When we think about Christmas the first word that comes to mind might not be ‘Balance’. Add in the work ‘Bike’, though and you’ve got yourself the perfect gift. No matter whether you’re buying for your own child, or someone else’s. Read on to find out exactly what you should be looking for.
Balance bike vs Stabilisers
Depending on your age, most of us probably learned to ride our bikes using stabilisers and suffered the indignity of toppling over multiple times once the stabilisers came off. We’re here to tell you that there is thankfully a better way! Balance bikes have been shown to be far more effective in teaching children the motor skills needed – and most importantly the balance needed – to get to grips with riding a bike. Children who start out on a balance bike will often progress surprisingly quickly to their first pedal bike.
That said not every child is the same and not everyone will get on with a balance bike so there’s absolutely no problem with taking the traditional stabilisers route if that’s what works best for your little one.
What age are they for?
You can start to introduce your child to a balance bike as soon as they’re confident walkers, but most will fit kids aged between 1-4. Generally, balance bikes will come with a 12” wheel. Frog bikes also offer the Tadpole Mini with a smaller 10” wheel for kids with an inner leg length of less than 30cm. There is also the Tadpole Plus for bigger kids with an inner leg longer than 38cm.
3 things to look out for:
- Weight is the first thing to look out for when buying a balance bike is how much the bike weighs. It’s important for both the kids, who’ll find it much easier to control and move the bike around, and for you for the times you inevitably spend carrying the bike along.
- Some balance bikes will come with brakes and some won’t. Those without rely on the child stopping themselves with their feet along the ground, which is a much simpler concept for younger kids to grasp than the idea of a brake lever. That said, having a brake attached gives kids the chance to learn how to use the brake lever as they get more confident. That can make a big difference to safety as they progress to a pedal bike where they will need to learn to use their brakes more.
- Grips or hand-holds under the saddle can be useful to look out for as they can be used to both carry the bike and to help steady when first learning.
Our Top Picks:
STRIDER 12 SPORT – It’s the world’s best-selling balance bike for a reason. Lightweight and super adjustable, this will get your little ones scooting along in no time. We’re fans of the solid tyres that can’t puncture too.
FROG TADPOLE – The Frog’s come in a range of wheel sizes from the mini at 10” through to the plus at 14” so give plenty of options for shorter or taller kids. They’re fitted with a rear brake lever which will help your child get used to the concept early.
SQUISH BALANCE – These bikes are fantastic for little ones and come with a handle on the saddle for mum and dad to hold. They also come fitted with an easy-to-use rear brake and bars that can’t turn too far, meaning safer riding for your kids.