One of the best outdoor hobbies to get kids started with is bicycling. Not only does it give them some much-needed exercise, but it also improves their motor skills and helps them become familiar with an activity that does not involve staring at a screen.
However, because riding a bike can be somewhat intimidating, it’s best to start kids out by giving them a balance bike. This will take care of the hard part of riding a bike: learning how to balance.
With that, let us look at some reviews and FAQs so that you can choose the best balance bike for your little one.
5 Best Balance Bike Reviews
Here are 5 of the best balance bikes for kids on the current market, including detailed reviews and pros and cons of each bike.
JOYSTAR 10”/12” Kids’ Balance Bike
Not only does this kids’ balance bike from JOYSTAR come in 7 different colors, but it also has pretty much any feature you would want in a balance bike.
The bike can be used by kids aged 1.5 years to 5 years because the seat height is adjustable. It also has a footrest for younger riders to use comfortably, and it is located where the pedals would be on a proper bicycle. This way, children can get used to the feel of riding a bike.
And the 12” and 10” in the title refers to its bike size. Thanks to the step-through design, it’s easier for kids to get off the bike without getting stuck. Also, the tires do not use air, so very little maintenance is required to keep the bike in shape.
Both the handlebar and the seat heights are adjustable, so the bike can be used for years by one user or can be used by kids of varying ages. Though the bike comes only partially assembled, it only takes about 15 minutes to set it up fully.
Moreover, the bike weighs only a little of 6 pounds, which is light enough for toddlers to ride easily. While this is quite an affordable balance bike option, it is still comparable in quality to high-end alternatives. The footrest is pretty sturdy, so kids can ride it fast safely once they learn how to.
- Available in 2 sizes, 12 inches, and 10 inches
- Comes in a wide variety of 7 colors
- Super quick and easy to set up
- Requires minimal maintenance thanks to the airless tires
- Does not come fully assembled
Radio Flyer Balance Bike Glide and Go
This is an outlier option on this list in that it resembles a proper bicycle in some key ways, such as having a hand brake and a kickstand. Radio flyer’s balance bike is also a bit on the larger size, which will be perfect for older/taller kids who want to start biking but need to learn balancing first.
However, the seat and handlebar heights are fully adjustable, so it is not limiting for growing users. It also has hand brakes, something which most balance bikes lack. Although these bikes are always safe to use, having a break will help your child to become familiar with the same feature on a proper bicycle.
The bike’s frame is made of steel alloy, which is lightweight, so the kids will not have to drag the bike around and can cruise easily. Although it has a foot peg, this feature is removable so that kids can learn to ride with or without it. It also has a kickstand for proper parking.
One of the demerits of this bike, compared to other options on this list, is that it does not have airless tires. This means that its 16-inch tires will need to be pumped with air from time to time when it goes lax. Another con is the lack of color variety, but it is a minor one.
All in all, this bike is one to get if you want your child to have the closest thing to a real bicycle to learn to ride and balance on.
- Perfect for toddlers and kids from 2.25 to 5 years of age
- Tool-free adjustable seat can be beneficial during your kids grow!
- Super weightless because of the steel alloy frame
- Tires are not airless and will need to be maintained
Swagtron K3 Children’s Balance Bike
A great balance bike for 2-year-olds to 5-year-olds, this one from Swagtron has a simple look, with only 2 color options of blue and pink. The bike itself weighs about 7 pounds, which is on the heavier side for balance bikes but is perfect for older toddlers, supporting weights of up to 55 pounds.
Its 12-inch rubber tires are filled with air, and so will need to be pumped whenever they go flat. Because they are made of rubber, they can grip all sorts of roads better than plastic tires can.
As for the seat height, it can be adjusted from 12 inches to 16 inches, so your child can ride it throughout the years or can hand it down to someone younger once they are done with it. Kids with inseams of 13 to 17 inches are good to use this balance bike. The seat itself is also pretty comfortable for tiny riders.
Its frame, made from an aluminum alloy that has been reinforced, is lightweight and durable enough for super active children to ride for a long time.
