A balance bicycle ( balance bike. run bike ) is a training bicycle that helps the rider learn balance and steering. It has no pedals, no crank set and chain, and no training wheels. It can be a normal bicycle with pedals and related parts removed, or it can be purpose-built (especially for very small children, for whom normal bicycles are generally not available). It can have no brake, or it can have one or two hand-activated rim brakes.
Children as young as 18 months can learn to cruise a balance bicycle within a few hours' practice.
Balance bikes are also referred to as; prebikes, kid bikes, toddler bikes, glide bikes, push bikes, training bikes and run bikes. What makes a balance bike so unique and in demand is the developmental benefits that it provides to children. The one skill that is needed to effectively learn to ride a two-wheel pedal bike is balance. Children who use a balance bike for 20-30 minutes twice a week showed the following improvements:
-Substantial improvements in both static and dynamic balance.
-Substantial improvements in bilateral coordination.
-Observable improvements in physical self-confidence.
Should I buy a metal or wooden balance bike?
I receive this question a lot from people looking to buy a balance bike or toddler bike. My answer is simply: it's your preference.
The big dilemma. You are at a park and see a toddler riding a balance bike; that evening you go on to your computer and Google " balance bike ". At this point you find out how popular these bikes are getting and along with that comes several different brands, sizes, designs and materials that the bikes are made out of. Like most people, you ask yourself, "Which balance bike is better?"
Here's a little background on the various materials that balance bikes are made out of:
Wooden Balance Bikes
Wooden balance bikes in almost all cases are made out of baltic birch plywood of various numbers of layers that are glued together. This method of using a plywood for the bike is far better that say using a solid piece of wood that is susceptible to warpage and cracking. Birch is used due to its lightness yet very strong, durable and is a renewable resource. Common balance bikes that are made out of wood are Smart Gear bikes. ZUM balance bike. Wishbone Designs Bike and Kiddimoto balance bikes. Wood balance bikes weigh anywhere from 9-12 lbs. There are many people that believe these wooden balance bikes will warp easy. This is not necessarily true - the 10-12 ply baltic birch plywood construction and clear sealer protects from the affects of mild exposure to water - although bikes should not be left out in the rain.
Metal Balance Bikes
Metal balance bikes are typically either made out of lightweight steel or aluminum. These metal balance bikes are made using tube steel or aluminum and welded together to from a frame. You can gauge the quality of the manufacturer by examining the welds on the bike. Depending on the thickness of the steel used both aluminum and steel frames often weigh the same. Strider balance bikes are made of a thin-wall steel and weighs approx. 6.9 lbs while the aluminum frame Kinderbike Laufrad E Series weighs in at about 8.1 lbs. Other metal balance bikes usually weigh between 8 and 12 lbs. AS you are aware, steel bikes
should not be left out in the rain for extended periods of time due to risk of corrosion which will affect the performance of the bike. The handlebars and seat posts attach to the frames in the same way a regular bike does.
Composite Bikes and Plastic Balance Bikes
Composite bikes are injection molded bikes made up of plastic resins and in some cases mesh material for strength. These should not be confused with a some injection molded plastic toys whereas the materials are composed differently and are not of the same strength and durability as injection molded composite bikes. Bikes made of this material will resist warping, cracking and corrosion and will be of weight a little less than a wood or metal bike but not that significant.
One of the only injection molded composite balance bikes available in the USA is the FirstBike .
It is our belief that the 3 materials mentioned above create a product that will truly benefit your child and teach he/she to transition to a pedal bike while gaining confidence, coordination of happiness. The most important feature to look for when buying your child a balance bike is the fit. You want to make sure you measure your child's inseam and compare that to the bikes seat range. Your child shod 1" of clearance below their crotch area and the seat.
Why are balance bikes so awesome?
With a balance bicycle, the rider learns balance first, pedal last. In contrast, with a normal bicycle fitted with training wheels, the rider learns pedal first, balance last. Although opinions differ regarding which learning sequence is easier for most riders, it is generally agreed that a bicycle with pedals is too difficult for most very young children and that training wheels may encourage the rider to learn some behaviors which later must be unlearned.
Are the bikes heavy?
No. Balance bikes sold on this website weigh between 8 and 10 pounds. This is to ensure that the child is always able to control the bike and not be over powered by it
What age will my child transition to a pedal bike?
When your child has mastered the balance bike at about age 4 to 6. you can introduce a bike with pedals. Balance bikes usually continue to be a favorite toy for long after they can ride a pedal bike.
How long does it take to learn?
Our children were able to walk/ride the first time they sat down. That of course was after the bike lay on the garage floor for about 2 - 3 weeks. They were able to coast with their feet up after a week or two. Learning curves are different for different children.
Why are there no pedals on balance bikes?
The primary design focuses of balance bikes are to allow children to develop their gross motor skills. Learning to balance and steer the bike is much easier without pedals. The up and down movement of pedaling causes the child to shift their body weight from side to side throwing them off balance making them lose direction and riding stability. Balance bikes allow the child to drop their feet to the ground when they feel they are losing balance, quickly steadying themselves and preventing a fall.
Are spare parts available?
Spare parts are available for all bikes sold and most parts are covered by product warranty.