Balance bike vs. Training Wheels - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-08-2008, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd like to get a balance bike for DS (who will be 4 in October), but I don't like the fact that it's a whole separate product from a regular bike -- I like the fact that with training wheels you wouldn't have to buy something new when they're ready for a regular bike.

Is there a balance bike that *does* convert to a regular bike, or could I just remove the pedals from a regular bike to make a balance bike?

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Old 08-08-2008, 02:51 PM
 
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That's a good question! hmmm... I have a friend (actually dp's student's mom) who has a balance bike for her younger ds. For her older ds, she used a regular bike and took the pedals off. I'm not sure how hard or easy it is to put them back on with the chain and all. Seems better than buying two separate products. Though you could probably sell a balance bike fairly easily after you're done with it.
She seems to really like the idea of balance bikes as opposed to training wheels.

My ds was using training wheels (had never heard of a balance bike until after we got it). He's now attempting to ride without them, but totally doesn't have the balance thing at all. It's only been a few days, so I bet he'll get it soon. But he gets how to pedal, and he knows how to put his feet down off the pedals when he crashes (my friend said that her ds didn't "get" this for a few crashes, and left his feet on the pedals).

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Old 08-08-2008, 03:33 PM
 
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I would think you could just take the pedals off. If that's too hard a bike store could probably help. Cool idea!
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Old 08-08-2008, 05:06 PM
 
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Someone posted recently about buying a kit for a bike. She put it together without the pedals and gears and used it as a balance bike. Then when her LO was ready, they assembled it with all the parts.

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Old 08-08-2008, 05:20 PM
 
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if it helps at all, balance bikes are one of those products that seem to keep a lot of their value for resale. We sold ours recently for only $10 less than we paid new.

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Old 08-08-2008, 05:31 PM
 
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My ds got a balance bike last fall and loved it so much he rode it through the winter (snow and all in Northern WI). By early June he was ready to go to a pedal bike. With two pushes he had it down. The only thing we had to work on was braking...as the balance bike didn't have a brake. We decided that for our dd we would do the same...a balance bike. We had to get a new one as the wooden one got wrecked in the snow/rain. But the reason we opted for a balance bike was that the seat was too high on the reg. bikes even on the lowest setting, AND the balance bikes are so much lighter and easy to maneuver. Like prev. posters say, they will give you your money back when you are done (as long as it stays covered in weather) BTW we chose a Strider.
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Old 08-08-2008, 05:55 PM
 
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I like the idea of taking the pedals off, but what about the chain?


We did training wheels with my oldest. But this spring we bought a tiny balance bike for my dd2. We let dd1 ride it for a week and then took her training wheels off.

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Old 08-08-2008, 06:02 PM
 
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We just didn't put the pedals on when we put it together. When he was ready we put them on and he was riding it DS was 3 at the time, btw, but pretty physically advanced. We got the 12" bike from TRU for about $40.

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Old 08-08-2008, 06:04 PM
 
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what is a balance bike?
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Old 08-08-2008, 06:05 PM
 
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Ok, I just googled it and saw one. But I dont get it. What do they do on it? I guess I am just hung up on the no pedals part.
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Old 08-08-2008, 06:13 PM
 
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After having a bicycle with training wheels for over 2 1/2 years and never really learning to balance, I broke down and bought a balance bike for my boys. Ds1 learned how to truely balance within less than a month and was then ready to take his training wheels off finally. Ds2 is still learning some. It will be a little while longer before he is ready to take his off his old bike. I guess I didn't mind the investment so much since we have several children that will all use the balance bike.

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Old 08-08-2008, 06:38 PM
 
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I could never figure out what the point of a separate balance bike was. We got dd a used small bike with petals when she was 4yo. She rode it around the driveway for a few days using her feet to push it. Then once she mastered the balancing part, she used the petals. It was not a problem to just keep her legs clear of the petals until she was ready to use them. If the bike is small enough that they can get their feet on the ground, it should be fine. I also think training wheels make it very hard for kids to learn to ride bike without.
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Old 08-08-2008, 06:43 PM
 
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another option would be one of those 2 wheeled scooters. Much cheaper and would be fun to keep around even after you DC learn to ride a 2 wheel bike.

We did this with DD. It worked perfectly. After riding her scooter for a whole summer, it was literally 5 minutes and she was riding her bike.

This is the one she has.
http://www.target.com/Razor-A-Scoote...scooter&page=1
She still uses her scooter just as much as her bike.
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Old 08-08-2008, 06:54 PM
 
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In dh's opinion, training wheels are worse than useless, because he argues that a child has to unlearn the riding they learned with training wheels when they learn to ride without them. After our experience teaching our kids to ride, I agree with him.

