Balance Bikes or Trikes – Which is best?

There is a great deal of similarities between this new breed and a tricycle. They are not physically alike, but rather similar in concept. Many parents swear by the old tried and true method of the tricycle. Newer parents are starting to give more thoughts to this new innovation. Tricycles have been around in North America much longer and therefore more people are familiar with it. These bikes are relatively new in the North American market even though they have been around in Europe for a decent amount of time. Now that they are becoming more and more popular one of the most commonly asked questions is “should it replace the trike”? To determine if one offers more benefits than the other, consider the following aspects:

The Perception

The idea behind each differs quite a bit. These bikes aim to develop the child’s coordination and steering skills prior to pedaling. The belief is that balancing is the key to learning how to ride and therefore learning properly at a young age will help more in the long run. A rider who masters the skill of balancing becomes a better biker on a pedaled bike. On the other hand, trikes help the child master the art of pedaling first and leaves the balancing for later (when they move on to pedaled versions).


Seating Position

Trikes offer the young rider with a couple of seating positions: Upright and recumbent. The recumbent is when the rider is seated further back and away from the handles. Arguably, some parents find that this is a better seating position for children than the upright. The recumbent is more comfortable and it spreads the body weight evenly across the bike which leads to a more stable bike. Balance bikes on the other hand, remain upright. An upright rider can use their feet to catch themselves in the event of a fall. Since conventional pedaled bicycles keep the rider in an upright position, children who graduate and become experts will already be accustomed and ready to go.

Falling and Safety

When learning parents should expect their children to fall as they learn. However, in time, when they’ve figured out their skills, and learned how to prevent falls by using their legs and feet, these incidents will decrease. Kind of short term pain for long term gain. They do not stay upright on their own and need the rider to keep it in that upright position. This is just like a regular one that they’ll eventually want to use. Trikes on the other hand never fall over unless it is physically pushed on to its side. The three-wheel design provides the stability for the rider instead.

Additionally, a trike is less likely to tip over even if the child is riding on non-paved surfaces (gravel, sand ,etc). If riding on non-paved surfaces, a child on the bike will fall, but by planting their legs onto the ground they can help stabilize themselves.

The balance bike and trike each offer the young rider with several benefits that help overcome obstacles associated with grown up pedaled models. The balance bike, because of its similar design to a pedaled bike, and its ability to help teach the child skills that will more than likely help children gain more confidence and be less scared of falls from regular ones. Meanwhile because the tricycle has pedals, children will already have an important understanding of pedaling, and will only have to concentrate on learning balancing skills.

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