No Pedals Learning How To Push
Young toddlers dont have the coordination to pedal, so pedals simply arent needed! Weve found the best ride-on toys to be those that allow the child to sit and push with their feet. It addition to being able to independently ride the bike from day one, it also teaches your toddler to push against the ground with their feet while sitting up straight the perfect preparation for a balance bike!
Why You Should Trust Us
We spent more than 15 hours researching, and more than 20 hours assembling, dissecting, and testing 13 balance bikes. Im a lifelong mountain biker who raced, put on races, and worked as a bike mechanic during my college days in Athens, Georgia, and wrote about road and mountain bikes and bike racing for VeloNews, Bike, and The New York Times early in my three-decade journalism career. A few years ago, when my son was 2 and way too excited to ride his too-big pedal bike, I fashioned it into a balance bike by unscrewing the pedals and duct-taping the seat to the top tube.
For this guide, I interviewed John Bradley, formerly the editor in chief of VeloNews magazine and before that, an editor at Outside magazine. Bradley has a son named Max who had recently, at the time, graduated from a Strider balance bike to a 14-inch Islabikes Cnoc pedal bike. Bradley is fanatical about riding with Max and observing his young cycling habits with the eye of a scientist. I also spoke to Toby Hill, who was then the managing editor at Bicycle Retailer magazine, to get an idea of where the kids bike market was headedand got additional wisdom on the topic from Marissa Guyduy, a spokesperson with the NPD Group, a consumer research organization, and Katie Bruce, then the director of marketing and communications for the National Sporting Goods Association. I also emailed with Ivan Altinbasak of WeeBikeShop and Wooms Dave Norris.
Micro 2 In 1 Chopper Balance Bike 12495
Best for gently learning to balance
Age: 2 to 5 | Weight: 2.45kg | Brakes: No | Wheels: 8in | Tyres: Solid rubber | Seat height: 35cm to 46.5cm | Max child weight: 20kgAwards: Silver, MadeForMums Awards 2021
What it is: A very lightweight, aluminium-frame toddler to preschooler balance bike with front suspension, front mud guard, puncture-free wheels, height-adjustable seat, height-adjustable chopper handlebars. Comes with a stability wheel attachment, so your child can start off on 3 wheels, rather than 2. You can also buy a trailer attachment, too. Choose from Blue, Aqua or Pink.
Why we love it: It’s very light and easy to adjust and has a lovely retro look. And we really like the training-wheels attachment. Its great that the seat adjusts with clamps but be warned that in its very lowest position the black knob at the end of the seat post is very close to the ground. This, plus the small wheels with their smooth solid tyres, makes riding over rough ground pretty tricky. A lovely ride but for city pavements only.
Available from:Micro and
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About the author Helen Brown
Pictures: Product websites
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Toddlebike / Lena Bike
The Toddlebike is not strictly a balance bike, but as it was mentioned by so many parents I felt I should include it here. The Toddlebike is designed as a “pre-balance bike” for toddlers aged 18 months and over who are too small to ride a proper balance bike.
“The Toddlebike was really useful for when our youngest was too small for the Islabike Rothan”– Dominic
“We started with a Toddlebike at around 18 months of age, then graduated to a Puky, then pedals after that. I agree that Puky bikes are really robust and easy for them to ride and would heartily endorse the Toddlebike for tinies – it’s so light it gives them a great intro.”– Eilidh
Vitus Nippy Balance Bike
The Vitus Nippy Balance Bike is really lightweight! At just 1.9kg it’s perfect for young children who don’t have the strength to manoeuvre a heavier bike, and who aren’t ready for learning to use brakes.
Our next door neighbour bought one for their granddaughter on our recommendation, and they can’t stop telling me how wonderful it is!
The saddle height ranges from 31cm to 38cm allowing plenty of room for growth. The tyres on this bike are plastic, rather than standard air-inflated tyres you get on a standard bike, so the ride won’t be quite a comfortable as a more expensive balance bike, but it’s a great value option for those just starting out on two wheels, especially if they’re not venturing very far.
Vitus have also released the Vitus Smoothy, which comes with pneumatic tyres for a smoother ride, which would be more suitable if you’re planning to get out and about a lot on the balance bike.
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What Type Of Bike Can A One Year Old Ride
Of course a one year old won’t be riding a pedal bike, but there are several options available which are mainly suitable from about 18 months and over, although some toddlers will be ready slightly earlier than that and others a lot later.
A pre-balance bike or toddle bike, which has 4 small wheels is a great choice to get them started and is suitable from as soon as they can toddle around.
After that, they can move onto a balance bike as pictured above.
If you don’t know what one of these is, see our cunning titled post What is a Balance Bike.
Can A 1 Year Old Ride A Bike
There can be a real difference in the physical abilities of children at this age, especially between those who have just turned one and those who are approaching their second birthday.