Our two kids (7 and 4) learned to ride a bike this summer. I hadn't thought that dd (4) would learn, but a neighbor gave us an old bike, without training wheels. Before we could get around to buying the training wheels, she badgered us into practicing. Within about 4-5 days, she was riding really well. (OK, within about two weeks she was STOPPING well - there was a terrifying 10 day period where she could ride and not stop, but I digress.)

THEN dd borrowed a friend's bike which had training wheels. She nearly killed herself trying to turn because she was "leaning into" her turns like you do when you do a 2 wheeled bike, and the training wheels didn't support that.

My recommendation:
1. A trike until they're ready for a 2 wheeled bike. You can get trikes to fit 4-5 year olds quite nicely. Training wheel bikes tend to be slow. Our son rode a trike until he was 5-6 and he's tall (95th percentile.)
2. A 2 wheeled SCOOTER (e.g., Razor) to practice balance.
3. A 2 wheeled bike, following this method of teaching bike riding.

I don't think my kids would have ridden a balance bike because you can't really get anywhere with them. Somehow, they were much more willing to ride 2 wheeled scooters.

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Old 08-08-2008, 06:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by medaroge View Post
Ok, I just googled it and saw one. But I dont get it. What do they do on it? I guess I am just hung up on the no pedals part.
They use their feet to push them and glide while balancing. Kind of like those baby toys that kids ride on and scoot with their feet.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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Old 08-09-2008, 03:28 PM
 
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Dh and I have done this with all of our kids-

we bought a bike with training wheels, but you could take the training wheels off when you were ready to start with a two wheeled bike. Our first bike like that was when DD1 turned 5 (almost 8 years ago) and we've done the same thing, so you might want to look into buying a bike where you can take the training wheels off.
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Old 08-09-2008, 04:11 PM
 
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i really want to get my ds a strider. from what I've seen it is the smallest one out there. I believe it has a foot brake, there are other brands that have hand brakes.
My DS LOVES to ride on bikes, I have the fun job of pushing him. He's too short to use his feet to push around and the pedals would get in the way anyway. He also loves to push the scooter around. He has a trike, but that is still in the box in storage.

So, I'd figure out how much you want to spend, how big/small you need the bike to be and buy one.

Stridersports.com has lots of video clips of kids from 2 to 4 yrs riding their balance bikes. my ds LOVES to watch them
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Old 08-09-2008, 04:14 PM
 
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i think just taking the pedals off is fine. dd learned to ride her bike a few weeks ago, we got it for her as a birthday present. (her last bike was too small and had training wheels...) she went from not having the pedals on to riding it without help in 3 or 4 days.
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Old 08-09-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beansricerevolt View Post
another option would be one of those 2 wheeled scooters. Much cheaper and would be fun to keep around even after you DC learn to ride a 2 wheel bike.

We did this with DD. It worked perfectly. After riding her scooter for a whole summer, it was literally 5 minutes and she was riding her bike.

This is the one she has.
http://www.target.com/Razor-A-Scoote...scooter&page=1
She still uses her scooter just as much as her bike.


that's what we did as well, and yes dd took to a bike very quickly. dd also still rides her scooter. It's great to take along when we go to campgrounds and don't have room for a bike.

mom to 14yr dd and 4yr dd
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Old 08-09-2008, 07:07 PM
 
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I thought the theory behind training wheels is that as they learn you can adjust them to be a little wobbly so eventually they would figure out the balance issue.
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Old 08-10-2008, 03:23 AM
 
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I could never figure out what the point of a separate balance bike was. We got dd a used small bike with petals when she was 4yo. She rode it around the driveway for a few days using her feet to push it. Then once she mastered the balancing part, she used the petals. It was not a problem to just keep her legs clear of the petals until she was ready to use them. If the bike is small enough that they can get their feet on the ground, it should be fine. I also think training wheels make it very hard for kids to learn to ride bike without.
My 2 yr old DS LOVES his gliderrider balance bike. He has been riding it since his birthday and loves being a big kid. He keeps up very well to his sister with her training wheels bike- gets quite the speed going for a little guy. We will definiltly start with this same bike with next one.
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Old 08-10-2008, 04:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by limabean View Post
or could I just remove the pedals from a regular bike to make a balance bike?
I haven't read all the replies, but Newsweek had a little article about exactly what you mention--they talked about how popular it's becoming to take the pedals off and turn a regular bike into a balance bike (rather than going with training wheels).

It really is fabulous for them on the balance bikes--my DD has been using one since she was 2, and she's now 3 1/2 and rides a regular bike with no training wheels. They really do work!
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