Best Balance Bikes For 3 And 4 Year Olds For 2018 – Buyers Guide And Comparison

kids-bike-gear
By Vaughn

Balance Bikes are very popular these days, with the added safety of kids being able to touch the ground while naturally developing their balancing skills, they can be a great addition to your child’s outdoor gear while even taking the place of tricycles for some kids.

Kids in the 3 to 4 age group are usually very mobile by now, exploring and getting good at using their hands and understanding the basic functions of brakes and how to control their speed, it’s now brakes appear on the bikes which set them up for an easy transfer to a proper bike later.

Below you will find our top picks which are good value while using good quality parts which will go the distance, also there’s a handy comparison table to check out the seat height, size and weight of each bike so you can make the right choice for your kiddies.

 

Buying A Balance Bike For a 3 – 4-Year-Old

The focus now has shifted from a pure lightweight builds to a more rugged build, you will find brakes, alloy or steel wheels with extended seat height ranges and 14″ wheels or longer wheelbase bikes. The light-weight Balance bikes are great for kids starting out, small framed riders and location where brakes might not be needed, while the addition of brakes and air-filled tires gives extra safety and better all-around traction.

 

Brakes

It’s now that you start to see handbrakes fitted to Balance Bikes, this gives the bikes extra safety because sometimes, just feet as a brake may not be enough for every kid. Rear brakes are the norm although some bikes like the Woom 1 Plus use front and rear.

The bikes listed here all have junior sized brake levers to suit kids small hands, sometimes, regular adult sized brakes levers are used on cheaper bikes which are extremely difficult for kids to use properly, often requiring uncomfortable finger stretches just to reach the lever and the inability to efficiently pull the brakes on hard enough to stop.

Seat Height

The bikes will now start having a taller minimum seat height (the distance from the ground to the top of the seat at the lowest setting) The usable range will also be greater to suit a broader age range, some models even come with an extra seat post to further add range ( The RidgeBack Scoot)

It’s best to check your child’s inseam measurement and compare to the seat height column in the comparison table. To do this, simply stand your child up straight and measure down to their ankles from their crotch area. Once they have shoes on they gain a bit of height as well, also as they grow this will change so it’s best to pick a bike that suits them well at the minimum seat height as this will give the maximum amount of room for growth.

Weight

Overall weight can still be a factor for petit riders, with the addition of spoked wheels and brakes. Every child is going to be different so finding a bike to match their strength is important, for kids around 4, they are going to handle pretty much any Balance Bike as they will be stronger and better equipped to handle the weight, while kids around 3 or under would be better of on a lighter one, around 8 or 9 pounds. The lighter weight will make it easier to ride in general while they are still growing.

 WeightWheels/TypeSeat HeightBrakesAge Range Price
Woom 1 Plus9.9 PoundsAlloy Rim/Air Tire15 - 19"Front & Rear3 - 5 Years$$$$
Strider Sport6.7 PoundsPlastic Spoke/Foam11 - 19"No18 Months - 5 Years$$$
Banana Bike GT11.7 PoundsAlloy Rim/Air Tire13.4 - 18"No2 - 5 Years$$
Joove Bicycoo8.75 PoundsPlastic Spoke/Air Tire14 - 15.25"Rear3 - 4 Years$$
Yeedoo Too Too8.2 PoundsSpokes/Air Tire12 - 18"Rear2 - 4 Years$$$
FirstBike Cross8.6 PoundsPlastic Spoked/Air Tire12/14" - 17.5"
12" With Lowering Kit
Rear2 - 5 Years$$$
Muni Pro Mini10.5 PoundsSpoked/Air Tire13 - 18.5"Rear2 - 4 Years$$$
RidgeBack Scoot11.5 PoundsSpoked/Air Tire16 - 22"Rear4 - 7 Years$$$

 

strider sport balance bike

Strider Sport 12

Frame Material: Steel

Wheels: 12″, Plastic Spoke, Foam Tires

Where To Buy: Amazon.com

The Strider Sport is the Strider Classic’s close cousin, they both share the steel strider frame but the Sport comes with extended seat post range putting, which gives better adjustability and a  longer time frame of use. While the seat post extends more, even kids as young as 2 can hop on since the seat’s minimum standover height also remains the same at 11 inches.

