What is a ‘Balance Bike’?
Balance bikes teach children how to ride a bike better at a younger age. A balance bike is a two-wheel bicycle designed for children 2 - 5 years of age that does not have pedals. Balance bikes are also known as running bikes, learner bikes, or training bikes. We prefer the term ‘balance bike’ because it highlights the key developmental benefit of the product.
Why no pedals?
The concept is simple. Learning balance is the most critical element to learning how to ride a bicycle. The common approach to teaching a child to ride is to introduce them to a pedal bike with training wheels. Rather than teaching balance, training wheels provide children a false sense of security. In addition, the combination of pedals and training wheels add unnecessary weight and distraction to the learning process for young children. The eventual transition from training wheels to a regular bike can be difficult, frustrating and slow. A balance bike eases this transition by teaching balance the right way.
How do they work?
Since there are no pedals the child’s feet rest firmly on the ground. This position is comfortable and allows the child to start, stop, and control speed at will. Initially the child will walk the bike around at a slow speed. Once they become comfortable with the stop and go, they quickly learn to master the difficult part - balance. Eventually instincts will take over and they will begin to glide relying on their new found ability to balance. Learning to ride a bike is not easy, but with the right practice on the right balance bike, it can be a whole lot of fun.
Is it more fun than a training wheel bike?
Definitely. Balance bikes are more fun for both the children and their parents. Do you remember how awkward it is to learn to ride a bike with training wheels? Training wheel bikes with their pedals, chains and gears are slow, heavy and provide little freedom for their rider. Balance bikes are light, mobile, and easy to ride. They allow children to keep up with the rest of the family, without getting tired or bored. This is good for the child and great for the parents! In addition, the light weight of a balance bike makes it easy to transport and carry around between rides.
What age are balance bikes suited for?
We recommend balance bikes for children 2 - 5 years of age, with certain models such as the Early Rider Evolution and LIKEaBIKE Jumper designed for children up to 6 years old. Depending on strength and coordination, lighter models such as the Early Rider Lite and sturdier models like the Wishbone 3-in-1, which converts from a tricycle to a balance bike, may suitable for pre 2 year olds.