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Balance Bike Reviews

Updated on February 4, 2012

What's the point of a balance bike?

For parents considering purchasing a balance bike, the biggest concern is value. Balance bikes can be slightly more expensive than a traditional pedal bike and the perception is that because they don't have pedals, the bikes will not last. Parents are afraid that their son or daughter will quickly outgrow this learning bike. It's true that your child will quickly develop their balance and motor skills and be ready to transition to a pedal bike, but our experience is that kid's enjoy their balance bikes long after they've started using a pedal bike.

Just as kid's love skateboards and scooters even though they ride a bicycle, these toddler bikes without pedals become another toy for them to enjoy. For many parents who have taught their child to ride the traditional way with training wheels and found it to be a slow, frustrating experience - the balance bike is priceless. It removes fear from the equation and teaches your child the most critical aspects of riding a bike first, balance and steering.

Balance bikes come in two main styles. The wood bike and the metal version. So which balance bike is right for your child?

The Strider PreBike

If you're two, this is the bike for you

The Strider PreBike is one of handful of balance bikes recommend by the bike sizing experts at Balance Bikes 4 Kids for children under two. At just over 6 lbs. the Strider PreBike is the lightest balance bike on the market and boasts an adjustable seat that will go as low as 11" from the ground, making it easy for many kids under two to straddle the seat and still keep their feet firmly planted on the ground, an important element of the balance bike learning process. The seat adjusts up to 16.5" and has an optional 18.5" to accommodate larger riders.

The Strider bike features puncture-proof times making it a convenient option as the bikes tires never need to be pumped up. It has an integrated footrest that allows for easy coasting. The bike comes in six different colors pictured above.

Strider has recently introduced the ST-3. It's the same as their preBike in many respects but does feature a quick release seat and handlebar adjuster and padded handlebars. Nice additions to an already very popular balance bicycle.

Our Grade: A

Price: $99.00

Red Mini Glider
Red Mini Glider

Glide Bikes

Mini Glider and Go Glider

Glide Bike offers two entries in the balance bike market. The Mini Glider is designed for kids age 2-5. It's a durable, well-constructed bike that sports an aluminum alloy frame and EVA foam tires. With a seat that adjusts down to 12" and a weighing just under 8 lbs, its a great bike for very young riders. Unique features include a child-size handbrake that's easier to operate than most other models and "mountain bike geometry" that puts the rider's weight over the back tire, improving balance.

For kids age 5-10, Glide Bike offers the Go Glider. The bike is an excellent balance bike for kids who started to learn to ride late. The 16" bike sports a lightweight design and seat height range of 17.5" to 23" making it well-suited to teaching school age children to learn how to ride.

Both the Mini Glider and the Go Glider have an integrated footrest for coasting that can also be removed. The drum-style handbrake is small enough for a child's hand and easy to operate. Most kids will ignore it, but the presence of the brake does get them familiar with the conccept.

The bikes are available in blue, red and pink.

Our Grade: A

Price for the Mini Glider: $99.99

Price for the Go Glider: $129.99

Pink KaZAM Balance Bike
Pink KaZAM Balance Bike

KaZAM Balance Bike

European Styling at an Affordable Price

The KaZAM balance bike is a great bike for slightly older riders who are wearing clothes in the 3T to 5T range. This metal balance bike has a European style body and a unique, large center footrest. The seat height adjusts from 14" to 16.75" and the bike supports rides up to 65 lbs. The KaZAM balance bike is available in four colors: red, blue, green and pink.

This is a solid choice for kids in the 4-5 age group who haven't started riding yet. It's a well-made bike that's easy-to-assemble and comes at an affordable price. The bike has aluminum rim, steel spoke pneumatic air tires. This grip the road better and provide a smoother ride with greater shock absorbing capability.

Our Grade: B+

Price: $99.95

Easy Rider Balance Bike
Easy Rider Balance Bike

Kiddimoto Balance Bikes

A Bike Design for Any Kid's Personality

Kiddimoto offers the widest range of balance bikes on the market. Their painted wood bikes are inspired by real world vehicles and offer everything from balance bikes that look like mopeds to a line of signature balance bikes fashioned after real motocross superstar cycles. Their black chopper balance bike (pictured to the right) that looks like something out of Easy Rider is a particularly popular model.

The Kiddimoto balance bike is a good choice for kids ages 3-6. With a look that says "toy" rather than "scary, metal machine" it may be a better option for kids who are reluctant to get started on their bike riding adventure. Little boys and girls who love to play "pretend" will be truly inspired by the creative designs and countless options available.

Our Grade: B

Price: $149.99 - 169.99

Smart Gear Classic Wood Bike
Smart Gear Classic Wood Bike

Smart Gear Balance Bikes

A Quality Bike at a Great Price

Smart Gear offers six different wood bike models that include Floral Hearts and Bubbleicious models for the girls, Police , Blue Rider and Cruiser models for the boys along with the neutral Classic . Seat heights adjust from 12.5" to 15.5" and the bikes weigh in at a maneuverable 11 lbs with a built in handle for easy transport. The Smart balance bike from Smart Gear is an eco-friendly product that is manufactured using wood from a replenishable source, non-toxic paints and lacquers and shipped using recycled materials.

This wood bike supports riders up to 60 lbs. on a comfortable leatherette seat. It offers a limited steering radius and spokeless disc wheels to prevent crashes and injuries. At $89.99 it's one of the lowest priced balance bikes on the market and offers great value at an affordable price point.

Our Grade: B

Price: $89.99

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