Balance Bikes come in many shapes and sizes but in essence, they offer a different approach for a child learning to ride a bike.
Purpose built for children and toddlers, from first steps touching the ground and walking the bike along to getting the feel of the scoot and coast motion, Balance Bikes open a world of fun and exploration building strength and confidence sooner.
Are you at the first bike stage? check out these 5 Balance Bike Benefits and see how choosing one will help you with your little one’s bicycle journey.
1. Advanced Skills are learned from an early age
The benefit of a Balance Bike is more than just a better balance. Of course, isolating out the thing that trips up many kids when removing the training wheels is one benefit but others are the extra strength and coordination.
The process of learning and controlling a Balance Bike is something that doesn’t come instantly, it’s not just a matter of climbing up onto a bike and sitting there.
Building strength by needing to work the steering, having legs out and supporting quick un-planned movement all while keeping focused on balance, that’s a lot of things going on at once.
Having good balance from a young age helps with daily tasks, posture, and improved motor skills.
Even other sports and activities your child’s involved in will likely benefit from improved balance.
2. Your Children Ride Further, Longer and Faster
So you set out to go for a walk and five minutes later your young one is done, it’s actually pretty hard work pushing a little 12 or 16″ inch bike around.
The major culprit is the inefficient drivetrain coupled with really short crank arms. Your child can struggle to get the bike moving, especially on any type of incline. The super short crank arm robs your kid’s power as they can’t get the leverage to pedal the bike around efficiently.
Also, coupled with lower quality, less than smooth bearings it’s just downright tough.
Imagine being able to go on a walk or run with your toddler for more than 5 minutes, it’s actually possible with a balance bike.
Your child’s weight is supported on the seat while their legs are free to push them along, just like a scooter. Rolling resistance is greatly reduced since there’s no back-pedal brake dragging and also, there’s less weight to slow things down.
Once your child gets the hang of one, rides of a mile or more are achievable and they will only become longer with time. The scoot and coast motion is very efficient and doesn’t burn energy as fast as regular bikes.
3. All Terrain Capability
Have you had to push your child free on their bike when they’ve beached themselves on uneven ground before? going up a driveway or down a footpath and being left high and dry with the back wheel spinning in the air.
Balance Bikes have the edge over training wheels when the going gets rough. Turning corners, avoiding holes and dealing with uneven ground aren’t an issue. This is awesome when your child is riding confidently, try taking them on a trip to the local BMX park or skate park and let them have a roll around on the low ramps.
Even from 2 to 3 years they can be out there riding with the big kids and it’s amazing how quickly their confidence grows, learning to push through little spills and bumps gives them mental toughness and the ability to handle setbacks.
When comparing a balance bike to a regular steel or aluminum bike, the weight difference is astonishing. Let’s face it, most kids bikes are grossly overbuilt, often out of cheap, heavy materials with frames that could hold up a house.
Balance bikes cut out all the un-necessary moving parts like a heavy coaster brake, heavy steel cranks, and chain. This gives complete freedom in how the frame is designed needing less overall material to house the drivetrain. There are even wooden balance bikes, these are usually made out of birch plywood, and are similar in weight to metal ones but offer a really unique look.
The end result is Balance Bikes typically weigh from 4.5 to 9 pounds depending on the model while equivalent sized normal bikes can be upwards of 20lbs. That’s pretty heavy and if your child’s smaller like my daughter, they can find it tough to deal with having less control over the bike’s movements.
Some Balance Bikes still retain brake but it’s a standard lever pull type which is usually pretty light, handy as well since they can be ridden at a fair pace.
Kids like that feeling of independence, I know mine does. Why not give them a bike that can just about go anywhere and not be stuck to the footpath. Knowing they’re in control, learning how to stop and start, it’s down to them to decide where they’re going.
Being free from training wheels gives an immersive experience and make them feel like they’re’;e going on their own little adventure.
And, combined with the all-terrain capability the boundaries are expanded for them.
6. Saves Money
Why move through the typical bike sizes when a Balance Bike can help you skip a size?
Moving from a trike to a 12″ then to a 16” is a common progression and that’s a lot of money spent on things that have a short timeframe of use. Maybe even holding off on a size to skip to the next to avoid spending too much.
The age range of Balance Bikesise 18 months or 2 years up until 4 or 5. There’s good adjustability built in and most designs allow for the seat and handlebars to be adjusted to suit growing bodies.
You could go straight to a 12″ balance bike instead of buying a trike and a normal 12″ bike, when the time comes to go for a 16″ or an 18″ ride your kiddy will be more confident during the transition.
Standard 12″ bikes have a limited timeframe of use and don’t ride very well with the trainers removed and some parents may find it better to skip them completely , also it’s likely even the smaller balance bike will be still getting used a couple of years down the road, so they work out to be a good investment.
Balance bikes seem to have a compelling list of positives, they might not be for every family and can the initial learning curve can be longer than training wheel equipped bike but I think it’s worth it in the end for the extra freedom and fun.
Are you at that stage when you’re looking at bike sizes or maybe your kiddy has a balance bike already? Maybe you’ve noticed some benefits already?
Share your thought’s below it would be great to hear from you.