Balance bikes for toddlers - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 30 Old 10-04-2012, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Mothering recently partnered with Strider bikes to have a few of our Mothering Mavens members test out their balance bikes. The feedback was very positive! You can read all the posts from your fellow Mothering members on our blog here.

 

With the holidays coming up and our Annual Toy Review ever popular this time of year, we wanted to see what the community thinks of balance bikes. Have you tried a balance bike with your toddler? If you haven't used one does it seem like something you'd be interested in? We'd love your feedback! love.gif


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#2 of 30 Old 10-04-2012, 05:27 PM
 
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We picked up a used balance bike for my son when he was about 18 months. He loved it. Now he's almost 3 and still loves it.

The brand we got was Strider. It is metal and red. I heard negative feedback about the wooden ones, but I think those look nicer.

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#3 of 30 Old 10-04-2012, 10:44 PM
 
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We have a Skuut but it's just a touch big for my son- he can only touch on tiptoe. He loves it though and asks us to push him around on it!

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#4 of 30 Old 10-05-2012, 08:51 AM
 
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we just ordered a skuut bike for our 2.5 year old son. It hasn't arrived yet, but he has been like a magnet to other kid's balance bikes when we have seen them. I love the concept of them and hope it's a hit!

married to DH, mother to two amazing little boys born May 18/2010 and May 20/2013!

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#5 of 30 Old 10-05-2012, 01:18 PM
 
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My Mom actually sells Strider Balance Bikes and gave one to DS when he was just under 18 months.  He loves it.  He immediately started balancing, totally amazing.  He is now on to a pedal bike (still learning), which is pretty heavy.  He tends to go back to the Strider when frustrated with the pedal bike.  

 

I really enjoyed him riding it so young.  It gave my back a break!  We use a guitar strap to carry when he is done riding it while on a hike or walk. 
 


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#6 of 30 Old 10-06-2012, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
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The guitar strap is a really great idea, goldenwillow! 

 

I'm shopping for a gift for my cousin's little boy (who I've bought nothing for since he was born!) and would love to get him one of these. The Strider seems to have a better range of adjustability for the seat height. And whoa! 310 reviews on Amazon for the Strider PREbike Balance Running Bike! Is that the same one you got for your son, marsupial-mom?


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#7 of 30 Old 10-06-2012, 04:19 PM
 
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Yup, that's the one. Ours is old and rusty. But my son just loves it!
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#8 of 30 Old 10-08-2012, 08:48 AM
 
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We got a Strider bike for our 30 month old little boy and he loves it!  We take it everywhere that we go.  I would recommend it to anyone that has an active little person.... he still mostly uses his feet to push it, but he is getting the hang of letting it cruise once he gets going. 

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#9 of 30 Old 10-08-2012, 11:39 AM
 
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My daughter, now 4-1/2, used a balance bike -Raleigh sold at REI.  She learned how to ride it quickly at almost 3-1/2.  I think it's great and recommend a balance bike for these reasons: 1) kids will be able to go pretty fast on balance bike - faster than peddling, so it is easier for parent to bike with child at a slow speed (but not so slow you lose your balance); 2) 4 kids I know who used balance bikes learned to ride 2-wheelers at a young age (before 5) and with little frustration or help from parents.    I definitely plan for my son to learn by using a balance bike, probably let him ride it around next summer when he is 2.

 

She had struggled with pedaling on the bike with training wheels when she was younger.  At 4-1/2 she was determined to peddle, so she rode her bike with training wheels again for a short time.  About a month later, she asked my husband to take off the training wheels, and she was riding by herself right away, and a few days later she was even able to start from a stopped position by herself.

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#10 of 30 Old 10-08-2012, 12:00 PM
 
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My 2 used a skuut bike, loved it. They were nowhere close to balancing on it when it was their size, and by the time they got it, it was too small. But, they learned to balance well and when they started the pedal bike, esp. dd1 just picked it up right away, no struggling. dd2 took a bit longer, but still I'd highly recommend the system. I don't think they learned to pedal earlier, but much easier than if they'd tried to go from trike to bike. And training wheels imo have no benefits.
 

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#11 of 30 Old 10-08-2012, 05:33 PM
 
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A friend gave us a wooden balance bike her kids wouldn't ride.  My son LOVED it and rode it for the last 2 years.  This summer he was able to ride a two wheeler without a problem, no training wheels or help he just jumped on and rode!  


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#12 of 30 Old 10-08-2012, 07:40 PM
 
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Our son got a (wooden) balance bike (can't remember the brand name) when he was 2 1/2. He picked it up pretty quickly and by 3 1/2 went to a regular bike with no problems at all (and no training wheels). He loved his balancce bike and it was such an easy transition for him to go to a regular bike.


