Convert a kid’s bike into a balance bike (Step by step with image)

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If you want to develop your kid’s balancing skills, a balance bike is the answer. 

There are balance bikes with many price ranges on the market.

However, if you are on a budget and already have a bike then you may convert it to a balance bike according to the following step by step ways – 

Objectives

A 12 inch strider bike will be converted to a balance bike. To do this we will have to – 

  • Remove the pedals along with cranks
  • Loosen the chain and tie it with the bike / or remove the chain temporarily

Tools needed

Depending on the bike size and your preference the tool sizes may vary. There are also some optional elements, too. 

1) Liquid wrench

2) Duct tape

3) 13mm wrench (for adjusting height of the seat which is pretty standard)

4) 15mm wrench (for removing the pedals. Also most bolts on the back wheels can be opened with this.)

5) Chain remover tool. (costs around $20. Used to open the chains)

6) Crescent wrench (for removing the cranks)

7) Regular head screwdriver (for removing the cranks) 

8) #2 Phillips head screwdriver (for removing the chain guard).

Steps

Remove chain guards

1) Remove the chain guards with the help of #2 Phillips head screwdriver. Check if your kid’s bike requires a different size screwdriver.

REMEMBER: REMOVING THE PEDAL AND CRANK SCREWS DOES NOT FOLLOW CONVENTIONAL THREAD DIRECTION. 

TO LOOSEN THE BOLT YOU HAVE TO TURN IT CLOCKWISE AND TO TIGHTEN THE BOLT YOU HAVE TO TURN IT ANTI CLOCKWISE.

 

Remove Pedals

2) Remove both of the pedals. If you cannot loosen the bolt, apply the ‘liquid wrench’ where the pedal meets the crank. 

Use the 15mm wrench to loosen the bolt by turning it clockwise. (not anticlockwise)

 

Remove The Crank 

The crank bolt should be on the opposite side of the chain. This means the crank bolt should be on the left side of the bike.

3) Remove the crank bolt with the crescent wrench.  Size the crescent wrench up to the bolt and turn it in a clockwise direction to loosen it.

Take off the bolt. 

4) Underneath the bolt there is a washer. remove that washer too.

5) Now there is a spanner bolt that holds the bearings in place. Look at the image. This spanner bolt has 2 slots in it.

Take the regular screwdriver and put it on one of the slots of the spanner bolt. Turn the screwdriver in the clockwise direction. keep doing this to loosen it up.

take the spanner bolt all the way off.

6) After that you will see the first bearing. use the regular head screwdriver to pull the bearing out. 

7) This is the tricky part. This is because the crank got fit through there. It just takes some wiggling to get it going in the right direction. Try to work the crank around a little bit. 

You may need to loosen the rear wheel and loosen that chain up so that you can pull the crank out.

 

Note: the other bearing may fall down and the bearing balls may split away. You may do the whole process on a towel to avoid this.

Tip: In future you may have to install the cranks again. So take lots of pictures about how the components are placed. Also, place the components on the cranks as they were before removing them. After that keep the crank in a safe place. 

In future when you will want to reinstall the crank you will easily understand which component comes after which one.

For example, here are the elements ordered by their position: bearings, retainer nut, washer, lock nut and finally pedals.

Work on The Chain

We are mostly done. But there is a little problem with the chain. 

8) If you have the chain removal tool, then use it to open the chain and remove it. That’s it. You are done. Your balance bike is ready. 

If you do so, avoid the next section and go to the seat adjustment section.

However, if you do not have the chain removal tool, then you will have to remove the chain from the rear wheel and tie the chain to the bike with a duct tape. 

 

Remove chain from rear wheel and tie the chain 

9)  Use the 15mm wrench to loosen the nuts of the rear tire. Note: they loosen in counterclockwise direction. 

  – At first remove the training wheel nut if there is any. Rotate this anticlockwise to open it.

  – Then loosen the rear wheel nuts with the 15mm wrench.

 10) After that you will be able to pull out the wheel.

11) Then take the chain and slide it all the way up to the front side and wrap the chain around, so that it is up and out of the way.

12) Then attach the rear wheel and tighten the nuts once again.

 

13)  Use duct tape to tie the chain with the cycle.

Whoala you have got your balance bike!

 

Adjust the Seat Height  

Generally a balance bike has a lower seat height than a bike of the same tire size. A balance bike’s seat height should be lower so that both feet of the rider may touch the ground while he is on the bike.

14) The seat is adjusted with a 13mm nut. Use a wrench for that size to adjust the seat height to lower the seat position.

Now let your kid enjoy his balance bike. Once his balancing skills are developed, reinstall the cranks and pedals.

 

I have prepared this article from this awesome youtube video. If you watch this video once, the whole process will be more understandable.

Conclusion

My personal advice is to buy a balance bike if possible. However, if that is not your choice and your kid already has a bike you may try to convert it into a balance bike. This is because balance bikes are more efficient than training wheels in developing the balancing skills of your child. 

If you have a chain removal tool, then the process will be easier for you. The tool may cost around $20. However, if you don’t have it you can tie the chain as described in this article.

 

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