Best Balance Bikes For 2 Year Olds And Toddlers – 2018 Kids Bike Gear

kids-bike-gear
By Vaughn

The age of 2 is a big milestone for kids, things, like walking, running and climbing, becomes a regular activity, they want to be mobile, under their own steam out there wherever it may be.

This can be the perfect age to introduce them to a Balance bike, initially, the learning curve is longer but within a few weeks to a month your kiddy should be rolling around easily on their own, with a huge grin on their face.

The options are endless, but below I have compiled the Best Balance Bikes For Toddlers And 2 Year Olds, a list of 10 bikes that are decent, whatever your budget is.

What Age is Best For A Balance Bike?

Most kids will be fine from anywhere between 18 months to 2 years, there’s always variation depending on their confidence, I started with my daughter just after she was 2, tall enough to touch the ground comfortably while sitting on the bike seat. Just use your judgment.

How Does A Balance Bike Work?

Traditionally when kids learn to ride they climb up onto a 12″ bike and jam the pedals backward and forwards often finding it difficult to get the bike rolling, partly because the bikes are heavy and the general riding position is far from ideal.

With trainer wheel attached, they not only beach themselves on undulating ground or driveways but it let them skip the main component of learning to ride in the first place, balance, which they have to revisit when the trainers are finally removed.

Balance Bikes are low, your child starts by walking then scooting and finally coasting freely covering great distance on their own even on dirt and down curbs. You get years of use and when you move to a bigger bike they are already expert balancers!

 

Price Range

Price is going to be one of the main factors in your decision, generally, balance bikes range from around the $50 mark through to over $200. Just because a bike is cheap doesn’t automatically mean it’s poor quality. Compared to a regular kids pedal bike, there is the obvious lack of moving parts, mainly balance bikes just consist of a frame, two wheels, and a seat and handlebar.

Fewer parts make the bikes cheaper to build so often the frames are good quality while the wheels and tires are very similar between the brands, although the more expensive bikes have better bearings for resistance to wear and tear.

Ask yourself, how much use will this bike get? is more than one child going to ride it, or will it be passed on? where do I want to take my kids riding?

Materials and Parts

Balance Bikes are commonly made from Steel, Aluminum, Wood, and Plastic. Steel and Aluminum are the most popular with wooden balance bikes also being a favorite.

Steel is a little heavier than aluminum, but not a lot on such a small frame, the main benefit is the alloy will not rust whereas the steel might where it gets scratched or knocked although it’purely cosmetic.

If your kids looking to get really aggressive or you expect bigger kids to hop on, things like proper headsets and decent bearings inside the wheels will stand up better. ( The Woom 1 or the Banana Bike LT) For general use around the home and footpaths and as a bike to learn skills, any of the bikes below would serve you well.

Plastic wheels are used to cut weight and keep things simple, they usually used a foam/rubber style tire that’s solid, air-filled tires will always give the best grip and ride on all surface while the solid foam ones are best on concrete surfaces, round the home and skatepark.

 WeightWheel Type, Size, TireSeat Height RangeAge RangePrice
JoyStar6.4 poundsPlastic Spoke, 12", Foam Tire12.6 - 14.7"1.5 - 5 Years$
Woom 18.5 poundsAlloy Rim, 12", Air Tires10.8 - 15.7"18 Months - 3.5 Years$$$$
Strider Classic6.75 poundsPlastic Spoke, 12", Foam Tire11 - 16''18 Months - 5 Years$$
Bixe Extreme Light4 poundsPlastic Spoke, 12", Foam Tire11 - 15"18 Months - 5 Years$
The Croco4.3 poundsPlastic Spoke, 12", Foam Tire11.5 - 18.5"18 Months - 5 Years$
Banana Bike LT7.3 poundsPlastic Spoke, 12", Foam Tire12.5 - 15.75"2 - 4 Years$$
KaAzam V2E8.9 poundsPlastic Spoke, 12", Foam Tire13.5 - 16.5"Up To 5 Years$
Chicco Bullet6 poundsPlastic Spoke, 12", Foam Tire13 - 15"2 - 5 Years$
Cruzee Ultralite4.4 poundsPlastic Spoke, 12", Foam Tire11.5" minimum2 - 4 Years$$$
ChillaFish BMXie6.4 poundsPlastic Spoke, 12", Rubber/Foam 12.6 - 15.3"2 - 5 Years$$

 


joystar-12"-balance-bike

JoyStar Low-Step Balance Bike – Best For Great Features And Affordability

Frame Material: Steel

Wheels: 12″ Plastic Spoke/Foam Tires

Where To Buy: Amazon.com

The JoyStar balance bike is perfect for parents on a budget who still want something that’s going to last, the curved frame design is well proven, giving decent step through clearance for kids while helping with unplanned stops or unsteady moments.

