Many parents opt to introduce their child to a balance bike instead of a normal bicycle with stabilizers. A balance bike, as the name suggests, encourages the rider to concentrate on developing their balance, before they learn how to turn a pedal.
A balance bike looks a lot like a normal bike, but has no pedals or chain to drive the bike forward. In fact it's possible to make your own balance bike simply by removing the pedals, chain and mechanism from a normal bike.
However, purpose built balance bikes are usually lighter and better proportioned, and are a worthwhile investment for training younger riders to balance on two wheels.
Size Just as with a regular bike, getting the size right should be your number on #e priority. Your child should be able to get at least one, if not both feet flat on the floor while seated on the bike. Buying a bike they can grow into will typically lead to disappointment, as your child will be enthusiastic to get riding right away.
Material Balance bikes come in a variety of designs and prices. Plastic bikes are usually the cheaper, and lightest, but least durable, whereas fiberglass is also lightweight, but will last much longer. Wooden bikes are popular as they are attractive. Larger balance bikes for older or taller children tend to be metal. Both wood and metal degrade if left outside in the rain.
Number Of Wheels Some balance bikes are convertible from trikes. Starting out on a trike helps the child learn about propelling themselves forward. Then once a decent amount of speed is achieved, the two rear wheels are pushed into the centre, to create a two wheel balance bike.
Steering Younger children may benefit from a locked front wheel. The wheel spins at the same rate as the back wheel, but the handlebars don't turn to change direction. This is useful for younger children for a number of reasons. First, holding handlebars straight on regular boles, requires a lot of upper body strength and concentration. Taking this out of the equation lets younger kids concentrate on just balancing the bike upright.
Value For Money Depending on the age of your child when they receive the balance bike, they may not be using it for long before they are ready to progress to a regular cycle with pedals. Investing in a durable balance bike, will enable you to pass it along to a younger child, or sell it on, once the bike has been outgrown. All of our balance bikes come with a three year warranty.
Brakes Some balance bikes come with brakes, others don't. There are two ways of thinking about this. Perhaps you don't want your child to get used to stopping their bike with the tips of their shoes, and want them to learn how to use the brakes from day one. On the other hand, maybe you know you're child will use stop by putting their foot down, so would rather wait and introduce them to brakes when they are old enough for a normal bike.
Once you're balance bike arrives, check out our earlier blog post on how to ride a balance bike.