Best Balance Bike: Top 8 Picks For Toddlers & Kids 

 January 2, 2019

By  Max Shumpert

Learning to ride a bike can be a tricky task with plenty of bumps and bruises along the way. Trying to learn to pedal and balance at the same time can be daunting for some kids.

Not everyone has the same sense of balance, and thinking about pedaling when you're already nervous about staying upright in the first place can be a recipe for a really tough time.

The best balance bike allow kids to get used to sitting on a bike and moving around, without pedals getting in the way.

Granted, actually riding and pedaling on a regular bicycle is different than waddling around on a balance bike, but these still make a great first step for younger children.

In a hurry? The test winner after 23 hours of research:

editors pick
best balance


Why is it better?

  • Easy assembly
  • Light weight
  • Best brakes in test

our score

Our Buying Guide

Regular Biking can help kids with their fun time and learning process to ride a bike. You can find a variety of balancing bikes in the market, such as BANANA,WOOM, KaZAM and Strider. Thus, choosing the right kind of bike for your little one might be a little overwhelming.

As we are slowly letting out ourselves from the lock down, the best BMX bikes for kids meanwhile have become the best vehicle of parents for their who love bike riding.

However, finding the perfect one can be a tedious task. Don't worry, we are here to help.

At BikesReviewed, we are committed to helping you with the best-rated products with safety. All these products have gone through extensive research and the opinions of real customers using these bikes.

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Last Updated: October 3, 2023

By Max Shumpert: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding balance bikes available for those who are interested in balance bikes for their kids. The best 8 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best balance bike currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

Woom 1 Review


Rating: 92/100 View Latest Deal →
Woom 1 Plus

Woom 1 Plus

Rating: 85/100 View Latest Deal →
Banana Bike LT Review


Rating: 89/100 View Latest Deal →
Strider Review


Rating: 84/100 View Latest Deal →
Kazam Green Review


Rating: 87/100 View Latest Deal →
Critical Cycles Cub Review


Rating: 83/100 View Latest Deal →
Strider - 14X Review STRIDER - 14X  Rating: 90/100 View Latest Deal →
Early Rider Balance


Rating: 85/100 View Latest Deal →
Strider 12

Strider 12

Rating: 85/100 View Latest Deal →

Best Balance Bikes for Young Toddlers - 1 to 2-Year-Old

To put the concept of a balance bike and our picks into perspective, let's discuss the significant changes going on in your child to guide your choice.

A child's mental development transitions from copying what you, as their greatest role model, do to the beginning of independent thinking and the so-called "terrible twos."

They lack the coordination at this point to balance. However, it's the ideal time to get the best balance bikes for 2 year old.


To look at its product description, you'd think that the WOOM1 was part of the lineup of a higher-end regular bike. That's one example of the attention to detail that went into its design and construction.

Featured Specs

The WOOM balance bike includes a lot of extra options that help justify its higher price tag. They include features such as easy assembly, a generous range on the seat height, and hand brakes to make that critical transition.

Benefits of this balance bike

The manufacturer takes child safety seriously with a well-designed frame and geometry. The saddle has an anatomically adapted design for a comfortable ride.

Drawbacks of this balance bike

Based on the weight of the balance bike, it's suitable for a child up to 24 pounds.

Extra Features

The balance bike has several other options that make it stand out from the bunch. It includes a steering limiter to avoid sharp turns that could lead to a fall. It's elastic so that it doesn't jolt the rider. Also, it's removable which is a plus.

Buying Advice

Your child will have their choice of blue, green, red, or purple. The manufacturer calls the last option, purple haze, to appeal to Mom and Dad, presumably.

It comes in both a classic and plus version. The latter is not the same one tricked out, but instead is a larger balance model for older children. It is one of the best bike brands in the market and is one of the best balance bike for 1 year old kid.

Product Specifications:

DIMENSIONS: Wheelbase, 22.56 inches; grip height, 19.57 inches
WEIGHT: 7.27 lbs
SEAT HEIGHT: Tested for users five feet tall and above
AGE: Wind resistance via the frictionless fan
MATERIAL: AL-6061 aluminum tubes
WARRANTY: 30-day satisfaction guarantee with free shipping returns

2. Woom1 plus - BEST FOR TALL RIDERS 

Woom 1 Plus

Woom 1 Plus

Woom 1 plus

  • Exclusive right-hand brakes that put your child in control.
  •  Perfect in-between size for ages 3 to 5
  • Removable “Surfboard” Footrest

Woom 1 plus like its big brother to the woom 1 is a larger balance bike version and is designed for kids ages 3 to 5. This balance bike is exquisitely crafted for toddlers who has outgrown their first bike and not ready for pedals. With the easy to operate handbrakes(which is rare to find in balance bikes) and with reach adjustability to fit to tiny hands to make learning to ride easy.