  • Popular – The Strider bike brand is a well-known company producing balance bikes and accessories for a ranges of kids ages, their products, are great quality and while their looks may not be as flashy as other bikes there’s a great range of color combinations for boys and girls, while the build quality is excellent and the reviews from buyers who have purchased and used their bikes are overwhelmingly positive.
  • Great Seat Height Range – With the 11″ minimum seat height, the extended seat post allows up to 19″ at it’s highest. This is a full 3″ more than the Strider Classic, and while the Sport remains a compact little bike, kids up to 5 will still be comfortable scooting around on it.
  • Light-Weight – Having a light-weight bike make life an awful lot easier for kids, once kids are up and running, less weight means better handling with the bike being more responsive to turns and weight changes, also in the early stages they are less likely to topple over trying to deal with a weighty bike.

The Strider Sport is an excellent little bike, it’s strong enough for kids under 5 while being accommodating for toddlers right through to pre-school. Backed by good aftermarket support, and small part’s availability so if something wears out or breaks you can find a replacement, the Strider Sport would be a perfect companion for an active kiddy.

 

Woom 1 Plus Balance Bike

Woom Bikes USA, Woom 1 Plus –  Best For Premium Spec And Build

Frame Material: Aluminum

Wheels: 14″, Alloy Rim/Air Filled Tires

Where To Buy: Amazon.com

The Woom 1 Plus is a fully equipped balance bike perfect for ages 3 and upwards, using bigger 14″ wheels the overall size is increased to give a better fit in the pre-school years, and even though the bikes larger it still only weighs 9lbs. The Woom 1 Plus uses a build the same as a regular bike, with front and rear handbrakes and upgraded wheels so it’s fully capable of handling anything a growing toddler will throw at it.

  • Hand Assemble And Checked – Heres a unique thing, every Woom bike is hand assembled, checked and signed off by their qualified mechanics. There’s still a small amount of assembly once the bike comes out of the box but all the instruction are included for you to finish it off at home.
  • Front And Rear HandBrakes – Stopping duties are handled by the Linear Pull or Vee Brakes, the brake levers are specially proportioned for small hands and they are even color coded so you can help your child learn which one is the front and rear while the brake pads are matched to the lever (same color) so you can point to them as well.
  • Strong But Comfortable Wheels – The 14″ wheels use air-filled rubber tires the same as a full-size bike, these allow you to vary the pressure for lightweight riders giving more grip and comfort, of course, you will have to check them from time to time and there’s the chance of a flat tire but they give the best grip and ride on all surfaces.

With easily adjustable reach on the brake lever (for smaller fingers) and a good riding position from the higher front handlebars, the Woom 1 Plus is a premium balance bike if you’re after the best of the best.

 

Banana Bike GTBanana Bike GT – Best For Rugged Riding

Frame Material: Steel

Wheels: Spoked Wheels/Air Filled Tires

Where To Buy: Amazon.com

The Banana Bike GT is the next step in the range, up from the Banana Bike LT. While They both share essentially the same frame, the GT’s focus is on ruggedness with the upgraded rims and tire, while the seat range is greater, although the minimum seat height is higher on the GT at 13.4″ compared to the LT’s at 12.5″, so the GT is better suited to the 3- 4 age group.

  • Cool Colors – If your kiddy’s picky about color, the Banana bikes come in 3, extremely bright designs. There’s pink above, a sky blue and a yellow. These are all a pearl paint finish so they sparkle in the sun and have extra depth and vibrancy.
  • Fully Adjustable Parts – The Seatpost uses a traditional, adjustable seat-clamp much like a regular bike. Most balance bikes use a fixed style meaning the seat angle can’t be changed, the adjustable clamp allows you to change the nose angle of the seat or change the seat altogether, while up front there are fully adjustable handlebars so you can raise or lower them and roll them backward or forwards for a better fit.
  • Air Filled Tires – Similar to the Woom 1 Plus, the GT’s tires are air-filled so there’s the all-terrain capability and handling that makes this bike versatile, good on all surfaces.

The Banana GT takes a balanced approach, it’s strong and well suited for aggressive riding but on the other hand, the weight isn’t excessive (7.3lbs for the LT, 11.7lbs for the GT) so it doesn’t become a handful. There no hand brakes on the Banana’s, so keep that in mind if the bikes going to be ridden on inclines or steeper off-road situations.

