Background of Balance Bicycle
The history of a balance bike dates back to Karl Drais, an 18th-century German inventor, who came up with the ‘dandy horse’ concept which was basically a pedal-less two-wheeler used as mechanized personal transport. Since then, a balance bike has had different names such as ‘no pedal bike’ or ‘leg-push bike’ or ‘run bike’ or ‘dandy horse’.
Ultimate Purpose of a Balance Bike
What’s REALLY GOOD about Balance Bike?
- They have no gears, no pedals, no training wheels, no chain, no derailleurs, and no drivetrain.
- They have the capacity to roll over surfaces including fields, trails, and dirty pavements.
- They are arguably the safe bet as compared to tricycles and training wheels. It is very rare for children to fall from a balance bike.
- They could be a boon to those young riders who have the lesser leg strength to push pedals.
- They are easier to carry around. They can be shoved into the rear of the car or into a big basket even.
- They give toddlers the opportunity to cruise at moderate speeds, allowing their parents or care-takers to be at ease. This, in turn, allows families to discover various outdoors.
- Children start learning to independently ride on their own at a younger age after graduating out of balance bike.
- Investing straight on a balance bike is economically well-recommended, more than a 12-inch bike with training wheels or tricycle even.
2019 List of Top 10 Best Balance Bikes for Kids
Indispensable Features of Balance Bike
One of the most crucial features of balance bikes can be the wheel size. For any balance bike, the wheel size will be a contributing factor based on the age of the child, height of the bike, and tire size of the entire bike. Every wheel size correlates to its tire size, depending on the manufacturer’s design. Tire size can vary from brand to brand, but it has to fit into the wheel size frame for a perfect combination. The table below indicates the estimated wheel sizes against its respective age range.
Frame materials come in three varieties: Wooden, Aluminum, and Steel/Chromoly.
Wooden balance bikes are considered as wooden toys for kids. There is a unique appeal for this frame though. However, the common challenge with a wooden frame could be to see if it withstands the child’s rough usage pattern and the changing weather. It also depends on the wood, if it is heavier or lighter. With a wooden frame balance bike, one of the precautions it to not leave the bike in the rain.
The approximate cost range of most balance bikes is between $80 and $250. With this cost range, you could get a used bike to a brand-new super quality bike. Nonetheless, there are used bikes available within $80 as well. It is advisable to go for a bike that fits into your budget at this stage.
How does a run bike work?
The child chiefly learns to balance and steer the bike. They usually begin by walking and slowly progressing to run with the bike, while they are seated on the saddle. Gradually, they push off the ground with their feet to move forward. When they cruise along with the bike with their feet up, we would know that they’ve mastered the art of balance and steering, without pedaling. This is simply how a balance bike works!
Check-points before you pick a Balance Bike:
When your child is around 18 months old or depending on how big they are and if they’ve started running a bit and walking faster, the run bike may be the best option to consider. You will know they are ready when you see them entertain themselves as they straddle and walk around with a bike, practice getting on and off the bike on their own, and so forth. This is when you could possibly plan for a kid’s bike (balance).
Balance bikes mostly come with one tube. It is best when the top tube of the frame is sloped. When the standover height is lower, it is convenient for your child to slide on and off the bike with ease. In addition, if they fall forward, they may not get hurt by the top tube of the bike.
Seat height is an important element to consider while buying a run bike. The simple concept of the seat height is to have your child put their feet flat down on the ground as they sit on their seat. This option would only make sense when you know the height of your child. Moreover, you can check the confidence level of the child when they sit on the seat with their feet on the ground and get the power to push their bike.
There are two things to check for: a. if your child is able to touch the ground with their whole feet when seated, and b. ensuring the standover height is low.
Most often, the primary focus of balance bikes is to nurture balance and steering capacities in a child. Hence, the hand brake is rather considered optional in a run bike. But these days, run bikes do come with hand brake (rear) for additional safety reasons. Else, the expected norm is for the child to put their feet flat down, drag to slow down and then stop their run bike.
Read on to find more about – Top 10 Best Balance Bikes with additional details
1. Cruzee Ultralite Air
Cruzee Ultralite Air is one of the most lightweight balance bikes available in the market. Weighing around 4.4 lbs, the Cruzee Ultralite bike is constructed of rust-free anodized aluminum, adjustable seat and handlebar, and with a lifetime warranty. It is suitable for all terrains. Cruzee provides flat-free foam rubber tires and low-profile axle bolts.
2. The Early Rider Classic
The Early Rider Classic comes with a chopper styling wooden frame. It weighs around 10-11 pounds. It is designed with safety, function, and brilliant intersection of form. The Early Rider Classic balance bike is a perfect motivation for 2-5 years old to hone and develop their fine motor skills and balance. With natural color, this 14-inch balance wheeler comes with FSC-certified birch, water, and weatherproof marine-grade wooden frame, endorsed by a 1-year warranty.