Each toddler will develop at a different rate, so please be patient and dont force them to ride a bike if theyre not interested or not ready.
If theyre still crawling, then theyre not ready to ride a bike.
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Size How Big Should A Balance Bike Be
Cycling UK advises that your child should be able to sit comfortably on the balance bike, knees slightly bent and feet flat on the floor.
Youll want to check the size of the tyres to ensure that the bike youre getting your 18-month-old isnt better suited to a four-year-old. Most start at 12 inches and stop at 16, although you can find bigger or smaller models if needed.
Wed always advise that you take a close-up look at the bike youre interested in at a local bicycle shop or high street retailer, if only to check that it fits your child.
You may also want to go for a balance bike with decent adjustability so it can grow with your child, ideally spanning two to three years. Some bikes allow both the seat and the handlebars to be fitted to size so youll also want to check how easy it is to adjust them.
Strider 12 Sport 11999
Best for easy height adjustment
Age: 12 months to 5 years | Weight: 3kg | Brakes: No | Wheels: 12in | Tyres: Rubber/foam | Seat height: 28cm to 48cm | Inside leg: 30cm to 51cm | Max child weight: 27kgAwards: Bronze, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021
What it is: A toddler to preschooler steel-frame balance bike with a height-adjustable padded seat, height-adjustable handlebars with safety grips, footrests with grip tape and puncture-proof rubber tyres. Comes in Black, Blue, Green, Pink, Red and Yellow.
Why we love it: Its a well-balanced bike with a seat that goes nice and low, and thin, child-friendly handles. The bike in the box will fit a child up to 3.5 years but there’s an additional long seatpost included, if you want to extend its life for another 1.5 years or so. We also like the footrests and the quick-release clamps for tool-free handlebar and seat adjustment. Our child testers found it fun and comfortable to ride, although, as Finn, 2, pointed out the foam tyres mean “it’s a bit bumpy over big bumps”.
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Best Balance Bikes At A Glance
- Best balance bike for 3+ years: GOSWIFT Kinderkraft, £79.90
- Best balance bike for 2+ years: QPLAY Spark Balance Bike, £49.99
- Best balance bike for a lightweight smooth ride: Hornit AIRO, £139
- Best balance bike for easy height adjustment: Strider 12 Sport, £119.99
- Best balance bike for longevity: Pinto by Black Mountain, £399
- Easiest to carry balance bike: Vitus Smoothy, £89.99
- Best toddler option with brakes: Frog Tadpole, £190
- Best balance bike for design and stability: Islabikes Rothan, £199.99
- Best balance bike for sturdiness and saddle shape: Puky LRM Balance Bike, £69.99
- Best for gently learning to balance: Micro 2-in-1 Chopper Balance Bike, £124.95
What Is A Balance Bike
A balance bike is a training bike that assists toddlers to learn steering and balance. The bike has no drivetrain, no foot pedals, no gears, no chain, no freewheel and no gear shifters. Also, I have not seen a balance bike with brakes. Because this bikes riders legs act as a brake. The bike is also very light in weight. And maintenance of the balance bike is smooth.
A balance bike is also called a glider and strider. The bike is specially designed for toddlers. For this reason, from 2 years of age children can start riding the bike. A balance bike for 18 month old is the perfect selection. The balance bike has back and front wheels, handlebars and seats. Balance is the best of bikes is a Strider balance bike.
The lack of pedals in such bikes assists children to learn to steer and first balance. Sometime after they ride this bike their balance becomes more stable and they can steer properly. Then they can use the balance bike with brakes and paddles. Because the bike builds independence, coordination and confidence in riding. Not only do the balance bikes provide safety but also they provide so much entertainment. However, you are concerned about purchasing the best balance bike for 18 month old.
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Introducing your child to cycling is a rite of passage and by starting them off on a balance bike, you can help build confidence and skills at a young age. Built specifically for first-time riders, balance bikes are mini, back to basics bikes, with no chains, pedals or gears, so toddlers and pre-schoolers can just focus on balancing and steering, as safely as possible.
Balance bikes develop a childs sense of balance and coordination by encouraging them to use their feet to glide along the ground, explains Alexandra Rico-Lloyd, co-founder of kids bike subscription service The Bike Club. This helps to build their strength, fine-tune their motor skills, coordination and agility.
There are a few things to consider when choosing a balance bike for your child. From adjustability, comfort, weight, and of course the height of your rider all of which weve laid out in more detail later on.
When they start riding many young toddlers will start by holding onto the handles and walking with the bike, hovering over the saddle rather than sitting. As they slowly get used to the bike they should move on to striding when they walk with the bike while sitting on the saddle before eventually gaining the confidence to push with their feet and glide along the ground.
