Best Balance Bike – Teaching Kids Balance and Coordination

Kids' Gear

Best balance bike

What is a balance bike?

Your toddler can have a bike from the early age of 18 months! Of course, he can’t ride a regular bike at that young age, but he can learn the basics with a balance bike.

A balance bike has two wheels and zero pedals. When seated your toddler should be able to put his feet flat on the ground.

The best balance bike has a simple design that allows kids to steer and balance without the aid of training wheels. In no time at all, your toddler will be ready to strap on his helmet and confidently glide along.

But what about training wheels?

Training wheels are great in theory, but not so great in practice. Think back to when you had training wheels on your bike.

Do you remember how hard it was to make a tight turn and how easy it was to get stuck on uneven surfaces? Do you remember feeling lopsided and unbalanced? And how about when you tried to lift up your bike with those heavy extra wheels?

With a balance bike there’s no extra weight to offset the frame and there’s nothing to stop your little rider from making tight turns over bumpy ground. From the get-go, kids learn that the proper body position is to remain straight and balanced. What’s more, balance bikes are usually less than 10 lb., so kids can lift them all on their own.

Without the added complication of pedals, a toddler can focus on balance and steering. He’ll have an easier time keeping up with his friends and he’ll feel confident when he’s able to join in the fun.

Most toddlers use a balance bike for 2 to 3 years before they’re ready to transition to a traditional bike.

Benefits of a balance bike for toddlers

  • Safe
  • Ease of use
  • Confidence builder
  • Low maintenance
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable 

You should look for the following things when buying a balance bike for your tot:

  • Weight - The overall weight of the balance bike does make a difference. A child will have an easier time balancing on a bike that isn't so heavy that they would be dragged down by the weight if they start to tip over. What's more, if they can lift the bike on their own, this will add to their level of confidence. It's also a bonus for the parents if the bike can be scooped up in one hand.
  • Frame - Balance bikes can be made from a variety of materials. First, they could be metal. In general, metal bikes are heavier. They have a sturdy feel but can be more difficult to maneuver around tight corners or to lift. Steel frames are durable, but they can rust. Next, aluminum is popular. Balance bikes made from aluminum are extremely lightweight; they can hold riders weighing up to 75 lb. Wooden frames are an option, too. These frames have fewer features and a more streamlined look. They tend to ride best on flat surfaces. They aren't as versatile as other frames.
  • Tires - Different terrain means different tires and treads. EVA foam tires are lightweight and require zero maintenance (since they cannot deflate). They don't have much cushion, so are best for indoors or flat surfaces. Inflatable (air) tires are made for a cushioned and comfortable ride, but they may require maintenance since they can be punctured. The treads may be smooth (for even terrain) or knobby (for uneven terrain). Solid rubber tires mean little to no maintenance since they'll never puncture. They usually have smooth treads and are best for indoor surfaces.
  • Adjustability - It's important to fit the balance bike to your toddler. If the bike seat is too high or if the handlebars are too low, it's impossible to properly balance. When your toddler sits on the seat, his feet should fall flat on the ground with a tiny bend in his knees. The best balance bikes have adjustable handlebars and seats so they can be modified as your toddler grows. 
  • Footrest - Not all balance bikes for toddlers have a footrest. Some little riders like to rest their feet while they're gliding (especially when going downhill), while others find the footrest to be a bit cumbersome. It's a good idea to let your toddler try out both designs and see which one he likes best.
  • Handgrips - The handgrips should be easy to hold and comfortably padded. Remember that kids have small hands so the grips shouldn't be too wide.
  • Warranty - It's always a good idea to ask about a warranty plan. Most kids' balance bikes come with a limited 2-year warranty that covers the frame.

Quick comparison: Best balance bike

Balance bikes

Features we love

Rating

Buy it now

Strider - 12 Sport
Balance Bike

Best balance bike

- Ideal to use as from 18 months
- Padded seat for more comfort
- US patented
high-performance design
- Upgrades available, to extend the use of bike

KaZAM v2e No Pedal Balance Bike

Best balance bike

- Puncture-resistant
maintenance-free tires
- Only balance bike with a
patented footrest design
- Comes with an allen wrench, the only tool you need for assembly
- Won prestigious
toy award

Cruzee UltraLite Balance Bike

Best balance bike

- Super light, just 4.4 lbs.
- Money back guarantee
- Wide seat and handlebar lets bike grow with your child
- Lifetime warranty

Critical Cycles Cub
No-Pedal Balance
Bike for Kids

Best balance bike

- Minimal assembly
- Tires never go flat
- Adjustable to fit growing kids
- Frame is indestructible

Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike

Best balance bike

- Frame is lightweight and ergonomic
- Seat and handlebar are adjustable
- Rubber handlebar
grips are extra comfortable
- Tires are puncture resistant

Keep reading for our in-depth reviews, which will help you find the perfect bike for your child!

Strider - 12 Sport Balance Bike

The Strider model, which is available in 7 different colors, is definitly one the of the best balance bikes for toddlers.