3. Enkeeo 14
Enkeeo 14-inch sport balance bike comes with a rear brake system to help children get away from potential accidents. It has an upholstered saddle, adjustable seat, and frame stand. Although it comes only with two colors, it has a couple of sticker sets to set young riders to show off. Another standout feature is its tires made of durable rubber with extra thickness and width. Enkeeo 14 can bet any road conditions including puddles, speed bumps, mountains, and gravel roads with these solid features.
4. KaZAM v2e
KaZAM v2e weighing around 11.2 lbs makes it comfortable for toddlers by adding its low step-over height in this balance bike model. This reduces the challenge of riding a balance bike with standover height issues. KaZAM offers rugged-looking air-filled tires to rock the roughest parts of the ground. And there are plenty of color options to choose from. KaZAM has a good fan-base (followers) for all their kid’s bike lines, well known for their quality. For future reference, when your kid grows past the balancing stage, they do have a pedal bike range as well, if you would like.
5. The Croco Aluminum
The Croco Aluminum balance bike is a lightweight, rust-resistant aluminum bike, weighing around 4 lbs, allows young riders (1.5 to 5 years old) to carry their bike themselves and control it easily. The Croco comes with a padded seat, sturdy sealed bearings, ultra-soft hand grips, gripped foot-rests, adjustable seat & handlebars, and a 5-minute quick and tool-free assembly. This brand is worth your investment, great kids bike to consider!
6. ENKEEO 12 Sport
ENKEEO 12 Sport Balance Bike meant for kids who are 2-6 years old, is quite cheaper than the Strider model. It weighs more and lacks quick release clamps that you may find on other bikes. ENKEEO 12 Sport Balance Bike comes with the anti-rust coated frame, puncture-resistant EVA tires, and low standover frame design. It has fascinating colors to offer.
7. Radio Flyer All-Terrain Balance Bike
Radio Flyer is a sturdy, lightweight steel frame balance bike slated for durability and smooth ride. It comes with an adjustable seat (cushion), 12-inches Air Tires, ringing bell, and soft-touch hand grips. For over 100 years, Radio Flyer has been creating smiles, inspiring adventures, and boosting lasting memories for children of all ages with their biking prowess. Hence, it is one of the most preferred kid’s bike manufacturing companies in the world.
8. Retrospec Cub Kids Balance Bike
Retrospec Critical Cub balance bike comes with an indestructible step-through frame design that is known for safety for young riders who are 20 months to 5 years old. It is lightweight, maneuverable, and maintenance-free. It has air-free tires, adjustable seat, and handlebars, with minimal assembly. Retrospec Critical Cub bike is CPSC compliant, making it more eligible to be on the list of the best kids bike.
9. Banana Bike LT
Banana Bike LT has an original banana-style bicycle frame. It enables the young rider to get on and off the bike with ease. Banana balance bike weighs around 6.39 lbs. It is maintenance-free, has air-free tires, comes with a wide range of colors, a headset embedded with bearings, a quick-release seat clamp, and a new, stronger handlebar. This puts Banana Bike LT on top of the chart of the best kids bike.
10. Woom 1 Plus
Woom 1 Plus balance bike is meant for riders who are 3 plus years. Weighing around 9 lbs, Woom 1 Plus comes with a Light-weight aluminum frame, long wheelbase, Kenda Small Block 1.5″ lightweight low-profile balloon tires to challenge rough surfaces. In addition, it has a Front & rear hand V-Brake with a freewheel feature which is color-coded to make it easier for children. Woom 1 can be your best kid’s bike. Plus, they do have a good range of pedal bike available, if you need for future consideration.
Alternate Ideas to have a balance bike:
While some people prefer used run bikes, others settle with homemade balance bikes. Whichever way works well within your limits, should be the best idea to bank on.
Used run bikes frequently come with cheaper costs or maybe at great discounts. However, make sure of its usability and double-check the existing features/parts to see if they are worth the buy.
The homemade run bike is another option if you really have a tight budget. It has been believed that any pedal bike can be changed into a run bike by removing the pedals and probably the entire bottom bracket including cranks, leaving the hand brake as it is. By doing this, you do not incur any extra cost unless you have your local bike mechanic to do the same (by paying him minimal fixing charges). Also, after your child has gained momentum on balancing and steering, you could fix the pedals back(to make it a pedal bike) for the next level of riding experience.
Are run bikes better than Stabilizers (training wheels)?
Stabilizers or training wheels tend to hold you back and not train your mind to be independent. There are more chances of relying on those training wheels for balance. And there is a lesser scope of self-balance learned during the process of riding.
Your child needs to master the art of balancing on wheels first and then followed by the steering techniques. Post which, they would get to pedaling and braking techniques, without training wheels. If you can imbibe this process in mind, you will eventually see your child graduating up to the level of a pedal bike.
Hence, Run Bikes win the race in this case!
In wrapping up, we believe this post has given you ample insights on balance bikes. Do let us know if this information helped you make the right choice of buying a perfect bike for your child. Wishing you the BEST!
If you would like reading our other articles on Kids Bikes, visit the link below: