Did you know that once a child has learned to balance on a balance bike, they can transition to a traditional pedal bike without the need for training wheels?
What is a balance bike?
Balance bikes are pedal-free and they simplify the process of learning to ride a bike.
With a balance bike, toddlers only have to focus on balancing. Once they have mastered balancing on two wheels, pedalling and braking will come easily when they transition to a traditional bike.
How do balance bikes work?
One of the most noticeable things about a balance bike is its low saddle. This helps kids to comfortably reach the ground with their feet, which in turn makes them feel more stable and secure as they are closer to the ground.
The design enables them to use their legs and feet to move forward, stop and steer. To move forward, kids push off the ground, putting them in complete control of how slow or fast they glide.
Do balance bikes really work?
We’ve now had a balance bike for five months (we gifted the bike for Clara’s third birthday — although in hindsight, she could have started riding it from 18 months old) and it has been wonderful seeing her coordination and confidence build-up. The motor skills required to ride a balance bike seems to have come more intuitively than riding a scooter and the balance bike has quickly become Clara’s preferred mode of transport!
I can definitely vouch for the balance bike giving Clara independence and the freedom to explore!
I love that the balance bike has enabled Clara to experiment with coordination and speed at her own pace. She’s been able to easily manoeuvre the footpaths and obstacles like fallen tree branches, gumnuts and tight corners!
How to choose the right balance bike?
There are a number of factors to take into consideration when choosing a balance bike.
I’ve summarised my decision-making into a chart below.
Balance Bike Comparison Chart
|Cruzee Two Balance Bike||Boot’r V2 Balance Bike||Little Nation Balance Bike||Kmart 30cm Racer Balance Bike||Mocka Urban Balance Bike|
|Tyres||Puncture proof EVA foam tyres||Puncture proof EVA foam tyres||Puncture proof EVA foam tyres||Pneumatic||Puncture proof EVA foam tyres|
|Maximum rider weight||34kg||N/A||27kg||30kg||35kg|
|Rider height||60cm – 120cm||76cm – 115cm||75cm – 110cm||N/A||N/A|
|Frame Material||Anodised Aluminium||Anodised Aluminium||Steel||Steel||Birch Wood|
|Colours||Black, blue, gold, green, orange, pink, purple, red, silver||Black, blue, green, red, pink, purple, silver||Black, blue, green, orange, pink, purple, red, white, yellow||Teal||Natural|
(53% off sale price)
(50% off sale price)
|Saddle height||24cm – 48cm||30cm – 43cm||29cm – 39cm||Adjustable||34 – 39cm|
|Handlebar height||120mm adjustment||70mm adjustment||N/A||N/A||N/A|
The features that I looked for when choosing our balance bike included:
- Bike weight
I wanted a bike that Clara could easily carry by herself. The heavier the bike, the harder it is going to be for the child to manoeuvre. Knowing the threenager’s mood swings, I also knew it was very likely that I’d have to occasionally carry Clara and the bike at the same time, so the lighter the bike, the better.
Foam tyres are lightweight and durable and I like that they don’t puncture!
- Frame Material
Aluminium frames are lighter than steel and wooden balance bikes. It is also worth noting that in my research, wooden frames seemed to have limited seat height adjustments.
- Saddle height and handle bar height adjustments
I needed the balance bike to grow with Clara’s growth spurts. We’ve already had to make two height adjustments since getting the bike! Make sure the child can easily walk the bike while standing over it.
In the end, I opted for the Boot’r V2 Balance Bike which seemed to be the closest alternative to a Cruzee Balance Bike, but at less than half the cost! (Note the 2016 Boot’r balance bike model is heavier at 3.3kg whereas the later Boot’r model weighs only 2.3kg)
The factors that were less important were:
- Maximum rider weight
The maximum rider weight ranges from 27kg up to 35kg in the balance bikes I was considering. The equivalent age for that weight range would be approximately 5 – 6 years of age. My research indicated that children can be ready to transition to a pedal bike by around 4 years of age so the maximum rider weight seemed irrelevant.
Kids can stop by using their feet so brakes aren’t really necessary; I also saw brakes as a bit of a distraction from learning to balance. Sure, using their feet to brake can ruin their shoes but I’m hoping that by the time Clara can ride fast enough, it will be time to transition to a traditional pedal bike with brakes.
Footrests are useful for riding long downhill stretches but they can also just lift their legs up!
Now for some inspirational videos
To get Clara excited about what she could do with her balance bike, I initially found it helpful to watch a few videos with her. You can check them out here:
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