Are They Better Than A Tricycle
Balance bikes are much safer and more practical than tricycles. With three wheels, tricycles are slow, awkward to maneuver, and easily tip on uneven or angled surfaces. On a balance bike, children are focused on balancing, rather than pedaling. As a result, they are more prepared for an unexpected loss in balance and are much less likely to fall.
Toddlers can also walk or run for several miles on a balance bike, but can rarely make it to the end of a block on a tricycle. Tricycles are simply too inefficient for kids to ride long distances, which is why they often come with handles for parents to push.
You can read more about the debate between balance bikes and tricycles on our page: Balance Bikes vs Tricycles.
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Best Balance Bikes: Eight Of The Best
Strider Bikes manufactures balance bikes for everyone: from children aged 18 months to adults. They also host balance bike races for children and create bikes for people with special needs. The brandâs top-selling model is the Strider Bikes Sport. With 12-inch wheels, itâs designed to fit children aged up to five years and comes in seven colours.
The tyres are made from EVA polymer, so you’re getting them light and puncture-proof, although they wonât maintain traction quite like rubber. This said, Strider provides the option to move on to pneumatic tyres as your child develops. Quick-release clamps adjust the seat post and handlebars, and no tools are required in assembly.
At 2.95kg, our tester found this bike easy to get to grips with, and their guardian was impressed with the light steering, as well as the saddle and thick tyres which made for a comfortable early ride experience. Our tester wanted to ride it straight away, so it won that early battle – and being easy to get on with, it quickly became a cherished you.
The Airo was easy to assemble, though adjustments do need an Allen key, and we did find that the paint scratched quite easily. Otherwise, it was perfect.
- Pedal-less bikes
Chicco Bullet Balance Bike
“We love our basic Chico bullet, now using it with our second child, very light frame and easy to master” – Correen
The Chicco Bullet is the so there are a lot of kids out there riding this bike! It gets recommended for its lightweight and for being great value for money.
“Having had an Islabikes Rothan for our eldest, we went for the other end of the market, a Chicco Bullet, for P. Amazing bike. Super lightweight, tyres that don’t go down. Having been on the Toddlebike, she was already a pro when she got the Bullet and was only on it a few months before being ready for pedals. So in summary, given my kids were only without pedals for a few months each I would definitely go with the Chicco which is more than good enough for this stage – save your money for getting a really good pedal bike when they’re ready!”– Jo
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Best Splurge: Banwood First Go Balance Bike
Courtesy of Maisonette
Kids between three and five years old can learn to ride a bike in style with this adorable, aesthetically pleasing balance bike. This bike has a stylish old-fashioned design, a sweet front basket to carry snacks and toys, and a little handlebar bell. Both the padded seat and handlebars are adjustable and have a faux leather cover that adds style and ensures they dont slip. The bike comes with 12-inch air-filled rubber tires and is available in several color options.
Tire Type: Rubber | Seat Height: 14.5-17.3 inches | Adjustable Handlebars: 19.68-23.22 inches | Product Weight: 9.9 pounds | Brakes: None | Weight Limit: Not Listed
Best Balance Bikes For Your Toddler & How To Choose
Hey there toddler parent ! Are you looking for the BEST balance bike for your toddler? You are in the right place!
In the last few years, the market has become absolutely flooded with a plethora of balance bike options. Unfortunately, many of these bikes are complete junk.
Weve researched and personally tested dozens of balance bikes to help you sort through the weeds, save your hard-earned money, and save you time picking out a bike.
We are going to share with you our top balance bike picks, balance bike reviews, AND also explain what you should be looking for in a bike so you can make the best choice for your child.
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Early Rider Charger 12
If your family likes to ride off-road, the Early Rider Charger 12 is the bike you want. Its 2-inch wide, plus-sized tires provide plenty of traction as well as comfort. Its also great for playing in the snow.
We also love the brushed aluminum frame and faux leather saddle. This is one beautiful bike.
Balance Bike And Scooter Combined
Ive seen some 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 balance bike scooters. These basically convert from a scooter to a balance bike to a tricycle. They seem like a good idea, but I think it is best just to buy a separate balance bike and scooter. You can buy them individually and will pay about the same things as buying a convertible system.
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Balance Bikes Teach The Right Skills
Its easy to learn new skills the wrong way, especially when those shortcuts may seem like they are helping you get you to where you are trying to go quickly. Training wheels appear to be helpful for little Riders because theres no challenge of balancing added to the experience.
Alas, training wheels inadvertently train children to lean on them for support and take away the opportunity to learn the skills of balance and steering skills Riders need to learn how to ride a pedal bike.
Balance bikes help kids learn how to ride pedal bikes because they teach balance and steering without the complication of pedals. When kiddos learn with training wheels before graduating to two wheels, they lose the opportunity to successfully build the necessary foundation for riding a bike.