Is A Balance Bike Worth It? (5 Reasons Explained!)

Every parent who plans to gift their kid a bike always wonders if they should get a balance bike or just a regular kids’ bike with training wheels. Does that sound like you? Do you wonder, is a balance bike worth it?

A balance bike is worth it because it boosts your kids’ confidence, bike control, and motor skills. Even better, it makes the transition to regular kids’ pedal bikes seamless, and your kid can also use it for exercise.

More importantly, there is a balance bike for every kid, from those enjoying their first birthday to preschoolers and those who are up to seven years old. 

Since these bikes are fun to ride and safer for your kid than pedal bikes, and they roll on uneven surfaces, your little one can enjoy riding around the neighborhood.

On a negative note, kids’ can outgrow balance bikes faster than other bikes, making some parents see them as a waste of money. Plus, they can be as costly as regular kids’ bikes, putting some parents off.

This guide will expound on the benefits and downsides of balance bikes and the things to look for when gifting your kid one. I will also give my top recommendations for your consideration. 

And since I cannot exhaust everything about these bikes, I will answer some of the balance bike-related questions to help you clear any doubt about these bikes.

But first, let’s see what a balance bike is.

Is a Balance Bike Worth It

In a hurry? Below is my best-recommended balance bike that you can consider:

4 Best Balance Bikes for 1-7-Year-Olds

  1. Strider – 14x Balance Bike – Best for 3-7 Years Olds
  2. Retrospec Cub Kids’ Balance Bike – Best for 2–5 Years Olds
  3. Strider 12-Sport Balance Bike– Best for 18 Months–5 Years Olds
  4. Schwinn 12-Inch Skip Balance Bike – Best for 2 – 4 Years Olds
  5. XIAPIA Baby Balance Bike – Best for 10 Months – 2 Years Olds

What Is a Balance Bike?

A balance bike is a pedal-less bike, sometimes referred to as a strider, running, glider, or toddler push bike.

They aim to help kids between 1 and 7 years to practice balancing on a bike before transitioning to pedal (regular) bicycles.

These bikes have a simple geometry that lacks chains, gears, drivetrains, pedals, or shifters. So, they allow your kid to freely roll as they don’t need to steer or pedal the bike.

Why Is a Balance Bike Worth It? 5 Benefits Explained!

Below are the five balance bike benefits that make them worth it:

1. Boosts Your Kid’s Confidence

One benefit of balance bikes is increasing your child’s overall confidence. Why so? Well, these bikes are easier for them to get off and on without the need for a parent’s help.

So, your kind will move independently, cultivating confidence in your kid, seeing that there is something they can do on their own.

And since these bikes are low and near the ground, the risk of falls and injuries is much lower.

2. Gives Your Kid More Control (By Boosting the Balancing)

Balance bikes help your kid balance and gain control over the cycle.

Remember, though they are on top of the cycle, their feet remain on the ground. So, they feel secure and safe rolling with the bike, and as they do this often, they gain better bike control skills at an early age which is something to be proud of.

Another fantastic thing is that balance bikes are easy to use. Riding a pedal bicycle needs balancing and pedaling. And as for the balance bike, they lack pedals, allowing your kid to learn, focus and master only one thing – to balance.

That makes learning easier and fun and helps your kid have complete control of the bike.

3. Develops Your Kid’s Motor Skills

Another benefit of balance bikes is that they help build your kid’s motor skills. That is because the young one must figure out balancing, gliding, and maneuvering independently. 

When they think of how to do all these, they put their brain to work mastering and memorizing the skill. And as they say, practice will make them perfect. 

Creating the experience is outstanding and boosts your kid’s mental and motor skills. So, if you have a less active kid back at home, you already know what to get them.

4. Makes Transitioning to Regular Pedal Bike Easy

The only skill that your kid needs before they can ride pedal bikes is knowing how to balance. A balance bike helps your kid balance, coast, and make turns.

So, teaching your kid to transition to a pedal bike will be a less daunting task.

As the kid using a balance bike uses the feet to move around, using the pedals will now be more comfortable and easier.

5. A Chance to Exercise 

It’s also true that kids will always find things to do to keep moving. You may find them crawling, running, scooting, jumping, and these help them exercise. However, nothing is funnier for exercising than a balance bike.

Imagine how fun it can be for your two-year-old to join your family rides with his two wheels? It’s a good feeling.

When they keep practicing with their balance bike, they will start developing a healthy lifestyle they can’t part ways with even when they are older.

6. There Is a Balance Bike for Every Kid

Unlike training wheel bikes that are not available to kids ten months or first birthday, you can find a balance bike for kids ten months to seven years old preschoolers.

You can get the best choices on Amazon, and the best part is choosing the color your kid likes.

On the hotlist below are the best balance bikes for kids of different ages:

  1. Strider – 14x Balance Bike – Best for 3-7 Years Olds
  2. Retrospec Cub Kids’ Balance Bike – Best for 2–5 Years Olds
  3. Strider 12-Sport Balance Bike– Best for 18 Months–5 Years Olds
  4. Schwinn 12-Inch Skip Balance Bike – Best for 2 – 4 Years Olds
  5. XIAPIA Baby Balance Bike – Best for 10 Months – 2 Years Olds
balance bike benefit

Why a Balance Bike May Not Be Worth It – The Cons

After highlighting the things that make balance bikes worth it, it’s worth mentioning why they may not be worth it for some people.

