Balance bikes have revolutionized the way children learn how to ride bikes. Until balance bikes came around, traditionally, children would start off learning how to ride a tricycle. Following the tricycle, a kid’s bike with training wheels is used, which would always get in the way when first learning, as children naturally try to propel themselves forward using their feet.
Balance bikes were developed so that children can push themselves along and concentrate on mastering the art of balancing and turning on a bike. By the time they are confident on a balance bike, the conversion to using pedals is easier, and they will be riding without training wheels in a matter of minutes. Just remember to teach them how to use the brakes before they go pedaling off into the distance!
As soon as balance bikes established themselves in the market, a massive number of them became available, so how do you know which is the best kids balance bike? We looked at five of the best on the market to see how they measure up.
Kids Balance Bike Reviews
1. Strider 2-in-1 Balance to Pedal Bike
The first balance bike in our list comes from Strider, a company developed by a keen mountain biker who wanted to get his son riding as soon as possible.
This balance bike can be converted to a pedal bike when your child is ready. We love the fact that you don’t have to buy a whole new bike and that your child can first learn to balance proficiently before setting off with pedals to propel themselves forward.
It has a solid steel frame, comes with 14-inch tires, and has adjustable seat and handlebars. This will accommodate a child from three to seven years. This is fantastic as it means the bike will last longer as children grow so quickly at that age.
Available in blue and green, the bike has been stripped back to only have the essentials to make it weigh just 12 pounds. While this is heavier than other balance bikes featured here, considering all its extra parts to allow it to convert into a pedal bike makes it a fantastic lightweight bike for three-year-olds and above to learn to push themselves along with, and eventually ride. Additionally, it has a chain guard for safety and rubber tires that can be inflated with a regular bike pump.
2. Cruzee Ultralite Balance Bike
Cruzee claims to have gone to great lengths to design the absolute best balance bike you can buy for your child.
Weighing in at just 4.4 pounds, this is the lightest bike featured in our best kids balance bike list, so your child can easily pick it up and start playing with it from a very early age. Recommended for 18 months to five years old, the seat and handlebars adjust to grow with your child.
Along with being the lightest bike on this list, it is also one of the most expensive. Made from anodized aluminum, the Cruzee bike won’t rust if your child leaves their bike out in the rain, which is great as it is sure to last as long as your child doesn’t outgrow it.
Additionally, the bike can be assembled without the need for tools so that your child can ride in a matter of minutes and because it has air-free tires, there is no need to worry about bike maintenance. This bike comes with a broad array of nine color options for you to choose from and also has integrated footrests on the frame so as your child grows in confidence, they can put their feet up while they glide along.
Cruzee also offers a complete satisfaction guarantee along with a lifetime warranty, showing full confidence in their product.
3. Banana Bike Lightweight Balance Bike
This lightweight balance bike from Banana Bike was recently upgraded in 2017 to include features for easy assembly.
Weighing in at approximately 7.28 pounds, this balance bike has a very manageable weight for your toddler to pick it up easily. With such a weight, it also makes it highly recommended for children aged from 18 months to five years. This bike has a minimum seat height of just 12.2 inches, so it’s great for really small children that are already displaying the coordination skills and confidence necessary to learn to ride along.
The bike’s puncture-proof, EVA foam tires mean you never have to pump the tires up and with newly improved, quicker assembly, this bike comes hassle- and maintenance-free.
The 2017 improvements include upgraded bearings, seat, quick-release seat bracket, headset, and handlebars. It’s great to see a company constantly seeking ways to make their products better.
4. Schwinn Balance Bike
Next up, we have a balance bike from Schwinn, a company that has been manufacturing bikes for nearly 125 years.
At 14 pounds, this balance bike is the heaviest on our list, so it may be a little heavy for your child to pick up, push, and steer when they are very young. The weight though does seem to help with balancing, so it could be an excellent choice for a larger child who is still struggling a little with coordination.
While it has an adjustable seat, unfortunately, this is just between 14 to 16 inches which doesn’t allow much room for growth. The bike has 12-inch tires which would suit a child of around two to four years old, but taking the weight into account, maybe it’s better off for three- and four-year-olds.
This bike is very well made, with a sturdy steel frame and inflatable tires that are better than the foam variety especially if you live out in the country and have lots of bumpy roads to ride along. Nonetheless, this kind of tires requires more maintenance to keep it pumped up.
The bike also comes with four different colors to choose from and has built-in footrests so that when your child gets their confidence up, they can ride along in style with their feet up.
5. KaZAM Balance Bike
This balance bike from KaZAM was featured on Shark Tank. The KaZAM team is responsible for bringing the concept of balance bikes to the USA, so let’s see what this model has to offer.
Weighing at around eight pounds, this bike is neither the heaviest nor lightest bike in our list but certainly is manageable for any toddler and children up to five years of age. The seat sits as low as 13.5 inches but can be adjusted up to 16.5 inches with no tools required.
With seven different colors to choose from, this bike has a patented footrest design that lets your child put their feet in the middle of the frame. This is where they would naturally put their feet while coasting along on a pedal bike to help their transition to a pedal bike even easier.
KaZAM’s bike gives you the freedom to choose either puncture-resistant, air-free EVA tires for super low maintenance, or normal air tires, which is more suitable for off-road cycling. You can also choose between a steel or aluminum frame to suit your child. For instance, if your child is on the smaller or weaker side, then you can select the aluminum frame as it is lighter and easier to balance.
While these are all fantastic balance bikes, due to some of their limited adjustable seat heights, they may only be a good fit for your child for a short time. Hence, the best kids balance bike, in our opinion, is the 2-in-1 balance and pedal bike by Strider.
It is one of the more expensive options, but when you consider its larger adjustable seat and handlebar heights and easy installation of pedals, it will be suitable for your child for a longer time than any of the other options. At 12 pounds, it even makes a superior standard of kid’s bike for your child, but its lack of brakes is a bit of a worry for children going too fast with only their legs to stop them.
However, if you’re searching for a more affordable model and are happy to buy a second pedal bike when your child is ready, then we recommend the balance bike by KaZAM. Being able to choose the frame and tires is one of the things we love about it. It also comes in some nice, bright colors, and its central footrest is better than the others.