Prior to the release of the Strider ST4 model in 2013, Strider’s ST3 balance bike model was a well-received, versatile choice. This page is dedicated to our Strider ST-3 review.
Its weight of 6.7 pounds, combined with its durable frame design made the ST3 easy for an 18 month old to handle and challenging enough for a 5 year old. Furthermore, the ST3 is a bike that can grow with the child’s physical requirements, and riding experience.
Generally, with the introduction of the ST4 – a newer model with “improved” features – the Strider ST3 has become almost obsolete. It is still a very good bike however with high quality features. It continues to succeed in developing a child’s balance and coordination skills which is the main reason for looking at this type of bike anyways! This model is generally priced cheaper than the newer models but as you’ll see in this review still contains quite a bit of great things.
The ST3 is manufactured by the U.S based company Strider, who are well known for their innovative balance bikes. They are strong believers in the benefits of balance bikes and promote them through numerous competitions and other showcases.
Released in 2012, this model succeeded the ST2, and offered an array of new features. It was lighter than the previous version and offered redesigns in the handlebars, and seats – it became more ergonomic in those areas.
New Seat Design
The seat is smaller, and weighs less than the seat on the previous version. The smaller size can better accommodate children with smaller hips. The seat is padded with a new comfort technology. Although the Strider ST3 comes standard with the new and smaller seat, the company provides the consumer the option of purchasing a larger seat for older children.
Ergonomic Hand grips
The shape of the handgrips was redesigned to contour better to the child’s hands. The ridges provide a better grip and they are smaller in diameter.
The handlebars on have also been redesigned to have a motor-cross look. Additional padding provides added protection for the rider.
This model comes standard with 12 inch foam tires. Strider calls these tires the Ultralight one-piece molded tires. Nothing needs to be assembled. The tires are made with EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) polymer tires which are puncture-free. These bikes favor the foam tires over the pneumatic as they are generally maintenance-free. Some major complaints about foam tires are that they are not as shock absorbent as pneumatic tires. Furthermore, they are not as good on non-paved surfaces as their pneumatic counterparts. Consumers, however are able to purchase a separate set of pneumatic tires and install them.
This model uses cone and cup bearings for a smooth rotation of the wheel, and therefore a smooth riding experience. However, the cone and cup bearings are no longer the bearings of choice for Strider. The ST3’s successor is equipped with sealed cartridge bearings, which prevent moisture and grit from entering it. Less maintenance is required, and a smoother, faster rotation of the wheel is achieved.
The benefit of this model is that it can accommodate several different-sized riders.
- Seat – As mentioned earlier in our review, the seat can be changed to a larger size. In addition to that, the seat height can be altered from a minimum height of 11 inches to 16 inches. If that range is not tall enough, extendable seat posts are available for purchase.
- Tires – Standard to the bike are molded, or foam, tires. Not everyone is convinced with the performance of the foam tires. Fortunately, it allows the consumer to switch from foam to air tires. The air tires however need to be purchased separately.
- Handgrips – The hand grips come standard with the new Mini grips, but if these turn out to small, additional hand grips are available for purchase and come in a variety of colors and sizes.
- Footrests and Brakes – Another benefit to note from this review are the unique add-on accessories that are usually unavailable with wooden balance bikes. Footrests and brake kits are available for consumers who prefer to have those features included. They do not come standard, and many prefer it that way. The absence of footrests allow more running room for the child as brakes can sometimes impede with the child’s ability to learn balance and coordination on the bike.
- Ski Attachment – An accessory worth mentioning is the separate ski attachment. Attached right underneath the wheel, the ski attachments allow the child to continue developing balance and coordination even during the winter season.
Compared to many of its competitors, particularly the wooden balance bikes, the ST3 provides the rider the opportunity to develop skills beyond balancing and steering. The ST3’s steel frame design make it durable for interesting bike tricks. Additionally, the ST3 can be used during the winter season, if ski attachments are purchased.
- New and ergonomic features provide a better riding experience over its predecessors. These same reasons make the ST3 available for toddlers as small as 18 months old.
- Enough cannot be said about the ST3’s versatility. With several options available to modify the bike for summer or winter seasons; and the availability of add-on accessories to adjust the bike according to the rider’s physical attributes, the ST3 is a very good bike to own. It can get passed on to several children in the family.
- The quality of the bike makes it durable against different weather conditions, and rider use. The steel frame, and puncture-free tires (to name a few), makes the ST3 a better investment over its wooden balance bike competitors.
- It is an older model (new model is the Strider ST4 or Strider 12). Its successor, the ST4 has several upgraded features such as a new tread pattern on the tire which is supposed to be better at traction. The sealed cartridge bearings on the ST4 wheels are more durable. They do not allow grit in and therefore less wear and maintenance is required whereas the ST3 has a cone and cup bearing which are easily worn out if moisture gets into them.
- Currently, the price is higher than the newer model (unless the consumer can find it on sale elsewhere). In some sense, it’s becoming a collector’s item. Since it is no longer being manufactured as much the demand for it is low; hence the higher price.
On its own, the ST3 is a great balance bike for children. It’s still relatively a new product that came out in 2012 which isn’t that too long ago. Its features are of excellent and durable quality, so it can withstand the harsh weather conditions, and harsh riding treatments. It still offers the same flexibility in its accessories as the new ST4. It’s also just as versatile. One of the major things working against the ST3 is the fact that it is now an older model. Consumers tend to go for the new as we automatically assume that the new one is better.
Furthermore, its price is a little higher than the newer version. Currently, at price of $130. Consumers may be able to find the ST3 cheaper elsewhere, and if they do, they should not hesitate in purchasing it. It’s a great bike that can be passed on to siblings, or friends, and still maintain a high quality performance.