Featured Specs

The pneumatic air filled tires, quality components, a high rise BMX style handlebar and a maximum seat standover height above 3'' which is more than woom 1, makes woom 1 a full featured perfect balance bikes for kids.The additional feature it includes is the wooden "surfboard" or footrest designed for the kids to keep their feet rested on for coasting.

Benefits of this balance bike

  • Removable “surfboard”
  • Great design and quality components
  • Dual hand brakes for optimal stopping power


  • Footrest too large for small toddlers.

Extra Features

Most turning limiters instantly stops the rotation of the handlebars but woom's elastic-based limiter gently corrects with tension. 

Buying Advice

Built with color coded dual hand brakes, it helps train kids to brake correctly. Parents should take the age range on this toddler balance bike with a grain of salt. Woom 1 plus is not cheap but its worth the price because of its high quality components.

Product Specifications:

SHIPPING DIMENSIONS: 38.6" x 20.9" x 5.9"
WEIGHT: 9.5 lbs
SEAT HEIGHT: 14.8" – 18.7"
AGE: 3 - 4.5 years  old
MATERIAL: Aluminum Alloy

Best Balance Bikes for Toddlers - 2 to 3-Year-Old

The independent thinking still persists but also moves toward wanting a better understanding of their world. It's the time for questions-and lots of them!

You'll see balance bikes that look, well, more like a bike. Most are simple models that are lightweight with fat tires. They provide a means for walking with it to take that next step.

While they can't use them properly yet, you can look for models with added features like hand brakes. Pay attention to the seat height range to make sure that the balance bike will last a few years.


  • ULTIMATE BALANCE BIKE - Have fun and gain confidence on child's outdoor adventures. Unique low center of gravity frame design allows for easy...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & EASY TO ASSEMBLE - The LT Version 4 is even lighter than before at just 6.4lbs, and easy to assemble with minimal effort. Dimenson:...
  • FITS YOUR CHILD - The adjustable seat and handlebar accommodate children from 2-5 years, allowing for easy on-the-go seat adjustment 12. 2" up to...

The Banana Balance Bike LT has a curvy shape that just says fun to ride. It has lots of the features we like in bicycle for children in this age range at an affordable price that makes it worth a look.

Featured Specs

The Banana balance bike has large foam tires that keep the weight in check for little ones just starting to ride. It includes features that we'd see in a regular model such as a quick release for adjusting the seat standover height.

The tires are puncture-proof EVA foam tires which is a welcome option for product suited to this age range. The manufacturer upgraded this design which included better bearings for a smoother ride.

Benefits of this Balance bike

The price certainly makes it worth considering. That said, it's a well-made product with no shortcuts on the materials. That's evident with the full-metal headset too.

The geometry of the bicycle is well suited to children with enough room between the seat and the handlebars.

Drawbacks of this balance bike

While it's a deal breaker by any means, the bike only comes in three sizes. Typically, toys for children in this age range are bright and vibrant. These seem muted in comparison.

The seat standover height range is limited at 3 ½ inches, but again, the value price means it won't be as much of a hassle to get another one once your child has outgrown it.

Extra Features

As the name suggests, it has a banana frame and seat that is comfortable. And did we say how cute this bike looks?

Buying Advice

The Banana toddler bike lacks some of the bells and whistles of more expensive products such as turn limiters and hand brakes, but it's not unexpected. The manufacturer also produces a GT model for older children with a higher profile. Overall its the best balance bikes for 3-year-olds.

Product Specifications:

DIMENSIONS: 33.5 x 18.1 x 23.6 inches
WEIGHT: 7.28 pounds
SEAT HEIGHT: 12.2-15.75 inches
WHEEL SIZE: 12 inches whee;s
AGE: starting at 18 months up to a maximum of 55 pounds


  • 12” SPORT BIKE - The Sport is our best all-around model. It features mini rubber grips, a padded seat, a safety pad, the performance footrest,...
  • EASY TO ADJUST - As your child grows, you can adjust the seat & handlebar heights—no tools required. The Sport has a seat height range from...
  • WHAT IS A BALANCE BIKE? - A balance bike introduces your child to the feeling of being on a bike, building up their confidence by encouraging...

The Strider - 12 Sport is an upgrade from the manufacturer's classic model. It has some extra features that make it worth a look over the other one. It is more expensive but a reasonable cost.

The Strider bike is well-made which is evident at first glance because of its design and construction. Like many balance bike, it has a solid and wider center tube that is narrower so as not to interfere with the riding experience.

Featured Specs

This model differs from the classic version with a handlebar pad and a padded seat. It is well-designed with a geometry that is optimal for children in this age range.

Benefits of this balance bike

The Strider balance bike is well-made all through the construction with a lot of care taken to keep the needs of parents in mind. The tires, for example, won't scuff up your floor though traction is sometimes questionable on these surfaces.

