely to accomodate children's slimmer hips comfortably, without stretching their legs out too wide. This allows your child to sit astride the saddle comfortably. When they are comfortable, they are more likely to gain confidence riding quicker.  

Balance bikes move more freely across different surfaces

A push bike with trainer wheels has four points where it contacts the ground. Trainer wheels are also notorious for getting lodged in gullies and cracks in the pavement.

Bikes with trainer wheels can get stuck on uneven pavements. 

Balance bikes on the other hand, move as freely as a 2 wheeled bike and can navigate across bumpier surfaces. This ensures your child is independently exploring, without much support. 

Balance bikes mean family fun

On a balance bike, your child can keep up with you at a faster pace than they would be able to on a bike with stabilisers. It also means less fuss, less stops to help them get their bike out of a hole and more independence for your child.   

Kids who use balance bikes don't need trainer wheels

Your child will make the transition from a balance bike to a push bike very quickly and will not need trainer wheels.  Within 5 to 10 minutes of giving them the push bike, they're usually pedalling around without much instruction.

This is because balance is the most crucial thing to learn when riding a bike. Trainer wheels don't teach balance. 

Is 3 too old for a balance bike?

Three years old is actually the optimum age to learn on a balance bike. Most balance bikes are aimed at the average 3 year old's height. 

What age is best for a balance bike?

Children can start learning how to use a balance bike from around 18 months to 2 years old. Young children up to around 5 years old can make great use of them to learn to ride a pedal bike. Most children will be ready to move to a pedalled bike around the age of four. 

In Conclusion

The benefits of buying a balance bike for your child before learning to pedal are many. From building motor co-ordination, balance, confidence and awareness to inspiring them with a love of exercise and cycling. 

When you come to decide which balance bike to buy, measuring your child is the most important thing to do.

Other considerations are the weight of the bike as opposed to how old your child is, or what build they are. How tall is your child and do you mind buying a larger balance bike when they grow? 

Finally do you want them to experience real tyres and brakes?

Remember that for them confidence will help them succeed.

Which balance bike do you see inspiring the most confidence within your little one? 

Our Pick
Strider - 12 Sport

This sturdy little number will see your child through from 6 months to when you pick their first push bike for them.

Buy Now from Amazon Learn More
Also Great
Rebel Kidz Balance Bike

Real bike tyres and heavier, limited steering enable your child to have an authentic bike-riding experience.

Buy Now from Amazon Learn More
Best Budget Buy
Chicco Red Bullet

The best all-round budget balance bike in our opinion. Offers stability but is light enough to manoeuvre easily.

Buy Now from Amazon Learn More
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