Teaching a child to ride a bike can be frustrating, and often toddlers and very young children are simply too young to be able to get a grasp of it. There a number of different options for this age bracket – from training wheels to tricycles – however these do not address the main issue most kids have when they first start learning to ride a bike – balance. Thankfully the past few years have seen an increase in the sale of balance bikes.
These are bikes that do not have pedals and are specially designed for toddlers. Kids simply push along with their feet and learn to glide. This helps them build their balancing abilities before progressing onto bikes with pedals.
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We consulted experts, bloggers, and customer reviews to bring you this guide to the top ten best balance bikes, as well as a short guide to what you should be looking out for before you make a purchase.
View the Best Balance Bike, Below.
- Strider – 12 Sport Balance Bike
- Schwinn Balance Bike
- Chillafish Charlie Lightweight Toddler Balance Bike
- Retrospec Cub Kids Balance Bike
- Radio Flyer Air Ride Balance Bike
- Bixe Extreme Light Balance Bike For Kids
- Banana Bike GT Lightweight Bike
- KaZAM v2e No Pedal Bike
- Strider 14X 2-in-1 Balance to Pedal Bike
- GOMO Toddler Training Bike
Strider – 12 Sport Balance Bike
- Adjustable seat
- Two-year warranty
- Easy to transport
This balance bike is ready to use from 18 months old until five years old. The seat has two settings, accommodating inside leg measurements from 27cm to 48cm. The model was recently redesigned to include a footrest and padded seating to improve the comfort of the bike for toddlers. It comes in seven different colors to allow you to match the bike to the kid’s personality.
The handlebars are designed for small hands and come with extra grip on them to make the bike as safe to use as possible. It is a very reasonably priced balance bike, so a great option if you plan to move them on to a full bike quickly. The built-in footrest allows users to learn how to balance whilst in a sitting position.
A two-year warranty is provided with the balance bike, giving you peace of mind that it is a quality product. It is a lightweight model, so easy to transport. Customer reviews praise the sturdiness of the bike and the great additional features that allow toddlers to learn how to balance successfully.
Schwinn Balance Bike
- Simple design
- Easy to build
- Cushioned handles
This is another very basic balance bike, however, is very popular with customer reviews. The seat adjusts to two settings - 14 inches and 16 inches - making it suitable for kids from two to four years old. The tires are air-filled and spoked, which though not as durable as the foam tires do better mimic regular bicycles and help kids learn to adjust to this riding style easier.
There is a footrest included either side of the seat allowing kids to try to balance in a sitting position, preparing them for riding a regular bike. The handlebar grips are cushioned to make sure they are suitable for small hands - maximizing safety and comfort. The frame is made out of steel to ensure durability and a long lasting product.
The bike is very easy to assemble out of the box - simply attach the front wheel and it is ready to go. It is quite a heavy bike compared to others on the market due to the wheels, however, this will better give kids a feel for how a regular bike operates. Customer reviews confirm it is sturdily constructed.
Chillafish Charlie Lightweight Toddler Balance Bike
- Sturdy frame
Though quite a basic option, this bike is very budget-friendly and has also been awarded Amazon's Choice for balance bikes thanks to excellent reviews and high quality. The frame is designed ergonomically but is also much more similar to real bikes than other balance bikes. The handles have a good grip for ultimate safety and comfort.
This bike comes in three colors - black, pink, and silver. It is suitable for kids from two to five years old and can hold up to 77 lbs. The tires are puncture-resistant to improve safety and minimize the need for maintenance. The seat is padded to make sure kids can comfortably use the bike for extended periods of time if they want to.
The frame itself is quite lightweight and made out of aluminum. This is a great budget option, if somewhat basic compared to the other models. Nevertheless, customer reviews are very positive for this balance bike, praising the sturdiness of the bike and how effective it is when teaching kids how to balance.
Retrospec Cub Kids Balance Bike
- Air-free tires
- Durable design
- Minimal maintenance required
This balance bike is the cheapest on this list but is still a great product which has been awarded Amazon's Choice for balance bikes thanks to great quality and reviews. It is designed with safety in mind but still has all the necessary features to teach kids how to maintain balance. There is a footrest available so kids can use it in the sitting position.
The tires are air free, meaning they will not need any maintenance or replacement. It is recommended for kids from 20 months to five years old. The seat and handlebars can both be adjusted for height. The lightweight frame is easy to transport and is made with a sturdy steel material which keeps it durable.
It comes in seven different color schemes, allowing you to pick the perfect bike. The tires are made out of foam, meaning they are safe for children. They are also designed to withstand rough surfaces and sharp edges. The seat adjusts from 12.5 inches to 17.5 inches above the ground.
