I wanted to buy a balance bike for my little one. One of my friends suggested that I should buy a pedal bike instead. His logic was, any bike can be converted to a balance bike by removing the pedal and crank.
It really got me thinking. I had to do my own research. I found that it may be possible depending on the bike size and model, but it may not be an ideal solution. Here is what I have found –
A pedal bike can be converted to a balance bike by removing the pedal, crank and chain, but it will not be as good as a balance bike available in the market. The reason is, a balance bike is lighter and the seat height of a balance bike is lower than that of a pedal bike of the same size.
This lighter weight and lower seat position, makes balance bikes more efficient and allows the kids to have more control on the balance bikes.
Can’t decide what to do just like me ?
My advice is if you are on a budget and do not want to spend your money on another bike then you may convert the pedal bike to a balance bike by removing the pedal.
Similarly, If you are unable to find a suitable balance bike for your kid’s age or size, then you may convert your pedal bike to a balance bike.
Although it will not be as good as a balance bike available on the market, it will definitely improve your child’s balancing skills.
Before converting a pedal bike to a balance bike be sure to check the allowed lowest position of the bike’s seat from the ground. The lowest height should be lower than the inseam of the kid.
If the lowest height is greater than the inseam of your child then he or she will not be able to move the balance bike with his feet comfortably. In that case it will not be a good idea to convert this bike to a balance bike.
I am going to discuss all these things in more detail here –
Advantages of balance bikes over removed pedaled bikes
Balance bikes are lighter than normal pedal bikes
Balance bikes are lighter than a pedal bike of the same size. This gives the kid more control on the bike. It helps him enjoy his ride with more control and confidence.
If you compare the weight of a bike to a balance bike of the same size, you will find that the weight of the balance bike is about half of the weight of a normal bike.
Bixe: Green Aluminum Balance Bike weighs only 4 lbs.,
whereas Huffy’s 12” pedal bike with training wheels weighs 15 lbs.,
Both of these bikes are 12 inch wheeled bikes, but the balance bike is 4 times lighter than the pedal bike in this case.
This means even if you remove the pedal, your bike will be heavier than a balance bike. This will be less comfortable and controllable for your kid.
It will be work but kids may face problems in places where they need to carry the bike partially.
Balance bike’s seat height is lower than that of normal pedal bikes
In a balance bike the kid’s both feet should touch the ground completely.
The height of a balance bike’s seat can be adjusted according to the height of the kid. To be more specific the seat height should be adjusted according to the inseam of the child.
The seat height of a balance bike should be half to one inch lower than the inseam of the rider.
Balance bikes are designed to fulfil that requirement for the model’s target age group.
On the other hand, in case of normal pedal bikes the seats are placed in a comparatively higher position to keep the pedals a little bit up from ground while moving.
That is why even if you remove the pedal completely, and reposition the seat to the lowest height it may not yet be comfortable for your kid.
When it will be a good idea to remove pedal from a bike
If someone has budget issue
Many people will not want to buy both a bike and a balance bike due to budget issues. I think this may be a valid reason for some people.
In that case, one good idea is to look for low cost balance bikes. Cheap balance bikes cost around $40.
However, if this still sounds like a big expense then you are good to go to remove the pedal.
If you cannot find a suitable balance bike for your kid
There are plenty of balance bikes on the market.
If your kid’s age is between 18 months to 9 years, then you should find a suitable balance bike for him.
If your kid’s age is higher than 9 years then it may become a little hard to find a balance bike for his size.
While buying a balance bike you need to check the inseam of your child as well as the weight of the balance bike.
The balance bike’s seat height should be 0.5 to 1 inch less than the inseam of your kid.
The weight of the balance bike should be at most 30% of your kid’s weight.
If you cannot find a suitable balance bike for your kid’s inseam and weight, then you may remove the pedal from his bike to use it as a balance bike.
You may do this instead of removing the pedal
You may buy cheap balance bikes
If your kid already has a bike, then you may consider buying a cheap balance bike for him, instead of removing the pedals from the existing bike.
Uenjoy Kids Balance Bike costs only around $40.
Radio flyer balance bike costs around $47, and it is a great balance bike. This one is my favourite.
You may buy a balance bike with pedal
If you are thinking about buying a new pedal bike, then you may consider buying a balance bike with a pedal kit.
Nowadays there are many convertible balance bikes available on the market. For example,
Advantage of buying a convertible balance bike
- This will definitely save your time.
- Also it will save you from lots of hassle.
- And last but not the least, your kid will have a better experience while riding.
If you are thinking about removing the pedal, here is a small safety tip
After removing the pedal, and shaft if you cannot remove the chain, then for safety purposes tie the chain with a duck tape to an unmovable part of the bike.
Otherwise this chain may cause an accident.
Step by step instruction to remove pedal
I found this youtube video that describes pretty well how to do this operation. Have a look at it.
Yes you can remove the pedals and convert the bike to a balance bike, but it will not be as efficient as a balance bike due to the higher weight and higher seat position of the pedal bike.
However, it is a good idea if you are on a budget, or if you cannot find a suitable balance bike for your child.
That being said, do not try to convert a bike to a balance bike if the lowest seat position of the bike is greater than the inseam of your kid.
Last but not the least, you may consider buying a convertible bike which will serve as balance bike as well as a bike.