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Chicco Red Bullet Balance Bike - Training Bike for Toddlers
I have 2 grandsons who are both approaching 2 years old. For their Christmas gift in 2013, I wanted to give them each a balance bike. Because of the small size and the low price, I selected the Chicco Red Bullet Balance Training Bike.
Balance bikes weren't available when I was learning to ride a bike, nor when I was teaching my children to ride. I've heard a lot about them, recently, and they really make sense to me. It seems like a good starting point for young children and toddlers to begin learning how to balance on a bicycle.
Basically, balance bikes are just a bicycle without pedals. The children push themselves around with their feet. All they have to do is hold the bike up and turn the handlebars. With practice, they will begin to push themselves faster, then pull their feet up and balance themselves on the bike.
When they are a little bigger and older, they will be ready for a pedal bicycle. By that time, the balancing and steering is old hat. All that is left to learn to ride a traditional bicycle is to pedal it.
Before I found the , I looked at several others. I like the Strider Pre Bike a lot, but since I needed to buy for two kids, I felt it was a little more than I wanted to spend. The Glide Bikes was also more expensive, but had some useful extras compared to the others, like the foot pegs and hand brakes. Chicco Red Bullet
Unboxing the Balance Bikes
The 2 balance bikes arrived from Amazon in swift order and in good condition. The boxes they came in were small and manageable. I had them opened with the parts organized on the floor within a few moments.
There are only 4 main parts to the bike and they go together easily. Tighten the bolts on 2 clamps and it's finished. The most difficult part of putting the bike together is the removal of all the bubble wrap that they have taped around the parts to protect them during shipping and handling. I should also mention that the little wrench thingy that they provide for the assembly is not very easy to use. I grabbed a half inch open end wrench from my toolbox to make the job a whole lot easier.
Since my grand-baby boys are a little young for these, I put the seat all the way down. I'm anxious to see how it works for them when they get them on Christmas Day, but the bikes are pretty small, so I think they will work fine.
The bikes are built plenty sturdily and look really nice. The handle bars turn smoothly and the wheels turn straight and true. The tires are made of a solid dense rubberized foam type of material, so they can't go flat.
Overall, I think these bikes are well worth the price. The boys should get plenty of use out of them, and any younger siblings that come along later will benefit from the hand-me-down.
image above is courtesy of Amazon.com
Updates to the Toddler Balance Bike Experience
Update 1/8/14 - The Balance Bike Riding Experience
When the boys received their balance bikes, they both appeared to be impressed. Both jumped on their balance bikes and started scooting around. The older one had absolutely no problem at all. He's only 2 months older, but is quite a bit bigger and has developed much more quickly than the younger one. The younger one is a little small and can't straddle the seat, even with the seat pushed down as far as it will go. It will be a few months before he can get any use out of his new Chicco Red Bullet.
Update 8/18/14 - Getting Better at Riding the Balance Bike
My older grandson has grown enough that we had to raise the seat just a little. He gets around very well, but doesn't usually go very far before he sees something that distracts him...like a bumblebee flying around a rose pedal, or a dog barking in the distance...just about anything. I guess that's a 2 year old for you.
Bicycle Helmets for Toddlers
Please make sure you protect your little ones by insisting that they wear a helmet while riding their balance bike on hard surfaces or where there is any remote chance that they may be near moving vehicles. Wearing a helmet provides some protection if they fall and hit their head on the pavement or are struck by a moving vehicle.
We don't live in a bubble and we all know that anything can happen, at any time, no matter where we are or what we are doing, but putting a helmet on your child while they are riding their bike is one simple precaution that can make a world of difference for the child in the event that something unfortunate ever happens.