- Minimal design with rounded and smooth edges
- Very affordable balance bike option
- Rubber tires help grip the ground better than hard plastic ones
- Adjustable seat height makes it accessible for a range of ages
- Air-filled tires will need to be pumped and maintained
- Very limited color selection
Chillafish Bmxie² Lightweight Balance Bike
This is a great one for kids who like their things to have a unique design or color, as this balance bike from Chillafish has both these qualities. It weighs a little over 8 pounds and can support weights of up to 77 pounds. This is certainly the one to go for if your kid is aged between 2 to 5 years.
There are two options to choose from in terms of brakes: one is a bike without a break, and the other is one with an integrated foot brake. Of course, both options have footrests, though the one on the bike with the foot brake has a larger surface area.
Its wheel size is the standard 12 inches, and it has a simple seat adjustment mechanism so you can switch up the seat height without the need for tools. The seat height can go from 12.6 inches to 15.3 inches. You only need to turn, pull it to the suitable height, and lock that in place.
Having the integrated foot brake means that your child can not only learn how and when to brake on a real bike but will also be able to skid if they want to. The frame has rounded features, which makes it safe for kids, and they are also easy to grip when support is needed.
One of the best features of this bike is its airless tires, which means that the parents will not need to pump air into it periodically since it cannot go flat. Also, your child will not have to stop riding it unexpectedly.
The only demerit might be that it has a higher price tag than the average balance bike, but its amazing features are certainly worth splurging on.
- Has a good range of colors and a fun design that kids will love
- Comes in an option with a foot brake on it
- Does not weigh a lot but can support weights of up to 77 pounds
- Airless tires need almost no maintenance at all
- A bit on the costly side of kids’ balance bikes
Retrospec Cub Kids’ Balance Bike
Our last and certainly not least entry is Retrospec’s balance bike, which is available in a whopping 11 different colors. This one has a user-friendly step-through design, which makes it easier for kids to get off the bike once they are done.
Both the footrest and the frame are super low to the ground, so your child stays safe while learning how to balance a bicycle. This is also pretty weightless at only 2.2 pounds, so it will be a breeze for toddlers to ride around.
As with many other balance bikes, this one also has airless tires, which means minimal upkeep for the parents and the assurance that your child will never have to stop mid-ride. Although it does not come fully assembled, putting it together is pretty quick and simple.
Even if the road around your house is uneven, the tires of this balance bike will hold up just fine because they are made of durable plastic and are airless. The seat height and the height between the footrest and the ground are perfectly low for very young riders.
While the footrest is not the largest one you can find on a balance bike, it is still big enough for little ones to put their feet up on safely while they coast and cruise.
- Available in 11 different color combinations
- Very low seat height and ground clearance for toddlers
- Low maintenance thanks to the plastic airless tires
- Superbly lightweight
- Easy to get on or off thanks to step-through style
- A footrest may not be large enough for some beginners
- It Will need to be assembled fully by the buyer
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below are some of the most commonly asked queries regarding the best balance bikes:
How is a balance bike better than training wheels?
A training wheel does not prepare kids to balance their bikes as a balance bike does. Unlike a bicycle with training wheels, a balance bike helps children learn how to balance the bike and themselves for when they move onto bicycles with pedals.
What age is a balance bike for?
As mentioned in the above balance bike reviews, these bikes can be used by kids as young as 18 months and up to 5 years of age, though most children start switching to pedaled bikes by the age of 4 anyway.
What is the purpose of a balance bike?
Balance bikes not only help kids learn to balance, but they also build their strength and motor skills, agility, and overall coordination. They are also safer for toddlers as they tend to be a lot lower in height than actual bicycles.
What size balance bike should I get?
Look at user reviews online to see which brands or models are reliable, but also try to get a balance bike that has the right seat height for your little one. Just to be sure, measure your toddler/kid’s inseam and buy a bike that has the minimum seat height of that measurement.
What are the key features to look for in a balance bike?
A toddler balance bike should have a sturdy and sizable footrest, the proper seat and handlebar heights, and good quality wheels so that it is safe for such young kids to ride properly.
If you thought before that balance bikes are unnecessary, we know your mind has changed by now. Not only do these nifty rides help your toddler become prepared to use an actual bicycle (with no training wheels), they also improve their motor skills, strength, and coordination.
These are also a great way to get the kids out there and help them become outdoorsy.
Finding the best balance bike for your child is not a very difficult task as long as you know where to look for recommendations and become familiar with specific features that you need to look out for.