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#13 of 30 Old 10-08-2012, 09:01 PM
 
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Ds has a balance bike & he LOVES it - lately he's been asking us to build him a jump! He goes to the top of our yard & flies down. We got it when he was 2 & he's now almost 4.


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#14 of 30 Old 10-09-2012, 07:50 AM
 
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We got a Strider balance bike for DD when she was 2 and she loved it.  We moved up to a 2-wheel pedal bike this last year and she learned to ride it so quickly, having mastered balancing on the Strider already.  Never had to use training wheels.  I was very happy with our experience with the Strider!  


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#15 of 30 Old 10-09-2012, 01:44 PM
 
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Am I the only one whose kid doesn't like her balance bike? Maybe she got it too late? She got it for her 4th birthday, and she really doesn't enjoy riding it.  I keep telling her it will get easier and more fun the more she practices, but she still doesn't want to do it.  I guess we'll save it for my son.  I hope he doesn't mind that it's pink.
 


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#16 of 30 Old 10-09-2012, 01:53 PM
 
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We borrowed a balance bike for DD when she was 4 and while she did not enjoy it at first, she soon realised what a fun it was. She learned to ride a bicycle in about 10 minutes after riding balance bike for 4 months.

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#17 of 30 Old 10-09-2012, 02:50 PM
 
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I'm a big believer! Our ds2 got one when he was almost 2 and loved it, and learned to ride a regular bike without training wheels a month before his 3rd birthday in less than an hour! There was no way he would have done that if he had used a regular bike with training wheels like our ds1.

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#18 of 30 Old 10-09-2012, 04:34 PM
 
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We got our son a balance bike when he was 4 (didn't know about it until then). At first he didn't have much interest, but by 4.5, he was a pro. A month before he turned 5, he asked to try a regular pedal bike without training wheels. We set out for a morning of teaching and learning, but instead he got on the pedal bike and just pedaled away! It was pretty amazing!

 

He had a Kazam, which was expensive but great quality. Even his older brothers loved riding it! They liked putting their feet on the footrest and seeing who could coast the furthest.

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#19 of 30 Old 10-09-2012, 05:55 PM
 
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I LOVED our kids using their balance bikes and so did they!  We could go on brisk walks/jogs for me, and could just go so many places and so far.  They didn't get nearly as tired as they would walking the same places.  We have two Striders; I bought one from a dealer (that seemed to be the only way they were sold a few years ago) and the other off Craigslist.  DD definitely maxed out the height on the seat as we had it as high as it could go and from age 4.25 or so on she was too tall for it.  And she's not a tall kid.  But she was able to ride really well and it didn't matter too much.

 

My one complaint is the wheel bushings? bearings? are now completely shot.  Both the front and back wheels wobble like crazy.  Thankfully they're now both riding pedal bikes (a completely easy switch to those- the most difficult thing to learn was braking; they were accustomed to using their feet, of course!).  But I wouldn't be comfortable having our newborn use them come time she's ready because of the wheels :(

 

I wonder if others have had the bushings go bad and make the wheels wobbly?  I do know we got a LOT of use out of those bikes, but I feel like that part was cheaply made.  I wonder if they have replacements.


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#20 of 30 Old 10-09-2012, 11:11 PM
 
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I've always heard good reviews about balance bikes, but when I look at one I just wonder what is the difference between a balance bike and a regular kids bike with the pedals taken off? Is it really worth having a special bike?


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#21 of 30 Old 10-10-2012, 12:38 AM
 
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we bought a Strider bike for my son when he turned 2.  We LOVED it!  lightweight, small and adjustable.  

Since my son has gone on to a pedal bike his Strider has since gone on to teach at least 3 other kiddos to balance and ride pedal bikes.  

when this one is big enough to fit the strider we'll either get him his own or we'll use his brother's.  :)

 

i highly recommend them to everyone over training wheels

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#22 of 30 Old 10-10-2012, 07:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cat13 View Post

I've always heard good reviews about balance bikes, but when I look at one I just wonder what is the difference between a balance bike and a regular kids bike with the pedals taken off? Is it really worth having a special bike?

Cat13, I had wondered the same thing.  I've heard of people doing that exact thing.  It probably would work really well.  An advantage of the Strider bike is that it is really light - my kids were able to maneuver and even carry it short distances.  The weight of their pedal bikes is significantly more, so I'd think that would be a challenge.  Also, I don't know that taking off just the pedals would make for as slim of a profile (not sure of the right word!) for the child to walk around.  My kids started with just walking the bikes around, not even committing their weight to them.  Then, after becoming comfortable with steering via the handlebars they started to actually sit on the seat, and then gradually committed more and more weight to the seat eventually sitting completely once they felt the balance happen, I guess.  I think that's a pretty natural progression of development for young ones.  This was all completely w/o my instruction - they just did it - smoothly, easily, and so fun - no frustration like I perceive w/ training wheels.

