The Best Balance Bikes


Balance bikes are a really neat innovation when teaching your kids how to ride a bike. Sure, many people prefer to use training wheels on a standard bike, but the balance bike is quickly becoming more popular.

Simply put, they do a great job teaching your kids how to balance on a bike, and it gets them accustomed to the main features present on a bike. However, finding the right one with all the necessary components for an affordable price can be challenging. To help you find the best balance bikes. We want to help you make the best choice for your child, so let’s get right to it.

Top Pick
Strider 12 Classic

It comes with all of the qualities you would expect a balance bike for a child to have.

Why Choose a Balance Bike? 

Those of you who believe a balance bike is the way to go can just skip through this section, but if you are still in two minds between getting your kid a balance bike, a tricycle, or a pedal bike with training wheels, read on.


A balance bike is so much safer than your other options. Tricycles are slow and fall over easily on uneven surfaces. With no pedals, kids can focus on their balance and act quicker when they feel the bike begins to topple. Once they move over to a bigger, pedaled bike, they already know how to balance, reducing the countless falls associated with learning to ride a bike.

But remember, no matter how old your child is. It’s a good idea to teach them the dos and don’ts of bicycle safety before they get out on the road. 

More Economical

While the initial costs may seem more, one balance bike can replace the need for a tricycle and a 12″ bike with training wheels. 12″ Bikes are not useable without their training wheels, so many parents end up buying a 16″ bike anyway. Balance bikes also have a better resale value.

Gets Kids Outdoors

With so many digital distractions, today’s kids seem to stay in the house and have no reason to play outside. With a bike that they feel confident about, the kids will nag you to take them for a ride. With a balance bike, toddlers can easily cruise on sidewalks at moderate speeds and get exercise instead of strapped into a stroller. Children don’t get tired as quickly as when they have to walk, and balance bikes are lightweight enough to carry easily when not in use.

Easier Switch to Pedals

Children who grow up on balance bikes are quicker to switch to pedal bikes. Many will change at three years versus 5 or 6 years of age using training wheels. Because they know how to balance, these kids are also confident and won’t be looking for the security of extra wheels to stabilize them.

A Word on Safety

Remember to always ensure that your child is wearing the necessary safety gear, such as a bike helmet. Balance bikes do not have training wheels or pedals. Thus, to move forward, your child pushes off with their feet. This means that while your child is learning to balance, they could topple over a few times. Wearing the necessary safety gear could prevent serious injuries.

Choosing The Right Balance Bike for Your Child

Even the best balance bikes sometimes get bad reviews for one simple reason: the parents choose the wrong bike for their child. There are many child-oriented factors that you need to consider when getting a balance bike.

There are also many other factors that you need to consider before getting a balance bike, affecting both you and the child. Let’s talk about all of the primary considerations you need to make before deciding on a balance bike.



Your child’s age is an important consideration when choosing a bike. Don’t just go for the bigger model with the notion that he will “grow into it.” A bike that is a good fit for your bike will boost his confidence right from the start. A too-small bike will make it hard to use, just like one that is much too big. Your child’s age needs to match the size of the bike.
For younger children (3 and younger), choose a lighter bike that the child can handle. For this reason, wooden bikes are usually better suited for older children, but lightweight metal bikes are great for toddlers from 18 months upwards.

Brakes would be wasted on a younger child, and it can get in their way. The older your child is, the more features you can allow the bike to have. They might not understand the concept of brakes when they are two years old, but a 4-year-old can undoubtedly get the hang of it.



If you are planning on buying a balance bike online, be sure to measure your child’s inseam length (from the ground to crotch). When on the bike, your child needs to be able to stand with their feet flat on the ground, walking forward. If your child cannot reach the ground with their feet, you have got yourself a pretty serious problem. The whole point of the balance bike is so that your kids can have their feet on the ground.

Balance bikes start at the height of 11 inches from the ground, but others start as high as 14 to 15 inches. If the highest seat setting is shorter or equal to your child’s inseam measurement, you need to look for a higher bike. If the bike is too small, your child will not be able to get their feet up onto the footrests comfortably; this can be a problem for lifting the feet to learning how to balance.

As you can tell from our reviews, we look at balance bikes for all ages. Now, some kids start earlier, some start late. The point is that if you have a 10-year-old child using a balance bike, you need to make sure that you don’t get one that is only suited for children up to 5 or 6 years old. Not only will the balance bike be way too small and not work right, but your child won’t be comfortable on it either.



You need to choose a balance bike that will suit your child’s personality, and I am not only talking about color and style. If your child is a bit timid and hasn’t had any bike experience, it is better to go for a light bike with the least amount of features (such as platforms, kickstand, and handbrakes).

Always keep the main goal in mind: your child needs to have fun while learning balance and coordination. In other words, you do want to leave some choice for your child. After all, you don’t want to get your little boy or girl a balance bike that they don’t like the look of and don’t like using. It needs to look attractive and feel safe for them.


Safety Features

Your child does not know how to ride a bike yet, so you are getting a balance bike; this is why you should look out for some safety features. You don’t want your child crashing and injuring themselves. A couple of features can prevent crashes, some of which make them less severe when they do occur.

First off, a balance bike with limited handlebar motion is an excellent thing to consider. Limiting how far to the left and the right the handlebars can move is wise. It stops the child from yanking them too far in either direction and can significantly prevent crashes from happening.

Second, you want to look for a bicycle that has brakes. As we mentioned before, a 2-year-old might not get the concept of the brakes so that you can leave them out. However, a 5-year-old will understand the concept. So, if you want to get your child used to have brakes for real-life big boy bikes, having a balance bike with brakes is a big bonus.

