Balance Bike Buying Guide
A balance bike helps toddlers and young children learn steering, balance, and coordination before they're able to use larger bicycles with pedals. Introduce your child to a balance bike at an early stage to help them adapt faster and build their confidence level.
What to Consider
Balance bikes can be introduced to kids as young as 18 months to 2 years old. They can move on to pedal bikes around age 4.
The optimal riding position for the child is where the child is able to rest his or her feet on the ground comfortably with a slight bend at the knee while being seated.
Your child must be able to reach the ground with both feet flat on the ground and push the bike comfortably while being seated. To determine a suitable bike size, the bike's seat height should be 1" or 1.5" less than your child's inseam measurement (taken with shoes on). However, it's best to choose an adjustable bike since children grow quickly between ages 2-5 years.
Your child's body weight should outweigh the bike's weight by a minimum factor of three. For example, if your child weighs 27 pounds/lbs, then the bike you choose should be around 3 pounds/lbs.
Tyres can come in different types such as air, foam, rubber, plastic, or big apple.
- Air: Considered best since they provide cushion and traction; suited for all terrain surfaces
- Foam: Cheaper, puncture proof but provide limited cushion and traction; suited for paved surfaces
- Rubber: Not common, puncture proof, better than foam but not air; limited cushion and traction
- Hard plastic: Very light, poor quality; suitable only for indoors; no cushion or traction
- Big Apple: Known as Fatboy tyres, come with wider tyres, great for skate parks and more expensive; excellent cushion and traction
The basic model in balance bikes have 12″ tires for young children. For school going children or tall children, 14″ and 16″ tires are suitable. 10″ tires are not recommended since toddlers outgrow them fast.
While legs act as the brake, handbrakes can prevent injury. Suitable for children around 3.5 years when they have better hand-eye coordination
- Metal, wood and composite frames are the usual materials used.
- Metal: Most common, heavier, prone to rust
- Aluminum alloy is the top-end, lightweight, rust proof.
- Wood: Environment friendly, least preferred due to its lack of flexibility.
- Composite: Frame with glass fibre reinforced with nylon; lightweight, high capacity, rust proof; but tend to flex when used be an older/taller child.
|Popular brands||Strider||Skateline||FirstBIKE™||Kinderbike||Happy Bikes|
|Model||Strider®Sports 12"||Chillafish - BMXie Balance Bike (Blue)||FirstBIKE Cross Bike with Brake||Mini Laufrad||Happy Bikes Bailey|
|Suitable Age||18 months to 3 years||2-5 years||2-5 years||2-4 years||2.5-6 years|
|Weight of the Unit||3 kg||4.54 kg||3.9 kg||3.1 kg||4.9 kg|
|Brakes||Foot brake boss with integrated footrest||NA||Hand controlled, rear drum SafetyStop™brake||Rear V brake||NA|
|Adjustable Handlebar||Yes||NA||Limited to provide control||Yes||Yes|
|Seat Height||11" to 16"||12.59" to 15.35"||13" to 18"||11" to 15.5"||15.74"- 19.68"|
|Tyre||12" Puncture proof EVA polymer tyres||Inflatable rubber tires||High quality Schwalbe tyres||All terrain pneumatic tyres||12” pneumatic tyres|
|Grips||Toddler sized mini grips||NA||Safety grips||Sure flange grips||Hand stitched vinyl|
|Foot rest||Yes||Yes (detachable)||No||No||No|
|Material||Durable steel frame and fork||Composite: High-quality fiberglass-reinforced material||Composite: High-quality fiberglass-reinforced material||6061 Aluminium Alloy||Hi-tensile steel frame|
Hi-tensile steel unicrown fork
Chrome plated steel guage
Forged alloy quill stem
|Price||SGD 194||SGD 174||SGD 205||SGD 128||SGD 129|
|Where to buy||strider.sg/balance-bikes||skateline.com.sg||tinylittleone.com||lazada.sg||lovehappybikes.com|
- Young children at age two are more sensitive to the weight of the bike. Hence light weight balance bikes are a good choice. At the same time, keep in mind the weight of their future pedal bike. An extremely lightweight balance bike will make the transition to a heavier pedal bike tougher since the child has to manage a heavier cycle. Otherwise, your child may require another balance bike to make the transition. You may also have to forgo a few features to zero in on the right bike weight.
- Pay attention to the bike design. Children tend to lean forward while pushing their cycle. A good design will provide ample space between the seat post and handlebars to allow the child to stretch their legs comfortably. The distance between the rear tyre and the seat should be optimal to create an optimal gravity for balance and control. If the gap is large, the centre of gravity is high in the centre and makes it difficult to manage.
- A well designed footrest should be for the child's heel rather than the toe and does not interfere with their stride. Poorly designed footrests can impede your child's learning. While footrests are nice to have, children usually lift their legs when they glide.
- Have your child test ride the bike to check if he or she is comfortable riding it, applying the handbrake, as well as reaching the floor with their feet to stop the bike.
- Protective bumpers on grips protect your child from falls or injury. This is an important safety feature to consider.
- Check for exposed bolts on the cycle. It can scratch your young child or get scratched. Covered, recessed, rounded bolts are a better choice.
- Handbrakes provide additional safety and prevent injuries in toddlers. So encourage your child to apply the hand brake. Investing in a bike with handbrake is a good choice should you plan on having the child on a balance bike for a lengthy period of time. Lower end bikes may not have handbrakes; however, high end bikes include hand brakes that are placed within their reach.
- All young riders should wear a helmet and ride under adult supervision for safety.
- As the life span of balance bikes are around 2-3 years, you can consider buying this second hand. Expect to see a few scratches, but do check the key parts of the bike such as bolts and screws are tightened properly, brakes work properly, and handlebar and seat can be adjusted appropriately.
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