  • Quick Adjust Seatpost – It’s good to see an alloy quick release lever at this price, there’s nothing worse than fiddling around trying to find tools to adjust the height if the bike being swapped between kids, while the steel seat post uses a textured surface to stop it sliding down so you don’t have to crank the seat post lever too tight.
  • Safe Front End – The handlebar clamp is covered over with a plastic shield hiding away any sharp edges while at the handlebar junction there’s a rubber ball for impact safety and the grips use a large ball end to stop small hands sliding off while protecting them from the ends of the bars in a tumble.
  • Good Looks – The JoyStar comes in Blue, Orange, Red and White color schemes, the extra bonus is it’s a pearl paint which is richer with a sparkle in the sun after all the color is all that matters for little explorers.

The JoyStar is close in looks to the Banana Bike at about half the price, with a large, padded seat for comfort and lightweight plastic wheels it’s a good first step if you’re wondering about trying out the balance bike thing for your kids.


Woom-1-Balance-BikeWoom Bikes USA 1 – Best For Build and Quality

Frame material: Aluminum

Wheels: Alloy Rims, Air Filled Tires

Where to buy: Amazon.com

The Woom 1 from Woom bikes USA is top of the list when it comes to clever and thoughtful design, with quality components and extra attention to detail. The Woom uses 12” standard sized, air-filled tires with aluminum rims and steel spokes, this aids grip, and control over a variety of terrain while you adjust the tire pressure to suit little riders varying weights.

The seat has a good range of adjustment from 10.8″ up to 15.7″, and the bottom of the seat post is plugged and rounded off to avoid injury if the seats right down and something happens. Also, the wheel nuts are not your standard hex’s, they are Allen head screws which sit in a domed washer to further protect legs and shins from scraping sharp edges.

  • Low-Step – The Woom 1 uses a super low-step frame design to maximize clearance for the rider getting on and off the bike, the seat goes low plus kids can easily slide forward off the saddle without having to worry about hitting the frame.
  • Good Quality HandBrake – For more aggressive and adventurous riders there’s a rear brake fitted, this uses a smaller, scaled down brake lever while at the rear, V-Brakes are used, these give more power and feel better to use vs the older style caliper brakes.
  • Extra Safety – Tucked away behind the fork, there’s a steering limiter, this help to keep the wheels pointing straight ahead and avoid any nasty cross-ups and mishaps.  It acts as a damper to better manage steering which is perfect for young riders just starting out.

Despite the extra brake and spokes wheels the Woom 1 still weighs in just over 8 pounds, making it a rugged but still manageable bike that can be used by multiple kids or handed down, also the aluminum frame is lightweight and rust resistant.

strider-12-classic-balance-bike-green

Strider 12 Classic Balance Bike – Best For Active Kids

Frame Material: Steel

Wheels: Plastic Spoked, Foam Tires

Where to buy: Amazon.com

Strider Bikes are massively popular and have been a long-standing brand when it comes to balance bikes for all ages. There are three versions of the 12, the Classic, the Sport and the Pro. Both the Classic and the Sport use a Steel frame while the Pro uses an alloy frame.

The Classic is perfect for smaller, lightweight riders with the minimum seat height at 11″. The overall weight of the bike is low at 6.7 pounds, not as light as the Cruzee but very respectable considering it uses a steel frame. The single, straight down tube is simple while being ovalized it helps stiffen the frame up without having to add extra material which also adds weight.

  • Popular – Strider is a balance bike brand, the reviews are always very positive and by purchasing and registering your bikes serial number you have special access to Strider’s prize draw in which they give away a riding kit for kids every month, there’s even a Strider Balance Bike World Championship each year! with a focus on not just competition but also fun and participation.
  • Simple – The Classic is super simple, the handlebars are one-piece with an adjustable clamp making raising and lowering easy while the seat is attached to the seat post removing heavy moving clamps under the seat body.
  • Multiple Colors – If Greens, not your thing your kids might like the other options – Blue, Pink, and Red. All bold and glossy finishes with the large Strider logo on the main tube.

The foam tires don’t have the grip of air-filled ones, but the upside is there are no flat tires to worry about. The tread pattern has a decent pattern which helps the foam tires grip better over variable surfaces. The 12 Classic is a go-to model for many parents.