Generally, balance bikes come with these concerns:

  • Kids are likely to outgrow them fast – Kids outgrow all bikes in due time, but it’s faster with a balance bike. That means a balance bike is not a long-term investment for your kid. They will only likely ride them for a few years before needing a pedal bike.
  • Balance bikes can be as costly as regular kids’ pedal bikes – If you are hoping to save, then you may not do it by getting a balance bike. These bikes cost as much (if not slightly costly) as regular kids’ pedal bikes.
  • Limited choice for older kids – Though balance bikes exist for kids aged 5-7, the options are limited. Most balance bikes are best for 1-4-year-olds.

Things to Look for in a Balance Bike?

Here are key buying considerations for a balance bike:

a) Seat Height

As a parent who wants to save, we often look at a balance bike that our kids can grow with rather than one that can fit perfectly.

The rule is to consider buying a balance bike that can fit them now and not years later. If you go wrong in choosing the correct size, this can be a big blow and frustration to your kid.

One measurement that can help you get a good fit is measuring your kid’s inseam length. Below is how to go about it:

  • Let your youngster stand against the wall with the shoes and legs slightly apart (you can place a book between their legs and move it near the crotch – uppermost thigh region).
  • Then, measure the distance from the crotch to the ankle.

Remember, a good seat is one your child sits on with feet flat on the ground and knees slightly bent

To understand even better, consider the table below:

Child InseamSeat Height
11.5″11″ – 13.5″
13.5″13″ – 15.5″
17″16.5″ – 19″

Once you ascertain that the balance bike seat is correct, you can now check the seat’s adjustability. Luckily, most balance bikes come with the adjustability feature, allowing you to adjust the seat as your kid grows.

b) Balance Bike Tires

Another thing of concern is the tires. The tires play a vital role in bike comfort and performance. The balance bike has four distinctive tires: plastic, rubber, foam, and air.

While they all differ on ride and smoothness, they give your kid momentum when riding on different surfaces. So, if you want a bike tire that gives your kid the utmost cushioning, the air tires are the best choice.

But if you are budget-tight but still want puncture-proof, lighter tires, foam tires fit the bill. On the other hand, rubber tires are decent, solid, and puncture-proof.

Unfortunately, that can’t be said of plastic tires. Though they are light, they are low quality and won’t serve your kid longer.

c) Balance Bike Size

In balance bikes, there’s nothing like ‘one size fits all.’ The reality is that a balance bike that fits a 2-year-old cannot fit a seven-year-old. 

So, two things determine the correct size for your kid – the seat height and the tire size.  While the 12-inch tires are suitable for kids between 2 – 4 years old, the 14 – 18 inch tires are a good pick for preschoolers within the age bracket of 3 – 7 years.

But note, however, some kids may feature in the same age bracket but may be bigger or smaller than others. So, in such cases, measure your kid’s inseam (as shown earlier) to determine the correct seat height for your kid.

d) Balance Bike Weight

Bike experts recommend getting your kid a bike that is 30% less than your child’s weight. For example, a balance bike that weighs 4.5 kg may be heavy for a child who weighs 10 kg, but the same cycle may be a cup of tea for a kid who is 16 kg.

And since children within the same age bracket may vary in weight, it’s good to know how heavy your kid weighs. For example, boys of the same age weigh much more than girls within the same age bracket.

Below is a simplified method you can use to determine the weight of your kid’s bike:

Child Weight x 0.3 = Bike Weight

So, if your kid weighs 25 lbs., the bike weight should be 7.5 lbs., as shown below:

25 x 0.3 = 7.5 lbs.

People Also Ask

1. What are Balance Bikes Good for?

Balance bikes are designed to teach your kid how to balance when in motion or sitting. They are ideal for toddlers from 1 year to preschool-going and those up to seven years old.

2. Is It Worth Getting a Balance Bike?

Balance bikes are worth it, especially when you want your child to ride independently, exercise when having fun, gain motor skills, gain confidence and learn how to control the bike. More importantly, as your kid knows how to balance the bike, transitioning to pedal bikes is easier.

3. Is A Balance Bike Necessary?

A balance bike is necessary for kids in the age bracket of 1 – 7 years. That is because balance bikes help your kid gain confidence, remain active, and develop excellent motor skills by allowing them to ride independently.

4. Are Balance Bikes a Waste of Money?

Not at all! Balance bikes are the opposite of what some people think. These bikes help your kid learn how to balance, make turns, and coast independently.

That means your kid develops excellent motor skills, gets active, and transitioning to pedal bikes will be easier.

5. What Age Are Balance Bikes for?

Generally, balance bikes are ideal for kids between 18 months to 7 years. There are also options for a ten-month or a-year-old like XIAPIA Baby Balance Bike that you can gift your kid on their first birthday.

In Conclusion – Is A Balance Bike Worth It?

A balance bike is a worthy purchase for your kid between one and seven years old. It helps your kid gain confidence, develop earlier motor and coordination skills and remain active in an excellent and fun way.

And when your kid masters how to balance, they can start making turns, coasting, and rolling freely, which are essential skills before they can transition to pedal bikes.