It has a durable steel frame, a footrest, a padded seat, a handlebar pad, custom handlebar grips, and an easy-to-adjust seat and handlebars. 

This bike is suitable for children as young as 18 months, all the way up to 5 year olds, thanks to tall the upgrades available. In this sense, it offers excellent value for money.

The standard seatpost that the bike comes with is designed for kids of average sizes from ages 18 months to 36 months; when a child outgrows the standard seat, parents can attach the XL seatpost that is designed to be used from 36 months to 60 months—or up to 60 pounds! To better accommodate kids of different ages and  sizes, this balance bike comes with an XL seatpost upgrade.

Best balance bike

The Strider measures 34” x 14.5” x 22” and weighs 7 lbs. It comes with a limited 2-year warranty.

Because the assembly process takes only 5 minutes and the 5 mm wrench needed to put the bike together is included, kids can be riding and finding their balance on this bike the day that it arrives.

Its lightweight frame and ultralight, flat-free EVA polymer tires ensure that it can be easily taken on trips or to the park without worrying that a flat tire will ruin the afternoon.

Pros

  • No maintenance tires
  • Easy to adjust handlebars and seat
  • Durable
  • Designed for ages 18 months to 5 years old
  • 7 colors available
  • Option to purchase 1 and 2-year warranties
  • 5-minute assembly (wrench included)
  • XL seatpost upgrade included
  • Lightweight frame
  • Flat-free EVA polymer tires

Cons

  • Frame may be too tall for some kids
  • Some children may have trouble finding their balance

Why does this bike stand out?

It took eight years of innovation and study to create the Strider balance bike. The attention to detail is what sets this design apart from others. 

In particular, the ergonomically-shaped padded seat and adjustable handlebars makes this a comfortable ride, especially for beginners. We also love how it includes different seats for different ages and sizes. The seat and handlebars can be moved up and down without tools. The grips on the handlebars are toddler-sized, so you don’t have to worry about your 18-month-old being able to hang on as she concentrates on finding her balance.

While the most obvious injury risks associated with bikes are due to falling, younger kids especially are susceptible to pain and soreness from bikes that are not adequately padded or not the right size. This balance bike goes the extra mile to promote comfort and help prevent these possible problems.​


KaZAM v2e No Pedal Balance Bike

The KaZAM balance bike, which is available in 5 different colors, weighs a bit more than some of its competitors, at 11 lbs. This makes for a sturdy and safe bike suitable kids from 2.5 to 5 years old.

It includes several features that allow parents to customize the bike to the height of their child to make the ride more comfortable. For example, both the seat height and the handlebar height are adjustable.

Another notable aspect of this bike’s design is the easy step-in foot rest, a platform that sticks out below a child’s feet so they can place their feet exactly where the pedals would be on a standard bicycle or tricycle. Designing the foot rest in such a way allows a child to more easily find his balance and center of gravity.

Best balance bike

The 12” smooth rubber tires on this bike are made of EVA foam, which means they are puncture resistant, maintenance free and never need to be aired up.​ And for added safety, this bike comes with optional brakes.

There’s a 2-year limited warranty on this model, and it measures 34.5” x 4.5” x 19.75”.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Designed for ages 2.5 to 5 years old
  • Footrest
  • Durable
  • Award-winning design
  • Multiple color options
  • 5 colors available
  • Puncture-resistant foam rubber tires
  • Lightweight frame
  • Affordable
  • Adjustable seat height
  • Adjustable handlebar height

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Built for taller toddlers - Must be 36 inches tall to ride safely/comfortably
  • Smooth tires may not grip uneven surfaces

Why does this bike stand out?

The KaZAM toddler bike won the prestigious Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award as one of the most innovative and appealing new products. In fact, it's popular in Europe, Canada, Australia and even Japan!

This bike is a tremendous value for parents looking to help their kids have fun and develop balance and coordination with a balance bike.

Parents often read about the benefits of a balance bike and investigate their options only to find products that are more expensive than their standard tricycle or training-wheeled bicycle counterparts. The makers of this product, though, have managed to offer all of a balance bike’s benefits at an affordable price point, which make this bike not only a quality investment, but a toy that's fun and useful. The quality of the bike and value is such that a child could use it for several years and pass it down to a younger sibling.​

The lightweight, portable design and puncture-resistant foam tires are also great features, but the value is what can really put some distance between this balance bike and its competitors.​


Cruzee UltraLite Balance Bike

Designed for little guys and gals as young as 1.5 years old, and with seat and handlebar height adjustments that make it suitable for kids up to 5, this is another great balance bike. Available in 9 different colors, including gold and silver, each bike features a sleek, metallic-looking finish that is sure to be popular with just about any kid.

This balance bike weighs in at just 4.4 lb., living up to its “lightweight” name and making it easy to take on trips or carry along when the kids inevitably grow tired over the course of a long afternoon of riding.

It also features a wide seat that can be adjusted for height, along with the handlebars, so that the bike is able to grow with the child. The balance bike is safe and comfortable for children up to 75 lb. and is made from an aluminum that ensures it will remain rust free, a solution to a common problem that often limits the durability of other bikes constructed from metal.​

Best balance bike

The tires are made out of EVA foam and are maintenance-free, so they'll never go flat.

