How to Choose the Best Balance Bike for Your Child
Posted on November 13 2018
A balance bike is widely known as “The First Bike” for children. Simply put, these bikes are pedal-less bicycles designed for young kids from 18 months to 5 years old. Since 2007, when balance bike first appeared on the market, kids have been redefining what learning to ride looks like. Parents are increasingly turning to a balance bike as a worthwhile purchase to their children.
Why are balance bikes becoming so popular?
Opposed to toy bikes or scooters, a balance bike usually has only 2 wheels without added training wheels. Therefore, it intends as a real bicycle. Indeed, with a balance bike, which is fun, non-pedal, and height adjustable, kids are less likely to suffer from the complicated progress but to develop motor skills before learning to ride a road bike. “Once you add in the pedaling, the balance comes naturally,” said Scott Decker, a product manager from Evans Cycles company. In short, a balance bike does what its name states - teach balance.
How to choose my balance bike?
So now that you understand what benefits a balance bike has to offer and you might want to pick one for your child. However, with so many choices in the market, how do you know which one suits best to your little one? Here is a quick guide.
Typically, toddlers and kids enjoy balance bikes from 18 months to 5 years old. The figure above shows the right bike size for a child’s age. When standing over the bike, the best for kids is they are able to put both feet flat on the ground with a slight bend in the knees. Get a right bike size first, then by measuring the inseam length of your little rider, adjust the seat height and the sizing part is done. A good starting point is 1-inch less than the child's inseam. With adjustable seat and handlebars, the bike is able to grow with its little host.
The heavier the bike, the more difficult it is to ride. As a rule, a balance bike shouldn’t weigh more than 30% of your child ’s weight. There are 3 main types of bike frames available. They are metal, aluminum alloy, and wood. Metal is the heaviest, which is suitable for heavier and older children; aluminum bikes are ultimate lightweight which perform well with smaller children. For safety reasons, we do not recommend pricey wood bikes currently due to some bike crack cases reported, even though they might be cool and environmentally friendly.
Wheel and tire
Normally, the tires determine how smooth the balance bike will ride. There are 2 main tire styles: pneumatic air and EVA foam. If riding experience is your first priority, air tires offer the best service. They provide the best cushioning and traction, especially on outdoor terrains. EVA foam tires are commonly used for balance bike thanks to their lightweight, durability and easy maintenance. . It allows your child to run and cruise in comfort. Another plus point is that, if your little one is an adventure lover, or if he always rides into a curb at speed, EVA foam tires offer an advantage because they are more durable.
Some parents may worry about their children falling down when they ride their bikes. Therefore, they may want to look for a balance bike with built-in training wheels. As the name suggests, a balance bike teaches children how to ride while balanced. Whereas training wheels delay the ability and spoil children ride while unbalanced. As of such, it is not advised to attach training wheels to your child’s balance bike.
A footrest is a nice feature but it is not essential. Actually, balance bikes do not require a protruding footrest, which might obstruct running movement, let alone it is a hidden risk to scratch children’s legs. Kids naturally pick up their feet as they are gliding.
Brakes require a minimal force to work. Therefore it is a good feature for kids around 3 or 4 years old. And in this way kids are able to learn how real bike brakes work. Before you purchase a balance bike with a hand operated brake, make sure it is manageable for small hands.
Metal frame bikes with air tires are expensive compared to the ones made from aluminum with EVA foam tires. Top units might cost over 200 USD. But in general, a regular balance bike won’t burn a hole in your wallet, the average price is less than 100 USD. If you are not a maniacal fan of a certain luxury brand, a few professional outdoor gear manufacturers such as ENKEEO may meet your wishes. ENKEEO offers high-quality balance bikes with an affordable price tag of around 80USD.
The last tip
After you have an overall knowledge of choosing a balance bike, safety is the next important point to consider. Don’t forget to prepare essential accessories for your little ones. With gears like a helmet and knee and elbow pads, children are likely to be safe in a guaranteed way.
Hope these tips help you to get the right bike for your kids!