 

banana-bike-balance-bike-green

Banana Bike Lt – Best For Long Term Durability

Frame Material: Steel

Wheels: 12″ Plastic Spoked, Foam Tires

Where to buy: Amazon.com

The Banana Bike Lt takes things to the next level for young riders by using upgraded bearing throughout and an adjustable handlebar and stem setup. It still weighs in at only 7.3 pounds thanks to the plastic wheels and foam tires, inside of the hubs are proper, durable bearings for better longterm running.

  • Banana Frame – It’s about as simple as things get, the frame features steel construction with a smaller diameter main tube to save weight, while the stays are kept well clear of kids ankles and the inclusion of tabbed washers under the wheel nuts are a nice touch.
  • It’s what you can’t see that counts – There is a proper headset up-front of the Banana, this is the same type used on adults bikes so it’s going to last. The hubs use proper bearings, not cheap bushing which wear out, while the adjustment for the seat uses a tool-free quick-release lever.
  • Adjustable Handlebars – Since the Banana’s using the traditional bike headset, there’s the matching handlebar and stem to complete the system, the stems adjustable in height, not as much as the one-piece systems though, and you can roll the handlebars forwards or backward to fine tune the fit.

The Banana LT uses a solid build out of quality component that going to handle anything your young ripper can throw at it, ideally suited to footpath jumps, around the house or at the skatepark, it’s a classic that’s well rated and reviewed.

bixe-extreme-light-balance-bike

BiXe Extreme Light – Best For Lightweight Riders

Frame Material: Aluminum

Wheels: Plastic Spoke, Foam Tires

Where to buy: Amazon.com

If you have a smaller toddler or are looking for a super light little balance bike the Bixe weigh in at only 4lbs! this is currently one of the lightest bikes on the market, this means the manageability and behavior of the bike is excellent, also if your out and about you often end up carrying the bike back home or to the car, having it this light is a bonus since your child is usually in the other arm.

  • Compact Frame – The Bixe Aluminum frame, while keeping the weight low has also got a couple of nifty features, the main tube is attached low down at the seat area to maximize the stand-over clearance for shorter riders and unplanned stops. At the back end, the rear stays which hold the back wheel are raised up, out of the way of running feet, no banging ankles on this bike.
  • Easy Adjustment – The seat and handlebars use a quick-release lever to adjust so you don’t have to keep tools handy if there’s more than one child riding it, also the wheels use a safety washers for extra security while the bike comes almost fully assembled, just slide the seat and handlebars in and your good to go.
  • Less Maintenance – The wheels are plastic spoked, super light with foam tires, no flat tires or loose spokes. The Bixe’s one piece handlebars do away with clamps for simplicity and the seats permanently fixed to the seat post for fewer complications.

If you’re on a budget, the Bixe Extremelite is well priced, it’s a good choice for kids around that 2-year-old mark while the weight on its own makes it a contender for kids who might struggle with a heavier bike.

the-croco-balance-bike

The Croco – Best for Extended Seat Range

Frame Material: Aluminum

Wheels: Plastic Spoke, Foam Tires

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

The Croco balance bike is very similar to the BiXe in build, using plastic spoked wheels and an aluminum frame. It also uses the raised rear stays to stop ankles being bumped when scooting along while the handlebars are 1 piece and feature a large pad for extra safety.

  • Colors – Even though it’s called the Croco, it’s not just for boys. It also comes in bright green and pink for the girls. The graphics are stickers and quite small so customization is an option if your kids love to put stickers on everything!
  • FootRest – A neat feature of the high seat stays is the grip tape sticker just below the seat. When your kids get comfortable on the bike this means they can stand on the grippier area, this lets them get out of the saddle easier if they are at the skatepark, for example, going up and down the ramps or over bumpy ground.
  • Seat Post Range –  The Croco comes with a slightly longer seat post, this means the lifespan of the bike is greater, ground to seat is 11.5″ at it’s lowest while is raises up to 18.5″ for taller kids. The handlebar assembly also adjusts in relation to the seat, without the need for tools since they are quick-release clamps.

With a large saddle, decent padding on the handlebars and grips using a large, domed end the contact points are well taken care of, the foam tires are best suited for pavement and flatter surfaces and also have less rotating mass making the bike more responsive to the rider.

kaazam-v2e-balance-bike

KaZAM v2e No Pedal Balance Bike – Best Scoot ‘n Ride

Frame Material: Steel

Wheels: Plastic Spoke, Foam Tires

Where to buy: Amazon.com

The KaAzam V2e is one of the more unique balance bikes, it features a low step-thru frame which doubles as a footrest so kids can push themselves along and hold their feet up and out of the way, the frame’s also great for helping shorter kids climb onto the bike.