Drawbacks of this balance bike

The bike has some extra options, but it is a bit spendy for a steel bike. It doesn't have turn limiters, and foot brakes are an optional feature.

The bolts are exposed, leaving a child vulnerable to a scrape if he hits them accidentally. We're also skeptical of the recommended age range. While it's okay for these children, we think it's too small for older kids.

Extra Features

Parents will like the tool-free adjustment on the seat and handlebars for quick hassle-free changes. The puncture-free tires are always a plus too. It comes with an extended seat post too which can help bridge the gap until you upgrade to a regular bicycle.

The grips are well-made to protect little hands from fatigue from riding or taking the occasional spill. Even though it's a steel bike, it's small and lightweight enough for smaller children.

Buying Advice

If you're considering this brand, we'd suggest paying some extra money to get the Strider Sport balance bike model versus the Classic one. The extras are worth the money for the comfort they bring to the ride.

Product Specifications:

DIMENSIONS: 33 x 15 x 22 inches
WEIGHT: 6.7 pounds
SEAT HEIGHT: 11-19 inches
WHEEL SIZE: 12 inches
AGE: 18 months to 5 years
WARRANTY: 60-day guarantee

Best Balance Bikes for Preschoolers - 3 to 4-Year-Old

Perhaps fueled by all the questions and answers, imagination captures the mind of a child this age. Curiosity is a good thing that can help them understand how a balance bike works.

It makes sense because their brain is creating those neural connections that can bridge the way toward better coordination and ultimately, balance.

It's a good time to make a point of emphasizing safety such as staying out of the street and wearing the best bicycle helmet.


  • The ONLY balance bike with an easy step-in patented FOOTREST design
  • KaZAM's footrest is in the natural place, where feet would be if coasting on a pedaled bike, helping to find their center of gravity
  • Adjustable seat and handlebars - KaZAM accommodates ages up to 5 years

The Green Neo Balance Bike (v2s) stands out with several unique features that strive to bring added comfort and durability to your child's riding experience. It comes in nine colors with your choice of a steel or aluminum frame and air or foam tires.

Featured Specs

The most noticeable feature is the design of the frame with its step-through design. The bike looks wider and has a more sturdy feel about it become of its geometry.

The other thing that'll catch your eye is the footrest strategically placed where someone might put their feet while coasting on a regular bicycle.

Benefits of this balance bike

The design of the Green Neo toddler bike speaks to the comfort of the rider with a comfy saddle and cushy grips. There is plenty of room between the seat and handlebars too for the ideal geometry for a young rider and thus makes it the best balance bike for 4-year-old.

Drawbacks of this balance bike

The cons are in the features we'd like to have that the bike lacks such as turn limiters and hand brakes. While the former isn't a deal breaker, the latter is a bummer since it's marketed to an age group that would start using them.

The other concern rests with the width. Children with smaller frames might have trouble getting astride it correctly hence you can see kid's bike frame size calculator specifically designed for kid's bikes. It also makes the exposed bolts more of an issue too.

Extra features

The model we considered has air filled tires and hence that's the best balance bike for 4-year-old because it provides welcome cushioning and superior traction. The extra weight isn't a big deal with a growing child.

Buying Advice for this bike

The Green Neo balance bike ticks off a lot of boxes for us regarding child-friendly features and hassle-free maintenance for Mom and Dad. The primary concern rests with the width that we discussed earlier. Otherwise, it's affordable with an excellent suite of options.

Product Specifications:

DIMENSIONS: 34.5 x 4.5 x 19.8 inches
WEIGHT: 9.9 pounds
SEAT HEIGHT: 13.5-16.5 inches
WHEEL SIZE: 12 inches
AGE: 2 to 4 years old


  • LEARN TO RIDE EARLY: Balance bikes let children as young as 18 months learn at their own pace and help build their confidence on two wheels. Cub...
  • 11" MINIMUM SEAT HEIGHT: Cub 2 is able to support smaller kids than most toddler balance bikes. Its adjustable seat and handlebars were made to...
  • PUNCTURE-PROOF AIRLESS TIRES: These grippy, airless tires are designed to safely and smoothly roll on pavement without the risk of getting...

The Retrospec Cub is a value-priced model that takes a page from regular bicycles with six unique color themes. They are eye-catching.

Featured Specs

The Retrospec balance bike has puncture-free foam tires which cut down on the weight of this steel frame bike but provide less cushioning and traction. The model is best suited for pavement instead of indoor use.

Benefits of this balance bike

Of course, an advantage of opting for this bike is its budget-friendly price. While it is adjustable, it won't hurt as bad when you have to buy a new bicycle for your child.

You can adjust the handlebars and minimum seat height to give you some extended use which makes it even more of a value for parents with a limited budget.

Drawbacks of this balance bike

Like some bikes we considered, the Cub has a wider profile which can make riding more difficult for children with smaller frames. Another issue rests with the footrest.