The seat is padded for comfort, there are grips on the handlebars and the sides of the frame are protected with scratch guards.

Pros

  • 9 colors to choose from
  • Designed for ages 18 months to 5 years old
  • Rust-free aluminum construction
  • Lightweight (only 4.4 lbs)
  • Flat-free foam rubber tires
  • 100% money-back guarantee
  • Lifetime warranty included
  • Wide seat
  • Adjustable seat height and handlebar height
  • Safe/comfortable for riders up to 75 lb.

Cons

  • No kickstand

Why does this bike stand out?

There are several aspects of this balance bike that make it stand out. The fact that it's as light as a feather, its rust-free aluminum construction, and its capacity for use by children weighing up to 75 pounds are all major benefits. Our little riders also loved the look of this bike right away, especially the rainbow of colors to choose from! It’s so easy to maneuver that even our beginners felt confident hopping right on.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of this bike, though, is the commitment the manufacturer has made to its product by including a lifetime warranty and a 100% money-back guarantee. More than any other single feature, the brand’s commitment to customer service and the peace of mind that comes with such a philosophy have been the reason that people have felt good about their decision to go with this balance bike.​


Critical Cycles Cub No-Pedal Balance Bike for Kids

Another great option for parents who want to instill at the confidence, balance and coordination that come with riding a bike, this pedal-free model is designed for kids as young as 20 months old and is safe and comfortable up to age 5. There are 6 different color styles available, all with eye-catching, multi-colored patterns.

There is minimal assembly required in putting together this bike’s lightweight frame—the process is surprisingly simple. The air-free foam tires are another benefit, as air-free also means flat-tire free and air-pump free as well. Combined, the easy assembly, simple frame and air-free tires mean that the bike should require little to no maintenance no matter how often or long it is used.

Best balance bike

The adjustable seat posts and handlebars will allow your child to keep riding this bike throughout his early years, right up until he's ready for a big kid bike; the adjustability also allows for children of different ages to ride the same bike.​

This model from Critical Cycles also boasts a super strong high-tensile steel frame. The bike measures 33.5” x 6.25” x 20” and weighs 9 lbs.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Adjustable seat and handlebars (no tools required!)
  • Easy to assemble
  • Designed for ages 20 months to 5 years old
  • 6 colors available
  • Maintenance-free
  • Air-free tires
  • Minimal assembly
  • Adjustable seat posts
  • Adjustable handlebars
  • Lightweight frame
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Foam tires instead of rubber

Why does this bike stand out?

The affordability and effectiveness of this balance bike make it stand out from similar products. And all of the ancillary benefits of a balance bike are included with this model, including the convenience of a lightweight frame and the versatility of being able adjustable for kids of all shapes and sizes. This is also one of the most durable balance bikes out there. Made from high-tensile steel, the frame is constructed to withstand years of riding.


Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike

Available in the classic shiny red color that's so often associated with a kid’s first bike, this model is suitable for ages 3 and up, and its lightweight, sturdy metal frame is able to support kids up to 55 lb.

While all balance bikes are lightweight relative to their tricycle and training-wheeled bicycle alternatives, this model from Chicco truly lives up to its “lightweight” description, coming in at a mere 5.95 lb.

Best balance bike

Several measures have been taken in terms of design to ensure comfort and safety for little riders. For example, the rubber handlebar grips and padded saddle seat help make sure aspiring cyclists don’t have to worry about uncomfortable scraping, rubbing and chafing as they concentrate on finding their balance and having fun.​

What's more, you can adjust the padded seat as your toddler grows. We also love how the tires are puncture resistant, for a smooth ride. 

Pros

  • Adjustable seat
  • Designed for ages 3+ years old
  • Classic red color
  • Lightweight metal frame
  • ​Padded saddle seat
  • Rubber handlebar grips
  • Height-adjustable seat
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Too small for some toddlers
  • Foam tires don't have much traction
  • Not scratch proof

Why does this bike stand out?

The smaller size of this bike makes it an especially good choice for younger, slighter toddlers. The frame is made from steel and is sturdy, but since it’s lightweight (6 lbs.) young riders won’t have any trouble maneuvering it.


Riding a bike is like a rite of passage. It provides a sense of excitement, a taste of freedom and delivers a huge boost of confidence. With a balance bike, your child can benefit from bike riding at a very early age.

And while toddlers are gaining confidence on a balance bike, they’re also learning the basics of cycling. In turn, when they outgrow their toddler bike, they should have an easier time transitioning to a traditional ride.

The best balance bikes are sturdy, safe, lightweight and long lasting. They’re easier to ride than tricycles or bikes with bulky training wheels.

Kids feel more in control with a balance bike because their feet reach firmly to the ground; there aren’t any pedals or gears to get in the way. And without the added weight of training wheels, nothing is stopping them from zooming and gliding away.

Featured image: horlor.tw

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