  • Soft Saddle – The V2e’s saddle is a real, padded comfortable seat, it highly likely kids will be sitting down with their legs up riding this bike so a decent saddle is a must, a hard plastic saddle, while durable would be not nice on this kind of setup.
  • Many Colors – There are some wild variations in the color department, Blue and yellow, green, orange, pink, pink/yellow and even a Peppa Pig which I’m sure would be the ticket for a few young fans.
  • Flat Free Tires – Common on the smaller balance bikes, the KaAzam uses plastic spoked wheels with foam tires, flat tires are no fun which is why you find them on many balance bikes, plus they keep the weigh to a minimum.
  • Proper Headset – The KaAzam uses a proper bicycle headset for better longterm durability while the bars are a simple one-piece unit with a swept design for better ergonomics while the forward bend of the upright gives better control and feel to the steering behavior.

I like the V2e a lot, not many balance bikes have a footrest and the ones that do usually interfere a lot with your child’s legs and generally just get in the way, the KaAzam’s is located in a central position, out of the way. While it’s wider than a regular frame, it’s not enough to be a hindrance and it allows your kid’s feet to rest in a natural position.

chicco-bullet-balance-bike

Chicco Bullet Balance Bike – Best If Your On A Budget

Frame Material: Steel

Wheels: Plastic Spoke, Foam Tires

Where to buy: Amazon.com

If your shopping for a decent bike that won’t break the bank, the Chicco Bullet ticks the boxes for function and fun, available in Metallic Red and Pink, there one for boys and girls and while it may be cheaper, the wheels use bearings for better smoother running and better wear and tear.

  • Popular – The Bullet is one of the most popular balance bikes on Amazon with overwhelmingly positive reviews. Also, it’s an award-winning bike with the “Preferred Choice” award from Creative Child Magazine and “Seal of Approval” by Parent’s Choice.
  • Light – While it may be a more budget model, the Bullet still comes in at a light-weight 6 pounds. Aimed at children from 2-3 upwards it keeps things manageable along with the standard plastic and foam wheels to keep the weight in check.
  • Perfect First Step – Balance bikes are an excellent tool for kids to hone their balancing skills, they help build strength and coordination and the low entry price of the Chicco makes trying one out affordable if you’ve been holding off due to the price.

With a large number of reviews stating how well this little bikes held up over time, even when being passed on to multiple kids, considering the price the Chiccos Bullet is an awesome little bike. It might not look as fancy as it’s more expensive counterparts but it does its job very well.

cruzee-ultralite-balance-bike

Cruzee Ultralite – Best For Colors And Light-Weight

Frame Material: Aluminum

Wheels: 12: Plastic Spoke, Foam Tires

Where to buy: Amazon.com

Cruzee have your toddlers color choices covered with a wide array to choose from, up front, the Ultralite uses an aluminum fork which complements the aluminum frame and is lighter than a steel one. The overall design is very close to the Strider with the large ovalized, straight downtube, but the Strider uses a steel frame.

  • Scratch Free Finish – The Cruzee uses an anodized finish and is not painted in the traditional way, what this means is the aluminum is colored by dipping the frame into a colored tank which is electrified and fuses the color into the metal, long story short, its a super tough, scratch resistant finish used on higher end bikes and not many balance bike have this kind of finish which sets the Cruzee apart.
  • Support – Don’t worry if something breaks or wears out, Cruzee’s come with a lifetime warranty, while for wheels and extra bit and pieces that might wear, they also sell aftermarket replacement parts so you won’t be left with a useless bike if something does happen.
  • Rust Free Fitting – There’s nothing worse seeing bright orange bits on your kid’s new bike not long after you bought it, kids bikes get left out in the weather which plays havoc with the steel fitting. The Cruzee uses alloy fittings to avoid the ugly surface rust appearing.

If you like the Cruzee and your child wants to go offroad, they also do an alloy rim and air-filled tire version, remarkably it comes in only slightly heavier than the plastic wheeled version at 4.8 pounds!