It extends the entire length of the saddle and even sticks out a bit. Little ones may hit if they're not paying attention. It's more of a problem since it has exposed bolts too.

Extra Features

The Retrospec cub toddler bike lacks some of the nice-to-have features you'll see in higher end bikes, but that's not unexpected nor a significant issue. It is, after all, an economy model.

So, while it has a footrest, it doesn't have brakes which we'd put more in the must-have category considering the age of the rider. However, it is CPSC-compliant.

Buying Advice

If money is an issue, it's a suitable balance bike as long as your child isn't on the petite side. With the adjustable seat and handlebar, you'll get plenty of use out of it until they outgrow it.

Product Specifications:

DIMENSIONS: 23 x 16 x 35 inches
WEIGHT: 9 pounds
SEAT HEIGHT: 12.5-16 inches
WHEEL SIZE: 12 inches
AGE: 20 months to 5 years old

Best Balance Bikes for 5 Year Old

Your child's imagination is developing even more with a keener grasp of things outside of their reality. It's an excellent time to introduce them to the possibilities of exploring the world around them.

They're capable of getting the concept of handbraking, so it makes sense to have them use a bike that has this feature. It'll make the transition to a regular bicycle that much smoother.

Sturdiness and durability are desirable too as your child likely will start pushing the boundaries of what their balance bike can do. Look for features like air filled tires with some kind of tread for traversing a variety of terrains.


  • 14X BALANCE BIKE - The Strider 14x helps new & veteran balance bike riders gain confidence on a bigger bike. It features custom grips, a padded...
  • EASY TO ADJUST - As your child grows, you can easily and quickly adjust the seat & handlebar heights. The 14x has a seat height range from...
  • OPTIONAL PEDAL KIT - Converting the 14x from a balance bike to pedal bike is quick & easy—we even provide the wrench to screw in...

Though a bit more expensive, the Strider - 14X is two products in one, being both a balance bike and a first regular one with the addition of pedals. That justifies the higher price tag.

The bike shines with features that improve its usability as both a balance and regular one. Reading the manufacturer's specs on it, you'd think it was an adult bike with all the bells and whistles.

Featured Specs

The Strider toddler bike is built for durability which is evident in the heavier weight and steel frame. It's also designed for comfort with excellent geometry and padded saddle.

The add-on pedal kit is included with the bike. It has everything you need including the Allen wrench. As a balance bicycle, it's excellent. It's sturdy enough to take some rough handling.

Benefits of this balance bike

The benefits exist with both its uses. The adjustable minimum seat height range is generous to accommodate a growing child. It also is heavier which makes it sturdy and able to handle a variety of terrains.

As a regular bike, it has desirable features such as a chainguard to make riding safer for those children new to biking on a two-wheeler. It also has a narrower profile, making it an excellent choice for children with smaller frames.

Drawbacks of this balance bike

Other than the price, there aren’t many downsides to this bike. The bolts are exposed, but it’s probably less of an issue with an older child.

It is heavier too than comparable models. It's hard to ding it too much on that score, considering its end use. The bicycle has coaster brakes rather than a hand version. We'd prefer the latter.

Extra Features

The Easy-Ride Pedal Kit is a brilliant addition to this bike that extends its versatility into the regular bike realm. We appreciated the addition of training information that offers sound advice on how to teach your child to ride a bicycle.

It includes a coaster brake which we liked. It also has a removable footrest that is well-placed so as not to interfere with riding. It has bicycle tires which provide more traction and cushioning for more adventurous biking.

Buying Advice

The Strider is a worthwhile investment and a definite upgrade in the balance bike offerings. It has a grown-up feel about it that children are sure to enjoy.

Product Specifications:

DIMENSIONS: 39 x 7.5 x 15.5 inches
WEIGHT: 12.5 pounds
SEAT HEIGHT: 15-22 inches
WHEEL SIZE: 14 inches
AGE: 3 to 7 years old
WARRANTY: 60-day guarantee

2. Early Rider Balance Bike - BEST FOR ADVENTUROUS KIDS

Looking at the Early Rider Alley 12 inch bike, its almost hard to believe that it's a balance bike for kids. It has a presence with its sporty frame and fat tires that are sure to turn some heads.

It differs from other balance bikes in that it's built for heavy use and rough terrains. It's lightweight for jumping curbs and more aggressive riding.

Featured Specs

The geometry of the Trail Runner balance bike is its most outstanding feature. The specs are optimal for children in this age range. The handlebars are made up of alloy and are ergonomically shaped which shaves off some weight to make it a fun choice for hitting the trails too.

It has sealed bearings for a smoother ride and rounded bolts to make it more enjoyable with less risk of nicks on your child's legs. Even the hand-brushed finish is stunning with its clear coating.

Benefits of this balance bike

It's a bike meant to last and to keep up with whatever challenges your child wants to take it through and more. It's lightweight, thanks to the frame. It strikes a delicate balance between durability and weight.

