I was planning to buy a balance bike for the youngest member of our family, However, some of my relatives were saying it is not worth it. Whereas I have seen many kids having a great time with balance bikes. However, at the end of the day, one question was popping inside my head again and again –
Is a balance bike a total waste of money? Should I rather buy a tricycle or a training wheel?
So, I had to take my time and do the research myself, and here is what I have found –
Balance bikes definitely are not a waste of money. They are more helpful than tricycles and training wheels in developing children’s balance. It becomes easier and more comfortable for kids to ride a bike who have already developed their balance with a balance bike.
Besides, balance bikes are safer and more comfortable than training wheels and tricycles in many ways.
Now I can buy a balance bike without any guilt …
Some people believe, balance bikes are not just better than tricycles or training wheels, they are the future !!!
Tricycles and training wheels are the older way to prepare kids for bikes. Balance bikes are the newer and more effective way to develop children’s balance.
So, what is so special about balance bikes … ?
Improves balancing skills in an efficient way
On balance bikes, kids tend to focus mainly on a single and the most important skill to ride bikes and that is balancing. They can do it from a very early age. At the age of one many kids are able to ride balance bikes and within another year they easily master it.
It develops their motor planning, spatial awareness and balance in such an early stage of their life, which is not possible with trikes or training wheels.
Think about a tricycle. At a very early age your kid’s leg will not even reach the paddle of the tricycle. Forget about riding.
Balance bikes are safer
Yap, they are safer than bikes with training wheels.
On a balance bike the kid can touch the ground whenever he wants. As a result it is very less likely that he would fall. However, on a training wheel bike, sometimes the foot of the kid is not easily accessible to the ground.
On a 12 inch bike the lowest seat position can be 17 inch from the ground, whereas on many balance bikes it can be as low as 10 inch from the ground.
Even if the child falls down, a balance bike would be safer.
More enjoyable and independent ride
This point is obvious but I did not even think about it!
With a balance bike a kid has more freedom and independence. The parents do not have to push or hold the bike for him.
With a balance bike a kid can go more distance than a tricycle or training wheel.
Perform better on bumpy surface
On a bumpy surface a training wheel or a tricycle is more likely to be tripped over, but it is nothing for a balance bike.
Well for some kids, they are even more enjoyable.
Instead of buying a balance bike what if I convert my regular bike to balance bike
To be truthful, I was thinking about that!
It will save some money, won’t it ?
I have gone through some resources and found that it is possible with some bikes but it will not be an ideal solution.
Why not ?
Well, the answer is the weight of the bike.
A balance bike is lighter than a bike and that helps kids to have more control on it.
Another thing is the height of the seat. Balance bike’s seat heights are lower. This makes the balance bike safer and again more comfortable and controllable.
However, if your kid is older, like 8 years old, then you probably will not find a balance bike for him on the market. If he cannot ride the bike, then you may try this idea. Remove the pedals and use the bike like a balance bike. When this develops his balancing skills add the pedals again. He may learn to ride the bike in no time.
Should you buy tricycle or training wheels instead of balance bike
Well if you want to go through the conventional way you may go for a tricycle or training wheel. They are good too.
But some believe balance bikes are the future.
Well, I may buy them all eventually. They all have their own advantages.
For example, tricycles are good for training your child to pedal at an early age. In a tricycle a kid does not have to focus on balancing that much. He just pedals. Which improves his pedaling skills.
I know some will argue that pedaling does not need that much training. However, if you can afford it, you may buy one. They are fun too.
Now training wheels help your kids to upright on a bike at an earlier age and let them pedaling without focusing much on balancing, similar to a trike. Note, it does not train your kid to balance.
So, I believe I may go for a trike and a balance bike. Trike will help him to learn pedaling and balance bikes will improve his balancing skill.
When he grows up a little and gets comfortable with both, then I will buy the young star a bike.
This way he will not be demotivated and will not fall down a lot. I hope it will be a happy biking journey for him.
Some Cheap Balance Bikes
Maybe you are still confused and do not want to invest that much on something you are not sure about.
If you are on a budget you may go for some cheap balance bikes in that case.
If you want to buy a cheap balance bike I would suggest you Radio Flyer Guide & Go balance bike. You may check here on Amazon.
Here are some cheap balance bikes. Have a look –
Radio Flyer Glide & Go Balance Bike
For buying a cheap balance bike this one is my first choice.
This balance bike is not just cheap but also has a lot of positive reviews.
This one is suitable for kids aged 2.5 to 5 years old. The height of the seat is adjustable according to your kid’s height.
Check on Amazon.
Chillafish Charlie Lightweight Toddler Balance Bike
This bike also has a lot of great reviews. This is for kids aged 1.5 to 4 years old.
The wheel size is 10 inch. Probably it cannot be used after your kid is 4 years old or taller than other kids.
Check on Amazon.
WAYPLUS Balance Bike
This bike is comparatively new in the market. It has good reviews but there are not so many.
Probably I would not buy this one.
This one comes with 12 inch wheels and can be used for kids aged 2 to 5 years.
Check details on Amazon.
These balance bikes are top rated
If you are not on budget and want to buy a good one for the little star then have a look on these bikes. They have very good reviews on the market.
Strider – 12 Sport Balance Bike
Well, if you want to buy the top rated balance bikes, you will have to spend some more money.
This bike has tons of positive reviews on Amazon.
They come with 12 inch wheels and are suitable for 18 months to 5 years old. The seat and handlebar size can be adjusted according to your kids height.
Check details on Amazon.
Schwinn Balance Toddler Bikes
This is a great bike!
The speciality of this bike is it comes with air tires. Air tires are more comfortable for kids, and work better on bumpy surfaces.
The seat heights can be adjusted as well.
Have a look on Amazon.
Balance bikes are not a waste of money at all. They are the future of teaching kids riding bikes effectively. In terms of developing a child’s balance, a balance bike is far more effective than a tricycle or training wheel. If you can, you should go for a balance bike.
Being said that, tricycles and training wheels have their own advantages and use cases, but I believe balance bikes are the future of learning bike riding.