What is a Balance Bike anyway?

So what are these bikes all about anyways? This is a great question!

In its simplest form it eliminates the need of using pedals, and a chain. Instead the child uses their legs to stabilize themselves and get to where they need to go. Since there are no pedals, their legs are able to move without obstruction. As time goes on, after numerous hours of practice, the child gets better and better and eventually she will feel more confident at her ability to balance without his or her feet touching the ground. They are mainly targeted for children as young as 18 months to as old as 6 years old. However as age can be quite subjective it is best to take a look at the height and weight restrictions to see if your child can make the fit. Some are more advanced than others as well and geared more towards children who have mastered their balancing skills.

Main Features

The following list represents the common features you’ll discover when trying to make a decision.

Frames

The frames can be made from wood or metal frames. While birch wood is the common material used for wooden bikes, steel-framed models incorporate technology to design durable and light weight steel, or aluminum frames. Steel or metal frames are seen in most models, however there are a select few that incorporate a full wooden construction.

No Pedals

The main emphasis is on stabilization, so training wheels and pedals have no purpose whatsoever. Training wheels create a false sense of stability for the rider and although the use of training wheels does not hinder the child’s ability to learn, they are much better at instilling confidence. The omission of pedals helps the rider focus more on using his or her legs to balance first. This teaches the child to rely on their legs for mobility along with stopping and catching themselves on falls. Conventional models tend to do the opposite – learn to pedal first, then balance later.

Tires

Most models come standard with either foam tires (ideal of paved surfaces, but not for off-road adventures), or pneumatic tires (ideal for off road adventures and better at absorbing shock). These are the same tire types used on most conventional pedaled bikes. Therefore, it is up to the rider to determine his or her preference.

The video below is a great start for teaching people how to use one of these bikes:

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