 

joovy kids balance bike

Joovy Bicycoo – Best For Comfort While Riding

Frame Material: Aluminum

Wheels: Plastic Spoke/Air Filled Tires

Where To Buy: Amazon.com

The Joovy Balance Bike looks slightly unusual at first glance, with the upwards bend in the frame and giant looking wheels, even though they are still the standard 12″ The Joovy’s frame is aluminum and is paired with an aluminum fork as well, at the ends of the dropouts where the wheels are fixed you’ll find the large, plastic end caps covering the nuts to eliminate sharp edges so your kids don’t catch themselves on nuts or screws.

  • Cushy Ride – The Joovys tires are big! compared to standard 12″ wheels the tires measure 2.25″ across, this extra width also gives greater volume allowing for a super smooth ride, also the slick tires allow the bike to roll faster.
  • HandBrake – The Joovy’s rear brake is a band-style setup meaning all the mechanisms are contained within the confines of the rear wheel area and not hung on the frame, while these brakes are not as powerful as linear pull ones, they perform well enough for around the house and backyard which is what this bike is designed for.
  • Comfy Seat – With wings added to the side of the seat there are no abrupt edges to rub your kiddy’s legs.

The Joovy seat height adjustment range isn’t as great as the others on this list at 14″ at the lowest through to 15.5″ this may limit it’s appeal to some but the bike as a whole would work well if your child’s most likely to ride occasionally at home and even indoors where the correct seat height isn’t as important vs a child who is covering a lot of ground quickly where they need a higher seat.

 

FirstBike cross balance bike

FirstBike Cross – Best For Light-Weight Toddlers

Frame Material: Composite Resin

Wheels: Plastic Spoke/Air Filled Tires

Accessories: Rear Frame Mounted Lowering Kit For 12″ Seat Height

Where To Buy: Amazon.com

The FirstBike Composite framed bikes are available in a few different configurations, the models are the Basic (for enclosed or indoor use), the Street (Smooth, air-filled tires for pavement use) the Cross (Above with the knobbly tires for all surfaces) and the Racing and Limited editions, both with upgraded Schwalbe Big Apple slick tires and extra color choices.

  • All Weather Frame – The FirstBike uses a girder style, molded resin frame, and fork with an adjustable seat post of the same material. There are minimal metal parts, mainly the bearings and wheel nuts so if the bike’s frequently left outside it not going to matter too much, integrated into the seat and front fork are some discreet mudguards to help keep clothing clean.
  • Great Quality Wheels – The air-filled tires are great for variable conditions such as pavement through to loose gravel and shiny surfaces like polished concrete, and inside the plastic spoked wheels are proper, high-grade bearings for long-term durability and better coasting performance. If you think the knobbly tires aren’t suitable for your child’s needs, there’s also the slick tire bike versions to choose from
  • Safety – The FirstBike’s unique frame has no sharp edges or odd pieces that your child could catch themselves on, if they have a mishap it’s good to know even if they fall onto the bike there’s nothing that going to hurt, big ball ended grips and the curved gel saddle further add to the safety and comfort.

The FirstBike is excellent quality, with tire options to suit what your child will be riding over, plus, if the bikes still a bit high with the 14″ minimum seat height, there’s a low-cost lowering kit which easily fits up to the back wheel dropping the rear end of the bike down 2″ to 12″ minimum seat height.

 

yeedoo too too balance bike

YeeDoo Too Too Balance Bike – Best For Real Big Kids Bike in a Small, Lightweight Package

Frame Material: Steel

Wheels: Alloy Rims/Air Filled Tires

Where To Buy: Amazon.com

The YeeDoo Too Too uses parts you find on a big bike like good quality brakes, air-filled tires and alloy spoked wheels, the main point though is the weight, at just 8 pounds it’s really light considering the spec. This means the bike’s easy to ride for smaller sized kids, even children as young as 2 will be fine while long-term the components will go the distance and handle the punishment.

  • Stopping Power – The brakes used at the rear are the all-metal Tek-Tro V-Brakes, they might look pretty standard but this particular model uses all metal internals which stands up better to the spring tension, this means they stay put and don’t creep out of adjustment or break which commonly makes one side of the brake pads rub on the rim. Another bonus is the brake arms are tucked well away from your kids’ ankles, placed on top of the rear stay.
  • Comfy Cockpit – Generous sized rubber grips with big bumpers to keep the ends of the bars well protected away from you kiddy while the seat is well padded and curved to better cradle the rider so they don’t accidentally slip off, also with the seat post on a steeper laid-back angle the handlebar to seat distance grows as the seat is raised up.
  • Cool Colors – The Too Too comes in a vast array of colors, I counted 17 all up, from bright block colors through to an ambulance and police color scheme.