Drawbacks of this balance bike

The Trail Runner toddler bike doesn't have a footrest or brakes. The latter is shame in light of all the other things in its favor. Another concern exists with the handlebars. Unfortunately, they're quite narrow, making it a poor choice for larger children.

Extra Features

The bike has Crown Gem fat tires to provide better grip . They have a knobby tread, making the bicycle suitable for off-road use. The standard model has a standard set.

It includes a steering limiter which almost seems odd for a bike for this age group. The saddle is shaped more like an adult model with a faux leather covering.

Buying Advice

There's no denying that it's a good-looking bike with an excellent set of features that justify its higher cost. 

Product Specifications:

DIMENSIONS: 36 x 15 x 22 inches
WEIGHT: 8.36 pounds
WHEEL SIZE: 12 inches
AGE: 4 to 5 years old
MATERIAL: Aluminum alloy


 Strider 12 bike

Strider 12 bike

strider 12 bike

  • Recommended For Ages 18 months-5 years
  • Mini grips mean your child's little mitts can easily take control

Featured Specs

The Strider 12 sport balance bike is popular in the market among toddlers or tiny legged kiddos of 18 months to 5 years old who want to experience the thrill of riding on 2 inch wheels.

Every features in this bike is scaled to young kids which includes - size adjustability, light frame(around 6.7 pounds),the Eva polymer 12 inch wheels so they'll never go flat.

Benefits Of This balance Bike

  • Rear wheel hand brake
  • Lightweight and easy to assemble
  • High quality inflatable wheel

Drawbacks of this balance bike

  • Seat can be little big/small and can be hard small.
  • Tires provide minimum traction.

Buying Advice

Striders bike are mini friendly and designed with narrow handlebars and rubber grips to protect kids hands when they hit walls, trees etc. Additional features it includes are the adjustable seat post according to the height, the foam rubber tires that never need inflating, and a footrests for kids bunny hops.

DIMENSIONS: 33 x 15 x 22 inches
WEIGHT: 11.2 pounds
SEAT HEIGHT: 28 - 48 cm
WHEEL SIZE: 12 inches wheels
AGE: 18 months-5 years

What Are Balance Bikes and Why You Should Consider One?

A balance bicycle resembles a standard model only it doesn't have pedals. Otherwise, the two are identical. The child moves it forward with a walking motion instead of pedaling.

The premise is that it makes learning how to ride easier for children which, in turn, benefits parents. As you'll see, proponents are vocal about its superior training method.

How Do Balance Bikes Work for Training?

Using this bike breaks the training into two phases, pedaling and balancing. The former is the simpler of the two skills once they learn the action.

The latter is the tougher of the two and the one that leads to the inevitable fall. It helps to keep the learning ability of your child in mind when using a balance bike.

Balacing the first step

During the first years of life, numerous neural connections develop that result in increasing cognitive function. Grasping two skills at once challenges young minds.

Brief History to Set the Stage

The impetus for change was a desire to travel faster using wheels. The concept went back to the days of Leonardo da Vinci. Bear in mind that land travel meant walking or riding.

But horses were unpredictable. In the early 18th century, inventors tried different designs of the so-called velocipedes with the most successful being the dandy horse.

Otto Schillinger and Baron Karl Drais of Germany invented a prototype of it with an invention called the Laufmaschine in the 1810s. It was a barebones frame with wheels.

Riding it involved gaining momentum and raising your feet to coast along and take a welcome break until you had to run again.

Likely you have images of Fred Flintstone in your head right now. The idea was simple but not efficient. It spread through Europe where other inventors refined it to become the dandy horse.

Dandy Horse History

The rider had more control but still relied on foot power to keep moving. The combination of the motion and the lifting of the feet taught the biker how to balance.

Other inventors made further improvements on the design with the addition of pedals in the 1860s. That ushered in the age of the bicycle as we know it today.

When to Get a Balance Bike for Your Child?

It's helpful to consider the developmental changes going on in your child to answer this question. At 2 years old, a toddler is more adventurous and exploring their world.

You'll likely notice copycat behavior. Children start to show a preference for realistic-looking toys. They also can understand directions better, making a balance bike an excellent choice.

Still, the choice rests with you, the parent, to assess your child's maturity level and whether they would use and enjoy it. Preschool age or even younger is typical.

How Old Before a Child Can Ride a Bike?

One way to assess if it's time is by the developmental milestones your child has met. At preschool age between three and five years, most have rudimentary balance skills.

That along with a curiosity about their world sets the stage for a successful transition to learning to ride a bicycle. That copycat behavior comes into play too.

Best Balance Bikes For Kids

Putting It in Perspective: Balance Bikes vs. Tricycles

Many children begin their experience with wheeled vehicles with ride-on toys or a tricycle. The chances are you remember tooling around the house, trying to dodge others and the family dog.