There is also the fact that your child will be able to stop the balance bike when on a hill or incline, a significant safety factor, no doubt. Finally, you will want to look out for handlebar padding. Handlebars can be dangerous, and they do lead to head and mouth injuries. To stop your child from getting hurt when their head comes into contact with the handlebars, a nice thick layer of padding is something you want to have.


The Wheels/ Tires

The next important thing to look out for before making your purchase is what kind of tires the balance bike in question has. We will touch on it again a little later, but there are some key things you should keep in mind here. The main difference we want to look at right now is between hard and soft tires.

By this, we mean tires made of solid plastic that are not inflatable or tires made of inflatable rubber. Inflatable tires are better for providing traction with the ground and absorbing bumps, but they can pop, and they need to be inflated regularly. On the other hand, hard plastic tires will never pop and don’t need to be inflated, but they don’t absorb bumps well, nor do they provide your child with very good traction.



The footrests are another crucial thing to look out for. Not all balance bikes come with these footrests, but they certainly should. The footrests are essential for teaching your child how to balance without their feet being on the ground.

If there is a slight slope or your child has some speed going, they can pull their feet up and place them on the footrests, thus getting them used to balance. We would recommend going for a model with these included.


Ease of Assembly

Simply put, you don’t want to spend forever assembling the balance bike. These things are supposed to be easy and straightforward; that goes for the assembly process too. Most balance bikes you order online will come in multiple pieces, but usually no more than 5 or 6.

You want to look out for a model with as few separate parts as possible, thus removing the need for a long assembly period. Moreover, there are balance bikes that you can put together without using tools, which is, of course, another big bonus.



You want a bike with a durable yet lightweight frame. Hollow aluminum or steel make for great choices, as both are relatively lightweight, making them easy for your child to use. They don’t have to lift too much, and if they fall, at least they don’t have a heavy bike falling on them. Being lightweight is a huge selling point with these balance bikes.



Kids can be quite destructive, especially when learning to ride a bike. Falls happen, and things can break. Even if your child is not rough with the balance bike, having a good warranty is something to look out for. Some of the cheaper models only have a 90 day or 6-month warranty, while some balance bikes can have as much as a 3-year warranty. If you have a child that plays rough, a good warranty is a must-have.

Construction of a Good Balance Bike

Let’s quickly take a look at what a good balance bike consists of:


Balance bikes vary when it comes to frame size. Smaller frames are nice and lightweight for younger kids, while larger frames with an extra-long seat post are more adjustable.

Frame Geometry:

The main difference between the best balance bikes and your cheaper models is the geometry of the frame. Many toy manufacturers of more affordable balance bikes will not spend much time on research. The frame’s geometry will determine the child’s balance and how easy it is to control the bike. High-end balance bikes usually encourage a better center of gravity due to the seat being placed a bit farther back, leaving more room for the kids to lean forward while running with the bike.

When it comes to materials, you will likely have a choice between metal, wood, and composite frames. Metal bikes are either from steel or aluminum alloys. Steel frames are heavier and can hold a heavier rider but are often vulnerable to corrosion. Aluminum bikes are lightweight but can usually only hold a maximum weight of about 75 pounds. Wooden bikes are more eco-friendly but not as adjustable as metal and are not as long-lasting. Composite bikes have a lightweight frame, but it has a higher weight capacity and is rust-resistant.


Balance bikes come in one of 5 different types of tires, each with its pros and cons, weight, and cost considerations.

  • EVA tires are filled with rigid rubber foam, allowing them to be puncture-proof and maintaining their shape for several years; this makes them look and feel a lot like a regular tire. EVA tires are also about half the weight of air tires, making them an excellent option for smaller toddlers.
  • Standard Air tires make for a more comfortable ride as they absorb bumps better than foam. They also have better traction but are heavier. You have the hassle of ensuring a tire pump is at the ready for when they deflate, and punctures can be a real headache. Only the balance bike manufacturer replaces the tubes, so it may be hard to try and get a replacement in your area. Add tire sealant to reduce these concerns significantly.
  • Fatboy tires are larger, with a broader profile than standard air tires, increasing the air capacity. Thanks to the extra air, these tires offer better cushioning and are excellent shock absorbers. These tires are usually only found on your high-end bikes, such as the Like a Bike and Early Rider models.
  • Rubber Honeycomb tires are reasonably new on the market but are the most versatile. These tires offer the same great traction you get in air tires without the risk of deflating. These tires are, however, only found on a small selection of balance bikes.
  • Solid Rubber tires are also a new design. These tires have great traction but offer almost no cushioning, making them less comfortable than air tires. These are great for shorter rides.

Handle Bars and Steering

The steering range and height of the handlebars vary between the different balance bikes.  Opt for a bike with lower, adjustable handlebars for smaller riders. The grips are an essential safety feature: a grip with a rubber knob at the end will protect the child’s hands from chafing on walls and also protect the hands from hitting the ground when he falls.

Some balance bikes also feature turning limiters, preventing sharp turns and keeping the bike from jackknifing during a fall, limiting injuries.

Other Considerations

Check the bolts and other parts before buying a balance bike. Components will usually either be metal or plastic, of which metal is simply more durable and reliable. Protruding bolts can cause scratches and injuries, so instead, opt for a bike with recessed or covered bolts.


You have a wide range of options for choosing the best balance bike for your child. In the end, your primary considerations would be durability, comfort, and how well the bike suits your child. There are also many other factors to keep in mind, such as ease of assembly, warranty, and safety features. At the end of the day, as long as you keep all of these things in mind, you really can’t go wrong when selecting the right balance bike for your child.

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