 

chillafish-bmxie-balance-bike

Chillafish BMXie-RS Fad Edition BMX Balance Bike – Best For Rad Looks

Frame Material: Fiber Reinforced Resin

Wheels: Plastic Spoke, Rubber outer/foam inner tires

Where to buy: Amazon.com

The Chillafich takes everything you know about a balance bike and throws it out the window. The frame is about as wild as the awesome array of color combinations, with this one being an artist-designed creation. If you’re after something just that bit different for you kiddy, this is it!

  • Innovative Frame – The BMXie is not your traditional steel or aluminum mainframe, it’s actually a two-piece frame which is made from a fiber reinforced plastic. It’s lightweight but strong enough to handle the rough and tumble of little riders and looks completely different to other balance bikes.
  • Amazing Color Options – Since the frames two pieces, there many options with multiple colors and there’s even a camo version, the main colors are red, yellow, green, pink and blue if the artist’s version above is too out there for your kids.
  • Fun – On the front of the bar there’s a detachable number plate which has included stickers as if the colors weren’t crazy enough
  • Just Like A Big Kids Bike – The Chillafish maintains the functionality of a regular balance bike but looks like a mini BMX, the curved seat which easily adjusts by turning collet looks the parts and cradles your child so they don’t slide around.

The Chillafis BMXie-RS is a next-generation balance bike, companies are exploring with different frame materials and construction methods more and more and the individuality and customization offered by the BMXie will make any kids happy having one as their number 1 ride.

 

In Conclusion

That brings the KidsBikeGear Best Balance Bike For 2 Year Olds list to a close, I have been through the many bikes on offer and any of these 10 will serve your kids well and help them learn their balancing skills to help them with not just riding bikes, but coordination with other sports, strength and motor skill development.

Do you have a balance bike or in the final stages of deciding on a particular model? drop me a line below if you have any questions or comments.

 

Related Reading:

 

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Vaughn

 

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Best Balance Bikes For 2 Year Olds And Toddlers – 2018 Kids Bike Gear

  • October 29, 2018 at 11:33 am
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    My son will be 2 years old next month and at first we were planning to buy a normal bike with peddles, but like you say, it will be difficult for him to actually ride the bike. Seeing your extensive list of balance bikes, we talked it over, and think that this would be a better option, as a transition to a normal bike, maybe next year or so…

    Reply
    • October 30, 2018 at 7:51 am
      Permalink

      Hi Laura

      All kids will have different skill levels, the 12″ bikes do the job for some kids and not others. Trying out a balance bike is well worth it as some models can be very inexpensive and they last a good few years.

      Reply
  • October 29, 2018 at 8:13 am
    Permalink

    Amazing. My boys are just at the age to start learning, so my wife and I were thinking of buying them their first bikes. The comparison tables really handy, I can check my kid’s inseams and double check which bikes going to work.

    Reply
    • October 30, 2018 at 7:38 am
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      Hi Stratos

      It makes it a lot easier having different balance bike specs on the same page, saves a huge amount of time shopping around.

      Reply
  • October 29, 2018 at 5:41 am
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    Hi there Vaughn, I had no idea there were so many type of balance bikes available for two year olds. I have only seen the wooden ones but i quite like the idea of  some of the lighter framed ones. What age do you think would be the limit for a balance bike of this kind? Do you think it would depend on the size of the child?

    Thank you for very informative and detailed article.

    Cass

    Reply
    • October 30, 2018 at 7:44 am
      Permalink

      Hi Cass

      The lighter weight, smaller bikes are great for kids starting out from anywhere around 2 years, up to 3 or 4. If your buying for the 3 to 4 age bracket as a starting point, most of the bikes will have brakes since kids of this age are traveling further and faster. In saying that, the lightweight ones like the Cruzee are also excellent for more petite kids or if the bikes going to be used more indoors and around the backyard. The age is really just a guide as kids heights and weights are variable.

      Reply
  • October 16, 2018 at 7:10 am
    Permalink

    Hello,

    I saw a little boy on one of these this summer and I was amazed at how fast he went and how much ground he covered! I realized it did not have pedals and thought it looked like such a neat idea for a toddler! He was zipping along with his family on a walk. This is a great idea instead of pushing a kid in a stroller, walking at their speed or carrying them! 

    These look so fun I wish I was a kid again! I will keep this in mind for my Goddaughter. She is just getting to the age she could use one at 18 months. 

    Thanks,

    Jessica

    Reply
    • October 16, 2018 at 7:52 am
      Permalink

      Hi Jessica

      For sure, the Balance Bikes allow kids to travel distance comfortably, perfect for a family walk like you say. They make a great investment.

      Reply

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