Are Balance Bikes worth it?

More than just showing kids to balance and steer a bicycle, balance bikes are a great tool for teaching your kids how to ride on two wheels more rapidly and with less worries than any other tool.

Balance bikes are safer

Forget tricycles and training wheels, balance bikes are much safer and practical. Tricycles are fun at first for a kid, but soon, your child will find his or her tricycle to be slow and awkward to steer. On top of things, tricycles have a tendency to easily tip over on uneven or angled surfaces. As kids start to go faster and faster, tricycles become more dangerous.

On a balance bike, children are concentrated on balancing, rather than pedaling.  As a result, they are more prepared for bumps or unforeseen loses in balance and are much less inclined to fall.  After they master balancing, children can even entirely skip training wheels and head directly for a standard bike.  In doing so, the number of falls and crashes from learning to cycle are considerably (or perhaps even completely) reduced.

Training Wheels DON’T WORK

For decades, training wheels have been the goto technique for parents, an obvious solution that was never really challenged in our minds. Aspiring riders are looking for stability when the bike is standing still and yes, training wheels do provide stability. Problem arise when things start moving.

They are two “techniques” we need to master in order to ride a bicycle:

  1. balance and steering
  2. pedaling

Training wheels solve the easiest part of the training: pedaling, the easy part of riding a bicycle.

Mastering balance on the other hand is much more difficult. Training wheels are absolutely no help for teaching balance,  in fact they can even make things worst if used by aspiring riders for a long time. Bottom line: training wheels only train you to ride a bike equipped with training wheels.

Young ones learning to ride on a balance bike first will solve the balancing part of the equation first. They really learn to balance themselves and to steer the bike right from the get go. They will enjoy the learning process a lot more and with a lot less scratches.

Save your money

Balance bikes can seem like a waste of money, considering that you will eventually have to get the kid a “real bike”. But consider this, most 12″ kids bikes are used only with training wheels, using a balance bike to teach your kid how to ride on two wheels will considerably reduce the need for a 12″ standard  bike. Then your child can move directly to a bigger bike without training wheels.

Balance bikes are simple

Balance bikes and not only simple to ride for your little ones, their simplicity of design and mechanics will make parents lifes easier as well. Forget bike chains, batteries to charge, adjusting brakes, instruction manuals… Just go outside and have some fun learning how to ride a bicycle!

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The transition to a standard bike

Here’s a quick video of 3.5 year old Alex riding his balance bike.


Children who use balance bike usually end up on a standard bike at a younger age than those who used tricycle and/or training wheels. My kids have transitioned from a balance bike that they rode for a whole summer to a standard bike within a few minutes. When they have mastered the leaning, balancing and steering, all is left is to learn is how to pedal and brake. The transition is a lot less scary for them that way.