A balance bike, also known as a run bike or push bike or strider bike, is a type of bicycle designed to help children learn the fundamental skills of balance and coordination before transitioning to a traditional pedal bike.
Balance bikes have gained significant popularity as a valuable tool for helping young children learn to ride bicycles. While they offer numerous benefits, they also come with a few drawbacks.
Let’s explore the pros and cons of balance bikes:
Balance Bike Pros and Cons
Balance bikes are generally considered safe because children can touch the ground with their feet at all times, allowing them to control their speed and balance. However, proper safety gear, such as helmets and knee pads, should always be worn.
Pros of Balance Bikes
Here are some pros of balance bike for kids.
1. Builds Confidence
Learning to balance and coast on a balance bike instills a sense of accomplishment and self-assurance in children. As they become comfortable with gliding, they gradually build the courage to transition to a pedal bike, knowing they have already conquered the foundation of riding.
2. No Pedaling Distractions
By focusing solely on balance and steering, children can grasp the fundamental mechanics of biking without the added complexity of pedaling. This streamlined learning process allows them to master one skill at a time.
3. Safe Learning
Balance bikes are close to the ground, allowing children to easily touch their feet to the ground for stability. This feature provides a sense of safety and control, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.
4. No Training Wheels
Balance bikes eliminate the need for training wheels, which can sometimes hinder a child’s progress. With a balance bike, children learn to balance on their own, promoting better biking skills.
5. They are very light
One of the best advantages of the balance bike is that it is very light and even a toddler can lift it easily up and down the road.
6. No Rubber Tires
Almost all strider bikes come with plastic tires which is a big plus. So, there is no need to pump in the air in the tires and they never get flat.
What are the best balance bikes for kids available on the market?
There are many no pedal balance bikes available on amazon. Their prices vary based on brand, features, and materials. They can range from around $50 to over $200. Let’s check some of the best balance bikes.
Strider ST-S4GN is one of the best selling and high rated bike on amazon. Its frame is made of stainless steel and its inseam length range is (12-20”).
SEREED bike is an infant balance bike. It helps infants a lot for balance and have fun. It is very lightweight for toddlers to carry around the play area. It helps them to stand on their own and take their first steps. One of the best balance bikes for toddlers for a reason.
Cons of Balance Bikes
Here are some cons of balance bike for kids.
1. Usage life is short
Balance bikes are generally suitable for children between the ages of 18 months to 5 years, depending on their growth and development. Once a child becomes too tall for the balance bike, they will need to transition to a pedal bike, potentially making it a short-lived investment.
2. No Pedaling Practice
Since balance bikes lack pedals, children don’t learn how to coordinate pedaling and steering simultaneously. This coordination must be learned later when transitioning to a pedal bike. They may need to spend extra time learning to pedal on a conventional bike.
3. Terrain Limitations
Balance bikes are best suited for flat surfaces, and they might struggle on rough terrain or uneven surfaces due to their smaller, lightweight design.
As they have no shock absorbers, it is better to ride them on flat roads only.
High-quality balance bikes can be relatively expensive upfront, and families may need to invest in a pedal or e bike afterward, leading to higher overall costs.
How does a balance bike work?
A balance bike works by providing a simple and effective way for young children to develop their balance, coordination, and motor skills in preparation for riding a traditional pedal bike. It eliminates the complexity of pedaling, allowing children to focus solely on learning to balance and steer.
Here’s how a balance bike works:
- Design: A balance bike is designed with the basic components of a bicycle – a frame, handlebars, wheels, and a seat – but it lacks pedals, chains, and drivetrains. This minimalist design reduces the bike’s weight and complexity, making it easier for young children to manage.
- Foot Power: Instead of pedaling, children propel the balance bike forward by using their feet to walk, run, or glide. They start by walking or running while straddling the bike, lifting their feet off the ground to glide. This process allows them to naturally learn to balance on two wheels.
- Balancing: As children gain momentum and speed on the no pedal balance bike, they learn to use their body weight to maintain equilibrium. They develop a sense of balance by shifting their weight and adjusting the angle of the bike in response to changes in terrain or direction.
- Steering: The handlebars on the no pedal balance bike allow children to steer left and right, enhancing their control and coordination. They learn how to steer the bike to maintain their balance and follow the desired path.
- Gradual Progression: As children become more skilled and confident on the no pedal balance bike, they gradually lift their feet off the ground for longer periods, allowing them to glide for extended distances. This progression helps them refine their balance and steering abilities.
How do I choose the right size balance bike for my child?
Choose a no pedal balance bike with a seat height that allows your child to touch the ground with their feet flat. This helps them comfortably balance and control the bike. As a general guideline, there should be a slight bend in your child’s knees when seated.
Conclusion: Balance Bike Pros and Cons
Balance bikes have revolutionized the way children learn to ride bicycles, offering a host of benefits that contribute to their physical, cognitive, and emotional development.
While they come with a few drawbacks, such as a limited usage period and potential cost, the advantages of improved balance, confidence, and motor skills often outweigh these concerns.