Radio Flyer Air Ride Balance Bike
- Rubber air tires
- Comfortable seat and handlebars
- Very lightweight
This is one of the sturdiest balance bikes available and is constructed out of a sturdy steel frame for durability. This makes sure the bike will last for as long as possible. There are three height settings, suitable for kids from 18 months to five years old. This balance bike is the lightest option available, so is excellent if you plan on transporting the bike often. The seat is padded for extra comfort.
The handlebars have extra grip on them to maximize safety and ensure the child rides the bike with confidence. The ringing bell also adds to the fun too! The tires are rubber air all-terrain, ensuring they will provide a smooth ride on any terrain. This is truly a very maintenance-free bike, as well as a very durable option. It comes in two different colors for you to choose from.
It is a little pricier than other bikes on this list, however, comes with extra safety and durability features to ensure it is worth it. There are some small parts included, hence why it is advertised for three years up, however, it is more than suitable for younger children once fully assembled.
Bixe Extreme Light Balance Bike For Kids
- Well designed
- Warranty included
This balance bike is another great lightweight option and comes in at a very reasonable price point too. Recently redesigned, it now only weighs 4ibs, has foam tires and uses a rust-resistant aluminum for the frame. The seat can adjust from 11 inches to 17 inches, and the handlebars will adjust from 20 inches to 24 inches. This bike is recommended for kids from 18 months to five years old. The bike is designed specifically with safety in mind.
The clamps are tamper proof to prevent kids from damaging the bike or hurting themselves. The frame is designed to take weights higher than the average weight of five-year-olds to ensure it should not break throughout even the most extensive use. Bixe provides a warranty with this product giving you peace of mind that it is a high-quality product.
There is a small strip for children to rest their feet on for coasting along with their route. There are four different color schemes available for you to choose from. This bike has excellent reviews praising the sturdiness, low price point and easiness of use.
Banana Bike GT Lightweight Bike
- Trusted brand
- Safely manufactured
Banana GT Bike is a well established and trusted brand when it comes to balancing bikes. The newest model comes with a padded seat for comfort, easier ways to adjust the seat, and improved handlebars. It is also very easy to assemble and should only take a couple of minutes to construct out of the box. The Banana Bike comes in three bright colors - blue, red, or yellow. The bike is shaped to be as safe as possible for kids to use and allows them to easily pick up how to balance on a bike.
It is recommended for kids from 18 months to four years old. The tires are puncture proof and made of foam - and therefore perfectly safe for use by kids. The banana bike set comes with an included bicycle headset for extra protection. This bike is also quite lightweight, and customer reviews suggest that even toddlers and small children can easily lift the bike.
The seat starts off at 12.2 inches and can reach up to 15.75 inches. The handles are gripped for safe and comfortable use, and the tires can be used on both indoor and outdoor surfaces. Reviews praise the sturdiness of the bicycle, and how quickly kids learn to balance using it.
KaZAM v2e No Pedal Bike
- Front footrest
- Great for balancing
- Featured on TV
The KaZAM balance bike is unique because the footrest is placed in front of the seat rather than to the sides. This allows kids to sit in the same position they would on a regular bike, and better simulates the balance skills they will need when they move on to a full bicycle. This also keeps their center of gravity safely within the center of the bicycle, naturally improving their balance.
The bike comes with foam tires which do not need to be filled with air. The seat starts off at 13.5 inches and goes up to 16.5 inches in height. The handlebars are also adjustable. The footrest and handles are ergonomically designed for perfect grip and safety. The bike is a little heavier than others at 8 lbs, however, is still quite lightweight and easy to transport.
It can be bought in four different colors - orange, blue, red, pink and green. The slightly higher seat pitch means this is more suitable for toddlers from two to five years old. This balance bike was featured on Shark Tank and has many positive reviews praising the effectiveness of the footrest in helping kids learn how to balance.
Strider 14X 2-in-1 Balance to Pedal Bike
- Can be turned into a regular bike
- Plenty of safety features
- Durable construction
This balance bike is unique because once the kid learns how to balance well it can be converted into a regular pedal bike for them to learn other aspects of cycling. This will make it easier to progress them onto regular cycling as they get to develop their bike skills further on a model they are already familiar with and trust. This model comes in two colors - blue and yellow. The frame of the bicycle is the heaviest of all the balance bikes on this list at 12 lbs, however, this is still manageable for kids to maneuver.
The seat and handlebars can be adjusted - starting at the average height of three-year-olds and progressing to the recommended height for seven-year-olds. Due to the convertible nature of this bike, the tires are made out of rubber and will need to be pumped however are much sturdier for use with the pedals than foam tires.