 

That said, I'm sure some pedal bikes might work for the idea you mention, but for us it was totally worth it (especially for our CL find :) ) to go w/ a Strider.  I did see on their website last night that I can replace the bearings so hopefully our bikes still have a lot of life for another child.


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#23 of 30 Old 10-10-2012, 11:30 AM
 
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I commented on the mothering article, but I'll say it again here. We LOVE our striders here!!!! My nephew is 3 and loves his, and my son is 2 and also loves his. They come everywhere, and the boys ride them constantly. They can go quite fast now, and I need my own bike to keep up! The 3 y/o could probably learn to ride a pedal bike in just a few minutes. 

 

The strider is very durable, safe, and lightweight. If you were just to "Take the pedals off" of a kids bike you would have a few issues, you would need to take the sprokets off as well to make the truly safe, you couldn't get the seat as low as a strider, and they would be much heavier, $100 for a bike this sturdy is not a bad price, I'm sure these 2 Striders we have now will see much use from future siblings, cousins and friends and will be in our garage for many many years! 


- Mom to Baby Mark (9/18/10) and 4 wonderful dogs!
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#24 of 30 Old 10-11-2012, 03:17 PM
 
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We took the pedals off my daughter's bike and used it as a balance bike.  We put the pedals back on last night, and she hopped on and rode away like a pro.  I want to buy a balance bike for my three year old. I haven't yet seen a pedal bike small enough for her.


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#25 of 30 Old 10-11-2012, 09:55 PM
 
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i'm a convert. Balance bike from 2-3 1/2 was the reason DS1 learned to ride a two wheel in a day. 

no muss no fuss, no running after holding on the back of the bike. none of that. Of course it took awhile to figure out how to use the brakes...

 

 Best starter bikes ever.


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#26 of 30 Old 10-12-2012, 11:13 AM
 
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To me, balance bikes seem like a fad and not very practical. 

 

Perhaps because my kids are super tall...by the time they're 2, striders are way too small for them.  I got my boys regular bikes and just took the pedals off.  When my older boy got really got really good at balancing (around 4yo), we put the pedals on and he rode off happy as a clam.  No need to buy another bike!  My youngest is almost 27 months and is still riding his bike without the peddles and is doing great.  Balance bikes are expensive, and I couldn't justify paying for something that would only get used for a few months.
 


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#27 of 30 Old 10-15-2012, 10:15 AM
 
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I totally agree with the concept of a balance bike. With my oldest, she was 5. I got her a scooter to teach her balance and she was riding a bike in a month.
With my baby, I got a balance bike for $30 at Walmart. I see no need to a more expensive one.

If my dd was a tad older, I would do a regular bike with the peddles off, knowing that she would learn quicker and could ride the bike with peddles. With a toddler, by the time they get the balancing down and are ready to move to peddles they are ready for the next size. The balance bike I bought was much cheaper than a peddle bike.

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#28 of 30 Old 10-22-2012, 07:25 PM
 
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Hi,

We haven't used one yet but they certainly sound popular.  Just a different point of view: we were at the bike store the other day and the staffperson was trying to sell us one.  He emphasized what many ppl here have said: learn to balance and ride a bike sooner etc etc.

As someone who works with kids and development and all that kind of stuff I just know how important tricycles are for development.  The things a kid can do on a trike are not the same as a bike (steering while going backwards etc) and the spatial reasoning is important stuff.  Just a thought: balance bikes might be great but you don't necessarily want to skip the trike phase. ciao!

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#29 of 30 Old 05-15-2013, 10:45 PM
 
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We just ordered the German made FirstBike for our little one.  We are super excited, I hope he takes to it.  Anyone else ever use this brand?

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#30 of 30 Old 05-16-2013, 05:02 AM
 
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That's a good point, mysweets! My 25 month old (although 85th percentile for height) can't reach the pedals on 95% of the tricycles we've tried. We got her a fisher price balance bike ($45 on sale at toys r us) and although she still needs a teeny bit of height to sit on the seat and stand flatfooted, she can straddle the bar and walk comfortably, learning to steer and keep her balance (and learning to watch where she is going lol). Gramma has a radio flyer trike and DD uses it as a stroller for now when she's there but I'm sure once she can reach the pedals properly she'll be parallel parking in no time wink1.gif. All that to say, I can see the benefits in tricycles but I think they're enough on a part time basis.
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