That is one of the problems with a tricycle versus a bike. The wider rear of the former makes it difficult for children to gauge turning safely. That makes them easier to tip too.

Riding a tricycle won't teach them how to balance. Instead, it may foster a false sense of security especially if they ride it fast.

Advantages of Balance Bikes

Starting your child's journey with a balance bicycle versus a tricycle offers several benefits. First, you can introduce them to it at a younger age. That can, in turn, steer brain development.

Second, it encourages physical activity at a time when children want to learn more about their world. It's a natural segue to a habit that can last a lifetime leading to a better quality of life.

Finally, it allows the child to learn one skill at a time to give each one the proper focus. However, experts differ on whether they learn to ride faster. It comes down to mastery rather than timing.

How To Choose the Best Balance Bikes for Kids?

There is a standard type of a balance bike that is essentially just one without pedals. They differ in their geometry, features, and accessories. Each has their pros and cons.

The options you should consider when buying a balance bike include the following:

  • Frame and tire size
  • Weight
  • Footrests
  • Seat height
  • Turning limiters
  • Brakes
  • Handlebar shape
  • Price

Frame and Tire Size

You'll see models in a range of sizes with suggested ages based on average figures. The keyword is average. You need to take into account both seat height and tire size.

You can start by measuring your child's inseam from a pair of pants. That'll put you on the right track for choosing the correct tire size. The figures are comparable, give or take an inch or two.

Tires that are 12 inches in diameter are suitable for younger children up until age 5, depending on their height. After that, 14 inch ones are a better choice to match your child's growing body.


The weight of the bike should be about 30 percent of your child's weight to strike the correct balance between durability and maneuverability. It's especially important for younger children who are new to using a balance bike.

A bike that is too heavy will be harder for them to push, and, thus, get momentum to start coasting on it. Choosing the right one is a matter of balancing features with weight.

Weight of a Balance Bike

The material is a critical factor which we'll discuss below. The other thing to consider is the feature set of the model. For example, foam tires are lighter but have disadvantages over air filled ones which can drive up the cost.


The short answer to the question of footrests is that they are not necessary. They aren't a substitute for pedals and can interfere with the skill that your child is trying to learn-balance.

If they're present on the bike, take a look at the size and shape. Ideally, it is less than the length and width of the seat. Anything more is likely to get in the way while your child is riding it.

You'll find models with it as part of the frame or removable which is desirable as your child gains confidence riding a balance bike. Remember, it's also a factor with its weight.

Seat Height

Next, consider the seat height. Look for one with a range of about one inch less to two or more inches longer than the length of your child's inseam. That'll give you some room for growth.

Adjust it as you would for your bike with your knees slightly bent when seated in the saddle. That'll allow for plenty of space and make it more comfortable to ride. It's helpful to focus your search on models with an ample range for getting the most value out of your purchase.

You'll see this figure expressed as a range. The wider it is, the more use you're likely to get out of the bike. However, you need to weigh it along with other features that are more desirable as your child grows.

Turning Limiters

You'll see some balance bikes that include turning limiters such as the WOOM1. The theory is that they'll prevent your child from jackknifing.

Turning Limiter

There are different types which vary on the degree to which they'll stop aggressive steering. We prefer elastic ones that will absorb some of the shock. For our take, they aren't needed either.


You'll likely think that brakes are a no-brainer. They are for bikes for older children at preschool age and older. For younger kids, it's a distraction.

You'll find models with coaster or brakes. The latter is the better option between the two. Having this feature is essential if you want only want to buy one balance bike best before moving onto a regular one.


Most balance bikes have a straight handlebar with grips on the ends. Others have a curved shape as you'd see on the classic banana bicycle. We'd opt for the former as the better one.

Pay attention to other specs too such as its length. That becomes more of an issue with children with larger frames that make a wider one an ideal choice.

Also, look at the grips. Hand fatigue occurs even in young riders. Cushioned ones are your best option. Some include caps on the ends that will cover a child's hand even when they fall.


Then, we have the all-important question of cost. You'll find balance bikes best from under $50 to prices north of $500. Much depends on the features and materials. As with any bicycle purchases, it's a matter of give and take.

You can approach it in two ways. You can opt for a less expensive model with fewer features for your toddler and step up with an upgrade when they reach preschool age. That one can have things like brakes which are more appropriate when they're older.

Money well spent

The alternative is to invest in one that will suffice until you transition them to a regular bicycle. These models will have additional features such as longer seat tubes to resize the bike as your child grows. You may have a look on our best bike tubes that may help you in selecting a proper tube for your child's bike.

They may include other options that will add to your cost. Our advice is to do the research and make an informed purchase to get a suitable model throughout its use.

Materials You’ll See

Part of the cost of a balance bike rests with your choice of material. Like a standard bicycle, you'll see a range of options with matching prices. Each has their pros and cons too.