When converted into a bicycle, there is a chain guard included preventing accidents and cuts involved with the bicycle chain. The frame is made from durable steel, meaning it will last the child throughout the entire recommended age period. The seat is padded and the handlebars have grips on them for comfortable and safe use.
GOMO Toddler Training Bike
- Accessories included
- Durable and long lasting
This is a very budget-friendly option and comes with a back-wheel mount for safe and easy storage. It is Amazon's Choice for balance bikes for 2-year-olds, and is suitable for kids up to 5 years old, making it one of the longest-lasting balance bikes available on the market. The seat can be adjusted from 12 inches to 17.5 inches, and the handlebars from 22 inches to 24.8 inches high. It is only 6.4 lbs in weight, making it quite light compared to other balance bikes - though not the lightest.
Nevertheless, it is quite easy to handle for most young children. The frame is manufactured with carbon steel that has been protected against rusting, keeping it durable and long-lasting. The seat is ergonomically contoured, and the gripped handles are padded to ensure a comfortable and safe ride for the kid. The wheels are made from puncture-resistant foam which is safe for use around children.
There are five different colors available for you to choose from. Customer reviews praise how easy it is to adjust this balance bike, as well as the quality for the price it is offered at. A bike bell is also included to help teach kids about early bicycle safety.
There are a number of important factors that should be considered before you go ahead and buy the perfect balance bike. Some of them have additional features – including the ability to be converted into a full bike with pedals – however, there are certain features which are far more important. Here are the main things to check out.
Sturdiness and Durability
You want a bike where the frame is made out of steel or aluminum, and where the components are easy to put together. This ensures it will be as safe as possible for children to use and will last for as long as they need it. If possible it should also be coated against rust, as it is likely the bike will be used outside.
Most product descriptions will give you an idea of what materials the bike is made out of, and customer reviews will tell you how it is built and how sturdy it is after constructing. In general, the bikes only require a couple of minutes of construction so this is less of an issue than it might be with regular bikes.
Balance bikes are not as expensive as they used to be, although there are still some which are considerably more expensive than others. Often this price is not justified, so make sure you are getting value for your money before you make your purchase. We suggest that as long as the main safety features are considered, the only real feature that would make a higher price point worth it would be if it could be converted into a regular bike with pedals.
These are more expensive but will last longer. Otherwise, you should consider that in an ideal situation the child will not be using the balance bike for that long, as it is mainly to help them learn about their balance. Keeping this in mind will help you stick to a fair budget.
Lightweight bikes are better as they are easier for toddlers and young children to control. They also allow kids to focus on making sure their center of gravity is in the right place for balancing the bike. You should also consider how portable you want the bike to be, and if it is likely the child will try to lift it themselves.
Most, if not all, balance bikes can easily be carried by adults and transported in regular sized vehicles – but many of them are so light they can even be lifted by the children using them. Getting a lightweight bike means that if the child should try to lift it they will not harm themselves.
Adjustable Seat and Handlebars
If you expect the child will be using the balance bike for a while, it can be a good idea to get a bike with adjustable seats and handlebars. This allows you to adjust the bike as they grow – particularly whilst they are in a period of their life when they can grow quite rapidly. Always read the comments to double check how adjustable the seat and handlebars actually are.
Many product descriptions will simply say the lowest and highest height, without saying how many different placements are possible. Some bikes only have two height settings, whilst others have a few more allowing you to better fit the bike to your child’s proportions.
Comfort can be an important factor to consider – seats and handlebars can be padded to allow for extra comfort, and both handlebars and footrests should have grips for safe use. Footrests can also be configured in two different ways – they can be either side of the seat, or they can be in front. Side footrests make it easier for users to balance, whilst front footrests better mimic the sitting position they will adopt on actual bicycles.
Finally, you can also check out what the wheels are made out of. Foam wheels will not need to be blown up, are generally sturdier and require less maintenance. Despite this, air wheels can also be a good option if you are fine to maintain them as they better mimic what it will feel like to ride a regular bike.
The range of balance bikes available has expanded over the years to include a variety of designs and features. When picking a bike you should, of course, consider the safety of the bike first and foremost as well as how sturdy it is. Keep in mind that you will likely not need it for more than a couple of years, so do not go overboard on the extra features that you do not necessarily need.
We suggest checking out what materials the bike is made out of, as well as how it is constructed, before considering anything else. These are the most important aspects of safety and sturdiness. As always, make sure to check customer reviews to ensure the product description is accurate and the manufacturers live up to their claims.
When it comes to balance bikes, more expensive does not necessarily mean better. If the price seems a little high, check out what features it actually has and weigh up how much you need these before going ahead with the purchase.