The Too Too would be a good fit for smaller riders in the 3 – 5 age group and even kids starting out from 2, although they might not get the use out of the rear brake until later. The solid build spec combined with the lighter-weight make it a winner.

 

muna pro mini balance bike

Muna Pro Mini 12″- Best For All Terrain Capability

Frame Material: Aluminum

Wheels: Spoked/Air Filled Tires

Where To Buy: Amazon.com

The Muna Pro Mini is the Aluminum framed version of the Standard Muna 12″ Balance bike. It’s perfectly suited for kids in the 3-4 age group who want to get out and explore some off-road terrain or try out riding down curbs. The knobbly tires give great all-around grip for varied surfaces and handle smooth concrete like skatepark situations just fine.

  • Enclosed Rear Brake – The Muna uses a drum style brake at the rear, these don’t have the power of V-Brakes but have plenty for use on a balance bike. The bonus with this system is they are very simple and with no exposed moving parts like pads or arms they are tucked away from damage and kids don’t fiddle with them as much.
  • Low Standover Frame – The frames main bar gives easy to step through clearance for you kiddy, and just-in-case they need to stop suddenly over uneven ground they won’t be hung up on a high bar which can be unsafe in these situations.
  • Great Build For The Price – The solid build spec is a real selling point of the Muna, proper bearings in the headset and wheels, a large, soft padded seat, fully adjustable handlebars and a junior-sized brake lever all fitted to a light alloy frame.

The Muna Pro Mini is an up to date model for 2018, it offers lightweight and great spec for an affordable price, in fact, it’s very close to the YeeDoo Too Too, so if your child has that off-road intention, the Muna would be the better choice.

 

ridgeback scoot balance bike

RidgeBack Scoot 12″ – Best For Bigger 3 – 4 Year Olds

Frame Material: Aluminum

Wheels: Alloy Rim/Air Filled Tires

Where To Buy: Amazon.com

The Scoot is a long 12″ Balance Bike, the wheelbase is extended to suit bigger riders while the smaller wheels keep the suitability shorter kids, also the longer wheelbase adds extra stability which is noticeable for kids that might be struggling with balance. The Scoot has a generous seat post height range from 14″ through to 20″ in height.

  • Excellent Quality Frame – The RidgeBack Scoots frame is light-weight 6061 aluminum which is used on higher end adult’s bikes, also it uses the classic banana shaped down tube for standover clearance and a nice feature is the rear brake cable is internally routed inside the main tube to stop snags.
  • Two Seat Posts Included – Since the Scoots frame is longer, RidgeBack have included an extra seat post to allow for your kids growth, this is a nice touch as the bike is capable of  handle kids upwards of 5, this makes it an excellent choice if more than one child is going to use the bike or you don’t plan on buying another down the road.
  • Premium Saddle – The saddle of the Scoot is super soft, which is great since all your kid’s weight is on the saddle when their feet are off the ground, it makes their riding more enjoyable. As a bonus, there’s a built-in carry handle underneath for when they get tired making it easier to carry back to the car.

The Scoot is another top quality Balance Bike using a well thought out component list with no corners cut, the brake levers are all alloy so they won’t break and the wheels use proper bearings and the seat post uses an alloy quick release lever for tool-free adjustment. The inclusion of the longer seat post makes the bike an excellent choice for multiple child families.

Conclusion

Buying a Balance Bike for kids in the 3 to 4 age group is great for getting them mobile, with their constant development and motor skill’s improving day by day, they will benefit from the added hand brakes commonly used on the slightly bigger Balance Bikes since they will likely be going further and faster while some kids will even be going off-road.

Are you buying for your kids or someones else? share your thought’s and questions in the comments below.

 

Related Reading

 

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Vaughn
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2 thoughts on “Best Balance Bikes For 3 And 4 Year Olds For 2018 – Buyers Guide And Comparison

  • October 28, 2018 at 7:43 am
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    These new style of starter bikes without the training wheels I think are a great idea for the young ones, Riding a bike is all about balance and that is what the kids need to learn first. I didn’t realize that there are so many different ones available. Great job of putting these all together in one place. 

    Reply
    • October 29, 2018 at 7:59 am
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      Hi Monika
      Totally agree, balance is key, it can be overwhelming going through all the bikes, hope it helps you having the relevant ones all together!

      Reply

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