The most common types include the following:

  • Metals
  • Wood
  • Composite

Of the three, the last one is the new kid on the block. It is a high-tech option with the advantages of being lightweight and able to accommodate older children.

On the downside, it's not indestructible because it can flex. That makes them problematic when your child gets more adventurous with an increase in risk-taking behavior as they age.

The other thing to bear in mind is cost. High-tech materials come at a price. Our take is that it's hard to justify the price for a product that your child will outgrow relatively quick. Putting that money into a regular bicycle makes more sense.

Metal Versions

You'll find a host of metal materials from stainless steel to aluminum alloys-and everything in between. As a rule, less expensive models don't contain aluminum.

Balance Bikes for Kids

Steel bikes are stronger too but also are heavier. Then, there's the question of rust. It's not a matter of if but instead when if your child leaves it outside frequently. The decision between weight and additional features comes into the discussion, especially with younger and more petite children.

Aluminum alloy bicycles are lighter which makes them an excellent choice for smaller children. They also won't rust, offering some assurance that it will last for Mom and Dad. You'll see a wide spectrum of proprietary types.

Some models may have a mixture of both, with steel components used in places that will take the most stress and wear.

Wood Models

You may not associate wood as a material for any bike, but there are several models out there that run the gamut from economy versions to high-tech products.

Wood Balance Bikes

Many look slick with fun designs. Birch is a common wood used because of its superior durability. You may see models with marine-grade materials too to improve their longevity.

The impetus for these products is to make an eco-friendly version. If you choose this route, we'd advise you to research it carefully and read several verified reviews to get a quality bike.

Number of Wheels

Now we've come to the question of whether or not you should teach your child using training wheels fitted on a regular bicycle. As we noted above, there isn't a difference in timing as far as how soon they will grasp this skill.

A child will learn to pedal less and balance whether or not you opt for using training wheels or not. It boils down to the method of teaching and the degree of comfort for your child. We'll discuss each one in detail.

Bicycles With Two-Wheels Only

A regular bike is a natural transition from a balance model which is where its value lies. Your child learns the necessary skills without any detours along the way. And as you know, it's something you don't forget.

Biking is often an intense aerobic activity. It a wise course of action to get children started early with the demands that it'll make on their little bodies.

Bicycles That Have Training Wheels

Going this route allows you to focus on teaching your child to pedal less before moving on to the tougher task of balancing. Proper installation is imperative because you'll remove the tires in the process.

Balance Bike Traning

You should adjust the training wheels so that they are just less than %uFFFD inch above the ground. Verify that both of them are equidistant to prevent tipping.

Standard Bicycles Without Pedals

Another option is to use a regular bike and remove the pedals to replicate the look and feel of a balance bicycle. If you have a limited budget, it offers a more affordable option in theory.

On the downside, you'll have to upgrade sooner because you'll need a smaller one from which to start. Your child likely will outgrow it quickly. We'll cover the conversion process in detail below.

Training Wheels vs. Balance Bikes for Teaching Your Child to Ride

The debate is polarized on which method is better. The case for training wheels is that it gives your child a chance to get familiar with biking. They can learn to feel comfortable astride it.

Then, once they've gained some much-needed confidence, you can take them off and turn the focus to balancing.

The argument for a balance bike is that you can give your child a head start with learning how to ride because they can use them at a younger age.

Proponents point to the fact that it is a sideways move to biking. Also, they learn the more demanding skill first since pedaling is much easier for them to pick up later.

Comparison of These Methods for Teaching Your Child How to Ride a Bike

Let's cut to the chase. Biking is the kind of skill that will involve a fall or two no matter which method you choose. The differences lie with the approach and how easy it'll be for your child to catch on and ride.

Training wheels teach your child to pedal without balancing coming into play. They provide that aspect to the experience but in a way that leads them in a misguided way.

Balance bikes, on the other hand, put your child in the proverbial driver's seat from day one. They power the bicycle on their own with braking and balance a part of the game too from the start.

Learning To Bike

Children are typically ready for the big transition from four to two wheels around four or five. Then, it's a steep learning curve to unlearning what they've known up to that point.

That same gap doesn't exist because they've started with a miniature bike, as it were. They may have even tried coasting themselves which gives them the edge on the balance skill.

You can look at a balance bike as a replacement for the former along with the tricycle too. Neither serves a purpose if your child begins on a balance bike.

Why You Should Scrap the Training Wheels

The disadvantage of the training wheel method is that the child learns how to ride without an emphasis on balance, essentially teaching them something different.

It can give them a false sense of security on the bike and make the transition to two-wheels more challenging and perhaps scarier. After all, that's an enormous leap to make.

When it comes to balance bikes, there aren't many strikes against them other than the maybe the cost of buying another ride-on toy.

How to Teach Your Child to Ride?

The first thing you need to do is to find the right place. Look for the following conditions when scouting out your site:

  • Little or no street traffic
  • Plenty of open space
  • Flat area

A basketball or tennis court is an excellent option. A limestone trail is another possibility. While a grassy area may offer a softer landing, it's a tougher surface on which to navigate.

After your child is astride the bike, encourage them to walk along with it to get the feel of it. If it's their first time, they may not sit on the saddle but instead continue at this pace. Don't rush them.

The next step is sitting on it while walking. Again, let your child make the call toward moving faster or even running on the bike. They may go back and forth between standing and sitting too.

Maintaining Balance

This phase is the most important one and shows the advantages of opting to teach them to ride by this method over training wheels. The penny has probably dropped by now, and your child has learned to go faster.

Balance may come naturally with them lifting their feet off the ground and coasting along. Sometimes, they'll need some instruction especially when it comes to things like stopping.

Kid Learning The Hard Way

As we discussed earlier, some bicycles have brakes, so you can teach them how to use them before they make a move to a regular one.

The chances are that they'll figure out how to stop with their feet without any coaching from you. The essential thing is to make sure they use their whole foot instead than their toes.

Once they're comfortable, they'll probably look for other places to explore. It's an excellent opportunity for you to set ground rules and safety habits like using a helmet.

Many of the bikes we reviewed sell matching ones to complete the set. We strongly encourage all bicyclist, young and old, to always wear a helmet no matter where the trail takes you.

What to Do If Your Child Is Afraid to Ride?

Being scared to ride a bike is a natural reaction when trying something new. The first to remember is not to force the issue that will create a negative association with it.

Biking is a fun activity that lends itself well to positive feelings about it. Use that in your favor to get over this hurdle. Praise your child when they take their first steps with a balance bike.

Encourage them with each new skill they learn along the way. It'll make the experience more enjoyable for you and your child. You can also try a little psychology to move things forward.

Sad Kid won't ride bike

Remember that copycat behavior we discussed earlier? Use it to your advantage and let your child learn with other children using balance bikes. It's even better if they're more advanced riders.

That will encourage them to build their skill set and try other things like coasting or going faster. Having others around will provide a sufficient distraction to get their mind off their fear.

The same applies to you. Ride with your child to further reinforce those positive associations. Make a game of it with activities like follow the leader.

How to Make a Regular Bike to a Balance Bicycle

As we mentioned earlier, you can use a regular bike like a balance model with a few minor adjustments. You'll need a wrench and a tire pressure to get started.

First, take off the pedals and cranks. Next, adjust the minimum seat height to fit your child. Remember that their knees should be at a slight angle when they're seated on it.

Balance Bike Conversion

Finally, make sure that you inflate the tires to their proper pressure. Doing so will make pedaling and gliding smoother and easier.

That's essential because your goal is to make the riding experience pleasurable and care-free for your child. In their mind, simple equates to fun which is what you should encourage.

Balance Bike FAQ's

What are the best balance bikes?

  • WOOM1
  • Woom 1 Plus
  • STRIDER - 14X 
  • Strider 12
  • What age is best for a balance bike?

    Balance bikes are generally for kids from 18 months to 7 years old. If your kid can walk, then they can easily ride a balance bike as well.
    As balance bikes are designed without a drive train, they are much easier to ride.

    Are balance bikes worth it?

    Balance bikes are good for kids who can walk better. As they start to walk with the bike, they can learn to move it sideways to balance.
    They learn to ride the balance bike as they start to focus on pedaling.

    Is 4 too old for balance bike?

    The basic age is 3 years for using a balance bike. Many kids learn better on balance bikes rather than on training bike.

    Are balance bikes a waste of money?

    Many people think balance bikes are a waste of money as they are temporarily useful. However, the fact is, the balance bike is much more effective to teach kids to ride a bike properly.

    How long do balance bikes last?

    Any balance bike can last for 2 to 3 years. You can look for a bike that has adjustable height and saddle so that it can last for a longer time. Some models also have adjustable handlebars for a more tailored fit.


    Are balance bikes better than training wheels?

    Absolutely yes, the balance bikes are much more comfortable than training wheels bikes. They are handier when it comes to cornering points. These bikes are balanced more easily due to less weight. 


    There you have it, everything you need to know about choosing the best balance bikes for your child to how to teach them to take their first ride.

    As you can see, these bicycles run the gamut from age-specific models to ones that you can convert into your child's first regular bicycle.

    Take the time to review the specs as you shop. Weight, quick release seat height, price are the crucial ones that will determine how suitable a model is for your child and thus we selected woom 1 as our best choice. Keep in mind the developmental milestones in their development as well to make an informed choice.

    Biking is a fun activity with numerous health benefits. That makes teaching this skill so essential for parents for providing a solid foundation for future enjoyment.

    editors pick
    best balance


    Why is it better?

    • Easy assembly
    • Light Weight
    • Best brakes in test

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    Last update on 2024-03-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API